How To Start (and keep) a PT Business

Becoming Self-Employed and running your own Personal Training business can be daunting...

Taking the leap into self-employment and setting up and running your own personal training business can be daunting. Not only are you new to the industry and only just getting your head around how to actually train a client, but you then realise you actually have to run the business side of things as well! Marketing, sales plans, insurance, accounts…However none of this should stop you from taking the plunge towards a better, happier and more rewarding career within your passion!

After 10 years of doing just that, I would like to share with you my experience and provide some clarity – and most importantly, reassurance – on things you may or may not have considered.

Have a plan

Having a personal training business plan is reassuring in itself. It will help you know exactly where you are heading and how to get there; it will take out the guesswork and provide you with the answers to the “what if’s”. In any business plan, you should include a breakdown of how you plan to run your first weeks’ and months’ within the industry and your daily tasks towards this. Include how many sessions you need to do on a weekly basis to break even financially – so you know at what stage you will be making profit. In your breakdown of expenses, don’t forget to include ideas on in-gym marketing, social media usage and how you intend to pay yourself.

Sales & Marketing

Do you have a budget for marketing? If so, what is it and what will that get you? And if you don’t have a budget, don’t fret! It may even work in your favour, because you will have to work even harder to get yourself known using – in my humble opinion – better methods – such as actually talking to people. Having a business card, a fancy t-shirt and some flyers will only get you so far…but getting out there, getting known and selling yourself is key! Personal training is a personal service; people want to know that you are approachable and personable and there is no better way to do this than getting out into the community and getting to know people, or out onto the gym floor, making sure you know all of your members’ names, what their goals are and why they want to achieve them. Get you name and face out there, smile, deliver awesome classes and sessions –  these act as your business card and show people exactly what you are about! Also, don’t stick to the rules – think outside the box when thinking about how to engage potential clients (and retain existing ones). For instance, I used to buy fruit or bake protein treats for Gym members and leave them by the entrance with a poster of my face saying ‘help yourself’! It got a few laugh and meant I was on the receiving end of some gym banter but, importantly, no one else was doing it and it made me stand out from the other 12 PT’s. Essentially, it is a numbers game – in 1 month, how many people can you speak to, how many people can you get to know your name and what you’re about. Interactions = clients.

Other things to keep in mind

Having spoken about the fun parts, there are some other important practical things to consider. You will need insurance – which will usually range from around £40-60 for the year, depending on exactly what cover you get. Insure 4 Sport have always been my insurer of choice, but there are many out there.

You will also need to self-assess for your Tax and National Insurance via HMRC. This can be a confusing process, but one that is unfortunately essential if you would like to stay within the law and also apply for things like a mortgage in the future! My best advice would be to get help with this from an accountant. Accountants are often cheaper than you think and can take a lot of the stress out of the process – leaving you to just concentrate on being an awesome personal trainer. However, if you would like to attempt self-assessment yourself, ask around and help each other out. PT’s within your facility will all be in the same boat, and with a bit of time and patience you will be able to figure it out.

Being a fitness professional is one of the most rewarding careers you can have – helping others achieve their fitness goals whilst working in an industry you are passionate about…what can be better than that?! Just make sure you are prepared to work hard – put in as much work on running your business as you do with training your clients and you will enjoy a successful career – promise!

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