Personal training

Is Personal Training a Good Career Choice Financially?

By Joe Talarico on Oct 7, 2020 9:38:35 AM
5 Minutes Reading Time

 

There is no doubt you’ve probably heard many different answers from all sorts of trainers. Some are absolutely thriving, while others can’t last more than a year. A lot of this has to do with people thinking that just because it’s easy to BECOME a trainer, that it should be easy to succeed as a trainer. The reality is, these are very different beasts.

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

To cut to the chase here, ultimately it’s your own private business right? You have to offer something people want (training), be able to market that service (selling training), and be able to eventually scale your business. All of these are elements that any small business has to do.

If we can agree on that, then why do we think it’s easy for just anyone to do? Don’t get me wrong, we all have the POTENTIAL to do well, but it all comes down to you. To be financially sound as a trainer is not an easy venture. A lot of success comes from being able to market yourself, being personable enough for people to want to work with you, and being smart enough to make sure you are on all forms of social media, in person training, bootcamps, etc. 

You need to ask yourself if you have that entrepreneur's mindset of setting all that stuff up. If you don’t know how that is ok. You’ve probably heard the Mind Pump guys mention that anyone who's truly interested in learning how to build a successful clientele, should first start at a chain gym, yet others hate it because of the low pay. The first hurdle you need to embrace is that you aren’t doing it for the pay. Your number one reason for wanting to become a trainer should be to help others, and to create enough of a presence to expand that reach doing whatever it takes. If you know nothing about starting a business, then starting at a chain gym will help school you on that. 

Think about that. These gym’s have already spent a tremendous amount of marketing dollars, and effort, on getting people TO the gym in the first place. Their being in business for decades, has allowed them to fine tune every single process from selling memberships, to onboarding trainers, and how to bring on new clients every single step of the way. This information is priceless and you now have FULL access to as much of it as you want. The beauty of this is, you have your entire time there to ask all the managers and staff every single aspect of how the business runs. This is priceless. What you lose in income in the short term, you gain in business acumen. It allows you to learn at an accelerated pace, and fail safely.

It gives you training wheels to take advantage of all their tactics that you will no doubt need in order to be financially stable on your own. Trust me. I’ve seen a lot of trainers think they can do better on their own only to come back with their tail between their legs.

I can’t stress this enough. You have to be willing to learn ALL facets of being a trainer in order to make it a good career choice 

Have a Presence EVERYWHERE

The other thing you need in order to make these a good choice financially, is being everywhere. This is a tech world. We have Instagram, YouTube, in-person training, online training, you name it. It’s made the training field more competitive but also, easier (if you know what to do), to get your name out there. 

So make sure you are on all forms of social media. If the idea of creating a trainer profile irks you, then you need to shift your mindset. Don’t think of it as being shirtless, showing off your ass, and flexing your biceps to get attention. Think of it as your portfolio. Your personal training Instagram is your potential client's way to see what kind of work you do. You can offer free blogs, tutorials, and expertise so people can see how knowledgeable you are. It’s their way of seeing you are someone they want to work with, and your way of showing how you do business.

Having said all that, we are now entering a time due to covid, of a different style of training. If you have been keeping up with your in person clients, that opportunity is not gone. Finding out ways to provide them value virtually, and being assertive about it, is what’s going to separate the strong trainers from the weak. There’s no doubt a lot of them are stressed, wishing they were working out, but unsure of how to make an efficient workout at home. Others may never want to go to a gym again. Don’t see that as a lost client, see it as an opportunity for a lifetime client! Figure out ways to drive to them and still provide value. If you have to lose some clients, but increase your cost due to traveling, go for it! Most clients will be willing to pay the extra cost for the value they are getting.

At the end of the day, there are many ways to succeed as a trainer. No matter which one you choose, what makes training a good career choice financially comes down to YOUR work ethic, and willingness to learn. If you are in it to better your clients, and willing to do whatever it takes to expand your reach, then you will be just fine. If you are just in it for the “easy money”, then you will find yourself struggling paycheck to paycheck.

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Joe Talarico

Joe is a certified Precision Nutrition and strength & conditioning coach. He assisted the UCLA Women’s Tennis team in winning their 2014 NCAA Championship Title, as well as study under the great strength coaches at Pepperdine University. He was a collegiate rower at the University of Rhode Island (where he got his Kinesiology degree) as well as an amateur physique competitor. He is currently the master trainer at Upgrade Labs in Santa Monica where he is combining his years of training clients in the gym with newer technology to optimize their performance and recovery. He also cohosts The RelationSH*T Show Podcast with his fiancée where they discuss all relationship topics unfiltered from who pays on dates, to open relationships.

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