Being a personal trainer is an incredibly rewarding career.
Not only do you get to change peoples’ lives every single day by helping them become a healthier, happier version of themselves, but you also get to challenge yourself with a rewarding (and sometimes trying) career that’s ever evolving.
The other major benefits? The flexibility and the freedom.
In case you hadn’t already thought of it, being a personal trainer grants you the incredible option of casting out that 9-5, gotta-be-in-one-place madness that so much of the corporate world is forced to follow—when you choose to be a personal trainer, you can choose to open yourself to a more open structure, a looser schedule, and far more flexible career.
In fact, you can even run a successful personal training business entirely from your home. That’s right—if you do it right, you likely won’t ever have to step into a gym to meet a client face-to-face (unless, of course, you want to!)
Being an online personal trainer might sound initially pretty intimidating, but it can be done—in fact, a ton of trainers have taken this route, resorting to using digital tools like social media, skype, and more to make their personal training business a flexible dream come true.
If we’ve sold you on the why, you’re probably already jumping to the next question—the how.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all formula (because there really isn’t one of those for any business in any industry), we’ve put together a few helpful tips and tricks to get your online personal training business off the ground and on a roll!
Set Your Focus & Create Realistic Goals
Personally, we believe this is good advice for any business, but we definitely think it applies specifically to online personal training, too. The world of personal training is a pretty broad one because fitness itself is pretty broad. So, before you can create a business, market to a target audience, and create an entire strategy for marketing, client communication, and service delivery, you need to figure out who you’re trying to reach, what the focus of your personal training business is, and what realistic goals you need to set for the first few months of your business.
Now’s the time to figure out if you’re going to specialize, who your target audience is, what type of client you want to focus on, and how much of your time and energy you’re going to focus on your business.
Double Check Your Certification
Above all, we recommend ensuring your personal training certification is up-to-date and relevant. While it’s not technically required to have personal training certification, we absolutely, 100 percent recommend you take this route. Not only will this make you a more knowledgeable, better trained, and more experienced personal trainer for your clients, but it will also boost your online business if you’re able to provide proof of value to your clients. This is especially important for an online business because, in a lot of ways, it’s the only proof you can grant people. Often, your clients will be located in other cities, states, or even countries, so it’s not as if they can walk into your gym and try out a session to see if you’re qualified. If you can flaunt your hard-earned certification, you’ll be in much better shape to build your online business.
Make Sure Your Digital Marketing Plan is Top-Notch
As an online business, your digital marketing needs to be top-notch. Why? Because it’s not as if people can just walk by your sign on the street and check out what you’ve got to offer. You can’t just post signs on telephone poles, in coffee shops, etc., and expect people to find you. Instead, you need to create digital touchpoints for people to find you—that means creating top-notch social media platforms, diving into SEO research for prime search optimization strategies, and maintaining a well-designed, functional website. Your social media, digital marketing strategies, and website are going to be multi-faceted tools that draw in new clients, act as a direct way to communicate with consumers, and create your personal brand.
Create Customized Content for Every Client—No One Size Fits All Approaches
Just like with an in-person personal training gig, an online approach is still all about the client. That means you need to customize their training, their sessions, their nutrition—whatever you offer—around their goals, their body type, and their timeline. In most cases, it’s not enough to just throw out a blank template and expect it to work for everyone you take on—that’s likely not going to be a consistently successful strategy. So, be sure to focus your attention on the client, what they’re after, and how you can help them get there.
Client-Trainer One-On-One’s Are a Must
Just because you’re not planning to physically be in the same place with your clients when they train doesn’t mean that you can’t schedule a one-on-one, live sessions with them. These client meetings can be in person (if they live in your area) or can be online video sessions—however, you want to make this happen, we suggest you incorporate it into your client plan. Not only does this show your client that they’re a priority, but it also helps you check-in, re-evaluate goals, and ensure your clients are on track.
Create a Seamless Communication & Customer Service Strategy
Because you’re an online coach (and not checking in with them every single week in-person at the gym), it’s hugely important that you’re making communication and customer service incredibly accessible. Your clients need to know they can contact you when you’re working, which means you need to be available to answer questions, solve problems, and provide insight during those working hours. Create an online forum for your customers, communicate vial email, or get creative and have a slack channel dedicated to each, individual client—no matter how you want to make it happen, just be sure it happens.
Encourage Reviews From Current Clients
Online reviews are an insanely important factor when it comes to any business—especially a service-providing one like yours. Encourage your customers (past and present) to leave you stellar reviews on your social media sites, on search engines, and more. That way, potential clients can read up on you, see what other clients like about you, and feel more comfortable taking a chance working with you.
Implement Policies for Contracts, Cancellations, and More
Just because you’re working online doesn’t mean you can be sloppy—in fact, you probably need to be even more stringent when it comes to rules and regulations (especially when it comes to contracts and cancellations). We suggest working with a lawyer to draw up appropriate paperwork for your contracts with clients—include information about your personal policies and regulations (like cancellations, rescheduling appointments, injuries, etc.) in your contracts and be sure that your clients are signing off on them before you begin working with them.
Avoid Personal Trainer Burnout (Take Time Off, People)
Even if you’ve got all the flexibility and freedom you could possibly want, it means nothing if you’re not using it correctly. Avoid burnout at all costs, friends! Sometimes, creating your own hours and having the ability to partake in a flexible schedule can make it even more difficult to take time for self-care. Why? Because there’s no mandated vacation time, break time, etc. to ensure you’re getting the rest you need. Instead, the onus is on you to make it happen. So, take time to rest, take vacations, schedule off-days—trust us, you’re going to need it.
Make Sure You’re Insured—Seriously
A lot of personal trainers think that because they’re not physically in the room with their clients, they don’t need personal liability insurance. Unfortunately, that’s certainly not the case. Personal liability insurance is hugely important to any personal trainer working in any capacity—even you online folks. Without personal liability insurance, you could be responsible for client injuries, false claims, legal bills and charges, and so much more—working with a qualified insurance company who’s looking out for you (above all else) is a must for someone in the personal training industry.