These two are the real deal. To them success is a choice and hard work, effort and passion are what drives them to continue to grow, improve and literally set the tone for the entire strength, fitness and athletic development industry.
Varsity House Gym lives on the border of New York and New Jersey. It is state of the art, purpose built and filled to the brim with buzzing athletes, members and staff and has been the centre point for their new venture: The Business of Strength.
Based on the operational systems the pair have implemented over the decade they have run the business together, Joe and Dan now run an educative program for up and coming strength and fitness professionals and entrepreneurs.
The passion these men have for what they do oozes out of them. Not only is it inspiring to hear them speak of their success so far and the plans they have yet to make a reality, but the conversation will lay the groundwork for you to make the changes necessary to make your life better.
You can absolutely turn passion into profit and it is something to not only chase but be super proud of.
Tune in by searching for Your Revolution on your podcasts app (iPhone) or Stitch app (android) or by jumping across to revo.pt/yourrevolutionpodcast
Jane Erbacher: Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the Your Revolution Podcast, my name is Jane Erbacher and I’m your host. I just wanted to do a pre-intro-intro, to this week’s episode because I’m really excited about it and everybody’s getting really used to me being excited, and I guess if I wasn’t excited you’d all think that something was wrong, so it’s lucky that I am excited.
But I’m coming to you, again, from New York, my favourite place in the world. I absolutely love it. I’m heading off to Austin this week to reunite with my friends Dave and Courtney from, Off the Line. Then heading to Portland, Oregon with Project Row, Project Ski, with my friend Nick Eldridge. I’m running a workshop with him out of his gym. His business is called Higher Standards Fitness. I’m so excited to go up to Oregon, I’ve heard that it’s absolutely beautiful. Everyone keeps saying I’m really going to like it, because there’s great outdoors stuff, and there’s really good coffee. So, I was like, “Yes! I like both of those things very much.”
Then, heading back to Salt Like City, Utah. Absolutely love Utah for the Gym Jones Advanced Course. I’ll also be running my row and ski workshops out of Gym Jones on the 19th of August. Then, head back to LA. Then, I go across to Iowa, Iowa City, and I’m running a workshop out of Alchemy Strength. Really excited to go to Iowa.
Lots of cool stuff happening for me. But this week’s episode really deserved an intro because it’s with, what I would say, some of the best fitness entrepreneurs in the whole world, and that’s Joe Riggio and Dan Goodman, the founders, creators, brains, and brawn of Varsity House. These two are absolutely incredible. When I started this podcast, about 18 months ago or just a little bit over, one of my real missions was to talk to the people that had passion oozing out of them for what they do. They’re clearly getting up every single day, and they’re going for what they believe in. Joe and Dan absolutely epitomise this. It’s not just in business that they’re successful, but it’s in their every day approach to their life. It’s their attitude.
I decided after the episode with them that I wanted to do a little bit of a series this coming month, which is, “How to turn passion into profit.” I think that a lot of us get really scared when we do work in our passion, to actually charge for it, or to take any money for it. What I’ve really come to learn, this year, after turning my passion into an absolute career is that the way to sustain a career in your passion, where you are helping people, where you are trying to have an impact on the world, is to actually be able to pay yourself. If you can’t survive working in your passion, or working in your craft, then you can’t deliver what you need to deliver. If your goal is to impact the world, and impact people, then you need to take care of yourself in a way that enables you to do that on even a small scale, or a mass scale.
Joe and Dan are a perfect example of two people who believe so whole-heartedly in changing the world, and having an impact, and helping people, and educating, and empowering, and inspiring. They do it in a way that takes care of them and their family, as well. They don’t put themselves second to that, and I think that’s so interesting and so important to learn from this. So many us, almost apologise for our part in it. It always comes back to a self-worth thing, “Am I enough for somebody to pay for?” If this is something you’re thinking about, and I get emails every single week from people who ask me about how they can change careers and turn passion into profit, and this is how. Listen to everything they say and this is how.
I really hope that you enjoy the episode, thank you so much for the ongoing support. Make sure you do reach out to me if you’ve got anything to say. I would love to hear from you. My email address is probably the best it’s, email@example.com.
I’ll talk to you soon, bye.
Hello and welcome to the Your Revolution Podcast. The Your Revolution Podcast is a collaboration between revolution, personal, and performance training in Melbourne, and the, ME project. The purpose of the, Your Revolution Podcast is to inspire you on your mission of betterment. Each week on the podcast you’ll meet game changers who have created extraordinary lives. You’ll listen to stories and lessons to empower you to make the changes necessary to your life. The, Your Revolution Podcast is committed to fitness, health, nutrition, mindset, community, education, empowerment, and betterment. We hope that you can take what you learn here and apply it to your very own revolution.
Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the Your Revolution Podcast, my name Jane Erbacher, and I’m your host. I am so excited! I can’t handle this, though, that we are so technologically savvy, here at Varsity House. We have hooked a full on … I feel like I’m on the radio, this is the best.
Joe Riggio: It sounds good.
Dan Goodman: We are.
Jane Erbacher: It does, we are!
Joe Riggio: We are.
Dan Goodman: This is web radio.
Joe Riggio: With DJ Prophecy in the building, T-Money.
Jane Erbacher: Thank you, Trevor, for hooking this up.
Trevor: Yeah, I’m happy to do this, this is fun for me.
Jane Erbacher: This is the best. So I am so excited. I am at one of my favourite places in the whole world. I was trying to add up on my hands today how many times I’ve been back to Varsity House, and I can’t add it up, but, today’s the first time I’ve driven here. So, congratulations.
Joe Riggio: How was the ride, was it sketchy?
Jane Erbacher: You drive on the right side of the road, which you would think was the right side of the road, it was definitely the wrong side of the road. But, I am so excited to be here at Varsity House, it’s absolutely one of my favourite places in the world. I keep looking for excuses to move here, and maybe I could become your nanny, Joe?
Joe Riggio: That’s it! You’re hired, for sure.
Jane Erbacher: I am here with Joe and Dan, the owners, creators, brains, and brawn. Both of them are brains and brawn. Neither of them is one or the other. I am really excited because we’ve got both of them here for the podcast today.
Joe Riggio: Trevor’s the brains.
Jane Erbacher: Definitely. But I’m really excited. It was funny, because I’ve talked to both of you individually about whether or not I would interview you independently or whether I’d have it as a team situation, and up until today I was planning on interviewing you separately because you both bring so much individually to the business, and also to the world, and also as my friends, individually. But I also feel like together as a partnership, you’re an incredible example of how to run a business. So I’ve decided to, first, all to be together, so I’m not gonna ask one of you to leave the room now. You made the cut.
Dan Goodman: You can’t separate us.
Jane Erbacher: No, you’re Joe and Dan. Or Dan and Joe.
Trevor: We’ve been married for 10 years.
Jane Erbacher: It’s true. And I also thought, I did say to Dan, imagine if I put your podcast up before Joe’s. I think I’d be dead to him.
Joe Riggio: That would definitely cause some beef here.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah! But thank you both so much for being here today, in your gym, which I absolutely love. I really, really wanted you on the podcast this time cause I want to talk about Varsity House and what an incredible place it is that you’ve created. But I also want to talk about what you’re both creating with the business of strength. So the loose banner under this … the heading for this podcast is “How to Turn Passion into Profit.” So that’s what I’d like to talk about today. I’d really love if each of you could give us a brief introduction on what’s led you to now. Joe, you’ve been on the podcast a year ago …
Joe Riggio: Sure.
Jane Erbacher: And I still, I don’t know if I told you this, I still receive emails at least weekly about your episode.
Joe Riggio: That’s awesome.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, it’s really cool. So a lot of people, in and out of the fitness industry, you’ve left a mark on. So I think that’s a real testament to you. So I’d really like to hear from you first, Dan. Just on kind of what your path here has been, cause people haven’t met you in Australia, a lot of them, and I’d really love them to meet the Dan that I know. There is one thing I will say before this though. I still remember when I met you guys for the first time, Gym Jones Intermediate, and we’ve talked about this because immediately I was like “I’ve never met guys like this.” You guys are like big, football guys, and I was like “I don’t know if I’m gonna have anything in common with you,” and I was a little bit scared of you both, and I have to say that you are both two of my favourite people in the world.
Joe Riggio: Oh that’s cool. Thank you. You’re awesome too.
Jane Erbacher: And, I did say this to you in the car though, I haven’t met such engaging, interested, interesting, and proactive people. You’re both doing what you need to do every day. You’re not resting on your laurels. And I think that that’s awesome. I think that the meathead heading, I think that you should wear that as a …
Joe Riggio: That’s a badge of honour for us, you know …
Jane Erbacher: Yeah it is!
Joe Riggio: It just kind of goes with the territory, being Joe from Jersey. What are you gonna do?
Jane Erbacher: Totally. But …
Joe Riggio: It works though.
Jane Erbacher: It totally does. But both of you are so savvy, so intelligent, and such great men, and I’m just excited that people get to hear from you.
Joe Riggio: Well thank you for having us on the show here. It’s awesome having you in Jersey, or New York, yet again.
Jane Erbacher: We’re right on the border.
Joe Riggio: Right on the border.
Dan Goodman: Right on the border.
Joe Riggio: Literally. But we still go with …
Dan Goodman: We’re straight Jersey now.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah.
Joe Riggio: Still Jersey. The residence is still both in New Jersey.
Jane Erbacher: Oh okay.
Dan Goodman: Our story, I mean, I know Joe has been on this podcast before, but for everybody that doesn’t know, I actually train with Joe as athlete, so our partnership really started organically like that, as coach and athlete. I had worked at some other gyms before, and I was still playing football at the University of Rhode Island, and one summer I came back and my little brother started training, and we started bringing some family and friends to the gym, and Joe said “Hey man, I think that we could probably start a business here. For the next couple weeks why don’t you try to bring a kid to the gym every day, and for every kid you bring here I’ll give you $100.” I was like, you kidding me?
Jane Erbacher: That’s the best.
Joe Riggio: Carloads of little kids, with terrified looks on their faces.
Dan Goodman: I was like, man, I could do this …
Joe Riggio: Get in there and work out.
Dan Goodman: Easily. So we did that for a summer, and made quite a bit of money doing that, and when we left, I went back to play my 5th year, I had a scholarship, University of Rhode Island, I said, you know, I’m obviously gonna see this through. All the while though, we put together a business plan, I came home from school mid-year, and three months later, May 1st of 2009, we were in our first space, and the rest is kind of history, where that’s where Varsity House started to form. We started Varsity House number two.
From that point, the first three years was just full on grind. We worked nonstop, tonnes of session hours, we had no systems in place. We really had to find each other in terms of our business partnership. After year three, we really decided we have to hire some help, we have to find some people to help us, really move this business forward. That’s when we got out and got some coaching and started putting some operating systems in place, really without even knowing we were doing it.
Fast forward, we went through the Gym Jones certification process, we spent a lot of time with other business coaches, like I said, spending a lot of money on our development as people and business owners, and we knew that we wanted to get in the educational side of fitness, we just didn’t know what route we were gonna take. We said, “Man, we’re getting a lot of questions about business and business development. Maybe we can start doing an educational programme on business.” And, that in the last year’s been the creation of Business of Strength. I know I can speak for myself, it’s been a lot of fun the last year or so, putting on … we’re gonna have our second instalment of Business of Strength …
Jane Erbacher: And that’s here at Varsity?
Joe Riggio: That’s here.
Dan Goodman: That’s here, and we’re gonna be giving a talk at Gym Jones in two weeks. Then we’re actually going over to London at the beginning of 2018 to give a talk and to give a business another …
Joe Riggio: To do another mentorship with Steve Kolenko.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, at Reach?
Dan Goodman: Yeah, it’s gonna be great.
Jane Erbacher: Awesome. Everybody in London will have to sign up for this.
Joe Riggio: Yeah, that’ll be fun.
Dan Goodman: So that’s nine years in a nutshell. We’ve done a lot. We’ve made a lot of mistakes, and I’ll let Joe take it over from here cause I know he probably wants to retell the story. He’ll probably have a different take on it.
Joe Riggio: No I mean, look, everything kind of fell into place. There’s a lot of things people could say, like “Well, you got lucky with this, you got lucky with that.” But there’s no such thing as luck in business. We just made conscious moves along the way. Partnering up with Dan in 2009, going to the gym. We did not have any systems, but we had a training plan that I had been using, and I had followed. So the one thing we knew we had was a really good training programme. Before we even knew we had it, we had a really great mentorship programme for developing coaches, before we even knew it. Our first coach was Big Mike, right, he was our first intern. I think I told you this story in the last one, but my Big Mike intern, and we worked him like a savage. 50 hours a week, for $250 every other week, it was terrible. It was definitely illegal, but …
Dan Goodman: He’s still here.
Jane Erbacher: He’s still here.
Joe Riggio: Definitely illegal. But, and Mike had already been training for a long time and was a super strong dude and was really into it, but had no idea how to programme for athletes and stuff like that. So I spent a lot of time teaching Mike. Dan had already been through a lot of training. Obviously through his own training, college, and then years of training with me prior to us becoming businessmen, so he had learned the system kind of by absorption, by osmosis. By being in it and doing it for three or four years before we partnered up.
So we had a good training, and we had a mentorship. Those are two of the absolute fundamental components. Right? You have to have a great product, and you have to have the way to develop great employees. We kind of started that process right from the beginning, without even knowing it. All of that has completely evolved and now we have this giant manual for our interns, and we have weekly meetings, they have tests, quizzes, projects that they have to do when they’re here in the summertime. It’s evolved into a very top-notch mentorship programme for an entire summer, where back then it was just Big Mike, just watch what I do and pay attention.
Dan Goodman: We spent a lot of time and money on the development of our staff. I believe it’s the only way to scale a business.
Joe Riggio: Yeah. We’ve always, this is something I’ll say on the business side, just a little nugget for all the strength entrepreneurs out there is we’ve always believed in paying people’s salaries. We don’t pay people by the hour, because then you get hourly employees.
Jane Erbacher: Yes.
Joe Riggio: You get people who are looking to come work their hour and peace out. You know what I mean? So we always paid somebody as either a full-time salary or a part-time salary, and lock them into specific shifts, times and requirements. And even if you’re a part-time employee, let’s say Leslie at the front desk, right, who’s a part-time employee …
Jane Erbacher: Who I love.
Joe Riggio: Leslie’s amazing right? But she has a specific role. She is the billings department, her job is specific. So I gave her … you know, it’s giving people ownership, it’s giving them responsibility right from the beginning. And it’s paying them salary, and it’s giving them the ability to grow as a person and as an employee.
Jane Erbacher: And security then.
Joe Riggio: Security, everything.
Jane Erbacher: You go home, and you still think about your job. It’s not … you don’t clock off.
Joe Riggio: A lot of gyms want to save money. Crossfit gyms do this a lot. This is no knock on Crossfit gyms, cause it’s not Crossfit, it’s the owners of those gyms, but a lot of Crossfit gyms and smaller box gyms, they want to save money. So it’s like hey, can you come teach two classes a week and I’ll give you $50 per class.
Jane Erbacher: Totally.
Joe Riggio: Well, how is that getting an employee that has any investment in what you’re doing?
Jane Erbacher: Totally. And then they’re teaching at the other box around the corner as well for two hours a week.
Joe Riggio: Right. Here you can’t coach anywhere else. If you coach somewhere else, you can’t work here.
Jane Erbacher: Totally.
Joe Riggio: You know what I mean?
Jane Erbacher: Yeah.
Joe Riggio: So that’s kind of been our thing.
So that started right from the beginning and when I look back now, ten years ago, it’s like man, that was pretty damn smart.
Jane Erbacher: Yes I know!
Joe Riggio: And we didn’t mean it to be. It was really like … you know I remember I was sitting down with Craig, our accountant, Craig who’s coming in a little bit. We should make Craig sit down and do the podcast.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah.
Joe Riggio: And …
Dan Goodman: He’d love it.
Joe Riggio: Craig, come here for a second. He’d be terrified, right?
But I remember sitting down with him and Justin and being like, what should we do? How do we pay everybody? Well, just give them what you can afford, lock them into something. You want to build a good employee, you make sure you give them the opportunity to grow and own something. And I don’t mean own something like own a piece of company, but own something within the company.
Mike is in charge … Mike has always been, in a sense, the head strength and conditioning coach. He’s always been in charge of writing athletic programmes. He’s always dealt with the athletes and had a piece of that in terms of when he looks down at the gym floor now, and sees Adam doing what Adam does, Shawn doing what Shawn does, Joey doing what he does, and how Simone’s developed into an awesome coach, he can look down there with pride and say, I helped create that. I helped foster those abilities. I helped foster the gym. The success of the gym is a big piece of his ownership in our training programmes and what goes on on the gym floor. That’s allowed us to do stuff like this cause Mike’s down there training right now and working with guys right now.
That’s been a big part of the development in this story. I think what led us to Business of Strength was like what Dan said. Every time we went to … we’d go to a training workshop and people see our gym and they’d be like, how are you guys getting clients? Alright, what about, do you want to learn how to train athletes? No, no, no, how do you … So, how are you guys doing your marketing? Who does the marketing? Who does the operations? You know, blah, blah, blah, and we get into an hour long conversation about the business. What about training athletes?
Dan Goodman: Yeah.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah. You go like, we want to talk about this.
Joe Riggio: Nobody gave a … nobody cared. Nobody cares here, you know?
Dan Goodman: I think it’s funny too, I think actually on your video you can see this quote I went over with the interns yesterday, and I posted about it, and I wrote the article on Monday about Starbucks, but from their CEO, we just talk about Starbucks is not an advertiser. Everybody thinks there’s this huge marketing conglomerate. You don’t see them marketing on the Superbowl, you don’t see Starbucks billboards. What they talk about is the development of their employees. That’s where their time and money is spent …
Joe Riggio: And client experience.
Dan Goodman: Exactly. And the thing is, is here, we’re not spending $100,000 a month on Facebook ads. We’re not putting in paid advertising in a newspaper. We’re putting in our time, money, and expertise into developing the next great strength and conditioning coach …
Jane Erbacher: Totally.
Dan Goodman: The next great head of operations, because that’s enabled us to do the things that we want to do, and further our career as strength entrepreneurs where we no longer have to do 50 session hours a week. And we didn’t have to take a pay cut to do it. You know, where a lot of people are, oh man, I gotta shift gears and I gotta try and do this over here, but am I gonna be able to pay rent? It’s like, no, I know I’m gonna be able to pay rent because we have great people that we allow to do their jobs. I mean, Trevor, who’s sitting in the room right now, he’s our general manager who’s the de facto complaint department. Anytime anyone has a problem around the gym, they go to Trevor, but he’s become a resource for everybody that works here, and by and large, we know that we’ve got great, reliable help at the gym all the time.
Joe Riggio: Putting ownership on people, I think a lot of times also forces them to level up.
Jane Erbacher: Totally, like how you did with …
Joe Riggio: So, as soon as I told Mike … I remember sitting him down and being like, Mike … and this was years ago. We’re talking 2000, I think right after our trip to Westside so like 2011. He’d been working for two years, he’d been doing a great job, totally immersed himself into training and stuff like that. I said, Mike, we’re getting business cards and so I said, head strength and conditioning coach. I remember his eyes lit up like … you know he’s like head strength and conditioning coach? Does that mean I’m in charge of strength and conditioning? Yes, Mike. That’s kind of what that means, right? But you know, it was a prideful moment for him. He’d worked his ass off.
Dan Goodman: Yeah, for sure.
Jane Erbacher: Totally.
Joe Riggio: So it’s like great. So there was a little bit of acknowledgement, but it gave him ownership, and he’s like, I’m signing up for these workshops. I’m doing … this summer he’s going to, you know Eric Cressey, he’s a great practitioner. Big in baseball, and shoulder mobility, flexibility, correct effects, stuff like that. Mike trains all our baseball players, so he’s going to one of Cressey’s workshops and he’s super excited about that. He’s always trying to level himself cause he takes a tonne of pride in that title. Hey I’m the head strength and conditioning coach here at Varsity House. He does all of the technical strength and conditioning, teaching with our interns, and stuff like that. Giving him that title has forced him to level up.
Creating a position for Trevor, calling him the general manager has forced him to level up. Trevor was always a super talented IT guy, computer, graphics, video, pictures, art, stuff like that. But going to the other side of the table and becoming a businessman, and a leader, and being able to conduct a meeting at the front desk with the girls, and our front desk staff, and the other coaches, and be like, hey guys, here’s the stuff we have on the table. Here’s what we have to do. Here’s our new onboarding process, or whatever it is, and help to implement those things, has been … That happened because we said, Trevor, when we go to the new gym, you’re gonna be the general manager and I need help with x, y, and z, you gotta make this happen, dude. And that’s it. It’s like, step up. Everybody has, but I think it only happens when you force people to. If you leave it … again if we go back to that part-time employee thing, part-time employee means part-time investment.
Jane Erbacher: Totally. 100%.
Joe Riggio: There’s really little investment. Even with part-time employees, you can really help them stand out and make a difference in your company by helping them, by giving them something that’s theirs to control.
Susan’s in charge of all the clothing ordering and supplements. Simone obviously has our SNAP Nutrition programme and she runs SNAP Nutrition. Trevor’s mom, who also works part-time at the front desk, she’s in charge of all the product ordering. All our supplies and things like that. She takes pride in every Monday when, or every Tuesday rather, when Mama Langsdon, she does all the inventory and stuff like that. So it’s given people something that’s like, hey, this is something that I do every day, it’s nice. Instead of just sitting there at the front desk, waiting for someone to come into the gym with nothing to do.
Dan Goodman: But even more so for the strength entrepreneurs that are listening, that are running their own spaces, is for the coaches that work here, on top of creating a salary system for them and talking about retirement, we also are providing our coaches with paid days off, which does not exist in this industry.
Jane Erbacher: Mm-mm (negative)
Joe Riggio: No.
Dan Goodman: We’ve also provided them with continuing education, an allotment of funds for each person where we have, not just Big Mike, but I know Joey’s going to the Cressey Performance.
Joe Riggio: He’s going too, yeah.
Dan Goodman: Trevor’s going to the WordPress level one and two for the development of our website. You know, Joe and I are headed back to Gym Jones in the next couple weeks, and Adam just went to Bedros’s business summit.
Joe Riggio: Summit, yeah. You know, more like [crosstalk 00:23:33]
Dan Goodman: Everybody here, on a monthly basis, is going to learn. And they feel empowered to come back and share that experience with everybody because, it’s really more of a team like-minded approach as opposed to … I know people have asked in the past, You know, Big Mike’s the head of strength and conditioning, he’s going to this or that, it’s like, yeah. All that does is make our team better. If our team’s better, then I’m better.
Jane Erbacher: Totally.
Joe Riggio: Me and Dan can’t go to everything, so it’s like, you know …
Jane Erbacher: Right. And what’s the point? Because it’s like, something that you’ve set up so well in your business, and I think this is why people are so interested to learn from you from a business side, is you don’t need to be in amongst every single operation of the gym for it to be successful.
Joe Riggio: Hell no. I don’t want to be. No.
Jane Erbacher: And it’s crazy to have your … it would be crazy for you too. So the interesting part about that I think is that so many gym owners, I’ve got a couple of questions from things that you’ve said, but so many gym owners have their ego attached to needing to be involved with every aspect of the gym. How have you both separated that? How have you both said, Trevor’s better at all of that than us, and if he’s …
Joe Riggio: Arguing. There’s been some arguing. No, but A, I want to make money. Right? So if you want to make money, you have to let go. You go to Tony Robbins, you go to any major business entrepreneur and the first thing he says, you gotta learn to delegate. You gotta learn to let go. You can’t do everything, and that’s one.
Two, especially for me, and I know I’ve talked to you about this personally, but one of the absolute best moments was seeing Dan and Mike turn the corner as coaches. Seeing Dan lead an entire crew of high school athletes, empower them, train them, write the training programme, train the team, give them the speeches. When they came in the gym they were looking for Coach Dan. You know like, is Dan here? Is Dan here? You know what I mean? And he had made the connection, the bond, and fostered the relationship, facilitated the money aspect of that with the coaches and the parents, and really took ownership. It was like man, that’s the moment for me as the gym dad in this sense, when it was like, wow that’s what I was looking for. That’s what you need.
So its like now with Dan seeing Adam take that leap. Where me and him both helped Adam grow. Dan spent a lot of time with Adam on the business side and the marketing and stuff like that. To see Adam become a phenomenal coach, he’s an amazing coach. And also he’s a really sharp kid with a really good business mind, to walk into our office one day when we’re having a meeting and he’s like guys, I really think I could help you out with this, this, and this on the business side.
Dan Goodman: With finished processes.
Joe Riggio: And for what it’s worth, on that side, he took a chance, and he got shit done. You know what I mean? So it’s like, I can help you out, but you gotta make it happen.
So I think that the ego’s a big part. I get a lot of people in the industry who, I don’t know, they think they’re saving money by not hiring people around them, and they’re really losing a lot of money.
Dan Goodman: And short term they may be. You know?
Joe Riggio: Well yeah. So I mean look, I get that sometimes there is a money issue. But I also see a lot of guys in the industry, they do a lot of travelling, there’s a lot of lifestyle people, you know what I mean? So you got money to travel around the country and do like a …
Dan Goodman: What’s important.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah.
Joe Riggio: So you know, we didn’t go anywhere for a long time. We didn’t spend any money. I went from making good money and running my own gym to barely taking a cent for myself for a few years to put money back in the business to see it grow. We do that today. When we moved here, we cut our salaries, we put money back into the gym, and it was like, hey we want to take this to another level, we gotta hire three or four new employees. We’re spending two and a half million dollars on building a new gym. We gotta make some …
Jane Erbacher: Totally. And it’s an issue of priority then. Cause that’s the thing that I kept thinking, how many people who would own a gym that would say, I just can’t afford to pay somebody a salary. And it’s like, it’s about what you then prioritise. Cause it’s like, how do you develop your gym if you’re in your gym working on everything all the time?
Joe Riggio: Let’s just say too, I think some people get worried about hiring employees. I just think that you’re hiring the … there’s something flawed in your hiring process. If you know personally and you can look introspectively and say hey look, this is definitely, IT is a clear weakness for me. It’s a clear weakness for him. Well, shit we need to figure this out. In comes Trevor, who has a background and a degree in that.
Jane Erbacher: Right, wouldn’t you get the best.
Joe Riggio: So why wouldn’t we lean on him for that? And obviously I want to learn more from him, but I’m not gonna tell him what to do in his own field.
Jane Erbacher: Yes.
Dan Goodman: You could just go back in our old YouTube videos, in the first YouTube videos, the ones that I did myself …
Jane Erbacher: Yeah …
Joe Riggio: And you could see that there’s zero quality or ability.
Dan Goodman: But also what takes him one hour, can take him three minutes. So now what have we created?
Joe Riggio: Yeah, we’ve created an accountant and everything[crosstalk 00:28:36]
Dan Goodman: We’ve created time.
Jane Erbacher: Yes.
Dan Goodman: We’ve put more time back on our plates. If we go out and we hire a great coach, and they go through our internship process, and they go through the betterment programme of being here at Varsity House, it’s like, why do you need to have your finger on that person all the time? You’re just inhibiting their growth and that’s just gonna do that person and yourself a disservice.
Joe Riggio: What was the thing we said the other day, it’s like, can you afford not to train your …
Dan Goodman: No I used it as a quote on my Instagram.
Joe Riggio: Yeah I forget what it was.
Dan Goodman: I’ll read it verbatim.
Joe Riggio: I’ll read it, yeah. It was really great. It’s the truth though. For certain.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah.
Dan Goodman: Hang on a sec. Alright, so I actually used this quote with the interns yesterday when you posted it, but it reads like this, “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave, is not training them and having them stay.”
Jane Erbacher: Yes. Oh my god that’s so good! Did you write that?
Dan Goodman: What’s that?
Jane Erbacher: Did you write that?
Dan Goodman: No I didn’t write that.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, I’m like …
Dan Goodman: No, I can’t take credit for that.
Joe Riggio: No, we’re smart but not that smart.
Dan Goodman: I used the quote from [crosstalk 00:29:39]
Jane Erbacher: That is so true.
Joe Riggio: We spend an enormous amount of time in meetings. When I talk to people, right …
Dan Goodman: Dad’s ringing me. Hey Dan, what’s going on?
Joe Riggio: I tell people we have a team meeting every single week. We have an advisory board meeting every single week. We have a leadership meeting every single week. I have individual meetings with almost every person in the gym every single week. You know what I mean? I meet with the interns more than once a week.
Dan Goodman: But you know, what’s the common theme here? It’s education.
Joe Riggio: It’s all education.
Jane Erbacher: Mm-hmm (affirmative) and communication.
Dan Goodman: The hours didn’t go away. People are like, what, are Joe and Dan sipping pina coladas at Long Branch? No. It’s the educational process that instead of taking 40 session hours, now it’s 10 session hours for highly important and scheduled teams. And now it’s 30 hours of development of our team.
Joe Riggio: Yeah. I would say right now for this summer it’s been 25 and 25.
Jane Erbacher: And this is the interesting …
Dan Goodman: Whatever it is.
Joe Riggio: I mean right now this summer, me and Dan, look and I don’t want people to think that we’re still in the thick of it. Me and Dan are doing upwards of 20-25 sessions a week, training hours on the floor. So you know 20 booked hours is more like 30 because of all the before and after time. It’s not like, at three o’clock when I have a session I run down to the floor at 2:59, you know I’m down there for a half an hour before it even gets going. So you have that, we’re training hard, we’re developing processes, we are always trying to streamline the operations and the client experience as much as possible.
I try to treat the business … imagine if you were a coach. A lot of people in the industry are wanting to be great strength and conditioning coaches, so imagine that you were going to take an American football athlete and coach them up for the NFL combine so they can get into the NFL. You’re gonna break down all those drills, their 40 yard dash, their pro-agility shuttle, their broad jumps, their verts and all those things. We’re gonna go back and forth and we’re gonna smash through those drills and we’re gonna break ’em down to the nth degree and I’m gonna create this 16 week plan and I’m gonna work backwards and I’m gonna spend hours obsessing over should they do hammer curls, or barbell curls as their arm finisher or whatever. Should it be a 10 by 2 speed day or 5 by 4 power day, whatever, but when it comes down to their business, they’re running around with their head cut off. You’ve gotta break down every single process. You’ve gotta analyse it. You gotta develop a system for it. Whatever it is, you gotta identify a need, create a solution, create a …
Jane Erbacher: Path.
Joe Riggio: A plan to fix the solution, whatever that might be, and then you gotta implement it and teach it to everybody. So then we’re all on the same page.
Jane Erbacher: Totally. It’s exactly the same thing.
Joe Riggio: So where I used to maybe do 40-50 training hours a week, now I do maybe half that, but I spend the other equal amount of time doing those things and breaking down those systems so that other people can do them, so that I don’t have to. There is very rarely ever a time where I have to go to the front desk to fix something that’s happened with a billing issue …
Jane Erbacher: Totally. What a waste of time for you.
Joe Riggio: Or scheduling, programming. Anything at the front desk it’s like no, I never have to deal with that. The girls are well versed, we’ve gone over everything, they’ve got a giant manual down there, and now they call Trevor for us so …[crosstalk 00:33:24]
Dan Goodman: I think also too, and we talked about it privately, is I think what separates, well I know what separated Joe and I as strength entrepreneurs is that we’re still doing it. We’re still here every day, we’re still … I mean, we may travel for things and we may have seminars, and we are doing some consulting work, but we’re not five or six or 10 years removed from the business where we had a successful business and now we’re just telling everybody what to do. There’s still trials and tribulations here as to what’s working, what’s not working. We just did this check for charity programme. It’s working awesome.
Jane Erbacher: Yes.
Dan Goodman: I spoke to Anthony from Sweden this morning about it and he’s gonna implement it now. And it’s like, wow. It’s worked, it’s working present day. We’re not a lifestyle entre … that’s not …
Joe Riggio: I don’t ever want to not train people too, so …
Jane Erbacher: No, that’s where your heart is as well. That’s something I learned from you last year in the podcast, which is exactly what we’re talking about right now. I actually presented on it in Melbourne a couple weeks ago, well a month ago …
Joe Riggio: You stealing my stuff?
Jane Erbacher: I quoted you and I had a big picture of you and I talked all about you.
Joe Riggio: I hope it was a good one.
Jane Erbacher: It was the back of you. No I’m joking! It wasn’t okay. Something I learned from you was you explicitly said how important it is to work on your business and not just in your business.
Joe Riggio: Yeah, sure.
Jane Erbacher: And I’ve heard that in places before, but we really did talk about it a lot and that’s something that I think that you both do really well. So this whole thing, we come from an industry where you come in and you do an hour or two here or there, but it’s not an hour or two here or there in the fitness industry, it’s everything. I think that the difference between a successful fitness business and one that’s really struggling is people that get caught up working in it all the time just training people. It’s like what you guys have recognised is your heart is in the training side of things, that’s where it all started for you, but your growth happens in the business side of things. So developing staff in the areas where you don’t need to be is working on your business. That’s putting time into those meetings. That is you at work. You’re not here sipping pina coladas on Long Beach or wherever you said.
Joe Riggio: But that allows me to do the higher quality things that I want to do.
Jane Erbacher: Exactly.
Joe Riggio: So now, me and Dan, and I’m not … Look, do I still love training the little kids and stuff like that, yes. I love training my female athletes. I would train my female athletes 10 hours a day. They’re so much easier to deal with than the meatheads. But there’s something that’s … When we’re in … Like last night we got the music cranking, it’s our lower body day, everybody’s squatting and lifting and training. I get goosebumps and shit. We’re fired up and I love that.
But again, I can only do so much training. What systemizing the business has done is allow us to focus on the 20%. I train the athletes, groups, and individuals that I want to train. I’m doing podcasts now. We’re developing other areas of the business. We want to be seen as … I’ve talked to you about our vision boards and stuff like that, we talk a lot about that stuff. Our 10 year goal is to be recognised as a world leader in strength and conditioning. And that means that I want us to be a beacon for other strength entrepreneurs, other strength coaches to see what we’re doing, both on the training side, on the business side, operationally, product development, everything, and see how … man, those guys run a tight shop from top to bottom, from the training … and also that we are seen as great strength coaches as well. So that has always been, for me personally, my number one goal when I got into the business was to be a great strength and conditioning coach.
Dan Goodman: How cool is that? In the next couple days, I mean, you’re here today, we’ve got Ryan and Big Red Jacobs staying at my apartment tonight from Australia.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, awesome.
Dan Goodman: Tomorrow …
Joe Riggio: Wade’s comin’.
Dan Goodman: For our Friday finish we’ve got Wade. Brady’s coming on Monday, so in the next week …
Joe Riggio: Fishin’ trip at mom’s house on Sunday.
Dan Goodman: We’ve got five or six people from Australia coming to our …
Jane Erbacher: Exactly.
Dan Goodman: In my head it still seems to be like a garage gym because it doesn’t feel like much has changed even though it has. Still, deep down, that’s how I feel about it.
Joe Riggio: Sure. I treat it like that though on purpose. I treat it like … The Patriots, you know the New England Patriots, the football team?
Jane Erbacher: Yeah
Joe Riggio: Right? They’ve won a million Superbowls. They’ve been to every AFC Champion … 15 years I think they’ve been to 13 AFC Championships right, so they’re probably the greatest dynasty in football that’s ever been.
Dan Goodman: Greatest team.
Joe Riggio: Greatest team, right. Tom Brady’s arguably the greatest quarterback. Bill Belichick arguably the greatest coach. Every year Bill Belichick gives his empowered speech to the team when they get back in from the … Here’s what everybody’s saying about us, that we can’t win again. You know what I mean? And they have that chip on their shoulder and it’s like the us-against-the-world mentality and that’s how we’ve always felt because I think the … Look, I’m not gonna put words in Dan’s mouth, cause I know Dan’s a little saltier than I am with some of the [inaudible 00:38:12] some of the people that came up … we came up together, and they treated us like shit. They were people that wrote us off and wouldn’t give us the time of day. And now Dan’s like, and now we’re like … and half of them have gone out of business. So now I’m like yeah, suckers.
Dan Goodman: It’s harder for me.
Joe Riggio: You know what I mean? So for me it’s like, I’m just a blue collar guy. I don’t come from a tonne of money, my family still works. My mom still goes to work every day. My mom’s 73, still works. And that’s just my mentality. I’m gonna come, I’m gonna work, I’m gonna push myself, I’m gonna do the best I can. I never sit on my hands. It’s like, great, we’re doing a million a year, awesome. We could just let it ride. Let me get a operations guy and a couple more trainers, and then cut myself [inaudible 00:38:57] I’ll stop in for two or three hours a day and see what’s going on. That’s not happening.
Dan Goodman: I think another thing with that is that anybody that’s asked us for help, we always provide help. When I was definitely a little bit younger, I definitely would be a little vindictive towards people that I would reach out very nicely or people that I knew, and just talk about, hey can you … ask one simple question, and the people that don’t have time to send an email back or send a text message back, it’s like …
Joe Riggio: No I hate that.
Dan Goodman: Who are you?
Jane Erbacher: Yeah.
Dan Goodman: Really, you’re not a celebrity, this is … I don’t know. I think that’s what Joe’s talking about. I definitely can … I’m at a point where I’m happy where we’re at, but I definitely feel like we’ve definitely got a lot more to prove.
Joe Riggio: And I love helping people. We’ve had Ryan here all summer. It’s my mission to make sure that he has an amazing experience, that he leaves here with tools he needs to maybe, like he wants to go open up his own gym, and I want to make sure he goes with the tools he needs to make that happen, but also feels like he’s got a real friend in the business, a mentor, somebody he can call, rely on. And I will absolutely be one of the first people on a plane to his place when it opens up. I’m excited for him.
What else brings better karma and energy back to your life than helping other people? You get so much more out of having a lot of gratitude. Seeing him and the pride and the look on his face the first day they cut that ribbon, open that door to his new gym, and knowing that we just had a positive influence. We could’ve just easily been like, when he was like, hey man, I’m lookin’ to come out to the States for a couple months, I’m gonna be at Roark for a few months but I’d love to come out, we could’ve been like, ah man, we’re busy you know. Could’ve just blew him off. And now we’ve connected with Ryan pretty deeply when we were in Salt Lake and I knew he was a great kid and all, but it’d be really easy to be just like, eh.
Jane Erbacher: Totally.
Joe Riggio: Way too busy buddy, sorry. I pick him up, he has no car. I pick him up every day. I drive him home every day. He comes over on Sundays for dinner with me and my wife. So it’s like, I bring him to mom’s house to go fishing with me.
Dan Goodman: They’re invading our apartment tonight. [crosstalk 00:41:11]
Joe Riggio: The Aussie invasion.
Jane Erbacher: Oh god.
Dan Goodman: If we’ve got enough food for everybody.
Joe Riggio: My mom’s like, are they big eaters like you? I was like, yeah Ma, we’re gonna have to make a lot of food. Ten pounds of pasta.
Jane Erbacher: So funny!
Joe Riggio: So …
Dan Goodman: No problem.
Joe Riggio: So, and you know, he’s very respectful. Hey man, I don’t want ya havin’ to go … I’ll be like, it’s not a problem at all. I’m doing it because I want to. But it’s also like, look, that time, he won’t ever forget. And I won’t either. Cause I’ll be able to look down there and see him doing great and be like, man that was a really good thing we did for Ryan. It was nice. It gave him a great …
Dan Goodman: Yeah. Forever.
Jane Erbacher: Sure.
Joe Riggio: It’ll give him a great jumpstart. And everybody in this gym the same way. I want Mike to make a million dollars a year if he can. So for me I’m gonna make what I make. And I always look at, and we talked about this last time too, I’m making more than I ever thought I was gonna make, right? I’m making more than anyone in my family ever made. Like I said, I don’t come from a lot of money. So for me, when I got to a 100 grand it was like oh my god. Like that’s real money, like holy shit what am I gonna do with myself? I know there’s people out there making 20-50 million a year, but it’s like …
Dan Goodman: And then Joe went and bought new skis, an ATV, and a truck. Gonna have to reign it back in okay.
Joe Riggio: No I got engaged, and I was getting married and I knew the clamp was gonna be on so I was like, alright, I knew we were buying a house so I was like, new truck, new skis, ATV, trip, you know, $2000 in fishing gear.
Jane Erbacher: Priorities.
Joe Riggio: I’m gonna get all my toys locked in. So helping people is definitely … you look at people who are truly successful, most of it has come from being altruistic. I don’t know too many selfish, miserable sons of bitches who are sittin’ on a pile, or they might be sittin’ on a pile of money, but they got no friends, they got nobody lookin’ up, they got nobody they can …
Jane Erbacher: Totally, and no purpose.
Joe Riggio: Exactly. So I think, just using Ryan as the continued example, he could always be like … if somebody ever called him and was like hey, I saw you were at Varsity House last summer, how was it? I was thinking about contacting them for an internship. It was amazing. Great guys, great experience, they gave everything they had to help me in every way, shape, or … and that’s really, that’s important.
Jane Erbacher: Don’t even underestimate how much, the impact you’ve had on me and I haven’t even spent the six months internship. It’s been incredible. I was here last month doing the workshops and you guys drove me around everywhere, took me on a little tour, it was the best. But it’s like, I’ve learned so much from you just from the energy that you put into what you’re doing, and how selfless you both are with your time. If I was to call up at anytime, I asked you, you gave me a ski programme, like that. Anything that I’ve ever asked either of you for, you’re willing to help, and it’s these really interesting … it’s like a growth mindset, it’s an abundance mindset, that why wouldn’t you help people.
This is why you got into this business, to train people, and that’s kind of the foundation of Varsity House. It’s all well and good for businesses or fitness businesses to think to themselves that it’s mutually exclusive. Either it’s business, or you’re helping people, when if you run a successful business, you can help more people. You both have the freedom now to be able to help somebody like me, somebody like Ryan, and the extent of that is so great …
Joe Riggio: It’ll make a bigger impact.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah.
Joe Riggio: I want to make a big impact, and I just like the feeling. Like I said, when we were comin’ up, the gym industry as a whole tends to be very adversarial, where it’s competition based. I’m giving away my training secrets, no you’re not. You’re not doing anything that …
Jane Erbacher: You didn’t invent it. It’s all.
Joe Riggio: Yeah, you didn’t invent this new training secret. Especially locally, so if there was a gym, let’s say a few miles down the street, that’s doing something a little different than we are, if we reached out years ago, they would be hatin’ on us. We used to have a couple local gyms that were literally hatin’ on us, like blowin’ us up. Trollin’ us on social media and stuff. I don’t understand that. We never met them. Never met ’em once, never met ’em once.
Jane Erbacher: And if they’re spending their time doing that, guess whose business is suffering? Theirs, because they’re not investing their time into their business.
Joe Riggio: Exactly, so you can spend your time bitchin’ and cryin’ and whinin’ and hatin’ …
Jane Erbacher: And hanging onto every cent you got.
Joe Riggio: And hanging onto every cent you got. Exactly. Or spend time inspiring people, educating people, empowering people. You look around the world, what’s the most powerful thing? Education. You go to any third world country, what’s the first thing they do? They go to Somalia, and they build a school. You go to Afghanistan, one of the first things we did in Afghanistan is help them rebuild some schools and get some kids going toward an education. So when you empower people with knowledge and ability, you empower them to think autonomously, on their own. You give people information and knowledge that they can use to create their own, let’s call it their own life at that point. Otherwise, they’re just like … So giving yourself, helping people like yourself, Ryan, the rest of the people that we’ve done working with, seeing them become … all of a sudden the light bulb comes on, and the empowerment switch is like wow, oh my god I never thought of that. Well it’s like boom, there you go. That feels great in the long run. That feels like …
Dan Goodman: But it’s also empowerment for us, lik you said, when you came here last time, I literally had spoken with my dad earlier. He’s asking what I’m doing this weekend. Actually, we’ve got five people from Australia coming to visit the gym. He’s like, holy shit, really? And I’m like really, yeah. And honestly, I feel …
Joe Riggio: It’s awesome.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah.
Dan Goodman: Every time you guys come here, I have to make myself available. We’re really living out our passion and that’s how …
Jane Erbacher: Your message has extended so far and it means so much. Because it’s obviously a really long way for Australians to go, but it doesn’t feel like that when I’m coming here. It’s so worth it.
Joe Riggio: Well that’s great. At least we didn’t screw that up.
Jane Erbacher: No. You guys are the actual best.
Dan Goodman: Now it’s our turn.
Joe Riggio: Yeah. I’ll come to Australia and show you what’s up.
Dan Goodman: Imagine Joe and I and Trevor sitting …
Jane Erbacher: In the aeroplane.
Dan Goodman: Next to each other, flying …
Joe Riggio: Flying to Australia
Dan Goodman: Flying to Australia. I’m not sitting in the middle of that one.
Jane Erbacher: Who’s gonna be … it’ll be Trevor stuck in the middle, won’t it?
Joe Riggio: Oh yeah.
Jane Erbacher: Between you two …
Trevor: I always get the short end of the stick.
Dan Goodman: When we flew back from Mexico, that was a rough …
Joe Riggio: We’re just sweatin’ on each other the whole way …
Dan Goodman: Not good.
Joe Riggio: All sunburned and sweaty …
Dan Goodman: Not good.
Jane Erbacher: Oh my god, that’s so funny.
Dan Goodman: Yeah, absolutely.
Jane Erbacher: I really love the quote you brought up before, Dan, about if you want to empower and educate people that work for you or not have them, basically … you might have to read it out again cause it was so good. But I want to talk about how important staff development is. We did talk about [inaudible 00:48:14] before, but I didn’t get to interject at all. But I think that so many people are so afraid that if their staff think they’re good enough to leave, that they will then leave.
You see this in so many businesses, and I think that the fitness industry is so far behind because a couple weeks ago I did a tour of Facebook, someone I know works there, and it was so amazing, and I absolutely loved it. The questions that I was so interested about, to ask, were what was the core intention of Facebook when it was first created? Like, was this movement expected? It’s like, the core intention of Facebook was to connect people and to communicate with people. One of their core values from Dave Dott was staff development and taking care of their staff. So onsite at Facebook, all their meals are provided, there’s healthy cafes and restaurants everywhere, there’s training facilities, there’s a doctor, there’s a physiotherapist, there’s everything. Basically, staff go there each day, and you can feel the energy. You’re in the campus …
Joe Riggio: They want to be there.
Jane Erbacher: They want to be there. They’re taken care of. They have development paid for, they have education paid for, all these different things that so many other businesses would say, well if they get better at their job, why wouldn’t they just leave and start something of their own? But these people are valued. It’s amazing because this is exactly what you’re both talking about with how you appreciate your team. You appreciate them as human beings and as people who can actually contribute. They’re not just coming in here and signing off a time sheet, they actually matter. The interesting thing for small fitness businesses is how do you communicate to them how important that is for their business?
Joe Riggio: Yeah absolutely, I mean, for me I’m kind of the operational mind here, and it might be Dan’s idea for a system, or my idea for a system, but I’m usually the one who then backtracks it from start to finish and breaks it down.
Hiring and developing great employees starts from the very beginning and that’s having a process for interviewing them, for getting to know them, for weeding them out and seeing where they stand both personally and educationally, depending on what the role is that you’re having them do here. If it’s a coach, obviously the background in strength conditioning and their certifications and things like that are, but way more important than that, cause we’re gonna teach you our system anyway, way more important than that is how they are as a person.
There’s a great book that we make everybody read, it’s called The Ideal Team Player, by Patrick Lencioni. I got that from Ben Bergeron in Crossfit New England, he does the same with his crew. It’s a great book and the core values there are hungry, humble, and smart. Smart being socially smart, similar to ours, hungry, humble, and committed to excellence, right? It really starts with that. Are you hungry? Are you humble? Will you do anything and everything? Are you socially smart? Do you have the ability to work with a variety of people from different backgrounds and different ideologies on a consistent basis and be able to understand what you should or shouldn’t say, things like that, and how to get the best out of people around you. So that starts with that. Number one. So it’s hire the absolute best people that you can, and it’s also have a process on the way. It shouldn’t just be like, hey you want to come work at the gym? Can you coach this …
Jane Erbacher: You’re really fit.
Joe Riggio: You’re really fit, you want to do six a.m.? Yeah I’ll do six a.m. Great, you’re hired. No, that’s not important.
Dan Goodman: Something we talked about before the show today, and I want to make sure that this is touched upon, is that I know that people that work here at the gym, many people we’ve become great friends with. We hang out outside of the gym, it’s not forced. Our wives are friends. We hang out. We end up talking about work the whole damn time, but we go on vacation together. It happens, but one thing that we have to fall back upon is we treat the business as business. There’s written contracts, we have operating agreements, we have lawyers draught the contracts, we have accountants mediate financial decisions …
Joe Riggio: We have yearly reviews. You think I want to sit down with Big Mike and have to go through a yearly review and tell him what he did good, what he did bad, stuff like that?
Dan Goodman: No, we have a third party that helps us come to those conclusions,
Jane Erbacher: That’s the best.
Dan Goodman: So that he knows it’s not just like, yep, feelin’ pretty good, the bank account’s lookin’ good. Yep we’re gonna give you another $150 a week. Or it’s like, eh, we didn’t have a good week, we got a bad taste in our mouth. They know it’s not reactive. It’s business is treated as business so we can go on with our days, being friends and working together towards something.
Joe Riggio: And I always want to … Me and Dan, one of the things when we knew we were gonna bring in employees, we have to treat … I want people to feel like this is a real career. So strength and conditioning as a whole is kind of a low paying career choice. There’s not a shit tonne of money in collegiate strength and conditioning unless you get to the absolute highest. If you’re the head strength and conditioning coach at Notre Dame, yes, you’re gonna make a lot of money. But 99% of the jobs underneath that are well under 100 grand a year. Most of them are under 50 thousand a year. So they’re very low paying. You can go be a personal trainer at a big box gym, like at Equinox or something like that and you can absolutely make good money doing that. You can make 100 grand a year, plus training your ass off at a gym in the city.
Dan Goodman: Working 5 am to 11 am and from 4 pm to 9 pm .
Joe Riggio: Yes. So you work all those crazy hours …
Jane Erbacher: The worst hours ever.
Joe Riggio: And even at those big gyms, there’s very little benefits most of the time, if any, you have to pay for them. So for us it was like, I want people to have a career, I want them to feel like we’re part of a team, that the brand and the company is, in a sense, the main goal, and the development of Varsity House, and that there was opportunity for everyone that came in to have a piece of the action. By that I mean, say like Mike, he has his thumb on the strength and conditioning and he gets bonuses and we have a whole structure …
Dan Goodman: Everyone’s incentivized.
Joe Riggio: Everyone’s incentivized. You know …
Dan Goodman: Every last person on our staff is incentivized within their department of whatever it is that they do here. Every single person.
Joe Riggio: And again, like I always say, if you just … so let’s take a giant corporate company like a McDonald’s, which is, there’s a book called The McDonaldization of America, and it’s about how if you systemize everything to the 10th degree …
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, we studied this in sociology. This is really interesting.
Joe Riggio: Right, you take away thought. Right?
Jane Erbacher: Yeah.
Joe Riggio: So we systemize everything to the 10th degree here, but we empower people with thought by being able to give them some … Hey, you’re in charge of this, you’re in charge of this, you’re in charge of this, right? So that way, like with Trevor, if there’s a kink in the system, and then it’s like, hey dude, you were supposed to get that done, what happened? It’s on him, and there’s an ownership issue there and then it’s like hey man we gotta sit down and like, dude, we talked about this, we gotta get stuff done, you know what I mean? And that stuff doesn’t happen too much here, we’re in this building 10, 12 hours a day, every day, so I know Trevor doesn’t want me coming into his office like that’s [inaudible 00:55:25]
Dan Goodman: That’s why Trevor has a video camera and screen in his office. The screen completely [crosstalk 00:55:30]
Joe Riggio: When he sees me comin’ …
Trevor: Go right into the bathroom, lock the door.
Jane Erbacher: That’s the best.
Dan Goodman: Trevor’s been in the bathroom five times.
Jane Erbacher: He’s always in the bathroom.
Joe Riggio: So again, if you systemize the hiring process, right? In order to work here, I don’t care if, you know, maybe Bobby Maximus, right? If Bobby Maximus comes here and says I want to start training at Gym Jones, you gotta do the internship. You gotta do the mentorship.
Jane Erbacher: Totally. He’d have to do the internship.
Joe Riggio: You have to do it, I had to.
Jane Erbacher: He’s got so many things to learn from you.
Joe Riggio: So no matter who it is, you gotta go through the internship, you gotta learn our system. But more importantly than having an internship/mentorship programme for new employees does is it gives them time to integrate with our staff, gives them time to integrate with our community …
Jane Erbacher: And an opportunity to learn as well,
Joe Riggio: And an opportunity to learn.
Jane Erbacher: So you can always learn from things like that,
Joe Riggio: You can always learn.
Jane Erbacher: No matter who you are.
Joe Riggio: And then once they finally become a real employee, so let’s look at, like Adam was the last real employee hire and where he went from student of mine at university to summer intern to full-time employee. When that time came, when he said, hey guys, where are we at? We already knew we wanted to hire him because we loved him, and he’s like, great. We’re gonna sit down, we have a contract, we’re gonna have goals, six month goals, yearly goals, three month goals, we want to see this, this, and this get done, I’m gonna help ya this … and he worked his ass off for a year. We sat down with his yearly review and he smashed everything and he killed it. That’s when we started grooming him for operations and business side of things.
Dan Goodman: During the internship process too, think about it. You’re in school, you have 10 weeks with us, it’s way less pressure packed than going out and saying, Jane, we’re gonna hire you and you need to be doing 10 classes a week, 10 private sessions a week, and you’re gonna be running operations within the next three weeks. You’re like, wait a second. I don’t even know people’s names.
Jane Erbacher: You’re not empowered at all.
Dan Goodman: It’s like we’re setting you up for failure by not giving our due diligence of 10 weeks to do what? And that’s to bring you up to speed from a relationship standpoint with us, with our team, with our members, so that you can really start to feel good about being here.
Jane Erbacher: Totally. And it’s an investment of time on both parties. You have to invest in that person and they’re investing as well, so it’s like everybody’s setting it up for success.
Dan Goodman: It’s natural.
Joe Riggio: And you can’t have remorse about somebody leaving either. You can’t have remorse, it is what it is. So for the most part we’ve had a few people leave over the years. We haven’t had a lot. The crew’s pretty solid. The guys that are here now is like the heart and soul of what Varsity House is and what I want to see is Adam and Shawn and Mike take the next step and run the next Varsity House Gym. Our plan is to open up a couple more …
Jane Erbacher: In Australia.
Joe Riggio: Yeah maybe.
Jane Erbacher: That’s cool. I’m just putting words in your mouth.
Joe Riggio: I’d love to. Maybe you’re in charge of the first franchise.
Jane Erbacher: Woo! Yeah! Just rowing and skiing.
Joe Riggio: But that’s what I want to see from them.
Jane Erbacher: Not Varsity House is it?
Dan Goodman: No.
Dan Goodman: You gotta have a 40 pound deadlift.
Joe Riggio: So and that’s really the key I think is helping to find empowerment. Finding the things that you like. As a boss, and I’ve learned a lot over the years, you learn how to help people find what really makes them click too.
Big Mike loves to train. Big Mike loves being on the floor, he love writing training programmes, he likes writing about training. He does not like numbers, analytics … he does not want to sit in on a sales meeting and talk about leads, conversions, retentions, stuff like that. That is not in his wheelhouse at all. He’s checked out in three minutes. So it would make no sense to like, hey Mike, you’re in charge, every Monday you gotta do a report on all of our leads, conversions, Facebook groups, stuff like that and let us know where we’re at. He’d be like … that would just be miserable for him. Or someone like Adam, where Adam really likes that stuff. Adam’s very analytical. Adam creates all the spreadsheets for product inventory, cost and all that type of stuff. He loves that stuff, so that’s more in his wheelhouse. So it’s like great, now that we know that it’s like, great, Adam you’re in charge of the sales processes at the front and making sure that we drive sales every quarter.
That just comes from time I think and just surrounding myself with other good businessmen who’ve kind of helped coddle us a little bit too. We’re very lucky in the gym that we have some very high end business people here who are making mega-millions who have taken the time not only to be great clients of ours but we’ve fostered real relationships with. At the end of the day, if there’s one thing that you have to do and that’s take the time to create relationships with your staff, with your community and the people. I’m not saying that every night you gotta go out for drinks with someone from the gym or anything like that, but there are definitely some people that you will connect with on a deeper level. Just like your own personal relationships with your loved ones and stuff like that, if you don’t foster those relationships, they go away. They disappear.
Jane Erbacher: I think that something that I really respect about both of you is you’re not afraid to ask for help and to continue learning as well, with both of you. I do want to wrap, before we finish, I want to talk about the Business of Strength. I actually want to know what it is. How does it work? Who is it for? How will it actually help them?
Joe Riggio: Okay, so I’ll give you the quick, the business district is created to help gym owners … no.
In all honesty, to make it real, cause I think that’s what separates … I think me and Dan, that is our marketing niche is that we’re in the trenches, real strength entrepreneurs. Trying to crush it every day. So the Business of Strength is a two day mentorship designed for strength entrepreneurs, so that’s current gym owners, wannabe gym owners, coaches who just are … if you were running somebody else’s gym, you’d be able to bring a tonne of add value back to that gym and level up yourself within that company. Even if it’s not your goal to own your own gym, the Business of Strength is still a great tool for you …
Jane Erbacher: And for PT’s that are renting a space in a big box as well …
Joe Riggio: Absolutely. Anybody in the fitness space who wants to level up as a businessman, the Business of Strength is gonna help you. In that time, in two days, you’re gonna be immersed here in Varsity House. Most of them we’re gonna be doing here … cause I love, again, you get the full experience of Varsity House.
You get to train with us, you get to run classes with us, we’re gonna sit in on our team meetings … we’re basically gonna break down every main process in the gym. Sales, marketing, business development, product development, leading meetings, how we do all of our online stuff, our operational systems and how we break down. How I identify a need, create a solution operationally to fix it and then implement it.
That’s one of the things, when I say operation, most people are like, what the hell does that even mean? Operations is any process that drives action in the gym. So onboarding is a big thing that you’ve probably seen us doing live talks and podcasts on is onboarding. It’s one of our … I think we’ve hit a absolute home run with our onboarding process in the last year. We created a process called VH University and that is an operational process. When a client walks through the door, what happens? What do we say? What do we do? What type of information do they get? What does the gym tour look like? And everything is systemized. We talked about this at the beginning of the podcast, and some people might say, well that’s kind of a sell-out, now you’re becoming like McDonald’s and stuff. No, I’m being smart. I’m trying to be the absolute best. I’m trying to create a system that I can reproduce to teach other people so that I can grow and scale my business …
Jane Erbacher: And people love consistency. They love that. That’s why McDonald’s taken … when they walk in there … But you have the human element.
Joe Riggio: Five billion hamburgers.
Dan Goodman: Something else too is in the Business of Strength, give my two cents on it as well, is it’s way less ideology.
Joe Riggio: Yeah. Action.
Dan Goodman: You go to a lot of seminars, it’s like, okay, this is great. This is gonna take me …
Jane Erbacher: Woo-woo.
Dan Goodman: 50 hours to implement, so this is never gonna happen. It’s things that are happening here on a low level marketing budget and actionable take-aways that we implement through our marketing calendar, our social calendar, our training calendars, and really peeled back the curtain as to, okay here it is. Here’s our war room and these are literally the rocks, issues, and main objectives of this year. Here’s where we stand, here’s what didn’t hit this year, here’s what is hitting this year. We’ll go over these things and say okay Jane, you’re on the owner’s hot seat, what actionable take-aways did you take away from this last day and what are two things you’re gonna implement in your gym right now. We’re gonna absolutely put you in situations where it’s like okay, you have a roadblock here, how’s it gonna get done?
Joe Riggio: We did a lot of live sales, like dialogue work at the front desk.
Jane Erbacher: So good.
Joe Riggio: We spent a whole afternoon at the front desk going through all our sales scripts and one of the things I think we’ve done a pretty good job in is coaching up, is creating salesmen. Mike’s not a salesman by nature, Mike’s never sold a damn thing in his life. He’s one of the best salesmen we have by far. He up-sales the shit out of everything in the gym.
Jane Erbacher: Cause he tells the truth too, because he believes in it.
Joe Riggio: Well that’s the key right, that’s the key.
Dan Goodman: You can’t sell shit products either.
Jane Erbacher: No, exactly.
Joe Riggio: But …
Dan Goodman: Product number one has to be good people.
Jane Erbacher: Totally.
Dan Goodman: The product must be good.
Joe Riggio: Just kind of summing up, the Business of Strength is really an awesome immersion of everything we do here at Varsity House, to really teach people, to give them the tools to implement and create systems within their business. And really, at the end of the day, make a lot more money, and put a lot more time back on their plate to do other things that will hopefully A, make them more money, or whatever their passions are.
We’ve had great success with it. We’ve only run one workshop so far. We have two more scheduled within the next six months, and next year, 2018, we’re gonna be rippin’ ’em. We’re gonna have a whole bunch of ’em.
Podcasts every month now, we have an online continuity group that we’re gonna be starting next year, so the Business of Strength online is basically gonna be for strength entrepreneurs that maybe can’t get to Varsity House for a workshop or just want more, in a sense, personal coaching. You’ll be able to join our online group and every month we’re gonna have a Dunview product that’s gonna roll out and it’s gonna be mission style. Like, hey guys, the mission for this month is to streamline your onboarding process, and we’re gonna break down that process from start to finish and I’m gonna communicate with people in the group. I want to see the programmes, I want to see … and we’re gonna help people.
Dan Goodman: Something that can be implemented immediately.
Joe Riggio: Immediately. So …
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, and I love it cause you’re demystifying business for these people. Cause so many people get into fitness because they love fitness and they love helping people. Their eyes almost explode when they understand that they have to actually run a business. It’s so empowering, the way that you’re educating them. You’re not making it so hard for them that they can’t do it, and it’s actually just like what you [crosstalk 01:07:16]
Joe Riggio: No I just want to give them … Literally when people came to the Business of Strength, it was like, okay great, here’s our employee manual, here’s our onboarding process, here’s our hiring manual and how we conduct our interviews and stuff like that. So we had all this done-for-you stuff and people are like holy crap, like you guys …
Jane Erbacher: Thank you, yeah …
Joe Riggio: Yeah I spent every Sunday for 10 years writing this crap.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, worked for free for three years.
Joe Riggio: Right, so yes, it took me a lot of work, but like Mohammed Ali, suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion. A little bit of grind before you get your business really rolling is the key. One of the things that started the Business of Strength was cause we got to a point when we were very busy. As you can see, we’re both real liked, dynamic personalities …
Jane Erbacher: Yes you are.
Joe Riggio: But we had a great product, we had a great training, me and Dan are great at fostering relationships. Like I said, I’m not pattin’ my own back, but in general, we’re good dudes and we give a shit about people and the clients and I cared a lot about the kids. They’re my little brothers and sisters and I love ’em. We put a lot of energy into the training and into the kids and into the program
mes that were going on in the gym, and it blew up. It was busy shit. And we were like … We had to work so much harder, to get a gym that was already busy, systemized because now there is no time off. I was stuck doing 10 sessions a day because I had to and because it had gotten to a point. So what I want for people with the Business of Strength is systemize now, and not sit on your ass for the rest of your life, but just get this shit done and grow.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, totally.
Joe Riggio: So if training is your thing and you want to be the next, Joe Riggio, you want to be the next Joe DeFranco, you want to be the next Eric Cressey, you want to be a world class strength and conditioning coach, and you want to be seen around the world as a … that’s your goal, well get your business systemized and you can allow that to happen, you can do that stuff. So now maybe you develop an operations guy who comes in a couple times a week, couple hours, whatever. Doesn’t have to be a full-time guy like up in Crossfit New England. Their front desk and operations guy, girl, woman, was basically part-time. She was there four, five hours a day. But she came in, she ran the front desk, and all the sales, the processes …
Dan Goodman: And does five sessions a week.
Joe Riggio: Yeah and their general manager …
Dan Goodman: Does zero. Henry.
Joe Riggio: Yeah does zero. Does zero. Does nothin’.
Jane Erbacher: Something I love about you both, I’m actually having the best time ever and I know that you have a meeting to get to but I’m just loving listening to you both. Something you’ve done so well, and I’m not gonna dive into this, but something you’ve done so well that people really need to pay attention to is how well you run as a partnership. You both have complete respect for each other and I love what you said before, Dan, you run the business as a business.
Dan Goodman: Most of the time.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, yeah. But you both bring so much strength from different areas. So the very last question I was gonna ask is what you feel you bring to Varsity House, each of you individually.
Joe Riggio: Individually? Or …
Jane Erbacher: Yeah individually. And I want to know what you feel is your purpose in life? Why do you think that you’re here? And you can answer each question however you’d like, but I want to know what you each bring to Varsity House …
Joe Riggio: You can go first on this one.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, it’s really hard. And what is your purpose or mission in life.
Dan Goodman: Well, I want to first backtrack …
Joe Riggio: That’s some deep shit.
Jane Erbacher: We’ve silenced Joe.
Dan Goodman: About Business of Strength too is that, I keep bringing up my dad just cause I resort to him for a lot of business questions, but after year three, from the outside looking in, we were seemingly running a successful business like Joe had talked about. We were packed and we were looking at each other, and just from our partnership, I would say our partnership was really, it was a trying time for us because it was like, dude, I can’t even frickin’ … it got to the point where we would argue all the time over stupid things cause we had no system.
Joe Riggio: We argued over not getting stuff done. I’d be like, you’re not getting it done!
Jane Erbacher: And then you spend time arguing. Yes.
Dan Goodman: So I remember, vividly, having this conversation with my dad and he’s like, hey, you guys have a great thing goin’, now it’s time to hit the gas and really create a business. I’m like, what the hell are you talkin’ about? I just worked seven days a week for three years, I’ve taken no vacations. It’s not like I’m makin’ a fortune of money. He’s like, it’s either you’re gonna toil around with this forever, or you guys are gonna take the next step in your partnership and really ensure that you have a future doing what you’re doing. At the time I remember being pretty mad about it. Being like, what the hell is he talkin’ about?
Joe Riggio: I gotta work more?
Dan Goodman: I think it was also too, understanding.
Joe Riggio: You gotta work more.
Dan Goodman: You know, it was understanding how our partnership, how Joe and I could both … really, how I could allow him to do what he was good at, and he could allow me to do what I was good at. We both had an understanding like, alright, we’ve done this for three years now. I’m not goin’ anywhere, you’re not goin’ anywhere, and the one thing that I could tell everybody was that there was mutual trust. I wasn’t afraid that he was going and taking money or that he didn’t have my best interests behind my back, and it wasn’t … and I knew he knew that about me too. I wasn’t talking badly about him to whoever. We had mutual respect, and we truly gave a shit about one another because I think we understood at that point, if he were to have left or if I were to have left, it would’ve been nothing.
Jane Erbacher: Totally.
Joe Riggio: We almost came to blows one time. Trevor was there. We went at it pretty good …
Dan Goodman: I think it was Big Mike.
Joe Riggio: Was it Big Mike? There was definitely some deaths thrown and pushing and
Dan Goodman: Screaming and pushing around.
Jane Erbacher: Really?
Dan Goodman: Oh yeah.
Joe Riggio: Definitely.
Dan Goodman: Definitely. Whatever, I mean, that happened …
Joe Riggio: I mean, we’re two A-type giant meatheads, I mean, so …
Jane Erbacher: I know! I want to know who’d win this fight.
Dan Goodman: Brothers, you know that’s what you’re gonna do. With my brother Matt, we’ve, you know, that happens. It’s part of …
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, but you care about it that much.
Joe Riggio: Yeah. At the end of the day, I know that Dan has never slighted me, ever. He’s never cheated the gym, the system, or anybody here, ever. It’s just like a marriage, in every sense of the way, where you get out of it what you put into it.
Dan Goodman: Exactly.
Joe Riggio: And if you’re gonna be with that sleazy gym owner partner who’s like, skimming a little money on the side, or you’re down on the floor talking shit.
Dan Goodman: You can’t do that.
iggio: Or whatever it is.
Jane Erbacher: Doesn’t show up one day …
Dan Goodman: It’s gotta be … The business entity has to be bigger than yourself. I know we talked about it with strength entrepreneurs, is that like, you want to be successful? Start giving a shit about making sure that your clients, like that hour is the best hour of their day. It’s not about that you just did a 500 pound deadlift. Nobody gives a shit.
Jane Erbacher: No.
Dan Goodman: If they ask, talk to them about it. It’s about them. With us it was about the business. The business was number one. Obviously, making time to communicate with one another is really important, and …
Joe Riggio: I think travelling together was one of the best things we ever did for our partnership too. We took a couple vacations together once we had some money and once we got the business moderately systemized. The first trip we took together was Westside. That was the first time we left the gym, right?
Dan Goodman: That was two years. Also, just like getting out of your space and just going for a meal and just decompressing a little bit.
Joe Riggio: We used to go to a Greek place down the street. We’d bring our notebooks and we’d have lunch and we’d sit.
Dan Goodman: It’s amazing …
Jane Erbacher: I love you two so much.
Joe Riggio: Yeah, there’s always gotta be food.
Dan Goodman: Outside of the gym though. You need to get the hell out of your space to be creative sometimes and you can kind of decompress.
Joe Riggio: You know what’s funny though, is I was thinking about this the other day as I was writing my memoirs. Memoirs of the Greatest Coach Ever. So, one of the things that I was thinking was it’s funny now, looking back at when we started and at our partnership. And I really do love Dan like a brother. He’s a very close friend, one of my best friends, I rely on him for so much and I know that he’s always been there for me. He’s always been great. My mom, my wife, and stuff like that … we have a great partnership, and I try to do the same. His mom and dad are like my family. They’ve treated me with respect from day one.
But when I look back and I remember the first conversation me and you had when we were sittin’ with Mark. There was supposed to be a third partner in Varsity House and it just didn’t work out for a lot of reasons. Nothing personal. It was a financial issue. It just didn’t work out from his end on the money side, right? So we wound up going in a different direction, it actually wound up being me and Dan, which is probably the way it should have been. I remember we’re sittin’ down and we’re trying to decide what we’re gonna do role-wise. What our roles were gonna be in the company. And I still have that original business plan. I’d love to pop that out one day. Dan was gonna be the sales, marketing, and business development guy, and I was gonna run the mentorship programme. I was gonna be education, implementation, and operations. And then it was five years of us doing everything, running like crazy. Fast forward a decade, and now he’s sales, marketing, and business development, and I’m education, implementation, and operations. That’s how it was always supposed to be.
Jane Erbacher: Totally.
Joe Riggio: That’s where our strengths were always …
Jane Erbacher: Yep. Where you both want to be.
Joe Riggio: Where our strength always were. It just took systems to …
Dan Goodman: To allow it.
Joe Riggio: Get to allow that to come to fruition.
Dan Goodman: I think, to answer your question too, and I’ll be the first one to answer this about your, the, what was the?
Jane Erbacher: Contribution to the business, and your purpose in life.
Dan Goodman: I’m gonna say purpose in life first is that when we started the gym, honestly, after it started and still to this day, is that for me, in my head, there’s no other option. Once we started and we put that initial investment in, it’s burned the bridges. This is working, or I don’t know what the hell else I’m gonna do. I’ve never for one second thought about, oh I could do this, or I could do that, or maybe I should be doing this. It’s like, no, this is what I’m meant to do and I know that because I don’t dream of doing anything else.
Joe Riggio: No.
Dan Goodman: It’s not even part of my though process. My dream is how can we scale this to the next level? How can we make an even greater impact? That is the dream, so I know I’m doing the right thing.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, I love it.
Joe Riggio: I’ve told you before, my purpose is to educate and inspire. I want to help people … My form of e
ducation happens to be human physiology and strength and conditioning and now as a seasoned veteran in the business side of things, in entrepreneurship in the gym industry. That’s really what I’ve always done.
I’ve been teaching at the university for 15 years, I was teaching my friends how to work out when we were 12, 13 years old. I was peeling workouts out of Flex Magazine and stuff. We’d be down in the basement … I had a chalkboard when I was 14 years old, writing up wads. Before it was called a wad, it was a wad. It was just called gettin’ fuckin’ swoll.
And then when we brought people in, it was Dan. It was teaching Dan how to train and taking a kid who was already a phenomenal football player, great dude, hard worker, but had not really corralled the x’s and o’s of training and teaching him and Mike and people and now it’s on the next. How many people can I share our story with? Inspire people to … If two meatheads from Jersey, with modest backgrounds and we’re educated, but neither one of us have taken a business course. Neither one of us are these high level business schools, we didn’t go to Wharton or anything like that. My degree is in molecular biology, it has nothing to do with business. I never took a marketing, sales, or business course ever. But I read well, and I have no problem grindin’. Me and Dan, and I think I can speak for every person in this crew, what we may lack in overall educational experience and things like that is work ethic.
Jane Erbacher: Drive.
Joe Riggio: Yeah. Super driven.
Jane Erbacher: Cause neither of you have stopped learning.
Joe Riggio: No.
Jane Erbacher: Every single day you’re open to learning.
Dan Goodman: We still, to this day, pay for coaching.
Joe Riggio: Oh yeah, always.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah.
Joe Riggio: Always. It’s thre
e or four podcasts a week, it’s a book a month, it’s something. There’s always a great tidbit that you can take from anyone. I’ve been to coaching events where I was like, you know that was great, but I met this person and now they’re close friends.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah.
Dan Goodman: Totally worth it.
Joe Riggio: Right, and you take Gym Jones and look at the connections it’s made for all of us, and the people we’ve made and we’ve had an amazing experience.
Dan Goodman: This right here.
Jane Erbacher: Yeah. This is it. I would never have met you two.
Joe Riggio: And again, as we’ve talked about before, you have to coddle those relationships. You have to be …
Dan Goodman: It’s on you.
Joe Riggio: You have to take the charge to identify the people that you connect with and create a real relationship that forces into something. In our industry, if you want to create a business out of it, well then that’s on you to figure that out. You have to be creative and inspiring enoug
h to where people want to come to us to learn, just like people want to come to your seminars. People like … They want to come learn rowing and skiing from Jane and see you as an expert, but I bet you it’s … a large percent of that is because of the personality …
Dan Goodman: And the connections.
Joe Riggio: And the connections that you’ve made with people. And I’m sure to this day, a lot of the business is referral. Jane’s amazing, she came to the gym, she’s such a great person, what a fun personality, blah, blah, blah. So somebody tells you that, they’re like, oh that’d be great for my gym too, people would love that. Then it’s like, let me hire Jane. Great. So your personality is such a huge important part of everything that goes on. And I hate to say it but there’s a lot of miserable pricks in the …
Jane Erbacher: Yeah.
Joe Riggio: Strength coaches tend …
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, yeah. Pro-suffering. It’s like, you gotta have some fun.
Joe Riggio: Yeah, it’s like, come on man. At the end of the day, we’re just freaking lifting weights. How important in life is a 2K row?
Jane Erbacher: Oh my god, not even important.
Joe Riggio: Right? Not important at all.
Jane Erbacher: At all.
Joe Riggio: Your 500 pound deadlift, yeah, that’s good, that’s alright.
Dan Goodman: Good compared to what? You know what I mean? It’s like …
Jane Erbacher: Yeah.
Joe Riggio: Yeah. I’m terrible compared to the strongest guys. And like, I’m talking about big picture shit. How’s your relationship with your mom? Do you and your wife do you have [crosstalk 01:22:12]
Jane Erbacher: Yeah, do you have time to play with your kids.
Dan Goodman: How do people feel? People care way less about the x’s and o’s and they’ll remember you for you, they’re not gonna remember how much you know.
Jane Erbacher: Totally. Oh that’s a great place to end. You are both the best. Just so you know, I would make this a 24 hour podcast.
Dan Goodman: Yeah that’d be awesome.
Jane Erbacher: I love you both, I have taken four pages of notes. [crosstalk 01:22:31]
Dan Goodman: Thank you for having us.
Jane Erbacher: It seems like I’m taking them for the podcast, I’m just taking them for life.
Dan Goodman: Show notes show notes.
Joe Riggio: Nice.
Jane Erbacher: You’re both amazing. Thank you so much.
Dan Goodman: Thank you Jane.
Joe Riggio: Thanks for having us.
Dan Goodman: We love having you.
Jane Erbacher: And thank you for setting up this super high tech [crosstalk 01:22:41]
Joe Riggio: You gotta thank special effects over there …
Dan Goodman: Thank the whiz.
Trevor: Yeah, yeah.
Jane Erbacher: Thank you!
Trevor: Swaggy T
Jane Erbacher: And thank you everyone so much for listening. If you are ever here in New York, you need to come here to Varsity House. So we’re in Orangeberg. We’re on the border of Jersey, you could tell that. I got welcomed to New Jersey when I was driving here and then welcomed back to New York, I was like …
Dan Goodman: Yeah, same time right?
Jane Erbacher: Totally!
Jane Erbacher: You guys are awesome. And they’ll be in Australia hopefully next year.
Joe Riggio: We will be. We will be.
Jane Erbacher: Should be awesome. Thank you so much, everyone, for listening.
Dan Goodman: Thanks so much.
Joe Riggio: Thank you. Peace!