The Business of Personal Training
The business of personal training has endless possibilities. It's definitely not limited to you, the fitness professional, training one client for one hour at a time. What any successful business comes down to is providing quality products and/or services to a targeted group, as well as effectively organizing time (inside & outside of the business) and managing money soundly.
The business of personal training starts off by brainstorming ideas. As original or creative your idea may be, always ask yourself if implementing that idea into your business contributes to fulfilling a certain need or want of your target clientele. If most people would say "Wow, that's really interesting!"... but would never spend a cent on the product or service then you don't have a business. As intelligent or as good of a person you may well be... it unfortunately doesn't cut it in the business world.
You have to be tough and you have to think about the bottom line. You shouldn't be creating this business with the mindset to just survive; You want to thrive and be able to live life to the fullest. If you're not sure if there is a need for the product/service you intend on offering, get feedback. Talk to people that fit your desired target client profile. Ask them to be brutally honest and give constructive criticism. Through discussions, a mediocre idea may form into an incredibly original (& profitable) new idea.
Once you've decided on the main service you will provide, find out where there are clusters of your target clientele without much (or hopefully any) competition. The business of personal training involves carefully choosing a location with high potential earnings. If too many other trainers offer the same or similar services, then you may have to find new locations to work in. As an example, ask the owner of a gym or personal training studio if you can spend a morning, an afternoon, and an evening at his/her establishment. Keep an eye out for how busy their trainers are, those employed by the gym/studio as well as independent ones. Employees usually have a shirt with the gym/studio's logo and 'Personal Trainer' printed on the back of it. If the trainers don't seem too busy, are busy but do not seem to offer a similar service to yours, or do not focus on your target clients... then you are one step closer to setting up your business.
The business of personal training would not be complete without looking over how exactly you'll make profits. How much are you going to charge for your different services and/or products? You may want to start simple, and offer only one type of service with different rates depending on how many sessions the client purchases in one transaction. If you look at the history of most business empires, you'll notice that they started very small, often as simple one-man operations that offered one product or service they believed in. Eventually, they grew into multimillion dollar companies, still most recognized by that first product/service they put out. You could do the same. You do, however, need to learn how to crawl before you can walk.
Don't be intimidated by the trainer who offers his clients ten different methods of payment, has laminated banners posted on his office walls, and who offers all of his clients branded fitness apparel with every personal training package they purchase. You are selling YOU more than anything else. Believe in yourself, be yourself, be polite, be punctual, be respectable, be professional, offer your clients the gift of long-lasting results and empowering knowledge. There really is no secret to success which lies outside of common sense. Therefore, follow your intuition and all will be well.
Taking the time to write up a good business plan will benefit you later. Still, don't wait forever to start your business. The business of personal training is in essence about training people. You can begin to train clients tomorrow. Harness the power of word of mouth marketing by asking friends and family members if they know of anyone who may be interested in getting in shape. Charge a fair price (one you can live without being too modest), and briefly mention to clients that rates are subject to change. Give one free fitness assessment, consultation, evaluation or personal training session to each of your clients... maximum. Also, don't feel bad about accepting money from clients; What better investment can a person make than to improve his/her own health?
How can you make a little extra money in the business of personal training. One way is to offer one-hour sessions to small groups of two, three or four people. It's an easy sell because you can charge much less per client. And in the end you'll still make more money per session. Also, because you're training more people, the buzz about your services will grow at a faster rate. One way of making more money while training an individual client is to charge more per session. There isn't a fixed rate that trainers in general are charging. It simply depends on too many factors. Still, I've known trainers that charge $120 an hour that were just as busy as the trainers charging $15 an hour. Just be sure to not sell yourself short. You are worth what you believe you are worth. Another way of making more money is to have more 1-on-1 appointments in the day. If you have the energy and the drive to do this, it's a good way to bring home a secure paycheck at the end of the week.
The business of personal training is exactly that, a business. Training one client, one session at a time is an honorable occupation with plenty of benefits. Still, it isn't really a business unless you're generating some passive income... meaning you're making money without directly working for it. With all the effort you put into your trade and the reputation you've built, you deserve to be rewarded exponentially. Take your passion, knowledge, and experience and begin thinking outside of the box. Let me give you an example of how you can build a small business...
If you have good people skills, then the business of personal training you're developing will allow plenty of opportunities to delegate. Consider gathering a few dedicated personal trainers eager to build their clientele lists. Speak to a local gym and ask them what they offer their clients when a membership is purchased. If they don't offer a free fitness evaluation, free basic program, or free consultation... then you're in business. A gym would be pleased to have a fitness professional perform one of the three services I just mentioned, free of charge to new clients. They'll even schedule the appointment for you. You'll be the one meeting with clients at first. In that one hour with the customer, you'll hopefully over-deliver - thus develop a bond trust. That will set you up perfectly to sell a personal training package...
One of your hired trainers takes over from there. You may still need to pay the gym a rent per hour of personal training but you'll be making more money than trying to train everyone yourself. Imagine if your 3 trainers are eventually training 5 clients a day... that you referred to them. You charge $60 to the client, give $10 to the gym (rent), give $30 to the trainer, and keep $20. That's $1500 for a 5-day workweek. You may still not think it's worth it. Keep in mind that eventually, you can hire someone to do the job you were doing, let's say for $350/week. You'll make $1100 every week for working one hour per day... Monday to Friday, just to check up on the person you hired to conduct the free fitness evaluation, free basic program, or free consultation. Remember, if you're passionate about helping people and passionate about any aspect of fitness, then the business of personal training is for you.
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