Looking back I didn’t realise that the thing I was missing from my bootcamp was consistent clients. I just new that I wasn’t as happy with how things were going. And it felt like I was spending way too much time marketing to fill my sessions each month.
Having the same people at your bootcamp month after month builds an awesome community in your business. Something which I only appreciated the awesome power of once I saw it in action. Also going from 5 sessions per week to 10 sessions, having over 10 clients in each evening class and over 25 clients in our 6am class meant I could run more fun sessions too. The whole thing gained crazy momentum and took a life of it’s own.
It was awesome to be a part of and all it took was getting smarter about my business.
But with so much business advice out there I had no idea where to start. Should I only listen to fitness pros? Which business books should I read? What on earth is ‘customer churn’?
I knew something needed to change. But what?
If you build it they will come. My training will speak for itself so I don’t need to sell.
This is a mistake I made early on. I assumed that if I just trained people really well, others would magically hear of my training prowess and want to join my sessions.
For some reason The Field of Dreams method didn’t work for me and I ended up frustrated as I watched people leave and not be replaced by anyone new.
Once I realised that that this was flawed thinking I started making changes which funnily enough gave me the opposite results. Good results!
I need to do MORE marketing. Facebook ads, letter drops, referrals, social media posts, flyers at cafes, etc
I see trainers get hooked on this all the time. I was hooked on it too. Thanks to stress and panic I would blindly try every marketing route I knew to get people to sign up for the following month.
Meanwhile, my bootcamp was like a cup with a large hole in the bottom. I was adding new clients at the top but they where all falling out and instead of fixing the hole I just tried to pour in more clients.
Totally crazy when I think about it now. Once I worked out how to patch the hole and keep it patched it made all of the difference.
My bootcamp sessions are all my clients want and need.
I want to share with you a story of when I realised how huge a mistake this was. I can still remember it vividly.
I sat on the end of the long table. Well, actually it was several tables we’d hastly pushed together into one long line. In front of me was a window into a pub, behind me I could hear the huge waves crashing on the beach as they always seem to do in Kilcunda.
I took a drink from my glass of beer. My hand was still shaking from the race. Actually my entire body felt spent. I looked down the table at the 21 muddy faces and hair. They were all chatting with smiles on their faces as they tucked into their steak, fish or chicken parma. Occasionally one of them would look down the table and catch my eye. Give me a grin and then go back to their happy chat.
At that moment I felt sheer bliss. A sense of fulfillment that was a major highlight of my training career.
We had just splashed, crawled and climbed through our first Spartan Race. All 22 of us. Some who had never run more then a couple kilometers in their life prior to the training for the event. We completed the race as a team, despite it being individually timed timed, and we crossed the line together.
For years I assumed clients just wanted to come to training to get fitter, but in fact they wanted so much more. They wanted a community, they wanted comrades, they wanted to be part of a team. More on that soon.
I care but I don’t do a good job showing it.
If you are a little introverted like me then you have totally fallen into this mistake at some point.
Plus I doubley do because I am what they call a Millennial (or something, maybe the one before Millennials?). It means I got my first mobile phone the same day I first got my nappy changed.
While that’s not entirely true, the fact that I made this mistake many, many times is.
The mistake is not showing that I care in a meaningful way.
Some examples: An email asking where someone was 3 days after they missed a session is not a great way to show you care. Waiting until the night before your bootcamp to plan the session, when you know you have a big range of fitness levels coming, is also not a great way to show you care. Not following up with that client who has been away sick for a couple of weeks because you don’t want to bother them. Also a huge failure of showing you care. Not celebrating your clients achievements (fitness and non-fitness), not because you don’t notice them but just because you… well… it feels kind of slimey is yet another way.
You can show you care without being annoying and without seeming salesy. Even if you are introverted.
I want to be affordable to everyone.
This is one of the most damaging mistakes you can make for your business because it hurts you in two ways.
For me, it made it hard for me to be profitable and even to put food on my table some weeks. The math of it just doesn’t work out. $5 per person means I have to train 200 people a week just to make $1,000 (before taxes and expenses).
The second way it hurt my business was that people didn’t take me seriously. It positions you as the Two Dollar Shop of group fitness. People will use you as they need to and then leave without much thought about it.
Most trainers believe that being a great trainer is enough to build a thriving fitness business.
Instead, I’ve discovered that learning about smart business techniques and creating a powerhouse community is just as important if you want to avoid working like a dog and getting nowhere.
31 Days to a Better Bootcamp removes the guess work and gives frustrated trainers daily actions towards creating a reliable, fulfilling bootcamp.
Tomorrow I’m going to share with you two little things I changed that helped transform my business. It will probably annoy you how obvious they are, yet many of us miss them.
Kyle Wood created Bootcamp Ideas in 2010 when he was hunting around on the internet for workout ideas. He ran a successful bootcamp in Victoria, Australia and spends his spare time managing this site, adventuring (or lazying) with his wife and find new ways to make bootcamps even better.