Hey gang. I’ve got a real cool article for you today that you’ll be able to implement right away to start pulling more money out of your fitness business.
What I’m about to say isn’t something you’ll hear from most industry people, but let me come out and say it:
==> Essentially everything in life comes down to money.
==> Your money comes from your business.
==> And the only part of the financial side of that business that matters is your NET PROFIT.
Your net profit. That’s it. I once had a training business that was the widest reaching New York City has ever seen. But I had so many employees, so much overhead, and such a poor business model (strictly one-on-one training), that I was able to BEAT those profits by my ONE training studio in Long Island City Queens.
So forget how many employees you have, how big your place is, how many certifications you have, or even what your GROSS profits are.
What you should be paying attention to is your net. That’s the cash that you can take home to buy yourself “bling”, investments, cars, or whatever turns you on.
Don’t think money’s a big deal? As we say here in New York, you’re buggin’.
Your choice of mate (or relationship with your current one), the upbringing of your children, the important people in your life, and a lot of your life experiences will be based on the money you make. Maybe that’s superficial, but in the world we’re in today, it’s hard to disagree with it.
This attention to the dollar figures is something new to most trainers – we’re more use to doing crunches than crunching numbers. That’s why this kind of financial consciousness is one of the main things I preach to trainers in all of my high end programs.
And I do it here on the Super-Trainer site of course. I think it’s of the reasons this site has become so well known. And I do my best to spread the “gospel” whenever I write for other major industry publications.
Here’s an article I wrote for PFP Magazine a while back that got me a lot of positive feedback. It has to do with everything I just talked about above. Going into further detail on this should help you apply it to your own business. Grasp this, and the way you approach your time, your business, it’s scope, and your career will change drastically.
Here’s the fancy, formatted article as it appeared in PFP – feel free to download and share:
Welcome To Personal Finance 101
And here’s the full article below:
They always say you shouldn’t go into personal training for the money, but I think the reality is that most of us do. And why not? If you’re an independent trainer that’s booked solid at the industry average, you should be bringing in close to, if not more than, $100K a year.
But having a good amount of money coming in the door is simply a start. Getting all the fancy finance managing software that’s readily available to every businessperson out there still isn’t enough. Even with these tools, 95% of new businesses go under every year. What it’s really going to take is conquering the funny math and bogus time management going on in most areas of the personal training industry and the small business world today. This is especially important for the new trainer; it’s at this stage your training business is the most vulnerable to failure.
The Brutal Economics: There’s a nasty financial side of things that never gets mentioned in the magazines or business books. Even most “successful” small businesspeople don’t understand it.
It’s only the real survivors that know what it is, and most of them will never talk about it. And for a personal trainer like you who’s trading their time for money and doing largely tiring and physical work, the economics are even more brutal.
For most of my training career, I’ve been what they call successful. I’ve been in that top 10% bracket of income in this profession, employing several trainers and charging high rates. But here’s the sad and shocking part of all of this:
I have nothing to show for most of those years of work!
For most of that time, I accumulated almost no liquid assets and no investments. We’re talking about years and years of work — and I’ve actually been successful!
Something is grossly wrong here. This describes most trainers, training businesses and studios, just as it describes most businesses in America. An entire aspect of the training business falls outside of the spreadsheet.
What’s the Best Way to Understand It? Let’s take the example of the small studio owner; let’s call her Janet. Janet has a training studio that brings in a fair number of customers. She does her best to keep costs low. She keeps her overhead costs to a minimum, and she employs good workers, to whom she pays 50% of the price of a training session. She’s doing everything by the book, and you could call her one of the successful trainers in this business. But is she really? Do you think she’s taking away a real income from her business? Is she putting any money away? Is she on her way to opening another studio? Hardly, and here’s why: Because even though on paper this may look like a solid plan, the math probably doesn’t work.
Let’s start with salary: She pays her employees 50%. Say the sessions cost $60. That means she gets $30, and her employee gets $30. And say she runs 15 sessions out of her small facility a day on average (counting weekends and holidays, that’s a very solid number). That comes out $164,250 for her own yearly gross earnings.
Here’s where things get disturbing: Out of that, she pays her equipment costs, gas costs, insurance, rent, professional expenses, employee government expenses, unforeseen expenses, uniforms, advertising, maintenance, utilities, bookkeeping, taxes and food during work hours.
Even if Janet is a true “business owner” and doesn’t train a single client herself, she’s also probably the one that opens the place every morning and closes it up every night. During the day, she does all of the market-ing, employee training, interviewing, client relations, bookkeeping, studio upkeep and employee management. So even without a single training session, this still probably comes out to at least 60 hours per week. If at the end of the day, this comes out to a net take of $10 an hour, she’s very, very lucky.
It’s out of this paltry salary that she must pay her living expenses, car expenses and life expenses. And this is a best case scenario. In all likelihood, her business undergoes slow periods, some of her marketing doesn’t pay off , and she has to cover training sessions for her employees.
Sadly, this is the life of most “successful” personal trainers. I was once in Janet’s shoes, and many other trainers are there now.
Solution: Be Aggressive.
Just like one of your toughest workouts, you’re going to have to tackle your business life head-on, and there might be some pain, sweating and soreness at the end. No matter what, work-ing more than full time at a loss for years on end with your employees making the most money out of all of it isn’t acceptable.
A new, aggressive mindset will now dictate how much you choose to pay your employees, how much you charge for your sessions and the effectiveness you demand from your marketing dollars.
Say that you value your time at $100 an hour. Then all of the time you invest in training an employee, acquiring a client and running the business must all pay you at least that much.
When you demand this, you will be much more demanding on your expectations from your activities and everyone in the business. And this is only the beginning. You’ll then want to make sure the standards are in place to make these earnings possible.
Make sure every part of the business is seen as a profit center with certain expectations. Every ad must bring in a certain number of leads; the leads must be converted into clients; and the training sessions must be run in a profitable way.
If that means cutting your employee’s earnings down to 30% while at the same time demanding more effectiveness from them, then so be it. There’s a lot at stake here. The main person that more is going to be demanded from is you. You’ll have to do a considerable amount of learning in areas that have nothing to do with training, such as marketing, operations and management. Just like some new plates being thrown on the barbell, be prepared for this learning process to be a little uncomfortable.
The knowledge that has made you great trainer is not going to make you a great business owner. It will also take a lot of self-discipline. You’re going to have to be aware of exactly how much time you’re putting in to your business, how it’s being spent and what’s resulting from it. We as trainers are in the business of providing service, but at times we must separate ourselves from our businesses and think about broader financial and personal goals — because at the end of the day, it’s why we got into personal training in the first place!
6Tips for Keeping in The Black
1. Start thinking of your time as real currency. Any time you put into your business is an investment.
2. Look at the “real” cost of everything. You may be making 50% on an employee’s training session, but when you consider the time and money you have to invest to get and keep that client, that might only really be five percent or less!
3. Look at everything as a profit center (advertising, referrals, new leads, etc.); each one must be maximized for effectiveness.
4. Keep your costs down in any way possible. Try to free up as much money for marketing, which is where most of your business come from.
5. Think about your training business as part of your bigger life goals.
Okay, that wraps it up. Even though that piece was a bit toned down for a general audience, I think there’s something there that every trainer can learn from. Looking aggressively at my dollars, time, and net is something I work on harder than probably anything else – so should you.
Now since I’ve written this article, I’ve put together a program to fill the huge gap in proven business building strategies today, especially for trainers with the dream of owning their own studio.
That program was STUDIO START-UP. Related to that program, I’ve just put together a free learning course that will have a tremendous impact on your perspective of your training career. Be sure to register for it right here:
How To Open A Training Studio