Return On Investment (ROI) is a measurement of the profitability of something. We try to predict it before making an investment and then we measure afterward to see if it was profitable.
In the fitness realm, businesses invest in equipment, programs, people, etc. in the hopes that the investment more than pays for itself in the end. Members and clients invest in their health and wellness by joining clubs, programs, and hiring personal trainers with the intent that it will pay off with added health and a better quality of life.
Pretty much everything we do has an ROI. Even donating or volunteering for a charity has the ROI of making us feel better about ourselves for having done so. Our ROI decisions aren’t always a conscious thing, but maybe we should start to make these decisions more consciously.
For fitness professionals, I’ve seen too many underinvest in themselves and their careers because “they can’t afford it”. “I can’t afford to go to that conference, take the course, hire that coach, or pay for that system.” But what if you actually looked at the return on those investments?
I had a personal trainer that used to work for me who would complain about doing paperwork(reporting client sessions and payroll) when she could be training and making more money. My suggestion was to hire someone to do it for her. If she paid the individual $15 an hour and the trainer could fill that hour with a client then if the trainer makes $45/hour (just picking a number) she still comes out $30 ahead and saves herself from a task she didn’t like doing. She never did hire the help.
What about conferences, certifications, a programs? What’s the total cost? Would what you learn help you get more clients? How many client sessions would it take to make it profitable? Let’s just say that the personal trainer makes $45/client session and the event or program could yield 2 additional client sessions/week. What kind of income are we talking?
1 wk = $90
2 wks = $180
3 wks = $270
4 wks = $360
8 wks = $720
52 wks = $4,680
How much was that conference, certification, or program again? What’s the ROI on it? Was the return higher than the investment? Rather than just looking at the investment number and letting your gut reaction stop you from making the investment, figure out the potential ROI and let that guide your decision.
Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself and your career if it’s going to give you the return you want.
I was recreating a presentation that I did last year, for the Fitness Business Specialist website, and decide to make it available to anyone that wanted to check it out. It offers 10 simple, low-cost marketing tips for your business. It’s just 37 minutes long. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section.
It’s not uncommon for struggling fitness professionals to believe that acquiring more fitness information is somehow going to help them build their business. If they don’t have a degree in exercise science or a major certification, maybe it will, but… once you have the basics, building your business isn’t going to come from another training certification. I know. I’ve held 20+ certifications over the years and while they added tools to my tool belt, they didn’t teach me anything about building my business. That, I had to learn on my own.
Now, if you wanted to build your business, where would you go to learn about business? Take a look at what is offered for certifications and certificate programs by a few of the major organizations and see if there’s anything missing.
NSCA: Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) Certified Special Population Specialist (CSPS) Certified Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator (TSAC-F) Certified Performance and Sports Scientist (CPSS)
ACSM: ACSM Certified Personal Trainer ACSM Certified Group Exercise Instructor ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist Specialty Credentials: Exercise is Medicine ACSM/NCHPAD Certified Inclusive Fitness Trainer (CIFT) ACSM/ACS Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer (CET) ACSM/NPAS Physical Activity in Public Health Specialist (PAPHS)
NASM: Certified Personal Training (CPT) Certified Group Fitness Instructor (CGFI) Performance Enhancement Specialization (PES) Corrective Exercise Specialization (CES) Nutrition Certification (CNC) Behavior Change Specialization (BCS) Virtual Coaching Specialist (VCS) Weight Loss Specialist (WLS)
ACE: Certified Personal Training Certified Group Fitness Instructor Certified Health Coach Certified Medical Exercise Specialist
SCW: Group Exercise Personal Trainer Aquatic Exercise Active Aging Active Aging Nutrition Aqua Barre Barre Boxing Career Crash Course Core Training Corrective Exercise Functional Flexibility Functional Pilates Group Step Group Strength HIIT Kettlebell Training Kids in Motion Meditation Mind Body Fusion Moms in Motion Nutrition Coaching for Fitness Professionals Nutrition, Hormones & Metabolism Performance Stability Training Pilates Matwork Pilates Small Apparatus Practical Approach to Recovery & Rolling Program Design for Fitness Professionals Small Group Personal Training Small Group Training Sports Nutrition T’ai Chi WaterinMotion Weight Management Yoga 1 Yoga 2 Flowing Yoga
ASFA: Personal Trainer Advanced Personal Trainer Master Personal Trainer Health & Wellness Coach Advanced Health & Wellness Coach Master Health & Wellness Coach Advanced Cycling Instructor Advanced Water Aerobics Instructor Advanced Group Fitness & Bootcamp Instructor Advanced Pilates Advanced Senior Fitness Instructor Advanced Yoga Advanced Sports Nutrition Water Aerobics Instructor Senior Fitness Instructor Pilates Sports Nutrition Yoga Functional Fitness Training HIIT Dance Fitness & Hip-Hop Aerobics Barre Self Defense Instructor Kettlebell Instructor Sport Specific Training Youth Fitness Training Running Coach Speed & Agility Instructor Stretching Instructor Women’s Fitness Instructor Bodyweight Training Step Aerobics & Cardio Kickboxing Martial Arts Fitness Instructor Tai Chi Health Club & Gym Manager* Core Fitness Training Competition Bodybuilding Trainer Olympic & Powerlifting Coach Balance & Stability Instructor Golf Fitness Instructor Triathlon Coach Foam Rolling Fitness Professional Kit
Now, there are some very interesting options listed above and I believe that you should never stop learning, but where were the business certifications or certificate programs? Out of all of those listed, only ASFA had any business offerings. They do offer a Health Club & Gym Manager*. However, you can take their True/False exam immediately and only pay if you pass. Do you think it’s easy? You can bet on it. So, how much do you really learn and how much is this really going to help your career? ACSM used to offer a very challenging Health & Fitness Director certification (which I achieved), but then they stopped offering the program after a few years.
What’s left? Having been a personal trainer and health club manager since 1980 and a business owner off and on throughout those years, I wrote a business book for fitness professionals, The Business of Personal Training that was published in 2018 by Human Kinetics. I also spent nearly 10 years on the NSCA Personal Trainer Exam Development Committee. Putting these two together, on April 5th, I’ll be launching an exam-based fitness business certificate program, the Fitness Business Specialist. Find out more at https://fitnessbusinessspecialist.com