Chase Your Dreams, Not Your Paychecks – Adam Arnett
Wondering what the secret ingredient to good leadership is? You’re about to find out!
We’ll give you a hint: learn to look yourself in the mirror and actually see yourself in your own reflection. If that doesn’t answer your question, then stay tuned for some amazing insights from today’s guest.
Adam is the Founder of Element Personal Training, a personal training outsourcing company that provides gym owners with recruitment services, professional trainers, and so much more. Adam founded the company back in 2013 by borrowing money from his brother and relocating almost 2,000 miles from home all the way down to deep south Texas. This turned out to be a great idea, to say the least, given the fact EPT is now a million-dollar company operating in seven states and over 70 locations.
Adam says he attributes his success to a number of core values and principles, one of them being a healthy company culture. According to him, your employees are a reflection of you so try not to be an a-hole of a boss.
In this episode of the Think Business With Tyler podcast, we talk about the importance of chasing dreams instead of paychecks, how to run a personnel business and hire the right people, why you should consider outsourcing certain aspects of your business to external partners, and how to become a strong and inspiring leader.
If you want to learn how to improve your leadership style and make your employees feel appreciated, this episode is perfect for you! Enjoy.
💡 Name: Adam Arnett
💡 What he does: He’s the CEO & President of Element Personal Training Outsourcing, a personal training outsourcing and consulting company.
💡 Noteworthy: Adam founded Element Personal Training in 2013 by borrowing $2500 from his brother and relocating almost 2,000 miles to begin his first account in deep south Texas. Since then, Adam has built Element PT into a multi-million dollar company operating in seven states and over 70 locations.
💡 Key Quote: “When you go into a restaurant, don’t blame the waiter for bad service, blame the people that train the waiter and put that waiter in there unprepared to do a good job. You’re only as good as your coach.”
Stop chasing paychecks and focus on the bigger picture. When you’re a young business professional, it’s hard to think about the future. At least in terms of investments and passive income. But when that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity arrives, you start rethinking your entire life. That’s the right time to change your mindset (see my article about the entrepreneurial mindset). And that’s exactly what happened to Adam. “I’m not embarrassed to say it. But as an adult, I went broke probably three or four times, I was reckless with my money. […] I was just always chasing the paycheck and all of that I wasn’t very much of an investor. I didn’t really follow through on what my brother was talking about, which is investing in real estate and other assets. And just always chasing that next paycheck and the next opportunity with another business or company that was working for. And so when it came time to where I finally got, wow, I’ve got a health club that wants me to be their personal training company, this will be my first chance to do that, I had no money.”
The most challenging part of running a personnel business is hiring the right people. Adam’s personal training outsourcing business has a unique business model, called personnel business. There are no equipment payments or rental fees, but the focus is entirely on the staff. So what are the challenges of this business model? Here’s what Adam has to say. “Recruitment, pre-COVID, it was easier to recruit. Post-COVID, very difficult recruitment market. I think a lot of people are accustomed to living on less than they had or some sort of benefits and so forth. But also there’s a lot more as we open up the economy fully, a lot of competition out there, and people have other options to earn a living. And so personnel is definitely [hard], hiring them finding them is probably just a constant challenge for us.”
Outsourcing can take the hassle out of payroll, recruitment, etc. Business owners have a lot on their plate. So when there’s a chance to take the hassle out of some aspects of the business, such as payroll or recruitment, everyone’s eager to take it! Adam’s personal training outsourcing business allows gym owners to run their businesses with a laid-back attitude. “Mandated vaccines, they don’t want that on their payroll, they don’t want to have that hassle. So a lot of them are looking like how do I take this off my plate, the extra liability of everything that goes with the personal training, so there’s a lot more that are open to it. Because part of our outsourcing just everything is outsourced to us. The trainers, they don’t work for the gym owner, they work for my company, they get a payroll from my company. So my insurance covers those trainers, everything. So everything’s under my roof, we’re just giving you guys a check as a gym owner.”
You’re only as good as the people that lead you. Adam calls himself a recovering a-hole of a boss. He admits that at one point in his career, he wasn’t a good leader. But with a lot of self-reflection and self-awareness, he realized that it was time to change his leadership style. Now, his style is all about making employees feel they work with him, not for him. This has turned out to be a game-changer in his business. “I think company culture since I focused on it, is the number one reason why we’ve grown and why we’re successful, and why the gym owners enjoy having us in their gym is that we have good people, we don’t have jerks, making their customers mad or getting into scuffles with their own employees. So that’s been very important. So be self-aware, eventually, and just realize that that’s not who I want to be. That’s not who I want to be as a leader. And that’s the kind of company it’s not about me, it’s about my employees.”
“I saw him do his journey, he was never afraid to take chances and do what’s best for his family, as a business owner, or as an employee somewhere. So that was good. That was a good example. And then my brother, my older brother is four years older than me. And he was always just entrepreneurial making money even at school. […] So I was seeing that happen. And I’m like, ‘Man, I gotta do something like that. So I’ve always had a job and I’ve just always been competitive and independent-minded and always had that mindset of I want my own thing.”
“I was just always chasing the paycheck and all of that I wasn’t very much of an investor. I didn’t really follow through on what my brother was talking about, which is investing in real estate and other assets. And just always chasing that next paycheck and the next opportunity with another business or company that was working for. And so when it came time to where I finally got, wow, I’ve got a health club that wants me to be their personal training company, this will be my first chance to do that, I had no money.”
“There’s online dating sites, but if you never get the physical contact of dating, it’s not the same experience. It’s like people can carry on an online dating thing. But, what we all long for is that physical attention, that physical contact. So I think the advantage of a personal trainer is that people still long to go in and be motivated by an individual, be held accountable for showing up. […] And also, there’s just something about going to the gym and competing.”
“Focus on that stuff is very important on us, especially, I think you’ve probably touched on it later, but company culture, that’s one of the biggest things that I’ve learned to create is a company culture that’s welcoming, happy, makes employees feel more important and make sure everybody feels good about working for you.”
“I call it being a recovering a hole of a boss, I self admit it. And I put it out there and everybody that I talked to my business because it makes me human, versus being the CEO. […] So it puts me in my place and reminds me that we don’t put up with jerks in our company. We want employees to be happy with who they’re working with, who they’re being led by. And I think company culture since I focused on it, is the number one reason why we’ve grown and why we’re successful, and why the gym owners enjoy having us in their gym is that we have good people, we don’t have jerks,”
“I think I just try to be genuinely curious about who’s working with me. Again, working with me, they don’t work for me, they have a choice. And I want them to feel like they work with me because that’s what they really do. And I think a perspective I try to give any of my managers as they rise up and get promotions, I remind them when they get promoted, I go, ‘Hey, it’s not that they work for you, […] you are now responsible for them. And you need to pour even more effort back into them.’ And so when that perspective clicked in my head, and I relate that to my employees now as they move up the company ladder, it makes a world of difference.”
“You just need to have ultimate self-awareness. So it’s one thing to be self-aware that, hey, I’m a jerk, or I’m always late for this, or I’m always been, whatever your shortcomings are. It’s not that difficult to realize that. The biggest challenge is to change it and to stick to that change.”
Adam Arnett 0:00
Yeah, I am being a jerk of a boss. I call it being a recovering aihole of boss, I self admit it. And I put it out there and everybody that I talked to my business, because it makes me makes me human, you know, versus being the CEO. Hey, man, this is uh, this guy’s admitting that he’s a recovering aihole Boss. Yes. So it puts me in my place and reminds me that but, you know, we don’t put up with jerks in our company. We want employees to be happy with who they’re working with who they’re being bugged by. And I think company culture, since I’ve focused on it, number one reason why we’re growing and why we’re successful and why the gym owners enjoy habits in their gym is that we have good people. They don’t have jerks, you know, making making their customers mad or getting into scuffles with their own employees. So that’s been very important.
Welcome to think business with Tyler sharing our methods and strategies for success. Join in on our conversations with business owners as we highlight their triumphs and detail how they overcame the challenges they faced while continuing to grow and scale their business. It’s time to think life think success and think business with your host Tyler Martin.
Tyler Martin 1:09
Hey, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of the business with Tyler podcast show. My guest today is Adam Arnett. Adam is the founder of element personal training. This is a personal training outsourcing company that provides gym owners with recruitment services and professional trainers. Adam founded the company back in 2013. By borrowing money from his brother and relocating, this turned out to be a great move. Given the fact that he pte is now in seven states and over 70 locations. Adam says He attributes his success to core values and principles. One of them being a healthy company culture. Adam believes your employees are a reflection of you. In this episode, we chat about why you should stop chasing paychecks and start focusing on your future. What it’s like running a personnel business. And what are the challenges of this business model? The benefits of outsourcing certain aspects of your business to an external provider. And last but not least, how to become a good leader that people want to follow. This is another great entrepreneur sharing his journey. I think you’re gonna get a lot out of this. Let’s get started. Hey, Adam, thanks so much for being on the think business with Tyler podcast show. How are you doing today?
Adam Arnett 2:23
Doing great looking forward to be a part of the show? Yeah,
Tyler Martin 2:26
so excited to have you. Hey, can we start with a little bit about yourself and what you’re doing now?
Adam Arnett 2:32
Yeah, so I am the owner, founder of a company called element personal training. And what we do is we specialize in personal training for gym owners. And so if you’re a gym owner, usually the hardest, most difficult or the biggest headache, and stress is going to be managing the personal training department. Because you have a lot of trainers got egos, you got a lot customers, internals, issues, so forth. And so a gym owners are usually pretty good about getting members into the gym, but not so great about maximizing the revenue off the members once they’re in the gym with personal training. So, for example, if you’re the gym owner, what we do then is we say, hey, we want to contract with you to be the exclusive provider of personal training for your members in your gym. And we’ll staff it with a personal training manager that will market and sell the training and manage the team will hire the certified trainers, they work for our company. And they’ll go ahead and follow our program and apply great customer service and take care of that customers that way. And at the end of the month, we’ll give you a guaranteed rent check, or a percentage of the revenue, whichever one is in your favor that month. So we’re basically a personal training outsourcing company. And that’s what we’ve been doing. I’ve done that since 2013.
Tyler Martin 3:42
Yeah, that’s a fascinating model. I definitely have questions for you about that. Before I go there. I’d love to just like the journey that got you to where you’re at today. I know you started out with you got a loan. When you first were even thinking about starting a business. My first question is what even made you want to start a business. I always love these stories of like, why?
Adam Arnett 4:01
My father, you know, he’s had a couple businesses when I was growing up as a kid, you know, success, successful, some not. He became a successful real estate broker, and so forth. And then eventually turned that into becoming a farmer. So I know a lot of hard work. Yeah, saw him do his journey. He was never afraid to take chances and do what’s best for his family, as a business owner, or as an employee somewhere. So that was good. That was a good example. And then my brother, my older brother is four years older than me, and he was always just entrepreneurial making money even at school. So he dropped out of school when he was 17, almost 18 years old, and became a real, you know, a millionaire off of real estate by the time he was 21. And so I was seeing that happen. And I’m like, Man, I gotta do something that so I’ve always had a job. And I’ve just always been competitive and independent minded and always had that mindset of I want my own thing. And so before I started on the personal training, I probably had 20 or 25 different occupations from the Time Out I was like 16 at a time that I was 34. And a big one was I was a golf professional. I might look like too big to be a golf pro now. But back in my day, I was like 170 180 pounds. And I was pretty good at golf. And I learned how to play golf for a while and teach golf. And I became an apprentice in a PGA Teaching Program. And so I was always making money that way. So I thought, Man, I’m pretty, I’m doing pretty good. I make $30 every half hour session. So it’s kind of like giving training sessions like I do now. But it was just a one man show. And so I did that for quite a few years. And everybody thought I was crazy, man, you get to play golf, half the day teach golf half the other half of the day, like, what’s, what’s your net, the love about what you’re doing? Right. But I think what it was is I come from team sports growing up baseball star basketball star. And I think being part of a team was something I was longing for. So in 2005, my first taste of fitness was with a company called LA Fitness, one of the largest healthcare companies in the world, if not, you know, some for sure America. And so I worked with him for a couple years, and I quit the golf business because of it, because I’m like, man, these guys are making, there’s a lot of money to be made in the membership management of it all, I didn’t realize how much money fitness gyms and managers could make. And so I got my first taste of that, and worked for them for a couple years. The next step of my business, my gym fitness was I left them after a couple years and joined a company that does what I do now, which is outsource personal training. And I thought, this is pretty cool. You don’t have any overhead, you just have personnel and you contract with gym owners, maybe I can do that. And so instead of just rushing right into, like, I’m gonna go do this and try it on my own, I did the methodical thing of I’m gonna work for these guys and see how high I can get, maybe it’s better to go that route, maybe I can earn an ownership position or with them or something. And I was just very good at what I did, and became upper management quick, but just never get an equity stake. And so my longing always was so for 2005 2013, I worked for other people. And finally, 2013 I said, I’m done with this. I’m gonna start my own company. And I got my first first location and my first break, so to speak to make that
Tyler Martin 7:05
happen. It was that when you actually borrowed some money to do that.
Adam Arnett 7:08
Yeah, so the story on that is, I’m not embarrassed to say it. But as an adult, I went broke probably three or four times I was reckless with my money, I was a great salesperson, I’m always able to, I spent it as fast as I made it every month, because I’m like, I did it last month, I can make it again this month. And so just being young and dumb that way with living a lot faster lifestyle than I should have. That was just always chasing the paycheck and all that I wasn’t very much of an investor I didn’t really follow through on my my brother was talking about, which is invest in real estate and other assets. And just you know, always chasing that next paycheck, the next opportunity with a with another business or company that was working for. And so when it came time to where I finally got, wow, I’ve gotten a health club that wants me to be their personal training company, this will be my first chance to do that. And no money as back at home living with my parents at the age of 34. For a couple of months, I just called taking a break, checking on your parents, you know, but that was up there. And I was like, What do I do? So that’s kind of at that point of what am I going to find I got that break during that month to make a phone call talking to gym owners. Finally get that first one to say yes to me. And I needed money. So I went to my brother Hatton hand and said, Hey, bro, I need somebody to get started. And he’s he took a chance on me. He’s like, all right, because I’ve borrowed money in the past from businesses pay them back. So everything was good. And he’s like, how much do you need? I said, I just need $2,500 I need to buy a laptop. I need to be able to go 2000 miles south and get into an apartment. And the rest is I’ll take care of the rest. And so that’s how I started element personal training, moved from Wisconsin, down to the most southern part of Texas called heartland and down there by corporate. South Padre Island Brownsville area.
Tyler Martin 8:50
Yeah. Wow, what a good story. And is it 70 locations now that you’re at?
Adam Arnett 8:56
Yeah. So throughout the years, I’ve gone into and out of about 70 different locations. Right now. We’re, gosh, we’re approaching 40 Strong locations right now. Wow. Spread across five states.
Tyler Martin 9:06
Okay. I want to talk about the business model a little bit because I’m fascinated by it. So you go to Joe, Jim and Jim, Owner, Jain gym owner, whoever happens to be and you say, hey, we’ll provide the recurring fitness training to your membership here. And in exchange for that we’re going to either offer, you said guaranteed rent, do you mean paying their rent? Or the fees that a portion of the fees if they’re higher than the rent? Is that is that the way the model works? Okay, yeah. So,
Adam Arnett 9:34
you know, when I was working for other companies in the beginning kind of doing my research, yeah, they had it set up as just a guaranteed base rent and were ran into trouble is that there was really no upside for the gym owner. You know, like, Hey, can I make more than that? And then when they find out how much the personal training was actually making, they’re like, well, we get the short end of the stick, right? And, you know, so it kind of caused some friction among the gym owner, who I call gym partners, and the outsource company. And so I said, when I started my company, I would do a win win, I’m going to guarantee you a bass track, that’s what you want, you do want to guarantee a skin off my back, right? You want to make sure I have something at risk. But I want you to work with us to help promote the personal training and get people signed up for membership put help you just have good symbiotic relationship, which I didn’t see before and the other companies and create a win win. So if we do better, then you make more than our base rent. So it’s a it’s a good win win that way. So it’s a base rent or a revenue rent, whichever one earns them the most during the month.
Tyler Martin 10:31
Got it? Yeah, that sounds like it because then their incentive to continue to grow. Yeah, the practice side of it with you, because they’re obviously have a stake in that. That’s that that makes a lot sense. Now, what’s your biggest challenge? Is it is it around? Because imagine you have to have this network of personal trainers. Is that your biggest challenge? Or what would you say? Is the challenge in this model?
Adam Arnett 10:51
Absolutely. We are basically essentially personnel business, right? Because that’s really my only overhead. I don’t have the retail center that I’m paying rent to like the gym owner, I don’t have equipment payments. I don’t have to pay the utilities. I’m just in there as a personnel basically. So our business is personnel. So yeah, recruitment, pre COVID, it was easier to recruit post COVID very difficult recruitment market. I think a lot of people are accustomed to living on less than a hat or some sort of benefits and so forth. But also, there’s a lot more as we open up the economy fully, a lot of competition out there, that people have other options to earn a living. And so personnel is definitely hiring them finding them is the is probably the just constant challenge force.
Tyler Martin 11:36
Yeah, I can imagine, do you feel with, you know, you’ve got a lot of these online type offerings now work out from home type tools. I’ve even got one in my back here. This is a tonal. So you have these various tools. Now you have apps that people can actually connect with through a trainer. Is that do you consider that competition? Or do you consider that actually creating more opportunity for your model?
Adam Arnett 12:00
Well think of it this way, in this competition, but think about this way. There’s online dating sites, right? Yep. But if you never get the physical contact of dating, you know, it’s not the same experience, right? It’s like Karianna online dating thing. But you know, What We All Long For is that physical attention, that physical contact. So I think the advantage of still a personal trainer is that people still long to go in and be motivated by an individual be held accountable in the showing up, you have access to a lot more than a total great product. I think it’s super innovative. But it’s just it has its limitations. And also, there’s just something about going to the gym and like competing, you know, I think people still want to see like, Alright, how do I compare to everybody here? Oh, hey, at least I’m not as bad as that person. You know, it’s like, you know, so, online training has definitely picked up especially because of COVID people staying home. But I think just the personal touch of a personal trainer in the flesh, nothing, nothing to beat it.
Tyler Martin 12:58
Yeah, I love that answer. And I agree with you understand, like, I’m kind of a technical person. So I love buying the toys and the fitness toys. But having said that nothing beats actually being in the environment with others working out. I mean, they try to emulate it. And I just don’t think it works. Like it’s not the same. When you’re in that real environment. And other people are lifting heavy or doing whatever they’re doing, you know, hit or whatever it is. You it raises the bar, at least for me of what I want to try to do. Because I to your point, like you don’t want to, you know, you don’t want to underperform when you’re around a group you want to kind of raise your bar and do what other people are doing. And it helps it makes a big difference. Yeah, yeah. Cool. What do you find in terms of now coming out of COVID? Where do you see like your model? Do you feel like is this it? For this outsourced personal fitness? I guess I’ll call it. Is it an explosive industry for you? Do you see the unlimited opportunity? Is it to some of these big box places? Or do you try to get in with a big box type place? Or is it mostly individual gyms?
Adam Arnett 13:59
Well, yeah, so our main target is normally independent gym owners who have their own brand, or franchise, gym owners that are part of the franchise system. And their franchise system, their corporate franchise allows them to outsource and do some management that way. Some of them are very restricted on how they can run. Then you have the corporate gyms, the la fitnesses, 24 Hour Fitness, some of the big chains, right? Or the big corporate owned where they all they’re all owned by the corporate. And here’s the thing, they’re not going to ever want no anybody to know if they outsource. Right? So a lot of times I can’t mention all of our customers because some of them we can’t they don’t want their customers or competitors know that there’s another company and they’re actually doing outsourcing. So it’s going to incognita. We wear their colors and all that sort of stuff. But the opportunity or or I guess going back to your post COVID strategy, right? So to kind of get into it. Yeah, the opportunity. I think it’s huge. We’ve come out of COVID actually stronger and stronger position. One just being smart finally financially as a as a company leader, but coming out of it. Think about the liability gym owners have now as far as payroll, as far as compensation workers come, you know, anything that goes on now there’s some talk whether it’s going to be legal a constitution or not, we don’t know yet. But mandated vaccines, you know, they don’t want that on their payroll, they don’t want to have that hassle. So a lot of we’re looking like, how do I take this off my plate, they extra liability of everything that goes into personal training. So there’s a lot more that are open to it. Because part of our outsourcing just everything is outsourced to us. The trainers, they don’t work for the gym owner, they work for my company, they get a payroll for my company. So my insurance covers those trainers, everything. So everything’s under my roof. Yeah, we’re just giving you guys a check as a gym owner.
Tyler Martin 15:41
Yeah, that’s really cool. I can see the power in that too. Because I imagine, maybe you already do this. But you could probably create your training where it has your training to your trainers, where there’s a consistent process and feel of what they’re giving the clients is that part of your model and how you have this consistent way of how they approach it.
Adam Arnett 16:01
Yeah, so you know, I’ve run a, I run it like a professional company should run. So we have audits, we have, you know, monthly checklist of how we have to follow up and check on our trainers, make sure they’re delivering quality service, we check in on the sales process, make sure that it’s consistent between gym, the gym, and managing the manager, we have sales training, workshops, we have daily education has been a big thing where everybody gets together before the start of the day for a zoom that get on the right track and pump each other out and make sure that our processes are going to be followed. So you know, it’s very important quality control, customer service. You know, we’re one of the only health club companies voted on personal training companies out there that can boast that in a rate of being rated A by the, by the business, a better business bureau. So focus on that stuff is very important on us, especially, I think you’ll probably touch on that later. But company culture, that’s one of the biggest things that I’ve learned to create as a company culture. That’s, that’s welcoming, happy makes employees feel more important. And, you know, make sure everybody feels good about working for you.
Tyler Martin 17:05
Yeah, I do want to go in that direction before I do have one last question on the model. So recurring revenue is one of the best things a business can have. It’s just that residual revenue that’s guaranteed to come in. Is there anything you do in your model to help the gym owner make sure their clients are staying retained in terms of that fitness process? Like do you? Do you do it by month? You do? Is it still the package way where like you have 10 or 12? Is Are there anything in your arsenal that you use to kind of get that stickiness of recurring revenue?
Adam Arnett 17:37
Yeah, so absolutely. That’s the attraction of the gym business, right? Is that every current draft tanning salons? This, you know, anytime you get a recurring draft on a contract or something, then it’s it’s one of the best ways to do business. Yeah. And so yeah, so our personal training, the average person commits to us for about almost 12 months. So the way we present things, the way we solve people’s problems with our personal training, is we’re focused on trying to get them to commit to the next 12 months to take just 12 months to commit to, to change the next 12 years of your life. It’s kind of how we talk to him about it. Right? The last 12 years of mistakes, give us 12 months, we’ll fix them, and we’ll add the next 12 months. So it’s like photo 12 kind of idea. And so by doing that, we get in where we once we’re in a gym, within about one year, we’ve got anywhere from 12 to 20% of the members of that club on some sort of personal training program with us. That’s huge for retention for the for the gym owner, because the more involved that members are in different activities, other than just showing up, they’re more likely to retain and to refer friends to the gym.
If you’re a business owner feeling stuck in your business overwhelmed responsible for everything that happens and working long hours, Tyler helps his clients develop processes hire high performing team members and better understand their financial metrics and numbers to allow for a more predictable, less hands on business. To schedule a free no pressure consultation, head to think tyler.com and click the Meeting button. Tyler would love to see if he can help you work on your business not in your business. schedule a consultation today at Think tyler.com Think life thinks access think business.
Adam Arnett 19:16
That’s huge for retention for the for the gym owner, because the more involved that members are in different activities, other than just showing up, they’re more likely to retain and to refer friends to the gym.
Tyler Martin 19:28
Very cool. Wow. Yeah, that sounds like a good model. I do not want to shift over to culture and leadership. I know you have something you say a no jerk policy. And to some degree is self explanatory, but I’d love to just know your thoughts because in your world, I’m sure you do get some you know, people that tend to be a little jerky. So what are your thoughts on that?
Adam Arnett 19:48
Yeah, so just going old school I’m naturally a nice guy. And you know, I’m happy we’re lucky and I’m just I’m just happy I’m not I don’t try to get into I’m just a naturally kind of very much like this. Nothing gets way too high, nothing gets for too long. And when I got into the fitness industry in 2005, it was money, money, money, I was very selfish. I said, a selfish idea. But the company itself valued money numbers at all costs. So as in order for you to get higher and higher, you had to have the willingness to be able to burn and turn people fire, you know, whatever. So it was just a high turnover, high pressure, as far as employees go. And so I think, you know, just like I tell people, I go, Hey, when you go into a restaurant, don’t blame the waiter for bad service, blame the people that train the waiter and put up, put that waiter in there unprepared to do a good job, right? You’re only as good as your coach. And you’re only as good as the people that lead you by example. So for the first, you know, six, seven years of the fitness business, the people that I was being led by, were jerks were just very selfish. It’s not, hey, look at everybody working for me, it’s, it should have been, hey, I work in for all of you to make, you know, to get you guys better. And so as you guys work from me, and you’re going to do it, as I say, I’d like to God, you’re replaceable. So that was the mentality. It’s an old school gym mentality kind of thing from the 70s and 80s 90s. And I just got that can’t, I just can’t be sustainable. It’s not good. And so finally, I think in 2013, when I started my company, I still kind of carry some of that over into it. And I was realizing some turnover that first year. And I’m like, I gotta change, I looked at the looked in the mirror, I’m very, you know, serving self reflective, and like just self aware that you know what, maybe I am being a jerk of a boss, I call it being a recovering a home of boss, I admit it. And I put it out there and everybody that I talked to my business, because it makes me makes me human, you know, versus being the CEO, Hey, man, this is this guy’s admitting that he’s a recovering aihole. The boss, yes. So it puts me in my place and reminds me that but, you know, we don’t put up with jerks in our company. We want employees to be happy with who they’re working with who they’re being led by. And I think company culture, since I focused on it, number one reason why we’ve grown and why we’re successful, and why the gym owners enjoy habitus in their gym, is that we have good people, they don’t have jerks, you know, making making their customers mad or getting into scuffles with their own employees. So that’s been very important. So be itself aware, eventually, and just realize that that’s not who I want to be. That’s not who I want to be as a leader. And that’s the kind of company it’s not about me. It’s about my employees. And by putting them first and a good company culture, it makes me money for a simple fact.
Tyler Martin 22:32
Yeah, that transformation that you in that self awareness, you know, I wasn’t able to, so I can fall into that category. And I it honestly, though, as transparent as I can be, it wasn’t like, immediately apparent to me, I had to go through a lot of turnover, I had to go through people, frankly, hating me. You know, for me, it was like, a very authoritarian style, in terms of how I did things, just like you did the job, or you got fired type of mentality, and but it took me a while, and I had a mentor set me and pull me aside and say, Hey, dude, you know, it’s not necessarily what you’re saying, it’s how you’re saying it. And you need to really reflect on that. And I would, you know, I’m a hard head, I didn’t listen at first, but I went home, and I thought about it. And then it just clicked for me about how I really do genuinely care about people. And once that clicked, it’s like my world change, because people, now they want to do better. They want to show up continuously and be great, because you’re playing that leadership role. Right. And it’s cool that you were so self reflective, and you caught that. does that play into your leadership style now, like, how does that what do you consider your leadership style? Like,
Adam Arnett 23:38
ah, fair, but firm? Okay, I think that the one I think also, you know, it’s not my saying I’ve taken it from others, but curious and caring. Yeah, I think that’s, that’s always been very, it’s a very popular phrase nowadays. But I think just trying to be genuinely curious about who’s working with me, right? Yeah. Again, working with me, they don’t work for me, they have a choice. And I want them feel like they work with me, because that’s what they really do. And I think a perspective, I try to give any of my managers as they rise up and get promotions, I remind them, when you get promoted, I go, Hey, it’s not that they work for you now, okay, you were just managing one or two people, now you’re managing, you’ve got a team of six or seven clubs, whatever that you’re trying to do. They don’t work for you, they don’t make your life easier. They don’t work to make you money, you are now responsible for them. And you need to pour even more effort back into them. And so when that perspective clicked in my head, and I and I relate that to my employees now as they move up the company ladder, it makes it makes a world of difference that when you hire a trainer, they’re either coming from they’re leaving another secure job, or they’re putting their hopes and haven’t gotten off unemployment because you whatever their situation, they’re choosing to work for you. And we’ve painted a picture of success of this how much you can make and here’s this now it’s on you to make them make that happen. And so by doing that, we have a lot less turnover. So for example, the industry averages if you hire 10 trainers on January 1, only two of them will be there at the end of the year. So 80% turnover, we’ve cut that down to where we have a 40% on average turnover throughout the year. So we hired 10 trainers, we’ve got six of them there at the end of the year. So it’s a big deal. And I think it just has a change of focus on how we manage and what’s important to us, I don’t mind a little less bottom line in my pocket, if it means that we have less turnover, turnover, as you know, costs a lot of money, bring in hiring, training and all that it’s a lot of money. And in my industry, it’s what was even more costly reputation. You know, so yeah,
Tyler Martin 25:41
I love your tweak on how you made a comment about the leadership above you at one point was, you know, had that whole aihole mentality. And that’s kind of what you were feeding into. And now you’re turning the whole narrative around, and you’re teaching your future leaders in your company, to think of how they can help their team develop and grow. And so it’s funny how good leadership breeds more good leadership. And conversely, bad leadership can breed more bad leadership. Precisely. Yeah. So that’s really cool. A couple things. So what do you see, you know, in terms of your branding, and your messaging? What are some things you can share with us in regards to that, of how you’re developing that and how you’ve developed it? Anything? Any takeaways from that?
Adam Arnett 26:25
Yeah, so I put a focus on trying to just build some social media presence just for me. So I’m a personal trainer, people don’t really know it’s like, if we call a gym owner still like, who are you? What do you guys, you know, so. So what I’m trying to do is take that where I become you know, I’m Adam, Adam Arnett fitness, you can find me on Instagram at that tagline. And I put a lot, you know, try to put a video to just how I do business how I’m thinking, you know, I put a little admission of hey, I’m recovering. I have a boss video on last week that got a lot of views and entertainment. So it’s just me just trying to get that name of I need to become the authority on personal training company culture inside gems, right how to run a gym properly in this. So that’s what I’m trying to do by doing a lot more social media presence for myself through the main ones, you get LinkedIn, Facebook, you got your Instagram, those are the big ones that are most important. As far as a company brand, I think that feeds off of me personally. So if people can if people in the gym industry see, hey, that’s Adam our net. Alright, what does he do? All right, well, I’m a personal training. So and once again, just because some gyms don’t want, they want us when they’re toddlers, they want to share their jerseys, right? Their logos, they don’t want the members to see anything different. Whereas some gym owners, like know what I want, I want you guys to have your own brand I want you to be I want everybody to know you’re separate in my gym, you know, in case crap hits the fan, I guess is what you’re worried about. Right? So it’s hard for us because when we operate in multiple brands, it’s hard for us to here’s the thing about us, that’s a challenge that might just touch on it. If we go on their Facebook, let’s just say, you know, I can say Anytime Fitness is, you know, one of our companies, they have a lot of franchisees that work with us. And if we go on their website or their Facebook, it’s our putting element personal training the members like why am I seeing this? Who are they what are they doing but instead we’d like to put Anytime Fitness personal training and run and put our put our photos up and our personnel and promoter clients and stuff that way. They try to use the Anytime Fitness brand. They spend 10s of millions on an anyways making those things and borrow that and put that on their Facebook and use that. So it’s hard for me to brand this business just because it’s not really a it’s not a standalone business with a brick and mortar. It’s like we operate inside gyms. So I just don’t see it yet that we’ve been able to be like, somebody said, Hey, I need personal training, hey, it’s like Pepsi Cola, go get a coke go get it passionate. Not you got to go to element. I don’t see that really being a household name.
Tyler Martin 28:47
Yeah, that is a challenge in terms of your marketplace. Because you it’s kind of reminds me of almost like private label products. You know, you know, you kind of you don’t know you’re eating something from XYZ company. But the reality is you are they just can’t say it. So yeah, that is a challenge. And it’s definitely where it makes your marketing dollars a little bit harder to get that message out. And probably teach your your audience like how you fit in and what you’re doing. So yeah, I can see that. That’s that’s a good one. Yeah,
Adam Arnett 29:16
as I said, the main branding I’m trying to do to get a brand recognition is in the gym industry among the gym owners, management, that type of stuff. Yep.
Tyler Martin 29:24
Do you have any data by the way, like when you’re talking to your gym owners? Do you have any data points where you can say like, Hey, the typical gym that tries to do their own personal fitness 10% of their men and membership actually utilizes it and only stays at this point. And when you add our outsourced arm to this, we get it up to 35% and the sticky factors if do you do lead with any type of data points like that? Because I think that could be something that would be helpful too.
Adam Arnett 29:51
Yeah, so really the only way we you know, the most important thing is this. It doesn’t matter what the average industry does. It’s matters what that gym owners been doing. Yeah, so maybe Let’s say, Hey, show us your numbers. All right, you’re bringing in $10,000 a month, but you’re breaking even. So you really know, you don’t have a personal training business. Whereas Hey, we can we believe we can do this, you said, we believe that if we’re in here, we’re gonna be able to generate $35,000 of revenue. And we’ll give you X percent of it, or guaranteed rent. So right away, we just say, hey, right away, we’re going to give you, you know, $4,000 a month rent guaranteed, well, that’s 4000 more a month than what you’re making now without the headache, right? You know, and then here’s the upside, if we do if we hit the numbers we want, here’s how much more you’re going to get. So there’s different ways for us to structure that. But that’s really the only way to do it is what are you doing currently? Are you happy with it? If not, here’s what we’re gonna do. Here’s what we can offer you. And either we do business or we don’t?
Tyler Martin 30:47
Yeah, I’m fascinated by the model. I mean, you reduce the risk, you reduce the the headaches of managing, you know, probably a high turnover industry by nature. Plus, you get them upside into revenue share. So that’s got like, a lot of cool components to it. Want to finish off? Last thing I have? Do you have some type of business tip or life tip that we can apply today that will make our lives better?
Adam Arnett 31:09
Yeah, I think it’s just kind of like something I’ve been hitting on lately is, you know, you just need to have ultimate self awareness. And so it’s one thing to be self aware that, hey, I’m a jerk, or I’m always late for this, or I’m always been, you know, just whatever your shortcoming is, right? It’s not that difficult to realize that the biggest challenge is to change it, and to stick to that change. So when I say that I tell people that, hey, I’m a recovering a hell of a boss. You know, it’s sort of like, you know, think about that one buddy is like, I know, I drink too much at a party. Well, that means every time he’s gonna use that as an excuse as to why every weekend, he’s still partying like an animal. Hey, I’m sorry, I won’t do that. Again, you know, the party next weekend. Same thing, right? So I think a mistake just for everybody out there, if you make a commitment, if you if you’re like me handle it any hold the Boston Mormon, admit it openly to my employees. But then I go off, and I use it as a as a Get Out of Jail Free card, like every you know, I’m still being a jerk every other day to I’m going to tell me, I’m sorry. Remember, I’m an eight, you know, jerk of a boss and trying to work on that. But then I go off again, and again and again. And then repeat offender, then it’s just false, then it’s just, it’s just for show, right? So you have to make sure you’re self aware. Find out you know, even as publicly ask your friends, ask your co workers, co workers, what was the top three things that you think I need to improve on? Give me the good, the bad, and the ugly. And then once that happens, fine, make an action but stick with it. You’ve got in the habit, hold yourself accountable. Make changes, it doesn’t happen overnight. I didn’t go from being an A all the boss to being you know, super boss overnight. It takes a while to do it. But it’s persistence and consistence. And ultimately, it’s whether you care about changing or not. So, you know, change comes with it from within, but be extremely self aware. Drop the pride, have some humility, and make the changes and stay with them. And here we go down. I do admit it every once a while. I that that old? That old Pitbull comes out. It happens. Yeah. But now, instead of letting it just go, I do, man. Three hours. Okay, I was a little rough on my manager there. Let me call him up. We apologize. And make make things right. And sure enough, you call him up and you’re like, Yeah, you did come down hard on me. I understand. You know, you don’t really meet him. I think no, I should just, I just want make sure everything’s good. So at least do it now. I think those are, I think that’s the life lesson. That has made me a good business leader. You know, in the last 567 years, for sure.
Tyler Martin 33:38
Yeah, that’s that’s a lot of wisdom. I love that. Hey, I’ll put this in the show notes. But if people want to reach out to you, it’s element, personal training.com. Element, personal training.com. Is there anywhere else that you’d like? If someone wants to reach out or talk with you? Where Where should I sit anywhere else that comes to mind?
Adam Arnett 33:54
Yeah, I think just look at my social media. So you can do Instagram. It’s at Adam, our net fitness. So Ada M AR ma TT fitness. That’s also my LinkedIn. That’s personal. That’s my Facebook, and just go there. You’re gonna see you know, sometimes it’s entertaining. Sometimes I put bloopers on nerve things I’ve said sometimes I’m inspiring sometimes I’m, you know, first firing, it just depends on what I’m doing at the time, right? So I’ve been I’ve been doing something lately. It’s kind of fun. It’s just what I call the after gym, walk and talk. So after I’m done working out, I just do a one minute quick video of a topic that’s on my mind. Raw, pretty much uncut, really no retakes and I just put it up there. And it’s just kind of a fun thing I’ve been doing lately, but yeah, follow me and reach. You can message me directly through there. If you want to reach out and connect or, or have any questions. Be glad to help anybody.
Tyler Martin 34:44
That may be the slogan of the year for your business. I’m either inspiring or perspiring.
Adam Arnett 34:51
There we go. I think that my work yeah. Yeah,
Tyler Martin 34:54
that definitely fits your business. Hey, thanks so much for being on the show. You have so much knowledge in your business. This wisdom is great. I’d love to see hear about your success in what you’re doing. And hopefully someday you’ll come back on the show and tell me about the next level that you got to you got
Adam Arnett 35:09
a appreciate this opportunity. Awesome. Thanks, Adam.
That’s all for this episode of Think business with Tyler. But we have plenty more resources to help you in your pursuit of business excellence on our website at think tyler.com. If you’d like to be featured in a future episode of the show, feel free to reach out to us on social media at think underscore Tyler, we look forward to helping you think life think success and think business
Transcribed by https://otter.ai