Transforming yourself from a run-of-the-mill personal trainer who is virtually indistinguishable from other trainers to a sought-after industry specialist is a two-step process. First, you must identify the specific methods that successful trainers use to develop their industry specialty. And second, once you have identified those methods, you must formulate a strategy for developing your own skills. Here are some steps to help you make the transitionfrom conventional personal trainer to specialist trainer earning more while working less.
Find Your Niche
Figure out what particular market need(s) you currently fill. If your client base seems ambiguous, do some investigating to determine what market need(s) you serve. To pinpoint common characteristics, identify client demographics such as gender, occupation, age, income level, fitness goals, ability levels, personality types, child/marital status and personal preferences. If you cannot uncover a shared need or want, ask your clients why they train with you. Give them a questionnaire to identify their wants and needs, and use their answers to bring their commonalities—and your niche—to light.
Choose a Specialty
Once you have identified your client niche, you still need to decide which area to specialize in within that market group. For example, say you have established that your niche market is corporate executives with limited time to exercise and above-average disposable income. You must now determine exactly which needs of this market segment you want to target: work environment, time constraints or a combination of these. To help you determine what to specialize in, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I feel passionate about the subject matter? This will ensure that you have the drive and determination to plan your educational strategy and work opportunities.
- Is the topic I want to specialize in a stable or growing area of the fitness industry? More popular topics will have a greater number and variety of educational opportunities (both continuing education credit and noncredit) available for you.
- Will I have access to potential clients in my area of specialization? Your target market (i.e., client needs) must be a large enough population to permit you to do business.
Capitalize on Your Specialty Status
When you have found your niche and chosen a specialty area, it’s time to expand your educational background on the subject. The more you learn about your specialty and practice it with your clients, the more confident you will become in applying your skills. You can then begin to shape your business identity around your particular area of expertise and become more particular about the types of clients you work with or the programs you choose to offer.
For additional strategies, refer to the complete article, “Work Less and Charge More By Becoming a Specialist,” in the online IDEA Library or in September 2010 IDEA Trainer Success.