According to the IBIS World Personal Trainer Market Research Report, there are over 230,000 personal trainers in the U.S. employed by over 50,000 businesses. Personal training generates over $7 billion in revenue each year. But much like all other businesses, the “80-20 Rule” applies (80 percent of the business is driven by 20 percent of the population). Being an exceptional personal trainer (or any career one may choose) doesn’t happen by accident. Mastering a skill and becoming a market leader requires hard work and a concrete plan. Vince Lombardi, best known as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers in the 1960′s, said it best:
Effective personal trainers employ several habits that make them the 20 percent of the market making 80 percent of the money. Exceptional personal trainers:
Approach personal training as a business (while still maintaining a true passion for what they do).
Are goal-oriented and proactive.
Manage their time effectively.
Understand the importance of client satisfaction and care.
Make education and learning a priority.
Create a strong brand for their business.
Create a high value of worth for their services.
1. Personal Training as a Business
Finding balance between building a successful business and maintaining a passion for fitness.
Most personal trainers start their career because they have a passion for helping people achieve their physical fitness goals. Unfortunately, passion and enjoyment in one’s job doesn’t guarantee a successful, money making business. Only a small percentage of personal trainers have the knowledge or experience building and maintaining a successful entrepreneurial business.
Any successful business, whether it’s a small “Mom and Pop” outfit or a globally recognized corporation, need a well thought out plan and strategies to achieve success. This includes the following components:
Business plan (What is the business? What makes it “special”? How does it fulfill a need in the market space? How will it overcome inherent challenges in the market space? What differentiates it from competitors? How will you know it is successful?)
Sales and marketing strategies (web, social media and print)
Business operations and finances (start up costs, revenue projections, accounting, legal, etc.)
These three components are crucial to making a personal training business a success. The responsibilities of running a business are crucial to ensuring:
Existing clients are satisfied (and continue to purchase services).
The business continues to grow (maximizing clients and revenue potential).
Decreasing unnecessary costs and expenses.
Freedom to enjoy time away from the business (without putting the business in jeopardy).
2. Setting Goals and Making Them Happen
Personal trainers understand the human body and how to help clients change their bodies to meet their physical fitness goals. Setting goals in business can be challenging if a personal trainer doesn’t feel comfortable or knowledgeable about their business. Regardless, setting short-term and long-term goals for the business is critical to overall success. The goals outlined for the business set the path, checkpoints and journey for the business to ensure it’s staying on track over time.
Goals for the business may include:
Number of clients under contract
Amount of revenue generated
Timeline to open first studio location
Timeline to open additional studio locations
Strategic partnerships to grow/expand the business
Timeline to sell the business (retirement)
Goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and on a timeline (S.M.A.R.T. Principle).
3. Time Management
A personal trainer running a successful business must juggle the time dedicated to training clients and running the business. Time management is a very important part of creating a successful personal training business because it directly effects the delivery of services to a client and their overall satisfaction. Personal training, as a service, is very “hands on” and is built on the relationship between the personal trainer and client (i.e. trust and mutual respect). Things to avoid include:
Showing up late to a personal training appointment
Missing a personal training appointment (i.e. scheduling the wrong day)
Canceling a personal training appointment
Suggested strategies to improve time management include:
Effective appointment scheduling (day planner, online calendar, scheduling software program)
Set a standard working schedule (i.e. Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm)
Allocating time each day for business administration
Human beings are creatures of habit. By creating a standard schedule a personal trainer can maintain balance between their work and personal obligations without the added stress. The business relies on the health and wellness of the personal trainer. If they are over-stressed or unable to train clients, the business will fail.