PFP tried something new... We asked you to tell us about your business. Readers gave us some great responses -- some are the same things we've been all been saying for years, some are new.

1. What is the one thing that has worked best for you in building your business or clientele?

Word of mouth referrals... A joint venture with a fitness equipment store... Offer something for nothing... Show up every day with a passion for fitness and an unconditionally positive attitude, offer a unique product line and specialized niche within industry... Building relationships. I started with one client, a real estate agent, after calling an ad for a condo complex she was listing a unit in. My call was to inquire about providing training in their fitness center, and as a result we met and shortly after she started training with me... Knowledge and experience... The "hybrid" approach: teaching classes in yoga, Pilates and other areas of fitness to pull clients into my personal training business... Consistency, motivation and expertise... Listening to what the clients want.

2.  What do you do to generate referrals, word-of-mouth advertising, and build buzz around your training business?

Happy clients are great advertisers... Provide referral incentives... Ask satisfied clients to write up a  referral or recommendation and to tell their friends about me... Monthly newsletters, community events... Networking on Facebook, creating client challenges and making programs exciting... Attend national conferences, discuss issues within the industry (articles, letters to editor, blogs) and work with other companies... My ability to teach a variety of classes and mold classes to specific desires of clients... I have a website, use flyers and ask clients to share what they have learned with others. When coaches comment on their improved speed, tell them where you got it... Deliver HIGH quality fitness consistently, for all the money!


3. What is the one thing in your business you would most like to improve?

Long term retention... Help, manpower... Getting a steady stream of clients... Insurance coverage for prehab/rehab... Advertising... Co-branding... Recognizing my clients and their achievements. I've had some of my clients for five to 10 years and the personal achievements are remarkable. I want to spend time highlighting their success and submitting their stories to magazines, local media sources, etc... I want to rent out the studio when I am not using it!... A facility that can be used during the fall and winter season in the Northwest... Equipment.

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What is your average annual income for your fitness-related work/business?