Are you a personal trainer with a dream to open your own training gym? Then you need to set aside what you’re doing because the information in this post is critical for you to hear. A lot of personal trainers don’t take this advice and either two things happen. They remain personal trainers for the rest of their careers and never start their dream gym. Or they jump into opening a gym, burn themselves out (because they haven’t learned how to run a business) and eventually give up and close their gym.
I’m not going to tell you that running a gym is easy. I’m not going to make an outrageous claim and say you can achieve it in the next three months. Instead, I am going to be honest with you. Opening your own gym is scary and growing it is hard work. It takes patience, dedication, the willingness to fail and get back up, and a competitive spirit. If that sounds like you then you have what it takes to start your own gym.
Before I tell you how to build a profitable gym that provides financial freedom for you and your family AND gives you the chance to impact thousands of lives–we need to talk about the common pitfalls. The ones that personal trainers make when they decide to open their own gym.
Learn How to Do What You Say You’re Going to Do
A lot of personal trainers start to learn self-management within the first year of running their own fitness business. If you’re still working for a gym then you may not have built this skill. (Some people build this skill in other ways) The ability to manage and discipline yourself is key to your success. Self-management is two-fold, doing what you said you were going to do and making the best use of your time (it’s a finite resource).
Now, this is a lot easier when you have someone else to keep you accountable. Like a boss or a client. As an entrepreneur, you don’t have that luxury. Here’s an example… What if you create a content schedule to advertise your fitness business? Your plan is to do 3 social media posts a week and 2 blog posts a month.
As an entrepreneur, the only person that is going to make sure you fulfill this goal… is you. The other questions you have to ask yourself, is this the best use of my time? Is this what is going to help my business grow? That is self-managing. You can see if you don’t have the ability to self-manage it would be really hard to build a profitable independent gym.
Self-Management Creates Momentum and Success with your Independent Gym
If you read the above section and your heart sank because you know that you’re not the best at self-management. Don’t fret! Here is the best way to start building self-management skills…
Start by doing a time audit over the next 7 days. Use toggl, to track everything that you’re doing. If you’re still working for another gym then track that time, how much time do you spend on marketing, how much time do you spend on finance, etc, etc. Make a category for everything that you’re doing on a weekly basis.
Once you’re done. Start looking at where you are spending your time and ask yourself: “Is this what I need to be doing to grow my business?”
Finally, start making adjustments so you’re devoting time to the items that make the biggest difference for you and your business. I strongly recommend blocking your calendar so the less important things don’t end up encroaching on your “must-do” actions. If you start practicing this right now, in your personal training business, then it will prepare you to succeed as a gym owner.
If you don’t practice this skill and rush into renting a facility, starting your LLC, and hiring staff… that would be like building a house on mud. You are the foundation of your business and you’ll be setting the precedent for your staff. So develop a strong relationship with your own commitments and your ability to self-reflect. Meaning that if you say you’re going to do something then you’ll do it. And being able to look at what you’re doing and see it from a third-person perspective.
Knowledge is Power but it’s Also the Key to a Successful Gym
As a personal trainer, I’m sure there were a lot of changes when you started your own fitness business. You started learning how to self-manage. You had to learn a few business skills. And most importantly, you know what it feels like to be in charge of your own income. But you may have started to notice what you learned during your personal training certification didn’t exactly prepare you for running a fitness business.
If you’re planning on opening your own gym then it is only going to become more complicated. And I don’t say that to scare you away. There is just more to it than getting clients and renting a facility. Once you rent your own facility, you’re no longer just thinking about the money you’re bringing home. You’re making sure you can generate enough revenue to pay the rent, own bills, and other expenses. Then add staff members and you have a whole new responsibility!
You have to make sure that you have processes in place to get more clients, to retain current clients, to have sales conversations so you can close clients, a system for training your team, and that doesn’t include maintaining accurate financials and your business growth strategies. There is a lot to execute, track, and manage when it comes to running a gym.
So, there are a few things you can do. You can go get a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business so that you can learn business fundamentals. That’ll take you anywhere from 2-4 years. And it will be generalized, meaning they won’t train you how to run a business in the fitness industry.
You can self-learn through books, podcasts, blogs, and every other resources you can find on the internet. There is a lot of great information, but you’ll start to see that it’s bits and pieces of the information you need. And how will you know if the sales system from one fitness entrepreneur and the marketing system from a fitness agency will even work together? It’s like mixing up the pieces to several different puzzles and trying to make one picture. It’s going to be impossible, and whatever result you do get, it isn’t going to be pretty.
Now, I’ll tell you the easiest way to get the knowledge you need to build a profitable gym that fits your lifestyle. But I want you to think about this for a moment. You’re a trainer. You want to help your clients increase strength, lose weight, and all the other benefits of working out. So you build workout routines for your clients. Some routines can be applied to everyone and some are more personalized. Right? The key is, you’re not just throwing them a bunch of exercises and letting them figure it out. Your routines are your systems for getting your clients results.
We do the exact same thing for fitness business owners. It’s called the Fitness Business Alignment System™. We created 26 operating systems that any fitness business can use. You may want to build a massive facility or just a small studio. Take these systems and simply copy and paste them into your business. We have systems for marketing, sales, operations, business strategy, and finance. So you don’t have to worry about if you’re doing the right thing, you just need to follow the plan. All of these systems are laid out in our Academy.
But, if you’re thinking “That sounds great… but what if I join The Academy and don’t take action?”
Then, that brings us to my next point.
The One Thing You Absolutely Need to Grow Your Gym
You need support when you build a fitness business. Not just a gym. Any business. It could be support from a business partner or your first staff member. It could be financial support or it could be from a business coach. And the reason you need support is that starting a business is challenging, it feels like everything is against you, and sometimes you’ll get in your own way. The best way to deal with that is to have someone to keep you accountable and moving forward. Someone to pick you up when you’re down. And someone that has been through it before and can guide you down the right path.
Now, there are people out there that have found success on their own. But many of them (including myself) have spent more time than was necessary to grow their gym. Sometimes it takes years and years of struggle and frustration. It takes a lot of grit to push through that alone. But there is an easier way. And the easier way is to get support.
The other part of our Fitness Business Alignment System™ is business coaching. First, we help you create a vision for your business, then we create a plan for you to build your gym. Alongside that plan, we give you the systems. So when we say, now you need to put together your marketing strategy, you don’t have to run into the internet wilderness to find an answer. We will just direct you to The Academy, you will follow the training, and then we’ll support you in installing that system in your business.
Are Gyms Profitable? Yes. Ready to get started?
If you want to get started on building your profitable gym business. Or if you have a gym and you’re struggling. Then, your next best step is to schedule a strategy session with one of our expert coaches. We will take 45-minutes to identify your biggest obstacle, help you create an action plan to overcome it, and then discuss which one of our programs is right for you. If you want to learn more about our High Performance Coaching Program then click here.
Success Coach, Fitness Revolution