If you love exercise and have the desire to share your knowledge to help others get in shape, personal training may be the career for you. However, most personal training jobs pay little and are frustrating because you end up competing against other trainers who work for the facility. If you are interested in making an enjoyable living in the personal training world, consider striking out on your own and starting a personal training business.
Before you begin investing in the personal training industry, realize that being a successful personal trainer is about more than sets and reps. You are going to need to deal with some difficult personalities including people who simply hate to exercise. You also will need to be self-motivated and super-organized to run a successful business. In addition, you will need sales and marketing skills to attract new clients to you and persuade them to write you that first check.
The benefit of having an in-home personal training business is that you have very little to no overhead costs. You drive to the clients' home, so you do not need to equip and pay for rent of your own facility or pay for utilities.
The main problem you will have is finding clients. There are a variety ways to market yourself, but keep in mind they all take time and/or money, which you have to factor into your work week and budget.
The steps you need to take to have your own thriving in-home personal training business.
1. Begin working part-time in a health club
What? Didn't you just say health club jobs aren't great? That's generally true, but nothing replaces the experience you gain working one on one 'in the trenches' with clients. It's also a great way to start generating word of mouth business. If you have a client at the health club who is aware of your in-home services, he or she may refer friends or family to you. This form of 'advertising' is free and usually leads to the best clients because they are already aware of the nature of your services and the results you have generated for their friend. Furthermore, even a part-time job will help bring in income while you wait for your in-home schedule to fill up.
2. Create business cards and a newsletter.
You can get free business cards on www.VistaPrint.com. You can publish a newsletter using Microsoft word. It is best to produce one every month, but even every other month is great. Fill your newsletter with helpful articles for your prospective clients. You can then leave copies of these at doctor's offices and health clinics, and mail your prospects and clients. For an example, go here:
3. Launch a website
You need at least a brochure-type website to earn your prospects' respect (such as basic contact info, program info. for your training methods, and testimonials from your clients). If you can expand upon the site with pictures of your clients and health and fitness articles (that you can copy and paste from your newsletter) you will stand out from the crowd and be found more easily when people search for trainers online. It’s important to have a form the prospects can fill out to provide their contact info. to you. Most won’t pick up the phone and call, but they will usually provide their contact info. if they are truly interested in your services.
Go here to read about the website program I have used with smashing success:
The smartest way for trainers to advertise is to use only trackable advertising methods. That is, avoid dropping wads of cash on things like a newspaper ad that are hard to determine how many clients you are generating from the ad.
If you have some money to spend, you can start a Google adwords or yahoo search marketing account to advertise your services in your area to those who search online for trainers. There are ways to track how many clients you get from this to determine if it's worthwhile.
List yourself in as many free and paid yellow pages online as you can find, such as here:
You can find these by searching for personal training businesses and see how they are listed in the search engines. Consider using service provider or personal trainer directories, which typically charge a fee per lead that you decide to take—and you are free to screen the lead quality and location before you purchase. Here are a couple:
5. Offer referral incentives to your clients.
Offer a promo such as a free personal training session for each new client referred. You will find that this is usually less expensive in the long run than paying out big money for ads that are not guaranteed to work, and your clients will appreciate the opportunity to save money.
Tips & Tactics on Getting Started
1. Arrange to provide free health and fitness seminars to increase your visibility
Businesses, schools, clubs and organizations like to feature guest speakers. Look in the yellow pages or online for opportunities, or ask your friends for ideas. Bring your business cards and newsletters, and offer a special introductory price if they sign up today. Don’t be intimidated—most groups prefer shorter talks, and the more interactive you can make it, the more your listeners will enjoy it and it takes the pressure off you! Everyone is interested in being healthier so it’s a welcomed topic.
Offer a special introductory rate to get the ball rolling.
To help generate referrals, you may want to temporarily lower your fees to get more people 'in the door' right away. The hardest part about this business is getting started. Offer a starter package with discounted fees, but be sure to explain what the normal fees are so they are not surprised when they want additional sessions. Also, explaining your normal fees will ensure that the clients take what you do seriously.
2. Don't be afraid to travel
You will have the greatest amount of regular clients in areas with a higher income. If that means you have to drive a half an hour to a client, that's OK, because most likely their neighbors can afford your services too. Once you drive to an area, you will probably be able to find other clients in that area to make your trip worthwhile. Even if you have to drive a long way for one client, keep in mind that you will earn much more money than you ever could at a health club, even factoring in the extra travel time and cost of gas.