A Franchise That Saves Lives

Posted by Pete Gilfillan and Nat Truitt on Apr 20, 2021 9:29:00 AM

This week Pete and Nat are joined by Lance Farrell of Farrell's eXtreme Bodyshaping to discuss how this franchise is expanding and saving lives.

This franchise has given away $2.6 million in twenty years to members for achieving fitness goals. The franchise is based around losing body fat and accountability. They also discuss how football scoreboards relate to business and why passion is important.


Pete:                Well, good morning Nat, welcome to the podcast.

Nat:                  Good to be back, sun is shining, I'm ready to go.

Pete:                Man, I hear you're in a fancy place; what a background that is. Where is that?

Nat:                  That's my new office.

Pete:                All right. I like the new hat too. So this is a new year, new background, new hat, you're doing well, my friend.

Nat:                  Taking it to the next level.

Pete:                Taking it to the next level. What a great segue. One of the things that I've been doing, I don't know if you've been watching. But Tony Robbins is doing a new world, new you event. The five-day event, it's free for everybody. You've been to Tony Robbins stuff before, haven't you?

Nat:                  Yes, I have. I didn't know about the five-day event.

Pete:                Yes, it's pretty cool. So it started, and it's going, and it's very cool. You know he's got 750,000 people from every country in the world on this thing.

Nat:                  Wow, yes, doing like a big zoom on it or something?

Pete:                Yes. Doing zoom and Facebook in his basement.

Nat:                  I bet he has a high ceiling in the basement.

Pete:                It's pretty cool. I guess he's built a whole studio and stuff like that. But if you can listen to the recordings and stuff like that, it's pretty cool. So good stuff, so he's got me all jazzed up. Speaking of being jazzed up, we have a special guest today. So why don't we bring in our special guest today? Hello Lance, how are you?

Lance:              Hi Pete, how are you, sir?

Pete:                Oh, it's good. We're so excited. Lance Farrell, founder of Farrell's extreme body shaping. We're so excited to speak with you today. Nat and I were just talking about Tony Robbins and how he gets us excited.

We've been to his events, and he's doing a virtual event now with 750,000 people around the country. And you know he's got kind of that same philosophy of helping people make the world better, and I know you do that with Farrell. So tell us a little bit, I know you're the founder of Farrell's; how long have Farrell's been around?

Lance:              20 years. And by the way, I was listening to Anthony Robbins awaken the giant audio cassette tapes back when we had those.

Pete:                I have those, I have those in my closet, absolutely. All right, so how long? Farrell's has been around for 20 years from that standpoint. And when did you start franchising?

Lance:              So I actually started teaching martial arts before that, I had four martial arts studios, and then we added the body shaping 20 years ago. And then really opened corporate stores and sold some licenses, and then didn't start franchising until about ten years ago.

Pete:                Okay, got it. So you've been franchising for ten years, and you've probably seen a lot of change in those ten years, right? So from that standpoint.

Lance:              Oh yes.

Pete:                And so you compete in the area, so is it fitness? So do we call you a boutique fitness concept? What is Farrell's all about?

Lance:              So, I would say we're not boutique fitness; I think we get pushed into that because we do kickboxing, we do strength training, we do nutrition coaching. But actually measure results from the start, from first day somebody's in there, we're measuring to see where they're at for a baseline, where they're going to go.

So we're more of a weight loss body transformation program. And I would say specifically fat loss because weight doesn't matter; we help people put muscle on.

Pete:                I might need some of that. All right, and so from your standpoint, you're not just the kind of the gym down the corner, you're really about this idea of transforming people's bodies through weight loss and specifically fat loss.

Lance:              100%. And we want people at all ages and sizes, but typically our markets age 35 to 54 a little more educated affluent person that's really struggled to get the body fat off, and we can help them do it.

Pete:                Yes, that's very cool. Now you guys do, one of the things you do is, that makes you special, is you have an annual contest, don't you? For people that are transforming their bodies?

Lance:              We do. So when you first start, you roll into a 10-week contest. First, you're going a thousand dollars' worth of 10 weeks, and then 10,000 a male and female for the annual, which is 12 months. Every location, every session wins a thousand dollars, so with that, we've given away 2.6 million dollars over the past 20 years, believe it or not.

Pete:                Holy cow, that's awesome. All right, so you can become a member, right? But you know, from the standpoint, this has been kind of a tough year with COVID-19. So tell me how you've helped your franchisees and how you've helped your members during these crazy times where you, I suspect, had to shut down for a period of time.

Lance:              Yes, we were forced to shut down mid-march, and we're really about community and relationships. So I suggest to all our friends hey, get on telephone, don't text and email, but call. Every single member categorize them and then three groups and then start calling the ones that could leave.

And really just call and say, hey, how's it going, Pete? And listen to them. And so we did that, we created some YouTube videos. So they could do professional classes at home, and then we thought you know about communities, so we figured out how to set up a Lenovo TV and do zoom classes with them.

So they could actually join in the class while they were from their home. And that's down to a whole new program now we call Farrell's at home; we have people enrolling all over the country now that we don't have a brick-and-mortar space at.

Pete:                Oh, that's awesome. And you know, because I think it's a little harder from the standpoint to push yourself when you're in your basement, opposed to or at your house, opposed to being at the Farrell's body shaping facility. So did you see people actually use it? And did it work in terms of helping them transform their bodies this year?

Lance:              You know what's funny is our last timing session that ended; we give a thousand dollars away each location. Three of the winners didn't step foot into Farrell's, and they won the thousand dollars.

So it definitely is getting them results. And with the results, we're doing the measurements, doing before and after photos, so it's very legitimate losing that body fat. But that's kind of the key component to us, is the accountability.

Pete:                Yes, got it. And you and you also help with nutrition, I think, and that's a big piece of it.

Lance:              Oh my gosh, you know you cannot run your fork, you've heard me say that before, Pete. But nutrition is vital with what we do. But you know if all you do is a calorie-restrictive diet too, and you're shaped like a pair now, at the end, you're just going to be a smaller pair. So the strength training is also very important.

Pete:                Ah, sure, absolutely from that standpoint, that's very cool. I might need to do something; I got to get going with my new year's resolution all that kind of stuff. So I might have to do something like that for sure. Now you guys had some exciting news, you've been around for a long time, been franchising. But you guys have moved to what we'll call Farrell's 2.0. What is Farrell's 2.0.?

Lance:              So we were really proud about helping deliver results for people on a student basis, and we call our members students because we wanted to teach them to live healthy for life. But we hadn't really focused on the business; we just grew organically. So everybody that opened Farrell's had come through the program, been an instructor, coach, whatever.

And so we didn't really reach out beyond that. In order to really sell franchises, you need to be in that business. So some of my vital functions for me is to help our guys be successful, our franchise owners, and then also to sell franchises. So when you look at selling franchises, you've got to have the pieces in place.

So somebody that's excited about fitness, that's got the capital come in and do it, and it makes sense for them. So we've added a ton of stuff to the 2.0, we've made our footprint smaller. So we took the showers and lockers out, went from a 4,500 square foot space to a 3,000 square foot space.

We've redesigned the look and feel, so it looks more like a modern facility that our target market would really appeal to them. And changed the model a bit, so we're more in line with the pricing when it comes to group exercise.

We had been charging 20-year-old prices, and you know inflation happens. 2.1 percent average over the past 20 years, you've got to adjust it up a little bit.

Nat:                  So as you've got a smaller footprint, right? You've kind of modernized a little bit. Do the members lose anything from that standpoint? A smaller footprint, all that kind of stuff. Is there a smaller place? Less people can work out?

Lance:              You know, we've kept the workout mat the same size. And we actually can put one person for every 35 square foot of mat space. So if you have a 2,000 square foot mat, you can put 70 people out there after COVID or before COVID.

And so that's a lot of people you can run through the program with several classes a day. So you can get the active student kind of pretty good with that.

Pete:                Well, it sounds like some great things, and you're making a difference in people's lives. It's got to be so much fun to see people transform themselves.

Lance:              You know, I can't imagine doing anything else, it's so rewarding. I hear from our franchisees; you know that this is just the most rewarding thing they've ever done.

Pete:                Yes, speaking of franchisees, so what would be one piece? So somebody's looking at becoming a business owner or becoming a franchisee. I'm a corporate executive; I want to escape the corporate world. I want to take control of my desk; I want to create career and income security, whatever it may be. What advice would you give somebody that wants to become a franchisee?

Lance:              You know, I would never ask somebody to do something they don't have passion for. You know the whole key in your life is to find out what your purpose is, what your passion is.

                        And you talk about stuff Anthony Robbins talks about, that's right down his alley. But if you don't have passion about helping people and you don't passionate about fitness, this is probably not a business you want to get into.

You've got to have passion about those two things. And then you know I always like to say if you're playing a football game, and you're looking at the scoreboard, you're probably going to get tackled. You know the scoreboard is important, you have to look at the finances and the money, but you should focus on the game 100%.

Pete:                Yes, absolutely. And what do you see in terms of characteristics that make a franchisee successful? So if you're looking at somebody, what characteristics do you think they have to have to be a successful franchisee?

Lance:              I think they have to have a good work ethic. Whether they're going to be absentee owner or an all-in owner-operator, they need a good work ethic because they need to be watching those numbers, looking at the KPIs. Or if they're the owner operator, man, just be willing to do it all until they get their staff developed. I think it's good to just have that hands-on experience.

Pete:                So it's one it's working hard, and then I kind of heard you say absentee, but it's really more of a semi-absolute. Because as the owner of the franchisee, you've got to be kind of leading, right? So the second thing would probably be leading people, kind of making sure because your leadership is going to drive the success of that business.

Lance:              Absolutely. Leadership is key; being able to delegate, which is a really hard thing to do for a lot of people, they want to do it themselves. But you got to be able to delegate. Realize hey, if they can do 80% as good as me, I'm going to have to be happy with that.

Pete:                Yes, absolutely. And I would suspect for you guys, it's also a third one would be a passion to satisfy customers, to make a difference in people's lives.

Lance:              Oh, that's, I don't even talk about that, because that's one of the things that just happens naturally with our company, but yes, 100% Pete.

Pete:                Yes, absolutely. Well, that's good, and so that's very cool. And then what would you tell people, you know, so they've never owned a business, right? And they're just; maybe it's not Farrell's, we're looking at another business.

What would you say in regards to people? What is the number one skill as you talk about interacting with people? Whether it's customers or your employees. What would be the one thing you'd say to them?

Lance:              You know, if something you haven't done, I'm a firm believer in finding a mentor. Find someone who's done it before, find someone, a consultant that really knows the business, and they can guide them through the steps. So they can know what they're getting into. I mean that's the key.

And then just getting resources and doing some homework. Find out what's the business-like. But if you've never run a franchise or own a franchise, it's a whole new world, and you don't know what you're getting into. So just do your homework.

Pete:                Yes. So you're saying that, hey, if you're looking for a franchise leverage, somebody that can help you find one. And then when you come with franchisee leverage, all the support you get, whether it's from the franchisor, other franchisees, experts, and financial stuff like that. It's very cool.

Lance:              100%. If you know how to do the business yourself, why are you buying a franchise right? You want to leverage the knowledge that they have. And you know, a lot of people think we're inventing stuff when in reality inventing is great; it comes from wherever those ideas come from, and you put them down.

But most of the time we're innovating. We're seeing what's working in another business, and we're adapting that, molding it, so it fits our business, and then benefiting from those years of experience.

Pete:                Yes. Tell us your favorite experience of helping somebody from a standpoint of body transformation. Tell us a great success story.

Lance:              You know, usually it's the first time what happens. We've had thousands of success stories I've read, and I'm just so proud of all of our people. But the very first one I remember, is I think, the second session in the opening of this 20 years ago. I remember Chad was his name; he was sitting on a picnic table. We're doing an outside party work, we gave out a thousand dollar prize, and everybody's happy for that person. Chad is sitting at his table all by himself, so I went and sat by him, and I said Chad, how are you doing, buddy? And I thought he was depressed because, you know, he still had a ways to go in his fitness journey.

                        And he said, you know this program has changed my life. He goes I get up; I look in the mirror, I didn't like who I saw. I didn't want to go to work, and I was just depressed all the time. Your plan has given me a new life, a new lease on life. So now I feel like I'm just starting my journey, but I'm really excited, and this has saved me.

And then it hit me, and I'm like wow, we're not just affecting these people physically, but we're helping him mentally and spiritually become a better person living. And so we've tagged line life at level 10.

Pete:                Yes. I suspect you get letters and notes and all that kind of stuff from people saying, thanking you for what you guys do?

Lance:              Yes, it's very humbling, very humbling to see all the responses. But when somebody's battled their weight or body fat for many years, and then they come in, and in five weeks you're seeing results, in 10 weeks they've lost 20, 30, 40 pounds. And then in a year, they've lost over 100 pounds, you can't imagine the stories.

Pete:                Yes, you're saving people's lives for sure. And I don't want to be a spoiler, but I believe you got a book coming out soon?

Lance:              Yes. You know what's funny is I've worked on this book for like four or five years, right? COVID hits, and I'm working twice as hard, making half as much, right? But I just decided, hey, it's time to get it done. So working on the book cover right now, and it's been edited three times. And you know, getting formatted, so we're on the final stages of it.

Pete:                All right, that's very good. Well, congratulations, man, I can't wait to read your book.

Lance:              And I can't wait to read yours; I hear you have a pretty good book out there too.

Pete:                Yes, all good.

Nat:                  I was going to say, speaking of getting it done Lance, I was kind of curious how do you like to start your day each day? Do you have like a routine you go for every day?

Lance:              You know, I was hoping you'd ask because first thing I do is get up and work out.

Nat:                  Yes, surprise.

Lance:              Whether I do the kickboxing class or do it on my own at home, I have a little gym at home too. And I've been living our program, so I do cardiovascular Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and strength training Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and then I eat six meals a day.

I've been doing that for 22 years; I started doing it before we started our program. So I really believe that you got to invest in yourself right away. And so this morning, I'm listening to some Darren Hardy as I'm doing my workout; I'm listening to, you know, any kind of motivational stuff I can find. And you know, I just think you need to start your day in the right mindset.

Nat:                  Do you eat before you work out? Or you work out on an empty stomach?

Lance:              No way. By the way, never eat a banana before a hard workout because that'll usually come back up on you. But I do not eat before a workout, I just get up, and I hydrate. So I'll drink a glass of water first, and I'll take a vitamin and some vitamin D.

Vitamin D is lacking in most of us Norwegians. But yes, I just get that workout really hard, then I rehydrate, then I'll usually eat a healthy breakfast.

Nat:                  And then once you are like at work it's the middle of the day, do you find you eat, you're eating lunch at your desk, or you know while you're working. Or do you take a time for yourself?

Lance:              Now, I'm eating every two and a half hours. And typically, I'll do a protein shake or protein bar with water in between meals. And then, I prepare ahead of time and plan. I'll still have meals, so I'll have a normal breakfast, normal lunch, normal dinner, and then snacks in between and then a snack after dinner too. So I'll have a snack, usually seven, eight o'clock at night.

Nat:                  Wow, that's awesome. So you got your metabolism is just cranking around the clock?

Lance:              Yes, it's kind of scary. I could eat three to four thousand calories a day and burn it all, yes.

Nat:                  Well, you're a huge guy, so.

Lance:              I'm not as big as him. I'm only six-five.

Pete:                Right. And then do you have like a favorite book that made a big impact on your life?

Lance:              Oh my gosh, I'm like the motivational book guy. Stephen Covey, Seven habits of highly effective people, was a big impact on me, and you know, awaken the giant Anthony Robbins and good to great Collins. The entrepreneurial roller coaster Darren Hardy, I was turned on by that just recently, and I've got the CDs.

And you know, in that book, actually, Darren says a guy who's going to read 35 books in a year, you know that was his goal. He goes, why don't read one book several times, find one that really fits you, and then you really internalize it. So not only did I do that with Darren Hardy CDs, but I'm stuck on chapter six.

I've listened to the CD probably ten times the same one because I feel like that's the one I need more than anything. And actually, it's focused on the vital factors. What are your three main vital functions from your vital factors are going to make you the most successful, and focus in on those and really key in on those. So that's an area I thought I should really focus in on more, so I've been really hitting that lately.

Pete:                Yes. Actually, it's interesting because I read the same thing; I think it was from Darren Hardy about, you know, hey, instead of reading all these different books and getting pulled all these different directions.

Pick one and just kind of like internalize it. It's kind of like with your guys workout too, it's like there's 20 different workouts out there. But if you pick one and stick with it, that's how you're going to get the most results.

And then the other catchphrase that I like is leaders are readers, and so it's interesting that you're such a successful guy, and it turns out you're a reader, you know.

Lance:              Yes. I mean, knowledge is key, but like Darren says, you could have knowledge if you don't apply it, then it doesn't do you any good.

Pete:                Yes, totally.

Lance:              So you got to really think about when you internalize something when you read it when you take it in. If it fits you and you really agree with it, then it's probably good for you. But if you read, I'm like yes, I don't know about that, then just let it go and go to the next one.

Nat:                  Exactly. What else, Pete? Are we good?

Pete:                Well, I don't know; I'm thinking I'd probably be signing up for this body shaping thing. Lance, can you set me up? Can I sign up for the in-home stuff with you?

Lance:              Pete, you know I I'll do this for you, but I want to give you a warning here. If you do this, your friends aren't going to recognize you in a few weeks. Because you're going to be so chiseled, they're going to say what? Are you Pete's little brother? Who are you?

Nat:                  All right. So I'm on record here committing to try it, so not try it, I will do it.

Lance:              Awesome. I'm not saying you're big or anything; I'm not trying to insinuate that; I'm just saying you're going to be, you're going to be chiseled.

Nat:                  I thought Lance your comment about a big pair in small pair, you were applying to me.

Lance:              Not at all.

Nat:                  Well, Lance, it is a pleasure to have you on, and congratulations on all your success. You're really making a difference in people's lives. I hope to be one of them here soon, from that standpoint. But congratulations on what you've created in terms of the ability to make a difference in people's lives. We're excited to get your book out, so thank you for joining us today.

Lance:              Thanks for having me, it's quite an honor to be on your show, guys.

Nat:                  Thanks, Lance.

Pete:                All right, have a great week, take care.


Topics: Insider, Franchise, becoming a franchisee, Podcast

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