Trainers preach to clients that a fitness coach helps people reach their goals faster. Yet most trainers have never hired a coach for themselves, so they are basically hypocritical: do what I say, don’t do as I do.
Opening a gym is something that experienced trainers will fantasise about when they have built up a loyal client base. Yet to take the leap requires more than a great body and raving fans. It takes business acumen. It requires a strong mindset, full of integrity.
Take Joe’s story. He ran a personal training studio for five years, managing three personal trainers, as well as the front of house staff. U Fit Studio consistently had around 100 members paying high-end fees in a not-so-affluent area of Leicester. Proof that exceptional coaching creates its own market.
He won IFS Personal Trainer of the Year in 2008, plus IFS Health and Fitness Manager of the year in 2012. In 2015, U Fit Studio won the Best Health and Wellness Award In Leicester by Niche. The studio generated around ¼ million in revenue from just training clients. Joe also branched out to create the Dine on a Diet concept, which took over almost every restaurant menu in Leicester.
After making U Fit St successful, Joe sold it to turn his attention towards helping personal trainers. He also relocated to Bali to live with his girlfriend Lili. You can read more of his story, especially the untold version by clicking here…
Back to you.
Why did you really turn to the fitness industry in the first place?
Most personal trainers answer this question with “people admired my body, so I decided to become a personal trainer” or “I hated my job and I needed to change.” But why did you really become a personal trainer?
Were you ever afraid? Afraid of being called out that you did not hold any real qualifications. Afraid of your competition. Afraid that you wouldn’t get any clients. Afraid that you weren’t good enough.
These beliefs and patterns may not have only been running when you were starting out as a personal trainer. They’ve been running your entire life, and they could be bleeding into everything you do, whether you’re aware of it or not.
Trainers turn to fitness for security, safety, control, significance, certainty, and connection. It offers them a way to feel good about themselves. People will do anything to feel good. Nothing wrong with that.
Yet there’s no sense of encouraging people to open their own gym if their values and reasoning aren’t aligned. People might think they should open their own gym because it will give them more freedom, because it’s the only path to becoming their own boss, to becoming their own free man.
It’s harder than it sounds. Before you follow Joe’s path:
Have you accumulated enough clients before making the jump?
How many clients do you need to cover the overhead of your own gym?
How much money do you need to make?
Will you need staff?
What is your entire operating budget?
What about the start-up costs, hiring trainers and paying everyone?
Will your current clients migrate to the new facility regardless of the cost? What if their clients are locked into a contract at the gym?
What factors will decide where the new location will be?
What type of customer experience do you want to develop?
And, in terms of marketing:
Are you already known as a credible expert in your town?
Do you write for their local newspapers and magazines?
Do you network?
Is your only source of clients from the commercial gym?
Do you track their enquiries and leads?
Trainers that open up their own personal training studio are no longer just personal trainers, but business owners. As such, they need to really ponder the above questions. Really need a marketing plan. Need to learn the art of sales and persuasion, customer service, and financial planning.
All of which can be crafted by putting together your business plan, one of the most meaningful learning experiences an entrepreneur can go through.
Contrary to popular belief, a business plan is not for investors, or partners, or banks. It’s for the owner: a special time to intimately understand who they are, the viability of their idea, and the strategies they’ll use to turn their dream into a profitable reality.
In this industry, part of that business plan is to create a successful gym business model. One that creates a special place in the market and attracts more dedicated clients, as of all the brands I’ve worked with.