Introduction: There is no
one path to becoming a personal trainer. Each person has an individual timeline and methods because of their
unique experience, skills, and abilities. The plan to become a "business person" in your own right will be shaped
by your individual goals, wants, and needs. Just like your goals, your business plan is a fluid document and it is
not just about finances. What you plan
to do in your career today may change according to what happens in your life,
what you learn, what you experience, and what you value. This article will take you through the steps
of beginning a business as your own boss, as a part-time freelancing trainer on
the side, or as you retain employment with an established fitness center. It is your plan. As you work through each section you will
have to make decisions. Take charge of
your life and make those decisions now. That does not mean you cannot change and adjust them as often as you
want or even begin again.
Don't be afraid to step
out. Don't be afraid that you won't be
able to do something or that you will fail. If you don't try, then you are essentially failing. To try and push yourself beyond what you
think you are capable of doing and not get there is not failing. You still got farther than you would have gotten
had you stopped and not made the effort. Sometimes the experience along the way is an education that is worth
more than any you could pay for. Everything you try, every new experience will
take you to a higher level of knowledge, understanding, or awareness about
people and the world around you. Nothing
is lost when you try, everything is gain.
A. The business plan is a guide so just jump
in and begin. It will make you think
about issues that a
person would not normally consider when thinking of career choices, yet very important. In this article you will build a rough outline of the plan that will be
changed, adjusted and
perfected along the way.
Your business plan will be based on your goals. Get those out and use them as a reference.
Business Plan Document will include the following:
1. Goal: Write the goal/goals that focus on your career path.
2. Personal Strengths and
Weaknesses: You should have these
already written down. Rewrite them here.
3. Why you have chosen this
career path: If you need to apply for
financial aid, this will be
a question that will be asked of you. If
you go to work for an established company,
the information in this document will show them that you are professional in how you think.
4. Federal, state, and local
requirements to become a personal trainer: All of this needs to
be considered and put into this plan for your business. Stop now and find this information.
5. List some statistics about
the growth and opportunities in your area, for professional personal trainers both
nationally and locally: Again, this will
help you get financing if
and when you need it. It is online.
6. What are the possible marketing strategies
you will use: Website, SEO, Google/Facebook Ads, Social media, blogging,
flyers, posters, referral cards or business
cards, media/press, events, speaking to potential clients in the gym, networking. (Add only those that you might be willing to use)
7. What can you offer that will bring you
success over others: Again you have to
sell yourself and express your
willingness to work hard. Refer to your
8. Develop a cost to gain accreditation and
where you will do that: ________________________________________________________________________
9. If you will require equipment up front, list
the equipment and costs here and your plan
to pay for that equipment (borrow money, budget for it each month, etc.): ____________________
10. Develop a cost per service
sheet: In this article, in part B, you
will be guided in how to
pull this together.
11. Develop a budget for yourself
for when you begin your work as a personal trainer: In this in part C, you will be guided through this.
Money you will earn (include
regular pay if working for an established center plus freelancing work
after hours)- see part C: ______________________________________________.
Subtract and find the difference
and decide how you will resolve that difference if your cost is more than your income.
expenses you must cut back on, or how will you increase earning. If you don't work this out, you will find
yourself living on charge cards and constantly in debt. Not a good plan.
Now list the cost of what it will
take to get you live from now until you are actually working and creating income as a personal trainer? ________________________________________________.
What is your plan to meet that cost or the
possibilities that you are looking into? List them here: ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________
(They may include a current job,
savings, parent help, loans, grants (see the Live Strong Foundation)
or if the need is great in your area, you may get a fitness center to pay for your certification.)
B. Developing a Cost for Services Sheet: When you get a new client, the first
thing they will want to know is
how much it will cost them. You will
need to be prepared with your charges per hour or
per package. You will base this on the
going rate in your area, and probably want to begin with a slightly lower cost if you are new, but not too much
lower. If you are too low, people will wonder why. Also you don't want to attract those who are looking for something for
nothing. You are charging for more than your time. You are charging for your knowledge, ability,
and experience. The cost per hour is fairly easy to figure
out. Just make some calls and see what
the going rates are. It is often better to offer packages. For example; a beginner package might offer a special rate to see if the client really is
ready to commit and if the two of you click.
You might offer a 5-week package
with one or two main sessions per week that include a schedule for independent
work on days they do not train with you. You can offer special rates for groups, for beginner training, and for
senior citizens or children. If you
specialize in working with homebound individuals, you can charge more for your
costs of transport and the individuals might be able to use their insurance to
pay for your services, if ordered by a doctor. You will ask them individually to check this out through their doctors.
Here are some important reminders
that experienced professional trainers know. You do not want to constantly have to bring up money or try to get your
client to pay their bill. You have to
charge up front. Have your cost sheet ready to present to each prospective
client. In the first visit steer them
away from the costs until you have asked them about their goals, what they want
to accomplish and where they are currently with their physical fitness. Assessing
their need for your services is a better way to lead into your charges. Then hand them the sheet.
The client will be more committed
to their attendance and you will be paid for your time if they show up or not, if
you make it a policy to have them pay up front. You cannot work at the whim of a client. You will also retain more clients for a longer period if you sell them
packages or a series of sessions. The
goal is to get a client to become a regular source of income for you. You do this by enlisting them in long term
contracts and by working hard to help them achieve their goals.
It is recommended by the experts
that you charge a higher rate for a single session than for package deals as
opposed to a regular rate for a single session and less for a package
deal. If people cannot afford you that
is not your problem but theirs. They
will have to work out their own problems. You cannot "help" them along by giving them discounted rates. You have to pay your own bills. For example, if the going rate is $60 and
hour, set your single session (or less than three sessions) at a rate of
$75/hour. Set your package rates like 10
sessions for $600 and make sure they pay up front and sign a contract that
clearly states you are paid if they show up or not. It is wise to put in a clause that if given
24 hours' notice they can change the time of their session. You will have many clients and you cannot be
pulled and pushed about due to all of their schedules. You must maintain your own scheduling in an
organized way. If they have scheduled Tuesday
and Thursday at 11:00 and can't be there on Thurs, then let them know what time
schedule is free to work them in. Take charge of your life and your business. You can do this respectfully, and to be
professional, you have to work this way. Good clients will appreciate your professional attitude. If not, let them go, but after their contract
You can always tell a client that
after their first 10 sessions you give a 10% discount. That might be worth it to retain them as a
client. Give the discounts to those who
are loyal over time, not to those who come once or twice and may not come
again. Many in business do not
understand this and they are unable to sustain their ability to stay in their
career for the long haul.
C. Developing a Budget: You have to know how much money it will
take you to exist. If you think you can
wing it, think again. You will miss
something. Writing down every
expenditure will not only make it real but will keep you focused on your
spending habits, saving habits, and how those connect with your values. What you don't know can hurt you. You have to plan for the unexpected because
the unexpected, though not expected, will happen when you least expect it.
Write down the cost for each of the
following for one month. If you don't
know then look back at what you spent last month and use that.
2. Groceries and household necessities
3. Eating out
4. Recreation (movies, books, drinks, bowling, Netflix, other
5. Utilities - electricity, gas, water, sewer, trash disposal, cable,
6. Clothes, cleaning, laundry, shoes, accessories (jewelry, purses, coats,
7. Business supplies (special clothing, pamphlets, cards, ads, blogs,
insurance, equipment costs)
8. Transportation (car payment, property taxes, tags, insurance payment,
upkeep-tires, oil, parking)
that come up or miscellaneous
10. Debt payments (credit cards,
student loans, other debt)
11. Charitable contributions
As you work through this budget of
expenses you will begin to get an idea of what you need to earn. If it doesn't balance out there are things
you can do. You can work two jobs. You can cut your costs. You have choices to make. Cutting spending is not as difficult as it
seems but you have to be in control of yourself and be willing to say aloud to
friends and family, "I cannot afford that" or "It's not in my budget." Let
people know that you are on a quest to stay out of debt and going to a movie is
not worth blowing your set goals.
To cut costs you can live in a
cheaper place, get a roommate, let go of cable, get a pay as you go phone and
use it minimally, stop eating out, buy only healthy food and end junk food
purchases. You can drink water, cut out
all cleaning supplies except one for general use, create fun things to do that
don't cost money, like walking, running, playing games (inside and outside), and
reading. Get healthy, develop hobbies
that are inexpensive like juggling, writing, knitting (you can buy old sweaters
at the thrift store cheap and reuse the yarn), shopping garage sales, etc. You can buy your clothes at second hand
shops. If you love animals, instead of
getting one which is costly, volunteer your time at an animal shelter. Use free opportunities in your community,
like the library, community colleges, local museums, etc. Get your debts paid off as fast as you can
and limit your charitable contributions. Lastly, you must get into the habit of
saving. That is not saving to make a
splurge purchase later. It is saving for
the time you will be unwilling to work. Make sure you have and keep health insurance. It may initially feel like an unnecessary
cost, but in time it will save you thousands. You can be healthy today and fall ill tomorrow. It is a chance you cannot take.
Now you are ready to see if your
income covers your expenditures. Get
this information organized and into your journal you are making for this
class. This is important and though it
may change over time, you have to have a working document to stay abreast of
Conclusion and Assignments: Creating a plan for your business does
not have to be formal, technical, or
constricting. A life plan, a business
plan is just that - a plan. It is fluid,
adjustable, and a work in
progress. It is important. It is important to think about, to write
down, and to refer to often. It is essential to any person who doesn't
want to stay stagnant.
up your assignments for this article:
1. Complete the answers to each of the 12 steps
in the business plan, part A.
2. Complete the answers to the cost for services
sheet in part B.
3. Complete the budget numbers in part C.
4. And lastly but most importantly, reflect on
what you have done.
Find a specialized niche in your locale that is not being
met. Often there is great demand for people who cannot get out, people who
are disabled and people who are in jobs where heavy lifting is required. Some
companies would pay you to give regular classes on how to strengthen the back. People
who sit all day, even professional white collar companies hire trainers to come
and give employees ideas that will help them stay healthier and ways to get
some exercise as they are working at their desks. Always send thank you notes
when clients sign up to work with you and listen to them when they talk. Know
their goals and pay attention to them.