KEY SUCCESS: FROM 60 HOURS A WEEK TO 6: DEVELOPING PROFESSIONALS THROUGH AN APPRENTICE COACHING PROGRAM
CROSSFIT DUBLIN – BACKGROUND:
Mike Price opened CrossFit Dublin in 2009. For the first 12 months, we was a one man show, which ultimately meant he was on the fast track to burnout.
Although he was only coaching maybe five hours a day, he’d spend another two doing admin duties, another two on his website, another two hours on answering e-mails, and on and on and on.
“The days were horrible. I would start at 6 am, and there wasn’t an hour in the day to chill. Nothing. It was suicide. I’d go until 11 pm,” he said.
Although his membership numbers and his revenue was growing quite quickly, something had to give when it came to his time.
And as his business grew, things only got more difficult. At one point, he was coaching as many as 45 hours per week, plus doing everything else.
His first step to freedom was bringing his brother on as a partner. Once his brother was Level 1 certified, Price put him through an unofficial apprenticeship – this involved a lot of shadowing and taking notes until his brother was up to speed in terms of the way Price wanted his affiliate run.
At the time, Price brought on a second coach, as well – a former professional athlete, but the partnership wasn’t able to flourish for one main reason. “I had no way of incentivizing the guy. I had nothing really to offer him,” said Price. Instead, Price paid him 20 Euros an hour, which was in no way going to turn into any kind of professional career for this guy.
Price knew two things had to happen: he needed to start a formal apprentice coaching program, and he needed to turn his coaches into independent contractors in order for them to be incentivized to take ownership of their coaching careers.
APPRENTICE PROGRAM IN DUBLIN:
Ian Madden was one of Price’s first Guinea Pigs in his apprentice program.
At the time, Madden had another job delivering cakes, but Madden was eager and willing to give pretty much all of his free time to CrossFit Dublin. The beauty of it was that Madden was new to CrossFit – in the height of his passion for his newfound sport. So being at the gym at 6 am in the morning before a long day delivering cakes didn’t even feel like work for Madden. He just wanted to be a part of it, and had an abundance of energy to give.
In his first year, Madden only made €14,000 (Euros), so he kept his day job delivering cakes, and at the age of 29, he moved home with his parents.
It was not the life he had envisioned for himself, but something told him to hang on, to trust Price because eventually the rewards would pay off.
Besides, Madden was learning more and more every day about how to be a better coach; he was learning about sales and business and becoming an entrepreneur. Ultimately, he was learning how to be a self-sufficient fitness professional. The least he could do was put in the necessary time to learn his trade.
There was indeed, a method to the perceived insanity.
Price was always transparent with him when it came to showing Madden the numbers. So Madden knew if he stuck with it, when he was ready to graduate to the next pay level, he’d easily be able to cut back his hours, grow his business and make a decent living.
Madden could see that eventually if he had 50 clients in classes, and each client paid €150 a month, he would make 50% of this revenue each month. That would amount to €3,750 each month. For that €3,750 a month, all he’d have to do is take care of his clients, and coach 6 or 7 classes per week. On top of this, he’d be likely to sell new personal training clients each month, meaning €5,000 per month was a very reasonable goal in the next year or two.
This is the case today: Madden consistently takes home between €3,500 and €5,000, working 20-25 hours per week.
One of Madlab Group’s philosophies is that you need to make people earn it. You need to make your students grind through their personal training sessions, earning their way to group classes, and similarly, you need to make your coaches invest of themselves. And when they do become good enough coaches and good enough business people, their investments will pay-off quickly.
On a similar note, the Madlab Group has seen that when their coaches are more invested as entrepreneurs the more they take ownership over the entire business. If you’re an employee and the place is a mess, you’re unlikely to clean up at the end of the night. But if you’re an independent contractor whose livlihood depends on the happiness of your clients, you’re going to make sure the bathroom is clean before you leave, or else it reflects poorly on you, as well as the business as a whole.
And a for revenue, it only makes sense that when you have contractors working for themselves – and for you at the same time – they’ll work harder to achieve success because the harder they work, the more they sell, and the more they earn. And when a business has five coaches out hunting for and selling new clients, as opposed to one, revenue will inevitably increase.
In this way, everyone wins.
Today, Price is spending most of his time in London, England, where he just opened up a new affiliate. He also owns two affiliates in Ireland, with his brother overseas.
Price is back to coaching 28 hours per week in London, but as soon as he trains some new coaches up, he’ll be able to reduce his hours once again. This time, he has a tried and trusted system – the Madlab Group System – to put in place in order to achieve this.
He has four coaches and two apprentices in each box, apprentices who within a year will be independent entrepreneurs with self-sufficient businesses of their own.
Price truly believes this is the road to professionalizing the fitness trainer.
THE NUMBERS DON’T LIE:
Gross revenue: 100% increase – €20,000 to €40,000 per month
Profit: up 235% – €8.5k to €20k per month
Owner Hours on Floor: down 90% – 40 hours to 4 hours
Coach 1: Up 368% – €950 to €3500 per month
Coach 2: Up 421% – €700 to €2950 per month