Bootstrapping A Gym Business From Zero

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  • Bootstrapping A Gym Business From Zero

Going From Zero To One

One of the most interesting books about startups and innovation is Zero to One by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters. The principle is that a running business is one, and you start at zero. Everything that you do in between is the hard work of founding a business. Once you are in operation and making enough income to survive you can think about expanding.

Beyond one you can use the principle of duplication to repeat the initial success in a second, third, and further locations, this is the empire-building phase where you go from one to two or to five or a thousand. The critical stage is the first, going from zero to one, according to Thiel at least, and according to me as well! Starting a fitness business doesn’t need to be expensive, but just exactly how can you bootstrap your way into the fitness industry?

Hate To Break It To You

To throw money at starting a gym facility, whether franchise or from your personal vision, will cost as much as a house or more. Now that doesn’t put it out of the realm of the possible for many aspiring entrepreneurs and fitness professionals. However, if you don’t have the cash, you will have to find it somewhere, and that brings either interest payments, giving up a substantial share of equity, or both.

Luckily, in this modern age, you don’t even need to do that. No need to buy or lease equipment; no need for an expensive retail space in the local fitness-friendly strip mall on Main Street. Or even a back street workshop conversion, although that would be much more affordable. What you need is a system of information management to connect with people, some fundamental resources, the ability to organize sessions as events, and a lot of hard work; the key ingredient is your ability to hustle.

Choose A Niche Where You Can Exceltrack

Regardless of where you locate your budding training events, you will need to adhere to all government regulations and rules, which means getting the proper licenses and certifications. You can’t get anywhere without the right insurance for your business either, so there’s that. Find your focus. Find the one thing that you know you can do well and make it the central feature of your business.

Of course, the thing that counts is what people are willing to pay for and any business always needs to be customer focused. Otherwise, you just won’t earn any revenue. However, you still have to consider that you need to use the skills and abilities that you Possess and without which to make more than the minimum out-of-pocket investment.

Some Bootstrapping Tricks For Budding Fitness Entrepreneurs

You may have noticed that I am telling you to start a fitness business without actually opening a gym. That requires something of a change in mindset. You have to become a fitness producer, someone who promotes events. Use services like to get the word out about what you offer. Take to social media and post to for free.

The only things that you will need will be a deposit account and payments platform, an appropriate fitness certification for yourself or representatives, and liability insurance policy. Be creative in finding locations for your training events. Get in touch with a local business co-working space; office buildings mayhave spaces that you can use such as rooftop decks, as well as people in need of exercise. Networking to find event space is an excellent example of how developing links in the local business community will assist in delivering resources to you.

The Joys Of Getting To One

Hustling your way from zero to one will separate you from the sidelines of life most completely. Many people wish they could have businesses; few try and even fewer succeed. You are swimming against the tide when you strike out on your own. However, determination, imagination, and hard work will allow you to create something that is entirely your own.

Bootstrapping a business takes discretion and judgment. If you cut short the critical value-producing resource, if you don’t have the requisite certifications, business licenses, and insurance policies you are at serious risk, and also potentially negligent. But these investments are minimal compared to financing a fitness center or buying a franchise; you can save up for it or put much of it on a credit card.

You can do the labor things yourself up to a point, forego equipment, and rent real estate by the hour, with the right business model. Going from zero to one in fitness is not easy but if you’re passionate about the profession it’s a worthwhile venture. Finally, don’t forget to bookmark the Gym Insight Blog and come back regularly for updates and ideas on how to get ahead in the fitness center ownership business.


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Hosford, Beverly. Renting Gym Space As a Personal Trainer. September 10, 2015. (accessed September 17, 2016).

Lackovic, Annette. Are You Bootstrapping Your Business? (accessed September 17, 2016).