So I’m no expert.
I don’t have a business degree or formal education in business or finance.
I make mistakes daily….. Seriously, every single day.
I’ve worked to build a decently successful business, but I know there are others out there who you’d likely say are more successful than mine.
Aaaannnddddd, I’m not a business coach.
What I am is a Personal Trainer of over 15 years, the business owner here at Performance Personal Training and super passionate about what I get to do every day.
Now although PPT has been around for a little over 6 years now, I can honestly say that I’ve really only felt some progress as a business owner and team leader over the past few years. What’s different? I started investing time and effort into developing and evaluating myself in that space and hanging around people that were more successful than myself.
See, I’m a rep counter by trade. At a rough guess, I’d say I’ve done between 15-20,000 hours of PT and Group Training combined, as well as countless hours on the gym floor and working outside of my face to face stuff. So, when it came to starting and running a business, my knowledge was remedial, to say the least!
I’ve been super fortunate to be surrounded by a few of amazing leaders, business owners, and managers who’ve been nothing but generous with their time, feedback and guidance. Between their generous contributions to my development and the fact that we’ve never had better access to information and knowledge I’ve been able to learn a couple of things over the past decade and a bit that has helped me START (I’ve got a long way to go!) to develop and grow professionally as a business owner and leader myself.
I also have the world’s most supportive wife who puts up with me at my worst, my best and continues to support my dreams daily. Without her, I’d definitely be screwed.
As we start to approach a beginning of a new decade, I’d love to share with you all (in no particular order) 20 things I’ve learnt before 2020!
The Importance of Knowing Your Values (and finding others who have are similar)
Our values shape us. They highlight what we love and what pisses us off. When we find people who feel the same way we tend to gravitate to them, build positive relationships and grow. This goes for all relationships of course, but finding teammates and clients who have similar values to you and your business will make life HEAPS more enjoyable!
The Importance of having a Vision (and writing that shit down)
If you know WHAT you want and WHY you want it, you’ll work harder and focus more on the stuff that counts. On top of this, whenever you’re feeling a little off-track, having a written vision can be a great way to bring you back into alignment.
How you do ANYTHING is how you do EVERYTHING
Having standards around anything you put your name to and making sure you give it your best, no matter how small or unimportant something might seem builds confidence and reputation. People notice and you’ll start setting your own standards of excellence around everything you do. You don’t have to be the best, just give it your best.
Same goes when HIRING teammates
Further to the point above. If you see a trainer who continually shows up late, takes no pride in their appearance, or just seems like they don’t give a shit in one area of their job, chances are they do a load of other stuff that way as well. How they do ANYTHING is how they do EVERYTHING (you don’t want these guys around).
I’m fortunate enough to have a great team of hard-working, passionate coaches alongside me, who in turn pushes me to do my best daily!
The Importance of Having a Coach or Mentor
Now I’m not talking one of those B.S ‘Fitness Business Coaches’. You know the ones that had one PT studio do well, so they think that qualifies them to start a coaching business? Yeah, not those douches.
I’m talking about legitimate business owners or trained professionals who have experience and skills that transcend industry. Having the supportive voice of an impartial and knowledgeable coach or mentor will go a long way to skip mistakes or identify your business blind spots. I personally work with 3 people (coaches and mentors) right now and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for my professional development.
One of them is a great friend and long term client who is also a successful business owner and leader in his own right. He generously spends time with me regularly to chat about the business and help provide me direction.
Another is Justin Tamsett of Active Management. I take part in his Roundtable program by which I get to catch up with JT and other great Fitness Business owners regularly to shoot the shit, talk businesses and learn from all of JT’s experiences and knowledge.
Finally, I have a more formal business coaching arrangement with an online coach over in the U.S
Know Your Why
As one of my favourite authors, Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. Deeply knowing why you do what you do provides you with fuel and motivation through some of the tougher times and decisions business ownership throws at you.
Learners are Earners
I heard this one from one of my early mentors in the late Charles Poliquin. You don’t need to be a bookworm, and I also know HEAPS of successful business owners who aren’t readers so this one doesn’t go for everyone. Personally, though I’ve found that both as a coach and business owner, there’s been a direct link between the amount of time and effort I put into my own development, and my personal and business growth.
Manage your time, or others will do it for you
Time is the only resource you can’t MAKE more of, so it pays to be wise with how you’re spending it. If you’re not strategic with what you spend your time on, others will do it for you. Learn to say yes to the stuff you want to do, and feel good about saying no to the stuff that doesn’t align with your current goals or personal vision and values.
Regularly Schedule Time to Just THINK
This is a new one for me, but something I know will pay dividends in the long run. Running a business means you’ll be wearing tons of different ‘hats’ across your day. This recently led me to a state of overwhelm about all the things I felt I “had to” do. On recommendation from a mentor and friend, I started scheduling a regular time each week to think and plan. Stepping out of my own head for an hour a week allowed me to re-align with what was important, prioritize and even come up with new ideas and concepts that I know I’d never have done if I stayed in that state of overwhelm and anxiety. Looking forward to doing more of this in 2020!
Coaching people and running a business is not the same thing
Seems pretty straight forward as I write this, but it’s something that I’ve learnt the hard way. I fancied myself a pretty decent coach but when I moved over to running the business (and being less of a technician) I realized pretty quickly that the skillset that you need to be a great coach, and the skill set required to run a business aren’t even close to the same thing.
Set Goals and Track Them Regularly
Just like we do with our clients, I believe everyone (business owners or not) who are serious about what they do for a living should be spending time regularly setting goals around professional and personal development. Go one step better than that and align your goals with your personal vision and watch the magic happen.
Don’t Waste Time Worrying about your competitors
This is a futile endeavour! Although I think it’s important to have a finger on the pulse and know what’s happening in the industry, there’s a difference between a little healthy competition and flat out worrying about what others are doing. Who gives a shit? They’re going to do it anyway and the time and energy you waste worrying is the time you could be spending making yourself and your business even better.
Plan out your time, and anything that takes more than 30mins to do needs to be scheduled
Loving the time management stuff at the moment and this is a rule I stole from someone (sorry can’t remember who) that was a game-changer for me. If I plan on doing something and it looks like it might take me more than 30mins to do, it lands in my calendar. If it’s not worth scheduling, it’s likely not worth your time. Drop it, or if you feel like you need to do it someday throw it on a to-do list and get it done when you get a spare moment down the line.
Create Systems for Everything!
The classic business book, “The E-Myth” got me started on systems, and now I try to find and create them everywhere. In the past, I thought systems were all about control, but I’ve since learned there is so much more to them. For one, they save you time and energy. They also give you benchmarks and way’s to assess and improve the way you do things in the future.
Of course, I have systems in my business, but I also have heaps of personal systems around things like my meal prep and how I learn. Seriously, if you plan on doing something over and over again, or even more importantly want someone else to do it for you, systemize it!
Don’t Post for your Peers, Post for your People
When it came to posting stuff on our business social media pages I used to really get caught up on what my peers might make of it. I found myself creating and judging content that was more geared and interesting to myself and other coaches, rather than my existing and prospective clients! Once I realized what I was doing and dropped that baggage, it gave me the freedom to create content that actually catered to people who are looking for my help, and not those who aren’t. Turn out no one really cares, and even if they do they’re probably not worth your time anyway.
*Note* I get this entire blog is contradictory to this point. This one more of a passion project than a business endeavour so whatever….
Making Mistakes and having difficult conversations are where the best growth lies
Although it feels shitty at the time, some of my best personal growth and development has come from making myself have tough conversations or making big mistakes. The only way you won’t learn, is if you don’t make a conscious effort to learn from the experience.
Make time to reflect
Kind of an extension to the point above. Whenever you find yourself having a difficult conversation or an event or project go the way you didn’t intend it, set yourself some personal reflective time. Go back, assess and learn from it in the future.
The importance of scheduling time to train yourself
I have a real issue with trainers or fitness industry professionals who don’t make an effort to train themselves.
Don’t get me wrong, we all go through ruts in the gym, we’re human too and I’m not saying that you need to look like an Olympic athlete or bodybuilder. What I’m saying is that if you’re truly passionate about what we do and feel it’s something others should be spending their time and money on, you better be putting your money where your mouth is!
There is no substitute for hard work and time
You may have noticed that I’m yet to include any ‘hacks’ or ‘hot tips’ to have rolling in the dough like Scrooge McDuck and that’s for good reason. There really aren’t any (at least I haven’t found them). Get ready to roll your sleeves up and get to work. Every successful business owner I’ve met that built something successful from scratch had one thing in common…. They’re all work-horses that are prepared to do the shit others aren’t.
Better yet, take pride in it and wear your work ethic as a badge of honour!
I work in the best industry in the world!
I wake up every single day so proud and grateful to be a part of the fitness industry. It’s really been the only thing I’ve ever done, and I consider myself very fortunate to be able to work with a community of amazing clients, passionate coaches and likeminded professionals.
I’m beyond excited for the challenges and opportunities that
the future brings both myself and our amazing industry. Time to start looking
forward to the challenges and learnings the next decade of fitness brings our
Got questions? Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m happy to share!