I applaud you. Yep- straight off the bat. Well done on deciding to start your own personal training business. It takes guts to go it alone, even only initially, in any business, and personal training is not without its ups and downs.
There will be times you want to give up and go back to your previous occupation. At least then you knew what to expect, even though you weren’t happy.
There will be times you want to give up your long term dreams simply to enjoy the ‘now’. But let me tell you from experience, STICK WITH IT ! With enough time, passion and determination under your belt, you WILL have the chance to look back and know it was worth it.
My business ‘The Studio Trainer’ has grown from being my ‘baby’ to being my ‘tween with wisdom to boot’!
Here are my 5 tips on starting YOUR own business….
All too often we are swayed by those around us. Outside happenings, people and places affect our self esteem, demeanour and appearance.
In the personal training industry many believe they need to look like Arnie, get tats like the Commando, sell 12 week transformations like Michelle Bridges and wear clothes like Jane Fonda- well OK, maybe not that last one….! But do you know what?
We are ALL human. We ALL have something unique to offer the world, your business and your clients! I may not belong on the front of a sports and fitness magazine (as photo shopped, warped and unrealistic as they are…) but HEY- I SURE CAN write unique programmes tailored to every individual who trains with me. I record previous attempts, numbers and reactions and I celebrate the achievements.
I can also cue, check technique, count reps AND be a counsellor all at the same time. Some may call it a gift but I call it being REAL. I am also not a ‘yeller’. I do not get into clients’ faces and scream ‘GIMMEE ONE MORE REP BRO’! . Neither am I a personal trainer who dances around with a ‘WOO’ and high fives. I am me. I write a great programme, I develop a long-standing rapport with my clients and I am genuinely interested in how they are going.
When I say ‘keep it real’ , I also mean keep it ‘personal’ .
After all, most clients use a trainer for exactly that reason. PERSONAL attention. They want to feel welcome, cared for and uninhibited. They are paying you to listen to their goals and help them get results.
Being your most genuine self will get the results your business deserves.
It is your knowledge of the industry and where THEY are at, that will keep your clients coming back AND talking about your business.
It is NOT the size of your protein shake or the ‘free’ towel they get at join up. It is YOU- the trainer -and how invested you are in their goals and progressions. If you love high fives and squealing ‘WOO’ then go for it!
Just be genuine and keep it real. Use your strengths, nurse your weaknesses and be the best version of YOU you can be!
I would never advise you to be misleading to your clients about what you can do for them.
However, until your baby of a business becomes a bit more established, it is important to instil an air of confidence.
Run the business you want, even if you’re not quite there yet. Walk the walk and talk the talk if you like (again, if that includes high fives- your choice!)
From the language you use for your marketing materials to the way you interact with perspective clients, if you project a sense of poise when dealing with new clients, you can make a great impression that offsets your lack of size or experience. Think big when growing your business.
This might sound contradictory to ‘keeping it real’ but there is a difference between being your genuine self and creating the feel of a thriving, established business when really you’re still finding your way AND new clients.
As much as we would all like to support fledgling enterprises, some clients just don’t want to start with someone who may not be able to follow through in the future.
In times of hardship or doubt, put on your game face and divert your worries to developing that client rapport. If you are also employing other staff, always ‘appear’ to be a leader. It will help their pride too.
Anyone potentially looking for employment or investment won’t do so unless there is ample confidence and calm.
There WILL be a day when you can honestly say your schedule is full .
This generally coincides with an overload of caffeine, hair you haven’t had time to dry and possibly indents on your face from the pillow still (who ME?).
Needless to say, this takes time to establish and until then clients need to see you positive, busy and upbeat.
Making your personal training business dream a reality can be an uphill battle, you’re going to encounter negativity along the way, but as I’ve mentioned, it’s important to ooze confidence (even when your hair’s wet still) .
As a fledgling business owner, people are going to tell you ‘no’ – a lot. Prospective clients will tell you they’re not interested.
You might try to contact them a few times. They may have initiated the first consult. You ring. You remind. THEY cancel. THEY renig. They might become annoyed or even rude. They might actually DRIVE YOU MAD.
Count to ten ‘n all that, you just can’t win sometimes. The committed and awesome clients make up for the ‘doozies’ who just don’t follow through and make the next step!
If you want your business to grow, normalizing ‘no’ will be a way of life. Each ‘no’ is an opportunity to improve upon your sales pitch or service and it helps you to develop a thicker skin and a more compelling pep talk.
You might decide you need some more ‘WOO’ and high fives! (Not me though, I just can’t do it!)
Be content with the fact that your client base IS growing and the business is becoming a worthwhile endeavour. It’s nothing against you personally.
It’s a tough one to admit.
Starting up your new business requires you to wear many different hats, but to make it all work you need to accept that you can’t do it all-all of the time!
I have learnt at The Studio Trainer that there are things I am good at and there are things that I absolutely suck at. There- I said it!
I’ve never been one to sit for very long so for me- the accounts and invoicing are what I don’t do so well. My clients know this so some of them- bless their cotton socks, just pay me of their own accord….when payments are due.
I get there eventually, but ‘accountant’ was not on my ‘dreams come true’ list.
As well as ‘accountant’, I need to be marketing manager, web designer, social media advisor, Occ health and safety officer, teacher (for visiting PT students), crèche supervisor (when mummas bring their bubbas), recruiter (trainers welcome), first aid officer, part time counsellor and……a personal trainer.
Granted, I definitely need to delegate some of these jobs when possible and I do. Even to one of my triplet girls or my son. Lord knows they are more tech savvy than me these days.
So, I try and stick to what I’m good at- the programming, dealing with my clients and developing an ever lasting rapport that allows me to have pillow lines on my face- and know that the client thinks that’s ok!
When you start your business it’s certainly of benefit to know how each job within the fold works and what is required.
My advice though would be to delegate tasks to those more experienced than yourself- when you can.
It ensures a smoother road to bringing up the ‘baby’, making it bloom and bustle with ‘boo-yas’ as much as possible. Wear the hats that suit you.
If you want your business to grow, don’t try (nor expect) to be able to do everything.
A big part of every professional’s job is to stay on top of industry trends.
Knowing what is in the interest of other personal trainers and your clients will help you to stay ahead of the competition and ensure that your clients feel like you care about them and understand their needs.
Building your knowledge in fitness, nutrition AND business means you’ll be better placed to advise your clients, as well as position yourself as an industry expert. Keep learning and stay up to date with these invaluable sources.
Some trends I love- like HIIT training and some I totally just ‘don’t get’-like ‘animal flow’. Nonetheless, I still research and learn about them.
That way, I can answer questions from clients and advise whether that client should go to a class to move like an ape….or whether they may slip a disc in the process…
If you don’t have the answer to questions, don’t be afraid of saying ‘I don’t know’.
No one knows everything and with such transient trends as those in the health and fitness industry you can’t expect to keep completely up to date. Assure the client you will do some research and get back to them as soon as possible with an answer or your opinion.
The world is our oyster as far as increasing the grey matter these days. With the net at our fingertips (or thumbs), we can learn wherever we are. Back this up with magazines, social media, online courses, forum interaction, Skype and Dr.Oz (or NOT), we have NO excuse not to keep learning and progressing as personal trainers.
Keep in the loop and you will be an amazing attribute to those who count- your loyal clients.
At the same time, you will get such a grand sense of satisfaction at being a key person of influence. It makes those 5am starts worthwhile (with wet hair and lines on your face….)
In the words of Lenny Kravitz, “I’m old enough to see behind me, and young enough to feel my soul.”
If starting your own personal training business is something you FEEL, stick with it. It will work. Learn from other peoples’ mistakes. You may fall and you may want to change your mind. But if you are genuine, real, consistent and hard-working, your new ‘baby’ will be something you can never give up!
Eliza Richards was a diagnostic radiographer, is now a certified Master Trainer and always will be mother of triplets plus one. She owns and manages her own private fitness studio, has a passion for martial arts and hitting stuff and has a thing for Lindt chocolate. She is a personal trainer, with qualifications in Punchfit, karate, bootcamp for children, advanced fitball and TRX training. She has her own blog and a border collie called Archie. If she won the lottery she would pay for world peace and for Game of Thrones to be on EVERY night.