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How to Find Your Niche as a Personal Trainer or Health Coach

There are more than 350,000 personal trainers working in the United States and almost 110,000 health coaches. 

Both of these industries are growing at a rapid rate. The personal training industry is expected to increase by 13 percent by the year 2028 (that’s much faster than the average job growth in the United States) and the number of health coaches practicing in the US is expected to grow by 5.4 percent by the year 2022. 

If you just started your personal training or health coaching business, or if you’re thinking about doing so, there are plenty of opportunities for growth. The key to having a successful long-term business, though, is to find your niche and make sure you’re catering to the right clients. 

If you’re not sure how to do this, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn everything you need to know about finding your niche as a personal trainer or health coach.

Why Finding Your Niche Matters

Why is it so important to identify your niche when starting a health coaching or personal training business? The following are some of the most noteworthy reasons for taking this step.

Reach Untapped Markets

Often, especially in the health and fitness industry, coaches and trainers spend an inordinate amount of time and energy competing over the same small group of people. Meanwhile, lots of other populations who could benefit from and are willing to pay for the guidance of a trainer or coach get left out. Finding your niche helps you identify these untapped markets. 

Experience More Growth

When you find people who are part of untapped markets and are able to connect with them, it’s much easier for you to grow your personal training or health coaching business. 

If you do a great job of coaching or training these individuals, they’ll be likely to recommend you to their friends or family who are part of the same niche as them. This, in turn, helps you to expand your client base and build a more profitable and successful company.

Reduce Your Competition

Don’t be like other trainers and coaches and waste your time vying for the same small group of clients. If you start working with a group of people that other trainers and coaches aren’t targeting, you’ll be able to reduce your competition and will have an easier time attracting people who really want to train with or be coached by someone like you.

Build Your Brand

It’s easier to build your brand when you have a specific niche of people that you train. You can adjust your marketing materials and the language you use to cater to this group. As a result, people will start to associate you with a particular demographic and will be more inclined to think of you when they have a friend or family member who’s part of that group and is looking for training or coaching.

Develop Loyalty

These days, folks are looking for connections more than ever. This includes a sense of connection with their personal trainers and coaches. If you can provide a highly personalized service that helps your clients to feel seen and heard, they’ll be loyal to you for a long time and will continue working with you for years to come. 

Create More Visibility

Online visibility is essential when it comes to marketing your personal training or health coaching business. It’s easier to increase your online visibility and attract more organic traffic to your website if you have a specific niche that you cater to with your online copy and content. 

When you narrow down your niche, there will be less competition for certain keywords, which can make it easier for folks who belong to that niche to find you when they start searching for a health coach or personal trainer.

Do Work You Love

Finally, when they find the right niche, trainers and coaches often discover that they enjoy their work more. This is because they’re only working with clients whose interests or goals align with their expertise. Finding your niche can help you avoid burnout and feel excited to get up and do your job each day.

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How to Find Your Niche

Okay, you’re convinced that finding your niche as a personal trainer or health coach matters. How do you do this, though? Start by following these steps.

Start Broad

If you’re just barely beginning your career as a personal trainer or health coach, you might not have any idea what kind of clients you want to work with. You might not know yet whether you enjoy working with senior citizens or folks who are recovering from serious injuries or illnesses. 

If this is the case for you, starting broad can be a good strategy. Working in a gym or as part of a larger health coaching practice gives you a chance to gain experience and see how you like working with members of different populations. 

You may be surprised at what you learn about yourself doing this work. For example, maybe you never fancied yourself a “kid person,” but, over time, you might find that you actually really enjoy working with children. 

Consider the People You Attract

While you’re working as part of a gym or health coaching practice, don’t just pay attention to the type of people you enjoy working with. Pay attention, too, to the type of people you attract. 

What kinds of clients tend to gravitate toward you? Do senior citizens seem to enjoy your training style? Does your method of coaching work well with athletes? If you have a natural affinity for a certain type of client, that might be an indicator that their demographic is a good one for you to go after. 

Consider Your Strengths and Personal Experience

Personal experience often plays a significant role in helping health coaches and trainers decide which type of clients they want to work with on a regular basis. For example, if you have struggled with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in the past, you might be more inclined to share your knowledge and experience with other people who have thyroid disorders. 

When trying to find your niche, take the time to sit down and think about your own strengths and experiences. What do you know you do well? What have you gone through in your life that could endear you to a certain type of client? What problems have you solved for yourself or other clients? 

Take your time answering these questions and pay attention to the patterns you notice. If a certain type of person, such as an injured athlete or person struggling with hormone imbalance, comes up over and over again, that might be a sign of the niche you ought to go after. 

Research Your Competition

Take note of your competition, too. 

Are other personal trainers in your area targeting a specific population with their marketing content? Is there a gap that you can fill? For example, maybe all the trainers in our area seem to be marketing themselves to young people. 

If this is the case, it might be in your best interest to choose middle-aged or older adults as your niche. Doing this will help you stand out. It’ll also make you more appealing to potential clients who are intimidated or put off by other trainers’ marketing tactics.

Create Avatars

Once you have an idea of the niche you want to go after, spend some time creating avatars for your target demographic. This helps you gain a better understanding of the clients you hope to attract.

When creating an avatar, start with the basics. Here are some questions you can ask yourself when you’re getting started:

  • How old is my target client?
  • What is their gender?
  • What is their income level?
  • Are they married or single?
  • Do they have children?
  • What level of experience do they have with training or health coaching?
  • What are their health and/or fitness goals?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can start creating an avatar that aligns with those answers. For example, let’s say you want your niche to include young women struggling with thyroid problems. An avatar might look something like this: A single, 28-year-old woman who is highly stressed and struggling to lose weight due to an underactive thyroid. 

Once you’ve created an avatar, go deeper. Think about all the reasons that 28-year-old woman would want to hire you over another coach or trainer. What can you offer her that others can’t?  

Do Your Research

When creating avatars for your business and refining your niche, it’s important to make sure you’re basing your decisions on market research and evidence. 

If you try to endear yourself to a niche that isn’t well-represented in your area or isn’t large enough, you might have a hard time attracting the number of clients you need to keep your business afloat. Do plenty of research to learn about the common problems people in a particular group might be experiencing to see if you’re the best fit for them and their needs.

Pay attention to the conversations you’re having with your existing clients, too. What kinds of problems are they experiencing? What have they not gotten from other trainers or coaches that they’re hoping to get or are getting from you?

Be Open

Finally, be willing to make adjustments as your business grows. It’s important to find your niche and cater to a particular group of people to build your business and separate yourself from your competitors. Don’t be so focused on your niche, though, that you discount other potential groups of people who could benefit from your service. 

It’s okay to pivot and make changes if you find that you want to start working with more people. It’s also okay to change your approach if you find that you’re not attracting as many clients in a particular demographic as you’d like. 

You might need to go back to the drawing board and broaden your scope. Don’t be afraid to adjust if something isn’t working. 

Identify Your Personal Training or Health Coaching Niche Today

As you can see, finding your niche and deciding which type of person you’re going to cater to with your personal training or health coaching business can make a big difference to the longevity and profitability of your company. Keep the tips listed above in mind, and you’ll have a much easier time narrowing down your niche and deciding which clients you want to work with and advertise to moving forward.

AFPA’s health coach program can help you develop the skills and knowledge to become a successful health coach.

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