Chantal: I wanna say a very warm welcome to my special guest for today. Josh, welcome along to the show.
Josh: Oh, thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here. I appreciate it.
Chantal: Now, I think it’s really interesting because personal trainers these days, they’re really trying to find their niche. They’re trying to find their market, and so many personal trainers I hear are heading down that path of online personal training. But you’re business model is very different, because you’ve actually taken the approach, taking the trainer into people’s homes. So, to kick things off today, can you tell us about your business model? What do you do? Just give us a bit of an overview about your business.
Josh: Oh, absolutely. Sure, Chantal. So we bring the workout to you. So, we’re number one in home personal training, but we service clients anywhere from your home, office, pool, park, place of worship, hospital, senior homes, assisted living facilities. We work with children, we work with large corporations, small corporations. If you wanna work out in a pizzeria, we’ve made that happen. Parking lots, you name it, right? We literally bring the workout to you. We come in our fully loaded van. It’s stocked with 365 pieces of equipment. We like to break it down, one for each day of the year. We provide our three Cs, which are convenient, customized, and creative workouts, and we change lives.
That’s what we do and it’s great, because as you just see how the world’s shifting, you know we’re living in an Amazon world. And everything’s about convenience, and everything’s about obviously, you know, coming to you. And that’s what we’re doing. And we’re really disrupting the fitness industry because in this industry, the challenge is where I was, how do you make money as a trainer when you’re not working? Because doctors and trainers are no different. A doctor without patients is unemployed, and a trainer without clients is unemployed. And that’s where I’ve taken my energy and time to create this system and this model for trainers, to be able to have that blueprint. That turnkey operation to actually make it happen. But, you know, that’s pretty much what we do and how we service people.
Chantal: So, I wanna take it back a little bit, because I wanna understand your mindset as to how you, how you came up with this concept originally? What was it that just kind of clicked for you, that you went, “This is what I wanna do.”
Josh: So, it’s funny, so you know there’s a secret to our success, which we could talk about in a second, but we’ve done the impossible. We’ve grown faster than any other fitness brand in history. We’ve gone international faster, just made the Inc. 500, Franchise 500. We just got named the top Veteran Franchise, like the list goes on and on, as far as accolades. But where this all started was, I graduated from college, I figured I needed to get a nine to five job, and I ended up working for a boss. And that is like the worst thing you could do. Culture is the number one most important component to have success, and you need to be a leader, not a boss. And I’m the founder and CEO, but to be quite honest here, you see it like whoop to do, it means nothing to me. Titles mean nothing. You have literally worked as a team. Like I say, “Team work makes the dream work, and if there’s no team work, it will not work.” It’s just that simple.
So, for me. I left obviously that corporate job which I was unhappy with. Went back into fitness. But then we touched on the whole doctors and trainers thing so I said, “You know what? I’m more about positivity. I’m as positive as they come. I take negative signs by slicing them down the center, make them a positive.” And I went back into fitness because when you tie passion with your career, it’s the formula for success. But you gotta be patient. You have to be patient. So, anyway I started training again, had a client come in late one day, and she said to me, “Josh, I wish you can come to my house, I just don’t have any equipment.” And that stuck with me all day, and I was like, “No one has ever created this category. No one has ever professionalized it. Well, I’m going to make sure I’m the one to do it.” And that’s pretty much how it happened.
Chantal: That’s a great story, that’s exactly what I was wondering, so thank you for diving into that for us. I’m looking at some stats on your website at the moment around the business. So you were founded in 2008. You’ve got 400 coaches currently, is that correct?
Josh: It’s probably a little higher than that.
Chantal: A little higher than that?
Josh: We were founded in 2008. Yeah, we started franchising in 2014. So we’ve only been franchising now four years.
Chantal: Right, and you’ve got 200 vans on the road. You’ve worked with over 100,000 people. You’re in 27 states and two countries.
Josh: That is correct.
Chantal: That is absolutely phenomenal. And what I’m going to do as part of the show notes for today everyone, is I want you to jump on and actually have a look at the brand, and the business, and the vans that’s Josh has created for GYMGUYZ, because I think that there’s a really, there’s an important lesson in the consistency of your branding and how you present yourself. You just said before that no one has professionalized this service in the way that you’ve done, and when I had a look at your site and your social media, I can see that brand of consistency, throughout everything from the uniforms your team wears to the way that your vans are branded, from start to finish. So, that’s all around that professionalizing piece. I’m interested to know just a bit more about the business, in relation to how you actually charge out the training to a client. So, can you talk to us, because I think I read somewhere that you sell packages. But can you take us down that path a little bit?
Josh: Yeah, so everything, it’s a packaged based model. So, you know you could purchase as low as one session individual or you could buy a package of as many as a hundred, and we have sessions for individual sessions and group sessions, and so on and so forth. So, it could literally be really customized to whatever you want. But everything is based off packages.
Chantal: And because you’re providing a service whereby you’re actually going to the client’s home, so it’s a premium service if you will, how is your pricing compared to someone who goes to their local gym to do a one on one session?
Josh: Well, the great thing about what we’re offering is, there’s no contract that you’re signing in for, you’re paying strictly for personal training. At the end of the day, it’s all about value. And the value we provide is really amazing, number one. But number two, you know look, most people don’t go to the gym. 80% of the people who actually have a gym membership, and this is an actual stat. They don’t even go to the gym. And at the end of the day when you look at obviously, our prices, they’re really if not lower or in line with every gym when it comes to personal training, but for someone who has to drive to the gym, get to the gym, they’re uncomfortable in that setting, then maybe they’re busy working, or a busy mom, or someone who just had a baby or whatever it may be, there are a lot of challenges that come into that.
When you have us coming right to you, wherever it may be, it’s a win-win at the end of the day. And that’s why what we do is just so special, and it’s really game changing for people because there’s no excuses to miss a workout. There’s really not.
Chantal: Now, I mentioned before that you’re working with over 400 coaches, and I know that traditionally in our industry, there can be quite a high turnover of personal training coaches or fitness coaches within a business. Talk to us about how you actually work with your coaches. Are they employees, are they contractors, do you have a good longevity with those people that are working with you?
Josh: So everyone is an employee. Everyone’s part of this, but I don’t really like to call people employees. We have our franchise family members, and we have family members. Everything is about culture, and culture is what wins. At the end of the day, culture will always win. And if you don’t have a good culture instilled into your environment, you will not achieve success. It’s just that simple.
Chantal: Yeah, okay. So let’s talk about that franchise setup that you did, because I know that you mentioned it was 2014 that you moved into franchising the business, so talk us through that. What was the decision behind doing that, and how did you actually roll out from being just a standalone business to then selling franchises?
Josh: So, everything you know, and I spent a lot of time on my book. I just released my book a couple months ago. It’s called, Fuel: What It Takes to Survive as an Entrepreneur, and a lot of the stories are in there, which it really, really can help you dive into it. But you gotta start with a canvass. A blank canvass. And I literally had that right here in my mind in 2008. And everything that was part of the plan is part of the plan. So, part of the plan from day one was how do I figure this out? How do I help other trainers, who wanna be able to have a successful business model, but don’t know how to do it? Because I am telling you right now, and I don’t wanna discourage anybody. It’s not about discouraging, but it is not easy to do what we’ve done. And I’ve done this with $15,000 and it’s been bootstrap from day one, and we are a very, very successful seven figure company now, at high levels, because of obviously the work I put into it.
But, you know from the franchise model, it’s a turnkey operation. It’s a blueprint that’s literally laid out for someone to run a successful business from. It’s done for you marketing, all the marketing is done for you. To our CRM systems, to our management systems, to the phone systems, you name it across the board. Accounting, everything is completely done for you. Obviously you’re getting a vehicle. You’re getting everything in one package, and you’re able to go out there and you know, provide a skill and a service, and we’re obviously coaching and teaching you, because you’re not in business by yourself. You know, you’re with us, so the saying is, you’re in business for yourself and not by yourself, and at the end of the day, we’re there to support you, and our support is number one. We’re providing excellent support to make sure our people are successful. At the end of the day, like talk about Australia, we’re definitely going into Australia very soon. We have a lot of interest in that area.
Chantal: That was going to be one of my questions.
Josh: Yeah, so that’s very exciting. We’re going to be entering into our third country now, so we’re going to be going into the United Kingdom at the beginning of the year. So we do have something we’re working on right now in Australia, but Australia’s a great place. I love the country, number one. I wanna definitely be there, I’m excited about it. So that’s something that’s on our list, but everything we do is, when we look at the macro level is from a worldwide perspective. And we’re going to change people’s lives across the board. Again, like I told you in the beginning, from the consumer side and from the entrepreneurial side.
Chantal: You know, I find that so fascinating, Josh, and I think it’s a really important lesson for everyone out there that is looking to launch or grow a business, and that is from 2008 when you first stepped foot into the GYMGUYZ concept, when you were developing it, way back then, you had in your mind what the future looked like. And I think that’s just such an important thing for us all to remember, and it’s really about the steps that you put in place, and the actions that you take from day one onwards, that have gotten you where you are today, and obviously there are big plans for the years to come, and I love to hear that you’re coming to Australia. That’s really exciting as well. You know, you touched on there, Josh, about the fact that when a new franchisee comes onboard, you supply them with everything. So, you supply them with all their marketing materials or their branding, and stuff like that.
How do you ensure, because I know this is a challenge for a number of franchise owners and people that work in remote locations, how do you ensure that the quality remains consistent across all of the business?
Josh: So again, so I’m going to touch on culture because that is very important and it starts there, but are you familiar with the Net Promoter Score, the NPS score?
Chantal: Yes, absolutely, we are.
Josh: Okay, when I tell people this, they don’t really believe me. I have to send them a screen shot, but our NPS score is at a 94, and it’s been there for a very, very long time. And if you’re anywhere between 60 and 70, it’s like superb. We are a such a high level and we measure everything, but again, we have a cheer, and we always do a cheer in our office. And it goes something like this, I’ll give you the cheer, right? It goes, “We are GYMGUYZ, might growing franchise. First come our franchisees, then clients who are family. We are number one, and we sweat red.” Now the reason that cheer’s so important, and I’m sure no one’s ever done a cheer for you before, but that’s how I do it.
Chantal: You are the first. You’re the first.
Josh: But the reason why that’s so important is because our franchise family members are number one. I’m not saying customers are not important, and I’m talking franchise family members meaning, our whole entire system. Our coaches, the owners, everybody. If they’re not happy, how are our clients going to be happy? It all starts from there. If you don’t instill the right culture, it will not work. And I talk about the key to our success, and you know we create our own music every year. I don’t know if you got a chance to see any of our conference videos, but it’s wild stuff. But in our songs, there’s always a line, “Success, there’s a key to it. Fun, unity, earnings, and leadership.” Now we literally have a gas tank that sits in our office, spells out FUEL. Fun, unity, earnings, and leadership. And if you look at each one of those components, you cannot run a business without any of them.
You have to have fun, and we have lots of fun. Like literally we had a popcorn contest today, where whoever could put the most in a row in their mouth won a $25 gift card. We do stuff like this all the time. We play volleyball at lunch. We go bowling. We’re just hanging out. We’re having a good time, because it’s an actual stat, that 75% of people drive to work every day committing spiritual suicide. They hate their job, they stare at the clock. They’re miserable. When you spend 60 to 70% for your life working, why would you wanna feel like that? So you can’t get rid of fun.
Unity. Team work makes the dream work. If there’s no teamwork, it will never work. Next one, earnings. If you’re not making money, it’s not going to work. And the last one, leadership. Be a leader, not a boss, and that’s what it comes down to. And that is the key to our success. I’m about being real, I’m about being a team player. I’m about treating my family like family. Like I would treat my wife or my children. So someone comes in late every day, 10 minutes because they have to drop their child off. Oh, you’re going to get written up? No, that is not how you do business. You have to be real and think like an actual human being. That is how you create success, and going back to what you said, how do you manage it when people are happy? They wanna be part of it. They wanna be part of something special. They wanna have opportunity.
It’s not about take the whole pot for yourself. It’s about sharing is caring. That is why we’re changing the game, and a lot of people don’t understand that, and if more people could understand, this is how you continue to be successful, that’s how you drive it. Look, our vision’s to be the number one fitness brand in the world. I don’t call it our vision, I call it our guarantee. In 10 or 15 years, we will be the largest fitness brand in the world. You mark my words on that. The chances of that not happening, you’ve got a higher probability of seeing elephants fly. I’m telling you.
Chantal: I love your passion, Josh, and I love that acronym that you shared with us around FUEL. And one of the things that I am intrigued to know, because you mentioned then about when you physically get together. So, when you have your conferences, and when you’re liaising with people in your GYM family or your GYMGUYZ family, what about the people that are in a different geographic location? How do you communicate with them? Is there a platform that you use, like we’re talking on Zoom today. Do you have digital meetings, do you have phone meetings? Do you use a particular app that you all stay in contact on? Like how do you connect with them when they’re in a different geographic location to where you are currently?
Josh: Very good question, and we have a platform that everyone’s connected. But, we’re having calls all the time. It’s everyone is very engaged. We’re a listening organization, and that’s never going to change. And at the end of the day, every single person is connected with everyone. There’s so much love within our family, like I’m just being real, it’s not even normal. I literally have people who have been on honeymoons, that have said they can’t wait to come back. This is not work, this is not a job, it’s a lifestyle. We have more laughs on a daily basis throughout our whole system, that I will tell you right now, most organizations do. And at the end of the day, that’s what it’s about. Create something exciting, and when you can keep everyone engaged, it’s very important.
That’s why we do our conferences, that’s why we’re always constantly connected with everyone. That’s why we’re having calls. That’s why I’m reaching out to people. You know, with social media especially nowadays, you keep everyone, it’s very easy to keep everyone engaged.
Chantal: Absolutely. Now you mentioned earlier about some of the accolades you’ve had recently and you’ve obviously received some incredible PR around the business. You recently featured in the Inc. Magazine’s Fastest Growing Companies. Talk to me about the strategy around PR for your business. Is that something that you have actively put an effort into, or has that happened organically for you?
Josh: It’s for I am relentless. It is just that simple. Listen, I am just telling you right now, listen I’m just being real. You just, if you’re going to do 10 pushups, I’m going to do 20. You’re just not going to, when it comes to outworking with anything, I just don’t stop. I just don’t stop, so some, yes, I’ve planted seed. You have to plant seed, but you have to have patience and you have to water them. It takes time. Nothing happens overnight. But I’ve got a lot of that ourselves and now, it just happens organically. Like the Inc. list. That was organic. You know, it’s just, we’ve grown in three years over 1700%, and what we did last year, we’ve already passed it.
It’s crazy, but it all ties into at the end of the day, just really focusing on obviously what your goal is and your vision, and you have to have it so clearly painted in your mind, that you could see it. Like I see it, I feel it, I taste it. You know, and this is how we roll. This is how we roll.
Chantal: That’s absolutely phenomenal. Another question in regards to PR and marketing, so because you did mention that you distribute everything to your franchisees, so how big is your marketing team there at head office? Do you have someone responsibly specifically for creating and distributing all of that? Do you have a team of people? Talk to me about the marketing side of things.
Josh: Yeah, so we have a marketing team. Our marketing team is pretty solid. We actually just brought on a new chief marketing officer. Dawn Weiss, she is phenomenal. She comes from Massage MB. Built that brand, a couple other major, major brands she’s built. But we have about, I’d say up to 10 people in the marketing department. Some that are in house, some that are vendors that we’re using, outsourcing. But the marketing’s extremely tight, and as we continue to grow and evolve, we’re going to continue to sophisticate and get more and more polished. Just saw our website, we recently launched our website in about the middle of June, and just since we launched that new website, it’s been mind blowing as far as just results and traffic. And we’re continuing to really grow and get our name out there, which is obviously super exciting, but it takes decades to achieve success.
So, I just wanna be very clear about that, and I’ve been mentored by the best in the game. I mean the best. So, I’ve been mentored by seven individuals that run billion dollar companies in the franchise space. I continue to be a student every day. I never think I’m up here, or better than anyone else, because I can learn from you and you can learn from me. That’s how it works, and that’s why I love franchising, because you surround yourself with great people, and you can learn from them and they can learn from you, and that’s how you add value. It’s about value, like we talked about price with our service, if you’re going to go to a party, and you need to get a new dress, you’re going to try it on. And it looks great on you, you’re going to be like, “I need to get this dress.” But it might be 20 bucks more than you wanna spend, that’s okay. You’re going to spend it because you look really good in it.
It’s the same thing. If we’re going to provide value and we’re going to do that assessment for you, and it’s going to be customized, and it’s going to be convenient, and we’re going to change your life. Whether it’s being better from a cardio perspective, or being able to not huff and puff when you go up the stairs, whatever it may be. It’s all about value, and if we could provide value from every single angle, that’s how you win.
Chantal: I just absolutely love everything that you’re about, Josh, and you know I spent a bit of time on your website before our interview today. And I think one of the things that I found that was really powerful in there, was your use of video. We always talk in the fitness industry about how important it is to show testimonials and stuff like that, but you have done such a great job of how you’ve I guess, taken a bird’s eye view into looking at your trainers with their clients in the situation of them training, and I felt like I could go onto that website and get a real feel for what it is that you do, for the service that you offer. And I wanna take this time to remind everyone, just how important that is within your fitness businesses, because people go to your website before they even walk in the door of your facility. Before they even pick up the phone, to talk to you about coming and being a personal trainer with you or whatever that might be.
So that website, that first impression is so important. And I just wanted to congratulate you on that, because I really, from a consumer perspective, I felt like I had a really good feel for the business, before even chatting to you.
Josh: Well, we appreciate that, so thank you so much.
Chantal: Yeah. Now I know that you’ve mentioned that there’s a huge amount of work obviously, that has gone into getting you where you are today. But for any of our fitness professional friends out there that are inspired by what you’ve done and enthusiastic to create their own business, can you summarize it down and perhaps leave us with your three favorite tips on what people can do to grow their own personal business?
Speaker 3: And now, for this week’s Fitbizperation.
Josh: So, yeah the first thing I’m going to say is, you need to like roller coaster rides. And I’m not saying roller coaster rides roller coaster rides like get on a roller coaster, it is the highs and lows are so crazy, you have no idea. And I am just being real with everyone, because I wish I had a lot of this info when I started. Because you’re like, “Am I doing it right, am I not doing it right?” Then you’re so high and you feel so good, and you’re so positive, and then you drop down again. And that’s why mindset’s so important. For me, like physically I’m in great shape, mentally you can’t touch me.
But you know that feeling, Chantal when you get like bad news and you get that pit in your stomach?
Chantal: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Josh: I’ve had that feeling so many times that I’ve become numb to it. Like you have no idea. But the first advice is, be ready for that. If you’re not ready for it, it’s not going to work. And the question number two is, how bad do you want it? Like I will do anything. It’s very easy to win. When I leave my office right now, no one’s here. I’m the only one in this building. There’s not a car in that parking lot. I put in seven days a week. I’m always working. There’s no holidays for me, and I love it. When you love what you do, it’s not work. But it’s so easy to win, because people don’t wanna put in the work. They don’t wanna drive, they don’t wanna fuel their business. So you gotta be willing to put in the work.
So number one, strap in for that roller coaster. Number two, you better be ready to work, and you better be willing to do whatever you have to do. If I had to clean toilets to this day, you’re going to see the cleanest toilets you’ve ever seen in your life. And I gotta scrub windows, whatever I have to do, that’s what I do. And number three, you have to have a plan. You have to really have a plan. I tell you, my business plan was in my head. Most people put down a whole plan together. Now I have a real structured, strategic plan, but I just knew what I had to do, how I had to get there, and just don’t listen to the noise. Stay away from negativity. Just take it, slice it. Make it a positive, because at the end of the day, everyone has something to say.
I literally created a holiday. It’s on August 1st. It’s called National Swiss Cheese Day, and the story’s in my book, but I’ll tell you pretty quickly. I used to train a very successful billionaire. I haven’t trained anyone now in six years. But when I used to train people, this guy, I idolized this guy. You have no idea. I looked up to him so much, and when I was about to start GYMGUYZ, I told him about it and he laughed at me, and told me it was like Swiss Cheese, it’s got too many holes in it. You’ll never succeed. And I literally left that house that day, and I thought about it. Said, “Okay, he’ll see.” I wrote down that date and I never forgot that date. And literally, I’ll just go to any supermarket and get a half pound of Swiss Cheese. Listen, I just do it, it’s a very weird thing.
But I just bring it to my office, I let it sit there, and I just chuck it out at the end of the day. But it’s so important to me, and it’s been a very good PR play as well, but I think the write up was in the New York Times. I had a huge story about our growth in the New York Times, and he saw it about two years ago. Called me and apologized, couldn’t even believe it. Because he remembered when he said that to me. But at the end of the day, you choose your destiny, and if you believe in something enough, you can make it happen. It’s that simple. But you have to understand, it is not an easy ride. I’ve ate cans of tuna for four years straight. I’ve got evicted from my apartment. I was literally, and I remember, it was a blessing but I was engaged to be married, came home one day, and she just left because she couldn’t deal with the hours I was working.
But I just never stopped, I kept going. Coming home one day until I seen an eviction notice on my door, because I had no money. I literally poured every single thing back into this business. I can’t even look at tuna. I get nauseous because I at so much of it. But I ate so much of it, I did whatever I had to do. I’ve slept in the van, I’ve pulled so many all-nighters, you have no idea. I’ve taken trips to California and back in a day. I’ve done all types of crazy things. But you have to be willing to do that, because at the end of the day, you will work very hard and get make literally nothing. You will be so underpaid, but how it works is, as you continue to grow and achieve more and more success, you will work less and be overpaid.
But if you think about money right away, it’s not going to work. I’ve never chased the money. I’ve always chased the vision. Money comes. I wanna be happy. I want my family members to be happy. I want people who are coming into our organization to be happy. Chantal, I want you to be happy.
Chantal: I’m happy. I’m particularly happy with that answer, because you know what? I think that first of all there’s a lot of people out there that will be able to relate to this, because it’s not, entrepreneurship is not an easy journey by any stretch of the imagination. And I think the way that you described that roller coaster is just so spot on, and the overarching message that I take away from that is, it really is about that long term vision, that long term goal. Don’t expect to start up your own business and be successful in the first 12 months. Probably not even in the first three years. It really is about keeping focused on what that long term goal and vision is, and you have just demonstrated how important it is to put in the hard yards and put in the hard work, and don’t expect it to be handed to you. It’s all about that resilience. Building resilience and just getting on with it, and keeping that long term vision in mind.
So, this has been, it’s been such a fascinating conversation with you, Josh, because we’ve had the opportunity today to speak on video which is really nice, because I can see you, and I can see the passion that you have, and I can hear it in your voice. But I can also feel the energy that you have, and I think from a leadership perspective, that energy that you’ve portrayed during our conversation today, I can see how that must filter out to all of your franchisee family, and everyone that’s involved in the business. So, thanks for coming on, and sharing that passion and that energy with us, and thank you for being so real and helping us understand about the importance of hard work to achieve the goals that we set out for ourselves. So thank you for joining us on the show today.
Josh: Oh, it was my pleasure, my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me. It was fantastic.
Chantal: And I look forward to seeing some GYMGUYZ vans in Australia sooner, rather than later.
Josh: You will be seeing them very soon, you mark my words on that.
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