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3 Things Personal Trainers Can Do To Be More Financially Secure

One of the hardships in the profession as a Personal Trainer is that 95+% of the time you have to directly exchange your time for money (sessions) to create an income for yourself. Obviously that’s the norm for EVERY job, however there are a few catches that most may not recognize in the personal training career path.

Client contracts ‘expire’ every block of session - no long term projections

Weather impacts your ability to deliver services - we had 2 feet of snow this weekend in Vermont…

People can no-show, fall off the face of the earth, and never USE their sessions which leaves a trainer unpaid

Personal Trainers spend so much TIME delivering their service, it can be HARD to get ahead in another revenue source…

These are very common questions that my staff and other trainers will pose and the underlying tone is always how do I create more financial security for myself?

Here’s 3 ways to do it…

1) Leverage your available marketing platforms

This is specifically for those who are in a commercial gym or working for/within a training facility. LEVERAGE THAT FACILITY! The health club I work for has 20,000 members, 6,000 members come in to our specific location alone each week. Things that the health club offers? A wide reach of direct community members. Chances are in a health club/ commercial gym setting you are getting buried under other services and members aren’t seeing you. Check to see if there is a newsletter that goes out that can do a feature on you. Does the gym have a social media page- do a take over of the account. Find ways to leverage the gym to make you more visible!

The hopeful outcome? An increased client roster. More clients, more consistent income and the opportunity to start more programming for yourself.

2) Create and sell programming

This isn’t necessarily advice to create a fitness product, but indeed is baby steps to get in that direction. I’ll keep using my health club as an example. Do I think a 4-6 week new member program would sell? You bet. Are there very intelligent coaches who could create a very good ‘block zero’ program for all new members to do? You bet. Everyone wants to jump to social media to sell their name, did you see the stats of my health club? 20,000 bodies walking in…I’m sure the membership department would love to answer the question “where do i start?” and personal trainers would love to have an easy and profitable solution to “I just want a program, can you write me one (for free)?”

The hopeful outcome? Passive income from selling a program/product. The better outcome? People who do this program, enjoyed it, and now become a very qualified lead to pursue other fitness offerings.

3) Teach workshops/webinars/clinics at a higher price point.

As your training career evolves you will most likely find that you enjoy working with a specific population of people OR you develop a particular set of skills (re-read that with a Liam Neeson voice). Monetize those skills. Create workshops on-site in your facility, reach out to local businesses that your skill set is relevant to, partner with other coaches to hold a clinic (NOTE- clinics are harder and more work than you think, worth exploring, but not the easiest thing on this list to do). By doing these things you have the ability to charge a higher price point and supplement your income. At first I wouldn’t view this as a new (and consistent) revenue stream, rather, something that supplements a slower training season or revenue you can account for in a very unpredictable career.

The hopeful outcome? Tons of leads related to your skill set, amazing networking opportunities, and of course, an increased opportunity to teach and present!

I’m hoping these three things spark some ideas that you CAN be more financially secure as you start to diversify your portfolio, so to speak, as well as making sure your main revenue sources are very full and low-risk. Trainers and Coaches- if you ever have any questions on something like this, drop a line in the comments OR reach out to me directly via email or on social media- I’m always happy to help!


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3 Things To Consider Before Your Next Certification

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This is probably my favorite question from college students, our interns, and of course, my Personal Trainer colleagues.

“Hey, what’s your thought about XYZ certification?

or simply…

“What cert should i get next?”

At this point i have three pretty firm thoughts and here they are below…

1) Does this certification make you money?

I put this as my first point for a reason. Coaching courses typically run $500-$1500, sheesh! My FIRST year as a trainer I made $27,000. (double sheesh!) - you catch my drift here….You can argue that ANY certification will make you money. What I am specifically referencing is does your new knowledge in an area will expand your services, allowing you to charge more? Or will it add a new skill set that will bring you a different realm of clientele?

I typically almost recommend the Functional Movement Screen as a go-to certification - it’s affordable (with in person and online options) and gives coaches a specific skill set that can be monetized. By no means is this a sales pitch, rather, just an example of a certification that clearly adds to someone who holds a base level coaching certification.

The punchline here is to not be afraid of putting on your business hat and making sure you can yield a positive return on your investment!

2) Does XYZ certification fit the mold of your coaching beliefs?

This one typically stumps most people.

In our social media driven world it is very common to fall in to recency bias and want to learn about the new ‘thing’ in our industry.

Curiosity killed the cat, right?

Maybe that’s a dumb reference but you get the point.

Certifications cost a good chunk of money and if you’re in a remote location like northern Vermont, then you probably have to fly and stay in a hotel everywhere you go, compounding overall expenses.

Simply put- if what you want to learn has a place in your coaching methods, fire it up. If not, save your money for what you truly enjoy.

3. Is XYZ certification going to help you get to your career goal(s)?

In my professional life of 10 years of personal training, I have been asked once if I had my Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA-CSCS) certification. One time. The person to ask? The Athletic Director at the College who contracts our training facility to be their Strength Coaches.

Moral of the story? If you’re a personal trainer who wants to work within a certain population OR within a certain setting? Yes, a certification will help the resume - it will also help you network in that avenue- but don’t jack up your wallet to ‘just have’ every certification under the sun. I guarantee your clients care more that you’re a good person who helps them set and reach THEIR goals rather than pushing your knowledge of some random massage therapy gun that just came on the market.

So the next time you see a banner ad for XYZ certification and you jump to grab your credit card, ask yourself these questions and see if it is really worth your valuable money and more valuable time!


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