In this episode Josh talks with Josh York, the founder of GYMGUYZ. They discuss how to start bootstrap and get yourself to be successful.
Josh York, CEO and Founder of GYMGUYZ - no. 1 for in-home, onsite, and virtual personal training and the fastest-growing U.S. fitness concept. While GYMGUYZ is the household name, Josh York is the mastermind behind it.
With the release of his best-selling book FUEL: What it Takes to Survive as an Entrepreneur, Josh has endured and connected with many bright minds along the way. “FUEL YOUR DRIVE” is the official podcast and up-to-date look behind many of today’s fastest-growing multimillion-dollar enterprises!
In today's episode you will learn about:
• The value of a disruptive business
• Building relationships with the greatest leaders in the world
• A business mindset
• What it takes to be successful
• Developing emotional intelligence to create a culture
that people want to come work at every day
Narrator: Welcome to Cracking the Cash Flow Code where you'll learn what it takes to create enough cash to fill the four buckets of profit. You'll learn what it takes to have enough cash for a great lifestyle, have enough cash for when emergency strikes, fully fund a growth program, and fund your retirement program. When you do this, you will have a sale‑ready company that will allow you to keep or sell your business. This allows you to do what you want with your business, when you want, in the way you want.
In Cracking the Cash Flow Code, we focus on the four areas of business that let you take your successful business and make it economically and personally sustainable. Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he's learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning, and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable and allow you to be free of cash flow worries.
Josh Patrick: Hey, how are you today? This is Josh Patrick and you're at Cracking the Cash Flow Code. And, today, my guest is Josh York. Another Josh. I haven’t talked about that for a while but maybe I'm old. Josh is the founder of GYMGUYZ.com. He is the largest gym personal trainer franchise in the world. That's a big deal. And I'm assuming there's more than one franchises in the world. We'll find out about that. And he started his business, basically, with no money - with $15,000 which I think is pretty amazing that you can start bootstrap and get yourself to be successful. And we're going to find out what he did and ask some questions along the way. So, let's bring Josh on.
Hey, Josh. How are you today?
Josh York: I am doing fantastic. Josh, thank you for having me on. I appreciate it.
Josh Patrick: You know, when I was your age, the only other Josh’s I ever saw were dogs. So, there's now like 9 zillion Josh’s who are 30 or 40 years younger than me.
But, at any rate, you started with $15,000. What was the first thing you did when you started your business?
Josh York: Market, right? You’ve got to make money. You’ve got to get out there, you know. Just make a lot of noise. Get out there. And that's literally what I did 24/7, pretty much, 365. I'd say 27, not 24/7. But, literally, 20 hours a day, seven days a week. For months, for years, I just kept doing the same things over, and over, and over again. Just kept marketing myself, getting myself out there.
You know, everyone looks for the secret sauce, the secret key, or some secret tunnel to success. There's no secret to it. It's called work. You’ve got to work. You’ve got to be consistent. You’ve got to have discipline. You’ve got to do it and do it over, and over, and over, and over again. And that comes with, obviously, failure, and issues, and mistakes, and everything else along the line, you know.
Josh Patrick: So, what did you specifically do when you first started out? I mean, you were out there working 20 hours a day. But how were you filling those 20 hours up?
Josh York: Yes. So, when I started this-- and what we do is we're not a gym. So, we have no brick and mortar. We bring the workout to you. So, everything comes to your, you know, home office, pool, park, place of worship, hospitals, senior homes, assisted living facilities. We literally come with our van stocked with all the necessary equipment to provide you a fantastic workout, 365 days a year, backed by our three C's. And that's convenient, customized, and creative workouts.
And, you know, we're really disrupting the fitness industry. So, you know, in the early days-- look, I did whatever I had to do to get clients. What does my day look like? I was up every day around 3:30 in the morning. I'd start out by, you know, building relationships, going to local businesses whether I'm picking up a bottle of water and ate sandwich or whatever it may be just to show my face and start building relationships. As I always say, you have to OTC - own the community.
Literally, I had documents I kept of different businesses. And I would literally rotate them up. There was a method to it and that I created.
Just keep showing my face. Next thing you know, these people, you know, started knowing who I was and what I did. And next thing you know, I started leaving some business cards there and some postcards there. And then, I'm setting up tables outside the store. And next thing you know, I started getting clients, and more clients, and more clients.
And today, we have hundreds of thousands of clients spread out all over the world - in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom. And soon in our next country, which will be the UAE. So, very exciting stuff.
Josh Patrick: Cool. Where are you located?
Josh York: I live in New York. Long Island, New York.
Josh Patrick: Okay, so you have a pretty good population base to work off down there.
Josh York: Yes.
Josh Patrick: So how long did it take you before you started making a living?
Josh York: Making a living?
Josh Patrick: Yeah. Not a great living, just making a living.
Josh York: 10 years.
Josh Patrick: Okay. So, how did you live for the first 10 years, out of curiosity? I mean, this is something that, you know, you start with $15,000. That won't last you 10 years. That's for sure.
Josh York: I had just enough money just to pay some rent in a small apartment which I really, honestly, was never even there and just a lot of pain. That's pretty much how I’d sum it up - a lot of pain. You know, everyone wants greatness but people don't understand what's required to achieve greatness, you know.
You see, a very important part of winning is difference, right? You have to be different if you want to win. People don't like different. People don't like to be uncomfortable.
Josh Patrick: When you say people, are you talking business owners or customers?
Josh York: I'm talking anybody. I'm talking anyone who wants to try to achieve success. I'm not just talking business. I'm talking fitness. I'm talking, you know, your hygiene. I'm talking anything, in general. If you want success in whatever you want achieve success in, there has to be a requirement of moments of uncomfortable living.
Josh Patrick: So, it sounds like your belief system is it has to be hard for you to have success.
Josh York: I wouldn't say that's my belief system but, to some degree, yes. You know, some people do get just lucky, right? But no one has achieved success without pain. No one. There’s not a person out there. No, there's no way. It's impossible. It's absolutely impossible.
You know, you have to be willing to fail because that's-- you know, WTF. You know, willing to fail. If you don't incorporate that into your equation of what it takes to be successful, you're not going to be successful because you're going to be dodging bullets all the time. You're going to be putting out fires all the time. You're going to have challenges all day, every day. That's business. Expect the unexpected.
Josh Patrick: Okay. Well, that's all great.
How would you recommend-- you've got a bunch of franchises. And we'll talk about your franchise business in a minute. But you’ve got a bunch of franchises out there and life gets hard for ‘em. So, how do you help them get through those hard times? Or, what do you expect them to do so, when they do make a mistake and they fall on their face, they want to get back up again?
Josh York: Yeah. Well, that's mindset, right? You know, I believe, you know, business and life is 80% mindset, 20% tactical. You have to develop a mindset.
You know, we have, obviously, training that we put everyone through. An ongoing training that we put people through but just because you come in to be a franchisee, it doesn't mean you’re going to be successful. You know, people get into Harvard University, it doesn't mean you're going to graduate. You’ve got to put the work in to achieve the success.
Josh Patrick: Well, I will tell you, the Federal Trade Commission is going to be very unhappy with your franchise if you have a bunch of franchisees who are unsuccessful.
Josh York: Oh, of course. Absolutely. But, you know, McDonald's has locations that fail.
Josh Patrick: They have a few locations fail. Most people who become McDonald’s franchises are very, very successful.
Josh York: That's not true. 2019, they shut down, I think, 106 locations.
Josh Patrick: Yeah. But that’s out of 6000.
Josh York: Oh, yeah, of course. You know, I'm just saying, in general, you know, people are going to obviously have challenges in business, you know. Obviously, we don't want our franchisees to fail. And, you know, we don't have a really high failure rate at all. It’s practically close to zero.
But the point is that, in business, I'm making the statement that in business, you have to understand you have to put the work in and you have to follow the system in whatever business it is or create a system if you're starting a new business, to be successful.
Josh Patrick: That makes sense.
One of the mantras we have in our organization we call it fail fast, fail cheap which means we do a whole bunch of small experiments. If they work, great. If they don't work, then we just leave and go on to the next thing.
The thing that's got me concerned, when I'm hearing what you're saying, is that you're telling people it’s really, really hard because you fall on your face all the time. Well, it's really, really hard if I put hours, and hours, and hours, and hours into a project. And then, I’d take a year, or two, or three to give up on it because I put some resignment to it. But if I spend two weeks or three weeks on something and it doesn't work out, it's pretty easy for me to say, “Well, that didn't work. Let’s go on to the next thing.”
Josh York: I hear what you're saying.
What I'm saying is, you're going to have to expect the unexpected, you know. You're not going to have failure every day in your business, but you will have failure and it is very difficult. And you're asking me what I've done from $15,000. It was very painful because I had no money. And you can't grow without money. So, you have to bring in revenue to continue to keep growing. And that's why, from my experience, it's been very, very challenging.
You come in and you have millions and millions of dollars, and you're trying to build a business, it’s a lot different because, if you make a mistake, you have more money. When you make a mistake and don't have any money, obviously, that's the challenge because, you know, each penny counts. And I’ve made some really big mistakes early on in the days where a thousand dollars was like a million dollars to me because I had nothing. That's what I'm explaining.
Josh Patrick: That's true.
So, at what point did you decide franchising made sense for you?
Josh York: That was, honestly, the vision from day one, when I started this in my parents’ dining room, in 2008. So, 2008’s when I started. And that was always the vision, right?
I like franchising. I've always loved the model. And I love the model because it allows you to surround yourself with other great people, right? And it's all about who you surround yourself with. And when you could bring other very intelligent smart people into a business that, you know, could have other great ideas because that's how you grow. That was very attractive to me. And that's what I really liked about the franchise model.
Josh Patrick: When did you actually start franchising your business?
Josh York: In 2014.
Josh Patrick: So, six years into your business?
Josh York: Correct.
Josh Patrick: You said, for the first 10 years, you basically had no money. Was that because you were reinvesting all of it into what you were doing?
Josh York: That is correct. Yes.
Josh Patrick: So, out of curiosity, because this is something I think that a lot of our listeners might be interested in, is they might want to franchise your business. How much money do you think it would cost for somebody to start a franchise today? Your business is running. You have a couple of units that are successful. And you say, “This a great idea. I want to franchise it.” How much is it going to cost me to build a franchise or get the legal work done for a franchise before you can start selling it?
Josh York: Roughly anywhere from like $80,000 to about maybe $120,000 depending on how in‑depth you go.
Josh Patrick: Okay.
And before you franchise, I know that-- you know, one of the reasons I like franchises is I call franchises a business‑in-box.
Josh York: Yes.
Josh Patrick: When you buy a franchise, you basically get all the rules, all the things you need to do. You don't have to reinvent the wheel. You don't have to figure it out. The franchisor supposedly has done that for you. And they have operating manuals that you use and, if you follow them, you'll likely be successful. How did you get all that done as a starter because that's like a ton of work? I mean, just a ton.
Josh York: It’s definitely a ton of work. You know, you’ve got to surround yourself with great people, right? You know, I think is really a very stupid thing to say, when you say, I like to focus on my weaknesses, right? You know, you need to focus on your strengths and delegate your weaknesses.
Obviously, every person can always grow and get better. But something I've always done is I've always just surrounded myself with smarter people. People who can do things in certain areas better than I can. And I know, you know, the lane I like to play in and that's where I stay. But I brought a lot of people on, created a lot of different operational manuals, a lot of systems that I've been very successful for me. Integrated a lot of technology. Built technology and put things in place so, you know, we can operate like a well‑oiled machine.
Josh Patrick: So, you brought those other people. And I'm assuming you brought them in before as you were building out your franchise?
Josh York: That is correct. Yes.
Josh Patrick: So, you hired people. I'm assuming you don't consider yourself a person who loves to build and document systems?
Josh York: No. I'm the visionary, right? That's who I am. I'm the visionary. And I have an integrator. And I have, obviously, other people that, you know, are on my team that follow the directions of the [inaudible 00:12:31].
Josh Patrick: You're also an EOS person. I always get to know EOS people because they always have like this language they use all the time.
By the way, EOS is a form of management put together by Gino Wickman. And it's really, really, really, really, really good stuff. If you want to build a great business, it's a great format to do it in.
Josh York: Yep.
Josh Patrick: I highly recommend it.
Josh York: Yep.
Josh Patrick: So, we won't get involved into EOS today. I actually had their president on for three episodes in a row a few years ago which was kind of fun to do.
Josh York: That's awesome.
Josh Patrick: There's a lot of stuff there.
So, you just brought up something really important which I think-- and I've asked this question to at least a thousand people doing seminars over the years which is “What's more important to magnify your strengths or improve your weaknesses?” Now, there's something that I've noticed, over the years, when I've asked this question. When I asked this question to business owners, they almost universally will say “improve my strengths.” And if I asked the same question to employees, they almost universally say “improve my weaknesses.” How do you get your employees to make that switch from improve my weaknesses to magnifying my strengths?
Josh York: Well, I think, the first thing is never call them an employee. I think that word is absolutely degrading and I never call anyone an employee. I don't even like to refer to myself as the founder and CEO, you know. And we can talk about that in a second.
But how? You need to have a great culture. That is number one. You need to have great values. And when you have that instilled in your business and everyone has that passion and they're on board, there's very easy ways to do it. Very, very easy ways to do it. That also requires systems. That also requires processes that you have to build but that comes from leadership. And when you have good leadership, the rest will follow.
Josh Patrick: So, when you develop your values, how do you go about doing that because, again, I think businesses that are great businesses always started out being values led?
Josh York: Yes. So, I always say one thing. I always say, you know, I never look at paper. Paper’s great and sometimes, obviously, you need certain talent. But I would always hire attitude over skill, any day of the week, you know? And I like to always say skill can always be taught. Attitude can't. That's why, again, culture, you need to make sure you have the right people on the place - the right people on the bus, in the right seats and place.
You know, I live by this concept Fuel Your Drive. It’s the name of my book. It’s the name of my podcast. You know, we say it here in our business every day. I have a gas tank that sits in middle of our headquarter. It’s FUEL. FUEL is the four pillars of success - fun, unity, earnings, and leadership.
And DRIVE which is our core values. You cannot obviously drive anywhere without fuel. And that's kind of how I created the concept, DRIVE, which are our values of our organization is determination, respect, integrity, versatility, and excellence. And everyone has to fuel their drive every single day.
Josh Patrick: So, Josh, I have a question for you. Those are great values. Do you have a clarifying statement around each of ‘em?
Josh York: Yes, I do.
Josh Patrick: Cool. Why did you put a clarifying statement around your values?
Josh York: Because everyone has to embody those values or it's not going to work. It's very simple.
Josh Patrick: My experience with that - and you’re right on the money, if you don't put a clarifying statement around value, other people don't know what you're talking about.
Josh York: That is correct.
Josh Patrick: If I say the word integrity, your 10 words for integrity will likely be different than my 10 words about integrity.
Josh York: That is correct.
Josh Patrick: So, that's why you need that clarifying statement.
I have to tell you that, you know, I've been teaching people how to create economically and personally sustainable businesses for a long time and you have hit on all the things you need to do except one. And the one is recurring revenue. So, your business is one of those businesses that could be built very nicely on a recurring revenue basis because I'm assuming that your trainers go back to see the same people over, and over, and over again.
Josh York: So, that is the biggest component of our business, recurring revenue. And that's why our business model is so attractive because clients are training six days a week and that's consistent cash flow coming in.
And service‑based businesses are also great businesses that you can get into which not having a large investment going into a brick and mortar location. But the only difference between service‑based businesses and our business is that reoccurring revenue, right? Because somebody’s like junk companies or lawn care companies, they're seasonal. You might not get that repeat customer for a year, two years, six months, whatever it may be. We have consistent cash flow coming in. And that's very, very important. That reoccurring model is what really provide-- it’s pure scalability.
Josh Patrick: Yeah. It's also what makes your business attractive for others to have at some point.
Josh York: That is correct. Yes.
Josh Patrick: So, with your franchise, can I ask you how many units you have?
Josh York: Yes. We have over 250 locations. We service, in the US alone, a little over 700 cities. And we're in 25 states right now.
Josh Patrick: Wow. So, if somebody has a franchise, they would have a pretty wide geographic area?
Josh York: Yeah. So, it's based upon approved households. So, everything's based on demo and psychographic information. I mean, 10,000 approved households would be one location.
Josh Patrick: And do the people who franchise from you, do they go out and hire trainers to work for them?
Josh York: They do. Yes.
Josh Patrick: They do. Cool.
That sounds like a pretty interesting thing. So, what is your plans, say, in the next two years. I don't ask five years anymore because nobody knows what's going to be happening five years from now.
Josh York: Honestly, continue, you know, supporting our franchise family members, continue driving their profitability, bringing in more revenue stream for them. Obviously, continue growing. We're going to be entering into a couple new countries which is super exciting. And just keep getting better, right? You know, you’ve got to pivot. You’ve got to evolve. If you don't, it’s very simple. It starts with three letters. You're going to die. If you do not evolve, you will die.
Josh Patrick: Yeah, that's pretty much true.
Josh York: If you don't like change, you will die. Nothing changes if nothing changes. You have to constantly be changing. We live in an ever‑changing environment and you have to be on the ball with that. And that is very, very important.
Josh Patrick: Cool.
One of the things that you said, I found pretty interesting, is emotional intelligence. So, first of all, how is emotional intelligence important for you? You know, how is it important for the people who you work with?
Josh York: That is probably the most important component of business. Honestly, just in life, right? If you're unable to build relationships, you're going to have lots of problems in life. Building relationships is everything. It’s the number one most important thing, okay, because, you know, if I have to go to the doctor, and you have to go to the doctor. And the doctor is booked all day, but I'm friendly with the doctor, who's getting into the doctor that day? Me. Relationships.
EQ is very important. The definition of emotional intelligence is understanding people, understanding what they like, what makes them tick. And it's about the detail of it, right? Like, you know, understand. Like, I know, every single one of my team members’ children. I know their names, how old they are, what sports they like. I know everything. And I care. And I actually want to know everything.
But you have to be able to build and feed off that EQ because that emotional intelligence is a very, very important component to success because, if you want to have high retention-- and we have a very, very high retention, it's almost perfect, you have to have great EQ.
Josh Patrick: Yeah. there was a book that came out, probably 35 years ago, called How to Win While Swimming with the Sharks by a guy named Harvey Mackay.
Josh York: Yep.
Josh Patrick: And, in there, he had this thing called the Mackay 66. If you just Google McKay 66, you'll find it. But it was the 66 things he wanted his salespeople to know about all of their prospects and their customers. And his reasoning behind that was, if you know these things, I will promise you our competitors don't. And, as a result, you're going to have the inside track. No one's going to get you out of where you are. And if we're not servicing that customer, we're in second place. And when they stumble - and everybody stumbles, we'll move into first place.
Josh York: Love it. Love it.
Josh Patrick: I thought that was just great. It’s a great book. I highly recommend it. I think it's still in print, actually.
So, Josh, I'm afraid that we have run out of time. And I'm going to bet there are some people listening who might say, “Hey, this sounds like a good franchise opportunity.” How do they find you?
Josh York: They could simply just visit GYMGUYZ.com, and click on franchising, and fill out some information, and a GYMGUYZ representative will get back to you.
Josh Patrick: Sounds good.
And I have two things I kind of would like you to do. The first one is really pretty easy. I would like you to go to wherever you're listening this podcast and please give us an honest rating and review. If you love us, tell you love us. If you hate us - I hope you don't. But, if you do, you can say that too.
And the second thing is I developed this thing which I kind of started off as a joke but it's actually turned out into a pretty useful tool. And we call it The Periodic Table of Business Elements. Very simply, the periodic table is 53 things that I came up with, over the years, of strategies and tactics that you, as a private business owner, can use to help make your business more economically and personally sustainable. It's really easy to get, you just go to www.stage2planning.com/periodic. That's www.stage2planning.com/periodic.
And this is Josh Patrick with Josh York. You're at Cracking the Cash Flow Code. Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope to see you back here really soon.
Narrator: You've been listening to Cracking the Cash Flow Code where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around a hundred years from now?”
If you've liked what you've heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802-846-1264 extension 102, or visit us on our website at www.sustainablebusiness.co, or you can send Josh an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for listening and we hope to see you at Cracking the Cash Flow Code in the near future.