19 Failures & Lessons Ep 174

Summary Notes


In the Gym Secrets podcast, the host reflects on his 2019 business and personal failures and the lessons learned, emphasizing the importance of products solving pain, the difficulty of breaking multiple consumer beliefs, and the necessity to focus on one business at a time. He shares insights on hiring based on past performance, staying close to operations to identify issues, and avoiding the pitfalls of ego in the workplace. He also discusses the balance needed in relationships, particularly with his co-working spouse, Leila, and the realization that more money doesn't equate to increased happiness. The host concludes by stressing the value of persistence, the power of success as revenge, and the benefits of focusing on actions and habits over setting lofty goals, all while acknowledging a 50% business growth despite setbacks.

Summary Notes

Introduction to Gym Secrets Podcast

  • The podcast focuses on customer acquisition, maximizing customer value, and retention.
  • Speaker A discusses their personal approach to continuous improvement through the analysis of failures.
  • They maintain an email thread to themselves documenting their failures and lessons learned.
  • Speaker A shares their 2019 recap of failures and lessons at the suggestion of Leila.

"Welcome to the Gym Secrets podcast, where we talk about how to get more customers, how to make more per customer, and how to keep them longer, and the many failures and lessons that we have learned along the way."

This quote introduces the podcast's focus on business growth strategies, particularly in the fitness industry, and sets the stage for a discussion on learning from failures.

Business Strategy Failures and Lessons

  • Speaker A categorizes their failures into business strategy, people, relationships, and self.
  • They provide insights from specific business ventures, such as Bolton and Hybrid, and the overarching lessons learned from them.

Bolton: Product Must Solve Pain

  • Products need to solve a pain point rather than just provide an opportunity for gain.
  • Bolton failed because it didn't address a specific pain point effectively.

"All products must solve pain if they're going to be a massive success."

This quote emphasizes the importance of products addressing a customer's pain point to achieve success in the market.

Breaking Beliefs in Sales

  • When selling a product, you can only afford to challenge and change one belief at a time.
  • Bolton's failure was partly due to needing to break two beliefs, which was too much for cold traffic.

"If you're selling something, you can only break one belief, not two."

The quote highlights the difficulty in changing multiple customer beliefs and how this can hinder product adoption.

Hybrid: Messaging and Change Resistance

  • Speaker A learned the importance of protecting the core business and understanding that people resist change.
  • The messaging around Hybrid was not well-received because it deviated from what customers were used to.

"Everyone hates change. Everyone."

This quote succinctly captures the resistance to change that businesses often face when introducing new concepts or products.

Gymwatch: Launch and Focus

  • The launch of Prestige within Gymwatch and the increase in releases led to a lack of focus.
  • Speaker A reflects on the misstep of focusing too much on top-line revenue at the expense of the bottom line.

"We did grow the top line. I think our bottom line stayed the same between 2018 and 2019."

The quote discusses the financial outcome of their strategies, highlighting the need for balance between revenue growth and profit.

Retention vs. Acquisition

  • Speaker A spent a significant amount of money on an app for client retention, only to realize that the market values acquisition over retention.
  • This led to the insight that there's a lack of retention-focused agencies because businesses prioritize acquiring new customers.

"No one gives a shit about retention."

The quote reflects the harsh realization that the business community prioritizes customer acquisition over retention.

Data Collection and System Failures

  • Failure to implement proper data collection with new systems resulted in delayed awareness of issues.
  • Speaker A acknowledges the mistake and the consequences it had on the business.

"We didn't input data collection properly."

This quote acknowledges a critical oversight in data management that impacted the business's ability to respond to issues promptly.

Personal Business Management Failures

  • Managing three businesses simultaneously contradicted Speaker A's advice to others, proving to be unsustainable.
  • The lesson learned is the need for singular focus and dedicated leadership for each business entity.

"I had three businesses, which is literally the opposite of what I tell everyone to do."

The quote captures the speaker's acknowledgment of not practicing what they preach regarding business focus and the complexity it introduced.

Business Lessons Recap

  • A product must solve pain, not just offer gain.
  • Only one customer belief should be challenged at a time.
  • Focus is crucial; better to improve one thing than to do more things.
  • Protect the core business as people resist change.
  • Provide what customers want, not what they think they need, especially in terms of acquisition over retention.
  • Avoid being reactive to competitors; maintain leadership and focus on own strengths.
  • Redefine success based on effort, applicable to self, family, and team.
  • Each business should have a singular leader to maintain focus and clarity.

"Product has to solve pain, not be an opportunity for gain."

This quote reiterates the importance of addressing customer pain points in product development.

People Failures and Lessons

  • Speaker A chooses not to disclose specific people failures to protect individuals involved.
  • They emphasize the lesson of hiring people based on their proven experience in the required role.

"Only hire people to do things they've already done."

The quote provides a hiring principle aimed at ensuring employees are equipped with the necessary experience for their roles.

Handling Mistakes at Different Organizational Levels

  • Mistakes at higher organizational levels have significant consequences.
  • Replacing a large proportion of directors can lead to errors due to inexperience.
  • Providing learning opportunities for employees can benefit other businesses in the future.
  • It is crucial for leaders to stay close enough to operations to identify problems.

"When someone fucks up at a sea level, it's pretty big. When someone fucks up at a director level, it's pretty big. And this last year we replaced ten out of our eleven directors."

This quote emphasizes the gravity of mistakes made by high-level executives and the extensive changes in leadership that occurred within the year.

Importance of Visibility in Business Operations

  • Leaders should never be too distant from the operational aspects of their business.
  • Awareness of issues within the business is necessary for effective management.
  • The phrase "know where the bodies are buried" implies understanding the hidden problems.

"Never get too far away that you can't see the problems ever. So if you ever feel like a department is or like a section of your business is just crushing it, then it means you're too far away because there are always bodies."

The speaker suggests that if everything seems perfect, it's likely due to a lack of visibility into the problems, thus highlighting the need for leaders to stay informed and engaged with their teams.

The Pitfalls of Sheltering Star Employees

  • Star employees should not be excused from their weaknesses.
  • Accommodating one employee excessively can disrupt organizational structure and lead to negative outcomes.
  • The speaker had personal experiences where sheltering star employees backfired multiple times in a year.

"Don't shelter a star. So if you have a star employee and you start having to make processes around them because they're really good at one thing, but they suck at everything else, a lot of times that ends up changing a lot of the organizational structure around this person and that ends up backfiring on you."

This quote highlights the dangers of making too many concessions for a star employee, which can ultimately harm the organization's structure and efficiency.

The Role of the Boss

  • The boss's job encompasses motivation, training, and communication.
  • Clear communication is essential for employees to understand their tasks.
  • A boss should focus on motivating and training their team to achieve desired outcomes.

"The job of the boss is Three Things. Motivation, training and a communication."

By listing the three core responsibilities of a boss, the speaker clarifies the essential roles that leaders should focus on to be effective in their positions.

The Negative Impact of Ego in Business

  • Ego can be detrimental to a business environment.
  • Employees with ego can become entitled, diminish teamwork, and harm the company culture.
  • The speaker advocates for not hiring individuals with ego and firing those who exhibit egoistic behavior.

"Fire for ego. So as soon as you see ego, obviously try not to hire if you see ego. But if you start to see ego flare up, ego does nothing good in the Business, Ever."

This quote underscores the importance of avoiding ego in the workplace and taking decisive action when it becomes an issue to maintain a healthy team dynamic.

Self-Interest in Professional Relationships

  • Expect people to act in their own self-interest, especially when money is involved.
  • Aligning personal interests with those of others can be beneficial.
  • The speaker acknowledges human nature but advises to protect oneself in business dealings.

"Everyone will fuck you. Everyone protect yourself. And I purposely made that one a little bit strong, and that's because we're human."

The speaker bluntly states the need to protect oneself in business, given that people tend to prioritize their own interests.

Dynamics of Working Relationships in Couples

  • Different working dynamics in couples can affect long-term happiness.
  • The speaker and Layla faced challenges working together in the same business.
  • Creating separate roles within the same business can help maintain a healthy relationship.

"The failure that Layla and I had this last year is that Layla and I spent too much time together."

This quote reveals the personal lesson learned about the drawbacks of spending excessive time together in a professional context and the need for distinct roles to maintain a balanced relationship.

Personal Relationships and Life ROI

  • The speaker regrets evaluating relationships solely based on monetary return on investment (ROI).
  • Recognizing the value of relationships beyond their professional benefits is important.
  • The speaker admits to not spending enough time with friends and not prioritizing fun.

"I think personally, we together have evaluated every relationship based on monetary ROI, not life roi."

This quote reflects the speaker's introspection about the importance of relationships for personal fulfillment, not just for professional advancement.

Podcast Promotion and Listener Engagement

  • The host emphasizes the importance of listener support in spreading the podcast's message.
  • The host requests ratings, reviews, and shares to help more entrepreneurs.
  • By engaging with the podcast, listeners can contribute to the betterment of others.

"Real quick, guys, you guys already know that I don't run any ads on this, and I don't sell anything. And so the only ask that I can ever have of you guys is that you help me spread the word so we can help more entrepreneurs make more money, feed their families, make better products, and have better experiences for their employees and customers."

The quote highlights the host's reliance on word-of-mouth promotion instead of traditional advertising, with the goal of aiding entrepreneurs through the podcast's content.

The Dichotomy of Comfort and Distance in Relationships

  • Relationships require a balance between comfort and distance.
  • Comfort provides stability while distance fosters variety and spontaneity.
  • The challenge is to maintain a balance without leaning too heavily on either side.

"So the lessons from that was just one, is the dichotomy of comfort and distance. So people try and solve the problem of the relationship when it's like trying to solve justice and mercy. They're both right. And you have to walk the middle path."

The quote discusses the necessity of balancing two opposing forces within relationships, likening it to the balance between justice and mercy.

The Alter Ego Effect and Role Segmentation

  • The concept of the alter ego effect involves having different personas for different aspects of life.
  • Separating roles (e.g., work, partner, sexual) can help maintain respect and presence within each context.
  • Role segmentation can prevent the blurring of boundaries and enhance personal relationships.

"It's being able to balance those two things. So that's the big major lesson underneath of that is kind of the alter ego effect, which is a book, I don't have it next to me, but essentially, really, you can't just have one Persona."

The quote introduces the alter ego effect as a strategy to manage different roles in life effectively, suggesting that having multiple personas is beneficial for personal balance.

The Diminishing Return of Money

  • As income increases, the relative value of money decreases.
  • Wealth enables a different perception of cost and value.
  • The more money one has, the less significant individual expenditures become.

"And the third lesson I had from relationships is just, this is a little bit kind of a general one, but the diminishing return of money and what I mean by that is the more money you make, the less money matters to you."

This quote explains the diminishing return of money, indicating that as wealth grows, the importance of money in decision-making decreases.

Personal Growth and Success

  • Success is initiated by skills, sustained by traits, and grown by beliefs.
  • Personal traits such as patience and consistency are crucial for maintaining success.
  • Belief systems must evolve to achieve further growth.
  • Social connections and managing expectations are key to personal happiness.

"The last bucket is self is things that I've learned first is that you create success with skills, you sustain success with traits, and you grow success with beliefs."

The quote outlines a three-tiered approach to success, highlighting the progression from acquiring skills to developing traits and ultimately evolving beliefs for growth.

Expectation Management and Self-Judgment

  • The speaker emphasizes the importance of focusing on effort rather than outcomes.
  • Self-judgment based on effort can be freeing and lead to more satisfaction.
  • An internal shift from outcome-based to effort-based evaluation is recommended.

"operating in this interesting space where I'm actually judging myself based on how much effort I'm putting forth for that side of the business rather than the outcome."

The quote reflects the speaker's personal approach to self-assessment, prioritizing the effort invested over the results achieved.

Forgiveness and Perception of Effort in Relationships

  • The speaker discusses a personal breakthrough with their father, shifting from judging outcomes to recognizing effort and intention.
  • This change in perspective led to forgiveness and improved relationships.
  • Judging relationships based on effort rather than outcomes is suggested to be more fruitful.

"I feel like I forgave my dad in a very true sense because I stopped judging off of what I perceived to be outcomes of parenting and rather started judging based on intention and effort."

This quote describes the speaker's process of forgiving their father by changing their criteria for judgment from outcomes to intentions and efforts.

Financial Realizations and Personal Satisfaction

  • The speaker has realized that no incremental increase in money would significantly impact their life.
  • Personal happiness does not necessarily correlate with higher income.
  • Living comfortably on a modest budget is possible and satisfying for the speaker.

"And in realizing that there's actually no incremental increase in money that would make any difference in my life whatsoever."

The quote conveys the speaker's epiphany that additional financial gains would not enhance their quality of life, suggesting a disconnect between money and personal fulfillment.

Business Operations and Sustainable Growth

  • The speaker reflects on their all-in approach to business over the past four years.
  • There's a shift towards creating a sustainable business model that empowers others to drive growth.
  • Identifying and nurturing leadership within the business is a key focus moving forward.

"And so I think I'm entering into a different feels like I'm entering into a different chapter of, like, how could I structure the business so that it's more sustainable."

This quote indicates the speaker's intention to transition into a new phase of business management, focusing on sustainability and delegation.

Mottos of 2019

  • The speaker shares several mottos that have guided them, including "success is the best revenge" and "don't be cute."
  • Emphasizes the importance of perseverance, consistent effort, and speed in achieving success.
  • The concept of an infinite game is introduced, suggesting that one cannot lose if they do not quit.

"You cannot lose if you do not quit. So that is also one of the mottos."

The quote highlights the speaker's belief in the power of perseverance and the idea that quitting is the only true failure.

Reflection on Past Lessons and Future Goals

  • The speaker acknowledges the need for reminders of past lessons rather than new teachings.
  • There's an acceptance of mistakes made and an emphasis on continuous improvement.
  • Goal setting for the speaker is focused on actionable habits rather than specific outcomes.

"There are very few new things. It's just that we need to be reminded of the things that we already know and the lessons we've already learned."

This quote underscores the speaker's view that most learning involves recalling and applying previously acquired knowledge rather than discovering new information.

Business Success Despite Setbacks

  • The speaker shares that despite failures, their business grew by 50% in 2019.
  • The narrative suggests that resilience and forward momentum can lead to success, even amidst challenges.

"So all that to say, you can fuck up tremendously and still win as long as you just keep moving forward."

This quote encapsulates the speaker's message of hope and encouragement, emphasizing that continued effort can overcome significant mistakes and lead to success.

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