CHUMP-CHANGE: that’s what it feels like I’m making sometimes compared to the MILLIONS you hear people talking about all over the internet.
I got a cheesy automated email from a fitness marketer the other day talking about how he’s a MILLIONAIRE and one of his buddies is earning over 150K a month! It takes me a year to earn that much, so there’s kind of a natural feeling you get that you’re missing out on something big …
So what’s the big deal about Top-Level Training? Why should someone want to be a Personal Trainer and earn just 100K? Well the answer has nothing to do with money …
It sounds like a cliche, but there’s a lot more to wealth than can be captured in just a dollar figure. That’s the thing to consider with any job or career track you take. The pay’s important, but there are also other factors:
- How much do you take home?
- What are your hours like?
- Do you truly enjoy your work?
- Where are you going in your profession?
- Are you the kind of person you want to be?
- Are you bored all the time?
These are the defining factors when it comes to how much you earn. That’s what being a Top-Level Trainer is about. It has nothing to do with the income, because when you take all the factors into account, it’s way more than just what the 100K would typify.
Not that anything’s wrong with earning six-figures …
A $100,000 income has a certain cache and significance in American society –
That’s because when you’re earning six-figures in the US, you’re officially a player – it signifies membership into the consumer society. You can now take part in and enjoy what people call the American dream and way of life. Our entire consumer society and marketing is devoted to these six figure earners –
- You can afford payments on a Mercedes Benz
- You can save enough for a down-payment on a home, and make monthly mortgage payments
- You can afford top fashion items, like an Armani suit or a Louis Vuitton bag
- You can take vacations to places like Vegas and Miami several times a year, or travel to a major city abroad like Venice or Amsterdam once a year
- You can afford to put away about 10% of your income
Extremely superficial? True: but if you can’t have or do these things, you can’t help but feel left out in some way. There’s the feeling that you’re missing out on something; like you’re one of the un-cool kids that can’t get into the party.
A lot of us think that it’ll take millions of dollars to live a comfortable and appealing lifestyle. We get working for years on end and sacrifice the best years of over lives and countless other things in order to get the kind of lives we want. What we fail to realize is that just a simple plan to six figures in earnings would have got us there!
I remember when I first got to this level of earnings. There’s a a certain sense of entitlement that comes with it – like the curtain’s been pulled back and a new world has been made available to you.
The figures say less than 10% of people in our society earn 100K. I was talking to my buddy Tom Peters on the phone the other day, who’s a business coach in the fitness industry, and he told me it’s actually 3% of people – and if he said it I believe him.
When you consider the type of work Personal Training involves, and the fact that training rates are so high, I think it’s got to be the best and simplest career to earn a six-figure salary. And for all the guys that think six-figures is nothing, well, being in the top 3% of our country’s wage earners isn’t a bad start.
By simple, I mean you can earn it just from training clients. You don’t have to sell e-books, don’t have to sell vitamins, don’t have to record videos, don’t have to sell balance balls, don’t need to open a tiny training studio, don’t have to peddle books on the Internet – none of that crap.
If you’re not earning that much as a trainer yet, you’re probably not thnking about what you do correctly. I don’t know where or when being a Personal Trainer got a bad rap in the fitness industry, but I think the reason is because it’s typically been associated with the major health-club setting, not independent trainers looking to create a stable practice.
That’s why you hear a lot of people that get into fitness for some reason talk down on training. They want to skip the step of being a Personal Trainer.
They say they’d rather have a sports gym like Eric Cressey (who I talked to earlier this month and will be posting our conversation in a new post).
Or they want to be a strength coach for a major sports team like Brian Schiff, or the late Jason Hadeed.
There’s nothing wrong with that; getting to a top position in this field is a great goal – I’m not downplaying that. I understand if you want to move on in this industry – so do I!
Being a Top-Level trainer gives you that ability – it becomes real easy to focus on your future when you’re earning 75-100K in about 25 hours a week. Even if you’re a college student working towards your Sports Science degree, earning a good income in this field will shoot your career curve straight up.
What makes more sense to you:
Getting a part-time job doing some unrelated task while you’re in school, or already succeeding in the field you’re studying for? And furthermore, everything you’re learning in school can be applied directly to your clients – I wouldn’t be surprised if you became the top trainer in your immediate area, in addition to one of the coolest kids on campus (coolness is an important part of any career).
That’s just one example, but you get the idea.
For me, the TLT lifestyle has given me the time to do and learn things that I never would’ve been able to do otherwise. Professionally, I learned to become an effective writer, made tons of connections, written for the major training magazines, and am getting booked to speak at the major conferences. Personally, it’s given me the type of high-profile lifestyle that I thought was only reserved for drug dealers or trust-fund brats. That’s why you hear me say corny things like Personal Training is the world’s greatest job – because to me, it really is.
The other people that knock the whole six-figure thing are the trainers out there that THINK they’re earning it already. But be honest, when we’re talking about six-figures here’s what we’re not talking about:
– I don’t mean you made 150K in sales in your training department last year, of which you only kept a small commission
– I don’t mean you worked 60 hours training children and old ladies (there’s nothing wrong with that, just not my thing)
– I don’t mean you “own” a gym – I earn more than any of the private gym owners I’ve ever met. They all had business partners so were only minority owners in their gyms, and had tons of expenses and worked at least 60 hours per week. They didn’t own the gym, the gym owned them.
– I don’t care that you own a training facility, because after you paid all of your employees, expenses, and advertising expenses, you’re very lucky and smart if you took home over 100K – and just like the last case, you probably worked a ton of hours.
When I say six figures, I really mean six-figures; and I’m talking about a take-home income of nearly 100K. How’s that possible? It’s because in our economy, the government loves entrepreneurs. They’re the people that make the whole economy possible in the first place.
And when you’re a Personal Trainer you are technically a small business, even if you don’t have any employees or have just 10 regular customers. If you form an S-corp as a small business person, you can declare a lot of your expenses as tax-deductable. And the tax documents for S-Corps are not highly scrutinized – that’s the advantage of living in a capitalist country. This is a little bit of insider talk, not politically correct talk, so if any of this sounds shady to you get a life – and I hope the IRS isn’t reading this!
Speaking of getting a life, that’s also what we’re talking about with being a top trainer: the fitness lifestyle. Did you know that most fitness conferences are in Vegas and Miami? In that case, your hotel, airfare, and admission to the event will all be tax deductable.
So will your training certifications, gym memberships, and exercise classes – they’ re all tax-deductible too. I already take all my gym memberships and Muy Thai training off my taxes. And I’m planning on visiting Charles Glass and Milos Sarcev for some training later this year, and I’m going to be sending Uncle Sam the bill.
So how do you do it? That’s what we’ll be getting to in detail in the next couple of months on Super-Trainer. We’ll be getting to the real details of how me and many other trainers make this a reality. If you don’t have it already, this is going to be the tipping point.
It all boils down to just two things – having expensive training sessions, and finding and keeping about a dozen clients that can pay for them. Think about if for a few moments, and it should sound very simple.
I’ll be giving all of this info away for FREE on the blog – I had a lot of interviews lined up, but I’m going to hold off on them and give some really high-powered lessons from me and some other “even more successful” trainers instead.
Yes for FREE – like I said in The Whistleblower Report, you can’t charge for info – you can learn all if this stuff on marketing and creating a practice if you talk to enough people or research it all like I did – I’ll just save you some of the time.
It’s just a few of the naysayers that don’t think any of this is a big deal. That’s ok – to each their own; this Personal Training lifestyle does mean something to me. So I just wanted to air all of this out in one post once and for all – now I’m just going to go back to ignoring them!
Kaiser, loved the report bro! I hate how people look down on PT these days. You hit the nail on the hed with this one, keep it up! I’ll be reading =)
Great read, very encouraging for a Personal Trainer just starting out in the field!
Thanks mate. Really informative and motivational!
Thanks – I’m glad so many people got something out of this – it just needed to be said – that you can make something out of this business from the get go – I’m never, ever shy or embarrassed by what I do or what I earn, and neither should anyone else be – If you really think about it, a lot of people would kill to be in my place –
Kaiser, do you have a 6-figure annual income? Could you give me an idea of how that breaks down by the week? What is your training schedule like?
Hey Andrew – I just wanted to personally welcome you to the blog – I hope you get a lot out of it and would love to hear your comments in the future –
I noticed your question about income and scheduling – yeah, a lot of that is broken down in the report – I have 8 long-term clients that I train religiously 2-3 times per week and have had them all for at least a year, some for almost 3 – I also have currently 6 other clients that have been for me a shorter time, and their scheduling is a little more uncertain – in weeks where everyone is training full-steam I can work up to 30 hours or more – if a few clients are away on business, or in months where I’m not actively recruiting clients like this past winter, it falls closer to 20, but is always consistently between 20-30 –
This type of situation is not at all uncommon for independent trainers – many health-club trainers have schedules like this, although their hourly salaries are less – the key is just getting out of the confines of a major health-club and branching out on your own, and once you do over-delivering on what you do – high-incomer and referrals are sure to come afterwards –
Just stay tuned to the blog and more great info on this will be coming soon – that’s what it’s all about – it’s my goal that not a single trainer goes to work in a gym chain again, and not a single client goes to a gym chain looking for one!
I couldn’t agree more with your last statement. My advice for any new trainer is to be your own boss. Also, they should get a day pass to one of the major “supermarket gyms” and see how bad those club employees have it. I’ve suffered through it when I got started and could never even go into one of those places to workout. Amen to You!!
interesting input from your readers, I average 60 appts per week (1/2 hr only) with about 25 full time clients, and 10 part time. so my normal week is 30-35 training hrs.
the proof is PAY your dues, be motivated and hungry, now I work only 2 nights and 1/2 day Friday !!
Well Kaiser you obviously don’t live in Socal. My wife and make a combined income of $220,000 per year. We are an elite at home personal training company like yours. I have 2 full time trainers working under me. Monthly gas bill for getting to our clients homes are $1650, Google Ad Words, Facebook, Yahoo, $2500 and $1000 for admin payroll.
After mortgage payment, home, car, medical, disability insurance and income tax, food, electricity, cell phone, water bill, there is not much left over. No Mercedes Benz or Yellow rice burner in my driveway. Just 2 paid 2006 Honda’s Elements. with over 110,000 miles
The reality is here you have to hustle and work long hours. Vacations are rare for most busy trainers. We are in the top 5% of Personal trainer income earners in San Diego County. And there are a lot of trainers here.
Point I am getting at is; Everything is relative.
PS , but I do like your blog VERY MUCH!!
Hey Rivak! Thrilled to get your input on here buddy!
Yeah, I feel you with all of that overhead – my point in the post is that you can earn an outstanding income and maintain a high standard of life with the money you make as a trainer. Keep an eye on lifestyle and it might not even feel like work. This of course DOES lead to a lot of bills (I can definitely relate to that)!
Like I talked about in the Whistleblower, I was in a situation similar to yours in my training studio, where there were tons of overhead expenses and even though money was coming in, I always felt like I was trying to make ends meet.
By cultivating my highest value, long-term clients and focusing only on them and looking to add more of these types of clients, I was able to bring some order to they system and am much happier now –
And even more importantly – once we’ve all established some consistency, we all need to make it a priority to think of what’s next for us as trainers – which part of the fitness industry do we need to expand into or tackle next? – without that, BURNOUT is sure to occur, which I simply define as the lack of new inspiring challenges. Having the free time, low stress, and consistency of being a top-trainer helps a lot with planning these next steps.
And I always remind people to think of lifestyle – put yourself first – you’re the most important client in your training practice – there’s tremendous hard-work behind anything you ever achieve, but if you keep your own passions and lifestyle in mind, work and personal life can work together synergisticly – that’s when amazing shit can happen!
Everyone needs to check out Rivak’s site and see how he’s created a specialty and basically done everything else right out there in Cali – http://somagenesis.com – real freakin’ nice!
Hey Kaiser! Shocked to hear back from you. So cool!
Are you sure there’s not a psychologist hiding under that trainer hat of yours? Once again, you have opened my eyes even wider! I have sent your blog to all my buddies and everyone out here is stoked!
Yeah living here in Cali is not all it is cooked up to be. Traffic sucks worse than the Belt Parkway@ 5:00PM (I lived in Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn)
The $ is always steady here, but I am feeling the burn out. I am dreaming the life that your blog so clearly illustrates. Especially your Vegas bit.
Well you got me hooked and who knows what can happen if I keep reading the optimistic, make me day dream stuff you right.
Keep it up! Rivak