Gym Launch's Greatest Failures... and what I learned Ep 146



In a candid discussion, Jim Launch CEO reflects on recent entrepreneurial mistakes and insights gained while leading his business. He emphasizes the danger of detaching too much from operations, revealing that a lack of awareness of departmental issues is a red flag for being overly distant. He shares the costly lesson of overhiring based on inaccurate expectations of demand, which led to unnecessary layoffs despite high revenue. He also highlights misconceptions about cold traffic behavior, noting the challenge of breaking multiple customer beliefs to sell a new product. Additionally, he stresses the importance of hiring only when necessary and the pitfalls of miscommunicating new initiatives to his community, such as the 'hybrid' model, which caused confusion among gym owners. The CEO concludes by acknowledging the inherent nature of making mistakes in decision-making and the human resistance to change, while teasing exciting future releases for his company.

Summary Notes

Introduction to Jim's Entrepreneurial Lessons

  • Jim reflects on the greatest lessons and failures he has encountered as CEO of Gym Launch.
  • He aims to share these insights to prevent others from making similar mistakes.
  • Focuses on mistakes made within the last twelve months, including recent ones.

Hello everyone. Hope you're having an amazing lunch on this fantastic Thursday. I have had this one on my mind for a super long time and hopefully it comes out in a series of coherent thoughts.

This quote sets the stage for the discussion, where Jim expresses his intention to share his thoughts and experiences in a coherent manner.

But I was sharing the greatest lessons and failures that I've had as Jim launch CEO since we have started.

Jim introduces the topic of his talk, which centers around the key lessons and failures he has experienced as the CEO of Gym Launch.

Mistake of Detachment from the Business

  • Jim stepped too far away from the day-to-day operations of Gym Launch.
  • He identifies this as a common mistake among gym owners in his community.
  • Emphasizes the importance of balance and not leaning too far in one direction.

So the first mistake, well, I've made many, many mistakes, but I'll just do the last twelve months.

Jim admits to making numerous mistakes, but chooses to focus on the ones from the last twelve months.

And so starting a year ago, one of the first mistakes that I made is I stepped too far away from gym launch and so I stepped too far above.

Jim acknowledges that distancing himself too much from the business was a significant error.

Recognizing Over-Detachment through a Litmus Test

  • Jim uses a litmus test to determine if he's too detached: if he thinks everything is going well, he's likely unaware of underlying problems.
  • He believes that being unaware of issues signifies excessive detachment from the business.

And so that has become my litmus test for understanding where I'm getting too far away in the business is if I don't know what's wrong with it, then it means I'm too far.

Jim shares his personal litmus test for gauging his level of detachment from the business, which is based on his awareness of problems.

Consequence of Detachment: Overhiring

  • Detachment led to overhiring, with Gym Launch's team growing to 130 people in January.
  • Despite having the best month ever, Jim realized many employees had no work, leading to a reduction to 85 staff members.

That mistake led to us overhring in January. And so we got our team up to 130 people in January, and we currently have 85.

Jim connects his detachment to the mistake of overhiring, which resulted in an inflated team size that was later reduced.

Misjudging Cold Traffic vs. Warm Traffic

  • Jim expected cold traffic to respond to offers the same way warm traffic did.
  • This assumption was proven wrong when rolling out supplements, which succeeded with the Gym Launch community but not with cold traffic.

And so that kind of leads to the second problem or mistake that I made, was I expected cold traffic to act the same way as warm traffic with regards to an offer.

Jim discusses his second mistake, which was misjudging the behavior of cold traffic in comparison to warm traffic when it came to accepting offers.

Key Theme: The Complexity of Selling a New Offer

  • Selling a new offer often involves breaking existing customer beliefs.
  • Ideally, a new offer should have multiple attractors and only one belief that needs to be broken.
  • Jim's offer had multiple attractors but also required breaking multiple beliefs, which hindered its success.
  • The two beliefs that needed to be broken were: the necessity to sell supplements and the necessity to sell prestige.
  • This complexity was a barrier to success in cold traffic, where potential customers were not familiar with Dr. Cashy or his credentials.

"was two beliefs that needed to be broken, not one. And so whenever you sell a new offer, you always want the opportunity to have one belief that needs to be broken. Ideally, you have attractors and beliefs that need to be broken. Right. Ideally, you have multiple attractors and only one belief."

This quote emphasizes the ideal scenario for selling a new offer, which is to have several positive attractors and only one negative belief that needs to be changed.

"This one had multiple attractors, but multiple beliefs need to be broken. That was ultimately the reason it didn't work."

Jim explains that the failure of the offer was due to the complexity of having to change multiple customer beliefs, which is not ideal for a successful launch.

Key Theme: The Impact of Hiring Decisions on Business

  • Jim hired a sales team and customer service team in anticipation of increased demand, which did not materialize.
  • The unnecessary expansion led to layoffs, which negatively affected the company culture.
  • However, a positive outcome was the identification of top-performing employees.
  • Jim learned to hire only when there is a clear need ("when it hurts") and to utilize existing capacity fully before expanding the team.

"And so I hired a sales team, I hired customer service team to fulfill what I believed was going to be the increase in demand and it didn't happen."

Jim discusses his preemptive hiring decision based on expected demand, which did not occur as planned.

"And so what ended up happening is I had to cut all these people because they didn't have anything to do, right?"

This quote highlights the consequences of hiring too many employees prematurely, leading to layoffs when the anticipated demand did not come to fruition.

"Only hire when it hurts, right? You want to wait until the capacity exceeds your current ability to utilize."

Jim shares a lesson learned from his experience, advising that businesses should hire only when the workload exceeds the current team's capacity to manage effectively.

Key Theme: Efficiency and Capacity in Teams

  • Perceptions of being overworked are common, but there is often additional capacity within teams.
  • Work tends to expand to fill the time available, known as Parkinson's Law.
  • A smaller team may achieve the same output as a larger team, indicating that hiring should be carefully evaluated based on true capacity needs.

"Everyone thinks that they work really hard, but most people can work more, right?"

Jim reflects on the common human perception of hard work and the reality that many employees have the capacity to handle more work than they realize.

"We now have a staff of five doing the exact same work. Five, right. Doing the same work. And based on the calculations we have, we still have 30 or 40% capacity with that team."

This quote demonstrates how a smaller team can be just as effective as a larger one, suggesting that businesses might not need to hire as many people as they initially think.

Key Theme: The Importance of Customer Experience

  • Jim wanted to provide an amazing experience for new customers by being proactive and anticipating demand.
  • Despite good intentions, the anticipated demand did not justify the early expansion of the team.
  • The lesson learned was to align hiring with actual demand and capacity rather than expectations.

"I want to have an amazing experience for everyone who comes in, so we can anticipate it, be ahead and give it. Like I said, give an amazing experience. And that wasn't the case. We didn't need to."

Jim explains his desire to exceed customer expectations by preparing for high demand, which in hindsight was unnecessary.

Key Theme: Call to Action for Podcast Support

  • The podcast does not run ads or sell products, relying on word-of-mouth for growth.
  • The hosts ask for ratings, reviews, and shares to help reach more entrepreneurs and improve their businesses.

"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 host explains the ad-free and product-free nature of the podcast and requests listeners to help spread the word to support the entrepreneurial community.

"Is if you can rate and review and share this podcast."

"So the single thing that I ask you to do is you can just leave a review."

"It would mean the absolute world to me."

These quotes are part of the hosts' call to action, emphasizing the importance of listener support through ratings, reviews, and sharing to help the podcast grow and assist more entrepreneurs.

Understanding Customer Needs and Preferences

  • Jim acknowledges a mistake in listening to a small base of customers who desired more features, while the broader customer base preferred improvements to existing offerings.
  • He emphasizes the importance of understanding and adapting to the changing desires of customers.
  • The lesson learned is to focus on depth and quality over quantity in product offerings.

"I think that the next mistake that I made was actually I was listening to a small base of customers that wanted more things... But people wanted things that wanted fewer, things that were deeper, if that made sense."

This quote highlights the misalignment between Jim's focus on expanding offerings based on a minority's feedback and the majority's desire for refined existing products. It underscores the importance of accurately gauging customer needs.

Communicating New Initiatives to Your Community

  • Jim reflects on the mistake of not clearly communicating the concept of 'hybrid' to his existing community, leading to confusion and concern.
  • Despite the external marketing success, internal communication with gym owners was insufficient, causing a low adoption rate.
  • He learned that clear and relatable communication with one's community is crucial when introducing new concepts or services.

"I failed to articulate it well to my existing community of gym lords... But I did not communicate that well to my existing tribe."

Jim's quote reveals the communication gap between his vision for the 'hybrid' model and the perception of his gym owner community. It shows the importance of clear messaging to ensure community support for new initiatives.

Importance of Effective Messaging

  • Jim discusses the power of branding and messaging, using the term 'hybrid' as an example.
  • He conveys the importance of simple, clear language when introducing new services to avoid misunderstandings.
  • The lesson is that presentation and communication of a concept can significantly influence its reception.

"It's fucking accountability. It's all this, right? You just put a different wrapper on it."

This quote illustrates how the essence of the 'hybrid' model was lost due to complex branding, emphasizing the need for straightforward communication that resonates with the target audience.

Lessons from Business Mistakes

  • Jim shares various business lessons learned from past mistakes, such as the need to hire only when necessary.
  • He believes that each mistake is an opportunity to learn and that people often have more capacity than they or their leaders realize.
  • The takeaway is to push the limits of capacity before expanding the team and to view mistakes as learning experiences.

"The lesson I learned when we overhired was that you need to hire when it hurts... And usually people always have more capacity than you think they do and even than they think they do, right?"

Jim's quote reflects on the overhiring mistake, teaching him that hiring should be done conservatively and based on actual need, not anticipation. It also touches on the untapped potential in existing team members.

Inadvertent Benefits of Large Influx

  • The speaker, Jim, mentions an inadvertent benefit that arose from a large influx of 'a players'.
  • This suggests that the influx brought unexpected positive outcomes, possibly in terms of talent or performance within the team or organization.

"a players, which was an inadvertent benefit of having that large influx..."

  • Jim is reflecting on an unplanned positive consequence of having many high-performing individuals join, which may have improved the overall dynamic or success of their project or business.

Importance of a Single Sales Belief

  • Jim learned that having a single belief to break in a sale is crucial.
  • When multiple beliefs need to be broken, the sale becomes harder and the chance of success decreases.
  • Jim initially thought there was only one belief to break but later realized there were two.

"One single belief that needs to be broken. When there are multiple beliefs, the sale becomes significantly harder..."

  • This quote emphasizes the lesson Jim learned about the complexity of sales when multiple customer beliefs must be addressed, which can hinder the sales process and reduce the likelihood of a successful offer.

Messaging Around Hybrid

  • Jim discusses the messaging strategy for a new program called 'hybrid'.
  • He suggests that referring to the program simply as an added service of 'accountability' could have led to better internal acceptance.
  • Jim reflects on the idea of marketing the program differently internally and externally for better reception.

"If I had just said, hey, guys, we're launching this new program, all it is is an additional level of service on top of what you already do at your gym. And we're calling it accountability..."

  • This quote reveals Jim's hindsight on how he could have better communicated the introduction of a new service to increase buy-in from his team or clients by framing it as an enhancement to existing services rather than a separate entity.

Perception of Intent to Help

  • Jim addresses a misconception that he no longer wishes to help gyms.
  • He expresses confusion over this belief, as he sees his actions as consistently aimed at supporting gyms.
  • Jim acknowledges that there must be some truth to the concerns raised, indicating a mistake on his part.

"I just don't know what I would need to do to someone. I'm not going to start. Literally all I do is help gyms."

  • In this quote, Jim is defending his commitment to helping gyms, while also recognizing that the perception of his intent is not aligned with his actions, suggesting a communication or strategic error on his part.

Acceptance of Making Mistakes

  • Jim comes to terms with the inevitability of making mistakes, especially when making decisions with unknown outcomes.
  • He shares this acceptance with others, possibly as advice or consolation.
  • Jim highlights that humans generally dislike change, a realization that has implications for how he communicates changes in the future.

"And the thing is that especially when you have decisions to make, you don't know what the right answer is. And you never will know what would have happened if you had done it the other way."

  • This quote conveys Jim's understanding that decision-making involves uncertainty and that one can never be sure of the counterfactuals, reinforcing the idea that mistakes are a natural part of the entrepreneurial process.

Human Resistance to Change

  • Jim observes that while entrepreneurs may love change, most people, including employees and clients, do not.
  • He recognizes the need for more empathetic communication when articulating change.
  • Jim advises against a purely factual and forceful approach to communicating change.

"But I have realized now that humans hate change. No matter how well I sell it, everyone fucking hates change."

  • Jim acknowledges a fundamental human resistance to change, which has influenced his reflection on the need for more empathetic communication strategies when introducing new ideas or strategies to his team or clients.

Upcoming Exciting Announcements

  • Jim expresses excitement about upcoming releases and calls that he believes will be impactful.
  • He conveys a sense of anticipation for the new developments he has been working on.

"The next two release calls are going to be fucking epic. I'm so pumped."

  • This quote highlights Jim's enthusiasm for future announcements and suggests that he is eager to share these developments with others, indicating confidence in the value of the upcoming releases.

Gratitude and Encouragement

  • Jim thanks those who have successfully implemented the 'hybrid' program.
  • He expresses his desire to share testimonials as a form of encouragement.
  • Jim ends on a positive note, wishing everyone well and reinforcing a sense of community and support.

"But anyways, thank you to all the hybrid crushers. I have a little testimonials I'm excited to launch for those of you who have been implementing it."

  • This quote shows Jim's appreciation for those who have embraced the new program and his intent to use their testimonials to inspire and validate the program's success.

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