Stronger Sundays

Dominate your fitness business with this weekly collection of strategies, tips, and tricks.
By trainers, for trainers.

June 16, 2019

Quote of the week:

" The best systems for managing alcohol or ‘making it fit into your lifestyle’ begin with understanding and accepting that any amount more than zero is suboptimal. That doesn’t mean you can’t drink. Just be an adult and own the compromise."
                                                                                      - Bryan Krahn on Facebook (profanity)
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In this issue:

  1. How to listen to your customers      
  2. The importance of being interesting
  3. Power to the people
  4. How to hire an assistant who knows how to assist
1. How to listen to your customers  - Jerilyn Covert

When launched its first product, a research digest, the company thought it knew who would subscribe, and what content they’d be most interested in.

They were wrong on all counts, says Carolyn Macdonald, Examine's director of operations.

What she learned applies to virtually any fitness product: Don’t assume anything. Ask your customers questions, and then listen to the answers.

Start with your most highly engaged clients, she says. Not only are they more likely to respond, they’re often willing to give you in-depth interviews.

If you train clients in person, you don’t need to interrogate them in any structured way. Just look for conversation openings, and ask specific questions about what they want but aren’t getting from you.

Remember that broad questions—like "What do you want from your training?"—will give you answers they think you want to hear. Ask specific questions about specific goals, methods, and challenges.

"Your questions aren’t just for market research," Macdonald notes. "They’re helping your clients. And clients know that."

But don’t limit yourself to current clients. Reach out to ex-clients to see why they left, what their pain points were, and how those problems could have been avoided. Negative feedback can be the most valuable.

Keep all your data on a spreadsheet with one tab for compliments and another for complaints, Macdonald suggests. As your database grows, "you automatically notice the trends," Macdonald says. "You don’t have to be brilliant at data. You just have to listen."

The takeaway: Don’t try to make your product "perfect" before releasing it, Macdonald cautions. If it’s an information product, you can always tinker with it based on the feedback you get. What matters is that you create something your audience wants, and that you can be proud of.

And then make sure your customer service is impeccable. You’ll have more clients with fewer refunds.

Go deeper: Ready to make the leap? Check out our complete guide to developing your first online fitness product.

2. The importance of being interesting  - Daniel Freedman

"Fasting is the best way to lose weight."

"Vegans are morally superior."

"Kipping pull-ups are a great idea."

Does one or more of these statements make you angry? Crack you up? Tempt you to bang your head into a wall?

Doesn’t matter whether you agree or disagree with the statement. The point is, it triggered you. It provoked a reaction.

And if you had such a strong response, imagine how your readers will react. Will some of them get mad and stop following you? Certainly. Will you gain new followers? Absolutely.

We’re not telling you to be a jerk or a troll, or to write about something with no goal beyond stirring things up. But we are imploring you to be interesting, to forcefully express your beliefs and perhaps even double down on them when challenged.

Don’t be boring, in other words.

The takeaway: Whether you’re an advocate or skeptic of a widely held belief, let people know where you stand. That’s how you stand out from the crowd.

Go deeper: "10 Proven Ways to Win More Readers" has lots more advice on how to generate ideas for blog posts and social media content.
3. Power to the people

Wise words from Mike Boyle on Instagram:

"Whether you’re an adult, an athlete, or a hybrid of the two, every single person who walks through our doors trains power. Box jumps, med ball throws, you name it, we got it."

"Why? We firmly believe if you don’t use it, you lose it. Have you ever seen an older person shuffling along instead of taking long, proud strides? They haven’t trained strength or power in quite some time."

"Training power, in whatever capacity you’re capable of, allows you to maintain strength and explosiveness. We’re trying to keep the stride length of our clients long for years to come."

The takeaway: Don’t underestimate your adult clients. Beneath the gray hairs and worry lines, there’s a person who loves to move—and not just forward and back.

4. How to hire an assistant who knows how to assist - Jonathan Goodman

Something I hear people ask way too often: "How do I find a good virtual assistant? The people I hire are never good enough."

They probably were good enough. But you fell down on the job. You can’t just hire an assistant and say, "Assist! Do everything!" You have to do a better job of explaining what you need them to do. And before you can do that, you have to know what those things are.

Before you hire someone, you have to write down everything you do, in a step by step fashion. Then you can hand the document off to your assistant and say, "Here’s 10 tasks you can do for me, and here’s exactly how to do them."

Now you can start buying back your time at a discount. Which allows you to scale your own efforts. Which allows you to stick to doing what you’re best at. Which allows you to spend more time in personal development.

You can become a better writer, learn more about business, learn more about training. You can earn more money in more ways.

And then you can spend some of that money to hire more people to do tasks that either amplify you and your message—video editors, writers, content marketers, whatever—or help buy back your time. Nannies, babysitters, house cleaners, assistants.

The takeaway: It’s never too early in your career to start thinking about how you’ll eventually scale your efforts. Start documenting your routine tasks now, and when the time comes to hire someone to help you, your new assistant will actually assist.

Go deeper: Ready to bring on someone for a full-time position? Before you do, take a look at this detailed hiring guide from Michael Keeler, cofounder of Mark Fisher Fitness and Business for Unicorns.

**Thanks for reading. What to do next**

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