If you’re a personal trainer who doesn’t yet offer virtual training options then don’t worry, you’re not alone… but you are becoming an endangered species. During the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, the personal training industry was given a sudden and forceful shove into the online world – and boy did it perform.
People could suddenly exercise on their own schedule, whenever and wherever it suited them. On a research station in Antarctica? No problem! Covered in spit-up with only half an hour until the bub wakes up? Not an issue.
Clients aren’t the only ones who benefit; personal trainers are winners too. Virtual training has now been thoroughly tried and tested and passed with flying colors. Now’s the time to stay competitive in the fitness industry and reap the rewards of going virtual.
PART 1: THE WHY
While there are heaps of benefits (too many to mention here), here are 5 reasons to take your business online.
#1 It’s expected
Virtual offerings are not only welcomed by potential clients, but nowadays they’re expected. Work, study, shopping, appointments – it has become so commonplace to do everything from home that you could possibly turn off potential clients by not providing any online options.
Clients will love the:
- flexibility to be able to workout on their own schedule
- convenience of a personal trainer they can take anywhere with them
- privacy (some of us don’t like working out in public 🥴)
- quick and easy bookings that are possible when you’re able to offer more sessions
- cutting edge, tech-savvy way you run your business
#2 Be everywhere all at once
Why limit yourself to the clients who are in your area? When you’re virtual, there’s no reason you can’t attract clients from anywhere in the world. It also allows you to deliver multiple sessions simultaneously, leading to higher earnings. You could create programs and workouts for clients to follow and they can check-in when done. You could organize group sessions with people from various locations who have similar workout needs and then hold virtual group sessions.
#3 Make money, save money
Why limit your earnings to how many clients you can physically train daily? Not only can servicing more clients at once raise your revenue, but the amount of potential customers available to you virtually could significantly increase your entire client base.
Though there are initial costs if you want to set yourself up properly for virtual training, you’ll also save on paying for a physical training location.
Another potential revenue-raiser might involve hiring out equipment to clients.
#4 Be ready for anything
Fingers crossed we never have lockdowns ever, ever, ever again… BUT if something like that did happen, being virtual would help to provide your business with a bit more security. It would be simple for you to rapidly pivot and provide all of your clients with quality sessions online.
Being resilient doesn’t just apply to worldwide health events. A simple injury, a broken-down car, extreme traffic, an issue at your physical location – anything can pop up that prevents you from getting to your sessions. Having an existing online structure can ensure your clients are satisfied and your income and reputation are safe.
#5 Have a life
We hear you chuckling out there, small business owners. We know you probably wear every hat in your business, so how could you possibly find time for relaxation and pleasure?
If you’re able to offer more sessions simultaneously while also taking on more clients, you might be able to carve out some time for yourself. And if you want to travel somewhere nice, being virtual means you can run sessions from anywhere. Beachside workout anyone?
Perhaps you want to attend conferences to network (great idea!) You don’t need to miss out on any business when you have virtual training programs ready to go.
Being able to swap some in-person training for online sessions could also give you more time at home with family when you can cut out commutes.
PART 2: THE HOW
By going virtual you’ll be changing your method of delivering training, but there shouldn’t be any reduction in quality or value for clients. Here are 5 things to think about when setting up your online coaching business.
#1 Don’t try to be everything to everyone
The world is full of trainers offering every kind of virtual workout. You can’t compete with them all so it’s best to focus on what will work best for you and your clients.
- Consider the elements you enjoy most about your career and focus on those services.
- Identify what you’re best at and can build a reputation around.
- Don’t guess – ask your clients what virtual sessions would interest them!
For more detailed advice refer to our blog post: How to decide which services you should provide online
#2 Look like a pro
When it comes to your virtual and recorded sessions, it’s best to avoid the dim, shaky-cam, found-footage horror movie aesthetic. Though there’s plenty of flashy equipment out there to splurge on, you don’t have to blow the budget to achieve a decent recording set up.
- Ensure you are well-lit from all angles so your clients can see your instructions and body position. You could go outside, position yourself near a window or get a high wattage bulb. Lamps can even be set up to shine light on you. Test things out to be sure the light isn’t behind you – you don’t want to look like a silhouette in witness protection!
- Conversely, ensure you instruct clients to position themselves somewhere bright enough for you to see their form.
- It may be worth investing in a microphone so that no instruction or comment is missed. You could have something that sits near you to pick up your voice; you could wear a headset, Madonna-style; or a small mic that clips to your clothing would let you move about freely without dropping out of range.
- With the quality of phones these days you should be able to get by using yours to record, but if going virtual is a success you might want to invest in something a bit slicker.
#3 Maintain your excellent training standards
Just because you’re not in the same room doesn’t mean you can’t provide the same excellent service to virtual clients. Coaching online will have its challenges, especially when it comes to providing corrective feedback, but with a few structures in place you can make it work.
- Give clear instructions from the get-go. Whether it’s in a live session or in a recorded training video, be sure to explain things simply and clearly. Watch recordings back to pick up on any areas you could improve next time.
- Direct your client’s camera. You need to be able to see what they’re doing clearly in order to track progress and correct poor form. Guide them to move their recording device around as you need it – whether it’s to watch their face to gauge how challenging movements are or to see their form from a different angle.
- Keep up the relationship-building small talk. Being virtual can sometimes feel awkward so you might be tempted to jump right into the session. But it’s the moments of conversation before and after sessions where you can check in on clients, ask about their wellbeing and find out how else you might be able to help them.
- Reward consistency and commitment. When people are left to self-motivate it can be easy to let things slide… things like exercise. Inspire clients to keep up with their virtual training by offering incentives in the form of discounts, exclusive merch, or exciting challenges.
Learn more about motivating virtual clients in our blog post: 3 keys to keeping clients engaged in online training
#4 Market the heck out of it
There’s no point offering killer virtual training programs if nobody knows about them! You need to constantly raise awareness of your services to gain new clients and retain existing ones.
- Create a marketing budget and set it aside. Many businesses ignore this crucial element but a carefully planned and suitably funded marketing plan could propel your business into success.
- The average person spends at least 2 hours online daily. Take advantage of social media and the incredible reach it affords you! Be sure to mix up your content – things like training videos, nutrition tips and client success stories should be mixed in with your sales pitches. Encourage interaction and comments and always include a call to action.
- If you can afford it, hire someone to take care of your marketing, or even just your social media and content creation. If that’s currently not in the budget, do your research to learn what works and how to achieve it.
#5 Pull it all together with TrueCoach
This one is super important – using a platform that makes the virtual (and in-person) training experience simple and seamless for you and your clients. You need one place to keep track of everything, plus a simple way for clients to log their workouts (especially if you’re offering pre-recorded sessions).
A great platform (such as TrueCoach) should allow you to:
- Build programs and share them with clients
- Communicate with clients with ease
- Access and add to a library of videos
- Provide a smooth, hassle-free booking process
- Manage all of your clients and their workouts in one place
- Track progress
- Do much, much more!
There are so many benefits to taking your training business online and a wealth of information and resources to help you achieve it. There’s virtually nothing stopping you!
For more tips on getting started, download our ebook: Tips to lead one-on-one virtual personal training.
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Article by TrueCoach
First published: August 14 2023
Last updated: January 11 2024