How I built my first gym back in 2011 to over 250 members IN A YEAR without any ads or selling…. and why that will not work for your gym now😔

When I opened the first gym in 2011…

…all I did was run $200 a month to my google local listing to make sure people found us if they google’d “CrossFit”.

We grew that gym to 250 members without any strategy beyond that.

All the gym who owns it now has to do to this day is retain and get get referrals, it’s still going strong.

When I sold that gym, moved to Phoenix and opened my second gym in 2014 it got real.

Propping the door opening worked for like 3 months, but once the buzz of my new location wore off I realized times had changed.

I did that for way too long before I realized I was missing the big shift that needed to occur.

I distracted myself with shit that would not move the needle enough. Things like…

-Messing with my yelp listing
-Your look and layout of your website, think I rewrote our homepage like every week.
-Asking myself questions like should I do the Level method, NCfit or Invictus Programming?…When nobody was asking us to change what we were doing.
-Messing with my google my business local listing. Adding keywords and photos.
-maybe I should add a local listing on Bing? (WTF?)
Which, don’t get me wrong, these are definitely systems you should manage and have but you need to ask yourself….
“Am I doing this to avoid solving solve the bigger problem?”
…but I know gym owners are still doing this.

Are you doing this to avoid the ONE THING that would change everything?

You can want and desire change all you want but until you change the underlying belief system it will not change.

What makes it so much harder than other industry is there is an opposing belief system the gym industry that goes against our want and need to be more successful and make more money.

Selling is evil.

You feel it from your community once you make any shift that may align with making some money. Members start saying:

“he’s selling out” or “he’s just in it for the money now”

Not just in your gym, but even amongst the community of gym owners in this group.

In the gym owner communities it’s been hammered in early and often that it’s supposed to be organic and to get wealthy on the community is “evil”.

As soon as you ask a question that doesn’t align with someone else’s you get VERY strong opinions.

And then you get a pouring on of a few people who are the loudest and take it as gospel.

It’s just NOISE.

In a lot of ways you can’t blame people for being bitter, this has become a very TOUGH business to make it in.

Having come from a larger scale business background, I can tell you that this is one of the hardest spaces to make it in.

When I opened and ran the first gym I was doing it alongside a much bigger business I had started first.

It’s been harder figuring out how to grow and scale my second gym than it was to grow that $5M/year business prior to this.

A lot of the popular opinion on this stems from those who were in the earliest.

(I’m sure to get some PURE hatred for this statement but bring it on 😉)

The gyms that were around pre-2014 and found their critical mass prior and has sustained it have done one of two things you can model…

1. They’ve changed their model entirely to what works NOW (even though they may still act like what got them their is what’s working, it’s not)
2. They have AMAZING retention and referral systems.

While there is a lot of value in their experience we can learn the one thing that should NOT be modeled is their ways of growing.

You must dismantle the belief system.

So how do you properly find and model a strategy that works?

1. Pick the right person – Look for someone who is already successful in your chosen field, or someone who has created the kind of business you want and life you want to live.

2. Ask for help – No matter what it is you are after, someone has already beaten you to it. If it’s someone you already know or have a connection to, so much the better.

3. Create a strategy – Those who have succeeded before you have done so because they followed a plan, and you can do the same thing.
You don’t need to do it different for “differents” sake. It’s Tony Robbins who preaches “you should model what works.”
But that’s not sexy enough…

…especially for the gym business entrepreneur, but this held me back FOR YEARS!

You don’t need to reinvent the core strategies and models.

You are already unique enough in yourself to seperate your business.

The people who walked in the CrossFit gyms in 2011 no longer exist.

Use today’s method and models to CREATE your own from the general population.

Here is a little secret of what we do at my gym now…

We bring in people who are NOT our people and we TURN THEM INTO the the die-hards and it’s never been more fulfilling.

There is a system for this.

We have more people participating in the open than ever as proof of it’s effectiveness… and they don’t come in already wearing Nano’s and Lululemon.

If you need to ask for help, I’m here.

-Coach Will


When you’re ready…

below are 4 ways I can help you grow your  gym business:


Grab a free copy of my guide, the Big Little Gym Strategy

This book will tell you more about growing your gym and getting back to your passion than you ever thought possible. It will help you turn your weaknesses into your greatest strengths, help you master the skills, and teach you how to create momentum like never before. CLICK HERE >>>


Join the Big Little Gyms Facebook Group and connect with fellow gym owners who are in the grind of growing their enrollment, community and teams.

In this group we talk about how to grow and scale your gym and team, create momentum across your entire organization, and leave the dent in the universe you KNOW you are capable of making.
CLICK HERE >>> BLG Facebook Group


The BLG Masterclass is a 30 Day challenge complete with buildout and step by step tactical guidance.

The challenge is complete with daily implementations that will have you build out a system for lead generation (landing page, facebook ads, email, automated texting, facebook messenger bots, referral, reviews and a whole lot more) and follow-up that will drive significant lead traffic towards your DREAM MEMBER, increase appointment show and close rates.

As part of this course, you will learn how to create a strategic growth plan for your gym, plan your days in a way that gives you maximum momentum and align the three areas of your gym business that will move you forward the fastest.

Send an email at with “masterclass” as the subject if you are interested in more information.


If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take you from 5 to 6 figures per month or 6 to 7 figures per year and beyond….. Let’s connect to see where your business is today and make a plan to get you where you want to be.

Get the mentoring, coaching and hands on practical 1-on-1 guidance to build out the systems that are going to free you from the shackles of an underperforming gym.

Send an email at with “TRIBE” as the subject if you are interested in more information.

It’s time to take hold of your opportunities and make them a reality!



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