We’re getting used to working from home and exercising in a small space in our living room. But that doesn’t mean transitioning our fitness business to an online endeavor is easy. In fact, you’re probably running into plenty of obstacles of your own if you’re new to remote coaching. One of the best ways to sharpen your online business skills is to learn from fitness folks who have been in the game for a long time and have experienced all kinds of setbacks and successes.
Sam Pogue, Vice President of Brand at TrueCoach, caught up with his friend Saul Jimenez, who is a software engineer turned gym owner and personal trainer. He’s had a lot of success building his own business from the ground up and in this conversation with Sam, the both of them lay down some useful advice for any trainers who are looking to grow or at the very least maintain their online business. Here are five tips you don’t want to ignore.
Connect With Like-Minded Peers and Mentors
You can’t do it on your own, and you especially need help from people who have been in your shoes before. “Knowing people really helps,” Sam said. “Being a good networker isn’t just about how many people you know; it’s about how often your name comes up in other people’s conversations.” Make an effort to get out there and introduce yourself to as many people in the fitness world as you can. This doesn’t have to be done in person. You can keep networking during quarantine by meeting people online, reaching out on Instagram or Facebook, etc.
Saul shared that he started doing a training session at the place where his wife works, Community Health Alliance, after he learned that one of the physicians was leading a “healthy life program.” Little connections like this go a long way. “You’re just getting out there and talking to people and asking them questions,” he said. “Just try to be useful, try to be helpful. That’s how you build relationships.”
“If you attract people who are passionate about what you do, they will nurture you and guide you,” he continued. “You might feel like you don’t know anything, but it’s okay because you’re learning things.” Never underestimate the power of having mentors in your life who can steer you in the right direction.
Automate Things as Often as You Can
Saul highlights the benefits of automating your business as much as you can. The level to which you have your process organized and automated “reflects back to your maturity as a coach, for better or worse,” he explained. You shouldn’t be spending four hours programming when you could be using a platform that could help you get it done in ten.
“From my computer science and software background, TrueCoach is this really great platform that just automates your process,” he said. It allows your clients to have an “amazing experience.” They get to digest the workout through video, you get an opportunity to interact with them via messages back and forth. “But the great part is it allows you to scale,” Sam added. “So you’re able to train 150 people in a month without having to send an email every single time they need to get a workout.”
This is especially important as you grow your business. The last thing you want is to reach 20 clients and suddenly realize that it takes you 70 hours each week to program for all of them. Automate your onboarding and programming process as much as you can and your life will get much easier—even better, you’ll also be able to take on even more clients.
Know Your Sweet Spot
“Who do you think is your sweet spot customer? I think about that a lot,” Saul said. “Who’s my sweet spot?” Consider what your ideal client would need, what their struggles are, etc. You have to know who your target audience is so you can tailor your content and marketing strategy accordingly.
“You really got to look at remote coaching like, ‘Does that person fit your skillset and does it fit your brand?’” Sam advised. “Maybe you’re less on the exercise prescription side and you’re more into habits or lifestyle coaching.” Whatever it is, find your lane and stick to it so you can offer something specific and helpful to potential clients.
This ensures that you’re attracting the right type of client—the kind of person you can help in the long run and the kind of person who will stick with you because they want your product. If it’s a good match on both ends, it’s likely you’ll have a long, fruitful relationship.
Never Forget How You Got Started
When you’re a trainer or fitness “expert” who has been working out and creating programming for a long time, it’s easy to forget what it’s like to start from the beginning. “Honor where we’ve all been,” Saul advised. “But how did you learn how to work out? What were you doing? You have to ask those questions; that’s where you start growing and you have the ability to articulate your message to everybody you talk to.”
If you’re not relatable and you can’t show potential clients how you transformed from day one until now, they won’t feel connected to you and your story—and they won’t be compelled to work with you. Additionally, if you’re able to articulate your story from the beginning it gives you a better perspective on what you know and how you learned what you know. Then you’ll “know your training so well” that you can talk about it in any given setting.
Learn All the Skills
When you think of entrepreneurs, the first thing that pops up into people’s heads usually isn’t a personal trainer. But the truth is, you’re building your own business and you’re out there on your own. This is a very different reality than working for someone else in an office setting. “When you’re on your own, when you’re your own business, you have to learn all the skills,” Sam said. It’s up to you to figure things out. Nobody else is going to do it for you.
Saul agreed and pointed out that running your own fitness business is a great way to learn tons of skills—anatomy, public speaking, budgeting and finance, personal relationships, technology, etc. You’ll be surprised at how many new skills you’ll pick up if you put your head down and work hard on growing your business.
Once you reach certain goals that you’ve been working towards for a long time, don’t stop learning. Sam said you should ask yourself, “What skills do I need to learn to get better? How do I deliver the experience that’s true to me?“ You’ll only keep growing your business if you keep learning and expanding your mind. Plus, you’ll have endless amounts of knowledge to pass on to your clients if you commit to a lifetime of learning and discovering.