Industry experts often advise fellow fitness professionals to diversify business offerings for optimal success and greater cash flow. One way to increase your bottom line is to become a fitness consultant. “In the fitness context, a consultant is a professional who provides educated information and guidance to [help fitness pros] develop, improve and maintain a successful fitness enterprise,” explains Ingrid Knight-Cohee, MSc, IDEA presenter and associate director of health and fitness at YWCA Vancouver, in British Columbia. “A consultant provides information [pertaining to] facility location; equipment choice and layout; membership fees; staff and sales performance; class scheduling; and programming.” She states that becoming a consultant can be a natural progression for experienced professionals.

Do you want to add consulting to your current portfolio? Knight-Cohee offers the following suggestions:

Create References. Fitness professionals interact with colleagues and generously share ideas. Document your early pro bono interactions and ask for references or follow-up statements.

Determine Fee Structure. Consulting fees are usually based on an hourly rate for a minimum and an estimated number of hours. You may also offer services on retainer for a flat fee on an annual basis.

Prepare for Dispute. Many clients will disagree with what a consultant has to say. Encourage open dialogue and perseverance through the turbulence and uncertainty of change.

Overdeliver. Go above and beyond expectations in terms of professionalism. Look, communicate and act the part. Use reliable sources to back up recommendations. Provide clients with thorough and efficient reports, and follow up regularly. Be readily available to respond to questions and concerns.