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I sucked at running Bootcamps until I made this change...

April 21, 2021
4 minute read

When I first started running Bootcamps… I sucked! 

I started working at a Franchise, which had 75 locations all over Australia and we were ranked based on our retention (#1 had the best retention rate in the franchise, #75 had the worst). 

Take a guess at what I was ranked? 

#75… Dead last… 

I had the worst retention out of all 75 locations! 

And it’s not like I had a heap of clients! I only had 20… and I couldn’t even keep them! 

At the end of the year, there was a convention that all 75 Bootcamp Operators had to attend. I didn’t want to attend (for obvious reasons) but I thought, “If I don’t attend… I’m going to lose my location… and even though I’m obviously not great at what I do – I really like it! But if I do attend, and I act engaged, write notes, listen, suck up… maybe I’ll keep my location”. 

So I attended, and it was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life! 

Straight off the bat, I had to have a meeting with the franchise owners to explain why I was coming 75th. 

And I gave every excuse in the book (and I made up a few too)…

  • There’s too much competition in my area
  • There’s all these 24 hour gyms
  • There’s free Bootcamps running the park
  • The leads you’re giving me are bad leads
  • No one trains outside during winter
  • The government 

After I’d finished off rattling off excuse, the Franchise owners said something to me that changed my life…

“Jono, we’ve got good news… and we’ve got bad news… The bad news is… when it comes to operating a bootcamp, you suck! You’re coming 75th! But here’s the good news. You can actually do something about it. At the moment, the reason you’re unsuccessful is because you’re blaming everyone but yourself!

Maybe it’s not the competition’s fault that you’re failing – maybe it’s your fault you haven’t done enough to be better than the competition! What upskilling have you done? What extra courses have you done?

 Also – you’re saying we’re giving you bad leads? Maybe the leads aren’t bad – maybe it’s your sales skills that are bad. What sales books have you read? What business coaches have you hired? And if our marketing is so bad, why don’t you go out and do some of your own marketing?

Oh and the weather? You can go out and hire something like a school hall for $20 a session… You can solve your biggest problem for $20 but instead you’re too busy blaming everybody else but yourself.

So how about this – you’ve already identified the reasons why you’re not successful, from now on, instead of blaming someone / something else, take some responsibility and actually do something about it!”

Now considering I was coming 75th out of 75… and these two owned all 75 locations, I figured I better listen.

So for the next 12 months, I did exactly that – I took 100% responsibility. The first thing I did was hire out that school hall for $20 ! That probably doubled my retention rate during winter on it’s own! It also taught me the power of investing. It’s ok to spend a little bit of money if it means you’re going to make more back!

The next thing I worked on was my “product”, my Bootcamp sessions. I made it my mission to learn as many different fun, interactive and unique Bootcamp workouts as possible! So I had a look at the Fitness Australia CEC calendar and booked myself into a “Bootcamp Course for Personal Trainers”. It cost something like $300-$400 but I thought, if I do this course and that helps me gain / keep one more client – it’s paid for itself!

And just from doing that course, I’m pretty sure I was able to pick up 4-5 new clients. So I thought, if I do one of these courses and get 4-5 new clients each time – I better start doing more courses! So I made a decision to do a CEC course every 3 months (regardless of whether I needed the points or not)!

And the last thing I worked on was my sales and marketing! I hired a business coach – which cost me $1000 for 10 weeks – at the time that was the biggest expense I had ever made in my life! But I did the math and realized – all I need is this coach to help me gain 3 new clients and it’s paid for itself!  

And to cut a long story short… 12 months later, I went back to that same convention.

Now take a guess what I was ranked?

No. 1!!! My retention rate was 104%…

I now had 100 clients and every single one of them signed back up for the next week challenge PLUS 4 of my ex clients who heard my service had improved and came back!

So that’s my story…from 75 to 1…from 20 clients to 100 clients… 

All in 12 months!!! 

And now I teach other Bootcamp operators how to do the same. 

Contact us and we can prepare something for you and your PT Business.

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Fitness Education Online are one of the leading providers in the world when it comes to the professional development of Personal Trainers. We have over 30 registered AUSactive CEC courses.  Click here to check them out!


About The Author: Jono Petrohilos
Online Course Creator I 2020 Fitness Australia Educator of the Year

Jono is the co-founder and director at Fitness Education Online. Fitness Education Online is one of the leading providers in the world when it comes to delivering online education to Fitness Professionals, providing over 30 registered CEC courses.

Fitness Education Online is also the admins of the largest Facebook Group in Australia / New Zealand for Fitness Professionals (Fitness Education Online Community Facebook Group).

Jono is also a qualified Exercise Physiologist, best selling author (The Bootcamp Blueprint), and the host of the successful podcast “Fitness Education Online Podcast”.

Jono is the current 2020 Fitness Educator of the Year (awarded by Fitness Australia)

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