You've just earned your personal training credentials, and now you're excited to start your new career. Before you begin, make sure you understand these 4 common challenges and how to overcome them.
1. Lack of Experience
No matter what industry you're trying to break into, it seems that employers always want to hire people that already have experience. It's a frustrating but very real fact of life, and it definitely affects new personal trainers trying to get their first gig at a health club or gym. Many employers won't be satisfied with your credentials alone, but instead will want the opportunity to review past work performance and even speak to your clients before hiring. Running a free fitness clinic with an official website at your local community center can be a great way to pad your resume and add some real experience. You might also ask if the gym you would like to work for would be willing to let you do a free test session in their facility or hire you for a short trial period.
2. No Client Base
New fitness trainers often struggle with building up their client base. Fitness training is a very personal affair, and so you need to do more than just advertise your credentials. You also need to advertise your interpersonal skills through client testimonials. If your first few clients are especially chatty, you might be able to rely on word of mouth advertising alone, but usually you need to supplement this with other tactics. For example, you might offer a free session for clients who agree to post a review of your services on a site like Yelp or Google. You might also print up flyers with real client reviews, or use reviews to build a web page.
3. Lack of Business Savvy
Fitness training is a business, just like any other, and it needs to be run as such! You need to crunch the numbers to find the right pricing for your services, balance your income against your expenses, and keep track of all your receipts for tax purposes. Many new personal trainers neglect the business side of their new career, which makes it virtually impossible for them to be successful. If you are not business-savvy, you might consider working for a gym or joining a fitness training franchise. Either way, you will get valuable support and guidance with business issues.
New trainers are often so enthusiastic about getting into the business that they overextend themselves. This is especially true of trainers that are continuing to work another full time job as they transition into full time training. Be realistic about how much time you can dedicate to training and what time slots you can be available to train. You probably don't want to agree to see one client before work at 5:30 am and another after dinner at 11 pm. If you're tired, you can't motivate your clients effectively. Set limits on when you will be available, and stick to them! This will actually help you in the long run, because it creates a feeling that you are in demand.