Should I Open Up A Gym? : Brad Williams
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Guest: Brad Williams
Release Date: 3/20/2023
Welcome to Trulyfit the online fitness marketplace connecting pros and clients through unique fitness business software.
Steve Washuta: Welcome to Trulyfit. Brad, thank you so much for joining the Trulyfit podcast. We have talked before, I will be on your podcast soon. Or at least it will be released soon. So I already know about you. But why don’t you give my listeners and my audience a little background on you your credentials. and what you do in the health and fitness industry?
Brad Williams: Absolutely. And, Steve, thank you so much for having me on your show, I’d love to share. So born and raised in California, you know. I started off life, kind of in the fitness world. My dad was a medical doctor, Mom was a nurse. So we kind of had that healthy upbringing and, you know, always into sports. And, you know, took that to college and always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Like my uncle, and oh, my own business someday.
Brad Williams: And years later, after graduating, finally, my brother and I decided, you know. I’ve already got my certifications, Isa, and was really passionate about helping people like other co-workers from other jobs. So I started building up a little side business and decided, right, let’s go to the brick-and-mortar route.
Brad Williams: And you know. We had saved up enough money and got my first gym here in Huntington Beach, California. And so over the next course of the year. I’ve been in business. I think, 13 years, 15 years as a trainer, but 13 years as a gym owner. And just, you know. the ups and downs of doing business in California is as fun as that is and playing that brick-and-mortar game. And, you know, I always tell people, you know. You can go to school all you want, but, you know. 8080 to 90% of the learning is you got to get out there and just and see what’s out there.
Brad Williams: So, you know, learning to market yourself and build up these programs and run all these gyms. I got investors that believed in me. we opened up to more so at one point. I had three different gyms, you know,. had 60, over 60 independent trainers running through those gyms and, you know, just over time, you know, as a gym owner on the gym owner, the marketing guru, the accountant, the bathroom cleaner, and you know, everything, you know, starting out, and then finally you learn how to scale that and delegate.
Brad Williams: But it’s just been an awesome experience. And then, you know, three years ago, kind of, you know. A lot of us personal trainers got pushed into the online world and started the online training. Thank God because once COVID happened, we were, you know, we weren’t caught with our pants down, we least knew how to do that kind of training style.
Brad Williams: And thus, I began doing more of that kind of leaving some of the gyms we started consolidating some of our brick and mortar spots. And then ended up doing a fitness podcast is my passion of helping over 40 people. And, you know, that’s kind of what I’m doing. Now.
Steve Washuta: I think for all personal trainers, even people who are moving completely into the online landscape. Regardless of how much money you make, and what you do. I think there’s all of us inside who want to have a brick-and-mortar.
If you’ve never had one, you want to try it out at least stripe, maybe there are some people who’ve had it and they go. This isn’t for me, but everyone wants to at least dip their feet into it. It’s the ultimate goal for a personal trainer to do it. And that’s why we’re gonna be talking about this today because you have the background of opening up multiple gyms. And then even sort of leaving the business which I think is like a really comprehensive understanding, right?
Like, how do you build it up? How do you potentially sell it off? How do you have an exit strategy all of these things I think are really interesting. And I read a little bit about this in my book fitness business one on one with the certifications don’t teach you but not a lot because most people who read that book are beginner personal trainers and for me and this is the question I’ll first ask you.
I think it’s a bad idea if you’re fresh out of school fresh out for your first certification. To think you can open a brick-and-mortar business. Because you know not only do you not have an idea of how these businesses run. Because you’ve never worked in them you never shadowed you don’t know what the like. You said the accounting end is you don’t know is a 45-minute class better than an hour class. how do I deal with refunds? How do I charge?
But in addition to that. You’re still learning how to train so you don’t even know how to interview people to see who’s a good trainer and who’s not but what would you say to somebody who is fresh off certification and they go I’m gonna open up my own brick and mortar business.
Brad Williams: Yeah, so I would definitely validate that as someone coming from me I did that you know. I only trained for a short time and then just jumped right into the brick-and-mortar business. Which I would tell people do not do you know go work at other gyms. See how it works to see what’s working with them you know the owners always love talking about what they’re doing if anyone’s listening.
Brad Williams: so you can get a bunch of valuable information you start meeting more people. You know if I had done it that way in my first two it took me 18 months. Before I broke even and profit which technically is you know. kind of on par with what they say in business school but had I just started as a personal trainer, you know, meeting all the different trainers, maybe going into a couple of different gyms and building myself up like that. I could have started new all these trainers that could have rent space from and everything could have started my business. Like almost profitable day one.
Brad Williams: And, you know. I think that kind of held on to me like a lot of money. I had saved up a lot of marketing money for my first two years knowing that this could happen. And just for the next five years was this playing catch up with. Like all the losses I had from that first gym. So I would definitely say exactly that, you know. Just work on your trade, find a niche, you can always train multiple different types of people.
Brad Williams: But if you find that niche that you’re passionate about people, other trainers will see it, they’ll refer you, people. You just become known in the space, your marketable, which is huge, because, you know. I’ve seen tons of trainers come and go from my gyms. And there are certain ones that are marketable, and there are certain ones that just get looked over. It’s just, you know, the way the game of being competitive.
Brad Williams: So find that niche, try out a bunch of different gyms, you know, maybe even offered to help the gym owner, oh, my God, you know. I had a couple of trainers that actually wanted to learn the kind of the game if I taught them. And they actually helped me from my day to day, and that was just immensely helpful. And I just poured out, you know, anything they wanted to learn how to do, I would teach them.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, such great information on my book. I have a chapter on shadowing, and how important that is. and how easy it is to do. People like Brad, dedicate their lives to helping other people. Right? trying to make people more fit and happier and better humans. Of course, if you contacted Brad and said, Hey, Brad, you know. I would love to maybe for two or three hours a night just kind of follow you around help with anything. Be your go for it, whatever, I can just kind of retain the knowledge that that you have.
And because I want to start my own gym one day, of course. Brad’s gonna say okay, because he also wants to teach you His ways. And all the things that he’s learned, right, you’re it’s sort of a mentor, apprenticeship, sort of, you know, dynamic. And I think they don’t offer that, really. I think NASA is starting off of that now National Academy Sports Medicine where they have some kind of program like that.
But really, there’s no solid apprenticeship program where you could just learn underneath other trainers or other fitness business owners. and really take cues from them. And not only things that you like you mentioned earlier by. Which was such a great point. Things you don’t like, but you might also go to these gyms and be like,
Well, this guy does this, I would never do that. He uses his mind-body program, or whatever this is I would use different software. It allows you to kind of pick up things that you like and then drop things that you don’t like.
Brad Williams: Yeah, and you know. Here in Orange County, this is like a Mecca, which I’m sure other places around the US are to for fitness. But the man just watching all these gyms populate up and a good chunk of them coming down. That’s even before COVID. And just at least just go pick, pick the owner’s brains on how things are going in that area.
Brad Williams: And I’m telling you from the multiple gyms I’ve owned you know. One of the worst decisions I made was just going getting a place 10 minutes away from Huntington Beach. And I got one in Fountain Valley. And just 10 minutes away, I didn’t really know and do my due diligence on that area. I thought it was far enough away from me not to be competitive, but I didn’t really understand that area.
Brad Williams: And one of the things that kind of beat me up over there is Fountain Valley. It is more of a starter family place where homes are cheaper, but their homes and not condos. And everything like here in Huntington Beach, and people that can barely afford to get there. That’s their first home, all they do is spend their money on their kids, the most they’ll do from themselves is maybe a 999 You know, crunch fitness or 24 Hour Fitness deal.
Brad Williams: I didn’t know that had I done my research, I would have more implemented kids programs. Because all the money they spend is toward their kids. And so that place just got burned from you know. What was successful for me here in Huntington Beach 10 minutes across. You know, the line there did not work over there. So that’s another thing, you know, but you know. You can only you try to do your SWOT analysis and everything that you learned in school, and but you know. had I just gone and just talked to some other owners in that area. Oh, they would have told me everything, all their trials and tribulations and you know. I should have done more info-seeking.
Steve Washuta: That is such a great picture and a great point, right? You’re 1010 minutes away. One, Jim can be hyper-successful one cat from small things like demographics. Who are these people that live around here? How many other gyms are around here? Was there a brand new crunch that opened up the year before? And they had, you know, whatever, 1000 people sign up? Well, now, you know, what am I going to do?
There’s a brand new gym that just came into town with way more marketing money. There are all these little things to look at. And yeah, you can look it up. You can do your due diligence online. But guess what, it’s better to just talk to the other people who’ve already done their due diligence. And then you could check, you could check on it. Obviously, you talked to four different gym owners in the area. See what they say. and then what you think is relevant, then you can go back and sort of double check what they said online and that would save you a heck of a lot of time and headaches.
And I think people are not likely to do that. If you’re if you’re fresh out of school. You’re just so happy and that’s really what happens with people was that the idea? They only think about the dream. The wish. What could be, you know, what could be if I open up this gym? How great could it be? Well, guess what a ton of gyms fail, my assumption is maybe you know more than I do. More gyms failed and actually succeed. If you look at the 10-year run of these gyms from start to finish. So you know, what makes the difference between you and your competitor, that’s not rhetorical, you have to ask yourself that.
Brad Williams: Yeah, and, and, you know, it’s probably like an 85% failure rate, at least kind of in my area, and of the ones that are successful. Over time have come to find out that, you know, they weren’t actually even successful, they just had so much money behind it with investors, that would keep it keeping the place alive. Yet, that’s still competition for you. Who are maybe getting up there and being competitive and maybe a little profitable, they’re still taking a piece of your pie. So just understanding like, what’s in that area.
Brad Williams: And just finding out as much info as you can, you know, networking was a huge thing. That was real successful for me, you know, just getting your name out there, not just advertising, but go and meeting people and go into functions. And then eventually, I found a networking group B. And I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, Steve.
Brad Williams: But that was a very organized networking type structure, every city across the US has one. And that just was a game changer for me. As well as networking with other personal trainers, you know, at one point, I made the switch from God, there’s so much competition here, I gotta do something different. And I started noticing a lot of trainers that come to my gym asking to rent space, and maybe they only had like one or two clients and like, you know, I’d only rent space if someone would pay full rent.
Brad Williams: And then I started seeing that happen so much. I was like, you know, why? Why push them away, you know, no one else other gyms doing it, we’re all fighting for clients, once you start marketing towards trainers. So I started doing that, and, you know, making rates for, for people who only had one or two clients and not breaking their bank, and, you know, with the intention of helping them market and grow. And then there’ll be big renters because we’ll have a huge following.
Brad Williams: And that took off real well, which is why not my investors, you know, went for the other two spots. So let everyone compete for clients, and then, you know, I’d get the trainers to help them grow. And, you know, clients will come as well. But that was a huge contribute to my success. And, and then on the caveat of that is, you know, things can happen in life, politics, and policies can change.
Brad Williams: And lo and behold, five years ago, California passed this 85 law, which kind of put a wrench in that style, which basically said that, you know, you can have independent contractors, and as long as you follow the rules, you know, you don’t tell them what to do. They create their own schedule, you know, all that kind of stuff. Because you know, I didn’t want to pay them, pulley benefits and all that kind of stuff.
Brad Williams: And then the 85 law, put a new rule on there. Okay, all those are good. But now, if that independent contractor does the same thing as your core business, sorry, they’re an employee, you’re done. And so that just threw a wrench in my plans. My lawyer, my accountant, everybody were like, Oh, my God, like, you get one labor lawsuit, because now they people have this. You know, there’s law behind them. And all of this came from Uber and Lyft, by the way, Oh, wow. And so that had to change again.
Brad Williams: So I had a basically, you know, at that time, I found Valley one wasn’t doing good. We had to make the decision, kind of heartbreaking decision to shut that one down, consolidate everything and consolidate back down to one spot. couldn’t rent that style anymore. I had a core group of trainers that we made a work around with my investors where we changed the gym into a, you know, a real estate firm that has a gym in it.
Brad Williams: And as long as the renter’s coming in didn’t do the same as you know, what the core business watch was real estate business. That was our workaround, but we didn’t, you know, obviously have that much room anymore. And also, you know, he had to trust the trainers you had brought in so but that’s the thing is things can just change like a snap of a finger and you got to adjust and lateral or you’ll just get gobbled up.
Steve Washuta: Were other businesses also doing the same thing. That’s where you got this idea from to double it as a or fronted as a real estate with a gym inside of it that trainers can train out of.
Brad Williams: I don’t I don’t know. I don’t know if anyone ever did that. I didn’t watch but I did have clients that own hair salons, yoga studios Pilates, and they all did the same style. Some had employees and some like us had renters we did that route and watched all their businesses just plummet. It’s you know, so
Steve Washuta: many so many great points. I want to go back to the very first thing you said about these can be these other gyms that are being funded in your area that aren’t that successful. You don’t know what their books look like. So you might go oh my god, look at that gym. It’s expanding.
They just put on a, you know, a new nameplate on their thing. And they bought this parking lot out and they’re getting bigger. And they have all the new Technogym equipment, it’s like, well, for all you know, they are in the red BEYOND THE RED, but they’re just smooth-talking investors, and the investors are willing to give them a chance, but they’re not actually doing well.
So you can’t just assume because there’s a gym that looks like they’re doing well in your area, that that’s a great area to start a gym. And then the second thing, I mean, it’s, it’s such a great learning experience and story that you had, where one small law shifts, and your whole business model basically goes down the tube.
Now you have to start over again, because of this one small law that you can’t possibly foresee, right, you can’t, there’s no way you could have planned around that in the first place.
No one else did. And it’s not necessarily your fault. But at that point, you had somewhat of an exit strategy, you said, Okay, I can’t have three businesses now, because of this new law, I have to sell one off, I have to consolidate, I have to, I have to make, you know, move this business into here, I have to talk to the experts.
And, you know, having the insight to do that, as is was fantastic by you. And I’m sure you had some great people around you who helped you make that decision. But the average person who’s opening up a gym is not going to be thinking about that.
Brad Williams: Yeah. And then that’s the thing that’s just gonna happen, you know, someone’s some big corporation like UFC gym, here, they, from what I know, don’t make anything but it doesn’t matter. It’s a corporate flagship, they just need it for the branding. So look how much competition they just took, and are willing to eat it because they make so much.
Brad Williams: Another one was a family. Well, well-off family and one of the family members just, you know, didn’t have anything new in life and wanted to run own his own gym. So they bought this failing gym, and he made it even worse, even more in the red, and they just well, you know, give them something to do. And they’re loaded. And, you know, sometimes it takes a while for a business to become profitable. It was like 10 years later.
Brad Williams: And those guys still run it into the ground, and they just had limitless money to keep it going. So you start hearing these stories, but you know, doesn’t matter. That’s, that’s what happens in life, all you got to do is worry about your gym, your quality, your vision, you know, keeping your books, right. And you just got to you got to keep stay up with up to date with what’s trending, and you know, what your niche is, and just keep on pressing,
Steve Washuta: I wish I had the numbers in front of me, I knew them off the top of my head at some point. But you know, Planet Fitness, although they trade on the NASDAQ, I mean, they’re in the red, they don’t make money, not only do they not make money they’re paying, I’m talking hundreds of millions of dollars on their interest at this point from all the loans that they take out.
Now, granted, they’re probably able to sell a lot of people’s information, right, that’s there’s so much money now having data and they have all of your data, you know, and they have, they have so many people, but they’re sort of like that Uber model, where, you know, Uber is also doesn’t make money, people don’t know that.
I mean, Uber is waiting for that one day when they have self-driving cars, and they can fire everyone who’s ever driven an Uber, and then they’re going to be valuable, right, because they’re not paying for anything.
But until that point, all their money goes out the door to pay their drivers and through research. So they’re not actually a profitable company, if you’re just looking at, you know, the red and the black.
And I think a lot of people don’t know who you’re competing who you’re up against, who is willing to continue to go through round after round after round of working with investors and grabbing money. While you’re you need to make a living if you own a small independent gym.
Brad Williams: Yeah, you know, I’ve met a few people who are in the big chain gym with investors and all that. And one of them said, I won’t name the name of the chain, they did. But you know, their model was you, you go into these areas with this brand new chain with, you know, all that investor money, you only really need to run it for about 10 years, because they make so much money, it’s new, it wipes out the other competitors around them.
Brad Williams: And 10 years later, your stuff becomes old, it’s too costly to keep it going. Other competitors are now doing the same thing with new big chains gyms like equinoxes or something like that. And that’s okay. And then, you know, once that happens, and you’ve obviously with investors bought a bunch across America, or this one particular gentleman was saying they’re already starting ones in Mexico.
Brad Williams: After that 10-year mark, you just let them implode and you know, they the companies go bankrupt, and then they’ll just pick a new chain and start the whole process over again. You know, I’m sure that’s not what everybody does, but just you start learning all these things, you know, that these are competitors are using the styles and everything and, you know, it’s just, it’s just hard. You know, life sucks, but competition is real
Steve Washuta: competition is real and the rules of the game. Most people don’t know especially if you’re a personal trainer and you’re focused on the body and you’re somebody who knows the kinesiology and you can say, Steve, you got some knee valgus your shoulders are slumping flow. Florida, we got to strengthen your pecs out and you’re gonna get your traps going.
If you’re someone who studies the body and doesn’t study business, you’re in over your head, you’re not, you’re probably not ready to start your own business, you’re gonna have to take some time shadow to understand, you don’t know what you don’t know.
And and wait until you open up that brick-and-mortar business I had the I don’t know if you want to call it the luxury of basically taking over a gym for six months, I was sort of second in line here. I didn’t have any financial stake in this in this gym.
But I guess you would say I was the most tenured trainer of this facility, the trainer had a substance abuse problem, she had to go away for six months, and the gym became mine, in a sense.
So I was paying the bills, I was opening up every morning I was running everything I was sending the schedules out, I was, you know, the gym was mine for six months. So I got a really good experience in a bad situation, but a really good experience of what it’s like to run a gym. And instantly I knew this isn’t for me.
Because when I saw that when I saw the bottom line, I’m like this gym is barely skating by they’re paying out all of their trainers, they’re paying for all their equipment. If you know one mirror breaks, you gotta call one repair guy in, you know, you’ve basically broken even now, you know, and there’s just it’s like that’s a lot on someone’s shoulders to just sort of skirt by and skate by.
And I think people have to come to that realization are you doing this? Because you love it, or you’re doing this only for a financial reason. And you have to really look into the numbers before you start a gym.
Brad Williams: Yeah, and that’s a common theme amongst other gym owners that I’ve met as well. It’s just other brick and mortar gym, or brick and mortar, just random types of businesses, where it’s the comment they make is, you know, you’re working to pay rent.
Brad Williams: That’s it, because you’re barely scraping by and, you know, you have to see, can you build this up? Or is that basically where you’re at right now, and you got to make some decisions, you got to lateral you can’t be, you know, not making money and just taking care of everyone else.
Brad Williams: And, you know, that was happening to it, that Fountain Valley gym I mentioned. So you had to go through the process and just clean the house and get rid of it. You know, always always keep looking, you know, a year, two years, three years, you know, in advance to see like, where this is going to take you.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, and you know, there’s so many that we just said gyms are going out of business. So I think you know what I did when I was starting, the first facility was looking for gyms that are going out of business and selling their equipment for pennies on the dollar, because they gotta get out, right. So like, if you’re not making rent, and someone else owns that building, and they say, Hey, you got to be out in a month.
And that equipment yours, it’s you know how costly it is to get gym equipment out and put it on a truck and store it somewhere. It’s too much, they can’t do that right there. They can’t even pay the rent. So they’re selling that equipment for pennies on the dollar, they have bigger problems. And it’s a really good way to take advantage. And then also using that space or having some sort of space in your gym, as flex space, whatever that looks like for you.
Maybe it could be you get a bunch of Instagram influencers who come in and pay you by the hour because they want to use the gym at one at 1am when it’s closed, so they can take pictures provided they’re signing the right or the right agreements, that’s fine.
Whether it is you have an open room where I don’t know a belly dancing thing wants to come in great, whatever, whatever you want to do, we have an open room, you can use the room in the back, you pay me you have to use your space that you own as flex space and not just have the gym itself making money because that’s typically not going to be enough for you.
Brad Williams: Yeah, exactly. That’s exactly right. And to my gyms, I had that flex space, you know, having stuff that can clear out real fast, like, you know, Mat Pilates, not Pilates ever, formers that you have to hold their stuff. Yoga, spin was horrible, because those bikes don’t really move and you can’t recycle that space. The boxing was great.
Brad Williams: They just came in there did their things with their pads, and they were out and they paid good money. So you know, that’s the type of things people some people just need the culture of health and wellness and then just an open space, and they can do a lot with it. And, you know, going back to that boxing, one of my spots I was making 2500 a month just off that that was awesome. And we got to recycle the space when they weren’t there.
Steve Washuta: Yeah. And think about also the positive implications from other people walking through your facility. So, you know, Dan, the boxing coach, who lives down the road, who you know, met Brad at. One of his networking things is, hey, I do a boxing thing. I’d love to use your space, you say no problem.
Let’s say he brings in he does Monday, Wednesday, and Friday classes at 7pm. He brings in 20 people. Well, there’s a really high likelihood that one of those 20 people ends up coming to your gym at some point, right? They ended up saying oh this gym is great. I really liked this environment and it’s clean and it’s cool and I didn’t realize how close it was to my house.
I’m going to also join this gym. So it’s also free marketing and it tends to be able to use this kind of flex space.
Brad Williams: Yeah, absolutely. Another thing I wanted to point out for your audience who are thinking about this kind of stuff, you know, number one is, you know, don’t open up that brick and mortar spot right up right off the get, go find your niche and slowly build and test the waters out. Another one is, you know, my, my uncle gave me all this advice.
Brad Williams: And it seemed like I didn’t listen to him every single time because I was so infatuated with owning my own spot and all that, that his biggest thing was, you know, OPM, other people’s money, do not invest your own money. In a big venture like this, if you do decide to do it, there’s so many resources out there with loans or investors that are just aggressive and, and want to get into the industry.
Brad Williams: They can take the hits, you can. And that was a big thing. You know, when we first dumped our my brother, and I dumped a lot of money in for the first place and just watched it, drain so quickly. And then finally, you know, investors started seeing me believe in me, and to them, it was nothing, and they just wanted to dabble. And boom, bought two gyms just like that with their money, and we just made deals of, you know, I would be managing it and growing it, but no risk.
Brad Williams: So I would say, you know, do that set up from the get go instead of you know, using your own money, because it’s a it’s a big boys game out there. And, you know, not everyone has that money to start or will or can lose it. So if that’s you, then you can’t open up your own spot if you’re unwilling to lose that investment. So you got to go in thinking, you know, what, what would I do if all this goes down to nothing?
Steve Washuta: Yeah, good advice. And for those who are saying, well, what do I even start? Yeah, there’s angel investors, you can look them up, it’s difficult, but to for you to be able to write a business, plan a pro forma out and learn how to go through those processes to try to convince someone while your business is worthwhile, it’s also a good exercise for you the person, because you’ll know if it is worthwhile, right?
If you’re struggling to write a business plan to prove why it’s worthwhile, well, guess what, it’s probably not, then then maybe you shouldn’t open up this business. So I think it’s a really good exercise, to force yourself to have to write this business plan and explain out loud to someone else, why you think this is going to be profitable.
Brad Williams: Exactly. And then, you know, knowing your audience, you know, you got your niche, you know, what area you’re going into, you’ve talked to other owners, and knowing your audience, and, you know, one of my gems was kind of that grungier man cave type, you know, hit place.
Brad Williams: And I took that over, and I tried to beautify it up as much as I could. But, you know, in my eyes, I love that style. You know, those are my gyms was private gyms or warehouses, all that kind of stuff. But, you know, my niche was still over 40, male and female, mostly female, because more females would pay for personal training than men.
Brad Williams: And thus, I had this kind of grungy, dark cold gym that I tried to beautify, and would just get attacked all the time by my female members, they loved us. And, you know, the ones that did would stay with us. But, you know, even leaving that one, I eventually left that one as well, you know, I still have friends or clients or like, we just hate to go into that one. It’s just, it’s not their style.
Brad Williams: That’s why you know, these, these women tend to like these very beautiful yoga studios and Pilates studios. And if that’s what your audience is, you need to make it like that. So
Steve Washuta: that’s a good point. And then also, there’s a difference between I have a niche, I have something that I want to do, and the likelihood that that’s going to be successful in a given area. Alright, so let’s go ahead and say you did know your niche was women and men over 40, you have some money.
But you know, you don’t want to open up a gym, let’s say in a town that has a lot of really young couples moving in, in their early 20s and early 30s, who don’t have money, and who who don’t specialize in that maybe they like to work out on their own, because they’re from just a different generation, right.
So like, it doesn’t matter that that’s your specialty, and that you have the money to open up that gym. If those people aren’t there and that demographic is not there, then you’re not going to woo those people. That’s why working at a gym is really good. So when I was working at a gym, in the in the southeast, a while ago, I had so many clients and so many people that knew me at this gym, if I ever wanted to open up my own gym within a 10 minute radius.
I know for a fact that those people would have just come come to me right it was instant already marketing networking, I already made a name for myself. But had I opened up a gym let’s say 40 minutes away or 50 minutes away because it was cheaper because the facility was better. You know I would have had to start from scratch I would have had no clientele so all these things matter and in addition to that, looking at the the landscape of different fitness entities in your area, not just gyms like yours, but gyms not like yours like you said maybe there’s no gym just like yours in the area.
Okay, but if there are five yoga studios and four boxing studios and one other different kinds of gym and one this one that one that that could be good that your novel and new, or that whole area could just be flooded with too much exercise already, right. So you have to look at all of these different things even like, so there was a gym, I, one of my buddies bought in the city. And he did such a good job setting it up, it was beautiful, everything was great. The problem was, it was on a major road facing the wrong direction, basically, the back of the gym was to the port of the major road.
And the only way to get into the front of the gym was to sort of like, go past the exit and then turn around and come there. And like logistically it was just a nightmare. So he failed. And and I know that that’s why he failed, because it was a logistical nightmare to get to the gym.
It’s small things like that, where you have to say what is the where’s the average person coming from which direction they’re coming from north south east or west, is this going to be easy for them to get to are there other shops in the area that they can get to so they can go to Target right afterwards and convince themselves this is great, I can go to the gym, I can go to target that I can go home. And these are just not things that run through the average person’s mind when they’re opening up a business.
Brad Williams: Yeah, and you know, that’s going back to like, know, your audience, if you know, for me, I’m training mostly over 40 females who who want nice stuff, you know, I should have listened to them and got a better looking spot. But also watching another gym fail just around the block for me, in the best, most beautiful, you know, Shopping Center Street where all the action is.
Brad Williams: But in, like you said, impossible to get into. And though your eyes are looking at this, like look at this, this is gonna be my baby, I can do so much stuff in there. And just overlooking the fact that the parking lot is literally a death trap of even trying to get in there off this busy street. And the only way would be to go in the secret route in the back. Like that’s not what how normal people are going to find you.
Brad Williams: So having someone, maybe your friends or family who meet that audience characteristics of you know, female over 40 In my case, and having them go to check out that spot for you just having a different set of eyes, and they’ll tell you right away no pie and go in there, then there’s your answer.
Brad Williams: That’s, you know, in the brick and mortar game, you’re paying all this money to be on that street, you need to make sure that that street is providing you you know, an audience, or else then you go the route of you know, super cheap and going into the warehouses like I did with one of mine. And you don’t really care because you’ll do more social media marketing. So you gotta you gotta think about those things for the type of places you pick.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, yeah. And you know, just thinking about parking. You know, let’s, let’s say you go down a street, and it seems like the hip place in town, and there’s some bars and restaurants and whatever. There’s a nice space for a gym. Yeah, nice, 3000 square foot place sure, like this is great. It’s a good price, I can get this.
Well, if those bars and restaurants are really popular. And people are pulling up their four and five. and all parking in those spaces before your clients are getting their 536 and seven, when they get off work, and they have nowhere to park, what’s going to happen.
Right? So where are your clients parking, there’s there are all of these other logistical things that people are just. They’re just not akin to thinking about when they’re when they’re opening up these businesses because they’re, they’re looking again, at the dream, it’s the dream, what could it be, this is my baby like it like it was your baby.
And, you know. I got lucky I put a bid on a gym when I was in Oklahoma City that basically fell through. Somebody just came over the top for a different business and just way outbid me for the space. And just at this point, it wasn’t worth it to me. And I’m glad because looking back in hindsight. I did have a little bit of that, oh, this, this was going to be my baby.
This is a new project that I had been dreaming up for a long time and going about it. But it just wasn’t in an area where there were where there was foot traffic, which was important for my business model in particular. Because it was it wasn’t it wasn’t a high ticket, it was a sort of low ticket, get a lot of people through quantity over quality.
Oklahoma City is just not a big fitness city, right. The middle of the country doesn’t exercise as much as the coasts that’s we know that right, all the trends sort of move in from the coast inwards. So sometimes you get lucky and these things fall through and don’t happen but but we’re the.
My point is just like you were sucked in. I was basically sucked in I just got lucky that it didn’t happen and it’s bound to happen. You’re bound to get sucked in but you have to fight it and take a step back and assess before you go purchase that facility.
Brad Williams: Exactly. Another thing too. I would advise your audience you know, the personal trainers you know. You’ve found your niche. Your work in the gym to seeing. If maybe you want to go that route but you’re putting in your time and and learning the game. It’s also nowadays not to have an online presence is so so huge. No, not just social media. But you know running an online business as well.
Brad Williams: In you know, podcasting is great for me, you know, some people are YouTubers or whatnot. But you you do have to have your niche so finely tuned. I had someone on my show Last week, another personal trainer from England. And basically he was his niche was pre and postnatal workouts, you know. To help you know pregnant women prepare and get their bodies back as quickly as possible how to awesome system for it’s very simple. But you know, a lot of us trainers, that wasn’t our niche.
Brad Williams: And although we, you know, we could do pretty well with the, you know, the doctor’s orders and all that kind of stuff. A lot of us just didn’t feel comfortable and to have someone that was that educated on it. And just put himself out there as I am the person for this, a lot of us trainers would be like, Oh, my God, here, let’s just refer you over, you know, hoping that you know that that trainer would give back.
Brad Williams: And that’s part of his deal, too. It’s only a short program. And then you go back to where you came from. Which makes us trainers feel at ease and referring to him. But he’s doing so much business and has his program and it’s all online. And he also works at a local gym as well. So you got to think of just you got to throw your eggs in different baskets, too. You can’t just put all your hopes and dreams on the one. You know, one corner gym, and hopefully that’s the right zip code.
Steve Washuta: Yeah, I tell I try to explain to people who don’t otherwise sort of get what we’re saying is that it’s really like it’s your, your niche just like your your top shelf liquor. Right, I think think of like a, you know, liquor that you’re selling at your bar for $130 A shot, you know. There’s going to be a lot of people buying the bottom shelf stuff left and right, but you’re gonna make so much of your money off of that top shelf stuff.
And you might be the only one who has that top shelf stuff. And it’s important. If you own a martial art studio. Let’s say I might be a generalist and teach a little bit of everything. We have full martial arts classes. I teach wrestling, and I teach kickboxing. I teach this, I teach that. But my one specialty is, let’s let’s say Brazilian jujitsu. So I have charged for that, because that’s my specialty. You want to have a generalist knowledge of things, so that you can kind of get everyone around.
But then you want to say this is what I specialize in, so that you can upcharge for that specialty. And I think I get that people are maybe hesitant to do that right away are they. I do think also people will much like the with the business profile. We just talked about how they’re just they see a gym, they go, this is great. I love it. And they imagine they sometimes pick their niche out purely based off of emotion, and what they love. which is okay, but a lot of times you have to pick your niche out of two different things.
One, what is not in your area at all? What is what is missing that can be very valuable. And two, what are you actually good at? Like, what is the thing that you’re just better at than than everybody else? Because I think that that should come into play. Like there’s there’s always these things that we’re so good at that people say over and over and over, right? You might be the guy at the gym, who’s just like so smooth with the kettlebell. And everyone gives you compliments.
He goes, You know what, Brad? Every time I see you do any kind of a workout, I’m like, Oh my gosh, like that’s so cool. I wish I can do that. Like Brad does the coolest things with the kettlebell. Well guess what? That’s like that is that is that is it. You got to be the kettlebell guy in your area. Like that’s the thing you do best even though you love whatever it else kickboxing or you love Olympic lifting. It’s like other people do that. And you’re not great at it. What you’re great at is using the kettlebell, so take advantage of your strengths.
Brad Williams: Yeah, it’s okay to take some clients that didn’t come to you for kettlebell stuff. But you need to let the world know that that is your flagship, and that’s what you’re good. Good at. And it obviously shows that people keep telling you that and use it. Yeah, you know,
Steve Washuta: yeah, I wish people would listen to compliments more. We all have a I think trouble doing that a little bit. Right. It’s it’s one of those things where people pay you compliments, you kind of recoil a little bit. You go, oh, yeah, thank you. Thank you, thank you. But there’s a reason why we some people hear the same compliments over and over and over.
And you have to take advantage of those skills in in your business. In your interest. I worked with a girl in sort of a business coaching perspective, where she was a yoga attendee. She wasn’t a teacher. And she’s someone who wants to start her own yoga studio. Start teaching online yoga and doing all this online stuff. And I said, Well, what do you like, you know, what do you think you do best in yoga? Like what? Like, what is your thing? You know, is there a movement? Is there a pattern is there do you understand the muscles more wherever she goes? Well, everybody always compliments me on my headstand.
Like I have this like really smooth headstand, like all the videos I put on Instagram. Like people like it, I go, that’s it. You’re gonna run a private outdoor class. Teaching people how to how to do a great headstand from the start from the very beginning. No headstand to perfect headstand, people want to do that. They want to know how to be able to do that.
nd that’s your specialty. That’s going to be your thing. You can teach regular yoga classes, but this is going to be your focus. And she’s hyper successful. Now. She doesn’t teach regular yoga now she only teaches how to do the headstand. So you know, we have to really take advantage of those things that were given.
Brad Williams: Yeah, exactly. She’s basically pitching an advanced yoga for Um, you know. Give it a cool trendy name and, and just roll with it. Yeah. And that’s the thing with all my businesses too, you know. Even if you don’t know what it is, you know. Stay open to everything and try different programs and always try to keep changing things and keeping it fresh.
You know, the clients like that see new blood and new style programs coming in. And eventually, you will find you know. That one that you are getting complimented on the most and you know. then capitalize on it, but you don’t know unless you try stuff.
Steve Washuta: Brad, this has been super insightful. Firstly, I want to thank you for your I guess you would call it your vulnerability and talking to us about everything about starting the business. And having to take one away and all the different paths you’ve gone down. Not everyone is willing to just come on and spill the beans and go through the whole process and your journey.
And I think that’s really, really helpful to be so honest and open. Secondly, let my audience know where they can find you personally. Maybe it’s you and your Instagram, and they want to reach out to you. They have questions about the business. Where they can find your podcast and anything else you want to point them towards.
Brad Williams: Yeah, I appreciate all that. Steven, thank you for having me on your show. The best way to get in you know, I hate social media and haven’t gotten around to doing it. I’ve always hated it, and struggled with it in my businesses. And as soon as I can pay for it, I’ll keep doing it again. But my main ones are my podcast over 40 Fitness hacks and that’s four zero not spelled out.
And you can find that on any podcast player, you’re listening to Spotify, iTunes, whatever. And my website is over40Fitness hacks.com also four zeros are not spelled out. And that’s the best way to get in contact with me. I have a contact form on there my email. And always willing to talk to someone and they’re given my knowledge.
Steve Washuta: I’ll have all the links in the description. My guest today has been Brad Williams. Brad, thank you so much for joining the Trulyfit Podcast.
Brad Williams: Absolutely. Thanks again, Steve.
Steve Washuta: Thanks for joining us on the Trulyfit podcast. Please subscribe, rate, and review on your listening platform. Feel free to email us as we’d love to hear from you.
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