Launching into any kind of new venture, regardless of the industry, can seem daunting at first. There are a lot of moving parts, a lot of things to get right and, obviously, there is the possibility of pitfalls and things going wrong.
Regardless of the challenge that may lie ahead, starting up a business as a personal trainer can be rewarding and life-changing. The very first thing, and it can't be overstated, is that you need to be qualified. As vibrant and diverse as the fitness industry is, misinformation and uninformed opinion, dressed up as expert advice, can circulate very quickly.
It's your job as a personal trainer to represent the industry in the best possible light, to dispel myths and to lead clients down the right path. Completing a credible personal training course and getting qualified gives you that solid foundation.
From here, it's not really possible to give you an exact step-by-guide guide on how to launch a successful PT business. That's simply because the role of a PT is just so diverse. You only have to look at some of the UK's best personal trainers to see that everyone's journey is different. What worked for one PT might not always work for another.
There are, however, a few key areas to be mindful of. Take careful note of the following and use this advice to get your personal training business off to a flying start. As author Robert Collier famously said: 'Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in, day out.'
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail, as they say. Before you can truly get things off, you need to answer some important questions. Who's your target audience (i.e. what type of clients are you hoping to pick up?)? Where are you going to base yourself (a mainstream gym, online etc)? What's the competition like in your area? Is there a niche you can tap in to?
It's sadly the case that many new businesses, across all industries and sectors, fail in the first few months or years because the right preparation and thorough research just haven't been done.
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COVER THE BASICS
You've got the qualification and that enables you to get insurance. Exercise in general, and certainly training clients, is not without inherent risk, so need to make sure you're covered. Public liability and professional indemnity insurance are the only ways you can truly protect yourself should something go wrong.
Depending on where you're working, gaining a first aid qualification would also be a worthwhile endeavour. If you're working within a mainstream gym then there will likely be procedures and personnel in place to cover first aid, but if you're considering opening your own premises or becoming a mobile PT, it is something to consider.
FIND YOUR FOCUS (AND FOCUS ON YOUR CLIENTS)
No matter how prolific you are as a personal trainer, no matter how many qualifications you have or how much CPD you've completed, you simply can't train everyone.
If you're most passionate about body transformations or working with aspiring athletes (or nutrition, or whatever else), make that your 'thing'. Position yourself as an expert in a single or a handful of areas and it'll really make you stand-out. Having that focus will then enable you to better serve the needs of your clients. It also puts you on a fast track to being known as the personal trainer who actually delivers on the services and results that they promise.
About the author: Josh Douglas-Walton, Marketing Manager
Josh is a writer and marketing expert, currently working for HFE, a UK-based personal training course provider.