Congratulations! You’ve earned your fitness certification and are on the road to becoming a practicing personal trainer. To be sure, it’s been plenty of work preparing yourself physically, mentally, and scholastically, and now that you’re a certified trainer, the next step is becoming a certified professional. If you’ve read our “How to Become a Personal Trainer” guide, you may already be familiar with the overall process – and here we’d like to hone in on the practical side of launching and managing a personal training business.
Becoming established in your local fitness community happens through a series of steps. Achieving certification, creating a website, and all other elements of starting a personal training business require time and know-how. If you’re committed to reaching your goals and you invest energies in the right areas, your personal training business will continue to grow and develop – just like quads on leg day.
Independent personal trainer vs. working in a gym
As an independent self-employed trainer, you have a great deal of flexibility over your hours, the clients you take, establishing your personal trainer brand, and ultimately your ability to increase your income. However, being an independent personal trainer often requires more effort in terms of marketing yourself, keeping track of business costs and growth, and assuming all risks and responsibilities.
Finding work as a gym employee is usually a necessary starting point on your journey – and though it is the lowest-paying phase, it has its advantages as well. For example, gym employees are represented by the gym’s brand, and have automatic access to its existing client pool. In addition to meeting potential clients, working at a gym at the beginning of your career is a good way to keep your overhead costs down. It’s also a good opportunity to network with other more experienced trainers and learn from them about personal marketing, client management, and other tricks of the trade. In fact, you’ll find that networking is important at every stage of your personal training career.
Practical marketing and organizational ideas
Trainers who are ready to launch need to build a business management toolbox stocked with marketing strategies, traditional and digital alike. Printing up business cards for distribution to interested potential clients and pinning to your gym’s bulletin board is an inexpensive and effective first step. Having your logo embossed onto t-shirts or shorts for wearing around the gym also helps identify you with your brand. Cultivating an online presence with a personal trainer website is vital, naturally. Today it is easy to build a customized personal trainer website at low cost using platforms such as Wix and Squarespace. Launch brand pages on Facebook and Twitter with regular posts, photos, updates, and discount training offers. Just make sure to respond to inquiries in a timely and professional fashion! The more people you connect with online, the more exposure you will have.
And speaking of technology, trainers nowadays utilize a variety of mobile apps to keep track of client scheduling, progress, regiments, and even nutrition tips. Apps such as Trainerize, RhinoFit, GoSTATZ, and TrainerFu all provide platforms for client engagement and business management. Any one of these will most likely cover any PT organizational needs you might have.
Legal responsibilities of small businesses
Another thing to keep in mind when launching your independent personal trainer business is establishing your practice as legitimate and legal. Registering as a small business in accordance with state and federal law is usually achievable without too much aggravation. Also, as you begin working with clients, you’ll need to be personally insured regardless of whether you are a gym employee or self-employed. Next Insurance specializes in Personal Trainer Insurance, with affordable policies designed specifically for the needs of personal trainers, covering liability issues like client injury, harmful dietary advice, client dissatisfaction, and more. Accountability and protection in the event of unpleasant situations is not only legally required, but will make clients feel at ease – and pave the way for eventually hiring employees, if that turns out to be on your career trajectory.
As a personal trainer, you are responsible for the physical well being and mental comfort of your clients – and when operating as an independent, you’re also responsible for your own business. Proper marketing, business planning, and covering yourself legally and against liabilities are vital to complement the technical skills and certification you’ve worked so hard to achieve. Your ability to professionally present yourself helps clients achieve their goals, and dictates the financial and personal rewards for your hard work.