A couple weeks ago, I did a presentation at the Next Gen conference where I heard I made a few coaches pretty upset. 

You see, I expected coaches throughout the room to start booing me and giving me what my kids would call the “side eye”. I knew I was speaking on a controversial topic that would potentially upset the dynamic they’re currently getting at their gym. I knew I was opening the eyes to owners of things that were “normal” in cheerleading and incredibly abnormal to the rest of the business world – things that rest 90% in favor of the coaches while often hurting the gyms.

Those of you who were in that session know exactly what I’m talking about. 

Private lessons. (Insert dramatic music here.)

If you were there, you know I talked about the upside down nature of the way most gyms run private lessons.

While I’m not going to get into that today (you can read a previous blog here that outlines my thoughts on private lessons), that doesn’t mean you can’t provide amazing opportunities for your staff to build their income through intrapreneurial opportunities. 

I’m in a pretty small town. I’ve said that at least 200 times in my blogs, but just in case someone new is reading, my whole town only has 20,000 people. To provide some perspective, our minimum wage is just over $11 per hour. The median family income has recently increased to $52,000 due to a couple new big factories in our town. Nevertheless, it’s important to note, that is a FAMILY income. 

The average median income for a man in Warrensburg, MO is $38,000 and for a woman is $24,000 (that is also a subject for another day…) That means a reasonable salary for my staff certainly isn’t $75,000 per year. The price I can charge at my gym wouldn’t justify staff on a salary like that. I am good with numbers and I know that. I believe my staff is worth every penny of that, but I’d go out of business if I paid them that based on the economy in my area.

So, it’s important to me to give my staff opportunities outside of work (and flexibility AT work) to create those other streams of income using their talents. If I can help enhance their lives and give them more opportunities to buy their own homes, go on vacations and be generous in their giving, I’m in! In today’s world, a great boss isn’t simply someone who makes decisions and leads the team. A great boss is someone who is a mentor to their staff and helps them achieve their dreams both inside and outside of the gym. 

You, as an owner, have skills that can help your staff develop these streams of income. I have helped staff start their own LLC before. I have taught them how to use email marketing, Canva and Trello. I’ve taught them how to write professional emails, market their skills, and I’ve created opportunities that will help them do those things. Am I afraid they’ll make so much money in their side hustle that they leave me one day? Sure, that might happen. If I continue to help them be successful though, then I hope to provide a value to them as well. Even if they were to do that, I’ll be proud of them and consider it a total success story. 

Here are some ways I’ve helped our coaches build additional streams of revenue:

  1. I have some truly phenomenal coaches. They know the skills so well, but often they lack the personal connections to get their names out there and get known for their specialties. Today I’m meeting with a coach who was given a phenomenal opportunity to train others through a popular skills training platform. After I saw his video, I wanted to help him increase the video quality. So, I bought him a microphone and tripod. Today, I’ll chat with him about some best practices for filming his videos with the hopes that he can get more opportunities to work this side hustle. 
  2. I have another coach who we’ve paid to take virtual choreography classes so she can begin learning more about choreography itself. This will open a world of opportunity as there are tons of gyms near me with novice and prep teams whose owners are overwhelmed by choreography, but unable to pay travel to bigger companies. For the last few years, I’ve also had this staff member sit in and learn several routines outside her own team each year. I do this for two reasons: 1) I’ve got a backup in case someone needs a night off. 2) She is learning how a great choreographer does her thing!
  3. I recently spoke to a coach who expressed an interest in learning how to make music for cheer and hip hop. I saw an online course and offered to pay for it. Not only could our gym benefit from a local music producer (especially for hip hop), but that’s a fantastic opportunity for this teacher-by-day to earn extra money mixing music!
  4. My general manager at my gym is wise beyond her years. She has begun doing calls with Next Gen Academy managers for gyms at our upper levels in the NG Academy. She is coaching them through how to be great managers and holding them accountable for completing developmental work each week. I’ve heard from some of the owners that they’ve seen dramatic developments in the skills and leadership qualities in their managers after this sort of mentorship. Not only that, but my manager and a director at my gym regularly lead sessions at our conferences. They have amazing leadership skills and can share them with the world!

So, if you’re thinking about how you can help create intrapreneurial opportunities for your staff, consider the following: 

  • Do you have a staff member who can do vinyl, sublimation or something similar? 
  • Do you have any staff who are AMAZING at hair and make up and can offer their services on picture day or even on competition day for a few hours?
  • Do any of your staff have photography as a side-hustle? Maybe they’re great at portrait shots or action shots and can provide those services in your gym!
  • Do any of your staff have amazing baking abilities? Maybe they can cater some of the food for your end-of-season banquet!

If you want to be more than just a boss to your staff, you’re going to need to get creative. Figure out what their dreams are and help them achieve those dreams! I have a coach who is also a realtor. She is young, and that’s a hard job for someone her age. I’ve told dozens of people about her and plugged her in our gym members group before so they’ll consider using her next time they sell their house!

Creating these opportunities allows you to run your business in a manner that is a win-win for everyone. You can run private lessons in a fair and reasonable way, while also providing opportunities for your staff to follow their dreams and build their income. 

If you know you have areas of your gym that aren’t being run well right now, we can help. If you feel like your staff will be resistant to changes, or you couldn’t even imagine investing more time into helping your staff because you’re so bogged down with your own daily tasks, the Next Gen Academy can help you build your freedom. Learn more on our website or by booking a call at nextgenowners.com/book-a-call.