Now is a fantastic time to start a personal training business but with so many options to start and grow your business as a personal trainer, this article focuses on six aspects that you will want to think about first – from finding your niche to finding a location and creating a website to creating your initial gym set-up.
ACCEPT CARD PAYMENTS
You’ll want to open a business bank account, in part because this makes keeping track of your finances much easier, but also it gives a better impression for customers to be making payments to the name of your branded business rather than you personally. A great tip is to have the facility to accept payment by electronic card, as this is how so many people pay for things today; devices such as Square are particularly helpful.
One of the most powerful marketing tools you have available to you is a website. The most important thing, nowadays, is that your website is designed to be “responsive”, meaning it will dynamically adjust itself to display well on whatever device the user is viewing your website on. This is particularly important now that the majority of people use their mobile device to view content, rather than their computer.
You can use a simple tool such as wix.com to create a basic mobile friendly website, a more complex but still easy to use tool such as wordpress.com or you could have a developer build something more bespoke. If you are looking for a web designer or developer, then places like freelancer.com might be worth checking out.
GET THE WORD OUT (ADVERTISING)
There are essentially two broad categories of how to get the word out – online and offline. Within the context of online, you have your website as the main platform that serves to house your identity and promote your offering like a “shop window”. You then have social media tools such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube that drive traffic to your website, where ideally, you will have some offer or free giveaway to incentivise people to register their details with you.
You also have offline marketing, which could entail using tools such as flyers and posters to promote your personal training business. In an idea world, whatever marketing medium you use there needs to be a hook that pulls customers in. This will likely involve focusing on a problem or pain point that your can help your potential customer solve (e.g. lose weight) and could also provide something of value, such as a “free session” or half price session.
The first part of getting the word out is getting people to hear about you, but the second, and most important part is getting people to engage with your service – whilst it might not sound very tempting, financially, to offer a “free session” if you consider the potential lifetime value of that client, it’s a small time sacrifice to make.
FIND A NICHE
It can seem tempting to be generic personal trainer that is relevant for all people, as you don’t want to lose out on potential customers by being too specific in your marketing, however, the more niche you get, the more relevancy and specialism people will perceive you as having – which gives you a competitive advantage and unique selling position.
Think of it this way, if you were a new mom, looking to shed the baby weight you had gained, what would you search into Google? There’s a chance you might put “personal trainer in X location”, however, when scrolling through those listings, what this person is really looking is someone that can help her with her goal of losing baby weight – therefore, she may be looking for a female personal trainer. At this point, it’s still reasonably broad, but if she were to find someone that is a specialist in helping new mom’s lose baby fat, her interest will peak, she will likely pay a premium to access this specialist advice and is way more likely to recommend you to her other “new mom” friends because you are focused on this particular area.
Similarly, if you’re a generic personal trainer, you might as well leave leaflets on the train in terms of how broad your marketing will be, whereas as a niche personal trainer that helps, as an example, new mothers lose baby fat, you have a variety of relevant outlets to advertise such as baby clothes shops, nursery’s, doctor’s surgeries and so on.
DIVERSIFY YOUR OFFERINGS
Consider combining your personal training practice with an associated skill; whether that’s physical therapy, nutrition, or complementary medicine. It’s much easier and cheaper to offer an existing client an additional service than it is to go out into the market and find a brand new customer. This diversification strategy is the same strategy used by hairdressers that also do beauty, such as nails and facials.
FIND A LOCATION
Many personal trainers start off as “mobile personal trainers” meaning they facilitate the training session at the client’s home, place of work, or in a nearby park. This has the advantage of being very low in overhead, meaning as you aren’t forking out for fancy premises, you are getting more profit from each hour of revenue you earn. Perhaps, more importantly, it means your business can grow organically without the stress of having to attract and retain enough clients to make rent each month.
Some personal trainers choose to work from home, in which case, they will often convert their garage or a spare room into a gym area. This can be particularly appropriate for yoga and pilates instructors, but depending on the type of training you’ll be doing, the equipment required can be substantial – as an example, if you are focusing on helping people build bulky muscles, then you’re going to need some serious weights, which not only cost money, but take up a lot of floorspace.
An alternative, some personal trainers will use, is to pay a fee to a local gym in order to use their facilities. This gives a great impression to the client, as it sets you out as being professional (depending on which gym you choose) and most importantly, it gives you access to modern and advanced equipment without having to purchase it yourself. Rent can be expensive, of course, and if business is slow but your contracted into a minimum weekly amount – it can be hard to break-even. The best option here, is to make your rent contingent on the amount of clients you have each week, where the gym takes a percentage of your revenue earned. Admittedly, this could work out more expensive in the long term, because that percentage amount is likely to be substantial, but it gives you the certainty of knowing you’re not stuck paying a weekly amount that could end up being wildly unaffordable if you don’t have a steady stream of clients.
DON’T INVEST IN TOO MUCH EQUIPMENT
If you are setting up a static gym environment you might want to consider getting some anti-fatigue mats in order to protect your space and your equipment. This is particularly true for heavy kettlebells and weights as you don’t want them smashing the floor. If you’re setting up a home gym it’s important to remember that you don’t need all the latest hi-tech equipment. You can substitute an expensive treadmill with a nearby hill, you can substitute a rowing machine with a skipping rope, and rather than invest in a bulky multi-gym you can use a combination of kettle-bells, resistance bands, and bodyweight exercises to achieve the same result.