Owning a gym provided what are arguably some of the most valuable life lesson(s) that I would not trade for anything. Having to keep calm and maintain professionalism while dealing with many different personality types in your gym can certainly prepare you for many other precarious situations outside of running a gym.

Below I’m going to randomly list off some silly mistakes which I have actually made, that you can easily avoid. Some of these will be pretty obvious (and others, not so much), so without further ado here is my list in no particular order.

  1. Be careful with a “members only Facebook group” if you decide to use this tool: I made the mistake of deleting members who were no longer members. Seems logical right? The feedback was almost entirely negative. Many people were butthurt that they were no longer part of the group. My advice would be to have defined rules within your group that leaves everything crystal clear.
  2. Don’t share your cell phone number with members: Another mistake that I’m sure is pretty obvious for many…remember that most of your members won’t see you as a business owner, but as more of a “friend,” which means that anytime they have a question about the schedule, workout, or their own eating, they’ll feel compelled to text you rather than using email. If you value your personal time outside of the gym, keep your cell number private.
  3. Keep social events professional: It’s very easy to “relax” and have a few drinks with members if the opportunity presents itself. I’d recommend keeping your alcohol intake to the minimum and keeping the amount of time you spend at these events short. To this point, you also might want to consider my next tip…
  4. Keep gym social events alcohol free: A lot of ugly situations can be avoided by simply not allowing alcohol to your gyms social events not to mention your liability. I don’t think I really need to elaborate here.
  5. Don’t talk about members: There will be times when your members are talking about other members. If you add your own thoughts, you will be stripping away the trust your clients have in you. Instead, defend the member whom they are talking about.
  6. Listen to all feedback: There will be times in which the feedback you receive will almost be offensive. Even still, listen to this feedback intently. Of course, you don’t have to take this feedback, but you do have to listen, as it’s your duty as a business owner. Feedback can oftentimes be helpful, but even when it’s not helpful (or it’s offensive), it’s about giving your client the chance to speak and for you to hear them out.
  7. Too much information can be detrimental: Sometimes giving your clients too much information about things like programming, schedule changes, or other gym information can create confusion and open the floodgates for questions, even though we think we may be helping by informing our clients. The “less is more” approach applies to training, but can also apply to how you operate as a business owner. Your clients only need to know things that are vitally important. That’s it.
  8. Operate with your head, not your heart: There are a lot of emotions (the “feels”) that get wrapped up with helping clients improve themselves, so it’s easy to operate with your heart at times. This is perfectly okay as long as you’re not making decisions with your heart. At the end of the day, no one cares how much your utilities cost, so doing what is right for your business should take precedence.
  9. Take responsibility for everything: It’s very easy to blame something (or someone) for your lack of success, but at the end of the day, the only person we can blame is ourselves. Often times I hear things like, “there are too many gyms in my town,” “we don’t get any foot traffic,” “we are off the beaten path,” when in reality plenty of individuals have dealt with the same circumstances and have succeeded. Don’t handicap yourself by thinking there is a reason outside of you, because there isn’t.
  10. Don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth: So many times coaches say things like “no one will pay that” or “I feel bad asking for that much.” I’ve been on the other end of this scenario many times, but ask yourself this: are any of your clients going to do what they do for a living, for you, at a discounted rate or for free? Unlikely. It’s not your job to decide what someone will or won’t pay for. If you’re offering a service, you must charge what you feel you’re worth, for the health of your business and your mind.
  11. Outsource things you hate or aren’t good at: The best thing I ever did for myself was to take the things that I don’t like/that I’m not good at off of my plate. This opened me up to focus on what I excelled at and was the most passionate about. If you hate cleaning your gym every Sunday, hire a professional that will not only do a better job than you, but also save you valuable time and energy.

Of course, this is a short list and we can certainly add to this, but I feel these are some easy things you can take action on right away!

Best of luck!