Arrogance vs Relevance: Fix Your Business Practices

TAGS: relevance, reputation, prep coach, business, arrogance, social media, fitness industry, diet, personal training, Sports Training, strength training, training

I'm not usually one to give out advice and opinions from a business perspective. I've never really considered myself terribly deft in the area of business, but I do suppose that after giving it more thought, I'm one of the “older” (though I prefer the word “seasoned” or “veteran”) prep guys who has been around longer than most. I've made a very good living in this industry for quite a while. That being said, over the last few months, I've witnessed what I feel are abhorrent business practices in the field of contest prep and figured that I would give a few pointers to those of you out there who might be open to my opinions.

First, it's important to understand that your name in the world of contest prep usually has a shelf life. You might not become irrelevant, but you'd better know that there are many people coming up behind you who will go further in this sport than you will. They will get more ripped than you, they will work with even more genetically superior people than you and they will be in the right place at the right time. If you think because you're a top amateur or even a pro that you have a shelf life that will last much longer than everyone else, you might be in for a huge surprise. Reputation is important, no doubt, but your name—who you are as a bodybuilder—has little to do with how long you'll be relevant in this industry.

How do you stay relevant and continue to build a business for years to come? Good question. The first thing I'll do is tell you what not to do. You don’t bitch about your clients on social media whether your clients have access to this bitching session or not. It doesn’t matter if what you're bitching about is completely true. You're bitching and that makes you look arrogant and pompous and “above” your clients.

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Understand that if your clients are asking you a million questions, they're likely asking you all of those questions because they aren’t clear on what to do. If they aren’t clear on what to do, that is your fault, not theirs. It's the trainer’s responsibility to make sure that his clients understand what is expected of them and that they are crystal clear. Whether you think they're clear or they should be clear doesn’t matter. Your irritation of having to respond to clients while you're trying to watch a movie tells me that you don’t see your position in this industry as the privilege that it is. Your job—what you're paid to do—is to take care of your clients, not just get them results. If you disagree, good luck with your run as a prep guy. It will be short-lived because a lot of prep guys can get clients shredded and ready for shows but not a lot of them care enough to take care of their clients. And if you think that all clients care about is their condition, you're wrongo dongo.

The second piece of advice that I have for you is pay your taxes. I've discussed this before because I tire of people who like to show off how much they spend at Fogo de Chao and how they can blow money but aren’t a legitimate business that pays taxes. If you figure that you're getting away with it and you aren’t going to get caught, you're forgetting about your competition. Your daftness is noted. Did you forget that guy who can’t stand that you get so many clients and is jealous because your girlfriend is hot as hell? He’s looking for an angle, my friend, and you not being a tax paying business is a perfect "in" for him. You not only gave him an angle, but you could be looking at retroactive tax payments, fees and fines going back to when the IRS “projects” that you started your business.

Transitioning from Fogo de Chao to Golden Corral isn't an easy thing to do, and if you think that it's too much work for someone to check on you, that isn't even remotely true. A quick database check in your state of residence under your name or your wife’s name as a registered agent would answer the question about 95 percent of the time in roughly less than two minutes. Sure, you could be a sole proprietor, but that would be stupid in this field, and I don’t have the time to lay out everything for you. Some of this you have to actually do the homework on yourself.

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The last bit of advice that I have for you is don't rely on what you're doing now to carry you years down the road. You must evolve not only with your methods but with your business. Diversify as much as you can because if you sit on the idea that people will continue to come to you based on your current popularity, you'll be disappointed with how quickly that will start to fade. When that popularity starts to fade and everyone starts jumping to the next guy who is 22-years-old and preaching about how you need to use more drugs and supplements—and that nutrition and training aren't that important—you'll want to fall back on a few things. How you treated your clients and whether they're still telling other people to work with you can be a big part in continuing to keep a solid client base. Whether you're in jail for not paying your taxes could make it hard to continue making a living as well.

No one should be faulted for riding the wave of popularity, as it would be stupid not to. I've been around long enough to see many a prep guy—even popular ones—come and go. Most won’t stay around long and will fade as their popularity declines and another “fresh” idea (though not always worth a damn) comes up behind them. It may not have anything at all to do with how good someone is at what they do. I've seen many good prep guys disappear. Don’t be a fool and think that you can do this forever at the level you're doing it at now. You just have to hope that you're smart enough to continue to evolve and stay relevant in a sport that changes trends and fads like your mom changes her dirty, crusty ass underwear. Oh, and that reminds me—tell your mom I said hey. Just sayin’.

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