Whether you are a newly certified personal trainer, or a veteran in the industry, be sure to check yourself at the door with these common mistakes that will quickly destroy your business.

1. Talking about yourself
This one seems obvious, but can be very easy to forget. Building a strong, professional relationship is probably the single most important aspect of your career. Your clients need to feel comfortable talking to you about their deepest thoughts, fears, motivations and goals. This involves trust and communication from both parties. However, never forget that your clients are paying you for your time. The goal is to do the best you can to relate to them while keeping the subject matter on their goals, ambitions, etc. The conversation should always start and end with them.

Most clients who work with a personal trainer over time will eventually learn the trainer's story, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Relatability and communication are critical when establishing a strong relationship with your clients. Just be sure to ask yourself, do you know more about your clients than they know about you?

2. Too much analysis, not enough execution
The best trainers in the industry often think way too much. Start taking action. You can sit in your gyms all day and come up with strategies for building your business, setting up bootcamps, websites, generating more leads, putting together seminars, and so on; but none of these thoughts matter without action and execution.

A good rule to follow: Stop saying "we need..." and start saying "let's do..."

Pick an idea that you think will help build your business, and go do it. If it doesn't get the return you were looking for, do it differently. If it is still not working out, move on to the next idea. Stop wasting time analyzing the possibilities of your ideas. What really makes something create a return on the investment is the execution; doing something is always more rewarding than doing nothing.

3. Wasting time
Sounds simple, but time management is the main factor that separates the trainers that make over six figures and the trainers that are still making under $30,000 a year.

Time management is doing what is going to give you the best return on your investment each minute throughout the day. This takes strategy! That even includes scheduling your workout, and when you are going to eat throughout the busy day.

Time management also means spending less time in typical gym conversations, or browsing social media sights. Time management means knowing every person’s name who comes into your gym and their goals. It means dedicating time toward marketing, networking, professional development and client retention.

The only way to be successful with time management is to build your schedule, and keep a priority check list. This should include things you need to get done that day (sending clients an email/text for scheduling or retention), that week (finalizing a group class or seminar) and that month (completing a new CEU or article). Stick to your priorities and stop procrastinating on tasks that you have not yet mastered. The only way to get better is to simply do it.

4. Thinking you are the Chuck Norris of fitness
The theories of fitness today in many ways are different from the theories twenty years ago. Yet, the basics are still the same. Stop thinking that you have it all figured out. This industry is always evolving. Your clients do not care what new certifications you have, how many clients you train or how much you can bench press. They care about results.

The best personal trainers in the industry are humble, passionate and good listeners who can educate, motivate and inspire. This takes humility and a passion to learn. Thinking you have mastered it all will cause you to hit a business plateau. Whereas understanding this will allow you to reach new heights in your career.

If you feel you are stuck, go do something outside of your comfort zone. Start a blog, a running group, a power lifting class, something! Continue to challenge yourself to become better at your craft each day.

5. Making excuses instead of evaluating yourself
A huge part of personal training is teaching your clients how to overcome their excuses. You must be willing to check yourself with the same reality. Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of believing the statements that some trainers make:

"People in this area just don't have the money."

"People in this area don't like to spend money."

"We need one of those_____ machines like ____ has."

"We need more space."

"It's too nice outside, the fair is in town, it’s Labor Day week, Christmas is coming up…"

Stop finding alibies as to why your business is not successful, and start looking at yourself. The personal trainers who are successful in this industry all have one trait in common: They continually evaluate their performance and figure out what is going to work for their business. Instead of pointing to external factors as to why they are not successful, they figure out what they need to do differently on a daily basis to grow their business.


Greg Vaughn, CES, is a Multi-Unit Manager at Stay Fit 24. Greg started in the industry in 2009. Since, he has helped thousands of clients, and hundreds of personal trainers reach their personal and professional goals. For more check out www.stayfit24.com

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