I struggle with this issue on the reg and it never gets any easier. Ask any serious trainer who is in the market about bettering themselves and making themselves available to a broader client-base, we all think about it constantly. Why? The fitness world is an ever-changing environment, constantly adding new and interesting workouts, apps and things to enhance our health and fitness experiences. When I was starting out on the training circuit, I had a few ideas but there was a problem, financial security. For the ideas I had had, it was going to take A LOT of money for which I didn’t have to secure a space, hire a staff, etc. Looking back, I’m very happy that I didn’t go through with my ideas because I don’t know where I’d be financially right now. Creating your own brand, owning a physical space and taking a chance on having clients sign-up with you is a huge gamble in itself and you have to get them to be able to trust and believe in the workouts and other things that you’re offering with confidence.
A growing number of my friends who are personal trainers, powerlifting coaches and bodybuilders have done some phenomenal things when it comes to building their own personal brands and cultivating a clientele they can build relationships and a steady, livable income with. Through perseverance, innovative ideas and willpower they were able to make their goals of owning not only a facility of their own, but creating a brand that crosses lines between just marketing a gym and engaging people through merchandise, publications, websites, and social media. How does one even begin to do this? A background or a knack for business and marketing will definitely help you BUT if you aren’t that savvy with finding clever gimmicks, making sales pitches and whatnot, don’t fear trainers! There are multitudes of ways that you can get started.
For one thing, even before you start choosing the wall colors and furniture for your facility, you first need to make a list of ideas that you want your brand to convey, what population are you going to serve, etc. Personally speaking in regards to the population you’re going to serve, you should already have some kind of idea the clients you like to train and what your niche is. I have a handful of certifications in a very broad spectrum of subjects: Tactical conditioning, sports injury, rehabilitation, group instruction & exercise therapy, just to name a few! With all those different areas of knowledge in mind, the gym I could hypothetically create could be a multi-faceted facility, geared to servicing clients with a lot of different goals and needs. If that’s the game plan I have, the next logical place I would focus on is obtaining a space….duh! This is where i lose focus, lol. I’m not a numbers and cents guy, I work best with living breathing people and did not go to college to be business oriented guy. This is why it is so important to consult as many people who can assist you as possible….real estate agents, accountants, etc. They’ll be able to tell you exactly how much securing a space will cost down to the last penny, if it also needs updates, etc.
Creating a brand of your own can and should be very exciting for you. This technically is what you’ve worked so hard for! If you have been proactive, again this should be something that you have already been throwing around and mulling over in your head for a while at this point. Branding is simply giving a name to your business and everything that is included in it. When you present a business plan to a bank to secure a loan for example, you want to have this part of the work finished so that you appear more professional (It seems like a no-brainer but you’d be surprised at how unorganized some people can be.)
You have your gym space, your business name and now you just need to advertise! This is both the difficult part and the easy/fun part because you get to use your creativity but building a clientele if you don’t already have one can be extremely exhausting to do. Social media platforms are helping out in this area big time today, creating spaces for upcoming and veteran trainers to advertise their services, merch and other things to help draw the public seeking fitness training to their facilities. Once you’ve gained a solid, working clientele, the only thing that you need to do is train and carry out day to day operations of your facility and train your staff to be the best in the business!
I realize that what I’ve just laid out here is probably the perfect scenario when it comes to building your brand and I didn’t even hit some of the most crucial parts that are involved. Personal training as a career is awesome because it allows you to be able to create your own business where you can utilize your creativity, knowledge and experience to help clients reach their fitness and health goals. Some trainers, such as myself, are more comfortable working for a gym chain and then providing small classes outside of their full-time training gig to make extra money on the side as a Health Coach, Group Fitness Instructor, etc. The bottom line is though that the more you specialize in certain areas of health and fitness, the more marketable you make yourself become and you are more of an asset to gyms, health clubs and medical facilities alike.
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John J. Schessler is a Pittsburgh-based Master Trainer (NPTI/ISSA), Men’s Life Coach, Tactical Conditioning Specialist, Writer and host of the podcast, “ManAlive!”, available on Apple Podcasts. He has been working in the fitness and health industry for 20 years and has backgrounds in Physical Therapy, Education, Social Work and Fitness. Please send all emails for John to email@example.com.
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