Whether you train under someone else's roof or you are responsible for your very own brick-and-mortar, you are operating a business. Running a business requires a plan beyond selling packages and serving clients.

We become trainers because we genuinely love people and we love to exercise. Spending hours researching behavior change, the latest and greatest training techniques, writing programs and standing on our feet for 12 hours a day helping motivate others to get fit seems like a gift. But the work that must be done to ensure we have clients to train seems like a chore and one we're often not too excited to tackle.

To thrive in this industry, you must be willing to spend equal time working on your business as you do working in your business. In other words, you must set aside a good chunk of time each week, month and quarter to assess your business, plan for growth and tackle projects to move you forward. Yes, off the floor, in front of a computer, and possibly not in workout gear.

A good rule of thumb is to begin by setting aside a minimum of 10% of your total hours each week for this type of work. The time should be in large blocks versus short clips interspersed between clients and at a time and place where you can think freely and be productive.

For example, if you plan to work a total of 40 hours each week, find two 2-hour blocks or one 4-hour block each week. As you can, you should increase the time you set aside to 6-8 hours per week. While this is a few more hours each week you are not billing, the time spent on your business will quickly turn into cash with your proactive planning. Place your block at a time where you feel fresh and energized; perhaps at the start of the week versus saving it for Friday afternoon after a week's worth of clients. And do not leave this time to chance. Put it in your schedule and treat the shift as sacred.

Use this time to connect with clients, previous clients, potential clients and strategic partners. Spend energy dreaming about new products and services. Concentrate on developing content and informational products that can be repurposed well into the future.

This time is not for record keeping, scheduling clients or billing. This time should be reserved for big thinking, big planning and big doing. Yes, it will take discipline and faith; but know the more you can invest in time spent off the floor, the more money you can earn on the floor.

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