I’ve got a nice piece of advice that’s totally free …
Whenever your hesitant about something – when you feel like you can’t do it, are under-qualified, overwhelmed, or inexperienced, the best thing to do is learn everything you can about it.
Get total immersion in the subject – pick up a few books, learn from others, and get off your ass and go into some unfamiliar environments, and you’ll be very surprised at how clear the once impossible becomes for you.
That was my goal with this series on HIRING FOR PERSONAL TRAINERS. It was to bring you some immersion on this important subject.
Oh, and I know there are a few fool hardy trainers out there that had no fear to start hiring, but are probably grossly unaware of some of the challenges in it – I hope this series brought some insight to them as well.
You will be amazed at how much you grow as a business person and find out about yourself and your own character once you make the move to start hiring.
Not to mention this is the ONLY way you can start to leverage your time and still make sure the public is benefiting from your brand of hands on training service.
To finish this series off, I’m going to share an article I wrote for the career builder section of Personal Fitness Professional Magazine recently. The article was short and fairly basic, so I’m going to share some additional insights with you below:
PFP Career Builder Article
December 7, 2009
In my opinion, your training practice doesn’t turn into a real business until you’re managing employees. It’s when you’re attending to the priority of growing your business and your employees are doing everything else that you’re really setting the stage for future growth.
The stage of moving up to an employer is one of the biggest and most important you’ll make in your business life. Hiring employees isn’t as simple as placing a help wanted add in the classified section of the newspaper. It’s actually a new skill that must be learned, and an area where it’s possible to make some major mistakes.
I know from first hand experience. That’s why I’m going to give you some of the information I learned both from the top minds in the business as well as painful trial and error. This info should make the process much easier and even enjoyable for you, and something that will actually give you the results you’re looking for.
A lot of people think that starting a business means hiring employees from the beginning – this is true if you’re already experienced with starting and running successful businesses!
But if you’re just getting started on your own as a trainer for the first time and don’t have a solid roster of high paying clients with new leads coming in on a consistent basis, it’s not the time to hire yet.
Make sure you can fill your own plate first before you bring on another mouth to feed.
1. Start small. Like I mentioned above hiring and managing employees is a skill, so you should look to learn it as early as possible, not when you’re in a crisis situation. So just like learning anything new, you should start early and start small. You at first may just want to start out with a part time assistant; someone that can work under your direct supervision and do the things that you don’t have the time to do anymore. Once you are comfortable giving instructions to others, you can then move them up to a full employee that can work without your supervision. If you take it step by step, you’ll learn to delegate more and more to the point where you can coordinate many different people and know that everything is getting done.I think this one isn’t said enough – managing people is a skill, and a hard learned one at that. Start small and build from there.
2. The Hiring Process. Hiring is also a major place where personal training business owners screw up big time. When hiring, look within your own network of contacts first. One of the worst ways to hire employees is to place an ad in a newspaper. What you’ll find is that most of the people checking the HELP WANTED section are not only unemployed, they’re unemployable.
The best place for you to look is in your network of friends, contacts, acquaintances, and customers. They say that every person knows 100 other people, so if you let everyone in your direct circle know that you’re hiring, you’ll be very surprised at how many people you can reach.
Be very careful with interviewing – ANYONE can put on a good face for you in the beginning, so be sure to conduct multiple interviews. Spend time with your new hire in several different situations – ask them to come work out with you for an hour. Also have a friend interview them and ask for their opinion.
Just because you “like” someone isn’t enough. This in fact is usually a warning sign that you’re making an emotional decision, and not with your head.
3. Hire slow, fire fast. Most people make their hiring decisions way too quickly, and end up paying for them big time later on. We often make them out of desperation or when we’re overworked. For that reason, we end up giving the job to the first the person that walks in the door, and this is a big mistake.
Hiring is one of the most important decisions you can make as a business owner. A wrong hire will cost you thousands of dollars, waste lots of your time, and could potentially sink your business. In that case, you have to be very slow in this process.
The second part of this formula is to fire quickly. Even if you do take your time in hiring an employee, you will still inevitably make some mistakes. Once you realize that things aren’t working out, don’t extend the torture; get rid of them as fast as possible. You’re only doing yourself and the other person disservice keeping them around in a job that’s not a good fit.
This probably the area where screw up the most, not just in business but in life. When you know a relationship is all wrong, the best thing to do is end it as fast as possible (much easier said than done).
Having employees is something that should make your life easier and free up more of your time, but that’s only the case when you do it right. The good news is once you do get it right, you have the key to unlimited growth for yourself and your business.
Did you catch the last two articles in this series? Here they are:
HIRING EMPLOYEES FOR YOUR PERSONAL TRAINING BUSINESS: Biggest Myths Exposed (part one of three).
FINDING AND GROOMING TALENT FOR YOUR PERSONAL TRAINING BUSINESS (part two of three part series).
Great article-it does pay to look within your current network. When I decided I was going to hire some trainers, I first looked at my list of trainers that I had done marketing consultations with. I already had a good idea of their capabilities, work ethic, and drive. I ended up making a great hire-the feedback from clients has been fantastic. And you’re right about the fast to fire-I included a 30 day written notice clause, whereby either party can terminate the agreement without cause. So if either party is unhappy, it’s a quick break-up.
I’m also going slow-I plan on hiring another trainer this Spring, but not until I have the current trainer fully booked.
Luckily, I have a steady stream of new clients and that won’t be a problem!
And a big thanks to you Kaiser-the consultation you did with me last year was a major wake-up call. I was working myself to death, and burning out. It seemed like I didn’t have time to do anything but work. I’m so much happier now (and much more rested), and I’m finally freeing up time to work on other projects, as well as getting organized and developing better work habits that are allowing me to be much more productive.
I also found that while I still enjoy training clients, after 20 years of being in this business, I needed a new challenge to fire me up. Helping other trainers to develop their skills and market themselves is my new focus, and it’s gotten me excited about my business in a way that I haven’t been in a long time. Thanks again!
Another freaking classic post and awesome series Kaiser. I don’t get how people don’t comment on your best posts. This info is the best I’ve seen anywhere on the web, period. I can especially relate to this post. I started a business once, and had tons of employee problems. I though that was just life, but I realize now it was me making the mistakes. Thanks for the helpful tips man. You should really charge for this stuff.
Hey Doug – long time no speak – glad to have you back – glad out CONSULT helped. Yup, hiring is one of the biggest trip-ups in this business. They say in business, most of your problems have two legs!
This post totally kicked ass – way better than anything I’ve read on this subject anywhere. Kaiser, if you don’t mind me asking, did you go to business school? How did you learn most of your info?
No TK, never did – all self taught, and still consider myself an amateur –
Great post . I’ve been reading your articles on PFP for a while – that’s how I found your blog and I’m glad I did.
Cool man thanks – I love writing those articles for PFP – great magazine and great exposure –