Member Experience

7 Things You Will Learn As A Gym Owner

The job of owning a gym is one that requires tremendous amounts of work, dedication and knowledge. Here are seven things you will learn as a gym owner!

Eric LeClair
October 25, 2021
7 Things You Will Learn As A Gym Owner
The job of owning a gym is one that requires tremendous amounts of work, dedication and knowledge. Here are seven things you will learn as a gym owner.
Gym Owner
Photographer: Scott Webb | Source: Unsplash

As a prospective gym owner, you are probably starting a fitness business with a lot of assumptions and expectations. Well, I'm sorry, most of your assumptions would be wrong. Although the fitness industry is lucrative and profitable, it keeps getting harder to become successful in the niche as a new entrant due to intense competition.

There are many obstacles and challenges to be overcome in order to make a name for yourself in the industry. However, getting yourself prepared for these obstacles will assist you in tackling them easily. So, in this article, we would explore the 7 biggest things you would learn in 5 years as a gym owner.

Work/Life Balance

When you are trying to run and scale your gym into a successful one, you need to give it your all and be dedicated to the hustle and grind. This requires sacrifice on your path as it will definitely affect some facets of your life. Either your relationship with family and friends or your health and work.

Making these sacrifices early on pays off in the end as soon as your hard work at the gym starts yielding results. Once you put in time, effort and resources at the beginning and you could grow the gym successfully, it becomes easier to relax and take a seat while you delegate duties to employees. At this point, you are able to take care of other aspects of your life as you are less distracted.

Profit Is Not A Bad Word

Many successful gym owners today started the business as a result of their passion for fitness, wellness and love for helping others. It was at a later time that they started monetizing their passion. Running a functional gym requires money and that money has to come from somewhere.

If you are a gym owner going into the business due to your passion, do not be ashamed of making money in the process. So, stop feeling bad at the thought of profit. Rent, equipment, staff payment, facility maintenance, etc. all require money. Also, profit should be viewed as a fruit of your long, hard labor for years.

Customer Retention

The reason why people keep patronizing a particular business is because they are willing to pay for the business's goods or services, they want to feel valued and they want to be treated appropriately. In the fitness industry, this is no exception as gyms' members switch to the next gym when these needs are not satisfied at their current gym.

The industry is saturated and with new gyms springing up every day, poaching your members would be easy especially if you do not treat them right. Building a quality relationship with your members and being nice to them will go a long way in building the business.

Leadership Is Required

Owning and running a business is not a child's task. As a gym owner, there are times when you have to make certain decisions when the parties involved could feel offended or slighted. However, you need to be a firm and strong leader while making decisions that are best for the gym.

For example, having to let go of a beloved employee due to cost cutting could be painful but if it's the best solution at the moment, then you have to do it without sentiments. Also, letting an overbearing customer go could be difficult but if they get too difficult to manage then you need to let them go to preserve your sanity. These decisions could make you feel lonely but if it's best for the gym, you have to do it. To build your leadership skills, taking reliable courses and looking up to a mentor could help you improve.

Multiple Revenue Streams Are Necessary

After spending a few years in the fitness business, you will understand that revenue from gym membership sales cannot be the only revenue source to rely upon. There are periods of the year when acquiring new members becomes difficult thereby making revenue stagnant. The situation can be improved by integrating other income sources into the gym.

An alternative income stream is sales of gym apparels, resistance bands, dumbbells, weights, etc., fitness drinks, protein shakes, meal plans and so on. Asides from providing additional income, walk-in customers could be converted into future members.

You can also offer home training programs for premium clients whose schedule does not allow them to visit the gym. This attracts higher charges than normal membership sales thereby boosting revenue. Having a YouTube channel and offering home workout videos and plans are also great ways of boosting revenue.


As you grow your gym and become more experienced in the business, you understand that people are important. No human being is an island so frequent communication with those around you is usually helpful.

Having a mentor who has been there in the past and understands the nitty gritty of the business is important as they are able to tell you as it is. They can also review your ideas and see through them with fresh and experienced eyes. Also, having an experienced mentor who has also made it big in the business will help you build networks and collaborations that could bring in more profit.

You Can’t Please Everyone

Human beings are insatiable and you cannot please everyone. The earlier you realize this as a gym owner, the better. There are certain gym members that would not resonate with you and your methods and no matter how hard you compromise; they are not ready to see things from your perspective.

These clients are difficult to please and complain really hard. These types of clients should be let go as they are bad for business. This should be a last resort after you've played every card in the game to please them. If they are not ready to change, then let go. Do not think of the revenue they are bringing in. Letting them go is good for your sanity and that of your staff and they would appreciate it. In fact, letting them go will help you focus more on other clients.

Being dedicated and consistent as a gym owner is an important key to unlocking success in the business. Running the gym with these lessons in mind earlier on sets you on the path to success easily and faster as you are more prepared for the challenges ahead.


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Eric LeClair

Eric LeClair works on the Marketing Team at PushPress. Eric has been a CrossFit Affiliate owner for 16 years. He's built three separate gyms and developed over 20 staff members to run operations at those facilities. He's a Veteran of the US Army, married with two little kids, and spends lots of time with his two boxers backpacking and exploring new adventures!

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