Getting prepared to start an in-home personal training business requires a lot of foundational work, which can be broken down into five steps. First, it is critical to do all the background work to determine whether starting a business in your area is feasible and can support you full-time. Second, you need to create a business identity by looking at your core values, needs, vision, purpose and mission. Third, you must outline your financial needs and ideal work schedule and set goals. Fourth, you invest the time and money in making your business “official” by creating a logo and business name and printing marketing materials. In the fifth step, you must spread the word about your new business. Here are some strategies for announcing your grand opening.
Join a Proven Networking Group
Networking groups can be helpful, though you should not join one until your business is officially up-and-running. Find networking groups in your target area and visit them heavily in your first 2 months of business. Join a group that meets at least twice per month, preferably weekly, with a strong membership that could afford or be interested in your services.
Practice Your 60-Second Commercial
When people ask you what you do, you need a well-rehearsed, confident answer. Spend some time writing out 60-second intros for your business. Good commercials are interesting or funny and make your prospect want to know more. Create several short commercials and practice them. Have a number you are comfortable with and can use when you meet other business professionals and potential clients.
Create a Facebook or LinkedIn Business Identity
I am certainly no expert in social media, but I do recommend that you create a business identity on a website like Facebook or LinkedIn. I have not received business from either source yet, but I believe it won’t hurt to get your business identity out there in the social waves. Be careful not to spend all your free minutes posting constantly, because you can invest hours and hours without receiving any income in return.
Choose a Practice Client
One of the quickest ways to build your confidence and ease your nervousness as a new personal trainer is to choose a friend, family member or business colleague as a “practice client.” Do your “practice training” before you officially open your business for new clients. It will enable you to smooth out all the kinks and work through some of your anxiety and excitement. Offer personal training for free—both you and your client will benefit from it.
I would practice all aspects of getting a new client:
- explaining your services over the phone
- setting up a free 30-minute in-person consult (discussing goals and needs only, not giving free advice)
- mailing or emailing forms
- collecting a client’s training deposit or full fee up front (in this case you would not be collecting money, but discussing how it would work)
- doing an initial assessment and program design
- giving one to three personal training sessions
I would probably limit your free training services to two to four sessions (including the assessment) with the offer that the person can continue as a full-paying client after your “practice” sessions are over. Be certain you and your “practice” client are clear on how many free sessions you will offer.
Choose a “Grand Opening” Date
Pick a date on your calendar when you know you can be prepared to officially start your business and accept clients. Post your opening on the social media sites you belong to and send emails and business cards and brochures to everyone you know. Ideally, you will be able to send business cards and brochures to 50–100 people in your social circle.
The excitement in the early days will keep you motivated for a while, but focus and dedication will keep you in the game for the long run. Every year requires new goal setting, reaching out to new clients through networking and taking impeccable care of the clients you already have.