How to Get Started as an Online Personal Trainer
We’ve also posted once about the first three steps to start an online training business. In this blog post we’ll teach you how we do everything, from choosing a niche and software to creating a website and integrating payments.
Online PT Software
1. Should I Become an Online Personal Trainer?
Before you start building a website or searching for the best payment gateways, you need to be clear on why you want to become an online personal trainer. I say this because most PT’s who come to us have done so because their face-to-face business has either slowed or failed completely and they think online is easier because “you can reach more people”.
You can… But there’s a catch.
If you’re not doing so great with your face to face PT, online PT will almost certainly look like the easiest way out. But that might not be the case.
Here are a few reasons why.
- Online personal training is much harder to market than face-to-face PT. Establishing trust with a person you may never meet takes a lot of time and energy.
- Client uptake is much much slower. If you can get one new client a week in your face-to-face business, it could potentially be one per month as an online trainer.
- Online training does not take less time and effort. All of the time you would ordinarily spend training a face-to-face client would be spent on, marketing, support, retention and programming for an online client.
- You have at least one year of experience at exercise programming with face-to-face clients. This is a must. If you can’t train people when they’re right in front of you, you don’t have enough experience to train people online. A qualification is not enough.
- You have a niche. If you only train generic clients with no specific goal in mind, what’s stopping them from going on bodybuilding.com and downloading one of their hundreds of workouts for free? A well defined niche enables you to become an expert and experts get paid more.
- You have some marketing experience. This is more to manage your expectations. I meet too many PT’s who think that once their systems are in place, that they’ll start receiving Paypal payment notification emails. Unless you either have a huge existing fan base or a very generous marketing budget to spend on ads, your online fitness business is going to take a lot of time to gain momentum.
- You can create content. It doesn’t matter what type of content it is; blogs, emails, Facebook posts, tweets, video or podcast. You need a way to provide value. If you can’t, you better have a huge marketing budget.
- You have a website. This is more important for the low end membership model style of training, which we’ll talk about later in the course, but you need a base of operations to represent yourself.
But, wait. What if you don’t fit the criteria above?
Look, you can start online training the moment you get your PT qualification, but you’re going to waste a lot of time and money. Instead, I recommend you master local, face-to-face training, which is much easier to market, get some cash flow and experience and then transition slowly.
You can do this by getting a job that…
- Isn’t in a gym, but takes up the least amount of time for the most money. This way, you can build your business in your spare time. There are lots of hours after 5pm and before 2am. Game of Thrones can wait. If it can’t, you should probably rethink your career strategy.
- Is in a gym, providing experience as well as money. This way you can train clients, gain the experience you need, earn an income and build your online presence in your spare time.
Getting a job will at least get you a steady cash flow to invest in your online training business, so you can hire professionals to do the things you’re no good at, like web design, copyrighting, SEO and marketing.
“But I became a personal trainer to get OUT of working for someone else?!”
Suck it up. Starting a business costs time and money. If was easy and free, everyone would be doing it! Be patient, be calculated, be strategic and think long term!
We’re now in the Information Age where it’s possible for anyone to start their own business. But just because a PT read one blog about starting your own business and then created a 10 minute YouTube video about, doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Still up for it? Let’s keep going.
Now that we have a better understanding of whether online personal training is even something you should be pursuing, let’s talk about the business set up.
An online business is where the internet is the main vehicle of attracting customers, marketing, advertising, processing payments, delivering products (usually), and managing other vital business components.
To start your online business you’re going to need to know at least a little bit about how each of your online business components work.
2. Domain & Hosting
There’s no website without a domain and a hosting account. So pay attention, because it’s a vital step if you want to learn how to set up an online pt site. Your domain name is the address people will use to find your online training website (Ex. www.youronlinePTwebsite.com).
Once you have some ideas lined up you can proceed to a tool like 1and1 and Godaddy to find out what’s available. Click the logos below to check out some of the most popular services.
LEARN MORE: HOW TO CHOOSE A DOMAIN NAME
3. A Fitness Website
If you don’t have a website, I suggest you hire a designer. Sure, you can build one yourself but you need to have a lot of marketing expertise to get it right. If you do it yourself, you risk a DIY website with poorly written copy and sub standard images being the face of your business. But hey, we’re obviously bias.
Remember, online training is HARDER to sell, so your website needs to be tip top and trustworthy.
4. Member Portal/Software
A member portal is cheap but takes a significant amount of time to build. You’ll need at least 90 days worth of content in there before you can even start selling. Content might include workouts, cheat sheets, PDF guides, feedback forms, etc.
REVIEW: PT DISTINCTION REVIEW
REVIEW: TOTAL COACHING REVIEW
REVIEW: TRAINERIZE REVIEW
5. Business Documents
DOWNLOAD: PERSONAL TRAINER DOCUMENTS
6. Taking Payments
Why these payment gateways? Because your clients trust Paypal and Stripe. Consider the small percentage you pay in fees a trust fee. You’re paying the provider a fee because your clients trust the provider and therefore they trust there will be no issues when paying you for your services.
LEARN MORE: HOW TO SET UP PAYPAL PAYMENTS ON YOUR FITNESS WEBSITE
7. Getting Insured
Unfortunately, information about insurance for online trainers is pretty scarce right now and even multi million dollar fitness companies that provide fitness services online operate without online personal training insurance.
Furthermore, consider adding ANOTHER form that requests users to agree to you using their name and images on your website as marketing materials. Although I’ve literally never seen a personal trainer get sued, I imagine most disputes would be over the use of images on a website.
I’m not in the least bit qualified to tell you which insurance provider to use so my advice is this. Check with a lawyer that’s local to you. He or she will be able to quickly tell you what type of insurance you need to provide online services from your country and state.
LEARN MORE: THE SHORT GUIDE TO ONLINE PERSONAL TRAINING INSURANCE
LEARN MORE: THE BEST PERSONAL TRAINING INSURANCE UK
LEARN MORE: THE BEST PERSONAL TRAINING INSURANCE IN AUSTRALIA
LEARN MORE: THE BEST PERSONAL TRAINING INSURANCE IN CANADA
8. Finding Your First Client
Paid methods include:
- Facebook ads
- Google ads
- Off-site SEO
Paid methods are great if you have a bit of spare cash to invest as it’s an easy way to get more eyes on your business as soon as possible. If you don’t have any spare money lying around to invest in paid ads, there are plenty of free marketing methods.
Free marketing methods include:
- Creating valuable content on your blog
- Publishing that content across social media
- Building a lead magnet for your readers
- Sending them weekly updates
Most PT’s start off with the free marketing methods because they have more time than money at the beginning. With that said, if you start your online personal training business off the back of your face to face training, you’ll likely have an existing audience to market to and maybe even some money to invest and work on both paid and free marketing strategies.
LEARN MORE: GET YOUR FIRST ONLINE TRAINING CLIENTS
Checklist: How to Become an Online Trainer
(Click to download)
This content was originally published here.