By Tyler Valencia, MS, PFT, PES
Getting into the health & fitness industry is great. There aren’t many careers that you can set your own hours and make upwards of $50 an hour. The caveat is that it typically isn’t a 9am-5pm job and a consistent paycheck isn’t always guaranteed. So how can you make that jump and create more stable income? Unless your Brett Contreras or Eric Cressey and clients are flocking to you, spending extra time to develop products/services to generate income online can help you earn a living and keep you inside the health & fitness industry doing what you love, training clients.
Find the Right Merchant Account Service
The first step in creating a profitable online presence is finding a merchant service account that allows for monthly electronic fund transfers (EFT). The goal of acquiring one of the services is to spend less time tracking down monthly payments and so that you can lock clients in for multiple months at a time. For example, when I ran my fitness bootcamp I would sign up clients for our monthly “membership” which offered a discounted rate for longer commitment. Clients of my bootcamp would sign up through a registration link and would then be billed their “membership” fee on the same date each month. I used Pay Pal’s Pro service to develop my membership services, but there are plenty of options out there and you just need to find which one best suits your needs (MinBody, Front Desk, etc).
When searching for the right merchant account for your business, ask (or search online) for the monthly fee and what percentage they take off of each purchase. This has become an aggressive market and plenty of options are out there. As I mentioned, I use Pay Pal because I’m familiar with their services and it is very easy to use, but I also know many other businesses are comfortable using their services.
Income Generating Ideas
1. Start an online training group. Social media is a powerful tool, and a personal trainer with an average sales technique that is tech-savvy can create income opportunities through social media that generate serious monthly income with less strain than the grind of prospecting clients at the gym. The most useful tool for this is Facebook and their private group function. From here you can invite all your paid members, post daily workouts, motivational videos and generate group engagement. It’s never a bad idea to get other group members engaging with each other as it creates positive inter-group motivation and helps ease any mental issues that might plague their fitness journey.
The negative stigma that comes with doing online training is typically from personal training purists (who usually have issues using a computer), but I can name many top coaches from different areas of the health & fitness spectrum that offer online training. A lot of information is available online and today’s average gym goer typically has a decent amount of knowledge about gym equipment and exercise names.
2. Create an online program that can be available for sale and download. This option takes a little bit of pre-planning as the full book or program must be completed before any sale is made. However, once the program is complete, you can list the option on your website and have little to zero work after. The number one tip that I would have for this option would be to create a program that attracts a particular niche. If you create a broad program that appeals to several types of exercise populations, you might find yourself returning a lot emails on how to tailor your program which could be positive and negative.
A good example of this comes from my friend and throwing coach, Scott Farr. Scott specializes in training for Highland Games athletes and offers an e-book that he sells from his website. His book includes different programs that a new or advance lifter could follow depending on his/her fitness level or point within their season. The takeaway message is that the target market is very precise and little work is needed following a sale.
3. Hold an online clinic. This step might take a little extra leg work to build up a full roster, but it is a win-win for people who attend and you. Today there are online meeting websites that allow you to connect with your audience and share your presentation. This option is great because you can do it from the comfort of your home, while reaching more people across the country. In one online clinic you could have participants from Florida, Illinois or even internationally.
There will still be the old fashioned folks who enjoy the hands-on portion of clinics, but offering an online clinic at a fraction of the price could ease those worries. Your clinic could be on any topic that you feel will attract an audience and can benefit them. Some example might be “how to start an online personal training business”, “Do’s and “Don’ts” of Keto Dieting”.
To start, find the online conference or webinar surface that fits your needs and is within your budget. The service that I use is GoToMeeting and also offers a free 30-day trial along with recording capabilities. The recording option allows you the ability to record and even sell at a later date. Next, create your presentation using PowerPoint, Prezi or any other presentation software that you like. The hardest part will be marketing your clinic, but with social media and networking you can easily get the word out. Offering discounts to customers to share your posts or bring a friend is also a great way to gain loyal customers and grow your reach.
Something that wasn’t covered in this blog post was about website development. Each of the options discussed above would involve some engagement from your website, but this step can be easily worked on without spending thousands of dollars. On the market there are easy to use options such as WIX or SquareSpace that allow you to create professional websites and maintain them as well. Having a website is easier than ever these days, but the extra work to get these items in place can take some time.
If hesitating to make the step to online training, DON’T. As I mentioned, many top coaches are offering these options because they understand that consumers are now open to online learning. Make sure that each step along the way helps build your brand and don’t hesitate to partner with other health & fitness professionals who might help build your brand and income!
Tyler Valencia is the President of KIPS. While working for a Southern California online education company he started his first business, Time 2 Train Fitness which specialized in bootcamp and personal training. Time 2 Train Fitness went on to receive the distinction of 3X Best Bootcamp and 2X Best Personal Trainer with the Long Beach Press Telegram.