15 Tips for A Successful Personal Trainer Business

1. Know your why

If you love what you do it won’t feel like work. We have all heard this before but there is a truth behind it. When you are passionate about something, whether you love strength and conditioning or simply love to help people improve their health, your passion will show through in everything you do.

When you love what you do you are excited, you are happy and you will lose track of time doing what you are doing. Sometimes there will be days where you struggle but as long as you know WHY you are doing what you’re doing, you’ll regain your fire and your passion will drag you through the lower days. Do you know why you are doing it? Are you training clients simply to make a living? Are you trying to make a difference in someone’s life? Are you training clients because you breathe and live fitness? Ask yourself, why do I do what I do? What do I love doing? If you know your why, write it down and look at it daily to reignite your passion.


2. Know your goals and have a strategy

Now that you know your why, ensure you have clear goals established. Your business is much more than just your income. This is your opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives and create a successful, lasting business. Building your business is like preparing for a competition. You take steps each week to get closer to your goal and after each week you evaluate where you are at and what you need to adjust to chase your goal. This same principle applies to your business, you set a goal and milestones and you keep adjusting your actions to ensure you align with your goals.

3. Know what your clients know

Being in the know is not only the start of a conversation but will help you engage with people at a much deeper level. Having experienced the same or similar things as your client creates a connection as you know what it feels like what they are going through, and enables you to communicate with genuine empathy. Make sure you know what’s going on in the industry and stay connected. Besides staying in the loop via Facebook and Instagram, keep an eye out for recent publications that are available online and offline and get the latest education via our accredited courses and workshops.

4. Under promise and over deliver

This is something that leadership expert Robin Sharma talks about a lot. When working with clients, focus on creating a goal WITH your clients. Don’t start off promising the world and then wonder how on earth you’ll deliver. Establish what you can reasonably deliver but treat every individual like they are the only client you have. Going above and beyond with manageable offerings will create opportunities for new business and new opportunities. Deliver a fantastic service so your clients won’t stop raving about you. This will create new opportunities as word of mouth will enhance your reputation.

5. Deliver excellent service

When delivering your excellent service, make sure you get into the nitty gritty of things. Write down all the small details about the session. Note down what you worked on as well as what you talked about so that the next time you see this client you’ll be able to enhance their experience and talk follow up on what you talked about last time. Being detailed will not only help you connect better, it also shows your client how much you care and will make them feel important.

6. Time is precious  – plan appropriately

Nowadays we are all so busy being busy which is why it is important that you plan your days. We’re not just talking about planning when you train your clients, this also includes planning when you do your own training, your own meal prep and when you spend time with your family and loves ones (yes this is something that needs to be planned as well). You can use free planning tools such as Google calendar which will make your life much easier. If you are one of those people with a huge to do list, try Wunderlist, one of our favourite apps to keep track of your to do list and you can even add things like “movies to watch” or “shopping list” which you can share with your family.

7. Differentiate yourself

The health and fitness industry constantly evolves and there are so many different areas that you can specialise in, while remaining within your scope of practice. Working to your own strengths and within your skill set is vital for your business. Use your strengths and passions to define your area of specialisation and stick with it. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, simply enhance it and find or create new opportunities.

8. Never stop evolving

The world around us will never stop moving and with innovative developments dropping like fresh coconuts from a tree, it is vital you invest time in self-development and ongoing education. The more you educate yourself, the more highly you’ll be valued by your clients. Don’t spend time worrying about what others are doing—focus on always delivering your best product. You are your business. Sign up for a new course, attend an interesting conference or explore some events at your local sporting clubs. Why not set yourself a new goal and learn something out of your comfort zone!


9. Take rest as a precaution – it is your own insurance to restore strength

Working hard and training hard is something we hear all the time yet resting and taking time to recover and restore your power is something that is addressed less. Yes, hard work and a good training session will pay off yet the question you must ask yourself is “Would I benefit more from training today or recovering to train better tomorrow?” Often, we see athletes overtrain or train so hard that they get ill. The beauty is to balance it all out. Balance will not only keep you healthy, it will also keep you motivated and rested which will enable you to make clearer decisions for better outcomes.

10. Invest in yourself 

Investing in personal development is one thing. Investing in a coach or mentor is another. Do you notice how you work harder when someone is watching you or when you are accountable to someone? A coach will not only help you grow but will also help

11. Work on your business, not just in your business.

“Working IN your business means being a revenue-producing, product-fulfilling member of the team. Working ON your business means designing, planning, refining your business, but not directly producing revenue.” – Brent Ozar

Besides planning your day with client appointments, rest, meal prep and family time, it is also worth checking in with the health of your business. You are your business, yet you can work on your business or in your business. Working on your business allows you to look at the bigger picture especially around where you want your business to go. Where do you see yourself in 1 year? Where do you see yourself in 3 or 5 years? What have you achieved? What have you accomplished? Take time to work “on your business” and plan for the future so that you can be smart about what you invest your time and make effective strategies and plans.

12. Make use of freely available resources

Besides being knowledgeable about health and fitness, marketing your own business is also a vital part of creating a successful brand. There is a plethora of freely available tools that can help build, plan and track your business and goals. Google is now your oyster and whatever it is that you are looking for, you will most likely find a solution online. Explore what tools there are for bookkeeping, social media and analytics and make use of the millions of free YouTube videos and webinars to help grow your business.

13. Be business smart

It is absolutely critical that you take measures to protect yourself and manage the risks that face every business. Ensure you are working within your scope of practice, have professional registration and are covered appropriately with Professional Indemnity and Public Liability Insurance.

14. Network

Networking is a critical part of building a business of any sort and can add real value to yours. Nowadays networking is much more than boring business lunches or events. It can be done online, by phone or in person – decide what will give you a point of difference from the noise of so many others in the industry. While technology allows us to communicate our message efficiently, face to face connection is invaluable – and something you should incorporate in your business strategy.  Meeting people and getting to know their passions, what they do, what they stand for and how they help others may come in handy one day when you are seeking that one person to do that one thing. Who better to refer to than someone you already know? What about allied health professionals and others who you can build a relationship with and share clients back and forth. Networking doesn’t have to be business only, think about your local sports clubs or events where you meet people. Go out and explore. Leave your phone at home and say hello to some new faces.

15. Build strategic partnerships

Don’t just load plates and count reps. Build relationships with your clients by asking them about their families, their lives, and their passions. Obviously, you always want to be a professional, but talking to your clients builds trust. Trust leads to long-term loyalty, referrals, and new business opportunities.

It’s tricky to learn how to build relationships with your clients without distracting them from their workout. So, build time into your hour with them to ask questions and learn about their life. A little extra effort on your part to be kind and understanding will go a long way, and it will honestly make you a better trainer.