How to survive your first year as a personal trainer

July 4, 2017     /    Fitness Business Coaching    /    Internet FitPro

Congratulations! You’ve qualified as a Personal Trainer. Now you have some important decisions to make.

Whether you are going to work in a commercial gym or go freelance and build your business the first thing you will need is clients.

This blog is designed as the ultimate guide to building a business that will serve you as the year goes on and beyond.

There are five simple actions to take as you read the blog that will guide you to designing the business of your dreams.

Let’s start with the numbers

Your training provider may have promised you a 6-figure salary as a personal trainer when you signed up for their course, but the reality is it’s going to take some smart thinking to get there.

The bonus for you is that we’ve already done that thinking for you.

Any money you bring in to your personal training business is known as turnover. That’s the total amount of sales you make. From that you’ll need to subtract tax, , and the cost of doing business to get to your profit figure.

So you can decide what kind of Personal Training set-up you’d like here is some done for you number crunching.

1-1 Personal Training

Let’s focus on 1-1 personal training for a moment. To get to a the magic 6 figure 100,000 turnover (not profit!) you’ll need to be working with clients for 48 hours a week, assuming you charge the average of around 40 per hour. On top of that you’ll have prep work, marketing and sales to be making,  so this would push your average weekly working hours to around 60. (Which probably means no social life or time to train for you)

Semi-Private Training

Let’s assume you train 4 people together in the same hour and charge slightly less per person, maybe £25 per hour for example. That means you’d need to spend around 20 hours per week working directly with clients. You’ll need more clients though so you might spend a little more time on making sales. Still you could comfortably work a 40 hour week and get everything done and earn that illustrious 6-figure salary.

Bootcamp / Large Group Training

Finally let’s look at classes / boot camp style training. The average is around 15 people per class who generally pay around £5 each session. So you would end up needing to do around 26 sessions per week (or having more people in your boot camp) to get to £100,000. Remember though there is a lot more people needed to run this type of training.

Now regardless of which method you choose to raise the money the tax man needs to be paid. If you’re in the UK in 2017/2018 then you’ll have roughly £57,279.68 left by the time all that’s paid.

So the first question is do you really want to aim for 100,000?

That’s a lot of hours to pay the tax collectors.

If your goal was say £80,000 then you’d end up with around £53,867.20 left, but look at what that does to your billable hours.

£100,000 £80,000
1-1 48 39
Semi-Private 20 16
Boot Camp / Group 26 21


So you see setting that goal a little lower isn’t actually a bad thing at all. Especially for your first year!

Now tell me that a 16 hour work week and 53k in the bank sounds like a bad deal!

Action #1: Set yourself a financial goal. Within that note what type of training you’ll be doing, at what price, for how many people and how many hours a week you’ll work.

Who are YOU?

The easiest way to get clients is to figure out exactly who you are. This makes it super easy for people to know if you are right for them or not.

What are your values? Who do you enjoy training and what value can you add to their world.

Let’s say you’re a young personal trainer who wants to help his / her mates get in shape.

Your value are around a healthy lifestyle, body composition and looks.

Therefore your message will be along the lines of, I’m [your name] and I help young professionals to experience the best body shape they can and the most healthy lifestyle possible so they can enjoy all the adventure the world has to offer.

You need to know who you are before you can know who your clients are going to be.

Action #2: Create a statement of value that looks like this. I [Name] help [description of client] to experience [big benefit to them]

Who are your clients?

Next up once you’ve decided on who you are is to find clients that you’ll enjoy working iwth. In the example above we talked about how body composition and a healthy lifestyle are important to you, but they are not important to everyone.

The out of shape dad for example doesn’t care about his arms, abs or torso he cares about not having a heart attack and missing his kids growing up.

Different people are all motivated by different things. To get clients quickly and easily you’ll need to know what motivates your ideal client and then speak to them on a personal and emotional level.

Your best chance of success is to work with clients you understand at a deeper emotional level and know right from the offset that not everyone cares about eating chicken and broccoli and having abs.

Action #3: Describe your ideal client and what motivates them to change. Also look at the thing they really want to achieve from training with you.

Where do you promote yourself?

The answer to this depends on where your potential clients can be found.

Where do they hang out?

Are they are on Facebook and if they are then you should be too.

Do they hang out in local coffee shops, then your posters should be there?  If they are on Linked in then you should be as well..

Get to know where your ideal client hangs out.

But don’t make the biggest mistake I see new personal trainer make and try to be everywhere. Pick the top 3 ways your clients communicate and meet them there.

Action #4: Make a list of the top three places your clients hang out and create accounts for those platforms or promotional material to put up in them.

Making sales without being sleazy

There’s a fun way to do sales. That’s help people first. A tried and tested method for personal trainers is to offer a free first no obligation consultation session. T you get the person in front of you to have a conversation.

That conversation should give the person everything they need to make a decision.

Here’s the crucial thing: It’s NOT a sales pitch!

Now that might sounds a bit odd, but the most important thing is that the person feels listened to and understood.

If you can listen to their challenges and know that you can help them personally they will want to do business with you.

Take a look at this example

Personal Trainer: “So tell me what’s your single biggest challenge with weight loss right now?”

Client: “I just can’t get motivated to change my habits.”

Personal Trainer: “Ah I had a client called Julie who was the same, tell me more about how it is for you.”

Client: “Well I just have all the best plans but when it comes to it I just hate exercise and talk myself out of it.”

You: “So having a fixed appointment and agreement with someone would help?”

Personal Trainer: “Yeah I guess it would.”

Personal Trainer: “OK so here’s how you get motivated [fix the problem]”

Client: “Wow I never thought of that.”

Personal Trainer: “That’s why I’m here. Now is this something you’d like my help with going forward?”

Client: “Yes please.”

Boom and the the sale is made.

The reality is you’ll ask lots of questions and listen more than you talk during the consultation. Your goal from this is to learn and understand what’s motivating that client right then and then use that to get them to take action and sign up with you.

Action #5: Make a list of 5 questions you are going to ask in the consultation that help you get to know your client.

There you have it. 5 simple actions to see you through your first year of personal training.

Good Luck!


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