Running a Successful Personal Training Business Part 3
So here we are at the last Installment of a 3 part series around tips to set up a successful personal training business. I need to quickly note if you have not read the first two instalments go back now and have a read.
In the previous blog, we covered the rental model personal trainer in small and large fitness chains and offered some advice on how to acquire new clients and provided some questions to ask yourself how your business will operate.
In the same fashion as the last blog, I want to cover fitness business models such as outdoor boot camps/ group exercise, home-based fitness business and any other model that requires the fitness professional to acquire their own client base without a membership base like the big chains.
These models do require a greater amount of marketing concentration, which can require a higher amount of capital. Of course, there are organic ways to create a database of prospective clients, but a majority in the early stages will come inorganically through paid advertising.
Let’s discuss a point I raised in the first instalment around establishing a realistic launch of your business and some tips to help create an achievable plan to direct your fitness business to a self-sustainable position.
Not everyone in this category will have all the capital they need to purchase the equipment required, marketing budget to target new clients and savings to lean upon to pay both personal and business expenses. So if you fit in this category then hopefully these tips will help you. In the initial stages, you may require a part-time job to offset expenses for marketing as an example. A challenge you may find is allocating times for your new clients. An example could be allocating time in the morning a few times a week to fill the space with clients and work in the afternoon or evening at the part-time job. Once those spaces are full of regular paying clients, opening up more available spots/ days will be the next logical step. Continue this process until your calendar is full of regular paying clients. If possible, finding a part-time job in a like-minded fitness or sports business can help you leverage yourself to an audience that potentially will acquire your services. A real-life example I can use from a previous student, who worked at a well-known sports store and in general conversations with customers would drop a line mentioning they had just started a Personal Training business. This leads to details being exchanged and a new client obtained.
As mentioned before this category of business requires more expenses as you have costs such as websites, marketing material, advertising and gym equipment. If you do not have the budget for items such as a website, marketing material, or independent advertising campaigns, then using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and or YouTube will help to get you started. Creating a business page opens the doors to Facebook’s marketing analytics, which help you to direct your advertising to your target market. If you are unsure of how to manage this process, take a short course to educate yourself or watch the many YouTube clips available. Be mindful that each of these platforms has a specific audience and knowing what content to place on each of the platforms to leverage your business is vital.
Your job in this space is to clearly express what your business offers and make it easy for your clients to access your services. This comes by you revising your advertising and establishing the return on your advertising investment. I spent X and gained Y clients. Whether the results were positive or negative understanding what worked or didn’t work in the campaign will assist in making the correct decisions for the next campaign. Trainers operating their own business make the mistake of totally removing an advert thinking the whole message did not work. That is why it’s important to run multiple versions of each campaign, using slightly different imagery or wording and monitoring which ones work well. Looking at the time of the day will also assist you in identifying high or low engagement periods of your audience.
A key to any successful business is to keep expenses down and income high to generate profit. An easy mistake to make in the early stages is to spend the money on yourself or family etc. rather than invest back in the business (Sole trader model specific) resist the temptation of spending big and see the long game of your business. Why I say, this is the fitness industry is known for its seasons. Christmas, Easter and other holidays, as well as winter, are known to be lower volume/ attendance periods. So having money in the bank, especially in the first few years is vital to staying afloat.
Another thing to take into consideration as a sole trader fitness business is that you are solely responsible for putting your tax aside for either your end of the year or BAS periods. It is not smart at all to think that the whole charge out rate is yours to keep and spend. This is foolish and not wise if you want your business to have longevity. Before operating your business, engaging a tax agent will serve you well. They will educate you on how to manage your money and get the best system working for you. They will teach you what can be claimed as expenses and direct you how to keep a record of your transactions.
Now your marketing materials such as logo, business cards vouchers etc., can be developed by outsourcing it to places like Fiverr, Airtasker or Vistaprint for a fraction of the cost until you are in a position to afford better materials. You can save more money if you take the time to create a mock logo and design of your materials. This will reduce the time taken by the designer to develop drafts for your approval.
As you can gather by now from the examples I have given, if you are in the category of not having much capital in the early stages, then being wise and don't purchase top end fitness equipment. Leveraging existing social media platforms instead of spending big on a website and hosting costs and trying to think creatively around advertising until you are in a more advantageous position can help guide your business to success. A lot of people procrastinate because they do not have their perfect picture of how they want their business to launch. This procrastination can get to the point where they do not start their business until everything is lined. Can I say from one fitness professional to another, this will never happen, there will always be something you are not happy with. So just start with what you have, be patient and tweak your business along the way. It is better to start and grow slowly than never start at all.
To wrap this article up, keeping your passion for helping others succeed in the fitness journey, acting professionally in all interactions and having good systems in your business will keep you in good stead to being a successful personal Trainer and having a long life in the industry. All the best in your adventures.