[ May 31, 2016 by Fitness Revolution 2 Comments ]

7 Deadly Fitness Business Mistakes

Running a business is risky, especially if you don’t avoid the critical mistakes that put most trainers out of business or keep them from making the money they deserve. In this article you’ll learn the 7 deadly fitness business mistakes that kill most fitness businesses and how to avoid them.

(Last Updated On: September 24, 2019)

Avoiding Deadly Fitness Business Mistakes

The fitness business is tough even when you do it right, but it’s nearly impossible to have success if you’re making the common mistakes that nearly all fitness business owners make.

These mistakes are holding you back from having a business that provides you with the income you want, the freedom you need and enjoying the journey of running a business. There’s good news though…

…these mistakes aren’t secrets. Many others have experienced them and have overcome them so you don’t have to learn the hard way.

You may still insist on learning on your own and having to struggle through these challenges, but at least you’ll be doing that on your own terms. However, if you’re looking for a faster route to success and hoping to avoid the landmines that can crush a business, keep on reading.

You Can’t Avoid All Mistakes…

It’s impossible to avoid all mistakes in business. It’s inevitable that you’ll make a few here and there, some of which can be costly and incredibly frustrating.

The most successful business owners out there accept this fact and learn from their mistakes. Making them doesn’t mean you’re a failure or destined to go out of business.

Some mistakes can be a business killer though and cause you a lot of stress and worry. So why not do your best to avoid making them and learn from those that have been there before?

I Speak from Experience

Before selling my training business to help trainers and business owners accomplish their goals, I had to make a lot of mistakes. I was a bit lucky to build my business in what we call the “Wild West” days and a lot of my success came because we were great at what we did.

However, I also learned from others and tried to pull what I was learning from other leaders in various industries into my business.

A huge part of that was being in a coaching program. My peers helped me process the challenges I was facing and my coaches held me accountable and allowed me to see into my blind spots.

That leads us to the 7 mistakes…

7 Deadly Fitness Business Mistakes

Mistake #1: You Don’t Start Coaching Soon Enough

It’s scary how alike trainers are to their clients. I hear it all the time…

“I need to make a bit more money before I can invest in coaching.”

That’s equivalent to someone saying they need to get in better shape before hiring a trainer! The entire purpose of coaching is to help you grow your business and keep your focus on building the business you want. The longer you go without a coach, the more time you are wasting.

A great coaching program or coach will help you accelerate your results. Sure, you may be able to do this on your own, but with a coach you’ll be able to move faster, stay more focused and get more done.

All of the most successful, highest performing individuals that I know invest in a coach. Maybe it’s time to follow their lead and do the same for yourself? You’re most likely losing more money by not having a coach than you are saving by trying to do this on your own.

To be honest, I made this mistake the last 2 years when I went without a coach or coaching group. I felt stuck and really frustrated with a lot of things. However, after some encouragement from Nick Berry I found a group that fit and invested in it right away.

It’s been worth every penny (and it was a lot of pennies!!!!)

You may also like our article covering 10 Reasons You Need A Coach.

Mistake #2: You’re Working With No Direction

Not having a crystal clear long-term vision will leave you unfocused and working without a purpose. If you don’t know your destination, it’s impossible to know your priorities.

A long-term vision needs to be just far enough out that you can think big but not so far out that there’s no sense of reality. Having a 20-year vision is great, but if you can’t realistically think that far out and see clearly what your business looks like at that time, bring it back a bit.

You likely haven’t been in business for 20 years so how in the world are you able to think that far out. Plus, 20 years is long enough out that you can put off actually doing the work needed to reach your goal.

You’ll do much better if you set a 3-5 year vision for yourself and your company. That time frame allows you to think big while still maintaining a sense of reality and purpose.

Mistake #3: You’re Working Hard Not Smart

There are a lot of trainers out there now praising and preaching the “embrace the grind” and “don’t live for the weekend” mindset. While I can appreciate it, I don’t think it’s required to be successful.

There’s no question that trainers are some of the hardest working people I know. You bust your butt to help your clients and grow your business. And I used to think the same way…

Until it got to be too much. Now that I have a family and I’m getting a little older, the pace I used to work at just isn’t possible any more. Success to me has changed a bit and maybe that’s the reason I don’t think I need to out work everyone. I’ll just work smarter 🙂 .

It’s funny too, I get just as much if not more done in a shorter period of time. I’m doing higher quality work and working with a purpose. With the right vision and the right goals you can focus your efforts on working smarter not harder.

Don’t mistake this for saying you don’t need to work hard. Getting any business up and running is hard work. You’ll have to make some sacrifices and there will be some long days, but it doesn’t need to last forever.

Your business may be everything to you and I commend you if you want to work 20 hour days, 7 days a week and have no life. You’re a better business owner than me.

I’d rather work hard and smart, be able to enjoy my weekends, take a vacation, spend time with my son in the evenings and still grow a great business. I refuse to believe you can’t have it all and you should to!

Mistake #4: You Don’t Take Enough Time to Recharge

High performers are hard workers. I don’t know a lot of lazy successful people. This plays off the mistake above but the highest of performers need time to recharge.

The work you’re doing takes a lot of energy! My mentor and coach Joe Polish uses the analogy of a race horse.

If you owned a million dollar race horse, you’d exercise great care in taking care of that horse. You would feed it well, monitor its training, ensure it was rested and recovering and ensure it was having regular check-ups to monitor its health.

You’re the million dollar race horse!

You need to treat your body well, take time to exercise, take time to recharge and care for yourself. Make sure you’re planning your downtime.

Mistake #5: You’re Not Thinking Enough

You need more time to think. It’s actually amazing at the direct correlation of the time you need to spend thinking and the amount of success you have in your business. The more successful, the more time you should spend thinking and planning for your business.

Each member of our team is encouraged to take 1 hour or more each week to get out of the office, away from their computer and spend time thinking. You can do whatever you like during this time but you can’t work on a project or catch up on work.

My time each week is spent reviewing our Strategic Alignment Plan and thinking of ways to improve what we’re doing. I want to make things better or faster.

Nick and I schedule monthly meetings with each other for a full day to discuss strategy. Many times there is no agenda, just a list of topics we’d like to cover and we take all day to whiteboard out and brainstorm ways to help us accomplish our long-term vision.

Start by giving yourself 30 minutes a week out of the gym, away from your office to think and plan for your business. It’s challenging at first, but all you need is a blank sheet of paper or a notebook and a pen. Sit there and just write out or draw what comes to mind.

You’ll surprise yourself with the creativity and ideas that you create.

Mistake #6: You Don’t Hire Soon Enough or Well Enough

Let’s get this out there…

You suck at doing some things in your business. There are people that love doing things that you hate and they are better at doing them than you are! Waiting too long to hire your first team member is a critical mistake, but I get why…

You most likely don’t have a lot of experience finding or hiring great people. You may not have the basic business foundations in place to hire and keep great people, but these are easy problems to solve.

Most of the time your first hire should be an administrative assistant to take some of the work off your plate that isn’t growing or building your business. When you find yourself pressed for time to get everything done and your business has the profit margins to allow you to hire help, you need to do it.

This is an investment! Just like coaching, hiring the right person will free up more of your time to focus on the high level activities in your business like training more clients, strategic planning and marketing.

If you unloaded just 10 hours per week to an admin assistant for $15/hour you’d be paying out around $600/month. If you took just 5 of those hours you gained back to put towards marketing for your business, I have no doubt you could pick up the 2-3 extra clients needed to make up for that investment.

Follow the old adage “Hire slow, fire fast”. If you’re having trouble finding good help, take a good look at the person responsible…


If you don’t take the time to hire people that fit your Core Values, have the capabilities to perform the job well, AND take time to train them on how to do the job, it’s all your fault. Accept that responsibility and building a great team becomes a lot easier.

Mistake #7: You’re Not Marketing Effectively

A business can’t exist without generating revenue. Marketing is how you generate that revenue and build an audience. We’ve been preaching it for over a year now…

…the industry is changing and getting tougher and tougher. If you’re not learning new marketing strategies and stepping up your game, you’re not going to be able to thrive as a business owner.

Marketing effectively means having a strategy, not blindly following what you see others doing because it appears to work for them. You need to understand what you’re selling, who you’re selling it to, why they should buy from you and where you can find them.

Then you should take note of your assets, play to your strengths and create a marketing plan that will allow you to grow your business.

Not tracking your marketing efforts isn’t an option any more. At the bare minimum you need to know how many leads you get, how many convert to your Front End Offer, how many convert to a client and your retention rates.

Those are just the basics, it’s the blocking and tackling. If you want to truly be a great marketer then you’ll start tracking where your leads are coming from, understanding the cost to acquire leads, understanding how long it takes you to get that money back, and when you can afford to invest in paid marketing like Facebook ads.

Being great at what you do and getting referrals is required if you want to survive as a fitness business. If you want to THRIVE you need to be able to step up your marketing game.

Did I Miss One?

Let me know in the comments if I missed a mistake that you see fitness business owners make. Or let me know how you’ve overcome one or all of these 7 mistakes.

Want to Fast Track Your Success and Avoid These Mistakes?

It could be time to invest in a coaching program to help you reach your goals faster, avoid the frustrating mistakes that most business owners make and start growing the business you’ve always wanted.

Our Success Coaches are ready to help you with your business! If you think it’s time to invest in coaching make sure to schedule a Discovery Call today where we’ll talk about your struggles, discuss some simple strategies to produce big results and then talk about the opportunity to join our exclusive coaching program.

This isn’t for everyone. Only schedule your call if you’re prepared to invest the time and money to build a better business.

Schedule Your Call Today

Comments [02]

  1. Mahal
    June 2, 2016

    Great article. These are business guidelines I can apply to other areas of work.

    • Ryan Ketchum
      June 2, 2016

      Thanks Mahal!


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