I just saw that another personal trainer that I know has now become a real estate agent. I’ve noticed this happening a lot. Maybe they simply love real estate more than personal training, but, I would bet that they were seeking a way to make more money than they were as a trainer. While some continue to do both, I’ve seen many trainers simply change careers, often times, to become a real estate agent. Maybe it’s the ease of getting into it or the dream of big commissions, but ultimately I find it truly disheartening.
Personal training can be one the most rewarding careers and we have never been more needed than we are right now. “Why are trainers leaving?”, you may ask. I have a few thoughts on that.
- New trainers are not taught and don’t understand the business side of personal training and without the business knowledge, including marketing and sales, it is very difficult to make a living.
- They don’t realize that it takes time to build a clientele. This means that, even if they had the business knowledge, they are unlikely have a full schedule for quite a while. I knew one trainer that showed great promise, who, after only a few months into their position at a health club, started feeling financial pressures and is now a salesperson at a lumber store.
- I also think that we are in a time, with boutique fitness studios and CrossFit-like boxes opening right and left, when it seems that being your own boss is the new expectation. This can be a huge mistake. So much can be learned from working for others, particularly in a larger club. This not a sell-out, it’s a smart move. I spent most of my career working in other people’s clubs and, at every new club, I acquired new skill sets.
So, before you go off and start selling real estate (or lumber), know that it takes time and knowledge to build your career. Get the training that you need to be a successful personal trainer and enjoy a lifetime of helping others change their lives. I’ve been at it almost 40 years and can’t imagine doing anything else.
P.S. If you feel stuck and don’t know what to do, feel free to shoot me a message.
I’ve spent over the past ten years making business a specialty of mine. I started learning as much as I could on the topic because I recognized the lack of understanding in the personal training and fitness industry. The books I’m listing are just a few of the over 100 books that I’ve read on business. They are ones that I think could have the greatest impact on growing a personal trainer’s business. I’ve given just a short description of each. Click the photo to get more details. So… here we go… (in no particular order):
One of my favorites for anyone contemplating leaving their current job to go off and start their own business. The myth is that you can go off and do what you love to do, forgetting, of course, that you also have to spend time on the business itself and not just delivering the product or service. A must read.
(2) Start With Why by Simon Sinek
As Sinek states, we all pretty much know what we do, probably how to do it, but often don’t think about why we do it. The “why” is the driving force behind what we do. It’s the, “I want to help people become healthier and lead more fulfilling lives.” that is at the heart of personal training.
(3) To Sell is Human by Daniel H. Pink
This is a great book on how we are already salespeople and how sales (fitness, personal training, or other) can be a natural, comfortable act that leaves both parties happy and excited to work together.
When a product or service is rote, predicable, run-of-the-mill, it’s lowest price wins. However, the consumer is happy to pay more and more often when it comes to buying an experience. This is a book that will open your eyes as to how you can turn the mundane into an experience.
(5) Shark Tank: Jump Start Your Business by Michael Parrish DuDell
I know… this one sounds hokey, but it is, in fact, a really good book that covers most aspects of starting and building your business.
This is one of the first books that I read that focused on selling services (vs merchandise). The idea of selling something that is intangible, such as the future benefits of health and fitness programs, can take a different technique and this book offers a great prospective on it.
No recommended business reading list would be complete without at least one Gary Vee book on it. This one, his latest at the time of this writing, tells the stories of entrepreneurs that have overcome obstacles and attained success through passion and perseverance.
(8) The Power of Cult Branding by Ragas and Bueno
Ever wonder how CrossFit, Tough Mudder, and even Zumba got their kool-aid drinking followers. Ever wonder how you might create that same kind of following? This book gives some great insights into creating a “cult” brand.
Once again, I thought the discussion of culture should be addressed. This is another good look at the importance of culture and particularly when looking at building your company. The belief system of the whole and how to work toward a unified vision.
(10) The New Rules of Sales and Service by David Meerman Scott
This is a good look at marketing and sales in an age where you have to first engage and build a relationship before trying to acquire your target audience as a customer.
(11 bonus, there are too many good ones for just 10) The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman
This is another really good book on overall business principles. Kaufman’s premise, is that, unless you want to work for some big company, you don’t need to spend your money on an MBA. Save your money and learn the skills that will lead you to success.
This should at least get you started in your business education. It is, just like the exercise science, an area that demands ongoing learning to reach and stay on top of your game. I hope you enjoy and learn from them.
(12 double bonus) The Business of Personal Training With Web Resource by… well, me. I know this seems a little self-serving, but I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention that this is the culmination of all of my study and experience.