Jason Khalipa on Growing Your Staff: “If You Find the Right Person for Your First Hire, I Bet You They Will Regain Their Salary Within 90 Days”

August 30, 2022 by
Photo Credit: CrossFit, LLC
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CrossFit elder statesman Jason Khalipa recently sat down with Morning Chalk Up staff writer Preslie Hirsch for the re-release of our series Coffee Break Conversations, which is available exclusively for Rx members, and dropped some serious nuggets of wisdom.

Photo Credit :

Remind me: Khalipa first rose to fame after winning the 2008 CrossFit Games, and opened his first gym, CrossFit Santa Clara, one month later. He went on to compete at the CrossFit Games seven consecutive times (6 individual and 1 team appearance), has since opened 20 gym locations, founded NCFIT (previously NorCal CrossFit), wrote a book and launched the Effort Over Everything Podcast. 

Khalipa has helped countless CEOs and affiliate owners alike run better, more successful operations. While his company is geared largely toward functional fitness purveyors, his background began in conventional gym ownership and that experience has informed his business-forward mindset. 

  • “I started working at the front desk when I was in high school. And then when I graduated from high school, I ended up going to a junior college and knew I needed to get my stuff together. I found an opportunity in that gym to work full-time in sales, and that was a really cool experience because I had some great business mentors who took me under their wing and taught me a lot about sales in regards to fitness,” Khalipa said.
  • “And then I found CrossFit in 2006 and it really changed my life, because I was introduced to this idea of a coach and a community — and it really started getting people results.” 

With extensive trial and error in growing gyms, and having scaled to corporate wellness programs, an app, formal session plans and more, Khalipa’s NCFIT is no stranger to the myriad of responsibilities and challenges a gym owner might face. 

One big thing: While there are many buckets under the overarching business umbrella to running a gym, hiring is a big (sometimes scary) one to talk about, because chances are, you can’t do it alone. 

  • Khalipa says: “You can never afford a coach, unless you afford a coach”. Meaning: Gym owners tend to get in a position where they are coaching a majority of their classes, and making the first hire can seem daunting. However, it’s likely not sustainable to coach all the time and making that first leap is required to make progress in this department. 
  • “If you find the right person for your first hire, I bet you they will regain their salary within 90 days,” Khalipa said. “…under the right circumstances, within 90 days they’ll probably pay back what you’re paying them because it will free you up to go build the business more and do other things.” When you invest in someone else to do something repeatable, it allows you to go do more of what only you can to grow your income and impact.
  • “If there’s a demand from the business to have a 5am class, the gym does not care that I don’t want to wake up early. It has no allegiance to how I feel. Is it a good business decision?” Khalipa asks. Said another way: If there is a good case for making a choice in your business, it’s usually the right choice, regardless if you wantto do that thing.
Credit: Morning Chalk Up

For “How to be Smart About Your Gym’s Finances”, more hiring tips and other scalable solutions to implement at your affiliate with Khalipa, check out our Coffee Break Conversation for Rx members here. Not an Rx member? Join today for $1.  

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