So many things go into building a successful fitnesstraining business that it is easy to neglect one aspect while working onanother. The-day-to-day work of booking and working with clients can mean thatyou end up working IN your business rather than ON it. Chances are that youhave heard that phrase before. You might even have taken steps to bring thingsinto balance. There is also a chance that you might have been too busy working toactually have addressed the issue.

If the situation goes on for too long, you will end upresenting your "job" and feel like a slave to the business... and to yourclients. I remember a time (before cell phones) when I dreaded my pager goingoff because it just meant that I had ONE MORE THING to do in my busy day. Nevermind that I was spending hundreds of dollars on advertising every month toactually make the pager go off! When the beeping actually started giving mestomachaches, I realized that it was time to step back and figure out just whatwas going on.

It is likely that you started your personal trainingbusiness out of passion. You worked out your whole life and it seemed like theperfect way to make a living. Thinking that because you work out means that youcan SELL working out is the most common mistake that people make when goinginto business. If initially YOU are the business (as in "Steve's" Fitness),then you WILL become a slave to it at some point.

When you are in the early stages of establishing yourself asa professional, think big! Think ahead and imagine the things that may come up.Anticipate the challenges that you will face. It is better to be proactive asopposed to reactive. It is important for you to stay in control. Yourprosperity, your enjoyment and your sanity all depend on this!

I am not suggesting that you shouldn't do the actual workthat your business does (in this case personal training), but, if your businessonly exists WHEN you do the work, then you've got a job, not a business. A bigchallenge for self-employed people is to accept that they have to "let go" ofany aspect of their operation. I would suggest that you examine the differentpieces of your business and ask yourself a couple of questions. "Is doing thisthe best use of my time?" and "Who can do this better than me to enhance myability to steer the business?"

As the owner, YOUR job is to anticipate the present andfuture needs of your operation and to figure out how to meet them. There may betimes when it has to be you doing the work, but, that's not your job. Your jobis to put the best people in the best position to succeed. Your job is tosupport them and create an environment that runs on systems, not on people. Whenyou can imagine your fitness business as an entity entirely separate from you,you will be on your way. If you cannot imagine it existing without you (and youwant to be more than a one-trainer operation), you've got some work to do.

Ernie Schramayr is an ACE-Certified Personal Trainer and the owner of All Canadian Fitness, a private training studio in Hamilton, Ontario (