When Jason Leydon discovered CrossFit in 2008, he already had a space to Affiliate – his own, 7-year-old personal training studio.
“I was a little nervous, but also it was what I believed in, it was what I was passionate about,” said Leydon, the owner of CrossFit Milford in Milford, Connecticut. “So, it was just the direction I went in, and I figured [my clients] who wanted to be with me would come with me and the people who wouldn’t, wouldn’t.”
With the support of many of his training clients – many were already practicing CrossFit – Leydon achieved his Level 1 certification and officially transitioned his facility into a Box. The members who stayed through that transformation provided him with an initial base to begin his Affiliate ascension.
Since then, Leydon’s Box has grown, as has his coaching opportunities. He said he has been put in situations to help and coach athletes at high levels, from world champion powerlifters to CrossFit Games competitors. These experiences have permeated his coaching at his own Box and have helped him take a look at his priorities: His coaching comes before being a business owner.
However, that does not mean he has let his business do whatever it wants. Instead, he has put systems and people in the right places in order to keep his Box operational. “I know if I just focused on my athletes, then the business would fall apart,” said Leydon. “I think it’s allowed me to really look at what are my strengths and weaknesses, and not so much try to change who I am, but put the necessary people in place that can help my weaknesses become strengths, especially with something that I don’t want to learn about.”
Leydon has four specific tips for other Affiliates:
As for what seperates CrossFit Milford from the rest, once again it comes down to coaching. Leydon noted that while his community is amazing all on its own, it seems to have a good sense of valuing the facility and the Coaches. But, that’s not without cause. “The level of coaching and caring the clients get from the Coaches is really what separates us,” he explained.
In business a lot of times you have to follow your instincts. For Leydon, his understanding of his clients helped him make a decision that followed his passion, but was also perfect for growth of his business and the creation of CrossFit Milford.