I totally agree with Austin that a balance between the two is what I strive for. After over 18-years in the business, I have certainly developed certain business policies and procedures that I am happy with, and the basis of those business practices tend to be set and not change very much (certainly not as much as some of my technical practice may). I find that in our business, with new pieces of equipment (some good, some bad), new training techniques (some effective, some not), with new methods of training, and with new research and findings practically everyday, keeping up with the technical aspects of training may be a more daunting task (and one that I absolutely love).
So, while many of our business practices can run on “automatic pilot” once we have established good business practices, many of those practices definitely need to be re-visited from time to time. However, on the technical side, as a trainer if we’re not spending a good deal of time “keeping up” we can find ourselves out of touch with the current trends and findings that make us effective trainers.
Great question! Thanks for asking.
This does not have to be either/or, and Austin has already made some excellent points.
Some learning goes hand in hand. I remember that I saw an answer from you stating that for some clients you need to spend more time researching medical conditions or other circumstances. That is an example of two-for-one learning.
There is also upfront learning about the true business side of things. Incorporating your business and understanding all the regulations that you need to adhere to such as having liability insurance. I believe that it is important that you carry your business of fitness as professionally as you passion of fitness. But this is usually a one-time effort, and afterwards you only need to make sure that you stay current with changes to regulations.
As a veteran trainer, I’ve found both technical and business development are necessary to survive, but they are not necessarily exclusive. By educating yourself then broadcasting your accomplishments and certifications to your base you enhance your qualifications on paper. New education which showcases your ability to work with particular populations (obese, seniors, youth, etc.) instigates connections for referral in your existing clientele.
There is certainly a lot to be said for working “on your business” as well as if not as much as “in your business”, but you needn’t separate the two concepts all the time. While certain marketing techniques are very direct and attract numerous but wary leads, creative marketing and referral will attract more solid leads.