—it is not possible to get something that is desired or valuable without having to pay for it in some way
Have you ever been completely exhausted and barely functional by Tuesday afternoon of a typical work week? No? Well, that is how every involved gym owner feels. Those of us that invest our heart and souls into our business for the pure love of bettering the health and fitness for ourselves and others are TIRED. This of course mostly applies to any privately owned facility. Rarely do franchise/corporate owners need to invest as much of their time into every single duty necessary to assure the success or just general sustainability of their gyms. Hell, those “gyms” aren’t really gyms any way, but that is a topic for another day.
Here is why we are so tired before the middle of the week even hits:
cleaning up after grown ass adults, putting away weights, organizing equipment, wiping down equipment, searching for misplaced items, reviewing camera footage, stocking fridges/vending machines, organizing apparel/supplements/products for sale, logging inventory, ordering more inventory, communicating with vendors, taking orders from gym members for out of stock items, creating new products to sell in store and online, monitoring website sales, stocking bathrooms with toiletries, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming and mopping floors, taking out trash, picking up trash off the floors, paying bills such as utilities/rent/mortgage/loans/invoices/credit cards, making bank deposits, monitoring bank account activity, charging memberships, monitoring almost due or past due memberships, shipping packages, unloading deliveries, opening procedures, closing procedures, balancing the cash register, greeting members, saying goodbye to members, answering phone calls/emails/social media messages/written notes left at the desk/and in-person questions, signing up new members, canceling memberships if requested, selling products, planning events, executing events, hosting seminars, making social media posts and stories, brainstorming marketing/advertising ideas, budgeting for daily/weekly/monthly expenses, keeping insurances paid and up-to-date, completing any government paperwork necessary to keep a business in good standing with the state, keeping bookwork current, submitting information to a CPA, completing payroll, paying taxes, being a shoulder to lean on when someone is having a bad day, being a cheerleader when someone is lifting heavy/attempting a PR, encouraging people to compete despite their fear, recommending exercises/training programs, recommending personal trainers and nutritionists, informing people why they would benefit from trainers and nutritionists, teaching proper technique, educating people on which bars to use for which exercises, answering questions about equipment, preventing someone from doing something dumb that will injure them, offering lifting advice based on our own experiences, sizing people for protective lifting gear, distributing tape/ibuprofen/band-aids/etc, being everyone’s preferred spotter and videographer, interacting with everyone for as equal amount of time as possible, listening to people during time that could be used to accomplish several other things because they need to talk or don’t know anyone or anywhere else in town to go to, getting repeatedly interrupted, being told how we could make our business better or more profitable, hearing rumors about us and our business, trying to remember everyone’s name that signs up, showing gratitude and appreciation to customers/members, performing general building maintenance, addressing emergency maintenance situations, updating/replacing equipment if and when needed, keeping current on any evolving fitness trends, networking with other athletes/gym owners around the world, finding time to run personal errands or go to appointments, working other jobs to supplement our income, trying to make time to eat/hydrate/train for our own goals, completing contest preps, traveling to and competing at competitions, being away for as little time as possible when traveling (otherwise the gym upkeep suffers), never taking non-contest or work related vacations, attempting to grocery shop/meal prep/keep a clean house/have a relationship with our spouse in what little time is left in the day, internalizing our own issues/problems/frustrations so that we don’t project any unnecessary emotion onto our customers/members (because in customer service “bad days” are not allowed), and lastly, reminding ourself that a gym doesn’t run on hopes and dreams so it is necessary to work harder everyday to guarantee we are able to share the facility and passion we love with the community.
As you can see, that is quite the list and keep in mind, most of those things are done DAILY. A gym is not an ideal money-making business, and it is smile worthy whenever people aspire to open an independent, privately owned facility without having the slightest idea of the sacrifices they will make. Small businesses thrive off sales. If you expect or demand anything for free (or steal), then you are directly hurting that business. This is far from a glamorous career and comes with many challenges, but we do it for YOU, without hesitation. One way you can make it easier on a gym owner is to remember that their time is as valuable as yours. You are at the gym for a short period of time during the day to get your training done but they are there all day hoping to get the chance to start (or continue) their training, finish a hot meal, have a conversation with their spouse in person or on the phone without interruption, take 5 minutes to be with their own thoughts, use the bathroom (yes, even that gets put on the back burner when things are hectic), or take some time to enjoy writing a blog. If you need a spotter, there is likely someone else nearby that could help. Same with taking videos of your sets. And if there is not a person close by, we will be happy to step in, but be patient if it is not done immediately when you ask.
We don’t need pity; we need space to accomplish our tasks. Don’t take offense if we can’t go to dinner, attend a birthday party, donate to your bowling league, meet up for a cup of coffee, etc. We try to keep it as fair across the board as possible; but sometimes we must decline invites or offers because it interferes with the exceptionally long list of work to be done or impedes on our open business hours. We choose to march this path and know which struggles come along with it therefore it is not something we shy away from. The harder we work now, the better it will be in the future. When you are an entrepreneur, there is no free lunch.