Fitness Business 3 of the Hardest Lessons I had to Learn About Building a Successful Online Personal Training Business

Dabbling in online personal training seems like a great idea and a fairly easy way for a personal trainer to make additional income without having to be in the gym, right? Well, yes it is a great way to make additional income, but I speak from experience when I say it’s not something that happens overnight.

There are many factors you need to take into account as you begin to create your programs and services, build a website, and market your services. If you plan carefully, have some patience, and put in the necessary elbow grease, online training can be quite profitable, but it can be a challenge. Here are the top 3 lessons I’ve learned over the years while I worked to build a successful online personal training business.

1. It takes more time than you think

As a very busy personal trainer, I was spending sometimes 10-12 hours each day in the gym training clients and teaching group classes through my business. The initial reason I decided to start online training was that I wanted to cut down my gym hours without losing all my clients and still growing my business.

Well, after dabbling in online training, I soon realized that now not only was I training 10-12 hours per day in the gym, but I was also doing my online training on top of that during breaks and after work. As a perfectionist, it took a lot of time initially to build my online services, set up my Trainerize website, develop a system and workflow for training and monitoring each client, and then to build the actual programs.

What I didn’t realize was that while adding online personal training services to my business would help me train more clients in less time, to be successful at this I needed to get a lot better at managing my time and needed to find a way to dedicate specific blocks of time to online training and that piece of my business. I couldn’t just put together an online business in bits and pieces.

I reorganized my schedule, started carving out dedicated time for building out my online services and quickly started reaping the benefits of online personal training.

3 ways to manage your time as a personal trainer to increase effectiveness and avoid burnout.

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2. Social media is not a magic wand

Social media is a powerful tool. It can connect you with people all over the world and offers an amazing and often free platform for you to market and share your services. Because it’s so powerful, it can be tempting to turn to social media for a lot of your business needs, but you have to remember that it isn’t a magic wand and shouldn’t be the only tool in your arsenal.

You might have a large following on social media, and that’s great, but I still wouldn’t advise you to rely exclusively on social media for new clients. Yes, you will get some clients from your social media accounts once you start posting about your online training services. But what about all of those people who might not be on social media, or who might not find your social media channels?

Think of it this way, if all your social media accounts disappeared tomorrow, how would you continue to grow your business? Make sure you’re doing all of those things and using social media together. This will make your business stronger and your marketing strategy more robust.

Here are my recommendations of things to do in addition to using social media. These are all tools that I’ve used and found successful:

  1. Make sure you have a website and that it is SEO optimized
  2. Look into paid search ads like GoogleAdwords
  3. Add a lead magnet to your website that is collecting email addresses of people who are interested in online training
  4. Run email marketing campaigns and send out updates and offers to the potential clients you’ve captured using your lead magnet

Capture clients’ attention with compelling content:
Writing tips for fitness professionals.

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3. “If you build it they will come” doesn’t happen without a lot of work

Many personal trainers are very entrepreneurial and have new ideas all the time on how to help more people, make more money, and grow as a trainer. We get excited about new ideas, spend the time building the idea, only to find that no one signs up for our offers 🙁

It happened to me a lot when I was just starting out and it became a little discouraging; however, it helped me work harder to learn more about marketing, product offers, and how to run a successful online program. I feel learning through trial and error has truly helped me know what type of programs and pricing options are going to result in sales. Yes, building a solid program and great offer is the major key to getting people to buy into your services; however, just know that building the program will not result in new clients and more money, without hard work. Be ready to roll up your sleeves and put in the time.

I hope this helps you if you are just beginning your journey into online personal training. It will take time, but if done correctly you can really capitalize on this potential revenue stream.

What do you think?