Every week, I get to speak to a dozen CrossFit Affiliate owners whose businesses I know inside and out, and a few newcomers I’m meeting for the first time.
While I can’t always predict who will be successful in the long run, I usually come away from a first-time phone consultation with a strong inclination one way or another.
Some are starting with $60-100k banked; some are starting (as I did) with nothing. Some are still feeling the Affiliation afterglow; some have been working too hard for too long, and they’re simply tired.Everyone wants to do better. I love them all, and want everyone to be successful. Some won’t be.
It’s not the money. It’s not “commitment.” It’s not The Law of the Jungle, or The Law of Toyland, or the very real bureaucratic hurdles faced by every entrepreneur. Those things matter, but the possessors of certain qualities can overcome all. The qualities alone may not make a better entrepreneur.
Their intersection point, however – the ‘X’ where they meet – is where future greatness lies.
Those two qualities are:
- Possessing a Strong Work Ethic
- Having Something to Lose.
Work Ethic can’t be taught….but it can be learned.
Give me the girl who can work a 15-hour day, six days a week, over the guy starting with $50k of daddy’s money. By sheer volume alone, she’s going to learn more lessons by 7am than most will learn all day. Even if she’s making mistakes, she’ll dig her tires out of the mud before anyone notices.
Something to lose: if you’re like me, you’re at your best with your back to the wall.
Who’s going to be successful? The guy with his house on the line. Calling an overdue account becomes a lot easier when there’s no other way to pay for groceries. THIS is exposure to real risk, and it’s usually undervalued. When bankers are loaning start-up money; when shareholders are negotiating equity, RISK is the element typically taken for granted. The person with the most to lose is most likely to make gains. The threat of removing a ‘pound of flesh’ isn’t terrible when the option is losing an arm and a leg. Twenty thousand dollars isn’t a large number…unless it puts your house in jeopardy.
Some would argue that ‘luck’ plays a large role in the success of an Affiliate, and I don’t disagree. But luck gets up early, folks, and it’s gone by lunchtime. If you’re not on the street by sunup, it will saunter by without stopping. There are two dozen old saws about luck, work, and opportunity…I’ll spare you.
What are the commonalities, then? What tips me off, when I’m talking to these strangers? It’s the way they approach their homework.
Sometimes, the work is mundane (who wants to write a cleaning checklist?) Sometimes, they’re writing policies that others take for granted. Sometimes, they’re cleaning up their Facebook spelling, and setting alarms to remind them to post on Twitter, and spending 60 minutes tagging people’s faces in photo albums.
If you can tackle a staff handbook the way you tackle ‘Murph,’ you’ve got it in you. If you can come in at 5am to practice writing, or squeeze out 5000 words per day, you’re going to win. If you can coach and coach, every hour on the hour, missing your own workouts and nutrition, and still smile at the 9pm ‘snatch’ jokes, you’re going to be okay. Best of all, if you can look your partners in the eye and say, “I want to talk about my time spent here,” you’ll make it. With or without them. I have faith in you.
This article was written by Chris Cooper, of Catalyst Fitness/CrossFit Catalyst. He has his own blog, Don’t buy Ads, where he shares relevant info for CrossFit boxes. Chris has also partnered with 321Go Project to offer affiliate business mentoring/coaching to affiliates who are either stuck or are ready to take it to the next level. Find out more about our affiliate business mentoring/coaching strategies >>