A Step-by-Step Guide to Publish Your Own Book and Attract High Paying Clients

It’s cutthroat competition out there. An army of trainers are out there trying to rope in the same pool of potential clients. Plus, those clients are getting smarter and pickier. So just assume they want the best. And I’ll assume that you are the best (or could be).

What are you gonna do about it?

To attract these kinds of clients, you need to differentiate yourself from the pack.

There are lots of ways to do this. One of the most effective ways is, I’ve found, to write your own book. This strategy worked tremendously well for me, and it’s my hunch it’ll do the same for you.

I’ve gone to countless networking events and, if I felt like it (or remembered), handed out shnazzy business cards. Truth is, people rarely followed up.

I have a website. But 80% of visitors left my site without taking action. They didn’t leave contact details, which makes it 100% impossible to sell them anything.

In my town, there were 49 other gyms in the area, as well as 249 other personal trainers duking it out for the same clients.

I could have gone to more networking events, handed out more business cards, pumped more money into outbound marketing, or even moved to a less congested market. Those may or may not have worked.

The difference was meeting successful fitness professionals who got where they are because they decided to write a book. The book became the X factor that made all the rest possible. Lightbulb.

Why did this work for them? Because a book builds trust and establishes you as an expert in your field. By becoming an author, you instantly create author-ity.

You may not be a writer. If not, I’m assuming you’re thinking the same thing: how do I write a book?

And/or…

  • I’m an imposter… I don’t have the experience yet to qualify as an expert
  • Do I have to send manuscripts to publishers, and why would publishers even give me the time of day?
  • There’s so much out there. I don’t want to beat a dead horse. What would I write about that’s not already done?

Take a deep breath. First of all, you don’t need to have the skills of a creative writer, or any other so-called “qualification” to self-publish. In fact, if you’re anything like I was, you might even suck at writing altogether.  

Here’s the rub: to write this book, you don’t have to do any writing at all. With the exception of an odd email here and there, you won’t have to lift a finger on the keyboard!

Before explaining the step-by-step process, I’ll  assume that you already have a client base and that your clients are already achieving great results. Not only that, but they have become raving fans of yours.

To make this work, you’ll need at least 10 client success stories. Do you have that? If not, you need to work on your program design and make it happen before you attempt this book.

If you have 10 or more raving fans, awesome. Let’s crack on.

I learned things the hard way when I created my first book. My singular aim for this blog post is to help you avoid all the pitfalls and mistakes that I did, so that you can quickly pursue the opportunity (which I’ll outline below) to promote your book, and to aggressively set yourself apart and make the competition irrelevant.

So, what to write about?

Easy. You don’t write. Your clients do.

You simply send an email or letter to your clients telling them about the book you’d like to publish and that you’d like to feature them in it. Not only that, but you’d like to involve them in the creation process, such as choosing the book title or content topics.

With this approach, they feel instantly invested in the project, and since they are also raving fans, they are more likely to promote the book and recommend it to others. They love you and love their results, and they want the world to know about both.

This co-creation strategy also builds suspense and anticipation. Just imagine the excitement buzzing around this book due to the conversations your clients will be having. If they are truly raving fans, a viral effect occurs which is ultimately more effective and more lucrative than any conventional ad campaign.

Below is the exact letter I sent out. The letter also includes a competition for the most inspiring story. A book requires words. Lots of words. So you don’t want just 1-2 paragraphs. You want to incentivize your clients to go deep and emotional. That takes words.

You want the reader (your potential client) to be able to relate and connect with the stories, and in turn be confident that you can also help them.

So, ask your clients to share what their life was like before they came to you, why they came to you, what helped them take the leap of faith, and how long they were on the fence about joining. Ask them to describe their struggles and challenges, how you helped them, what results they achieved, and what their life is like now.

Some other tips with the letter:

  • Insist on a deadline for your clients submitting their story
  • Plan to follow up with them at least 1 or 2 times
  • Speak to your client in person about the project. This keeps keep it at the top of their mind and awareness
  • Naturally, there will be a few client reservations, mostly around confidentiality, privacy and stuff like that. Just explain precisely how you plan to use the book and how their story will inspire people just like them to make a change.
  • Follow up with every client that sends in a story with a sincere and memorable thank you email and also send them regular updates on the progress of the book

Your clients stories will create the main inserts (inside pages) to your book. Hence, the quality of your relationship with your “writers” is absolutely critical to the completion of the book, its success, and ultimately its capacity to bring new clients into your ecosystem.

Organising the different chapters

Once you’ve received your client stories, you’ll want to go through each one of them to make sure that you got exactly what you asked for (and what the book needs). As you are reading through the stories, you want to be paying attention to the words your clients use to describe their story. Why? Because some of the language they use can be reused — made into chapter titles, pull quotes, and anything else you’d like.

To illustrate, here are the titles we came up with for the chapters of our book. Plus, they also create your table of contents, as you can see below.

30 chapters, 30 client success stories…

I gained confidence in my ability to work out and lift weights

By Alpa Pandya

Beating stress helped me conquer my weight loss demons         

By Amanda Coombs

Corrective exercises and encouragement improved my game        

By Anne MacGregor

The support and help I’ve received at U Fit has improved my life     

By Becky Smith

I lost over two stone and now fit into my favourite jeans                      

By Chris Bott

Small changes made it easier for me to lose weight                                       

By Dave Nicholls

U Fit Studio has helped me to believe in myself                                 

By Debbie Neath

U Fit Studio helps me feel important, comfortable and motivated             

By Gemma Shepherdson

The U Fit team helped me through a difficult life experience                         

By Harriett Gilbert

Encouragement and motivation helped me fit into the dress of my dreams                         

By Helen Robbins

A journey of self-discovery that has helped me view life positively
                                       

By Jackie Dziewanowska

Caring attitudes and members’ happiness is Joe’s passion                  

By Jayshree Vyas

Unique programmes help me to focus and feel motivated                              

By Jimmy Chauhan

An enjoyable experience that’s now an important part of my day            

By Jo Cotton

Healthy eating and clear goals have helped us both look and feel great
                               

By Simon & Katie Baines

A friendly and encouraging atmosphere with extra support when I need it                            

By Katie Hollingsworth

I’d be in a dark place if it wasn’t for the focus and support U Fit gives me

By Kerrie Heath

I’m actively conquering my demons and feel amazing                         

By Lucy Matthews

My thought processes have improved and now I’m fitter, happier and healthier
                 

By Lynn Lewis

I feel physically stronger and I have control of my weight                  

By Lynne Griffiths

Plenty of variety and new challenges to keep you on your toes    

Nicola Lennard

Lifestyle and nutritional advice has played a key role in my wellbeing 

By Nikeen Patel

My diet and lifestyle has improved and I’m in control                

By Paula Dhiman

U Fit has helped me to re-evaluate my life and now I feel fantastic  

By Rachel Bettle

Attending U Fit Studio is a high point of my day; I have all the tools need to achieve my goals
                                                

By Sanjna Dhanjal

I’m in the best shape of my life thanks to U Fit                                

By Sheetal Kachhela

Being part of U Fit means a lot to me and is an important part of my life

By Tracy Flounders

U Fit Studio has given me a fitter, more toned body and increased my levels of confidence  

By Vimal Thakrar

U Fit Studio turned my life around in just 14 months after a 33 year battle                                  

By Sallyann Fowles

After reading these, can you identify the client I was targeting?

Before I begin sharing my insights on hiring an editor, I must mention the legal part. It’s important that I do. So please bare with me.

Legal Documents

Now that you have the main content, I would advise that you get some form of an agreement signed by yourself and your client. It basically states that you have the full rights and permission of the client to share their story in the book and you can choose what you wish to do with the book, such as promoting, marketing and advertising your services.

Here’s an example, though it’s probably best that you hire a professional lawyer to draw one up for you. It’ll be well worth it. Your clients are awesome, but they may not all be angels. For whatever reason, one of your clients may leave, become disgruntled, then get nasty.

Download the PDF version of the Sample Book Release Form by clicking here

Now, have your client sign it.  One copy for them and one for you.

Let’s recap: we’ve figured out the content of your book, we’ve got chapter titles, the legal bits are out of the way, and your clients are already creating suspense around the launch of your book. That leaves us with just one thing.

Do you have or know an editor?

You can hire one on elance (now called Upwork) or fivver. For the most part, both tend to be very reliable and produce quick results.

Do a Google search for Upwork.

Then complete the necessary fields

While an editor is not required to self-publish, editors can help clean up the copy, make the story flow better, as well as spot spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Even if you don’t have a professional editor to work with, a second opinion always helps.

Neuroscience tells us that we become “blind” to the errors in the material we’ve looked at for too long, especially material that we’ve written or have a vested interest in. We literally cannot see the mistakes.

The additional beauty of hiring someone else to do the editing and proofreading is that you can utilize this time for coming up with a killer design for the front and back cover.

Front and Back Cover Design

It doesn’t have to be too extravagant. It is, however, a representation of your brand, and so it should be on point. Has anyone ever told you that you have a second chance to make a good impression? That might work in other industries, but in the fitness industry, you need to ditch that. It’s lazy, and you can bet your ass someone out there is hustling faster and better than you to capture the attention of those smarter clients. So, as Mindtools suggests, get it done right the first time:  

“These first impressions can be nearly impossible to reverse or undo, making those first encounters extremely important, for they set the tone for all the relationships that follow. So, whether they are in your career or social life, it’s important to know how to create a good first impression.”

And Brian Tracey:

Everything counts in the first impression. Everything you do or don’t do either adds to or takes away from your credibility to influence someone as a leader.”

The first impression is what makes your prospect curious enough to raise their hand high and ask for help. If your impression is average, then they’ll go to your competitor. I talk about this at length in another blog: 3 Fatal mistakes that are standing between you and you beating your competition.

So, make sure you hire a good designer or at least someone who understands your brand strategy and standards so that they keep consistency across all your marketing channels and material.

The colours in the U Fit Studio branding were blue, white, and shades of grey. You will see this in the book design below.

A few more things. Do consider including a picture on the back cover of the clients featured in the book.

And do include a well-written and polished book description that will help convert window shoppers into clients. If you want potential clients to identify with someone, there is no better way than showing them people who are just like them.

Most people who want (or need) the help you provide have a fear of being judged. It’s human nature. By making sure they see people who are just like them, they quickly overcome this common hurdle, and in turn are “warmer” to working with you.

How to pick a book title

You may already have a title in your head, but, based upon experience, I recommend the following strategy.

Involve your clients…

Step 1: What results are your potential clients aspiring for?

Step 2: Brainstorm a bunch of titles based on the above.

Step 3: Pick your favourite titles. Make sure they are easy to remember and are catchy and exciting. Then run a poll on social media.

Step 4: Carefully read and listen to the results of the above poll.

Step 5: Compare the results against the overall goals of your book.

Here’s the title that I came up with:

What is an ISBN and Do I Need One?

You don’t need to buy an ISBN (International Standard Book Number), but I would strongly advise that you do. Basically, having an ISBN record stores important information like the author’s name, publisher, size, format, topic-related information, pricing, and other data needed by retailers, libraries, and book distribution systems.

Even though you may only want to publish an ebook, for now, an ISBN is required to print hard copies. It costs money, but totally worth the small investment.  The UK ISBN provider is http://www.isbn.nielsenbook.co.uk.

For International Agency try clicking here.

Just give them a call; it’s easy and they are very helpful. If I recall, it takes around 2 weeks to complete the process and register.

In a nutshell, an ISBN means that you can sell your book.

Also, going back to the notion of first impressions, it also gives the perception that your book is an authentic book. It’ll come with a barcode and a price tag. They’ll know it’s the real deal.

If you’re based in the U.K., and you prefer a direct contact then ask for Diana Dalasini at Ph: +44 (0) 1483 712215. She’s always been very helpful, professional and efficient whenever I needed a question answered.

That said, if for whatever reason you are on a tight budget or you’re not interested in producing a printed hard copy, then you won’t need an ISBN.

If you are collecting email addresses from your website, or soon might be, it’ll be worth a shot to collect postal addresses at the same time. If and when you have something physical to send (like a book!), you have what you need to get it where it needs to go.

As with any opt-in, you’ll need to give prospects visiting your website a really good reason to hand over their addresses. A compelling book is an example of a high-value item to prompt that handover.  

Format the book

At this point, you should have the inserts (table of contents + client stories), as well as the front and back cover design. Don’t forget the spine of the book, as this is valuable space where you can place the book title and display your branding.

It’ll be in your best interest to contact a printing service. Not just any old printing service. Use one like this. They won’t require you to commit to large orders or minimum amounts. You pay for what you order. In the beginning, this is all you need.

Moreover, it is worth reaching out to these now because they can help you format your book and get it print ready, usually at no extra charge.  They’ll ask you heaps of questions, and definitely around what size you’d like the book to be (I always suggest no larger than A5).

Explain to them that you are waiting for an ISBN and a barcode to be delivered. Once these arrive, the printing service will then position everything for you appropriately and professionally.

I’ve probably oversimplified this part but believe me, a good printing service will always streamline the process for you. If you don’t want to spend your time writing, I assume you don’t want to bog down your valuable time fussing with formatting.

Now, that your book is published…

It’s about getting the book in front of potential clients.

Step 1: While you are putting the book together, it makes total sense to build suspense around a book launch with your clients. Do this by keeping them in the loop at all times. Give them something exciting to talk about. Then they’ll talk about it.  

Step 2: Plan and prepare a book launch. We timed this with our annual client appreciation party. For that night, we encouraged our clients to bring guests. In addition, we invited the press. Everybody who was anybody came and it turned out to be a wildly successful night.

Step 3: Ensure that every single one of your clients gets a copy of the book. It will not only inspire them, but it’ll create another reason for them to stay with you.

Plus, they’ll feel more connected with your other clients. After reading the sometimes vulnerable stories of others at the gym, social walls will break down, more conversations will happen between members, and your community will grow even stronger. Like a family. Those who were not raving fans before will become so. Then those new raving fans can be part of the next book. And so on.

Step 4: It automatically becomes a referral tool. When your client takes it home and places it on the kitchen table, just think how many of their friends and family members will see it. Do you think they’ll read it? Of course! Because your client will insist that they do.

Step 5: Send a copy of the book to every media outlet in your local town. Ask them if they would be kind enough to read a copy and possibly share some of the stories with their audiences. There is no need to get anxious about asking for what you want from these outlets. Remember that they have a problem they need to be solved. They need content. You need your content out there. It’s a win-win.  

Generally speaking, I find that local radio stations are way more receptive to this idea than magazines and newspapers.

Step 6: Depending on your budget, it’s probably worth investing in an advertisement. More than likely, those media outlets have already tried to pitch this idea to you. If so, great! It means you’re hot. If they haven’t approached you, then approach them. Remind them why you’re hot and worth featuring. Negotiate for favourable rates, but don’t be a jerk about it.  

Here’s an example of a simple advert I took out in a local village magazine.

The key to successful weight loss doesn’t have to be a secret

FREE book, exclusively for The Beacon Magazine readers explains how to lose weight and keep it off for life

Have you ever wondered how people lose weight quickly and keep that weight off?

Despite spending hours at the gym or watching every bite you eat, do you never seem to be able to achieve your ideal shape?

Do you find that diet and exercise advice can be misleading and difficult to follow?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, don’t worry, you’re not on your own. 99% of the population are dissatisfied with the results they get from their current diet, personal trainer or gym. These same people often feel they have no choice but to carry on doing the things they’re doing, even when they don’t see any results.

Fortunately, a new book is about to change the way you look at fitness and weight loss forever. “30 Weight Loss Success Stories” shares inspirational stories from people who’ve been where you are now and have turned their lives around for the better. It contains motivations, methods and techniques behind successful and lasting weight loss that anyone can follow.

Claim your FREE copy now. Visit [insert landing page] and claim your free copy.

-End-

Note: We didn’t send prospects to our main website; instead we wanted to track a number of leads we got so we sent them to a separate URL and landing page.

You can either ask your web team to organise this or go to leadpages or instapage and you can have a page set up in minutes.

Remember to register a URL. It makes the most sense for this to be the title of your book. If you’re as anal about tracking as I am, then you’ll want to keep tabs on which magazine uses your URL. This will help you ascertain which outlets are effective or not, and provide insight on what might work better next time.  

Step 7: Make sure you have the book available on your website home page. Make it look attractive, user-friendly and efficient … and bam! Prospects that visit your website will now have a reason to leave their contact details with you.

For some inspiration, check these sales stats out:

With these contact details, you’ll be able to market to them over and over again in your follow-up processes. As you may know, this is called permission marketing: the prospect has given you the green light to market to them. So make sure you market!

Step 8: It goes without saying: share the new book on ALL social media channels, and track and measure so that you can figure out what’s working and what isn’t.

Step 9: Whenever you go to networking events, instead of giving out business cards you now have a shiny book, full of raving clients, to handover. A book is more physically dominant than a business card and contains all the information the prospect needs to determine if you are the right person for them. This also saves you time later. By the time the prospect contacts you, they have more than likely made up their mind. You can avoid unnecessary “discovery calls” and instead sign them as a client in a flash.

Step 10: Have the book present and available for your clients to read before and after workouts in a common area. At U Fit, we called this the “Chill Out Area”. If they are new, they’ll feel validated that they have become a member at the right gym. If they are an established client, they’ll feel inspired to become part of the next book. If they are in the book, they’ll feel like a damn celebrity!

Step 11: Remember to hand the book to any new prospect that visits your gym. “Joe, will be with you in two minutes; in the meantime, feel free to flip through our new book, ‘30 weight loss success stories’…”

These tactics will absolutely help you differentiate yourself from the other trainers. Hands down, you’ll make yourself more attractive to your potential clients.

If you didn’t have any authority, you will now and you’ll immediately be positioned as an expert in your town. Authority is not earned. It’s created. So create it!

Conclusion

If you already have at least 10 successful clients, and want your own book one day, then this might be the perfect opportunity for you.

What’s your experience with using before-and-after pictures and client success stories in marketing? What methods have you found to be most successful at increasing your leads?

Comment below, and let’s start a conversation. I’d love to hear more about them and if you have any additional ideas. We’re a brotherhood, so we’re here to help each other out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Quick Tips On How To Profit From Clients Who Say No

No is better than yes. Eventually.

More sales came from clients who initially say NO. These are the same folks who got a free consultation or training session. They’d get their free things, say “no” and be on their way.

Unless you are a god, chances are someone said “no” to your services. The fickle ones may have even decided to go to a personal trainer less qualified to help them than you.

Why would a client go to a personal trainer less qualified than you?

Easy. Because they were better at sales.

Let’s take Joe Wicks. He probably isn’t any more qualified than you. But he might be more clever than you.

In the mind of your clients, a buying decision is reached only when absolute certainty is reached about three things.

Here are 7 quick tips to turn “NOs” into long-term client memberships.

1. At the time of enquiry, prospects are rarely ready to buy

This issue is that the prospect lacks a level certainty, trust and information about you.

Rather than initiate a full on sales spiel on your prospect, train yourself or a member of your front of house to approach the initial enquiry with curiosity, care, consideration and empathy.

Give your staff free allowance to spend as much time as they need with the initial enquiry, whether that be on the phone, via email or in person. You don’t want this to come across scripted, or like you have no time for this person.

If you’ve done your numbers, you know that this time with the client is worth every second.

2. Hot Buttons

You probably receive mostly email and telephone enquiries. Your staff, then, needs to pick up on the prospects hot buttons and language patterns. Write this stuff down. You’ll learn how to mirror the exact words the prospect uses. Instant rapport!

Capture the prospect’s name and email address quickly. You can build a relationship on value and trust first, knowing that asking for the sale later will be much easier.

3. Follow Up

Whether the prospect moved along the line and booked an appointment or decided on the call that you weren’t for them, creatively craft emails that are personal to what the prospect said.

Preparing autoresponders, templates, and boilerplate emails will fail horribly if you don’t take the time to make each and every communication personal. Each prospect is on a different stage of the buyer’s journey, and your communication needs to acknowledge and honour where they are, even if that means a delayed sale or no sale at all.

Remember that even freeloaders can become raving fans.

The aim is to keep your business at the top of the prospect’s mind. One of the best ways to do just that is by keeping in touch with them in between appointments.

Nurture the lead, but be ruthless about it. Your job is never quite done. The prospect agreed to meet with you, but agreeing to an appointment and actually showing up are two very different things.

4. What to do if they don’t show up? Or cancel last minute?

Continue to add value, where possible. Don’t assume the worst. Sometimes, people genuinely can’t make the appointment because of very valid reasons. The best way to approach these scenarios is to begin by reframing negative judgements came popped up in your mind. 
Things like, oh another time waster or, even worse, she must be happy to stay fat.

Personal trainers who fat shame prospects should be ashamed.

Bride-to-be hits back in perfect way at personal trainer who fat-shamed her ahead of her big day

 

Make it a game. If anything, be curious and just imagine that she might of been involved in a car accident.

By assuming the best, thought processes and attitudes change. Then, when speaking to the prospect, you tend arrive in a more empathetic mood. Good for them. Good for you. Good for your brand and your bottom line.

Collecting your prospects names, contact details and “hot buttons” ensures that you can speak their language every time you encounter them.

5. Don’t give up

Think back to an occasion where you bought something expensive. Did you buy right away or did you have to think about it?

It’s not uncommon for prospects to receive emails for a year or so before they gather the courage to join a studio. Your ability to close them rest upon your positive mindset. Acknowledge that courage is never instant, or trust.

Typically, personal trainers do not possess such positivity and patience, so this is where you can differentiate yourself.

 

Hi, are you still looking to lose that extra weight? If so, I’d love to catch up with you again and share my latest Skinny Jeans Challenge.  

Short, simple and clear emails like this go a very long way. Sometimes, clients who didn’t follow through are too embarrassed to get back in touch.

Extend an olive branch, and you may see an email reply like this:

Thanks! I’ve been wanting to get in touch. It’s so good to hear from you. Thank you for sending all the articles and emails. They are really inspiring. Yes, I’d love to catch up. When are you free?

6. Address objections before the prospects even brings it up

Think of all the reasons a prospect would say no to you. List them out. Ensure that you answer these in your communications with prospects.  

7. You delivered a perfect free consultation. Still no?

Ah, the mystery of sales. You never know why this might be. You can only assess and review your “sales conversion/funnel” after it happened and tweak where possible.

In a perfect world, you do a good enough job to push along what Jordan Belfort (the “Wolf of Wall Street”) calls to the “buying scale”; that is, a sale only occurs when you know enough about the prospect’s beliefs and objections, so that the “scale” tilts towards a “buy” decision.

 

Imagine your client’s mind as a high tech combination lock you’re trying to pick.

You get the first number in place and nothing happens. Same with the second number. But then you get all three numbers in place, and all of a sudden you hear a click. The safe opens and the clients buys. Everyone has a different buying strategy. Your job is to uncover the strategy and pick the lock for each client.

If not, then this is where you get your first real NO.

I need to think about it. I need to speak to my partner.  

They will tell you politely. They won’t say no, you are not worth it or I’ll just waste my money because you’re just the same as every other trainer I’ve met.

This is where you deflect. You’ll push the client’s objection off to the side. Never say I understand. Instead say, I hear what you are saying, but let me ask you a question. Does my Skinny Jeans Challenge program make sense to you?

After you deflect the client’s initial refusal, do not directly ask why she is refusing. Instead, go backwards in your sales process and resell your product. Your second pitch will be more powerful and bullet orientated. Use these exact words:

And let me say this. The true beauty of the program is…

For help crafting the perfect words, check out Words That Sell, by Richard Bayan.

Attempt this up to three times before backing off.

Consider these three things to persuade her into becoming a client:  

  1. Offer some sort of trial
  2. Depending on what stage you’re at with your business, everything is negotiable. So negotiate.
  3. Surprise and delight. Prepare in advance something meaningful for the client as a way of saying thank you for showing up. This creates a talking point amongst her friends, as well as a lasting impression. Just because she didn’t become a client does not mean she won’t refer someone.

Finally, just when you think all is lost when a client says NO, know that there is still hope. Check out this email correspondence:

Email 1: Client response after agreeing in person to become a member then following up with an email to cancel.

Email 2: My response. This was actually the second follow up email. You will see that I used the tactic outlined above.

 

Email 3: Email correspondence a few months after this client had agreed to join As you can see, happy and achieving results 🙂

 

These are the clients that you make the most money from.

Why

Because they have followed through on almost everything. They’ve checked out your website, received your emails, enquired, booked something, showed up, had regular conversations with you, submitted questionnaires, and so on.

They operate on their own time. But when they decide to pull the trigger, they’ll become your star clients.

FIT MAN can help. We’ll critique your sales and follow-up process, for free. Why free? Because, like any good trainer, we believe in results first. We’ll show you where you are losing money, and how to get it back.

Email us, and we’ll be in touch within 24 hours.

How To Dominate Your City: Lessons from Rappers (Part 2)

In last week’s blog, we talked about what I call “the 2%” — that untapped piece of the market who are looking for you. They are deeply committed to transforming their lives and are looking for someone who’ll do more than mere sessions. In the immortal words of Snoop, they want to see “you be you” and for your Profitable Product Mix to reflect that.

Remember that video where Eminem disses Mariah Carey?

Like most of what he does, it was lyric genius (no offense to Mariah).

There’s that great line:

THIS IS WHAT THE FUCK I DO.

And this one:

BUT IF I’M EMBARRASSIN’ ME, I’M EMBARRASSIN’ YOU.

Why is this important?

Because we fear what other people will think about us if we were vulnerable, if we were to reveal rawer truths about ourselves. Our struggles, our insecurities, our flaws. It’s our pride that stands in the way.

Eminem, 50 Cent, Dre Dre, and Snoop all rapped about shit that was personal to them.

You don’t have to be everything to everyone. It’s too tiring and will only result in you wanting to quit before you got started.

Learn to say no to more people who don’t align with your values. Don’t know what your values are? Decide now. Or someone will decide for you.

Not everyone likes the music by the rappers mentioned above.

Though no one can deny they still killed it.

Their personal story wasn’t relatable to everyone. But it did connect with “the 2%” and that was the key.

Those 2% became loyal, committed, raving fans! Nevermind the other 98%.

The 2% attracted people who could relate.

BULLSEYE. Marketing magic.

The video is worth watching. What it talks about are some of the best tactics to differentiate yourself.

In other words, if you are worried what other personal trainers might think of you, don’t. They aren’t your market.

PROVE IT

What makes you different? Write it down. Orchestrate a story about you worth sharing.

At U Fit Studio, the boutique fitness studio brand I founded in Leicester, UK, I made such a story.

 

The population in Leicester is 329,900.

52% are married.

That makes 171,548 women that I could potentially help.

If we niche down further, we could look for those who are anywhere from two to six dress sizes too big, between the ages of 34-47.

Let’s filter even more. They are unhappy relationships. They lack confidence, have low self esteem women, and probably one or two teenage children.

That cuts things down to around 2%.

Seems small, but 2% of 171,548 is 3,430.

That’s 3,430 potential clients who happen to be the exact kind of clients I get the best results with. They also happen to be those who provide me with the most personal satisfaction. Historically, this very niche became my most profitable clients and usually always renewed their contracts.

Based on those numbers, here’s the “worst” case scenario:

Hypothetically, if we only work with 100 clients per year, 3,430 would provide us with about 34 years of business.

That’s doing things minimally for the best returns.

Most trainers always look to have the most clients.

Now, it’s about proving that you are worth the fewer, higher quality clients you have.

Your clients need to believe you are the best trainer in your town for them.

Telling them this won’t do the trick.

They’ll require social proof.

Proper video testimonials will address any doubt or objections your potential clients have. They’ll also back up any bold claims you make about how good you are, such as one of my old promos:

“The Skinny Jeans Challenge helps women lose 2 dress sizes in 6 weeks!”

Those 3,000+ women were like yeah, really?

I proved it by sharing video testimonials of women losing 2 jean sizes in 6 weeks.

And I really don’t know anyone better at doing this for you then my man, Erik Rokeach. Check out this video I pulled off his website.

Here’s a few he did for me:

One more…

A combination of marketing won’t do you any harm. Such as holding events, winning awards, networking, and writing for magazines all adds up and contributes towards you being seen as the authority.

Rappers are very good at producing videos of themselves.

Don’t be afraid to tell your potential client why you are different. Do this, even if it means being controversial. Just don’t be an ass about it.

Your clients can’t read your mind.

They can’t see your vision.

You have to spell it out to your potential and current clients. Tell them exactly what makes you different.

Tell them explicitly why they should choose you over your competitors.

One of my previous coaches, Jeff, did a fantastic job of this when informing clients why Herbalife is a bad idea compared to alternatives.

He did it in blog form:

I took a page from his book and did it on the Fit Man Collective website.

What makes you different is not your external systems (not yet, at least). Not your qualifications. Not the features you offer.

And definitely not your shirtless Instagram pictures. Those are super douchey. Selfies say more about your problems and insecurities than they do about your body fat %. Who you trying to gain approval from, bruh?

It starts within you. What makes you different from your competitors. Not someone who just follows the crowd. Done correctly, this will make you the ideal choice for clients who also happen to be ideal for you. The one’s who provide you the most money and the most satisfaction.

When making an argument about what makes you different from your competitors, you don’t have to be nice. Take a page from rappers. They diss one another, usually in public. In those 8-Mile style battles, the winner is always obvious. It’s a combination of confidence and skill. Everyone in the room just knows who the best is.  

People who know they are the best don’t need to waste unnecessary energy trying to prove it to the gym or trainer down the road. Rather, they spend their energy on serving their clients.

Clients will seek you out rather than you chasing them.

Here’s a great example on how you can utilize your experiences, hobbies, interests, and values to help the people that need you most. It’s from our crazy friends at Mark Fisher Fitness. To be sure, they go against the norm, but it truly inspires.

This is your benchmark.

Know who are and what makes you different? Then it’s time to make real money.

Get a Free Report that evaluates your current Product Mix and market position. Know what’s actually working, what isn’t, and how to take what’s different about you, create a whole new demand for your services, and tap into the 2%.

How To Dominate Your City: Lessons from Rappers (Part 1)

Regardless of what you do, there’s always some other personal trainer or gym killing it.

They’re more popular than you.

They’re attracting your kind of clients, and may have snatched a few of your people away.

You scratch your head trying to figure out how to get into theirs. How did they do this? How did they pull it off?

It’s tempting to think they are beating you because they’re “‘lucky” or more established, or their marketing has much bigger budgets than what you’re packing.

Luck may have played a role, but consistent success is always more than luck.

Success is the result of your decision to be yourself.

The infamous rapper 50 Cent said it best:

“When a person decides to be themselves, they offer something no one else can be…”

Then Snoop chips in with:

“… once you be you, who could be you, but you.”

Look at this image:

What does your About Page say about you?

More importantly, is your About Page armored with a battery of persuasive reasons why people should “give a shit” about you for more than a few seconds? Compelling reasons to “take action” and click this or that?

Other than exercise, some diet strategies and qualifications, what makes you different?

If you were operating in the same city as Mark Fisher Fitness, would you be able to compete? I mean, they’re killin it. They make their members drink unicorn blood. That earns a gold star for being different. So, is there something different about you that is as different as what Mark Fisher Fitness does?

Appearances can be misleading, and perception is reality, which means that the personal trainer or gym down the road you believe are crushing it are, in fact, not. They are not because they are nowhere near as good as you can be.  

This is a mindset shift, which creates a new story. When you truly own that story, it leaves you with the perfect opportunity to swoop in, dominate your city, and write whatever happy ending you can dream up, such as more freedom, time, or even taking a stack of Benjamins and making it rain dollar bills in the club.

Watch this classic video with 50 Cent and Snoop. It’ll only take a minute. It shows how the rappers of today are just not doing it as well as the old timers did.

Snoop Dogg and 50 Cents talk about Today's rappers doing the Triplet notes flow in Rap Music.

Posted by Hip Hop Kultural Movement on Saturday, 10 October 2015

The lesson was all about being authentic. When you are authentic, you are different:  

“You have to be you, once you be you, who could be you, but you…”

So how do “you be you” in your city?

COMPARISON

Have you used a Strategy Canvas? If not, it’s a simple, at-a-glance chart to see what’s happening across the companies you’re in competition with. Very helpful for our line of work.

Cirque du Soleil knew they had to be different:  

For the fitness industry, let’s compare home exercise, traditional health clubs and Curves. Regardless of your opinion on Curves, they set out to be different from the get go:

  • Women only
  • Location easy to commute too
  • Eliminated the fancy cafe, swimming pool and spa
  • Offered a safe non-intimidating environment

Your turn. First, write down the things you offer (your Product Mix). Find at least two competitors in your city and write down what they offer.

Is there a difference? If yes, that’s awesome.

If not, it’s time to get to work. The most common similarities between personal trainers:

  • Sessions
  • Workout time
  • Convenience
  • Poor environment for results
  • Availability

You probably offer sessions and so do they. One or both of them may even do sessions better than you. The cool thing is that you don’t have to better at sessions in order to be better than them.

What can you offer that is different? Trainers who do sessions are usually time poor. It’s an up-at-dawn siege everyday. So it can’t be more time (at least now).

You need to tap into a very specific market. This market is only 2% of the whole market available. It’s a market that the trainer down the road who is really good at sessions can’t touch, but you can.

This 2% will only come to you. They will come to you because they will be able to relate to you and truly understand how you can help them in a way that others cannot.  

2% seems like a small number. Trust me, it’s enough, not only people but in revenue.

Let’s say you are the best in the world at sessions. It still will not land you the kind of people in that 2%. This is because they would have no good reason to work with you over someone else. They are looking for something that sessions cannot provide. Popular commercial gyms kinda understand this, as evidenced by the ubiquitous tagline “We’re more than a gym.” They understand that people serious about transforming their lives require more than a beefed-up trainer who rules at sessions.

These gyms are promising “more” but they are not delivering it. If they were, that 2% wouldn’t be looking for you. That 2% who are fiercely committed to transforming their lives and who have the cash to invest in the right person to help them do it.

Securing even a fraction of that 2% in your city would mean more time and more money. It may not make you a baller on par with Snoop, but you could represent. On the flipside, in your city, Snoop could never be on par with you. Snoop ain’t you.

So the key to attracting those ideal clients in the 2% is to be crystal clear on what it is that makes “you be you” and then creating a superior product or offering which gives “more” to the people who crave it most. Mark Fisher Fitness understands this. They understand that one aspect of what people are looking for, beyond mere sessions, is to not only be treated like human being (“We give a shit”) but like a special human being who is part of something truly incredible (“unicorn blood cult”).

Get a Free Report that evaluates your current Product Mix and market position. Know what’s actually working, what isn’t, and how to take what’s different about you, create a whole new demand for your services, and tap into the 2%.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons Every Gym Owner And Personal Trainer Should Compete In A Marathon

With the Bali Marathon 10KM Race this coming Sunday, this blog I think is perfectly timed to be reposted. The first time, was after I had completed the London Marathon…

So sport, physical activity and competitiveness is what got you in the gym game, right? Workout after workout. Weight stacked on weight. Those quick muscle gains led you to experience a broad range of emotions that you hadn’t felt before. Euphoria. Satisfaction. Confidence. Vindication. Superiority. Even, dare I say, happy

The more your body took the shape you imagined, the more you craved!

There is no question that sports in whatever way, shape or form can be powerfully evocative.

At the same time, if you were not aware, sports also gave you courage and inspiration that you are actually really good at something — hence why you probably started your personal training business: “If I can get into shape, I can teach those that can’t…”

Stay with me, the lessons are coming.

So, you enter the fitness industry ready to take on the world.

But, like with any sport where there is a thrill of victory, there is also the crushing agony of defeat. Same happens in life.

I write this first because if you were anything like me (addicted to self punishment, adrenaline, or anything else that distracted from the pain, loneliness, and the feeling of I’m not good enough that I held deep inside), you turn to the gym.

Those in-the-know know gym becomes a form of therapy. Usually when…

Our clients aren’t listening to us

Other trainers’ results are superior (both for themselves and their clients)

You’re stuck in a relationship

You didn’t know that helping people would be so much more about business, marketing and selling and other sh*t you didn’t know you needed to know…

Fear of the unknown

Fear of failure

Fear of ridicule

Fear about whatever…

Where do you go? Where does anybody go. Back to familiar ground. Escaping almost.

You hope those initial good feelings come back. And they do, but never as much as before. It’s exactly like a drug addict, where one dose was enough, but then never was again. Always the need for a bigger hit.

“When you first start training you found power to become a trainer. What have you achieved since?”

Enter the 5 reasons every gym owner and personal trainer should compete in a marathon.

I spoke about this briefly before, but during my most intense years of self development there were a few major things that I knew I had to get to work on:

  • My tolerance level to take on more risk,
  • My tolerance level with discomfort
  • My tolerance level with uncertainty, criticism, and pressure, pressure, pressure

So on Friday, the 26th of January, 2015, I decided to commit to the Virgin London Marathon. In April of the same year. Yep. That gave me only 17 weeks to prepare for what was to become a life changing journey.

Upon announcing this to my friends, clients and other personal trainers (including our very own coaches), there was a flood of positive support, and it even gave some of our clients courage and confidence to set ambitious goals themselves. Even more surprising was the number of personal trainers who thought I was crazy and would shout trash like “Ain’t you gonna lose all ya muscle?” and “Isn’t it unhealthy for you? You’ll gain weight! You’ll lose your body!”

I get it. I was the same a few years back. If anyone would have asked me my opinion about them running a marathon, I would have replied even sharper. And with some French.

Originally, I thought that their issues were with what I was doing as choice of exercise, but I’ve since come to the conclusion that they were just as trapped as me inside the four walls of the gym.

They’ve grown accustomed to an environment that offers safety, security and familiarity — all of which keeps them in the same place, but unfortunately stagnate.

(I wrote about other ways to stimulate the mind and break free from stagnation in my article Six Steps To Become Wealthy As A Personal Trainer)

For every reason a trainer told me not do the London Marathon, I can think of hundreds of personal and professional reasons why gym owners and/or personal trainers should compete in a Marathon Race.

To respect your time, I’ve narrowed it down to five:

1. Comfort Zone

You need a new challenge. If past experiences are proof, as you were transforming into your body, you gained courage to become a personal trainer.

As stated in the book, Mastery by Robert Greene, you essentially submitted to rigorous apprenticeship, absorbed knowledge, built a body faster and better than anyone else, which established patterns of excellence, which unlocked a passion within and then you became a master (i.e., a personal trainer).

Throughout this journey it gave you courage. Courage to do something and the courage to be something more.

Now with me, I knew 17 weeks wasn’t long enough to train to run 5 miles, let alone 26. The last time I really ran was in my last football match, about 10 years back.  

I knew that by putting it out there, I had to do it. It’s why I then did everything in my power to set things up so I couldn’t back out. I ran for a charity. I did things that were for a bigger cause than myself, which would make the shame of failure or cowardice too steep to bear.

It was hunch that by enduring this discomfort, by my feet blistering over 26 miles, the thrill of overcoming a challenge would bleed across into other areas of my life and make other situations seem a whole lot easier.

Lesson: Make a decision. Be more decisive.

 

2. Mental Toughness Conditioning

My mind was weak.

When anything in life presented itself to be a challenge (or confrontational or tiring) outside of my natural talents and skills, I was always quick to use excuses and blame other people (or things).

I knew I couldn’t do the same when I was in training. It was me against me. No one else.

Yes, there were more times than I’d like to admit where I wanted to stop running. In some cases, I did. Gave up. Walked back home. Even got a taxi at one point.

But deep down I knew I had to keep persevering. If I was ever going to cross the finish line, I HAD to put the WORK in.

This race is brutal. It swallows the weak up for breakfast.

Cliche but true: if you don’t prepare to plan, plan to fail.

With all the (purposely) built pressure surrounding me, I couldn’t let them down and (more importantly) I couldn’t let myself down, which we are all guilty of doing when we don’t have anyone to be accountable to. There is natural human tendance which runs through us all, where though we are less likely to let other people down, when it comes to ourselves it is so much easier.

I suffered more setbacks from training for this event than anything else. It taught me a level of perseverance never encountered in the euphoric early days of bodybuilding.

Lesson: Training is like life and business. There will be ups and down, peaks and troughs stay focus on the end goal.

 

3. Empathy

This might seem an odd one, but do bare with me.

It’s probably been a long time since you stepped into the gym for the very first time. I have no doubt that you have forgot what it feels like to really begin.

Now, you’ll remember.

This experience offers you an opportunity to re-ignite empathy towards your clients. Empathy is having the ability to step inside your client’s mind and their life and feel exactly what they are feeling. Literally.

When clients are expected to do everything alone, it’s usually an indication that the trainer’s coaching ability (and empathy) is hella poor. Intense, crazy competition like a marathon forces them to level up their game by forcing them to experience exactly what their neglected clients feel.

Remember how it felt the first time you set foot in a gym? That fear of judgment. Will I fit in.  Am I fit enough. Will I be the fattest one there (or skinniest and weakest). How many mirrors. Will I have to look into a mirror and face the truth. Will the exercise be too hard. Will anyone acknowledge me for who I am….

When you can truly appreciate your client’s feelings, understand them, you will not only help them lose unwanted weight, but you will leave a lasting impression which stays with them for life. Ever had a client not be able to describe in words what you did for them? This is that moment.

Lesson: When you help yourself, you gain perspective and wisdom beyond your years of any academic studying can do.

4. Execution

I got used to lifting PB’s in a gym, but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy every moment that I did. I just needed something different.

It started back when I played football: the feeling when I completed an assist, scored the winning goal, picked up awards or played in stadiums that most aspiring footballers only dream about.

Then I found something else. Weights!

Now, I need that same feeling, but bigger. There is alway higher and higher levels.

Finishing the marathon crossing line was an amazing feeling. The feelings are what I described earlier when we first hit the gym. 


It gave me new found confidence, courage and pride. More importantly, renewed TRUST in myself. I achieved what I said I would do! And I didn’t let that charity down. Spared myself the shame and guilt of not stepping up.

And everyone reaped the benefits, but none more so than me.

Lesson: You become what you think about and do most in life. What was once difficult will become easy. 

 

5. Focus

Focus to me really means to be present.

What do you want to achieve in life that you haven’t done already? Can you honestly say that you think about this one thing day and night, 24/7? Is every action that you decide to do taking you towards this goal or away from it?

Even if you answered that with an rousing “Yes, Joe!” I know it’s not true (and so do you, I bet).  

Your mind is thinking about something (and only you know what that is) but I can assure you it isn’t one thing you’d like.

You are unaware of this, of course. I was.

It’s a distraction.

It’s taking up whatever limited willpower, focus and energy you have.

It’s probably the main reason why you don’t have what you want.

Now here’s the kicker: before we attempt to go after the new level (which takes a new level of thinking and doing), we have to practice and exercise something simple and do so consistently, like — yep — training for a marathon.

When you run, you barely can think about anything else.

If you run 4-6 times a week, over time you’ll condition yourself to become more focused.

Block out distraction that might be necessarily in your way. Become mindful!

To summarise, we both know that physically this will test you so I don’t have to talk about that too much. In fact, I haven’t even mentioned it, but what you’ll find is new mindset. One which will help you and help your clients.

You owe this to yourself.

Running could very well be the newest, best metaphor for life!

Have you ran before? Completed a race like the London Marathon or even done a 10KM run like I’m doing this Sunday in the Bali Marathon?

Trainers or gym owners, do you have the courage to make a commitment today? What’s the race which you will compete in within the next year?

 

How To Quit Working For Your Boss at the Gym

At one time or another, we all had to get one. A J-O-B.

Before I landed a position as a fitness instructor, I sported three odd jobs. One was a labourer (lasted 1 week). The other was some random agency work. And for another, I got to actually play semi-professional football.

We all have to start somewhere.

Before our first jobs, we have no real experience. We take what they give us. We take it because we need to pay bills, make ends meet and survive.

A stubborn mindset is then created: a job is our safety net.

This mindset becomes downright gospel, whether it’s a job scrubbing toilets at McDonald’s or one in the fitness industry where you presumably belong.

Is this mindset a good or bad thing?

It depends on your situation.

Right now, I see widespread panic amongst personal trainers who work for large gym chains. They a freaking out because management decided to cut the amount of money trainers can earn from training “their” clients.

Want proof? Check out these statistics I found on a Chris Collora post over on the Exercise Science Guide website.

In short, commission ranges from 30% – 60%, depending upon your experience, education and credentials. If by the grace of God, you’re allowed to train clients who aren’t members of the fitness facility, the percentage may drop to as low as 15% – 20%.

I found this table over at the Exercise Science Guide website. The following table is a general guideline on how much personal trainers make at several popular gym and fitness chains. Full props and credit are given to Justin Pierce of the Bodybuilding.com forum for making this research available.

Pay Rates at 5 Popular Gym Chains

Please note rates may vary according to location and other circumstances. These figures are meant to give a general idea of what you can expect to earn at these places.

Gym Hourly Session Wage Hourly Floor Wage
Equinox $23.00 – $28.00 at Tier I
$31.50 – $36.50 at Tier II
$39.00 – $44.00 at Tier III
Around $60.00 at Tier IV
$8.00
Bally Total Fitness $12.94 – $17.00 at Level 1
$15.54 – $20.75 at Level 2
$24.94 – $29.10 at Level 3
$34.40 at Level 4
$39.10 at Level 5
Minimum wage
Gold’s Gym $22.75 – $35.00

(No official tier system)

$8.00 – $8.50
24 Hour Fitness $13.50 at CPT 1
$16.00 at CPT 2
$18.50 at CPT 3
$20.50 at EPT/Master
$7.25 – $9.50
LA Fitness $12.00 – $15.00

(No official tier system)

$0.00

If you find yourself in this position, I hope it’s not too late.

Let me be frank. This was inevitable. A job for life? That ship has sailed, my friend.

This is supposed to light a fire up your arse. Accepting those kinds of pay rates suggests that you weren’t thinking big enough or far enough into the future.

The future. Will your current income allow you to properly raise a family and treat your beautiful partner to all the best things in life?

More to the point, are you okay with not being able to wake up with your wife or tuck your kids into bed, on account of you enslaved to your clients at all times?

What would you like your life to be like when you reach your 30s? Or 40s? Or 50s?

In hindsight, I really wish I had someone challenge me this way in my 20’s. Now that I have the perspective and experience, I’d like to help you avoid these same mistakes:  

  • You are happy to accept building someone else’s dream.
  • You are comfortable being owned. Your boss makes thousands of pounds a month and you get a salary that barely enables you to survive. Actually, you get 22 days paid holiday (excluding bank holidays, as you have to work these whilst he sits at home).

If this is you, right now you are not serving the world.

Are you just biding your time working a job? Jerry Gillies says it best:

“You will recognize your own path when you come upon it, because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination you will ever need.”

In all honestly, who actually enjoys an early start after finishing a graveyard shift the night before? Plus weekends?

Some gyms reward such sacrifice and great talent. Most do not.

This might sound harsh, but it shouldn’t be anything new.

Yet you are easily attracted by something that offers you safety, gratification, security and comfort, even if that means settling for less than you want or deserve.  

It comes down to what type of person you are and what is most important to you.

Will you continue to stay a solo personal trainer (working for someone else or on your own somehow) or will you own a personal training studio with a team?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you work yourself up against the current career ladder or do you own your own gym, set your own rules, look after clients the way you want to, and – most importantly – pay yourself what you are worth?

TBH, you’re never in control of your own destiny when you work for someone else. It’s a delusion to think otherwise.

I created my own career and destiny. I want you to as well.

It will take boldness, bravery, confidence, risk and quite possibly embarrassment when you fall on your face in failure a few times.

Still interested?

Try these three steps to set yourself up for success:

1. Design your own future. Take control of your own fate

It’s not about changing from a J-O-B to a snappy business owner; rather, it’s the bigger picture: how much change will you make in the world.

In a nutshell, be prepared. Do your homework. I wrote about opening your own gym here.

What kind of company are you looking to create? Continue down the route as a sole personal trainer, free from the chokehold commercial gyms have on you? Or own your own studio?

Whatever you choose, build a business based upon your values, and link it to your strengths and personal story. The key to getting ahead is knowing what will make you different from the millions of other personal trainers out there?  

Here’s how to hack your value quickly. Answer these questions. Who gets the best results or positive change when you help them? Why would they choose you over someone else, what differentiates you?  Then check out the fine print in this podcast episode.

2. Do not ditch your job at the gym too early.

When finding out the shitty news that your gym is cutting your commission, the worst possible thing to do is to react stupidly and hand your notice in. Do not quit your day job too quickly.

When I decided to open my own gym, first, I worked every goddamn hour possible to gain new clients, so that I could then cut my hours employed by the gym by half. I could do this because the extra clients covered the secure income I was going to lose. I continued working 50/50 until I had enough clients to go completely freelance.

After several months, and the rent adding up, it made total sense to find a proper location and move into my own studio.

I despised working for the gym. I knew it had to be done.

Here are a few more tips if you are thinking about making this kind of jump:

  • Pay all of your personal debt off or don’t get into debt. That might require stopping the car lease, the mobile phone contract, having no overdrafts, cutting up your credit cards, and so forth. Trust me on this one. I’m not trying to turn you into a bore. Don’t worry. There is a strategy to still have fun…but first we have to get our principles straight. And remember we’re planning for the future, perhaps 10 years from now. These things can come later if you actually ever need credit again!
  • 6-12 months personal expenses in your savings
  • Have a plan in place to have 100% of business start-up costs in savings

“If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” Dave Ramsey

3. Seek out a Consultant

You will need three elements: market need, competency and passion to ensure success upon leaving your job.

Most of all, you will need clarity, perspective and objectivity.

This is best when it comes from conversations with someone who isn’t invested in you emotionally, who can provide you with perspective well beyond your years, and do so with total objectivity. And let’s be real for a minute here: you ain’t getting any younger. If you would like clarity and reassurance that what you are about to (creating your own gym) is the right thing, then jump on a call with me by booking here.

Conclusion

The question that’s usually the most difficult to answer tends to pop up here. It comes from the uncertainty that one might have, both in themselves or the fitness industry that they’re about to pour their blood, sweat and tears into. Am I good enough?

This is why The Fit Man Collective was born. We’re a very different kind of personal trainer and entrepreneur. Whether your goal is to continue as a personal trainer in order to extract all the money possible from your business, to maximise personal income, freedom, and well being, or it’s your ambition to become a studio owner with other coaches to someday sell the business, the collective is here for you. If you are good enough, you’ll discover solidarity. If you could be good enough, we’ll get you there.

The biggest mistake most personal trainers make is thinking that they need to immediately own their own place. This is not always the best option.

If you haven’t already, take this fitness business assessment where you’ll discover the 7 steps to a personal training business that works.

What does your gut say? Which one do you want to be? Type “Solo” or “Studio Owner” below in the comments to receive a special bonus gift.

 

 

 

 

*Image courtesy of http://thesweethome.com/reviews/best-gym-bag/

Why Charging By The Hour Punishes Personal Trainers For Being Good

Us personal trainers often really suck at making money. This is because we fail to charge what we’re worth.

Personal trainers who charge less, in fact, undercut you to win business.  

Both personal trainers and commercial gyms are guilty of this practice. It’s smarmy AF and erodes the integrity of what we do.

If you have a strong opinion about this, check out  UK PT’s Facebook Group put together by Josh Mullin (PT Tool Box). Go there and be in-the-know. There are some cracking discussions going on always.

Recently, a trainer asked a question. He wanted some moral support and affirmation regarding his desire to double his prices.

This perked my interest.

Yet it was the comments from about one hundred other PT’s chipping in that left a sour taste in my mouth. Trolls.

The comments were packed with negativity, suggesting that “selling” is a bad thing in our industry. Seriously? Making money is absolutely critical to what we do. There was, I knew, something more to the story.

But first, here’s my 8 reasons why personal trainers fear asking for real money:

1. You’d have to upskill yourself. Learn about business, selling, persuasion, influence, and leadership. This requires you to admit that you know less than you know, then commit to a greater vision of your life and business.

2. Clients will demand more of you. You’ll have to actually live by your values, not just provide lip service. For a premium price, your clients should expect nothing less than a premium person.

3. Overcome your fear around money and selling personal training. I’m not the first person to say this: money is not inherently good or bad. It’s an energy, and it’s up to you to decide what kind it is.

4. You’d have to challenge the status quo. You’ll be standing alone rather than fitting in. As seen in the UK PTs Facebook Group, there is massive resistance. There is a saying in China: the raised nail gets hammered down. If you want to fit in with a billion other people, don’t stand out. But real money requires rare courage.

5. Stop comparing yourself to other personal trainers and their fees. Do not worry about what others might think about you. All you have to do is to be you. Recognise your value and demand a proper exchange of value.

6. Losing Clients. You might think it is a bad move to increase your prices in fear of losing clients or feel, psychologically, that you are simply not worth it.

7. Living in old patterns and habits manifested outside of the gym as you were growing up. Have you read my how to become wealthy as a personal trainer blog? I go into what money meant to me growing up as well sharing my untold story here  

8. Working on someone else’s gym floor. They dictate the prices. They choose the commission. When you really do the math, it works out less than what you would be paid for working for McDonald’s. When you do eventually charge more (and you will!), remember this, and set up a system which rewards good talent in your business.

Alright. So how do you charge what you’re worth, profit handsomely and have clients happily agree to pay you?

Let’s jump in.

Chase The Money (client comes second)

I have always chased the money before the client.

What do I mean by this?

It starts with rewriting that story that the more clients we have, the more successful we’ll be. This is simply not true.

This destroys your free time and your personal life and relationships. Read more about that here.

Taking a helicopter view, this the very thing causing our industry to fail.

There’s been a lot of talk about low budget gyms. How, for example, Xercise4less Gyms are taking large chunks of a personal trainers income.

Who could blame them? It’s a business and must maximise its income potential. It’s the same logic that should apply to you charging more for what you do.  

However, charging less, whether it’s a gym membership or a personal training session, gives permission to everyone to have a lot less responsibility to the client.

The answer? Raise prices and raise standards. This automatically creates a greater sense of responsibility and, in turn, reduces procrastination, something overworked and underpaid personal trainers are so very very good at.

Despite us being in the “game” of fitness, personal trainers aren’t really willing to do the work required to level-up. We just get the job done.

The client turns up. We provide a so-called workout based on their wishes for the day and that’s it. Then clock out. Done.  

If this isn’t you and you’d like a proven approach that’ll help you charge more for your services (even if you have no clue what you are worth yet), then read on, my friend.

Coming up with your current pricing strategy probably didn’t take much effort. Most just engage in a few web clicks, sheepishly browsing prices and sorta guessing where you might place yourself. That best guess is usually based on age, experience, qualifications, and the psychological element I alluded to earlier.

Instead, just put yourself in your client’s shoes.

Start by asking these questions of yourself:

  • What are your clients’ 3 biggest problems?
  • What’s their biggest frustrations?
  • How long has this been going on for?  
  • What have they tried previously which didn’t work?
  • What moments can you create that would take your client’s breath away?
  • What are your client’s concerns when hiring a personal trainer?

Want to go deeper? Try these on:

  • What factors does the fitness industry take for granted and should be eliminated?
  • What factors should be raised well above industry standards?
  • What benefits should be created which the fitness industry never offered?

Already, just by reading these questions, you are constructing a more profitable mindset, one that puts the money first and comes from a place of empathy and understanding of what really matters to people.

Project Management

Your fee should be based on the client’s goal, the problems you have the solution for, and when you will achieve it. Do not charge on an hourly basis.

A lack of timing is a pet hate of mine. For example, you go to the physio because you are injured, but they rarely ever give you a date when you can expect to be fully recovered and fixed.

They’ve got you hooked. It could go on forever. For what reason?

For-profit, of course. Conveniently, they don’t know when you’ll be fixed, as they are not convinced they’ll have another client coming to pay their hourly fee. So who better to pay this than you?

The fitness industry falls into the same trap. Personal trainers get paid for their time, not their results.

This is backwards. Personal Trainers get punished for being good.  

Alwyn Cosgrove first brought this to my attention.

If it takes you 10 training sessions to get the same results as I do with a client, where it only took me 5 training sessions, on the current personal training payment model, you will get paid more.

So, surely if I achieved the results in less time than you (by half), I should be worth more (more valuable)?

My First £7,200 Client

Considering the amount this client invested in for my services, and the promise I made to them to deliver results in a specific time frame, a massive pressure was put into place.

Most personal trainers are afraid of this kind of pressure. They would prefer to undervalue themselves to avoid failure. I honestly wouldn’t want it any other way.

You’ve had your fair share of the following:

  • Clients cancelling 5 minutes before their session started or after
  • Clients not prioritising your services
  • Client no-shows
  • Cold emails from clients wanting to cancel and expecting a refund with no explanation
  • Clients just turning up and going through the motions
  • Client complains when she doesn’t hit her goals
  • Client goes to the trainer down the road who is undercutting you with their low ball prices

Have a client like this? Share your worst client story below in the comments.

Stop wasting your time with these types of clients.

Let’s role reverse this. What if you were responsible for your own situation?

You’ve been given a cheap £10 watch, with no brand. Nothing special about it. Just plain and simple.

How would you treat this watch?

On the flipside, you could be fortunate enough to purchase a Breitling Colt Automatic for £3000. You pay in full.

How would you treat this watch in comparison to the cheap, unbranded watch?

There’s a massive difference, right?

The same is true when you charge a premium for your services.

The key is to stop thinking of your services as a commodity. They are not just workouts.

How? Your services help others in more ways than you can imagine, including helping yourself. It’s you who becomes the leader, the role model. And you cannot offer life advice if you don’t have your shit together yourself.

When you have yourself together, you offer more than workouts. You offer clients more life.

Become More Than Just Muscles

I’ll hand this over to Skip La Cour.

How do I get someone to start using the "right" training or ea…

"How To Get Someone To Use The 'Right' Training Or Eating Strategy?"It's frustrating when people won't listen to logic, isn't it? Here are some things to think about when you want to help people with the "right" information.P.S. The 15 MANformation Steps will help you become a better communicator because you'll understand both sides better. Get inside with the current group of men while you can. Access is free and instant. www.15MANformationsteps.com

Posted by Skip La Cour on Saturday, 13 May 2017

In a nutshell, the majority of your clients’ goals that you face requires help with their nutrition and exercise strategies. But to get your clients to consistently follow through, there is something completely different that we weren’t taught in PT Certification.

Something you haven’t been able to figure out yourself either. Why were you able to stick to your exercise and eating plan so diligently, yet your clients somehow cannot?

Once you understand this, clients will pay whatever you want to help them solve this challenge.

You are selling more than a workout. You are selling the invisible.

Yes Is For Poor Personal Trainers. To Become Rich, Get Used To Hearing NO.

Previously, I shared a recording of a client consultation in which trainers felt the need to reply in a negative way.  They say signing one client out of every 3 prospects is nothing to shout about.

To which I replied…

For the two “NOs” I received (clients not willing to pay for my services), I received one “Yes”…

Here’s the math:

2 clients pay £300 each per month (total of £600)

or

1 client to pay £800 per month

Which is the better deal?

If you knew, in advance, that for every 3rd client you consulted with, you’d sign them up for the price of 2 low paying clients, plus £200 more, would you be happy?

Of course. You work less. Fewer clients to manage means better quality time with each high paying client. In turn, they become a more committed client, and you receive more money and profit.

Let “NO” serve as a motivator. If you get a no, get to work on becoming better at sales. Do whatever it takes.

“NO” keeps out the cheapskates. These are the worst clients to work with, don’t you agree? You want clients that respect and value you enough to work hard and achieve results. These will become your billboard clients! Which will then get you higher paying clients? It’s a vicious cycle of awesome.

Let “NO” be a reminder that you are different. That you will be successful. That you have no desire to fit in but to rise above and stand in the face of fitness.

Let “NO” mean you have to upskill yourself all the time. To this day, I still get a NO and it now and forever only means that I have to continue to learn and develop myself more.

It was Jeffrey Gitomer’s fantastic book The Sales Bible which turned on the lightbulb for me.

He said, “The sale starts when the customer says no.” Brilliant.

From now on, take that approach. It turns the formerly negative into a positive, raging fuel.

Then, when you get the “YES” from the client you want willing to pay the fee you deserve, it will feel 100 times better than you’ve ever experienced. After that, you’ll never settle for anything else.

“Missing out” on all those low-end sales doesn’t matter anymore.

What Amount of Money Do You Need To Earn To Feel Successful?

Better yet, what would it cost to live your dream life?

Back to my very first point: chase the money. This dictates a number of clients you need, not the other way round.

Have fun while you figure this out.

How much would you like to earn in the next year?

£50,000, £100,000… 1 million?

What is the amount per month?

Now, play around and divide the desired amount per month by the number of clients you’d like to have.

At first, the numbers may seem very unrealistic.

Find something you are comfortable with, but stretches you at the same time. Motivates you without breaking you. Like you were chasing a new PB in the gym.

For example, could you charge £500 per month per client?

If so, 16 clients would make you £8,000 per month, or £96,000 per year.

How do you convince a client to pay you £500 per month?

First, don’t focus on a number of workouts you will include (yet).

Simply nail the primary reasons the clients need you and what you can fix that they haven’t (or anyone else) hasn’t been able to for the past 10 or so years? Answer these questions and apply some basics and you’ll be on a six-figure income faster than ever.

Need extra help with this? Click here to watch my free PT Growth Lab module: “Formulate: Create Potent Result-Driven Training Packages.”

 

 

11 Signs Why As A Personal Trainer You Are In The Wrong Relationship

If you have followed me at all before, you more than likely know my shifty backstory.

What you may not know is that, despite my philandering, no-good cheating ways, I’ve always been entrenched in what most would call a serious relationship. When I think back on each of these botched attempts at union, I would have said, without a doubt, “ah, yes, mate, she’s the one!”

Think back yourself. Picture all their faces. How many times have you been in love? Or better yet, how many times have you thought you were in love?

On my end, these were long term relationships, like 2 or 3 years, and, in one instance, 5 years.

I’ll spare the granular details of all these past relationships, but what I think might be worth your time to is hear about that 5 year one. My close call.

I’m guessing you’ll learn a great deal from this, just as I did, as this happened to be the exact relationship where I made a decision to figure out what was really going on with me. In the head.

I asked this question:

Joe, are you truly happy in your relationship, or are you just putting up with it?

That question was aimed to help me see myself as I really was.

A man’s mind can play tricks on him. Convince him that where he’s at is where he wants to be, especially if it isn’t. You could be like, yup, I’m happy, but because you said this inside your head, and not out loud, it loses the power to make or break reality.

Because, well, we’re as manly as a viking warlord, and the captain of our own ship, we seldom question the first thing that comes to mind with any question, let alone relationship stuff.

When I answered this question out loud, hearing made it easier to hear the deception in my voice when I answered yes, and then, by comparison, hearing the truth reverberate when I said something different, louder.

Try it. Read the question again and say your answers out loud, so you can hear your own voice. It’ll seem dumb at first, like talking to yourself in the mirror. You’ll feel like a positive psychology nut job. Ignore that.

Not convinced? Then supersize the question. Add some torque to it so you can really feel the implications of where you’re at: Can you see yourself marrying your current partner and being with her for the long term, raising a family, and growing old together, knowing she’ll be the only woman you’ll have sex with the rest of your life?

I hesitated. And hesitated and mumbled something along the lines of, “I don’t see myself having children or even being tied down to anyone.”

To be honest, I still had my father’s beliefs and negative patterns running when it came to trusting and settling down with one women, but the “I don’t see myself having children” part I’m not sure.

Maybe it was a fear of how I didn’t know, from experience, how to be a good father (I didn’t necessarily have the best role model). Or it might have just been that I didn’t think the girl I was with at the time had the qualities, characteristics and ability to be the mother and wife I would want around if I did have children and a family.

I was asked those questions about 3 years into my 5 year relationship. The clues were always there, but, for whatever reason, I wasn’t aware of them. I had convinced myself everything was “normal” and as it should be.

I’ve come up with 11 Signs You Are Unhappy In Your Relationship. If these are to be helpful in any way, you must of course accept that you are the only person responsible for your relationship and, as such, you are the only person who can get you out.

Sure, blame it on the girlfriend. Or the moon. Or Trump.

Need more of a kick? If you are in an unhappy relationship, you are leaving money on the table in your Personal Training Business and, slowly but surely, wiping you clean of all the characteristics that would make you a proper Fit Man.

So when you read the 11 Signs, have the courage to see yourself as you really are, so that you can find out what is wrong and how you can correct it. And something must be at least a wee bit off with your current ways, or you wouldn’t still be reading this.

As you read the list, hold up a mirror carefully and really see how many of these you use.

1. You rarely initiate sex but easily fantasise about other women (past sexual encounters)

To anyone else, your partner would be seen as sexually attractive, but she is not getting your mojo working anymore. Often, you talk yourself out of this truth when other people pay her compliments. It’s a lame reason to stay with her, but at this point you’re hanging on to anything you can.

1.1 On occasions you are more than fantasizing about women

Hate the player and hate the game. You are out there, stringing other girls along, having one night stands, texting, sexting, meeting for coffee, anything. Your radar is always on, searching for something new or better.

2. A lads night out or a romantic night in with the misses?

A night out with the lads every time. The lads aren’t really that important to you. But you’ll do anything to avoid spending a night in with her.

3. You are quick to justify why you haven’t married or had children yet

You know the real reasons why you haven’t, but have somehow created convincing stories as to why you haven’t.

If I had the money I would…

We’re not yet ready…

My business is still growing…

We can’t afford our own house yet to bring up a family…

We will… one day …

Etc.

4. You check their phone

This shows how much distance actually exists in your relationship. And if I’m honest, I only ever felt the need to check my partners phone was when it was me who was up to something. Really, I was looking for “evidence” on her phone to justify leaving her. This is what cheats and cowards do.

5. I feel bad or sad for my partner

The hero. If I leave, who will take care of her?

When I said this to my coach, he shot me down straight away with this reply:

You didn’t feel bad when you were texting that other girl, and what about the other night when you got in a 6am after being with that girl from the strip club? Feel bad my ass.

It was guilt more than anything. Guilt of over promising, and under delivering.

6. I can’t imagine my partner with another trainer (man)

If you are still only in a relationship because you can’t bare the thought of her being with someone else, than you totally don’t have your shit together.

7. You threaten to leave a lot

Man, if someone kept doing this you’d think they leave you right? It doesn’t happen, do you know why? Because your partner is just as defective as you are. She must be if she chose you in this weakest ass version of you.

8. You have your own plans and dream which are separate from her

You have no desire to share your dreams and plans. If anything, she is seen as an extra burden.

9. You are emotionally and verbally abusive

You act out. You misbehave. You argue and argue, where before you wouldn’t have. This is a sign that you lack respect and love for your partner.

10. Financially dependant on her

She helps pay the bills each month. She helps you out in times of need, and you don’t know how you will survive without her. This is dumb. Man up. Make more money. Or spend less. Remove the excuse, and see the truth.

11. My relationship is OK in comparison to others… 

On occasion, you try your best to convince yourself that she is the right one. Because there are so many other relationships which are way worse than yours.

That’s just the thing. You might feel that you have it good but you are comparing yourself to the wrong relationship and men.

So, again, are you truly happy in your relationship?

Though this post may seem jaded, I am forever grateful to my ex’s because they taught me a lot about myself and, more importantly, what I was actually looking for in a partner and, ultimately, myself.

It was no easy ride. I had a lot of the baggage to deal with.

I’m glad it just stopped when it did. Any more years of carrying on like I was and I don’t know think there would have been a coming back. Just imagine if she would of had a child or we went through with marriage?

Are you stuck in a relationship? Or find that you go from one relationship straight into another without considering what you really want, or what type of girl you will marry?

Really give this some thought. It will save a lot of angst, frustration and you’ll be a lot more successful in business once you get this area of your life sorted, once and for all, rather than pissing about.

Respect yourself enough to demand more of yourself and your partner, and you’ll see the results in your PT business as well.  

Would you like some support with this? I know how difficult this is and I know exactly what you’re going through. Contact me directly. Send me a message below.

Part 3: 14 YEARS, 14 COSTLY MISTAKES: HOW TO PROFIT FROM THE 14 LESSONS I LEARNED AS A PERSONAL TRAINER TURNED GYM OWNER

Welcome back to Part 3 of my 3-part blog (If you didn’t catch Part 1, go here and read this first), written to help you avoid all the mistakes that I made, so that you can step-up in your business and life faster, stronger and better than the 200 personal trainers next to you. The market is fierce and certainly, won’t let you dominate your niche without a fight.

Prefer not to read the full blog and are an infographic kind of guy then download that here.

Mistake #10: A web designer is definitely not a marketing expert

This is like expecting your barber to clean your teeth like a dentist. Teeth and hair are in the same vicinity but require wildly different skill sets.

I’ve put my trust in web designers more than anyone I know, thinking that, by extension, they also know what they’re talking about when it comes to marketing.

Put it this way: if instead of having an opt-in above the fold (where a prospect can enter their details in exchange for something of value, you instead have a list of your qualifications, then that is a sure-as-shit clue to fire your web designer/marketing manager.

Something like this, which worked extremely well

 

Or this,

 

They say we treasure what we measure. With marketing, it is critically important to know where your money is going, because you can then suss out if the money is worth it based on the number of qualified leads you are attracting.

If you are just starting out or even a seasoned pro, I know one guy in particular who specialises in making them for personal trainers: Internet FitPro| The Fitness Website Experts. Money well spent with people who know what they are doing.

Mistake 11: What got you here, won’t get you over there

Another great book I read some time ago: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, by Marshall Goldsmith.

Once I left a commercial gym and transitioned into my own boutique PT Studio, the only thing I kept doing the same was training my clients semi-privately.

Everything else had to change and evolve.

In other words, you must adapt and create a multi-faceted approach. Here, I’m talking about a magical place that might consider body mapping, functional biomechanics, injury management by HPT5, then there’s physio, GP referral, hybrid training programs, nutrition, and life coaching as not separate from one another, but integrated together in such a way as to create a complete turn-key operating system.

Why? Because this is what the modern high paying client wants: everything under one roof, bespoke, the way they like it.

Mistake 12: Your competition is NOT another personal trainer or gym in your town

If you are only heading in one direction and that is merely competing on price, the lowest price, then you’ll always be sharing those clients amongst all of your competitors. It doesn’t matter how good you are. Lowballing your price is a race to the bottom.

I want to share a simple framework for pricing your services. But first, let me paint a picture for you.

Your client is a middle aged woman who likes the finest things in life, has a husband who can afford to pay these finer luxuries for his wife, and travels first class to holidays, such as the Maldives, a visit to the French ski resort Val d’Isère, a 5-star hotel, weekend long breaks, and Michelin star restaurants. She drives a 4×4 Vogue, whom after dropping the kids off at private school hops into Starbucks for a caramel latte, then walks into the doors of … your warehouse gym.

If this upper crust client isn’t immediately greeted, by her name, within 3 seconds, shown a huge smile of appreciation, and escorted to the relaxation area or even changing room while also being informed of which coach will be helping her today and what to expect, etc.,

Then she will be comparing you to the barista at Starbucks who always remembers her name, and order, and so forth. Just for good measure, she’ll mention the butler who made her life hassle free so she could more fully enjoy her stay.

You get the picture now?

As humans, once we have experienced a standard that we fully appreciate, we simply compare that with everything else.

Raise your standards to that of the best hotel, restaurant, car manufacturer, private school, and Starbucks and your mindset will start to change. You will want to market to the affluent.

This book by Michael Heppell will show you how to ensure customers are raving about your products and services and come back for more.

I know what you are thinking. But “Joe, you had a warehouse of a gym!” –  In fact, it was an old hosiery factory, but what I set out to do was create an experience that once you enter through the doors, you’ll actually forget that you are in Leicester. A bit like The Chronicles of Narnia… 🙂 

A simple framework for pricing your services

Still with me? Good. I know this is a slightly longer point that I’m making, but it’ll be well worth it.

Pricing is usually set on seeing what your competitors are charging and, once you have that information, you either charge slightly less or slightly higher (in order to be seen as the expert, as many marketers advise us to do).

So what should you do instead?

It’s very simple. It starts with what you want your clients to get out of working with you, rather than trying to figure it out based on what everyone else is doing. If you do what they do, you’ll obviously only be setting your prices based on sessions (1 or 2 or 10 per month), because that’s what every other personal trainer does. You may make a few dollars, but you’ll never make bank.

Instead, build a service to fit the price.

If your client needs life coaching, program design, nutritional guidance, mobility and flexibility work, stress reduction, recovery sessions, HR rate monitored classes, supplements, rehab, etc., then piece this all together and set the price.

This boils down to three questions:

  1. Who gets the best results or positive change when you help them?
  2. Who gives you the most personal satisfaction to help?
  3. Who is your best (highest profit, repeat, happy) client in 12 months?

This will begin to give you an idea of the people you will serve.

Mistake #13: Ego

I’m yet to read Ryan Holiday’s book Ego is the Enemy, and I’m no gambling man (I’ve been Vegas 3 times and didn’t gamble once, can you believe that?), but I’m willing to bet that the book is more or less written about me and you.

Whenever I tasted success, and this could be anything from signing a new client, getting clients results, pulling off an event idea that I had, or basically anything that increased my bank balance, confidence and made me feel successful, it was inevitable that my ego would get the better of me.

I didn’t know when to stop. In one example, I invested  8K for something called “brand awareness.” Thinking back, I did this more for popularity (for me) than I did for the actual business.

I couldn’t control urges like this. When I wanted something, I wanted it now, like a 5-year old. Even though ‘I knew’ (probably two of the most dangerous words in the English vocabulary) what the possible drawbacks could be, I still went through with it. Ego can be that strong.

This alone puts a strain on my cash flow, and as a personal trainer, whether you are just starting out or a 10-year veteran, cash flow is vital for a PT business. Without it, you are sunk.

I don’t know if I have a lesson for you here, though Fitness Business Mentor Thomas Plummer, in a recent post, said:

Cash flow can be a problem for even a healthy business

         Even the healthiest of businesses can have cash flow problems. Shortage of present cash is usually not always an indication that the business is not healthy. You can run a great business for years, but all of a sudden find yourself grasping for money to cover the payroll. In other words, cash flow problems happen to good people who run good businesses.

To me, this says: cash flow problems lies with the owner of the business and is not necessarily a business problem.

The fight is to, therefore, master ourselves. Why did I need to gain popularity? Why did I need to prove to people that I was actually good enough? What personal void or need was I trying to fill?

Mistake #14: Moving too quick up the ladder without systems in place

Just for the record, I don’t like companies that create a hierarchy and then use that to their advantage to make key decisions to, let’s just say, make others in the company feel less valued and powerless.

I’m not talking about hierarchy as you may know it.

I’m talking more about when you, as the trainer, decide to leave the technical side of training (hands-on with clients) and moving to, say, Program Director and then perhaps manager.

I spoke more about this on a recent podcast episode with Steve of My Gym Hub and even recommended the book E-myth in. Apologies. I have a tendency to recommend books to you as you have probably guessed, but books have helped me gain more perspective than I could get anywhere else.

These two books… really inspired me to think differently about setting up processes and systems.

Referring to mistake #13 (“My Ego”), once the opportunity came about where I could move up the ladder, so to speak, I did so without thinking too much about it.

Why? Because the system was in my head.

I put too much onus on the guys I hired (who luckily were very smart people) to automatically duplicate what was already successful, though without knowing too much about it. Because it was obvious in my head, it should have also been obvious in theirs.

As you can imagine, this caused a lot of frustration, a drop in performance, and — more importantly — a reduction in client results and quality of services.

To avoid this happening, first, listen to this, read the books above, and begin creating your checklist which will then turn into a system, which will then form your operational manual.

The key is to act as if you were going to franchise your business model even if you plan on never franchising it.  

Take a look at Ritual Business Model 

It will make your life so much easier and, I promise, you’ll then start to adventure more around the world whilst your business runs without you.

Conclusion

My mistakes may not seem like a big deal to you, but they were monumental for me. They not only cost me money, and my dignity, but more importantly added years of grinding it out unnecessarily.

Knowing these mistakes in advance would have halved the amount of time it took to get where I am today, and that’s living in Bali, with an entrepreneur lifestyle, with my dream girlfriend around, kitesurfing most afternoons, and doing what I love to do, which is serving trainers like you.  

I hope you can learn from me and avoid some of my simple mistakes.

What mistakes have you made? Or currently making?

Cut your personal and business growth time by months or years. Get on a Discovery Call with me and get “over there” in record time.

Part 2: 14 Years, 14 Costly Mistakes: How to Profit from the 14 Lessons I Learned As A Personal Trainer turned Gym Owner

Welcome back to Part 2 of my 3-part blog (If you didn’t catch Part 1, then go here and read this first), written to help you avoid all the mistakes that I made, so that you can step-up in your business and life faster, stronger and better than the 200 guys next to you. The market is fierce and certainly won’t let you dominate your niche without a fight.

Mistake #5: Choose carefully who you date

In a gym environment, it’s only natural to garner attention from the ladies (and sure, in some cases, men). As a human being, this is supposed to make you feel good. And no matter body type or gender the attention comes from,  flattery tends to give you a mini dopamine rush, no different than, say, checking your Facebook or Instagram and seeing how many people liked your latest swole pic.

Harmless enough, though Gary Vaynerchuck’s trainer, Jordan Syatt, has some very strong opinions about this how Personal Trainer’s abuse social media, recorded in a recent Fit Man Collective podcast.  

Just because there are cookies in the jar doesn’t mean you should eat them. Even if they are your favourite flavour. Especially if they are your favourite. I’m not talking about dating a client. This shouldn’t even cross your mind. That’d be like a teacher dating their student. Creepy. I’m referring more to dating an employee or a member of the gym who isn’t and will never be a client.

Dopamine is nice. Cookies are nicer. You may be the big swinging mac on the block, and can rub them all the right way. But. But. But. It can take years to build a dominating personal brand and it can be destroyed in an instant. Piss off the wrong person, rub them the wrong way, and snap, it’s all gone.

So, if you plan on dating another employee or another member of the gym, than do so only if you have the sincere intention of making things serious between you both.

I’ve done both.

I’m not with them now. I got lucky. I was a jerk. When things didn’t workout with these escapades, things remained more or less amicable. They could have chosen the nuclear option. You may get lucky too, but it’s not worth the risk.

However, I have witnessed some serious shit going down when that special someone pressed the red button. Clients got an ear of their alleged negative stuff towards women, and that was the end of many profitable client relationships. It doesn’t even matter if the stories were true or not.

On a more practical level, you certainly don’t want to make a name for yourself as the trainer “who sleeps around.” When people think of you, you want them to think of your skills as a trainer and not as some sweaty gym casanova. It doesn’t matter how good you are as a Personal Trainer; too many extra-curriculars on the side can overshadow your real legacy.

If you’re out on Saturday night, it’s all good, but make sure you go to another city where you can play more anonymously. That way, your decisions have less of a chance of harming your business and personal reputation.

Plus, giving out free sessions is a critical component to your sales funnel. Hard to do that well when you’re boozing it up.

Mistake #5.5: Don’t get into a relationship when you know she isn’t the one.

How do you know she isn’t the one? I answered that one in this blog post.

The “wrong one” will:

  • Cause you too much distraction
  • Cause too much stress
  • Limit you
  • Slow you down
  • Mentally fatigue you
  • Create an unnecessary annoyance
  • Add an extra burden

Subconsciously, you become trapped. If two or more of the above bullet points describes your current relationship, it’s time to have a serious conversation with yourself. Then her.

Mistake #6: Not saving any money and having to work until you die

I briefly touched on this in another blog post.

I made the mistake of spending whatever I made as soon as I made it. Put a dollar in my pocket, and it was already burning a hole. In some cases, it was burning a hole before I even had it.

I had this carefree, delusional attitude: it doesn’t matter now because later I will be rich anyway.

How wrong was I?

Seriously, if you take just one thing from these 14 mistakes, make sure it is this one.

Save 10% of all your income.

And it doesn’t matter how small of an income it is.

You earn £1, save 10 pence.

Over time, this will compound to something quite significant.

For example, how long have you been in the fitness industry?

Let’s say you saved £100 per month.

And you’ve been in the fitness industry for 12 months. That’s £1200.  

5 years in the fitness industry makes it £6000. 10 years makes it £12,000.

How much easier would life be if you knew you had £12,000 in the bank?

Put that into a saving account at 5%. That’s £600 free cash. Depending how you compounded this.

But there is something else more important here, and that is forming a great habit, so that over time, it becomes easier. It becomes your new norm.  

I regret not doing this when I got my very first job as a fitness instructor 14 years ago.

It would have looked something like this…

Gym Instructor at North Warwickshire and Hinckley College Gym

£80 per month for the first 2 years = £1920 banked

Gym Instructor/PT at Balance Health Club

£195 per month for the next 2 years = £4680 banked

(Note: for every pay increase, increase percentage of saving by 3%)

Gym Instructor / Personal Trainer at Greens Health and Fitness and Women’s Fit Camps

(Cringe, how young was I?)

Man, I was going this 10 years ago…

Anyway, this made £320 per month for the next 4 years = £15,360 banked

PT Studio

£760 per month for 6 years = £54,720 banked

Added all together over 14 years, and that totals £76,680 in savings.

This post isn’t about investing, interest rates, or assets, but just think what you could do with that amount of money. There is freedom and power in making the money work for you rather than you working for the money.  

Knowing what I know now, I’d have compounded that cash over the years into triple or quadruple the above amount. In hindsight, I really wish I discovered these two books sooner, from Dave Ramsey and Tony Robbins, which taught money and numbers to a guy who absolutely hates long division.

So, newsflash: start saving, regardless of how small or insignificant you feel it is, because over time it will all account for something. Nobody wants to reach 50 and have no savings, no pension plan, and no retirement money.

Plus, in the meantime, it helps to have a stash of money in the bank for when you have those inevitable downtime moments in your business. It would be delusional to think otherwise.

Mistake #7: Neglecting myself

I was an idiot more times than I’d like to admit. Back in the day, you could definitely find me passed out on the lay down sunbeds, catching up on much needed sleep after a rough night out.  

That would be after my ten minute blast of course. Don’t worry it never ended up like Ross from friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s not forget the late night junk food snacks after returning home at 10pm from a

16 hour work day. And that was relying on food from the gym canteen all day.

I found myself too tired to workout, and all the other things they don’t tell you when you become a trainer, as myself and Celebrity Personal Trainer Scott spoke about on this recent episode of the Fit Man Collective Podcast.

I would GLADLY sacrifice taking on another client if that meant getting home earlier. And I suggest that you do the same. At the end of the day, if you are not healthy and well, how do you intend to help your clients?

Mistake #8: Looking too desperate

How many times has your client said, “What times do you have available next week?

And you go, “…anytime, what’s good for you?”

With me, I thought I was doing the client a disservice if I didn’t have availability just for them. And what a lovely added benefit for the clients. They never had a challenge booking in.

Forget that. Never again.

I learned my lesson when I took on a cheap-ass client, who wanted a 6am time on a Monday morning and, get this, an 8pm on a Friday night. Wow.  

He never showed, or if he did, he showed up late. More often than not, I’d receive a text message 5-10 minutes after the session was scheduled to start.

So, the easiest way to combat this insanity:

  • Never show your client your full schedule
  • Only give her two options to pick from
  • When she books, make it clear that these will be the times and dates going forward because consistency and structure is what is going to make her successful.
  • Remind her of her personal fitness and life goals, and remind her that you won’t let her cancel these.

Your clients never get the luxury of selecting when they want to book an appointment at the doctor, dentist, or even hair dresser. You are no different. You’re a business, so start acting like one.

Mistake #9: Taking unnecessary courses just because everyone else was

Man, I did “boxercise” when it first came out. A word of caution: don’t ever pair up with a semi-pro boxer; they don’t know how to not to take things seriously. And serious hurts.

Kettlebells. I never had blisters like that in my whole life.

RPM. I actually hate this song by Coldplay because of that weekend long course. I must have heard this terrible earworm a thousand times.   

Guess what? I never use these in my programming, with the exception of the odd kettlebell for metabolic finishers or because they offer a different option when it comes to handling the weight.

A side note: As a trainer please don’t add boxing into your workout … just because. If anything pisses me off it’s seeing this. That and fidget spinners.

Seriously, there are only a few people I would study from when it comes to programming and nutrition.

Alwyn and Rachel Cosgrove, Gray Cook, Eric Cressey,  John Berardi, Ben Coomber, Charles Poliquin, Paul Chek, Mike Boyle, Mark Verstegen, Lyle McDonald, Leigh Peele, Personal Training Development Centre, Dax Moy and Ian King

And this, of course.

Now, that would be a wise investment.

 

 

 

 

 

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Next up, in Part 3: Why your ego is the enemy, how the best thinking 5 years ago is your baggage today, why you’re replaceable, why you have more to worry about than a personal trainer being your competition and much more.  Go here to read Part 3 (Mistakes 10-14)