When it comes to building online businesses, smart fitness trainers know that the future is already here. After all, almost everyone now shops online.
For many trainers, gone is the dream of a owning a bricks and mortar gym. Who wants to clean toilets and get up at 5 AM forever, anyway?
Why the switch? In two words: Time and money.
The average trainer works over 55 hours per week in split shifts and makes roughly $32,000 per year, without benefits or job security. That sucks!
But running an online business gives you the ability to:
- Reach people anywhere in the world, rather than being limited you to your local area.
- Work FROM anywhere in the world. Yes, you can work from your couch in your pajamas. Or from a beach hut in your swimsuit.
- Say goodbye to having your boss change your compensation scheme overnight (in a way that always screws you.)
You can make a great living by doing it your way. But here’s the dirty little secret no one tells you:
You need to be the fitness expert, head marketer, and content creator all at once. You’ll also be the tech team and the admin team.
Now, you can develop all these skills with time, dedication, and hard work.
And if you hire a business coach (or in our case, coaches), you’ll speed up the learning curve to retake your freedom and make money faster.
The goal of this post is to highlight the rules you need to master to build a successful online business.
1. Know Your Ideal Client
If you attempt to please everyone, you’ll please no one.
For example, you can’t be an expert in Zumba hip thrust classes, post-surgical shoulder rehab, and a top coach for physique athletes.
Recently, I heard Eric Cressey say he’s turned down NFL combine training for the better part of a decade. Could he do it and do it well? Sure. But his specialization is shoulder care and helping overhead athletes. By staying in his lane and becoming the best, he’s built a top brand in the industry.
Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Instead, niche down.
How old are they?
What sex? (“Yes, please” isn’t an option.)
What do they think when they stumble out of bed and see themselves in the mirror every morning?
At the end of the day, what is their biggest goal…to look great naked because they’ll feel confident in their own skin?
What are their obstacles to eating healthy and working out?
Here’s the Executive Summary. Know your ideal clients well. Speak their language. And provide a solution better than anyone else.
2. Solve Your Ideal Client’s Biggest Problem
Create content that solves your ideal clients’ biggest problems. A great resource here is Quora, an open online forum. These give you an idea of the exact questions potential clients have.
Chances are, the questions your potential clients are asking are much different from what you want to read. Remember, your business is predicated on solving your ideal clients biggest problems; not impressing your peers.
You can have the perfect lead generation strategy or email funnel, but this won’t matter if you’re not changing lives.
Kudos to our former Hybrid Fit Biz Mentee Mitch Calvert for sharing this.
3. Be Ferociously Persistent
These were the parting words from my undergrad mentor, Dr. Jeff Janot. In the world of online business, passion isn’t enough. Everyone has passion, but passion doesn’t build a business or pay your bills.
You need to create value by helping your ideal clients solve their biggest problem. Post a short video or text post on Facebook every day. Shoot an exercise video on a technique most people screw up.
Yes, you can use short term tactics to get someone into a fitness challenge, but short term tactics yield short-term results.
Instead, play the long game. Focus on creating massive value day in and day out. This is how you build your reputation and your position of authority. It’s also how you get clients to know, like, trust, and buy from you.
Like your clients who try to lose weight, consistency is key. You can’t have gaps. Be ferociously persistent in providing value. You’ll be terrible and everything will be hard…at first.
Think about your clients’ first time in the gym. They didn’t know what a dumbbell was.
They thought deadlifts were something gravediggers did.
And anterior pelvic tilt? Hmmm.
You’ll undergo the same process when building an online business.
When I started my online business I didn’t know what copywriting was.
I didn’t know what email marketing meant.
I thought SEO was a word, not an acronym (yeah, seriously.)
You’ll go through the same battle. Everything will be new, everything will be frustrating, and you’ll feel overwhelmed.
This is okay. It’s part of the game and how you learn.
This is one reason to seek out mentors who have done what you’d like to do: so gain a clear direction on where you need to focus, build your skills quickly, and start building now.
4. Be Proactive First, Reactive Later
If you’re like most trainers you hustle for every session. Since you’re paid by the hour, the more clients you serve, the more money you’ll make.
If you’re only working on your business you won’t grow. Instead, protect your time and work on your business.
When I was starting my online business and training clients 50-60 hours per week here’s what I did:
Tuesday and Thursday I migrated clients off my early morning schedule and into a small group on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. This gave me one to two hours to work on writing articles, creating products, or creating coaching offers.
On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I woke up at 3:30 am (yes, this sucked, embrace it) to write for 60-90 minutes before my first clients at 6:00 am. With practice, I went from writing crummy blog posts only my mom read (love you, mom ) to writing for The PTDC, T-Nation, CNN, Yahoo, and Bodybuilding.com.
Sure, you can put this off until later in the afternoon, but willpower is a muscle which fatigues as your days goes on. Get up earlier, do one proactive task each morning and move on with your day.
5. Go to Live Events
An online business gives you the tools to change lives and build close bonds without meeting in person. Still, nothing replaces the in-person interactions you’ll build by seeing people in person.
Go to events where both your colleagues and potential buyers will be. Go to dinners and hell…buy a round of drinks or the whole dinner. The internet offers great opportunities, but nothing replaces the authenticity you’ll build by meeting people in person.
6. Make One Sale
Most trainers struggle online. The biggest culprit is the endless stream of information on how to build a business hitting your inbox or social media feed.
This makes you feel overwhelmed with so many possibilities that it’s damn near impossible to get started.
Instead of looking for the grandiose, catch all plan keep it simple and do this activity:
Grab a piece of paper and write the following question at the top.
“If you had to make $100 today with your new business what would you do?”
Now, take 15 minutes and write every idea you come up with.
Either way, focus on making your first dollar. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good enough by trying to reinvent the wheel. Focus on getting one sale and build from there.
7. Master Your Product or Service
The baseline of any successful business is being able to solve problems. Yes, you can become a successful online trainer without training clients in-person. Still, this is the exception, not the expectation.
Do yourself a favor and work in a gym. If not, take clients for free and hone your skills with different types of people with different goals. The better coach you are in person, the greater your foundation and the better chance you have to succeed online.
This list is by no means everything you needed to be successful, but it will cut through the fluff and leave you with the foundational principles.
You’ll stop trading dollars for hours as a trainer. You’ll make more money in less time. With consistent effort, you’ll build a profitable online business.
Your passion and desire to help others got you into personal training. But are you really living the life you deserve?
You can’t keep working split shifts from 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM while neglecting time with family, friends, and loved ones.
It’s time to work smarter and reap the financial rewards you deserve.
You don’t want to become another burnt out, passionless trainer who’s barely making ends meet. That’s not the life that you want to live.
You’ve seen trainers become successful with online personal training. Can you afford to fall behind while the competition grows?
No. But like someone who’s new to the gym, you don’t know where to start.
You need the mentorship of coaches who have walked the walk and can help you build a thriving online business.
I’ve built a thriving online and coached others on how to replicate my success. Our mentorship program provides hands-on, custom coaching consulting.
This is not an eCourse or Mastermind group.
We don’t throw out a bunch of information and leave you to fend for yourself.
That means individual calls, not group calls.
That means one-on-one coaching to help you build sales funnels, eBooks, eCourses and videos … including editing.
That means we offer concrete help, not abstract ideas so you can massive action and build your business, rather than stay paralyzed by information overload.
We’ll roll up our sleeves to help you get the work done.
We’ll customize our services to your needs.
We’ll position your business for long-term success.
Most of all, we’ll show you how to become self-sufficient, meaning you’ll have the tools to continue building your business for the long term.
Like you, we are coaches who believe in coaching.
Let’s hop on a 30 minute strategy session. Click the link below to reserve your spot.