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Earn More in Less Time

by Paul Brown on May 01, 2008

Profit Center

Leverage your personal training talents to make your dreams come true.

Do you wish you could clone yourself to get more done, to help more people or simply to earn more money for a better lifestyle? Most personal trainers do. Presently, cloning is not an option, so let’s explore more available ways to step beyond earning purely money-per-minute income.

The reality is that you only get 24 hours in a day. If all you do is sell your time to a select group of individuals, you limit both your earning potential and the influence your knowledge and beliefs have on others. You might not even want a higher income. Perhaps you’d like the payoff of having more spare time so you can be a better partner, parent or pal or to do whatever drives you.

Here’s a great question to ask:

“Am I happy with the rate of pay and time for play I have in my life, or is it worth finding a way that I can do more and be more?”

If the answer is the latter, then read on to discover strategies for earning more or working less to make the most of your life.

Clarify What You Want

You ask your clients to express their goals and you know the importance of goals in their success, but have you ever made a list of the things you’d like to do—in both the short term and long term? More importantly, have you jotted down why these goals matter to you?

Having a powerful “why” seems to help us discover the “how.” Do you want to pay off your home sooner, have more spare time with your family, travel the world or buy a recreational vehicle? Or do you have goals that are less about material gain and more about making a broader difference in the lives of others? All of these goals require you to take the same three steps to make them become a reality:

  1. List your goals in order of priority and be clear on why each one is important.
  2. Establish a date or deadline for when you want each goal to happen.
  3. Itemize what needs to happen or what changes you must make to achieve each goal.

Identify What You Need

What do you require to make your dreams come true? You may resolve to pay off your home mortgage within 5 years. To accomplish this goal, you might need to save an additional $400 per week. Your goal is financial freedom, and so you must increase your earning power and/or reduce spending. Now that you know the true objective it’s time to think laterally of all the options open to you.

As a personal trainer you already have many skills and talents that other people envy. For example, you are an excellent communicator, you’re empathetic and compassionate, and you have a good sense of self-discipline. Combine these qualities with your grasp of health and fitness, and you can likely find endless outlets for your energy and skills that can generate extra cash flow and further your credibility.

You may also discover that you lack some skills that are worth developing. Perhaps you need to improve your financial management, budgeting, marketing, sales skills, etc. These skills add to your earning potential and your ability to protect and multiply the income you attract.

Consult People for Advice and Mentoring

When considering your options for leveraging your skills and income, ask the advice of your current clients and contacts. You help others daily, and these same people have their own set of skills, expertise and contacts. Avoid taking up time they pay for with questions about your own business aims. Perhaps invite them for coffee or a juice after your session. Explain why you want to talk. For example, you might say, “John, I respect what you’ve achieved with your business. I’d like to get your thoughts on some options I’m considering for my own business. May I buy you a protein shake and talk for a few minutes?”

Please be professional in your approach. For example, if you work at a health club, it is not ethical to tell your clients that you are thinking about opening up a studio across the street.

If you find a helpful mentor, trade some of your time for his or hers. Ex­change free personal training for free wealth coaching. You can also do this with your family, peers or even businesses you patronize. The folks you buy your fruit from may well have their own success story. Leaders and mentors are all around you; you just have to ask for help nicely!

Improve Your Personal Profile

How can you increase your earning potential? Some people say to succeed in life it’s not what you know, but who you know. My philosophy of success is that it is not only who you know, but who knows you, what you know and what you are capable of that matter. Your goal is to increase the number of people who know what you can do. How do you do this? Here are some quick tips:

  • Contact your local, regional and even national news broadcasters and publishers. Offer yourself as their contact for any health- and fitness-related news stories.
  • Create a good business card and descriptive flier about yourself. Focus on one key service you wish to promote. People call me Mr. Retention. What are you the Mr., Ms., Mrs. or Miss of?
  • Set up your own website. Create a blog with your thoughts and opinions on fitness and add links to it on all communications.
  • Send out regular fit-tip style e-mails to your contacts, local businesses and media outlets.
  • Become a paid health and fitness speaker for corporations. Free seminars can get your name out there as well, but sometimes they suggest that you only want to pitch your services. Paid presentations say you are worth listening to.
  • Consider adding non-fitness-related seminar topics like change management, motivation or breaking bad habits and addictions to your repertoire.
  • Write a book or a report on your area of expertise. Even if it never gets published to the mass market, it helps you galvanize your thoughts. You can distribute it to people to introduce yourself as an authority.

Generate Residual Income

Possibly the most important lesson to learn when it comes to increasing earning power is the concept of residual income. This type of income is revenue that continues to flow in from a work or creation you have done previously. A simple example might be royalties from book sales. Once you develop income from non-time/service-related means, the sky is the limit to your earning potential. Aim to spend a minimum of 10% of your time on creating residual income sources. If you do, in 2 years it could easily represent the bulk of your income.

Here are a few examples of how to generate residual income: 

  • Hire one or more subcontractors to take some of your overflow clients for an agreed-upon percentage of his or her earnings. This method is a great way to give a budding trainer a start. Be sure you each have solid business agreements in place.
  • Sell products. Sell anything that can add to your turnover. You can sell devices like heart rate monitors and pedometers or training diaries or apparel. (Be sure not to tread on anyone’s toes if you operate out of someone else’s business.)
  • Produce, package and sell educational and motivating materials to clients, corporations or the general public.
  • Get people to buy subscriptions to your own website or a reputable site that you earn a commission for.
  • Take your services on the road. Sell health and fitness counseling or products at health fairs, corporate fairs or anywhere people have a need—and have money!

Note: Take a minimum 10% of your total income and either save it or invest it. Put your savings to work for you. Get advice on what investment style suits your needs. Even a small investment can start your own portfolio.

Live Your Dreams

Starting to think about the concepts discussed in this article is the most important step toward true financial freedom and realizing your own potential. You are too good to be kept a secret, so start putting what you have and what you know out there for the rest of the world’s benefit.

Perhaps the best reward for expanding our horizons in life is not what we get, but what we become. The new skills and experience you gain while learning to leverage your talents will make all the difference in the quality of individual you evolve into.

SIDEBAR: Steps for Increasing Income

Use these strategies to maximize your earning potential:

  1. Clarify what you want from life, in both the short term and the long term.
  2. Identify what you need to make these dreams come true.
  3. Consult other people, including your client base, for their advice and mentorship.
  4. Improve your personal profile to increase your earning potential.
  5. Focus a minimum of 10% of your time on generating residual income sources

Australian-born Paul Brown is a 27-year fitness industry veteran. An Australian sports aerobics champion; fitness, leadership and nutrition presenter; business consultant and health club owner, he is the founder of the Face2Face retention program. Contact him at

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About the Author

Paul Brown

Paul Brown IDEA Author/Presenter

Paul Brown is the creator of the Face2Face Retention System, IHRSA’s official retention program. He is a 25-year industry veteran, a successful club owner, fitness leader and sales and marketing innovator.