I’ve seen countless trainers pigeon-hole themselves into thinking that training HAS to be nothing but counting reps for one person at a time, limiting themselves and their earning potential drastically to simply the hours they work and the income charged per hour. Unfortunately, a large segment of trainers will not make it past one year working in the fitness industry, not because they don’t know how to train their clients appropriately, but because they have difficulty getting and keeping enough clients to make a decent income, or they wind up working themselves into the grave and burn out within a few months of 14 hour days and no time for themselves.
Yet on the other side of the coin, there are those who can seemingly coast through life, working a few hours a day, enjoying their time on this earth, and still making ridiculously large piles of bank. How do they do it? Is there a secret exercise that they have in their back pocket that gives their clients such great results? Do they practice Jedi Mind Tricks that help them get into their clients skulls like no other? Are they secretly an alien, or a cousin of Tom Cruise?
Sadly, nothing that fancy. What those special trainers have in their back pocket isn’t a remarkable exercise or wicked awesome mind tricks. They have a genuine empathy for their clients, and a mind of how to run their businesses on THEIR terms, as well as ways of getting new clients on auto-pilot through referral networks and marketing ventures. They also train a number of their clients in semi-private sessions, with 2 or even up to 5 clients at a time working with them. This gives them a bigger leverage on their time, and if one or two people can’t make their workout, they’re still getting paid by the remaining group members. Others run large group session, like Boot Camp classes, abs classes, or whatever they want to do, which gives a big price discount to the participants in return for a larger number of people at one time. I’ve seen trainers working with groups as large as 100 people without any problem (most are between 7-20 people, though!!), and the social aspect of these workouts makes them incredibly addictive for the participants. And nothing, I mean NOTHING brings out the competitive fire within a client like having a group of people performing the same or similar activities, and seeing the rest of them pushing hard and trying to keep up!!
Sounds pretty sweet, doesn’t it? The truly exceptional trainers think of new ways to make income through fitness without having to work harder or add in extra hours that don’t get rewarded, or have to worry about client cancellations, no-shows, etc determining their income. Many of the best teach seminars, workshops, webinars, and other courses that allow them to charge for the dissemination of knowledge. Imagine making $1000 or more for a single day of leading a group of fitness professionals through a workout, classroom session, and new thought process that really motivates you and gets amazing results for your clients? There are literally hundreds of trainers doing this on a daily basis, and each trainer brings something new and unique to the table from their experiences, education, thought process, and methods of combining information to create something truly unique and valuable.
On top of this, the truly successful have products that they sell for passive income through their websites, in fitness stores, at conferences, whatever. My first webinar took me about 4-6 hours to put together, and with the help of Rick Kaselj, has helped me to make about $500, and it’s just getting started. I’ve started recording a lot of the seminars I give for the possibility of selling them in the future, and this has only taken me all of 2 minutes additionally to set up and configure each time, plus getting the software and microphone to make it happen.
Ever read a book and though, “Well I could have written a better book than that!!” Well…….Do it!! There’s nothing holding you back from writing a book, or making a DVD series, or anything that could reach a broader audience than you could in a single day or single location. It doesn’t mean you have to write the next New York Times best-seller, but if you do, it would be pretty cool, right?
Educational products are one thing, but if you don’t think you have what it takes to teach someone anything about fitness (Note: Why are you in fitness, then, if not to teach people??), there are also physical products that can be made and sold, or even finding current products that can be sold through yourself as an affiliate, making a commission on the sale. This takes literally a few minutes to set up and very little tech savvy at all. Most companies that want you as an affiliate will literally lay out the steps for you so that there is no way for you to screw up. They figure if you have a great experience and sell their product for them, they win in the end by getting more sales out of you!! On top of this, if you want to buy the product yourself, you can get paid the commission on the purchase price, which makes it just like getting paid to shop!!
The Future and I went to see “The Social Network” this weekend as a part of our date-night, and it’s hard to see any part of the world we live in that isn’t influenced by the concept of social media. You’re probably reading this blog right now through either a link on my Facebook page (if you haven’t added me yet, feel free to do so!!), and the really cool thing about these types of social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Youtube, etc) is that they are all free, offer the users the chance to put up whatever they want, and allows for a great staging ground for a small business or on-line presence to be developed.
To give you an idea of what it means to have a diversified or passive income capability, this year more than 30% of my income will come from non-training income sources.
Next year, I want that number to be closer to 50%, without having a reduction in my training income by even a single penny, which means teaching more seminars, producing more webinars, writing a book, and getting more clients into semi-private training and large-group training to help leverage my time. I’m certainly not going to reduce my 1-on-1 training, especially for any new clients with injury or medical concerns, but the hope is that as they continue to get stronger and more fit they can roll into a semi-private session with others at or near their same ability where they can still take advantage of training without having to fight for times. This means my overall income will go up, without having to sacrifice working 16 hours a day, burning out, or delivering crappy service to my clients because I’m too tired from the previous day.
I know some trainers who work 10 hours a week and still make over 6 figures each year!!
In short, I’ve never understood why a trainer could fail at making enough money, unless they weren’t exploring all their options for working to their full potential within the fitness industry. With so many options and resources available to create a successful business, it should be a no-brainer to get to a stage where you can choose how much you want to make in a year, as well as how much you would like to work in order to earn that income. With so many creative and easy ways to make a few extra bucks over the internet, as well as all the opportunities afforded to share knowledge, build a fan base, organize distribution lists with a click of a button, there’s pretty much only one limitation to achieving your own financial, professional and life goals.