So you want to open a CrossFit gym?
It may appear to be a smart idea to send a bunch of emails to longstanding affiliates asking for advice but trust me when I tell you it’s better to do your own research and then ask that one (maybe two) unanswered, burning question you have.
If your email to me starts out “in 4000 words or less can you tell me every mistake you’ve ever made and how you fixed it” I can promise you WILL NOT get a reply from me.
What I will tell everyone about running a CrossFit Affiliate is this:
Let your heart guide you and if this is your passion and your heart says GO--- do it. Jump in head first and be really good at it. Might you fail? sure. Nothing I can say will make it or break it for you.
I will tell you that this is a people business. You’ve got to love people and want to spend all day with them. All of them. Even the annoying ones. You’ve got to be about people, and being part of their lives and part of their path to betterment.
You’re going to coach, listen, talk them off the edge, learn their every neurosis, become intimate with their deepest fears. You’ll get text messages at midnight because someone had a cookie.
You’ll be present for weddings, divorces, births, and deaths. Your family will get really big. And really dysfunctional.
And as long as you love people, you’ll dig every day of it.
Oh, and it will be every day. EVERY. DAMN. DAY. Forever. Kiss vacations, days off, and sick days goodbye for a while. You’re not allowed to have them. The alarm will ring every morning (you hear me – EVERY MORNING) whether or not you feel like getting up. It’s relentless, this business. It won’t last forever, but in the beginning it doesn’t stop. For anything. Dinners out, parties, social engagements, Ebola. Sorry, you can’t stop for any of it. Get in the gym. Your kid has choir practice? Sorry, your business has a 5pm class.
You can’t do it alone and do it well. Someone’s gotta go to choir practice. Or the pumpkin patch. If you’re lucky, you have a willing, understanding, supportive partner. If you’re blessed you have someone that can fill in for you on short notice once in a while. If you don’t have these people, you’re in for a long, tough road.
Money won’t be easy. You’ll spend more on toilet paper than you ever thought possible and as soon as you think you can afford new women’s bars, your water heater craps out. Your “want” list will always be long.
But when you’re new and your equipment, space, and money are limited, you’ll become really creative about programming. You’ll become a flexible coach. You’ll nuture the people who will become your lifelong clients, loudest fans, and best friends.
If you love your people, you’ll grow. With growth comes success. With success comes money, money leads to employees, and employees mean vacation. You’ll get your life back but it may be years from now.
Affiliates have succeeded in all kinds of spaces, with all kinds of equipment, and all styles of programming. The location is less important than the service. The color of your logo is truly unimportant. You’ll probably even survive if your blog has spelling errors. Maybe.
It’s all about your heart. Do you have it in you to truly care about people and do you want to make them better. You’ll have to sacrifice a lot of yourself to make it happen. Your time, your money. If you want to hang out in a gym and train all day, this isn’t for you. If your goal is to make money, this isn’t for you. If you think it’s gonna be easy and fun everyday, you’re wrong.
If you know that it’s going to be a rewarding, overwhelming pain in the ass, yet totally worth it-- Jump.
Here’s two places that can answer many of the logistical questions. What they can’t do is make a decision for you. Neither can I.