The reason it worked is that Grubb implicitly understood the value of his work and the value of his time, and after pricing his services accordingly, his clients did too. It’s the same approach he’s taken with his second business, 5280 CrossFit.
After discovering CrossFit himself in his late thirties, Grubb decided to start his own gym in Golden, Colorado—a location he chose for its close-knit community and active lifestyle.
During his off-season in 2015, he worked hard to get the gym up and running before he had to begin shoot weddings again in the spring and summer. It was overwhelming initially, but as time went on, his business grew and he was able to step back and take a more managerial role.
“I’m now able to devote all of my time to working on the business, not in the business.”
“My ultimate goal is that I don’t want to have to be there,” he laughs. “By the end of the first year, I had two coaches and a part-time general manager. Last year, in the first quarter of 2016, I had a full-time general manager and three coaches. Summer of 2016 I wasn’t on the schedule to coach anymore….I’m now able to devote all of my time to working on the business, not in the business.”
And although CrossFit is pretty much as far from wedding photography as you can get, Grubb insists that it isn’t a way to escape his other job, but instead actually serves to enrich it. “5280 is not a departure from wedding photography,” he explains, adding that having another business allows some pressure to be taken off of wedding photography being his main source of income. This, in turn, allows him the freedom to pursue his passion more fully and be choosy about the weddings he wants to shoot and the wedding planners he wants to work with.
There’s also striking overlap in the way Grubb does business, whether it’s taking pictures of happy couples or helping individuals reach their fitness goals. “There’s so many similarities in our approach, our pricing, our thought process and general fears of doing crazy sh-t in a business” he laughs.
His pricing strategy is a perfect example. “As much as I’d like to fill the gym with 200 people right now, I’m not looking for price-sensitive shoppers,” he explains. “We’re the most expensive gym in Golden…our base price is more expensive than the top price at any other gym”.
Rather than see that as a downside or lower his rates to compete with his competitors, however, Grubb understands the value in being the best.
“I had the same fears I had when I went from an average price in the wedding market as a photographer to way above and beyond that, but it worked,” he says simply. “The same thing is happening with our CrossFit gym. With any higher-priced brand or service, people attribute value to it because of its cost. And we deliver.”
One way the two businesses do differ, however, is how they reach and retain customers. While Grubb was turning away clients as a wedding photographer, with 5280 CrossFit he says that customer acquisition is the number one objective on his mind these days.