Making a system that works for you

Written on July 4, 2013 by Vanessa Dezem Baida in News




David Hughes is personal trainer and founder of Personal Trainer Madrid (www.personaltrainermadrid.com) and Muay Thai Madrid (www.muaythaimadrid.com). He moved to Madrid almost 10 years ago when he was still in his early 20’s. He has built a system that work for him that allows him to use his time in whatever way he wants. He can work when and how he pleases. He trains and has some classes of Thai boxing but it is because he just loves it. Masaaki Hasegawa, a student of Master in Visual Media Communication had a chance to explore the secrets of how he could get such dreamy work/life style.


MH: First of all, how can you describe yourself?

DH: Now, I describe myself part-trainer but mostly leader that is what I can describe myself as now. My role is to lead, to have the ideas, make the systems to be exactly where they need to be, keep the standards high and new ideas to drive business forward, and to implement those things. 


MH; You come to Madrid around 10 years ago?

DH: Yes, 10 years in August. I had 550 euros when I came here and rent was 500 euros so I did not have money for deposit. I needed to look for a job and I sent my CV everywhere and some of them contacted me and I got a job at a small English school. At that time, I introduced myself as a “trainer”, not a “teacher”. Even when I had no training clients; I would introduce myself as if I was already what I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. And I gradually got training clients and then referrals, and dropped the level of English teaching to 80%. It took 3-4 years until I was 100% training and 0% teaching English. You’ve got to be patient and you’ve got to work on your name and reputation. Never chase money and work to help the client achieve what they want.


MH: How did you get your gym?

DH: And then, I was looking for a space to have a gym and one guy was willing to sell his gym. He wanted 60,000 euros to take over the gym, and I only saved up 6,000 euros. And I went to speak with him and ask him why he wanted to sell it. At the same time he tried to sell his idea, I kept listening and asking “why do you want to get rid of it?”. It turned out that he hated the gym that he was stuck in the gym from 8am-11pm and it was not really making a consistent living and he even said “You are doing me a favor if you take over the gym from me”. I had a couple more meetings and eventually I got it for free. 


MH: What was the difficulty then?

DH: After my individual classes became fully booked, I hired one trainer, but my mistake then was I put the same load that I had on him. From 6am-11pm was normal for me at that time because I was motivated to run the business but for employee it is different. As a result, he left the job and I was forced to do again what he did then. And then I hired 2 another trainers and changed the way. One is for morning shift and the other is for night shift and switch every week. They work only for 4-5 hours a day that in turn I strongly demand them that the training is 100% perfect, no excuses, and full of energy. For them, they finish their job at 12pm if they have a morning shift. They got a great job and they love it. As a result, it decreased the working hours, increased the revenue, and skyrocketed their performance, because I could be more demanding about the quality of work. 


MH: What was the point to improve their performance?

DH: I said them “Don’t spread yourself 2 thin” that means don’t do too many things because the quality goes down. Concentrate 100% on the traiings and I will help the clients in the all the other things like nutrition etc. And also I said them ” do not work at home and I want you to be relaxed and enjoy your work and life”.  


MH: Let us know about your business philosophy more.

DH: Product, service, and performance come first, never chase money. I even turn away clients that I think it is not good for the environment that I provide. 99% gyms do not do that. I do not want to take money from a person who is not ready because they have low motivation and can miss the sessions. I want everyone in the gym doing amazing and super happy. What happens from that is that they tell the gym to their friends. If we got the happiest place for clients and happiest place for work, you can get happy client and staff and that way your business can only go up. The customers are people who make the gym so we do not take customers who would not be a good fit with the happy gym environment. So, build the product, build the service, and build the performance first. Philosophy is what finds you. 


MH: You have put emphasis on taking yourself out of the system. Tell us more about it. 

DH: If you cannot replace yourself, you do not own a business, you own a job. The first class service that we give the client would not be possible if it was a one-man show with just me. Everyone has to have a specific role and that is where the system comes in to place. People without guidance and systems are open to mistakes. But if you lay out the systems in place and if you have a clear tracking in your system, nothing can go wrong. For example, David Hughes training system, all the training sessions run from my original design of the training system which brings the best results, the trainers design every single one of their trainings built around the system. They have flexibility and they can do whatever they want in the training but it is built around the specific way of training to get the maximum result. Here is an interesting example of one of the systems. There is a specific 4 step process when we get a mail from customer asking  how much is the cost. First step is giving them an idea about the price. Second is making them fill out the questionnaire to see how to help them more. Where do you want to go, why this is important to you, where would you like to be in 6 month, what previous experience you have, and most important question is “Our gym is happy and positive place, I only accept positive and happy people. Please write an explanation about why should I let you into my gym. And third step is setting a meeting with them and I have a specific system what questions we need to ask them that allow us to reach the root of their problem and the exact result they are looking for, then if I think they are a good fit for us we let them in our gym and help them hit that goal 100%. You need to have a system to convert a lead into a client.


MH: Do you think everyone can adopt the concept of having a system to his or her business?

DH: Again, it depends on what do you want your business to do for you. I consider my one the best business model for me and my business. Everyone is happy and it is a fantastic way of living for me. For example, Frank Kern, one of the most famous Internet marketers, switched his job because he hated his clients. He was making millions but he hated his clients. He stopped and invented a new online business helping people and only accepting clients that were good for him also. It is not nice way to live that you need to run away when you see your clients on streets. All my clients are also my friends and when I meet them in the street we are always happy to see each other. That for me, is great!. It is true that not all business can adopt the same system that I am using as it depends upon their product and service, but everyone is able to set up specific systems to help their business run more efficiently and work for them as they want it to.
















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