Training people from the comfort of your own home, not dealing with client sessions or having to work around your client’s schedules. It all sounds amazing, but is it really all it’s cracked up to be?
Running an online fitness business seems incredibly appealing, especially if you’ve endured the long days, split shifts and headaches of having to run your in person fitness business.
Let’s take a look at what you need to know about running an online fitness business if you want to be successful.
The first mistake many fitness pros make is trying to tackle the entire world with their online fitness business. You start running FB ads, posting IG selfies and start blogging relentlessly.
Instead of trying to have your online fitness business bring in all of your income think of it as your side hustle or complement to your in person training business. Not doing training in person yet? Then you probably want to consider if you should be training people online at all.
I’m a big believer that you need some in person experience to be able to train people online. Can it be done without that experience? Sure, but it’s going to be a tougher road and you’ll likely need to have another source of income for a while.
In fact, one of my mentees started out this way. He was working for the city while training himself for a fitness competition. As he made progress and shared his journey he also interned with me at my studio and was training clients on the side. From there he picked up some online clients and gradually worked with them in his very limited spare time.
He’s running a six figure online business now and a studio. But, I think he’s the exception not the rule.
Instead of trying to make your millions and live on the beach through your online fitness business let’s set a goal of adding a $1,000/mo in extra revenue to your business through online training and get your systems in order.
Market Local, Serve Online
The easiest clients to get for your online fitness business are going to be previous clients you’ve worked with that moved away or couldn’t afford your in person services. The next easiest will be friends and family that are willing to give you the opportunity to train them online. From there I would still focus on capturing a lot of my local market before taking my online fitness business to the world via FB ads or other marketing channels.
Once you’ve worked with several clients and got testimonials you will have the marketing resources and pressure tested systems to market to a bigger audience.
As you are working with these local clients, previous clients who’ve moved or friends/family you will want to start building your marketing resources such as social media following, email list and any content platforms you use such as blogs, YouTube, etc.
The Delivery Is Different, Principles Are The Same
Don’t treat your online fitness business differently than a brick and mortar or in person fitness business. All the principles stay the same and your journey will be very similar.
Most fitness pros jump into online training without thinking through their Core Offer, Local Market Positioning or pricing structure. It is as if you think because its an online business you can just kinda figure it out as you go.
That’s a recipe for disaster.
Instead, determine how you will deliver your services, what systems you’ll need to do it and what you are going to charge. You’ll also need a clear marketing plan for attracting new clients. As you are doing this think about how you will be able to grow this business, take on more clients and earn what you want without it driving you crazy.
You will still have a culture in your online fitness business, need systems, have to learn how to lead, manage and delegate. Online doesn’t mean easier.
Don’t Take The Personal out of Personal Trainer
Online training still requires a personal touch and interactive component to it. Don’t try to automate everything from your marketing to sales process and delivery of your programs.
Create your Core Offer so that you have personal interaction with your clients, check ins and ways to develop relationships with them to increase client lifespan and client lifetime value. If you want to be completely hands off or rely on automated delivery of workouts combined with a FB group to run your online fitness business you’re in for a long, tough road ahead.
Here’s an example of how I would set this up:
Core Offer – 1-1 Online Personal Training
- Intro Success Session and Evaluation 60 minutes via Zoom
- Monthly Program Design, included weekly updates as needed based on progress
- Weekly Check Ins via Email
- Monthly 15 minute 1-1 Coaching Session via Zoom
- Weekly Nutrition Adjustments as needed via check in
- Unlimited email access
- Price $199/mo
From there I would also offer a premium service that doubled or tripled in price for a set number of exclusive clients, say 10 max, which included weekly Zoom Coaching Sessions and unlimited text, phone access to me.
*Note: Zoom is a video conferencing platform.
This could also be blended in with in person training once or twice a month as needed for clients if you are running a hybrid model.
Marketing Your Online Fitness Business
The wheels usually fall off here…
You start your online fitness business and think “if I start it they will sign up”. Then crickets. No one buys your program. You follow the digital marketing advice from the pros but its not working for you.
Here’s what I would to do launch my program:
- Create a compelling Front End Offer such as a 21 day Rapid Fat Loss Program that leads to my long term program to get some traction
- Reach out to 5 people in my network, including previous clients to start a beta program or invite them to test drive my FEO for the online program daily
- Post content to Instagram and Facebook daily including posts and stories
- Start a blog and update it with content once per week
- Build an email list and add 10 people per week to the email list through various methods including online marketing such as FB ads, network connections, strategic relationships and my website traffic
- Email that list 3x per week with valuable content and offers
- Ask for referrals from my current clients, family and friends. Let’s say 3 asks per day
As my continued marketing plan, once I got some traction I would do the following…
- 1 Instagram post
- 5-10 stories on Instagram
- 1 FB post
- 3 network conversations
- Follow up with leads and prospects
- 1 Referral Ask
- Add 5 people to my network
- Send 3 emails to email list (MWF)
- Add 10 people minimum to email list
- Write 1 new blog post and publish
- Publish 1 new YouTube video
- Check FB ad statistics/metrics and optimize
- Connect with 3 online or local business strategic partner prospects
- Collect and share 1 new client testimonial
- Promote FEO to my email list
This plan would include running targeted FB ads using a small budget to test my offers and then ramping up as I began to get a feel for my return on investment. I would outsource the FB ads to someone like Lead Engine Marketing and focus my efforts on following up with leads they got me.
Can You Be Successful With An Online Fitness Business?
Absolutely, but its not going to be an overnight success story and you aren’t going to be working 4 hours a week if you want to make any money or have any sort of meaningful impact on your clients. There’s work involved, it takes time and you have to follow basic business principles.
Commit to putting in the work, developing new skills and providing an incredible service and you’ll have success.
Want to see if we can help you start your online fitness business or take it to the next level?
Take 60 minutes to talk with a member of the Fitness Revolution team to dig in to your business and help you discover the path you need to take to reach your biggest goals. The call is completely FREE! If you think working with us at the end of the call can help you reach your goals we’ll discuss what may be the best fit for you.
We value your privacy and would never spam you