If you surveyed one million people and asked them to list three activities they think are the most fun, it’s highly unlikely that ‘creating a budget’ would get even a single mention. However, when it comes to ensuring that your personal training business not only survives, but thrives and grows, then you need to embrace financial planning as your new best buddy!
Perhaps it just needs better branding to boost its spot on the fun scale. The Cashflow Conga? The Fiscal Frolic? The Banking Boogaloo? Hmmm… perhaps not.
The truth is, tracking income and expenses can lay the foundation for lasting financial success, so enough messing around – let’s get financially fit!
SET CLEAR FINANCIAL GOALS
You won’t know what you’re aiming for financially unless you set very clear goals. Perhaps you want to upgrade equipment, invest in recording technology, expand your services, or hire another trainer. Whatever you’re striving for, you may find it helpful to apply the S.M.A.R.T. goals.
Specific: Are you being too vague or broad?
Upgrade equipment. vs Purchase twelve resistance bands.
Measurable: How will you know when you’ve achieved the goal?
Save money for bands. vs Put aside $50 per week for 2 months.
Achievable: In other words, is it realistic?
Upgrade all equipment. vs Purchase a new set of equipment each quarter.
Relevant: Will it progress your business growth and success?
Purchase designer workout gear. vs Purchase advertisement in local movie theatre.
Time-bound: Have you made yourself accountable to achieve the goal?
Purchase twelve resistance bands. vs Purchase twelve resistance bands by March 1st.
For more of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals check out our recent blog post: Set, Measure, Achieve! Goals For Personal Trainer And Client Success
DO THE BUDGET BOOGIE
Doesn’t that sound fun?? Okay, maybe the rebranding isn’t working… but that doesn’t mean creating a budget tailored to your personal training business has to be difficult or torturous.
Having a budget enables you to:
- Pay for fixed costs such as rent and utilities (if you are renting space), ongoing equipment costs (renting costs), insurance, technology, and software, just to name a few.
- Pay for operational costs such as marketing, travel expenses, business management expenses (such as an accountant), etc.
- Focus your financial resources on crucial business processes such as those that contribute more towards revenue generation.
- Reach special goals such as purchasing recording equipment to start virtual training or to build your workout library.
- Better survive tax season.
There are many more benefits but not enough space in this blog post to mention them all. Below is an example of how you can apply budgeting to your coaching.
As a personal trainer, your services are your primary source of revenue. Crunching the numbers to find your break-even point will provide the core for your budget and help you determine whether your projected revenue from sales will be enough to cover all your costs.
As an example, let’s assume your fixed and operational costs amount to $5,000 per year. You aspire to earn a salary of $80,000 per year, which means you need to generate a total revenue of $85,000 annually from selling your fitness services.
Consider your availability to work five days a week, for a total of 48 weeks, equivalent to 240 working days. Deduct 15 days for anticipated sickness and holidays, leaving you with 225 working days.
You plan to dedicate at least eight hours daily to your personal training business, but after accounting for traveling and other administrative tasks, you estimate being able to offer five hours of coaching each day. Now, let’s calculate your rate:
Hours per year = 5 hours per day x 225 working days, resulting in 1,125 hours
Divide your goal of $85,000 by 1,125 hours, and you’ll find that your minimum hourly rate should be $75.50.
This figure represents your break-even point, sufficient to cover your costs and salary, but no additional profit to expand your business.
Then you need to ask yourself some critical questions:
If the hourly rate you came up with isn’t enough to cover expenses or ensure growth, you could consider other ways to boost your earnings without raising the base rate. An example is offering a ‘train with a friend’ discount meaning you can have two people paying something like $65 each so you are getting $130 for the hour rather than $75.50. Or you could offer group training with each person paying something like $50 (depending on how many in each group, that’s at least $100 per hour).
This blog post by nerdwallet breaks down the budget process: How to Create a Business Budget for Your Small Business
TRACK YOUR EXPENSES
Unfortunately, when it comes to budgeting you can’t just set and forget. Like with training, the more effort you put in, the more you get out. It’s super important to regularly review your financial comings and goings so you can make informed decisions. Allocating a bit of time each week to check on your finances will help you stay on track and quickly see if you need to make corrections.
This article from Business News Daily outlines the kinds of expenses you should be tracking and how to do it: What Business Expenses Do You Need to Track?
There are also plenty of tools out there to help. Here are just a few user-friendly tools and methods to help you manage your finances effectively.
Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets are versatile tools for creating customized expense and income tracking spreadsheets. You can create categories, input data, and create graphs to visualize your financial trends.
A program such as QuickBooks offers a user-friendly platform for small businesses. It helps you track income, expenses, and even offers features like invoicing and financial reports.
Wave is a free accounting software that is suitable for small businesses. It allows you to track income and expenses, send invoices, and generate basic financial reports.
TrueCoach Payments simplifies payments, ensuring you get paid faster and more consistently. You can avoid awkward money conversations with clients and escape the endless Venmo requests, giving you more time to focus on coaching instead of chasing payments.
Mint and YNAB (You Need A Budget) are personal finance apps that helps you create budgets, track expenses, and view your overall financial picture. They could also be useful for tracking your small business spending and saving.
Cloud-based bookkeeping services
Xero is a cloud-based accounting software that can integrate with your bank accounts and credit cards, making it easy to reconcile transactions.
QuickBooks Online is an online version that allows you to access your financial data from anywhere.
Less popular these days but still effective if you prefer a low-tech approach. You can keep physical records of your expenses and income in a dedicated ledger or notebook. Just be sure to categorize and update it regularly – and it’s wise to make digital copies just to be safe.
If you can afford it, you may want to retain the services of a professional bookkeeper, accountant or business manager.
BE READY FOR ANYTHING
A personal trainer’s income can vary, and your finances could fluctuate month to month. Spring and fall could be busier times for training whereas winter and the hottest times in summer could see a drop-off in sessions. Or, as we experienced recently, a global pandemic could spring up out of nowhere causing mass business closures.
Ensure that your budget plans for leaner months (or global events) so that your business can survive irregular cash flow periods.
- Study your previous incomings and outgoings to build a picture of past trends so you know what to expect. Build a budget that allocates resources according to the patterns you find.
- Set aside emergency funds that could be drawn from to ensure the most important bills are paid. To make this even more foolproof, set up an automatic payment to send the money to a separate account each month and don’t touch it.
- Adjust pricing and special deals around times you know will experience peaks or dips. Offer discounts and promotions during slower times to attract more business.
The US Chamber of Commerce offers more information here: 5 Tips for Ensuring Your Business Has Enough Cash on Hand
TAKE THE PAIN OUT OF TAX TIME
No amount of rebranding can make this process fun. The Taxation Tantrum. The Receipt Wrangle.
Jokes aside, there’s no avoiding tax time so you might as well ensure you’ve planned accordingly and have all of your files ready and organized so that it’s as smooth and painless as possible. It couldn’t hurt to also plan something nice to treat yourself with when it’s over…
Tax planning is crucial for personal trainers to minimize their tax liabilities and ensure compliance with tax laws. We can’t cover everything you need to know here, but some things to be aware of are:
These are the costs of running your business and for a personal trainer they can include fitness equipment, marketing costs, professional development, insurance premiums, home office deductions, vehicle expenses, and retirement contributions.
Personal trainers who are self-employed are responsible for paying estimated taxes on a quarterly basis. This covers income tax and self-employment tax. Use the IRS Form 1040-ES to calculate and submit these payments.
To calculate estimated taxes, estimate your annual income and deductions. Then, calculate your estimated tax liability for the year and divide it into four equal quarterly payments.
Estimated tax deadlines are typically on April 15, June 15, September 15, and January 15. Ensure you meet these deadlines to avoid penalties.
Keeping records of ALL of your business expenses is crucial! Even if you employ an expert to help you out at tax time they will need all of that documentation.
Maintain separate bank accounts and credit cards for your business to make record-keeping easier.
Keep detailed records of all business-related expenses, including receipts, invoices, and a categorized expense log. This will help you support your deductions in case of an audit.
Consult a Tax Professional
If your tax situation becomes complex, consider working with a tax professional or accountant who specializes in self-employed individuals and small businesses. In fact, you may want to do this even if it isn’t complex.
Remember that tax requirements differ across the world so make sure you’ve obtained advice specific to your region.
For US specific help try these articles from the US Chamber of Commerce:
INVEST IN YOURSELF AND FUTURE-PROOF YOUR BUSINESS
Part of your budget preparation should include allocating funds to invest in professional development and business growth (e.g. courses, certifications, or expanding service offerings). Sure, doing this may see you tighten the purse strings in the short term but ultimately, they are setting you up for long term success as a certified health and wellness coach.
This will require a growth mindset which is all about intentionally focusing on improving your business by drilling down into the way you operate.
For detailed information and practical tips on investing in yourself download our free eBook: Investing In Yourself: How To Improve And Protect Your Best Business Asset
And for more on using a growth mindset download our eBook: Adapting a Growth Mindset: Strategies for Taking Your Online Personal Training Business to the Next Level
STAY FINANCIALLY FIT
Remember, financial planning is an ongoing journey, just like physical fitness. Be sure to review regularly and adjust accordingly to make sure you’re hitting your targets and building business muscle.
Setting aside time to work on plans, budgets and expenses will absolutely pay off in the short and long term, even if it’s not your idea of a good time. As they say in the fitness world, no pain, no gain!
Our latest FREE eBook Growing Your Personal Training Business: Actionable Ways To Set (And Achieve) Your Business And Client Goals is full of practical advice for setting and achieving goals. Get more detailed info about:
- Why you need to embrace goal setting
- Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals
- Setting business-specific goals
- Reflective question exercises
- Setting short and long term goals
- Achieving business goals (with the help of TrueCoach)
- Achieving client goals (with the help of TrueCoach)
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Article by TrueCoach
First published: November 15th 2023
Last updated: November 17th 2023