What’s always surprised me most about the success stories I hear coming in on the blog is how quickly and abruptly everyone takes action. These guys and gals all pick and burn the bridges once they find out about the world of Personal Training out there that doesn’t involve training in a big-box health-club. No sleazy bosses, negative co-workers, and crappy pay? Yes it’s a reality, and I guess once it becomes clear that it’s possible, there’s no going back.
But the answer to “when’s the right time?” is different for everyone. Every situation is different, and even though action needs to be taken fast, it’s relative. For example, here’s an email I just got from a long time reader of the blog Jeff. Looking at his delicate situation will bring to light to anyone that’s also looking to plan their health-club exit and start their training business.
I need the input of a professional with your knowledge. Here is my dilema. i consider today day 1 of my conquest to become a top level trainer with my purchase of your material. My cousin Sam and i just got off the phone. i train at 24 hr right now and i have to bartend on the weekends to make the bills, even though my expenses are LLOOOOOOWWW. Do i quit the gym today and work 4-5 nights a week bartending, or keep on doing what i am doing until i build a few independent clients. obviously you know if 24hr finds out i am working there and have my own business my ass is grass anyways, which is fine. i won’t gain any “positive” training from the gym anymore. you know how it is. i basically figure i will need a solid 1k to get things up and running. as far as equipment, clothes, insurance., etc. soooooo, I just want to hear your advice!!! thanks for your help!!!!
Hey Jeff – if you want success as a trainer, you need to view yourself as only a trainer. Working an outside job won’t do it. Is your income from both jobs about even? If so, I’d quit the bartending.
I know your healthclub income isn’t doing the job right now, and you’re trying to get out of there AFAP. But here’s what you’ll find – your healthclub income will go up once you stop the moonlighting. I have a feeling your income will jump at least 50% just because of the full focus you’ll now be putting on training. And if you need quick client getting, income earning, and general survival tactics to get your earnings up while at the gym, just ask us in the comment section.
Subconsciously, the fact that you’re working in a bar and haven’t fully devoted yourself to training is probably hurting you. I remember when I started as a trainer, I was still in Pharmacy School (will share the strange and twisted story one of these days). And because I didn’t have my mind or attention fully into training, and didn’t view it as a solid, long-term career track full of amazing potential, I got absolutely nothing out of it. Only after I left Pharmacy School did my training business take off. And it happened by itself. People could just sense that I was a real, “full-time” trainer, and they wanted to train with me.
You get out of it what you put into it – check that – training pays you back twice what you put into it. Hmmm … but 24 Hour Fitness is one of the worst healthclubs out there from a trainer’s perspective, known for accidentally losing entire training paychecks and commission checks – so how do you get out?
Here’s the trick – once you’re out of the bar, go all out toward builing your private client base. In the 10-20 hours a week you free up, you can write your Craigslist ads and find someone to post them, give out orders on your website, write your web copy, research what other high performing trainers are doing, interview all of the local private gyms to find a good potential new home, and comb your current clients for referrals that you can train OUTSIDE of 24 Hour. In as little as 2 weeks you can have 2-4 new clients that will more than make up for the loss in income, and will get you started with your training business full steam.
And being active here on this blog and investing in products like the TOP-LEVEL TRAINER MANUAL is an excellent start. Start getting active in the industry too – attend events near you when they come up, business as well as training events. I always feel training knowledge can be learned adequately on your own through reading and video courses (although I know Dave Parise will disagree with that). But to learn the business side of training, you need to actually go to where the movers and shakers are, and take in the energy, vibe, and focus of the people that are making it happen. The only way you can do that is at industry events.
So in your case Jeff, my advice to you is DUMP THE BAR and become a real trainer – focus only on training. And if you get any bumps and bruises, you know what to do – we’re here to help. And great job jumping on the MANUAL during launch week – that’s really going to help you out.
Want more articles on getting out of the gym? Here are a few classics:
Let’s continue the conversation – leave your comments below:
What ARE some good marketing tactics to use if you are working in a health club?
Kaiser, Pharmacy School huh? I could tell you were a smart guy and now I know why…that’s a tough degree to obtain.
Also, a quick reminder to Jeff…I know I’ve pounded this point home several times on this blog, but don’t forget the importance of client retention. It costs up to ten times as much to get new clients as it does to retain current ones.
Remember, it’s all about them (your client) when you’re training. Really listen to what your client is saying. Too many trainers just go through the motions of being a trainer.
Here’s an article I wrote for PFP magazine that will give you some helpful tips to build and maintain client / trainer relationships.
Good Post Kaiser!
Just got back from a week in Florida to recharge the battery and get refocused. Quick question….I started posting craiglist ads for getting clients and got 2 responses so I emailed them back. My question is whats the best way to convert these people from sending me an email in which they ask for pricing to actually meeting with them for an initial consultation.
Hey Rickey – your management at the H/C should be cooperative with any marketing you do since it makes them money – in that case, put up posters with brochures and your business card that show your clients before and afters, and every month, hold a body fat testing day where you set up a table and hold consultations (using the TLT sales script) – for a week or two leading up to the body-fat day, have them make announcements on the loudspeaker and post signs about it –
Gret J., couldn’t agree with you more – that’s my philosophy – once you have clients, keep them – at a certain point for any trainer, marketing should become irrelevant.
Greg C., glad to hear it you’re already getting clients man! – you’ll find details on that in the two SALES chapters of the TLT – if you have any specific questions, let me know.