How Chris Spigner Became a Professional Coach in Grand Cayman
One of the hesitations people considering joining the MadLab Group have is whether our system will work in their particular market.
They’re often concerned that it might only work in a city like Vancouver, home of MadLab School of Fitness, as we’re a fairly large city of 600,000 (2.4 million if you consider the entire greater Vancouver area).
Long-time coach Chris Spigner of 7 Mile Strength and Fitness in Grand Cayman is proof that our system works wherever you are in the world. Grand Cayman is a country of just 52,000 people, and on top of that it’s a transient country, where people leave as fast as they come in.
Still, Spigner manages to well beyond a professional wage year after year. It’s the reason he’s still around Grand Cayman, and the reason he has no intention of leaving his gym any time soon—a gym owner’s dream.
He started coaching in South Carolina in 2010. While he loved his gym, he wasn’t able to be a full-time coach there and ended up working part-time at two CrossFit gyms, and had another full-time job as well.
He wanted to be a full-time career coach, so when Carl Brenton, the owner of 7 Mile Strength and Fitness, advertised a coaching position in Grand Cayman, Spigner jumped on the opportunity.
At the time, Brenton put Spigner on salary ($3000 Caymen Island dollar a month). Eager to earn more money to afford the expensive caribbean island life, Spigner took it upon himself to bring on additional personal training clients, of which he was paid a percentage of revenue. He also started a barbell club to earn extra income.
“That year I introduced personal training, I had my best year as a coach, but when I sat down with Carl he told me the gym wasn’t doing well,” Spigner said.
The two of them continued chatting and crunched some numbers and it became more and more obvious that paying coaches on a percentage of revenue would make way more sense for both the coach and the business, Spigner explained.
“If I’m paid a salary and the gym makes more money, I don’t make more money, and if the gym loses money, the gym still had to pay me. If we got 50 new members, the gym benefits but the coach doesn’t, and if we lose 50 members, the gym suffers and I still get paid. It seemed really weird,” he said.
At the same time, Brenton stumbled across the MadLab Group and was immediately sold. So was Spigner.
That was back in 2014.
Since then, Spigner, who is paid entirely on a percentage of revenue basis to service his clients, has increased his business each year. As a result, he said his clients are better taken care of, and both he and the business are flourishing.
Last month, Spigner took home US $12,000 (in a country where you don’t pay income tax).
He has 70 + of his own clients, who pay between $199 and $400 a month depending on how much personal training they do on top of group classes. He also runs a corrective movement program that earns him 55 percent and a barbell club.
Currently, he works 27-35 on-floor hours a week, but intends to cut this back as he just became a father and wants to spend more timwe at home. This is possible, as his Corrective Movement program is largely based on individual program design (with periodic check-ins), so his plan is to build this program up and then hand off some of his existing hybrid clients to another coach, which will free him up to work from home and be at the gym less.
If Spigner wasn’t working under a percentage of revenue system, he says there’s no way he’d still be in Grand Cayman, and probably no chance he’d still be coaching. His financial situation is certainly a big part of it, but the other aspect is the job satisfaction he experiences in a system where he is connected to his own book of clients.
“Keeping your tribe and building real relationships with clients changes everything because you really have to become a professional coach or you won’t make it. I can’t imagine doing it any other way,” he said.