Receive the latest mybusiness news
Copyright © 2020 MOMENTUMMEDIA

Coming back from the brink of failure: Lachy Rowston and Raph Freedman, Crossfit Creature

Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti
07 August 2017 29 minute readShare
Raph Freedman and Lachy Rowston, Crossfit Creature and The Mind Muscle Project

Gym owners Lachy Rowston and Raph Freedman came frighteningly close to becoming another business failure statistic. Now, they have three gyms and an active social following in excess of 100,000.



 Raph Freedman and Lachy Rowston, Crossfit Creature and The Mind Muscle Project"We're definitely guilty of focusing too much on the fun stuff," admits Raph.

It is a point with which many business owners are familiar, yet many realise only when it is too late to turn things around. Thankfully, Raph and Lachy (pictured, left and right respectively) – owners of the three Crossfit Creature gyms in Sydney and the popular podcast The Mind Muscle Project – were able to act quickly and turn their business into one of healthy growth.

In a very open and honest chat on the My Business Podcast, the duo reflect on the challenges they faced in setting up shop in the highly competitive fitness industry, how they refocused their operations to ensure sustainability of their business model and diversifying their revenue streams.

Tune in to hear:

  • The moment they realised they were heading for failure, and how they turned things around;
  • Their experience building a social following through The Mind Muscle Project podcast;
  • How reviewing past work can reveal valuable insights for future improvement; and
  • The biggest lessons the guys have taken away in transforming their business towards sustainable growth.

Plus loads more!

Full transcript

Adam Zuchetti: G'day, everyone. Welcome to My Business Podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in. I've got my usual co-host with me, Andy Scott. How are you, Andy?

Andy Scott: I'm good, Adam. I'm very good. I'm quite intimidated by today's guests though. We've got a couple of fit blokes in front of us. Not only are they quite attractive, they are fit, they're healthy, look after themselves.

Adam: They put us to shame, don't they?

Andy: Maybe put you to shame, mate. [Laughter] But I think it'll become quite clear why these guys are as they are: it's Raph and Lachy from the Mind Muscle Project. These guys started their business in about 2014, so they run a gym. They have three gyms now, it's membership only to go to that gym, pretty much. And they've got 280 members. Enough of my yacking, Adam go on with the show.

Adam: Yeah, just to clarify what you're saying, Andy. So, Raph and Lachy own Crossfit Creature Gym. They've got three gyms here in Sydney. But they're possibly even better known for the Mind Muscle Project, which is their own podcast. So, guys, thanks so much for joining us and sharing your insights today. Can you talk to us a little bit about firstly how the gym came about, but then how you devised the podcast as well, and why you've gone into that space?

Lachy Rowston: Well, I'll take that one, Raph, because you did it yesterday. We were on another podcast answering a similar question, but we basically started the gyms via a mutual friend. So, I started Crossfit at the same time as this mutual friend, and what he did, he put us on a business blind date. So, he knew I wanted to get into business, start my own gym, and he also knew Raph wanted to start his own gym. And that was something that, they went to school together, they had been talking about that for a long time. It's something they've always dreamed of doing, especially one with astro turf, which has just become reality recently. And so, he connected us, and he was like, "Look, I think we should start a gym." We were at a gym, and we liked it, but it could've been better, and he basically was like, "You know, let's do our own thing." And then from there, like, we were pretty young, early 20s, didn't really know what we were doing, said, "Mom, Dad, I need some money. I'm going to start a gym." And they're like, my dad's a business owner, so he was like, "I understand, I get it. Here's the money." And in 2014, we had a gym.

Adam: Wasn't it difficult to sell to your Dad?

Lachy: No, it wasn't difficult. At the end of the day, if you're going to do it, it's when you're young, when you don't have kids, you don't have a mortgage, you don't have other commitments, so if you fall in your arse, it's a little bit of debt, but you're living at home. You're safer, I guess. I guess if it was then, it was then. Perfect timing.

Adam: So that's how the gym came about. But specifically the podcast, it's not usually what you associate a podcast with. So, what was the inspiration for launching that?

Raph Freedman: It was pretty specific. So, we were running a nutrition challenge at the gym. It was like a 50-day nutrition challenge, and actually was one of the first times we did anything with media. So, I was looking at it recently, we were doing, like, videos every week and that sort of stuff, for the members. And then we got the opportunity to have Shannon Brenton on, to come in and speak to our members, and we were making a part of the content, that we were paying for the challenge, and he was excellent. And we did a podcast with him just for the members, but we loved it, and we've been listening to podcasts forever, and I think that's when it was in our heads, like, okay, we could do this again. That was awesome. Not every week, but just, again. And then we had the idea of bringing on some physios that we thought were going to have an epic fight, because we used to go to different physios, and we thought this will be awesome. The argument didn't turn out, it turned out pretty bad, like they just agreed for an hour. And we also realised you can't have nine people on a podcast.

So we did that, and then we had of our childhood heroes, almost, which is a weight lifter, that came to the gym from America, and we did a podcast with him. And he has his own podcast, and he believes in it a lot, and he just put it on us, and he was like, "You boys love this; you should do it every week." At that time, we didn't think we would, but we listened to him, because he's way stronger than us, and that was three years ago, and we haven't missed a week since then.

Andy: I think one of the interesting things about certainly social media is you hear it spoken on a social medium, and those sort of media that can be great for a very small scale. You hear it spoken about a lot, and a lot of marketers and a lot of business people say, "Get into it, get into it, get into it." I'm interested to know, you're also running your own business, you've also got bills to pay, you've got to get members through the gym, you got to do all that stuff. Were you ever worried at one point that you were getting distracted with, for want of a better phrase, the fun stuff, rather than what was going to be the core drivers for you to have business success?

Lachy: I guess we put the wrong person in charge at the finances. So, he didn't ever tell us that we're in a terrible situation, and yeah, I guess we were guilty of doing the fun stuff, especially training. We were athletes from day 1 that started a gym to have our own gym to train in, essentially. So weren't ever really business owners at the start. Raph had a degree in commerce, but we had very little business background, so just slowly over time, as it was like, 'hey, you can't pay yourselves this week, and you have to coach other classes', and this member leaves, and they're not walking through the door anymore, that's when slowly the reality starts to hit, it's like, man, I don't know what's happening, but I don't have any money. I don't know why. Everyone else that has a gym has money, so' it was very confusing. So, over that period of time, it happens at different speeds. You might pick up a book, and then just have this revelation in this book that talks about how you should run a business, and then you go on and try to change everything in a month. And so, it gets kind of crazy. And then, you may be going to a stage where things go a little bit better, and you can start paying yourselves again, and then it just kind of starts to flat line again. You don't really do much.

And then, disaster strikes again, maybe a massive tax bill, what was our biggest tax bill? Way more than we could afford at the time.

Raph: The worst case was when the fines were bigger than the tax bill. That was rock bottom!

Lachy: And that reality kicks in, and it's like, okay, so maybe we should hire someone that knows how to run a business, or who can teach us. And then slowly over time, the pieces start to come together. That's what we are today. But yeah, we're definitely guilty of doing the fun stuff way too much. And I'll tell you, what really kicks you into gears, when you start investing business money into stuff like business coaching, or other people that can pull you aside as a mentors and be like, "You need to not train today, and instead you need to pay your taxes, or pay your tax fine, or pick up the phone and make sales, or do some marketing, bring in some leads, that sort of thing, or hire a different coach, something like that. And yeah, just over time, just learning those lessons, I think, pulls you into perspective. So, the fun stuff is still part of it, that's why we had the gyms in the first place, but it's really, really important that, I think, if you are getting into the gym business, especially now, you are ready to do the business side of things, and not just the fun stuff.

Adam: It was kind of the same with all business types. They say that most businesses fail within three years, and you guys have obviously been to the brink...

Lachy: ...it's going to be close...

Adam: ...so how far into that three-year process was this crisis?

Raph: I think I know pretty clearly, and it was a point where we were really lazy with paying ourselves, and we haven't paid ourselves for about three months. And then, I remember, at that three month point, we were all like, 'oh, we need to pay ourselves for the last three months', and we couldn't pay ourselves for three months. It was exactly 12 weeks. And I think that was the moment where we realised, okay, this is not good. And that's when we got more serious about it, but I think we realised pretty early on that the podcast is not just completely for fun, and it actually is a really good use of our time. Maybe just because we're younger, and we saw so many big podcast overseas, but Lachy and I always knew this is pretty clever, doing the podcast. Even when things were bad, the podcast has always been a priority. Because we could see other podcasts, just like us who had gyms, and they were making more money, or more money off their podcast than their gym. So we weren't under any illusions that this had no potential.

Andy: I think you raise an interesting point there, that obviously there's lots of gyms, and we were speaking just before we started, there's sort of three or four gyms within a stone's throw of where we are right now in North Sydney. You guys said that there's lots of podcasts like you. How did you see to differentiate yourselves? How did you see, "It's an incredibly crowded marketplace. The reality is, for most people we look just like any other gym, and we might sound like any other podcast." What did you decide to try and make yourselves different, to give yourself that breakthrough?

Lachy: For the gyms, we almost arrogantly decided that we would just advertise ourself as the best gym. And fortunately, we had some coaches that were very, very high level, and so naturally from the beginning, we did have expert coaches. And at the end of the day, what we're selling is not equipment, and, you know, a roof over people's heads; we're selling coaching. That's what it is. We're coaching people in how to give themselves a better physical and mental state, essentially. So, what I realised is, if we can have the best coaches, it's really easy to say, 'okay, we're the best gym', because you are going to come in, you're going to get the best product. So, over time we've just made sure that we hire the best people that we can, people that are better than us at coaching.

I actually heard on a Tim Ferris podcast, he had the 10 commandments for any start-up business, and one of the commandments was, hire someone that you would work for. So, keeping that in mind, I always make sure that I'm thinking about that when I'm hiring someone, and just when that staff member is progressing, would I work for you? Are you exciting? Are you better than me at certain things? If they tick all the boxes, like, I just know we're going to have the best gym, and that's how we differentiate ourself. People come in, they go, "Oh wow, I didn't know you could get coached like this! I didn't know I was doing this small thing wrong." And so, that also starts with a really good sales process, I believe, as well, which I know for sure other gyms aren't doing, and so that, the sales process, and then obviously leading them into the experience, the product, I think these are two really big things that differentiate us. So yeah, the sales qual and the level of coaching they get when they come to us.

Raph: Yeah, and I would say for the podcast, differentiating the podcast, because we're a little bit different, was, there are a lot of podcasts. Number 1, there weren't many Australian podcasts. So, almost no one in Australia...

Lachy: ...in health and fitness.

Raph: ...yeah, doing a fitness podcast in Australia, so that was already a big differentiator. And all our listeners at the start of Australian, and I think a lot of them just found it cool, like, 'yeah, I can listen to America, but they don't know who I am, they're not talking about anything relating to me'. And then the second thing was, we didn't do a online interview, they were all in-person like this for over a year. And that's a serious hassle, because it takes, like, half of your day, and you're travelling, and even organising guests that live near you is not easy. And no one else was doing that.

Adam: Why did you take that decision? Just because no one else was doing it, and you thought it would bring clarity, or ...?

Raph: Yeah, I think Lachy was really keen on it, and he was adamant that we should do it. And I guess, one reason at the very beginning, it's way more fun, way more exciting to do it. And we knew they were better podcasts. And when we listen to podcast, the best podcasts, they are in person. I mean, we can argue about that, and listening to someone with a 10 second delay or a Skype call is not the same...

Adam: ...or the scratchy quality on the phone...

Raph: ...yeah, so we wanted to have a podcast that was funny, that was in person, and was high quality like that, and we did that, and I think what that forced us to do was unearth some people in Australia, that were reasonably famous, but had never got a voice before, because they had never done podcasts before. So, nearly all those podcasts were with people that had never ever been on a podcast, and people did want to hear from, more than a 10 second Instagram video. So, we gave a voice to those people for an hour, an hour and a half, and I think that differentiated a lot to other podcasts, and also gave us an opportunity to get better at interviewing and podcasting in person. I think you learn a bit faster that way than over Skype.

Lachy: We kind of liked the people, the people's champ in a way. We would only do people that would step up at the time, I mean, like, anyone can do a podcast. You just find the right people, find someone you want to do it with, have a great time, and just start. And then, it just gave people the belief they could do that. One other podcast that had done it in America, they were really famous, they were the biggest health and fitness podcast at the time, and I was like, look, we just need to copy that and be the Australian version of that. And then from there, we've been on so many other podcasts, which have come after we've started, and they say the same thing about us. They go, "You started the momentum in Australia to be like, hey, if you're interesting and you know people and you have a good network, and you have a good topic, you can just get on the mic and start." And since then, I think, podcasting has really taken off, and we've just kind of been the people's champ from there.

Andy: How many episodes have you done?

Raph: Officially, 150 weekly episodes, which are the over an hour interview episodes. So that's three years, because that's every single week. And then we've probably done about 50, a bit more, second episodes in the week.

Andy: The unofficial ones.

Raph: Yeah, the smaller ones, it could just be Lachy and I talking shit...

Lachy: Sitting at the desk, what are they going to talk about today?

Raph: Yeah, and we already started recording when we say that.

Andy: That's obviously a lot of recording time. And, do you look back and realise what you did really badly when you started, and what you do better now?

Adam: Listening to Episode 3....

Andy: Yeah, and flip side. What have you learned about how to do it better now, that you realise you just weren't doing when you started?

Lachy: Yeah, there's many layers to this. So, I'll talk about the most recent lessons I was learning, because we're bringing out this book, and this journal, The Training Journal, and it's required us to go back through our old podcast content and basically listen to it, and write down notes. And, it's been like, 30, 40 hours each of just listen to just talk over and over again, you pick up on the stuff that you suck at. And so, a big one that I have, particularly, is talking too fast. So, slowing down when I talk and being more thoughtful before I jump in is a big lesson I've learned recently, and so, I was doing that really poorly, and then only for the last three or four weeks I've been really working on just trying to slow down, speak slower, because sometimes I'm like, man, is this on fast forward? Because it's so quick, and I think sometimes as well the guests we bring on are so aggressive as well, I'm like, this guy is going to steal the show from me if I don't get in here, so I'm waiting for him to stop, and then I just punch out a massive 300 words so I can get it in just before he starts talking again.

So, slowing down was a big one. You know, just stuff like "umm" and "like" and "you know", things like that, just trying to be more conscious of those when you're talking and slowing down, it's a big part of that. That's probably a big one.

Raph: Yeah, I would say that at the start, we never sat down and wrote down how we were going to run the show, we just hit record. And what makes it a lot easier now is, we have a pretty clear idea of what's going to happen on the show, so I know Lachy is going to intro the podcast, and steer the direction where the podcast is going, which makes it easier for me, because I can think of jokes, or just add extra comments which are more relaxing. Whereas at the start, I would be like, I want to change the topic, and if we're both trying to change the topic, it just doesn't work. So, usually, you have to let go and know what's going on, and your roles between each other, and that way you won't interrupt each other as much, and I think the podcast goes a lot better. Sometimes, I would have an idea of what the best topic is, but it's the other dude's interview. We've brought him on the show, and I realise it's his show, and what he's passionate about on that day is what's going to go best, not my idea that I had on the way to the gym that day. So, I let go a lot now.

Lachy: You also said, "We're on the flight. We just landed, and we're doing our first U.S. podcast tour." And I was really excited, and you said to me when we got off, it was a quote from an author, but I can't remember who it was, you said, "The more intense you look like you're listening, the more you're going to open up to you." So in that trip, that was in the back of my mind the whole time. So, I would look like a savage. I was staring deeply into these people's eyes, just nodding the whole time, just going, yeah, just give me as much as you can. So, I think since then I've tried to be better at listening as well, like, to really look like I'm staring someone deep into their soul, and just trying to get as much out of them as possible. And I think it worked. We got some pretty intense stories, but they're Americans as well, so they also tell you way too much. More than you're expecting.

Adam: To give some context into the scale of your podcast, how many listeners do you actually have now?

Raph: We get a bit over 100,000 downloads each month.

Adam: 100,000, okay. How do you actually measure the success of the podcast? Because, having 100,000 listeners is one thing, but if that's not actually transitioning into anything meaningful for your business, it doesn't really mean anything. So, what is success in terms of the podcast as content for you guys?

Raph: I feel it's successful when I think we're going really good podcasts with really good guests. So, I feel it's unsuccessful when I finish them and I didn't really learn anything new from that, or I wasn't that excited to have that person on. But as soon as we have someone on, and we're like, that was incredible, and I'm learning everything, and people coming up to me like, "Dude, what was on that podcast, like, I'm implementing it, what do you think?" And everyone's talking about it, I think the downloads will take care of themselves, and when the downloads, the sponsors take care of themselves, all those things take care of themselves when you've got awesome guests and they're delivering new content that you literally have never heard before. And it's adding some value to your listeners.

Lachy: Yeah, I'd say, when that all happens, how it shakes out is, we can earn that full-time income off it, essentially we would still run the gyms, but maybe take even more of a backseat, and we would have the option to just podcast if we wanted to. So that would give us the option to travel whenever we needed to, to go overseas, to seek out guests, we get requests all the time to come to England to seek out the good strength and conditioning coaches there. And making sure that the sponsors are all lined up, it's going really well. That's going to give us the freedom to basically interview anyone we want, and that's really the end goal, so to be financially free from the podcast, basically.

Andy: I think you've raised an interesting point there, because you guys obviously, when you started, you wanted to form a gym. And you wanted to train and coach and do those things. Now, you're almost very much professional influencers. Do you see that the nature of your business has changed, or do you still see yourselves as gym owners?

Lachy: That's a good question.

Raph: I would say probably pretty similar.

Lachy: Yeah, I think it's different for me. I love being a gym owner, but I also, I wouldn't say I get bored, but I just am ambitious with a lot of stuff. A lot of the things that we do in the business, I just give myself a pat on the back, a lot of them are my initiative, ideas, and so constantly I'm reinventing myself. Okay, after the podcast, or with the podcast, or after the gyms, what else could I be doing? I'm not speaking for Raph or Roy, but I imagine they want to coach and run the gyms for a long time. But maybe for me, in five, 10 years, I might be doing something completely different. I don't know. I'm never stagnant, so I take on any opportunity if at the time I'm excited about it, I would do it, for sure.

Adam: I actually was going to ask how you guys stay motivated on the core business, which is the gym, given that you are so interested and so passionate about the podcast that you created.

Raph: We stay motivated because we opened three. So I think if we just had one, I think it can win, but when you open three, you back yourself into a corner where you got three rents to pay every single month, and you have to stay motivated. Does that make sense? Because yeah, like, every time we open one; we opened one in 2014, one 2015, and then one 2016. So we've never not had a new gym that really needed work on it. So we've never been able to just sit back and get demotivated on it, because, I think, for a lot of us, we get motivated when we need to get motivated, so ... Because it's always been like that, there's never really been a time where it's been boring, because every year's had a new gym.

Lachy: Yeah, you're in start-up phase all the time, essentially.

Raph: Yeah, it's exciting, and it needs a lot of work.

Adam: So is that a strategy that you guys are going to continue with, keep opening a new gym every year or every, sort of, at regular intervals, so that you do have that ongoing ...

Raph: I'm not sure, because we're really passionate about other things like the podcast, outside the gyms, and if we hadn't opened all those gyms, I would say probably the podcast would be going better, because we'd invest more time into it. But we've been investing our times into the gyms, because we've been expanding them, so potentially not continuing to go down that path, and it's a pretty big thing to take on, when you take on a new location, I think a lot of things can go wrong. We're having to move one of our locations now, and that reminds you that a physical gym is not something that you can just set up like a podcast, and it just goes on overdrive, and it's really predictable. You might need to move locations, and that's huge, the whole thing can come undone. It's a lot of risk, I think, to keep opening gyms, I think we'd rather keep what we've got, and maximise what we've got.

Adam: Do you guys actually monetise the podcast at all? Or is it more a labour of love?

Lachy: Yeah, we do, we do. We have currently four sponsors on the podcast, but the biggest thing that we're looking to do is to launch this journal, this book. So, we want to sell 10,000 copies on Kickstarter, and that will hopefully shake out to be half a million dollars in revenue. That is not because we want to make money, necessarily, for the sake of money, but to have the opportunities to travel and interview these amazing guests. We've got this bucket list with some insane people, the rock Arnold Schwarzenegger, you never know...

Raph: ...gotta shoot high!

Lachy: If we don't have money, essentially, we can't ever get there. We can't give ourselves those opportunities, so with the sponsorship money, and with the journal, hopefully we can create those opportunities for ourself. Money makes the world go round.

Adam: So content is clearly key for you guys. How has it really influenced your gym members on the ground?

Raph: Yeah, I would say it's a split. So there's some people that just have no idea and probably would never know about the podcast, because they're probably not that interested in fitness, maybe. And they know it's important to them, but they don't want to spend their time consuming fitness. They'd rather, I don't know, consume news.com.au or something else. But we have other parts, people that come to the gym really because they heard us on the podcast. And they're like, that's awesome. It makes you really seem like you're maybe a step up from other gyms, or you're more like a thought leader because you have a podcast. I think it's really cool for positioning in that sense, and yeah, I have noticed it on some of our athletes, on members, will look at us in a slightly different light once they discover the podcast. And I would say how it influences it a little bit is you can get a little bit more buy-in sometimes from your members. Because they're consuming much more of what you think. So, if you just give them a programme, they're like, "Why are we doing this? Why are we doing that?"

And to get specific, we implemented a new piece of equipment, a sandbag, in our gym, and all of a sudden, members who have listened to our journey towards why we're bringing that piece of equipment in were so much more bought in, and so much more excited. Because they're like, "I know you met this guy in America. And then you did his seminar in Australia, and I can see the journey you've gone on, and how that's influencing literally what I'm doing in class today." And they're excited. They're like, "Oh wow, you've gone do the best of the world and you've spoken to them, and you're implementing it like I'm doing this." Whereas the other person's like, "Why am I doing this? Did you run out of the other piece of equipment? Are the bar bells working?" It makes a big difference when they do buy in like that.

Andy: Obviously you guys are doing a lot of things, and starting to expand in a lot of different areas. Obviously, goal setting for training is very, very important. How often do you revisit your goals with the business?

Lachy: That's a good question. We have done it fairly recently, in the last three months or so, but it's something we should probably do more often. I think, just because individually, between the three of us, our ideas or what we want personally for our lives, always changes, and that can change the goals of the business. And if you don't do it often enough, what we find is people are pulling in different directions. Like, okay, 'why are you spending always money on this, and why have you stopped doing this, and why do you want to do this all of a sudden, and how come you come to the meeting and you're not excited about this anymore, and all you want to do is go down and do this one thing, and make all this money for yourself'. And then, when you kind of peel back the layers, it's like, oh, you have different goals now.

So, we need to realign all our personal goals with the goals of the gyms. Because, maybe say, for example, we're paying ourselves X, and it's because we want to maximise the profit for the gym so we can do something else. Maybe it's an overseas business course, like Tony Robbins business mastery, for example. But maybe one person decides, "Okay, actually, I want to take that money, I want to do it myself, because I want to invest in something else myself, personally. Or me and my partner want to buy a house or something, so we want to take that money that we originally thought was for the business, and now I want it personally." And that miscommunication can start to derail the business. So, yeah, revisiting the goals, I think is maybe a three-monthly, two-monthly thing, if not more often.

Adam: Speaking of goals. A lot of business owners have the goal of being a key influencer in their market, in their particular location. You guys, with the success that you've had in becoming an influencer in the fitness space, what kind of advice would you give to business owners on the ground? Those key mistakes that you've gone through that you can impart that kind of wisdom on, and then the key successes as well that you've had. What key pieces of advice would you actually give?

Raph: I would say one thing, I was thinking about it recently, is often you think you can predict better what your future self is going to enjoy when you go to start something. So, I was like, 'I'll love starting a gym'. And then looking back, I actually had no idea what running a gym would be like, so it was a pretty outrageous guess that I was going to really enjoy it. And it's the same thing about a podcast. I would say, anything I want to do now, if you can find a way to test it before being forced into it, because your name's on the lease, or you've bought all the equipment or something like that, to find out if you do enjoy it or you're good at it, even, is a really good idea. I signed up to university just presuming, I think I'll really like that course. And then it's four years of that. And I'm like, I probably should've studied a little bit before I started, before I did four years and $50,000 on it to see if it's something that I'd enjoy.

And I think if you could do that with avenues in your business, like if you're thinking about starting a podcast, just start doing some audio recordings and video recordings for your members, or something really small, and see if you like the process maybe before jumping into something or setting some huge goal of buying $1,000 of equipment.

Adam: Good advice.

Lachy: Yeah, my advice is, as soon as you can afford it, and I heard it from a interview with, I can't remember her name, but she's the female host on Shark Tank in America, it's the blonde lady, she's a real estate agent in New York, and she figured out, "As soon as I had enough money to hire the next sales person to sell property, that's what I would do." I think she's only sold one place in her entire career as a real estate agent, but she hired a huge team, and as soon as she could afford to hire someone more, she would hire that person. And for whatever reason, I just never valued hiring staff as much as I do now, and I think it's super important. The bigger and better your team can be underneath you, it makes all the difference.

I think it's the biggest separation besides, put asides marketing sales and all that stuff: if you can just hire the best team, then you'll have an amazing business, and you'll be able to separate yourself, and you won't have to do it all yourself. People just take so long to hire people, and when they finally make their first hire, second, third hire, they never do a good job with it. So, if you can focus on the hiring, if you can get the best staff as soon as you can afford it, it's going to make way more of a difference than you expect.

Adam: So, that's obviously been something that's allowed you to invest so heavily in the podcast, because you've been able to have the staff to run the business behind the scenes.

Lachy: Yeah, and they just do such a good job. People just have so much of their ego tied up in their business. They never want someone else to do it all for them. But the reality is, there are people out there that do it better than you, and it's okay to have them work for you and to pay them, because they're amazing people. You should find them and hire them, for sure.

Adam: That's some great insight, thank you, Lach, thank you, Raph, for coming in. I think we've run out of time, so we better, sort of, love you and leave you. But it would be great to get you back in the studio and pick your brains on a few other points, which we haven't been able to cover...

Lachy: Yeah, sure.

Adam: ...because I think I could talk to you guys just endlessly. Andy, anything to finish up on?

Andy: No, no, just, it is great to come and get some real good insight from some young guys who are really driving forward, and trying a lot. If people do want to find out a bit more either about your gyms or your podcast, where can they find out more?

Raph: You can join the gym if you'd like to. If you'd like to get very fit, there's one in Marrickville, one in Edgecliff, and one in Bondi. And if you go on crossfitcreature.com, then you'll get to speak to Lachy and I on the phone.

Lachy: And The Mind Muscle Project is the podcast. So currently Australia's number one health and fitness podcast on the rankings, which is cool, and yeah, we got that book coming out pretty soon, hopefully in September. You can pick up one of those when we launch it.

Adam: So you guys are everywhere.

Lachy: Yeah, that's it.

Adam: Alright, as usual, we'll get plenty of stories around the comments from Lachy and Raph up on the site, so that's mybusiness.com.au. If you've got any questions that you'd like to put our way, or you'd like to come on the podcast yourself, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is the place to go. We will see you again next week. Thanks so much for tuning in.


Coming back from the brink of failure: Lachy Rowston and Raph Freedman, Crossfit Creature
mybusiness logo
Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the former editor of MyBusiness and a senior freelance media professional, specialising in the fields of business, personal finance and property. In 2020, he also embarked on his own business journey – inspired in part by the entrepreneurs and founders he had met through his journalistic work – with the launch of customised pet gifting and subscription service Paws N’ All.

Leave a Comment

Latest poll

How satisfied are you with the SME measures in the federal budget?