There are many kinds of personal trainers. We all have our specialties and our favorite clients to train. We also all have unique career aspirations and goals for our businesses and our lives. Some personal trainers are more than happy to work for someone and to simply show up for work, do an exceptional job and then leave the "business" side to someone else. There are many amazing trainers that fit into this category, and there is a need for them. As a reader of PFP, however, you probably don't fit into this category, and you probably have intentions of building your business and of working on the business side of personal training.
As the owner of All Canadian Fitness, since 1993, I have experienced many of the triumphs as well as the normal setbacks common for any business. I have also experienced a steady growth in both profits and in the quality of our expanding training team. If I were asked to name the one thing that facilitated this transition from one trainer doing home visits to six full-time personal trainers in a private studio, it would be that I have been consistent in my approach to business practices from day one. My early philosophy was to "fake it until you make it."
As a parent, I see this all the time as we teach our kids to do the right thing. Manners count. So does punctuality, cleanliness and attention to detail. We want them to act like fully formed human beings even though they are still in the process of growing and maturing. No parent would ever let their child run wild and then try to teach them how to behave only once they got to adulthood. It just doesn't work.
In business, this means that when you only have one single client, act like you've got 50. Make sure that you've got all the right insurance. Charge and collect all taxes that are required in your industry. Dress, speak and answer the phone just like you would if you were heading up a successful multi-trainer team. It is never too early to start learning and applying good, sound business habits. Ultimately, you become what you think about and how you act. To be successful, act successful.
As your business grows and expands, the demands on your time and your life will change, and your mindset must also change accordingly. Just as you should act like a success right from your startup, you should start to implement changes in your business life to take you closer to your ultimate goal even before you get there. In my case, I started to move from being a one-man training team towards becoming a manager of people and resources after hiring my first trainer. My goal of having a full team of trainers meant that I had to put into place the systems and procedures that successful organizations used. I wrote contracts, job descriptions, procedure manuals, employee handbooks, etc. and practiced acting like I was already "there," although I was still in the middle of the journey.
It really never is too early to practice being successful!
Ernie Schramayr is an ACE-Certified Personal Trainer and the owner of All Canadian Fitness, a private training studio in Hamilton, Ontario (www.allcanadianfitness.com).
Next month: "Paralysis by Analysis"