Are you ready to start your own personal training business?

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Running your own personal training business is tough work. Take our business savvy quiz to see whether you have what it takes to shine on your own…

When starting a new business the first thing you should do is:

  1. Write a business plan
  2. Start taking on clients
  3. Get your business cards printed
  4. Open a bank account

If faced with a “BAS statement” would you:

  1. Be very insulted!
  2. Ask a friend for help
  3. Complete your paperwork on time and send into the ATO with payment
  4. Put it in your in tray for later

If a client offered you a discount for cash, would you say:

  1. Yes please
  2. Sure, but don’t tell anyone
  3. Maybe, how much are you willing to offer
  4. No, but thank you for asking

Which types of insurance do you need for you business?

  1. Fitness Professional Insurance for you & all your staff
  2. Professional Indemnity & public liability insurance for your business
  3. Business insurance for your office contents
  4. All of the above

When considering starting a business, who would you speak to for advice?

  1. Your partner, family & friends
  2. A mate who is an accountant
  3. Your accountant, solicitor & some other successful business owners
  4. No one, you make up your own mind

Why do you want your own business?

  1. You would rather work hard for yourself than for someone else
  2. You prefer to do things your own way
  3. You want to make a lot of money in a short period of time
  4. You want to invest your time building a future for yourself & your family

How would you best describe yourself?

  1. A well organised, highly technical trainer
  2. A bubbly people person, you can sell to anyone
  3. A doer, you get things done & drive people hard
  4. A quiet listener, you think things out before you act

How many years have you been working in the fitness industry?

  1. Less than 6 months
  2. 6 – 12 months
  3. 12-24 months
  4. 24 months plus

What type of personal & professional development do you do?

  1. None, I learnt everything I needed to in my Cert III & IV
  2. Just the basics to maintain my CEC’s
  3. I attend FILEX & other fitness courses, and subscribe to industry magazines
  4. I regularly read and attend seminars on fitness & sales, marketing, and business topics

What level of support are you getting from your partner, family & friends regarding starting your own business?

  1. none, they think I should get a proper job
  2. some, my industry friends said they’d work for me
  3. good, supportive and helping me look at my options
  4. enthusiastic, they are really supportive of my plans

How do you plan on funding the start up of your own business?

  1. I don’t need any money to get started, I’ll pay for things as I go
  2. Finance, I will borrow from a family member
  3. Finance, I will borrow from a bank
  4. Savings, I have significant funds available should I need it

How much money are you willing to invest in your business?

  1. Up to $1000, I just need business cards, flyers & some equipment
  2. Up to $10,000, I want a complete mobile business system
  3. Up to $50,000, I want to set up a basic studio
  4. Up to $200,000, I want to set up a small club

How much money do you want to earn from your business?

  1. $600 per week
  2. $1000 per week
  3. $1500 per week
  4. $2000 per week plus

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How did you go?

Writing your business plan is one of the most important things you can do for your business.  It will help you to clarify your ideas, establish a target market and determine your profit plan.  There are many templates online available for writing business plans, but I have found the most useful tool is a business plan workbook that asks you a series of questions and builds your plan from your answers.

Taxation is one of the areas that many businesses overlook.  Having a full time accountant on payroll may not be in your budget to begin with, but if you are not great with numbers consider using a bookkeeper part time.  Getting your BAS in on time helps you to track your financial success on a regular basis and keep on target with your goals.  We recommend Xero to keep track of your business finances.

Integrity is everything in business.  There is no point working hard to build up your brand name if you are going to cheapen it by doing dodgy deals.  It’s bad for you and the industry.  Remember by charging more you need less clients (that means less work) to earn the same income.

All of the above.  Insurance is an essential part of running your own business.  If you run your business from home, your home & contents insurance probably doesn’t cover your office equipment.  In addition to insuring yourself, and your premises you might want to consider income protection insurance since you are going to be self employed. You should also speak with the local council to determine what permits you require to run your business from home, public spaces or from a business premises.

Although it is important to share your ideas with your family & friends, remember to only take advice from someone who has done what you are proposing to do.  If you know people who are successful in business but cannot afford professional coaching, offer to take them out to lunch.  Only frauds will make you feel “little” for asking for help.  Every business should have a team of professional advisors – find a great accountant, solicitor, and some mentors in various areas like, sales, marketing, IT, management. There are also lots of online forums for fitness business owners on Facebook and Linked In.

There’s no such thing as get rich quick!  Even overnight successes took years of personal & professional development before they made it big.  If you have a long term approach, your business will be around for the long term.  Work hard at the start to get things moving then gradually bring in more people as you grow.  Remember you don’t go into business to buy yourself a job. Systemise so you can get out eventually.

When you are running your own business you need to be all of these things at different times.  The trick is, knowing when to be what!  Just being a great trainer is not enough to be a great business person.  As an independent owner you will need to be a sales expert, IT guru, awesome people manager, financial wiz, and the best trainer you can be.  You’ll also be the cleaner, maintenance person, accounts person, letter dropper and customer service specialist.  If you feel that you cannot do this, consider partnering with an existing brand that will do some of these activities for you.  There are many different systems available from tenancies to franchises to licences to agencies.  Make sure you pick one that supports you in the way you need and has the income opportunities you want.

The average career span for a personal trainer in our industry is less than 22 months.  Unless you have been working with clients and in other businesses for at least 2 years, it’s unlikely you have what it takes to go out on your own.  There are some things that must be learnt through experience and time.  If you’ve stuck it out for 2 years and you are still super passionate about helping people change their lives, and scaling your business you’re ready!  *Of course whatever career experience you bring to the table before becoming a personal trainer can assist you greatly, but if this is your first gig be patient with yourself if you want a long term career.

If you talk to any successful business person they’ll tell you that professional development is what made them succeed when others failed.  Reading is training for your brain, do it as often as your exercise! A few of my favourites are The Magic of Thinking Big, Richest Man in Babylon, The E-Myth Revisited. Take the time regularly to think strategically about your business and how you can do things better.

Running your own business you are going to be working hard.  It is essential that you are supported at home. Ideally you could involve your partner in some way so they don’t resent you spending time there.  If you are planning on working together, clearly define your areas so you can avoid clashing!  If you are being financially supported by your partners employment (or shared savings) while you get your business established be sure to set clear financial targets and payback strategies to avoid issues later.

If you can avoid borrowing money to start your business, you will avoid additional pressures later.  If you set up a savings plan while you are writing your business plan and sorting out your ideas you can be self sufficient from the start.  Remember if you have someone else investing in your business they are going to expect their money back with ROI in a timely manner.
Whatever you are willing to invest, always spend your money wisely.  Consider what return you expect and how long until you can withdraw your initial capital.  Most business who fail in the early stages do so due to lack of cash-flow.  Complete a thorough financial plan to ensure you have enough and monitor your spending carefully.

If you only want to earn a small amount of income it’s probably not worth the effort of starting your own business.  Bear in mind though, that you may jeopardise your long term business success by taking out too much too soon.


How did you score?

Give yourself 1 point for each correct answer you chose above…

1-6. At this stage being in business for yourself might not be the best move for you.  See if you can increase your skills by taking on some sales and management responsibilities, and attending some industry conferences to develop those areas of your skillset.

7-10. You have the desire, but may not be cut out to go entirely on your own. Consider partnering with a brand that will allow you to use your strengths & support you in the other aspects of your business.  Be sure to objectively evaluate the models you are considering to make sure you are not being swept up in the hype!

11-13. You’ve got what it takes to make your business a success, put in the ground work & go for it.

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