What I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Fitness Instructor
You’ve put in the work.
You’ve taken the classes.
You’ve learned everything you need to know to be the ultimate personal trainer – or have you?
As thoroughly trained and studied up as you think you might be, with personal training (and any profession, really) there’s always going to be something you don’t know.
Often, these are lessons that you can only learn through experience in the industry – in other words, it’s not necessarily something you can pick up in a classroom.
To help you guys excel, we figured we’d expedite the process for you and list out a few of the absolute must-have-info that personal trainers everywhere wish they knew before they signed on.
You’re in the People Business, Not Just the Fitness Business
First things first, you need to understand something super important – you’re not in the fitness business. That’s right, you heard us.
Sure, you’re providing a premium fitness service to your clients, but your business revolves around those clients. In short, you’re in the people business, and if you do it right (and approach it with the right attitude), you can have a super successful fitness biz.
That being said, understanding you’re in the people business means investing in your clients, working with them, and almost treating it like the hospitality industry. You’re there to serve them, provide them with a service, and ensure they come back for more. How you network, your people skills, and the way you deal with customers is going to be a huge factor in how successful your business is.
Taxes & Insurance…Need We Say More?
You probably realize that working for yourself has a ton of awesome perks (maybe that’s the number one reason you chose to be a personal trainer), but there are also a lot of drawbacks you’ll need to be aware of. Especially come tax time.
Because you work for yourself, it’s likely no one is reaching into your weekly paycheck to take money out for you. So, it likely feels like you’re cashing in some big bucks.
But guess what? Come tax time, 20-30 percent of that money belongs to the government. Whether you choose to file quarterly for your self-employment taxes or you want to save it all up for the end of the year, expect a little financial pain (better yet, try to ensure you’re planning ahead!)
Your Schedule is Likely Going to Be Up To You – Practice Discipline
The beautiful thing about being a personal trainer? You’ll likely get to build your own schedule.
The troublesome thing about being a personal trainer? You’ll likely get to build your own schedule.
That means you’re going to have to get really skilled in the art of discipline. You need to learn to be flexible, accommodating, and reliable. You’ll have to figure out how to balance the perks of building your own schedule along with the downfalls.
Often, you’re the only one there (aside from your clients) to hold yourself accountable to a schedule and routine, so make sure you’re practicing solid discipline.
Retaining Clients Matters as Much as Gaining Clients
It’s lots of hard work to gain new clients.
As exciting and rewarding as it is to consistently tack on new clientele, the fact of the matter is, if you’re not able to retain those clients, your business isn’t going to go anywhere. If you’re consistently spending your energy on gaining new fitness folks but not expending your time and efforts toward investing in their development, then it’s likely you’re not going be able to keep those clients interested and invested, either.
Failure is Going to Happen
Remember when we told you that you’re in the business of people and not in the business of fitness? You need to remember this when you’re considering your business. People are unpredictable. Relationships flop. Things don’t work out.
Failure is a part of the job, and it’s something you’ll have to learn from. It’s not enough to just watch a client relationship fail and shrug it off – take a good, hard look at it, analyze what went wrong, and figure out how to do better next time!
You Have to Focus On Your Own Fitness
This part is vital for both your own health and for your credibility.
Think about it, would you hire a personal trainer that doesn’t practice what they preach? Fitness clients are interested in working with instructors and trainer who believe in what they’re doing and are disciplined enough to put the work in.
Remember, you’re the example you’re setting for your clients – you need to make time to take care of you!