Having a personal training business can be frustrating, especially if you are just starting out. The topics covered in the certification exam provide invaluable knowledge to help you roll out the business. But it also helps to highlight these areas that will help you build your clientele quicker.
- Create a personal brand. Whether you choose to create a website, Facebook page, flyers or business cards, make sure to align your message and presentation on all fronts. This means creating and using a logo, consistent font selection, standard color scheme, and similar image styles. Having a strong personal brand will help people recognize and remember your business.
- Have a liability policy. It can be hard to spend money when first starting out, especially on something that isn’t tangible or exciting. But protecting yourself from liability is important, whether you work on your own or you have a contract with gyms. Discounted policies are often offered through the major certifying bodies.
- Setup and maintain a bookkeeping system. When you are just starting your business, it is easy to think that all expenses and income can be handled through a personal bank account. That is until the year-end and your accountant asks for a detailed reporting of these items. Creating a business account to exclusively handle all Personal Training related transactions is the easiest way to provide your accountant the needed information. To take your accounting one step further, import the transactions into Quickbooks. You can quickly and easily create Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet reports that will help you see how your business stands and also save on year-end accounting fees.
- Have a set of client forms. Before you work with your first client, create a set of standard client forms. These forms include a personal trainer liability waiver, fitness progress chart, physical activity readiness questionnaire (PAR-Q), medical release form and personal training contract. It is important that every client complete the necessary forms for your protection and theirs. This is also a good opportunity to share your personal brand by adding a logo, using your color scheme and font selection.
- Hold clients accountable by enforcing the No Show and Late Policy. At first you may feel lucky to even have clients and definitely don’t want to scare them away by being tough when they don’t show up or arrive late. However, it is important to be consistent with your policies from the very beginning. When you have your first consultation, don’t be shy to explain your policy and then stick to it. Part of the reason clients hire you is to hold them accountable. It is your obligation to follow through on your policy. And remember, your time is valuable!
- Be prepared for clients to cancel. When I started my business, I determined what I wanted to earn and set my goal for how many clients I would need to earn this amount. I soon realized that it doesn’t work this way. When setting your goals, consider that clients will get sick, injured and go on vacation. With this in mind, aim a little higher on your ideal number of clients in order to make the income you’ll require.
- Observe your clients. One of the best ways to lose a client is to push them too hard too fast. With time, I learned the art of pushing just to the edge of their comfort zone but not beyond. Observing your client’s breathing, coloring, ability to talk, level of perspiration and general demeanor is key to knowing how hard to push.
- Encourage food journaling. There is a lot of truth to the say that 80% of weight loss is diet and 20% is exercise. You do your clients, who are seeking weight loss, a disservice by not explaining this ‘rule’ to them and strongly recommending that they have you review a weekly food journal. As a personal trainer, you cannot prescribe meal plans but you can make suggestions about healthy choices. This also holds them accountable to their weight loss goal.
- Be realistic with them. Clients are inundated with images of perfectly toned and fit bodies in our culture. My clients often come to me thinking they can obtain the ideal physique in a matter of weeks when in fact, these perfectly honed bodies have often taken years to build. It’s important to let clients know that a realistic goal for weight loss is 2 pounds a week and even this can slow down as they get closer to their ideal weight.
- Be firm. Sticking to your policies and holding clients accountable when they slip on their goals can be daunting. But to be successful and for you clients to be successful, it is imperative!
Owning a personal training business can be fun and hugely rewarding. Understanding these ten key areas of personal training will help you get started on the right foot and build a successful, long-term career!