Have you ever felt as though you’re spending all of your time spinning plates? Moving from one plate to another and then having to jump back to another plate to add some more momentum before it crashes on the floor?
You’re juggling with clients, spreadsheets, accounts, website, marketing, writing and professional development and it’s feeling like too much, right!
Being a successful personal trainer business owner requires that you wear several hats. You're not only the management force that drives business forward but you're also the marketer, website designer and the skilled worker, aka personal trainer.
This leaves us in a bit of a pickle when it comes to running a successful business.
Because in any "normal" business, management focus on managing the business. The literature they read and courses they attend are taken to move them forward within that area of a business and make them better at managing.
The same is true for skilled workers. As the personal trainer of your business you take professional development courses to improve and increase the skills you have available to clients.
And here's where it becomes contradictory...
Taking time to develop yourself as a manager takes away from the time it takes to develop as the skilled worker and vice versa.
So your inner personal trainer is saying "man, management have no idea what they're doing! Client uptake is slow, brand awareness is slow and management of the business is slow!”
And your inner manager is saying "the skilled workers don't understand how hard it is to run a business. All they have to do is learn how to be good at personal training!"
This is the inner conflict I see everyday as a web designer and business advisor to PT's.
And because of this inner conflict, you’ll naturally spend more time on doing the things that are within your comfort zone than the things that will drive your business forward.
“I’m going to create a new personal training package that will blow my clients’ socks off and make me loads of money”
Instead of spending time on things that are outside of your comfort zone like:
“I’m going to run a survey to my existing clients to find out exactly what THEY want from a fitness package so that I can market my services more effectively.”
You see the difference. Your inner PT wants to spend time on creating packages and systems based around exercises and nutrition plans while your inner manager wants to learn what sells and why so that you can build systems that generate more leads.
This is where the saying “Spend more time ON your business than IN your business” comes from.
Why Your Personal Trainer Business Will Fail
Simply put, you’re not a business man or women. In fact, if you’re anything like me, I’ll bet you the name of my second born child that one of the top 3 reasons you became a personal trainer was because it was the quickest and easiest way to owning your own business.
And owning your own business is cool!
You get to be your own boss and answer to no one, right!
You get to work the hours you want and then sip on Starbucks while your employed friends cry at their office jobs…
THAT right there is the problem.
Having a personal trainer certificate and not being employed does NOT make you a successful business owner.
If the above sounds anything like you then you might be thinking “….crap!”
But here’s something REALLY cool.
The mindset required to obtain that personal trainer certificate and the logo is what DOES make you a successful business owner.
Your inner manager said to your inner personal trainer “to start a fitness business, we need to know HOW to train people”
Your inner personal trainer replied “got it!” and off he or she went to purchase and participate in a personal trainer course.
This is usually the part where your inner manager and inner personal trainer fall out.
Personal trainer says, “Great, I’m now a skilled worker, now we need a logo”
And although your inner manager has zero design skills, says “not a problem. I can do that!”
“And a website?”
“And then a Facebook page… oh and Twitter, and email. We’d better start a Facebook ad campaign as well, until the website is ranking in Google from the SEO you’re going to do”
All of a sudden, the manager of your business is overwhelmed with things he or she can’t do.
How t Make Sure it Doesn't Happen To You
Of course, hiring professionals to make sure all of your business tasks are taken care of properly is ideal but that’s just not possible as a start up with zero capital investment and little money in the bank.
So what does an eager to succeed fitness business owner do?
Like any other successful business owner, you round up your assets and and capitalise from your strengths.
Let’s start with assets.
Right now your assets are one or more of the following:
And this is what you can do depending on how much of each asset you have:
Here’s a handy chart we whipped up to help you out. And by whipped up I mean we spent several hours on the theory, an hour or so on the design and then sent it to all of our mates to get feedback and then made more tweaks until it looked like this.
But what if you have no money, no skills but lots of time? Like most personal trainer start ups do.
Do you use your time to learn new skills?
Sure, you could do that but how long does it take to get good enough at something that it will actually yield a return for you...
It takes a LONG time to get good at web design, it takes a LONG time to get good at marketing and it takes a LONG time to get good at accounting.
So this is how to make sure your fitness business doesn’t fail:
Use your time on the things you ARE good at. WHY did you become a personal trainer?
If you’re good at talking, go out and talk to people.
If you’re awesome at writing, start a free blog.
If you already have a lot of followers and fans on social media, use that to get more leads.
Whatever your strengths are, spend your time on that until you generate enough time, money or skills to get the job done right.
When you've done that you can buy back more time by hiring a professional for a fee that is less than what you can make in the time it would take you to do it yourself.
I'll use web design as an example because that's what I'm trying to sell you (what... you knew this would happen).
It might take you 10 hours to design your own website and it probably won't be that good. You'll have literally no idea whether it will work or whether you've put the right things in the right places because you're NOT a web designer.
Then you'll spend an 3-5 hours per week, let's say 4 for the sake of simple maths, trying to tweak and adjust.
So that's 8 hour set up and 16 hours in month one. 24 hours...
Let's say your hourly rate is £30
24 times your hourly rate is £720.
In that time you could have paid us £500 to get the job done properly.
So by hiring a professional you've actually earned £220.
To spend all of your time learning how to do something that isn’t within your strengths is exactly what your clients do when they Google “how to lose 10lbs” and get literally nowhere, instead of just asking you and getting results in 3 months.
You actively encourage your social fans and followers and your email subscribers to hire a personal trainer to save time, money and stress by hiring a professional, right?
So why, when it comes to your business… ya know, the thing that is going to feed your family, the thing that is going to help you pay a mortgage and pass on assets to your children, do most personal trainers go “I can do this myself, it’s no big deal”.
Seriously… what’s with that?
Your time is one of your most important assets. Prioritise the assets you have to make progress on the area you're already skilled, then WHEN you have the ability to outsource you can grow your business. Until then forget about things you don't know how to do and focus on maximising things you are good at.