After the recent posting of Two Years at Gallagher Performance
, we received a generous amount of positive feedback. You all are too kind and please know that we truly appreciate it. Along with your feedback, we received a number of messages from people wanting to know, "What have you learned?"
That question really got my mind going. Honestly, another year in business teaches you a great deal. Certainly a simple sentence or two would not be sufficient to answer the question.
All things considered, this past year has provided several friendly reminders of why we do what we do at GP. Some of the biggest lessons learned came in the form of routinely dispelling common misconceptions when it comes to owning and operating your own business in the competitive health and fitness/training industry.
So, for your entertainment, we present to you our thoughts on a few misconceptions that we routinely encounter.
Misconception #1 – We work “Banker’s Hours”
One of the biggest misunderstandings we have come across is that professionals in the fields of health or fitness work Monday-Friday, 9-5 or that they work minimal hours a day to operate and fulfill the needs of the business. In reality, owning your own small business is a 24/7, 365 days a year responsibility. When you are not handling daily business operations, you are either working countless hours answering emails and phone calls, programming for clients, filing necessary insurance paperwork, updating social media and blog content to creating an Internet presence, etc. When it’s all said and done, days can add up to 10-12 hours real quick. This becomes especially true during the peak seasons of spring/summer when our schedules fill up with high school and collegiate athletes.
People get into the health and fitness industry all the time because they claim how much they love it and that it’s their “passion”. Others get into to make a fast buck, never once realizing that it’s a job. It’s a fun job, but it’s still a job. You better love what you do because there are certainly easier ways to make more money while working less hours. With that said, we have learned over and over again that we love what we do.
Misconception #2 - Success Comes Quickly
Believing success comes quickly is another huge misconception, especially within the fitness industry. It seems as if no one wants to put in the real work. The honest, hard work earned through time. Earned through experience. Earned through the professional growth one gains by working with a number of clients of various backgrounds and developing a track record of success. The traditional approach to professional development appears to be old fashioned. Nowadays, newbies to the fitness industry would rather focus on growing their Facebook or Instagram following by creating the “appearance” of success rather than truly earning it. We have a small number of likes on our Facebook page and even fewer followers on Instagram, yet we continue to grow. We grow because of the track record of success we continue to develop, not because of some selfie posted online. If business success had anything to do with selfies and hashtags, we would have been finished long ago.
Similar to other successful businesses, our growth stems from putting in the work and building our business from the floor up. We did not build our business backwards by first creating a huge following while having little to no experience. Rather than focusing on creating a huge following, we prefer to focus on quality of service and building a track record of success, thankful that those who have worked with us are more than willing to tell others about our business. The process never goes as quickly as you'd wish, but there's more satisfaction in the climb than being at the top. We've learned that we love the process. We love the grind. We recognize that nothing meaningful ever came from quick and easy. Besides, the individuals hoping for "quick and easy" seem to be the ones who enter the industry and are out within a couple years. Likely because their "image" of success could not longer compensate for their mediocre results and what they lacked in knowledge and experience.
Misconception #3 – Knowledge Doesn’t Have Value
This misconception probably bothers us the most and it stems from the typical, “Let me pick your brain....” scenario. Keep in mind; we realize that being part of the health and fitness industry is about helping others by providing sound advice and guidance. Ryan and I both went into business realizing that we will be providing a lot of free advice, but there is a fine line that must be respected. The health and fitness industry is both knowledge and service based, so a genuine respect for one’s knowledge would be very much appreciated. I would argue that the industry is primarily knowledge-based, as services (program design, nutrition structure, etc.) are dependent upon knowledge. However, unlike services, It becomes difficult to attach value to knowledge.
When it comes to receiving advice, it’s as it people assume advice should be given away freely. After all, it’s just information, right? Wrong. We field so many questions on a regular basis from people who are ultimately looking for free information. They are looking for guidance from a knowledgeable individual, in hopes of better organizing their own training or nutrition for their self-betterment. Usually it goes a little like this, “Real quick, how would you structure my workouts or my eating/macros so I am able to achieve ABC goals” Quality, experienced coaches understand that there is no “quick” answer to this question. If you have respect for a coach/trainer, please have respect for their knowledge and appreciate the fact that it supports their livelihood. It’s how they earn a living; it’s what they get paid to do. Respect the fact that you are receiving knowledge from them and there is value attached to that. Don’t be a serial freeloader.
Misconceptions can prove to be a great learning tool. We recognize that dealing with these common misconceptions and many others is a part of job. So let's hear from you. To our professional colleagues and friends in the health and fitness industry, what are some of the common misconceptions you encounter on a regular basis? We welcome your responsible replies and comments.
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