I started my career as a private independent trainer. I had a training toolkit and focused on a demographic not really touched in my area. After a few months of hustling, I decided that I would rather work out of a local fitness club. I let them handle all the book work and thinking, while I was left to plan workouts and train clients.
This worked well for me for several years. Over the years, I have helped several people become certified and start their own businesses. Eventually, I went my own way and began my career again as an independent trainer. While I encourage those who have the acumen for business to be their own boss, This article covers what it takes to become an independent trainer.
So, first I’m gonna try and talk you out of this….
Going independent means not having a stable job. You are solely dependent on your ability to generate your own leads and sales, while managing clients, your business, and your personal life on top of that. As a club trainer you can work a steady 9-to-5, while as an independent trainer, you will be working around the clock.
Still with me? Good. So let’s see the pros and cons of going independent.
You get to be your own boss… you get to wake up each day knowing that you are in control of your own destiny.
Paid to Play
As a trainer, you get to do what others dream of doing. You get to make money doing what you love doing. Whether you are driven by exercise or helping others develop themselves, being a trainer is a dream job.
Time and Money
Your schedule is yours. If you want to book a 5am client, you can… if you want to work only 9 to 5, you can… it’s all up to you and how well you do your marketing. You also do not have to give up a huge cut to the club you work out of. If planned correctly, you can have a small studio for minimal expense or make a good deal with a smaller local gym.
While being able to make your own paycheck seems awesome, not having clients fed to you like in the megaclubs can lead to major slowdowns. If you don’t know how to manage your own money, you can come into hard times quickly.
Part of being a personal trainer involves sometimes getting “personal”. Some people you will help along the way may not understand the professional boundaries and try to take it a step beyond that. Heck, along the way you may get a stalker or two...
While working at a club, you may have been friends with the trainers there… but now they will be your competition. If you set yourself apart from the competition then you have nothing to worry about; however, if you are a run-of-the-mill trainer you will lose a lot of potential business… and friends.
As a club trainer, a lot is taken care of for you. Rent, insurance, wages, taxes, equipment, liability, and many other amenities are covered for the percentage you give up. As an independent unless you stumble on a legendary deal, you will be responsible for all of that.
What you need to go independent
Knowledge and reputation
If you don’t have the experience and reputation to back yourself up, nobody will follow you. It will be difficult to get and keep clients.
Know that things will go wrong. Licensing, permits, rental agreements, equipment malfunctions and many other things are in your future. Be prepared to roll with the punches.
Accountant and Lawyer
Get them as-soon-as-possible. You may think you don’t need them, but forming an LLC can be a nightmare, and taxes can destroy a business in its infancy.
Certification & Insurance
If you don’t have a certification, you shouldn’t be training to start with… you may be surprised how many out there are not certified. While certification doesn’t necessarily mean a trainer knows what they are doing, it does mean they can buy insurance to cover them. Without insurance, if a trainer gets sued, they can lose everything.
How are you going to make money, pay your bills, and grow your business? Will your business survive beyond you? Will training make all the money or will you have separate streams of revenue? These are all very important to know and plan out before you jump in headlong.
Before you go independent, get all your ducks in a row.
If you want more info on how to become a personal trainer or are looking to work with other trainers at a successful training facility PM me.