Meet Marcus Filly, ex-CrossFit box owner and 6x CrossFit Games competitor turned online business owner. Marcus helps hundreds of people to get strong and healthy, or compete using his functional bodybuilding philosophy.
His clients are split — 70% general population and 30% people who want to compete and do better at the CrossFit Open.
Marcus’ business model combines a high-touch service through remote coaching and has workout templates available (for a flat fee) for people who want to adopt the Functional Bodybuilding philosophy to start.
"My clients are receiving intrinsicly better service and training because of TrueCoach."
Founder of Revival Strength
Unlike most coaches that make the jump online and go through years of struggling — spending hours in front of a computer before finally “getting it” — Marcus had his own remote coach through OPEX.
Before Marcus left a business partnership at his box he was already using TrueCoach for 3 months... but his story — from struggle to where his business is at now — doesn’t start there.
Marcus programmed for 20-30 remote clients before TrueCoach... and like all coaches, he used Google Spreadsheets, email, and YouTube.
At first, he went into this space thinking he’d only get 1 email per client per day, but that ended up being 50 emails a day (not including replies). On top of that, he had Inbox Zero OCD, so every day he’d spend 90 minutes clearing out his inbox to zero.
And to slow down the number of responses, so that he could get back to his clients plus the personal emails he got really good at conversation closers... you know the one-liner sentences you say to people when you meet an awkward acquaintance?
Then, there was Google Spreadsheets...
Marcus used it as a calendar. In each cell he’d write a full day’s design, then copy and paste that week into an email.... Edit it so it looked professional before sending it off. And if any exercises were new or complex, he’d go find it on YouTube and linked it.
Well... just editing the format (copying and pasting exercises from the spreadsheet to the email) alone was a pain and a waste of time. Marcus admits he lacked exercise creativity because it would mean after the edit, he’d have to go to YouTube to find it and link it.
Then, send the email to his client... this was in no way an effective use of his day. Especially if he did this for all 20-30 clients.
After his clients would email him back with their results, he would look at it, but had no method of organizing it thoughtfully... It took him an additional hour to enter in results each day.
He did consider doing what some of his friends did... doing data entry into Google Spreadsheets (more unpaid admin work).
He looked at giving his clients access to the Google Spreadsheet, so they could enter their own data. But heard other coaching friend’s share horror stories like:
- The cells might get deleted
- The format you set up so you can get it done faster gets messed up
- And... other weird stuff that makes your tabs disappear
So there was no way he was open to that.
His day might sound familiar to yours, consisting of:
- 90 minutes to get to inbox zero
- 48-50 minutes to program a months workout per client
- 10-15 minutes to copy and paste workouts to email, and edit them to look professional for each client
- 1 hour to do data entry
- Then, there were the things you need to do in your business
So his day consisted of 3 hours and 38 minutes of admin work and that was if he only had to program for one client that day.
Marcus would work full-time hours Monday - Saturday and take Sunday off.
Because Marcus had been trained under OPEX for years, he noticed his workouts were being delivered differently. It had a cleaner look, and it was easy for him to enter and update his results. He got a better customer experience himself, so he explored it.
OPEX was a huge global company with more at stake than a one-man show. If it solved their ability to provide individualized coaching effectively, it was good enough for Marcus.
The only hurdle he had to get over was that he had already optimized his current system... but something else that he realized...
Yeah, his current system is optimized, but when he reached an “ah-ha” moment... to keep up with all these clients...
He had little time to engage with client’s properly
When he used to coach at the gym, he was able to give a lot of interaction with them because he saw them almost every day. But his online clients were not getting this type of engagement and interaction that they also deserved.
He took the leap moving over 5 clients per week, so he could onboard his clients in a controlled fashion.
And the payoff was immediate... when he didn’t have to copy and paste workouts from Google Spreadsheets into an email, then spend time editing them for each client right away... saved him about an hour a day.
And week after week, he noticed the time being eaten up by busy work started to decline. He had more time to engage with clients by answering their comments in TrueCoach for specific workouts.
He was able to look at his client’s results from last week or last month on one screen while he was designing the next program.
So now instead of working Monday - Saturday... spending 60 hours on just programming and managing 30 clients plus an additional 20 hours to do all the things to run a business on top of that to grow...
Now, he can take care of 25 clients in one day using TrueCoach as his second brain...
- He can log in and see notifications and messages he needs to check inside TrueCoach.
- He uses the missed workout notifications a lot to send a personal follow-ups.
- The due soon feature helps him prioritize who’s program he needs to design next.
Without having to keep track of all these little tasks and remembering all these tiny details, he can focus on providing a high standard of personalized coaching by engaging with his clients.
In addition, with the extra time, Marcus grew Revival Strength so quickly he had to hire more coaches to keep up. Now he has 200 clients spread across 6 coaches, who are all using TrueCoach to provide their clients with a highly engaging coaching experience without the 80 hour work week.
His continued goal as the CEO is to provide his coaches with a professional income without working 80 hours a week doing what they’re passionate about.
The fitness industry is changing and sometimes following the big players in the space that you’re in, can dramatically change the way you do business as well as your lifestyle.
Marcus had the perspective of knowing if OPEX, who manages thousands of clients with hundreds of thousands of dollars in payroll to make, wouldn’t make decisions that would risk their business... then it will work for a small business like his. (and obviously it did)