How A Scary Decision Paid Off For Me (And Why You Should Be Next)

November 22, 2016

About the Author: Daniel Freedman


By Eric Bach, CSCS is a personal trainer, author, and fitness business coach in Denver, Colorado. Eric’s passion is on simplifying the process of building an online fitness business and helping trainers overcome information overload to a build a successful fitness brand. For free marketing, sales, and content tips join the Bach Performance Hybrid Fitness Business Community here

Why Trainers Should Make Scary Business Decisions

This the story of the scariest scariest decision I ever made — and why you should make it, too, if you’re a personal trainer.

It’s about going “all in” when my back was against the wall.

But it changed my life forever, in the best possible way.

First, the backstory.

With kinesiology degree in hand along with some experience in training college athletes, I got a great job at a high-end fitness club in Denver. I knew training, but was clueless about business. Hell, I hardly knew personal training was a business.

I just wanted to get people jacked. And wear shorts to work every day. What could be better?

This highlights the biggest problem for most trainers. Our passion blinds us to the truth: we’re running a business.

It’s the main reason the average trainer makes less than $40,000 per year and lasts less than three years in the industry.

And it’s also the reason we end up sacrificing friendships, relationships, and passions to work 16 hour split shifts.

Passion doesn’t pay the bills. So we work the floor, taking every client who comes along in an attempt to make ends meet.

It worked for me, for awhile. The long, grinding hours paid off. I was making a six-figure annual income not long after after being just another broke college kid.

Life was great. I could buy a round of shots without frantically checking my bank account the next morning.

But despite the money I was making, I didn’t have security or much business sense.

If I hit a hiccup with my training business, I was fucked.

Then it happened. Ownership at my gym changed. Can you guess what happened next?

Yup, I got fucked. And not in a good way.

Forget about that management job I thought I was in line for.

My pay was cut by more than half and I was stuck teaching pre-programmed group sessions.

I was crushed. I’d always been told good things would come to people who pay their dues and work hard. I thought I was doing the right things.

But now it was apparent I had no control or security. Does this sound familiar?

Not knowing what else to do, I stuck it out in a bad situation for months. It seemed like the safe thing to do.

But the passion that raged like a bonfire was simmering to flicker (as was my bank account).

After sleepless nights, my brain would spin. Should I change careers? Should I go back to school? I wasn’t sure.

I loved what I was doing. I wanted to help clients. But I couldn’t accept working my ass off for a soulless corporation, not making decent money, and not having control of my destiny.

I started thinking about online training. It was a way to help more people and stop trading dollars for hours, at the mercy of management. I studied industry leaders and all the information I could find on online training,

But It all sounded too good to be true.

I was paralyzed by the endless fuel of information. I wanted to make a change but had no road map to reach the destination.

Still, I was desperate.

I narrowed the search down to an industry leader. We hopped on a call, discussed my business, my passion, my struggles, and what I really wanted:

– To help more clients and leave a bigger impact on the industry.
– To make more money to live the lifestyle I wanted, while escaping the 14+ hour grind that zapped passion.
– To allow my to focus on my ideal client, rather than scraping by for every person looking for training, whether we’d be a good match or not.

Then, he mentioned the price.


I had some money saved up, but not the cost of the business coaching program he was offering at the time.

I was terrified of clearing out my bank account to go “all in” on myself. The line stayed quiet. Seconds felt like minutes as my mind sprinted through every excuse.

Then, I remembered the frustrating nights.

How I wasn’t fulfilled.

How I was terrified that if I kept on the current path I’d wind of quitting training altogether and settle for a “safe” job behind a desk.

But the message spoke loud and clear: even coaches need coaches.

And to become world class, you need mentorship to give you a clear blueprint, provide accountability, and take action rather than twiddling your thumbs.

I swallowed my reservations and pride and found myself saying: “I’m in.”

I was terrified. But I knew this was an opportunity to change my life.

Without the fear — and without spending my last dollars and putting the rest on a credit card — I wouldn’t be where I am today. And while I realize this was a scary business decision, it forced me to put everything into building my business. 

If I hadn’t gone all in…

I wouldn’t be making exponentially more money.

I wouldn’t be able to travel and make money while not living in the gym.

I wouldn’t have control over my schedule and the free time with my friends and family.

And I wouldn’t be able to help hundreds of clients online or train in-person purely for my passion.

This is the freedom I want for you.

To build your ultimate business.

To train your ideal clients.

To make the money you’re worth.

And to train clients not because you have to, but because you want to.

It all started by realizing I needed coaching. And taking the risk of going all in with every cent I had (literally).

As coach AJ Mihrzad says, “the more you pay, the more you pay attention.” If you go all in on yourself, you have no choice but to succeed.

I know the prospect of hiring a coach is scary. And hell, it’s expensive.

But for me, the only thing more expensive than hiring a coach would have been not hiring a one and thinking I would do this all on my own.

Now, there are hundreds of thousands of personal trainers, most with the goal of training both online and in-person.

And while there is tons of valuable information available and dozens of good ideas, the people with the courage to take action are the ones that fitness pioneers, stand out from the crowd, and build their ideal business.

Today is your chance to change your business and change your life. Just five spots remain for our business coaching program, beginning April 1o. You’ll receive one-on-one, customized coaching. (This is not a Mastermind or eCourse.)  Find out we get rave reviews and book a free initial consultation. 

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