Starting a New Gym in a Competitive City with Taylor Dayne Loyd of Iron Greenhouse

Good morning Fringe Fam! This is Peter Keller from FringeSport, and I am very happy to be talking with Taylor Dayne Loyd of Iron Greenhouse in Austin, Texas today. Among other things, I'm super happy to talk with Taylor because she very recently opened up her gym, and she outfit almost entirely with FringeSport gear. That's not a requirement for me to talk with people, but it certainly makes me super happy when that does happen.

Taylor, how you doing this morning?

Taylor Dayne Loyd: I'm great.

Great, I love to hear it. It's a real nice day in Austin, so I hope that you're able to get out and enjoy it a little bit after this interview. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Taylor Dayne Loyd: Well, I am 28 years old, and I'm born and raised in Austin. I briefly left Austin for four years to enter high school in Imperial Valley, California. But I came back very quickly. I played sports all through high school. The interesting thing, that's pretty "Austin", is I've actually never done anything else as job-wise as other than coaching. It's been personal training at different gyms, boxing, all that stuff. Yeah. That's basically where I'm from, and my tiniest life story in a very few words.

No worries. I love it. I've known you for a few years here in town, but just now, you're branching out and starting your own gym. Tell us a little bit about that: from personal training to actually going all in and starting your own gym.

Taylor Dayne Loyd: Yeah. It was ... It's been a long, long road, probably 11 years. My first job training was actually out of an MMA gym in Arizona, and they actually put me as a front desk girl, and I hated it. I kind of punked the current kickboxing instructor, and so they punked me, and started making me coach without ever knowing anything, and kind of taught me a lesson. Then they actually started coaching me in boxing, and so I started learning boxing and MMA. I fell in love with it. They started letting me have one client as they shadowed me, and it just kind of started there.

I mean, all through high school, I was asking the coach to let me help put together workouts and just kind of watch. I was just really obsessed with it. I actually was working at Gold's Gym or YMCA doing PTs. If anyone ever asked me, I think the best advice I could ever give is just watch and learn other people. I would really pay attention to what other trainers were doing and ask a lot of questions and let them train me to just kind of figure out what they're doing.

That was in Waco, the YMCA, and then I moved to Austin and started working in Gold's Gym. I just stuck with it, and then I started working for Camp Gladiator at the Arena and taught there for three years. After a while, you can kind of figure out what your niche is. Group training at the Arena wasn't my style, and I really wanted more personal and specific driven programs. I started getting into strength.

I got into bodybuilding to learn more. I got a coach, and I was just in that world of how to build the muscle and the dieting and the nutrition. I did that for three years. That really put me in the mindset of, I really want to train people with very specific goals, and that's what I started doing.

So I quit my job at Arena on a whim, didn't plan it or nothing. I literally just walked in there with a, "No, I don't want to do this anymore, you know, you're not letting me coach the way I can coach, and I quit." Then I walked out to my car and started crying. I was like, "Great. I'm going to go poor. I'm going to live out in my car," and that just ... I don't know. I started ... I literally went across the street, asked this guy if I could rent space out, I had like two people I knew that would follow me.

He let me rent space for about a year, and then he didn't want to rent space anymore, so he told me I had to go. At that point, I was just getting really tired of not having a consistent space. I was training out of people's garages. I was just like, "You know what? I know. I can't do this anymore."

Right around the time when I met Colton, and he also wanted to open a gym, so we started flirting with the idea of possibly having our own space, what it would take, started building a business plan together, and started really being confident that we could do it. One night, he sat there, and he was like, "You know what? If we never do this, we're never going to know if we could have." The possibility came around. A guy found a space, and we just either had to act on it, or not, and space in Austin is very hard to find.

We jumped all over it and had two months to set it up. We didn't have to use a bank or anything, so that was awesome, and just went to town for two months trying to make it into a functioning gym. That's where we're at.

Yeah! Thanks for sharing. You talked about it being difficult to find space in Austin, and Austin's a town where there are a lot of CrossFit boxes or other small gyms in addition to really active triathlon running groups. Just very active community. Talk to us a little bit about the difficulty of actually finding a space where you can open a gym.

Taylor Dayne Loyd: It's not only the space. I mean, yes it is, but it's Austin being very popular, expensive, and we're not opening the gym with 200 members on the spot. You kind of have to be smart, what can we actually do and not get in a hole. But you also don't want to get a spot where it's only 1,000 square feet and in two months, you're already telling people that your classes are full, it's flooded. You can't sign up.

We held out until we decided that probably 4,000 square feet would be perfect, because we didn't want to just do one type of classes. We didn't want to go downtown, because neither one of us lives downtown, and downtown's pretty saturated. We wanted to stay north, where our clientele was. You can't be attached to businesses that are going to be mad about the music. Parking is a big deal, because you have to have at least 10 spots, up to 12 spots, available, otherwise clients are parking down the road. You don't want to have people to do that.

It was just really difficult to find high ceilings, and we didn't want to be in a space we didn't want to be in. We had higher expectations of the kind of space we wanted. We just waited out, and this literally just fell in our laps, and we're really grateful. The guy was awesome about letting us in there and having a gym. Some businesses don't want gyms in there because they don't want to have to deal with you not being able to make rent in three months.

It was awesome. It was just difficult.

Got it. You just had your grand opening last weekend. How have you been getting clients, understanding that it's very new? What's been the best process for you?

Taylor Dayne Loyd: Honestly, it was kind of what we did beforehand. We really just made sure to tell all of our current clients, to tell everyone. We asked everybody that we already trained to take flyers to the gym. I used the crap out of Instagram, it's free promoting. You're just constantly putting the word out there about what we were doing. I had a really big following with boxing, so I contacted all my old boxing clients and let them know I was coaching again. It was really just word of mouth and using Facebook and Instagram and really asking for people to pour it in, re-posting it for us. That's basically what we did for almost two months.

I love it. Well are you ready to move into the lightning round yet, or is there anything else that you'd like to share with our audience?

Taylor Dayne Loyd: No, yeah, let's go for it.

Sweet. What's one amazing tactical business tip that's helped you in the past 30 days?

Taylor Dayne Loyd: Oh, gosh. Ask for help. We're coaches. We're not business savvy. I will gladly admit that to anybody. I think the best money that we invested in was a bookkeeper and a CPA. I mean, unless you just knew about what the taxes would be like at the end of the year. We talked to so many business owners that are established, and they said the worst thing that they did was not get a bookkeeper for their first year for the gym and try to do it on their own. So ask for help in all the business aspect, and ask people that are established. That would be my greatest tip to anybody.

I love it. What's the best business book you've ever read?

Taylor Dayne Loyd: I actually have never really read a business book, per se. There's a few people that I've read about. Krissy Cagney's one, I found people that have done exactly what I want to do, and she had a blog, and she puts out stuff about her journey, through e-books, to opening a gym, to having a clothing brand, and she's amazing. Then there's another guy, I forgot his last name, Randall, he started Live Fit Apparel, but the way they ran their business and promoted it is just phenomenal. They started from absolutely nothing and an Instagram, and they are a huge company now. Yeah, sorry. Haven't read a book, but read people's blogs.

No, don't worry. It's awesome. What's one amazing personal tip that's helped you in the last 30 days? So previously it was business, now it's something on the personal side.

Taylor Dayne Loyd: Personal ... I think what it's been for me is setting priorities. I sit down before I make a lot of rash decisions or before getting stressed out about something. Sitting down and just taking a breath, staying humble, just asking for help, and really going back and forth between me and Colton on decisions that we need to make. I've had to learn to let stuff go. I'm a control freak when I want to be, so I've had to really let that go and ask other people for help and let them come in and kind of do what they're good at, and let go of that. Then, having life outside the gym, and keeping it to where it's still a place that I'm excited to be at. We still both work out at CrossFit Jääkarhu with the team and coaches. Being able to leave and then come back has been really awesome.

Great, I love it. What's your favorite piece of fitness equipment?

Taylor Dayne Loyd: Boxing bag.

All right! I love it. What's your favorite workout or exercise routine?

Taylor Dayne Loyd: Oh, man. Like the specific movement, or just the type of working out?

Whatever! Take it how you would like to.

Taylor Dayne Loyd: CrossFit.

Why's that?

Taylor Dayne Loyd: It's competitive. I needed some competitiveness in my life. I was an athlete forever, and then got out of it, and just needed that competitive edge, I guess.

Cool, I love it! Well, that's what we've got for today. If people want to get a hold of you, what's the best way for them to find you?

Taylor Dayne Loyd: Email, we have a website, which is, and then we also have an email

Okay, well we'll go ahead and link both of those up. This has been a pleasure talking with you. Have a wonderful day!

Taylor Dayne Loyd: Yeah, thank you for having me. 


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  • Christopher Zapata

    Love everything you post and have for sale. Is there a way to get on a listserve to get these emailed to me? Also saw you had some new stickers and wanted to order some but couldn’t find a way to buy them.

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