Building an in-home personal training business from scratch can be fun, exciting and just a little bit scary. To take as much fear out of the equation as possible, it is extremely important to do all the necessary foundation work so that when your official “start date” rolls around, you feel completely prepared. How do you do that? By joining me in the second of this five-article series. Together we will do all the background work on deciding what you want your business to look like, creating an identity for your business, defining your work schedule and financial needs, making your business official and spreading the good news.
In the first issue, we did the fun work of outlining what you want your business to look like and checking out competitors in your area. In this issue, we will answer the crucial questions that will help you create your own unique business identity or “brand.”
Define Your Core Values
If the idea of starting your own in-home personal training business absolutely thrills you, then the work of creating a business identity will be a fun process. Whenever I coach clients who are starting a business of any type, I ask them to start this identity process by digging a little deeper. You obviously have a passion for fitness and wellness and maybe a desire to serve others, but what are those values that come from your heart and have always defined who you are and what you believe in? These values are what make you excited to get out of bed in the morning and that pull you forward to that positive “this-is-exactly-what-I-want-to-be-doing” place. For me, those values included independence, freedom, creativity, the opportunity to inspire and the passion for helping people find balance in their lives.
Use the following list to spur your thinking and make a list of the five to 10 core values that you would like to live out, honor or maintain through your business: accomplish, adventure, assist, attract, be connected, be passionate, beauty, coach, design, dominate field, educate, encourage, energize, expert, facilitate, freedom, grace, guide, have fun, holy, independence, improve, influence, inspire, learn, mastery, minister to, model, perfect, pleasure, strengthen, contribute, feel good, lead, teach, etc.
Why do core values matter? Because most people yearn to get to the place in their lives where they can live out their core values and feel they have a meaningful life. If you build your business around your core values, it can provide ongoing satisfaction and the passion you need to succeed and excel—because you absolutely believe in what you do and how you do it.
Identify Your Business Needs
This may seem obvious to most people—make money, duh! But what other needs do you want your business to provide for you? Flexible schedule? Weekends off? Ability to travel? Take some time to put on paper exactly what you want and need from your in-home training business. I am in year 23 of my in-home personal training and coaching business, Cross Coaching & Wellness. What I want and need out of my business today includes: ability to set my own schedule, work 15 client hours per week (Monday through Friday only), income that allows me to take 6–8 weeks off, work from home, travel to some local clients, do sessions by phone and Internet with clients anywhere in the world, live anywhere I want and earn the same income (still in the dream stages!), travel with my husband and family, and retire within 10 years. It is important to know these things so that you can begin creating what you want personally and professionally from the very beginning.
Outline Your Purpose, Vision and Mission Statement
To create a unique identity for your business, it helps to dig below the surface of what you want to craft your first mission statement. To begin this exercise, start with the most general and global question: What is your purpose? This question addresses what most people ask themselves at some point in their lives: What on earth am I here for? For example, your answer could be “To help people live happy and fulfilling lives.”
Next, get a little more specific by answering: What is your vision? This is a picture of what you see possible for the world and others. Based on your purpose statement, a possible answer could be “To help people be healthier and happier by learning to exercise successfully at home.”
These answers lead to the most important statement of all—your mission statement. This is where you state how you plan, specifically, to make your vision a reality. You take your previous purpose and vision statements and get very specific on how you are to flesh out that dream: “My mission is to help others live a healthy and happy life by delivering and designing customized fitness programs they can do at home and by providing coaching by phone to give them the additional encouragement and support to reach their goals.”
Keep in mind that the mission statement is a work in progress. Mine has changed many times over the last 23 years. To keep it simple, I would limit it to two to three sentences. When people read your mission statement, they should be able to tell exactly what you are selling and why they want it.
Brainstorm Business Names & Tag Lines
With your core values, mission statement and personal interests at the forefront of your mind, begin brainstorming possible business names and tag lines. I named my coaching and personal training business Cross Coaching & Wellness because my last name is Cross and I wanted to highlight “coaching” and the fact that I help clients attain wellness in all aspects of their lives. My latest tag line is “Get a life. Get a coach!”
Make a list of everything that comes to mind and get input from your friends, family and colleagues. But ultimately, choose what speaks to you and represents the business you desire to create.
Outline a Pricing Plan
The topic of creating your first in-home personal training pricing plan could be an article all by itself. However, we are going to stick to some basic guidelines here to get you started.
- Limit Your Options. Trainers who offer a dozen personal training packages overwhelm and confuse the client. In general, I think having three to four options is plenty. Currently, I list three coaching package options on my website, www.kaycross.com.
- Set an Expiration Date. Each of your packages should list an expiration date. For example, if you want to sell 10-session packages with the idea of the client training two to three times per week, you can state that the package expires within 45 days of the purchase date. If you do not set an expiration date, clients can drag the sessions out forever, even into the next year.
Acquire the Equipment You Need
To operate an in-home personal training business where you travel to clients’ homes (versus them driving to you), you need very little equipment to run a successful business:
- desk or work area
- landline and/or cell phone
- client tracking software (such as Fitness Analyst at www.bsdiweb.com)
- skinfold calipers for body fat
- blood pressure cuff
- measuring tape for girth measurements
My first word of advice, to prevent you from becoming a haggard old pack mule: do not carry any equipment to clients’ homes for their workouts. If they need tubing, dumbbells, stability balls, foam rollers, ankle weights, you name it, require that they purchase what they need and have it there when the workout calls for it. The only things I carry to in-home client sessions are my skinfold calipers, blood pressure cuff, notepad or iPad, and me!
Know Who You Are
Creating a strong and unique business identity that truly reflects who you are and what you want to sell to the world takes just a little extra brainpower and forethought. Know who you are before you sell your in-home training services and you will save yourself stress and dissatisfaction later when you might otherwise have been asking yourself, “Now, why did I do it this way?” By creating a strong and unique identity, you will exude confidence and passion, which will attract those seeking fitness expertise and guidance.