I recently posted a blog about statistics in the fitness business. I really only just scratched the surface with that one. In this blog post I want to address a few things that I had to leave out, and tie up loose ends. It’s always good to know where the next generation of competition could come from.
I tend to think the source of competition to watch is self-employed trainers building followings through social media and then establishing studios once they have enough of a revenue flow. Also there were some statistics that relate the demographics of the industry to that of the employment world at large. It has some interesting data but it’s not worth a full post itself, so I have included it here.
Making It In The Fitness Industry
As a gym owner you know what it is to be self-employed, whether you just started out on your own or buying into a franchise. What I know from the experience of working as a vendor, and also as a gym owner myself, is that there is a huge gap between the world of employment and entrepreneurship. What lies between is a little murky and blurry.
It’s a risky proposition to step outside the safety of employment and into running your own enterprise. But from what I’ve seen, the more time you spend in the business, the more likely that you are to become self-employed. The way gym entrepreneurs and freelancers generally start their careers is as employed staff members. They use that time to gain experience, confidence and relationships that they will call on later in their careers. On the other end of the scale, fitness business owners are self employed, by definition.
Marketing Fitness Services In The Social Media Age
There is evidence that people are being more cautious about striking out on their own. Instead, they are increasingly likely to work for an employer and do their own thing on the side, in their spare time. That’s always a less risky and more sensible route to running your own business. However, you won’t get counted in the self-employment data.
Social media is a way for freelancers to build a presence in the marketplace. As an established gym you can also exploit social to defend your home-court advantage and to connect with freelancers. By networking with them, you can bring them into your way of thinking and sphere of influence. You can monitor who’s out there and make connections that are beneficial to everyone.
Often once trainers get going, they will shift over to doing individual training on a freelance basis full time. Or they will arrange group activities in public places, such as parks, before they build enough of a following to lease their own studio spaces and become a true competitor in the industry. I believe they can be a resource as much as a threat, it’s all about how you respond.
Regardless of the statistics, I think social-media-based freelancing is something to watch out for. The numbers don’t indicate that every trainer is jumping on this trend. However the threat is real and you might want to start leveraging your gym’s social presence, to be ready to connect and respond.
Youthful Figures Hide The Real Numbers
A final finding on this topic is the information about the age distributions in the industry. The industry tends to skew slightly younger than average, with a median age of 37, whereas the median for all employed people is over 42 years of age. This sounds like a major finding but I think it’s actually not.
The way that the demographic data is calculated means that to go up in your career there is a high chance you will get out of this business, or at least, out of this occupation; if you move into a management position you get counted elsewhere. Once you’ve gained a certain amount of management experience it’s easy to side-step into a different career or industry.
Expect to see more moonlighting and part-time trainers and instructors who leverage a day-job and social media. Seek alliances and build positive relationships with freelancers, to make the sum of your whole network greater than the individual parts. There are vast quantities of statistics about the workplace and about the fitness industry. If you would like me to address any numbers in particular, please let me know.
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