Independent training tends to be the goal of most personal trainers. Who doesn’t want to work for themselves? You get the freedom of schedule, choosing your own training style, and setting your rates. While independent training is great, it requires a high level of professionalism and hard work. Here are five critical mistakes that can make the challenge of training independently, much more work and frustration than necessary.
1. Going to train at a corporate gym in order to gain enough experience to begin independent training
A common thought process that new personal trainers share is that by working at a corporate job, they will be better prepared to work as an independent trainer. While there certainly are qualities that can be obtained from a corporate position that will help you as an independent trainer, it is not making the best use of your time.
Corporate style training is different in so many ways than independent, that for the amount of benefit you may receive, you will need to focus on so many more aspects that will not help you in an independent position. You may actually learn a lot of things that will make independent training more of a challenge. Let’s compare this to specificity in exercise science. If your main goal is to improve sports performance in a game like basketball, you would not go to soccer practice because in soccer you sprint, and sprinting is required in basketball as well. The best way to get better at the sport of basketball is by playing more basketball.
2. Focusing only on training, and not business
An easy mistake that independent trainers make, is underestimating the business aspect of working independently. Running a business is a skill of its own, and requires just as much energy, passion, and know-how as being a skilled personal trainer does. When you operate as an independent trainer, being a good personal trainer cannot be your only focus. You have to be a good personal trainer, as well as a good business owner. If you only want to train clients, there are many options that you can choose from. If you want to be an independent trainer, make sure that you are aware of the requirements and work that running a business will take, and then make sure that that is what you want!
3. Prioritizing cheap as opposed to value when it comes to business investments
It cost money to run a business, plain and simple. Every aspect, including communication tools, programming software, marketing, and payment processing, will require monetary investment from your business. While these tools do turn into expenses, they will also provide a lot of value to your business for both you and your client.
Clients prefer a professional environment, and a smooth relationship, while the trainer can benefit greatly from outsourcing, or using tools to take out a lot of excess leg work in operating a business. If your only focus is on spending as little as possible, you may lose out on a lot of opportunities to build a more valuable business. This doesn’t mean to get reckless with spending. Ensure that what you are investing in is a necessity for your business and provides a value that will, in turn, make your training business more desirable.
4. Obtaining other forms of employment for stability
Working as an independent trainer is not an easy task. In fact, it can be downright terrifying at times due to the “instability”. The truth is that there is nothing unstable about independent training. Many trainers will make the big mistake of getting a second job to bring in money while trying to build a personal training business on the side.
The reason this is a mistake is that the “side job” will use up a lot of valuable time that should be designated for building and growing your training business. Not only does it waste time, but it’s a huge misconception that working a corporate job is stable. Consider our current events. You can always be laid off, or let go from work and that is entirely out of your control. If you are a valuable asset to your employer, they may keep you. But, if you are a valuable asset at a corporation, then you can be a valuable asset in running your own business. It’s not the organization that is stable, it’s the individual.
5. Training your clients illegally
In an attempt to save money, trainers will illegally train their clients at corporate gyms, or public locations. Everything about this is wrong. First of all, you must tell your client to lie for you in case you are approached. This is a horrible standard to set for your business as it looks very unprofessional. Second, if you are to get caught, it will be very damaging to your business. You and your client may get banned from the facility you are training at, and if this happens, you will need to relocate your entire business.
Try to remember that how people perceive your business, will ultimately dictate the destiny of your business. If you are viewed as professional, your business will grow. On the other hand, if you represent your business poorly, and make any of these 5 mistakes, you will find it very challenging to grow your business.