Hooting, hollering and ripping his shirt open to show off his washboard abs, Ryan “Cowboy” Ehmann lassoed a Shark Tank deal for his Lose 12 Inches with Any 12 Workouts fitness program. Since appearing on ABC’s hit business reality show in March 2013, Ehmann has taken his Shark investor, FUBU founder Daymond John, on a wildly profitable ride.
On air, fashion mogul Daymond John offered Ehmann $120,000 for 25% his company — exactly what Ehmann came in asking for. Ehmann wanted to use the money to make an infomercial for his Lose 12 Inches DVDs. John said he liked Ehmann more so than the product.
Ehmann went from bucking a bronco by himself to opening Cowboy Ryan’s Gym in Loveland, Colo. with two locations, 10 employees and 350 members. He hauls in $80,000 a month in revenues with a “whoo-hoo-that’s-what-I’m-talking-about” 60% profit margin. John has been helping Ehmann market the Cowboy Ryan brand and license it to gyms around the world.
Before saddling up his own business, Ehmann worked as a personal trainer at Golds Gym in Austin, Texas for three years. As a former professional rodeo cowboy, he got clients amazing results and became one of the top trainers owing to his “energy, enthusiasm and rodeo-style, heart-rate training.”
Ehmann’s Lose 12 Inches Rodeo Workout package consists of eight DVDs, a heart-rate monitor watch and workout chart. It currently sells for $159, down from a list price fo $275. Before taking a ride in the Shark Tank, Ehmann pulled in $130,000 a year. After Shark Tank, website sales topped $80,000 in six weeks and $150,000 in eight months.
Since Shark Tank, Ehmann unleashed new “Rodeo Bootcamp” DVD workout. He’s hopes to license 2,000 gyms and has received inquiries from the U.S., Spain, Japan and Costa Rica. He guarantees his gym owners will make $35,000 a month with 60% profit within 90 days.
Ehmann explains how he’s literally changing hearts and waistlines, his gallop into the Shark Tank and his unbeatable cowboy marketing strategy.
Ky Trang Ho: How did you come up with the idea for your business? What problem were you seeking to solve?
Ryan Ehmann: In 2007, I moved to Loveland, Colo. and was working for a large corporate gym. I was tired of watching people pay for a $50 gym membership and not knowing what to do in the gym. If they wanted professional help they had to hire a personal trainer at $65 an hour. So this was limited to only the wealthy.
I had a vision of doing group training at a fraction of the cost, allowing the average household afford personal training. I opened my first gym and did 45-minute sessions with scheduled class times.
After doing this for six years, I was completely burned out on training. But I had a winning formula to get clients to lose 12 inches in 12 workouts. I then applied for ABC’s Shark Tank because I wanted to help millions of people with my proven rodeo boot camp and heart-zone training on DVD. Some 60% of the nation is considered overweight.
After appearing on the TV show, I sold over 40,000 copies and helped thousands of people get the results they wanted. I then decided to adopt a new business gym model that went by the 3Ss: systemized, scalable and sellable.
I wanted to have no class times and have a personal trainer included in every workout. In the United States alone, there are more than 100,000 personal trainers, who all work endless houses in gyms. They get up early and go home late to barely make $1500 a month.
I had to finally put an end to broke trainers and expensive personal trainer fees, a majority of which is kept by the gym owner. I wanted a revolutionary business model that allows any personal trainer or anyone interested in being a business owner to buy with a credit card.
Most small gyms or personal training studios don’t have a sales department nor a scheduled marketing plan. So I implemented this into our gyms and that is what allows us to generate $10,000 in weekly sales and $40,000 in monthly membership fees.
Ho: How much did you personally invest in your business?
Ehmann: Over the last nine years, I have personal invested $250,000 into my gym trying to figure out how to create the ideal business model that makes the owner $80,000 a month and gets clients to lose 12 inches in 12 workouts.
After launching the New Cowboy Ryan’s Gym business model in October 2015, I invested only $5,000 into this new concept.
Ho: How did you get the money to start your business initially?
Ehmann: In 2007, I was rejected by 10 banks. So I applied for 13 credit cards and opened my first location on my passion to get clients life-changing results.
Ho: What hardships did you encounter in developing and launching your business?
Ehmann: Haha, I have done everything that’s possibly wrong. Weak fences in the gym broke. No workout regimen that other personal trainers couldn’t duplicate. No sales department that is in control of the daily and monthly revenue.
A Wild Ride in the Shark Tank
Ho: How did you prepare for your appearance?
Ehmann: I got myself it top shape and my abs ripped up for the TV show.
Ho: What made it a success?
Ehmann: My success is that I am a genuine, authentic, big-hearted cowboy who just wanted to help people get in shape working out smartly and efficiently and put an end to extremely hard workouts. My sincere cowboy handshake is what the nine million viewers saw and it really allowed people to see the real me.
Ho: What about being in the Tank (or whatever happened before or after) surprised you the most?
Ehmann: I was surprised that Daymond John said yes to a Rodeo Cowboy and was excited to help me launch a brand name “Cowboy Ryan” instead of just the workout DVDs.
Ho: If you could do the show over, what would you do differently?
Ehmann: I originally went on the show pitching my LOSE 12 inches DVDs. If I could do I over it would be my new business model “Cowboy Ryan’s Gym” licensing model.
Ho: What misconceptions do you think viewers have about the show?
Ehmann: People think you are instantly rich and the Sharks arrive at your door to run your business. The Sharks are only experts in exactly what they have done to become billionaires so they rely on you to be the expert.
Ho: What can you teach others about your Shark Tank experience?
Ehmann: Be real, be you and believe in yourself. Don’t be afraid to walk away from a deal and most importantly, don’t be so in love with your product that you won’t listen to suggestions about things to change.
Not Horsing Around
Ho: What are your goals for your business over the next five years?
Ehmann: I want to get involved in the rodeo world and be a big contributing sponsor. This is a perfect business model for rodeo cowboys and personal trainers who have little investment money but need a big return on investment.
Ho: What is your media and marketing strategy? And how do you get new customers?
Ehmann: We are big on social media and with Daymond John’s connections in the celebrity world we are going to tap into that world. One of my big goals would be to get country singers and pro rodeo dowboys to license a Cowboy Ryan’s Gym.
We get 90% of new customers with our custom built internet-marketing system that costs us a mere $1.25 per new client.
Cowboy Marketing Plan
Ho: Would you please elaborate on what your “custom built internet marketing system ” entails?
Ehmann: Our exclusive system automatically emails prospects and clients. It sends out text messages with motivations, reminders and special offers. Plus, we confirm free workout passes and appointments from our cell phones so nobody falls between the cracks.
We use AWeber, MindBody software, social media for marketing services. The biggest marketing tool we utilize is our clients getting results. People get what they want so we give them incentives to invite their friends. Clients can refer our gym to their friends with the simple push of a button on their phone and it broadcasts on all social media platforms.
We use all software available on the market but the trick is putting it all together and organizing it into an exclusive software that we developed. It’s called “Cowboy Marketing 82x,” which allows us to generate $10,000 in new sales weekly.
Sorry but this is all I can share as this is one of secrets that I don’t share with anyone unless they license our gym.