29 Jan 2019

3 Lessons From My First 3 Years as a Personal Trainer

Career Advice

In life as in business, there are always lessons to learn, and the learning of those lessons can be the hard way or the “not” so hard way.

There is a Jewish adage I learned from my mentor early in my business life, which I have applied to my life in general. 

It is to learn from those who have succeeded, so that it may reduce the time of a successful journey and observe and stay away from those who do not learn from their lessons.

From that standpoint, I share three of the many lessons I learned in my first three years of business.

1. Have a business plan.

Compared to when I began my Personal Trainer business some 15 plus years ago, the market was not as competitive as it is now. Thankfully I stumbled my way through my early years not aware of how to gain clients and who my target market was.

It wasn’t until I began to map out what I wanted my business to look like, who was my target market and how was I going to gain and keep my client base, did I see a clear path to success.

A business plan is a living document that will provide a road map for you and your business especially when you begin to have a profit margin and wish to approach banks for a business, personal or home loan.​

Business plans do not need to be difficult, and with the abundance of templates on the internet the framework is already mapped for you, you just need to fill it out specific to your business ideas.

Within your business plans, you get to know your numbers, such as expenses, income, services and products that are popular or not so popular with your clients. This ‘living’ part of the document shows the changes to your business along the way.

2. Know your scope of practice at the level of education and experience you have.

This lesson is prevalent in our industry, where we have new trainers trying to conduct training sessions that are out of their scope of practice. I learnt this one very, very quickly.

I competed in athletics in my teenage years and took how I trained, and the strictness and discipline required for that level of competition and tried to apply it to my clients. Oh how that did not work well and lost clients because of it.

I learned to keep my sessions fundamentally basic and within my education scope. Over time I understood like any craft it takes time, practice and further education to become a specialist. Remember your training sessions are not your clients, you may be a whole lot fitter than your clients. Therefore train them according to their goals, not yours.

3. ‘Get a mentor’

Do your research and look at 99% of the most successful people in the world, from business people, sports stars and academia. They all have someone who is a success themselves and provides unbiased support and direction.

Even though this is the last lesson I would highly recommend making this the first step in your business journey, finding one and finding one quickly. And eventually, you may become one yourself.

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