Building Your Dream by Starting Your Own Business in Fitness
If you are the kind of person, like me, who enjoy fitness and being at the gym, the dream of starting your own business in fitness is the logical next step. Fitness is so wide-open because it’s a people business. If you can gain a following of one person, you have a fitness business.
That sounds crazy but, if you’re in the right place at the right time, celebrities and the super-wealthy do sometimes hire trainers full-time. That may be a bit extreme and takes a lot of luck. However, in the gym business, there are hidden pathways that lead to the object of your ambition. These principles are simple (but not easy) hacks to get you on your way.
1. Start Small and Dream Big
I’m not suggesting this is a realistic market segment for you to pursue. However, if you can scale your ambitions of global domination down to the human scale, there are opportunities everywhere.
If you offer personal training services, private studio session, or, say, a mobile kettlebell service, you can begin in your spare time. Starting with a side hustle is a low-risk way to get a foot in the door. You can market-test the minimal viable business model and bootstrap your way up from there (see below), all in your spare time.
2. Learn the Business by Working in A Gym
If you love being in the gym, find out what it’s like on the other side before you make it a significant commitment. Even a part-time position or internship will help you decide if you have a real passion for the things go on behind the scenes in fitness.
3. Get Certified in The Right Niche
You need certification in fitness to have a successful club. You will either do it yourself or hire someone else who is qualified. Certification gives you the knowledge to offer value to your membership.
Having valid qualifications on display also gives prospects and members the trust to sign up in the first place. Find a special population niche where you can earn advanced certification and in which there is a demand for your skills above and beyond a general gym club service.
4. Learn Everything You Can About the Fitness Business
Investors are not too far removed from business owners. There is much to be learned from the pros when it comes to sizing up a business opportunity. After all, what is a business if not an investment? Some of the most successful investors are the ones who learn everything they possibly can before they buy into an asset.
Apply this principle to any entrepreneurial endeavor or investment. Learn everything you can about your intended fitness niche. When you do, you will be better able to judge business opportunities and make sharper plans.
Success builds on success in any business. Once you have one startup under your belt, you will attract the interest of your community. Investors, talented employees, and potential members will be much more interested in your fully-equipped gym if they know your training studio was a success.
5. Network with Local Fitness Professionals
Get to know your local colleagues and competitors. Talk to all of them respectfully and with a positive, helpful outlook; you never know when you might need them. Your personal reputation is as important as your fitness club brand. In fact, your name is your personal brand.
6. Get Involved in The Community
Reach out to network beyond the industry. Your local business community has all of the resources you need in the form of the people you meet. This extends your personal brand in fitness and builds serious intent.
What does that mean? Simple, when you become a member of the local business community, you step away from the employee mindset. It is now and has always been a fundamental truth that It’s not what you know, but who you know. Connections you make among your new-found business peers will help you to start out and continue toward success.
The Small Business Administration runs a mentorship program that is a great place to start. Also, look for events that interest you through websites like meetup.com. Locally, connect with your chamber of commerce.
I can hear you thinking that meeting new people makes you uncomfortable, very uncomfortable. I hear you! Not everybody is a raving extrovert, right. Well, two points on that: First, it will be worth it with the contacts and new friends you accumulate. Second, everyone you meet feels exactly the same way!
7. Create A Focused Plan to Do One Thing Exceptionally Well
If you try to achieve two or more things at once, particularly with a thin base of cash and experience, your business becomes an exercise in advanced juggling. Humans are not designed for multitasking, single-tasking one thing, and concentrating on doing it exceptionally well.
8. Bootstrap Your Initial Business Stage
If you have the kind of financial resources to start a full-service fitness club (about the price of a 3-bedroom house in Nevada) more power to you. However, regardless of your assets, you will get further and survive longer if you spend your fitness club capital sparingly. If you can find ways to get by without investors or business loans, you will be glad of it in the long term.
By starting small and simple, you can leverage your way up to success without ever going too deeply into debt. If you can avoid getting too far out ahead of your cash flow, you will prevent costly mistakes.
There is nothing better than being in control of your own business and free from any obligations. The potential, ultimately, is there to live well and put your kids through college, whether they want to go or not.
9. Prove Your Income to Expand and Drive Your Financial Success
Bootstrapping your way into profitability means only doing things that actually work. If you rent a studio by the hour and lead a class, you decide if it’s the right niche or not by the number of attendees and your take-home income. That is much preferable to mortgaging your house and spending it to launch a full-scale fitness club, only to get about the same level of success. Limit your risk and reinvest your income to drive the business ahead.
10. Work Smart but Stay Hard
Perhaps the best thing about having your own fitness facility of any type is using it. Live the lifestyle, stay fit, eat well, work like the Dickens. When you start a business in fitness, you are going to work very hard to make it succeed. There is no shortcut; working smarter is a given, but you still have to work hard too.
You are going to need the peak performance that comes with fitness so that you can keep up the pace. Don’t get distracted from working out, keep a healthy diet, and make sure you get enough sleep.
11. Manufacture Good Luck Yourself
There is luck involved, but hard work multiplied by a lot of time creates the luck for you. If you have the plan, you put in the time and effort, and you respond to opportunities as they arise, you will do much to generate the luck you need to thrive as a small gym business owner. Whether it is networking in the community or bootstrapping a new service offering if you pay attention and take action, the fickle winds of luck are more likely to blow your way.
Get Insight Gym Management Software
Whatever you choose as your business proposition, the one thing that holds it all together is a system of records that gives you the information you need when you need it. Gym Insight was designed to put information in the places you need it. Established fitness clubs, new gym business startups, and independent fitness trainers all use this gym management software.
Begin with a plan, start small, bootstrap your way up step by step, manufacture your own luck as you go. Check out how simple and affordable, yet mightily powerful it is to manage your first customers with the software that will support you all the way to the top.
Fagan, Lawrence. “Bootstrapping A Gym Business from Zero.” Gym Insight Blog, September 19, 2016. https://blog.gyminsight.com/3967-bootstrapping-a-gym-business-from-zero/.
———. “Gym Business Owners Face These Urgent Issues Right Now.” Gym Insight Blog, March 3, 2019. https://blog.gyminsight.com/5388-gym-business-owners-face-these-urgent-issues-right-now/.
———. “Personal Branding for Fitness Club Owners And Entrepreneurs.” Gym Insight Blog, March 6, 2019. https://blog.gyminsight.com/5395-personal-branding-for-fitness-club-owners-and-entrepreneurs/.
———. “Survey of What Is on the Horizon for Special Populations in Fitness.” Gym Insight Blog, June 14, 2019. https://blog.gyminsight.com/5521-survey-of-what-is-on-the-horizon-for-special-populations-in-fitness/.
Stowell, Jason. “Tips for Marketing Personal Training.” Club Solutions Magazine, February 20, 2019. https://clubsolutionsmagazine.com/2019/02/tips-for-marketing-personal-training/.