This is a (sad) story, that just so happens to be true.
What I’m about to tell you, may actually make you cry.
Not in the sense that you’ll feel *bad* for the main character. No, no.
You may cry because, as you’ll realize, this is a story about you. Yes, you – the almighty Personal Trainer.
This story is about your past, present, and future.
As you’ll come to realize this several times whilst reading, the urge to cry will likely sprout from a place of exhaustion, and (hopefully) a little anger.
In fact, you should be left feeling a bit sad and angry. It’s for your own good.
Thus, proceed with caution. If your feelings are easily hurt, well, just know that the sadness and anger may very well change your life.
NOTE: For those of you who just finished an 8-12 hour day (or several in a row) training clients on the gym floor, and are now zombified on your couch – this is *especially* for you exhausted heroes.
SECOND NOTE: The following is for those who actually last beyond a year in this industry. For a more accurate depiction of where 80% of crushed souls drop-off, you may stop reading after “PHASE 2”.
PHASE 1: “I’m gonna change the world, get shredded, and get rich.”
Cert, insurance, big box job, biceps and abs; you have everything you need.
GOALS. You totally have them. Let’s search up #HUSTLE on Instagram and follow as many motivational, boxed-quote pretty picture pages as you possibly can. You surround yourself with imaginary greatness, and change your iPhone lock screen to something like “GET SHIT DONE” in particularly bold font.
You know what? You’re gonna open a gym in ONE year.
Then, you’ll buy a house. A big house. After that, you’ll buy mom a car to say “thank you” for birthing you, but mostly to show her that you’re actually doing something in life and don’t need a “real job”. You do the numbers and it turns out you need less than you thought – about $130,00/year.
It’s 2018. You NEED to become Youtube famous, start a podcast with nothing of particular interest or value to say, then use that to launch your own clothing brand.
You can’t ever work a 9-5 again. It’s not for you. All of the books and blogs you read say that having zero prior knowledge or concept of business or finance should not hold you back from diving head first into this.
A desk and cubicle might as well be prison. Hell, you’re shredded (or will be), horrible with authority figures, great with people, and *love* chicken and asparagus. Therefor, the trainer life is the life for you. This is so great. You are *so* excited.
You promise mom you’re going to be training celebrities and professional athletes very soon, then get rich through ab shots on instagram, and change the world.
PHASE 2: “I am my own damn business card.”
You *may* have had slight misconceptions about how easy it is to fill up with clients.
Dropped in the middle of a big box gym, you swiftly become a nobody. Oh, and your pay is cut to 1/4 that of what you want to charge.
Now, considering you know nothing about business, have never sold anything in your life, and are struggling to find your identity – you have to learn FAST. More books. More blogs. More motivational Instagram pages.
At this point you’ve been eating tuna and white rice for months (the ketchup and mayo secret sauce makes it oh-so-delicious, though) while building your physique. After all, you basically live in a gym at this point.
Still looking shredded. Still killing it.
It’s okay – the dream is the dream. Just search up some hashtags and put your head down.
PHASE 3: “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.”
Screw this, you’re going independent. It’s been a year, you’re full of clients and sick of being paid a fraction of what you’re *obviously* worth. It’s time to get those athletes and celebs in your sights.
Things are more predictable and scalable. It’s just $20 per client session for the rental fee to use a studio. Or $300/week once you hit a certain point. Easy.
You’ve had some success, so you start taking clients with you to your new and improved location (which turns out to be a grand total of two souls).
Logos, business cards, shaker bottle and clipboard – it’s go time.
At this point, you start missing some workouts due to the fact that you have no clients and need to hit the pavement.
You read somewhere that offering 30min sessions is a better use of your time and easier to sell, so you start doing that.
Beggars can’t be choosers, so you succumb (again) to taking on any and all clients you can get your hands on.
Still, that dream of athletes and celebrities is alive and well. It’s only a matter of time.
PHASE 4: “I wonder how moms is doing…”
Well, you haven’t seen family in eight months. You’re missing a few more workouts here and there. But, hey – that’s the nature of the game, right? Sacrifice.
At this point, you’ve been doing outreach to different businesses in the area to create some joint venture opportunities and cross promote.
It’s working, and you can increase your hourly rates by about 20% while making sales.
This makes the fact that clients are dropping off every month a little more palpable.
You’re making “good money”. About $75-$100/hr depending on where you live.
“This is it”, you tell yourself. It’s time to educate yourself on business structures and get back to those goals you had a couple of years ago when you got into this game. $130,000 per year? Time to follow some more #motivation pages and join the #5amclub.
PHASE 5: “Get this tupperware out of my face”
Years have passed. Again. Eating at home has become a thing of the past.
You have goals, needs and a big-ass whiteboard. You’ve now built yourself up to become a “high level trainer”. Whatever that means.
Finally, you’re inhabiting an expensive loft apartment with an amazing view. Oh, and there’s a motorcycle in the parking garage.
Success with clients is coming consistently.
On the business front, you’re doing about 30 sessions per week, 10 hours of paperwork, programming, and client updates. 5-6 hours per week of consultations and sales meetings to keep up with client drop-off and other work schedules. Another 6 hours per week of bi-weekly assessments.
All together, roughly 52 hours per week to run the business right now.
In other words, the grind is real. But that’s okay. You’re no stranger to the #hustle.
Money is great. More than you’ve ever made before. About $1650/week, or $6,600/month
Not bad at all.
However, the goal is $130,000, which works out to $10,800 per month.
At this point you avoid thinking about how the tax man already violates you.
The decision is made to train more people, and then slowly raise your hourly rate. After all, you spend money of professional development, and are a damn good trainer at this point.
PHASE 6: “I hate everyone. Literally everyone. Including myself.”
You’re up to 40hrs/week training clients. 62-70hr active, difficult weeks.
After almost another year, you’re up to $8800/month. That’s $105,000 per year.
Holy shit. You finally did it. You are officially a six figure trainer. You absolutely lose your shit and celebrate with every single person you know and rush to the phone to tell mom.
Except that never happens.
In fact, you hardly notice.
First of all, your eyes are on that goal number. Second of all, you’re too tired to party.
Once you hit that number, though? Game over. *THEN* you can celebrate.
At this point, the 10-12hr days begin to flow into each other.
You spend so much time being “ON” that you begin to forget why you got into this business in the first place.
Rise at 5. Clients all morning. Break mid day. Clients late into the night.
You haven’t been out for a drink in a year (but you have a SICK shoe collection).
Your physique is holding on by a few threads as you attempt to squeeze time in for a quick 20-30 minute session every day.
You’ve now joined #teamnosleep groups on FB and Instagram to make yourself feel more normal in the throes of sleep deprivation.
PHASE 7: “I need a vacation…I need a vacation…I need a vacation.”
Except, you can’t.
Leaving the business for 2-4 weeks means there are thousands of dollars down the drain.
You’ve got rent and insurance to pay. Phone bills. Software payments. The list goes on.
Leaving will mean your clients will be left out to dry… But surely most of them would understand?
Nevertheless, you’ll need to deal with the inevitable client drop off, schedule changes, managing client questions, and figuring out a way to press “pause” on the business while you go lie on the beach somewhere.
In the back of your mind you know you’ll spend the last 2-4 days of your vacation preparing for work again, since you’ll have blown a few grand on mojitos and sunscreen while the bills have continued to roll in.
PHASE 8: “What have I done?…”
Your significant other complains about never seeing you. You tell yourself that’s the way it has to be right now while you’re #hustling.
Mom is worried and the rest of the family feels distant.
You’re making “good” money, and live in the nice part of town.
Yet, that’s where you’ll always live, you realize. For a long time. Travel is just too stressful at this point.
Now, the money in your bank account doesn’t really matter because you’re working 6am-12pm, 5pm-9:30pm every single day. Expensive lunches and shoes are basically where your money goes.
You can’t remember last time you went to a club. Or danced. Or anything-ed.
The realization that you are in charge of 30+ souls, most of whom aren’t your “IDEAL” client begins to set in. You’ve become a friend, psychologist, trainer, and babysitter all rolled into one tightly less-than-muscle-bound package.
You’re making 6 figures per year. You hate it.
There’s no time to pursue hobbies.
Training is a CHORE.
The abs that were supposed to make you famous, have vanished.
That podcast and Youtube channel? Who has time for that shit? You struggle to get a couple blog posts up per month.
You’re exhausted, stressed, and trapped.
The limit hits. You realize that this is the way it is. You cannot afford to complain.
You have a family and spouse to provide for, and you refuse to let them down.
So, you do the math, which points to the fact that you’ll need to keep up this schedule for about 30 more years before retirement is possible.
The flame of passion that was once blinding, begins to dwindle to a weak smoulder.
You’re boxed in, with not much inspiration. The real world actually sucks.
Perhaps you could hire some trainers underneath you? This might help take some of the workload off… You’ll just have to put in the extra hours needed to find, hire, and train these employees – as well as pay them well, which means you’ll need to double your monthly sales.
Bigger business. More taxes. More stress.
In reality, you’re not even reaching who it is you *really* want to train. You long for the chance to test your skills and technical knowledge.
“What have I done?”, you say. You’ve come to dread training people.
All of a sudden, you begin to fantasize about your buddy Ricky in his comfortable $46K/year desk job. He’s responsible for nothing and nobody. He’s able to take two vacations every year. He’s living in his shitty apartment, pursuing literally none of his own ambitions, yet has all the time in the world to do it…
THAT, is scary.
Why did you get into this in the first place? You wanted something that you never felt the need to “take a vacation” from.
This is your passion. You’re excellent at what you do. You’ve been in the game long enough to earn your stripes, and you never stop learning.
Yet, for those of you who want a life of freedom and impact, here’s where the traditional Personal Trainer business model takes you:
-EXHAUSTION AND STRESS
-NO TIME OFF
Now, imagine instead a world where you could manage most of your business fro your laptop, spend half the amount of time working (eventually), have freedom of location, yet make the same amount of money.
Then, imagine you’ve set up your business in such a way that allows you to scale your income upwards without scaling up your hours.
Imagine actually owning a business that you can walk away from for a couple of weeks, and have it THRIVE while you’re away because of the frameworks and systems you have in place.
Imagine working ONLY with the people who truly motivate you to be your best and produce your best work.
Here’s the reality:
Dreams of training “athletes” and “celebrities” all day every day are possible, yet highly unlikely. Unless you’re going to Jillian Michaels the shit out of yourself, your income is STILL capped.
We live in a rapidly changing market, world, and technological space. it’s shifting and developing wether you like it or not.
Face-to-face training will ALWAYS have it’s place – that’s not the point of this story or conversation.
The point is that online training can and SHOULD be just as legitimate as face to face training in both theory and execution. In fact, most of the time you’ll have to up your game because of the increased average skill level of online clients around the globe.
Fun Fact: Some AMAZING online programmers, are positively average face-to-face trainers. Some legendary face-to-face trainers, are downright mediocre at online program design.
The goal is to be the person who can do both. The goal is to create the freedom, impact and profits you want while being the best at what you do, specifically how you do it.
If you are truly good at what you do, then you deserve to be able to leverage yourself in such a way that allows you to engineer the life you truly want to live.
It takes work. It takes patience. it takes consistency. It takes the willingness to learn.
Most of all, it takes belief in yourself and an undying hunger for more out of your business and life.
Breaking Down The Business Models:
To make sense of what we are talking about, let’s break down the actual numbers of what’s typically involved in different business models.
First, the traditional Personal Training model you’ve been conditioned into subscribing to:
Old PT Model:
Tier #1/1: Face to Face Training (Renting Space)
Hourly Rate: $90/hr
Number Of Clients: 15
Number Of Sessions/Week: 25
Number Of Extra Work Hours: 10-20
Monthly Revenue: $9000
Gym Rental Fee: $300/week ($1200/month)
Approximate Profits With Hours Worked:
@ 45-55 hours per week
180-220 hours per month
Actual Hourly Rate:
Here, we see that you’d be working quite a few hours even single week. Assessments, program design, books, check-ins, etc. There’s nothing wrong with this, as it’s part of every trainer’s job.
However, when you look at the business model itself, it is solely based on the time-for-money trap. There is only one tier involved in the business. Yes, nearly everyone needs to start there, but remaining there is neither recommended or intelligent.
Above, we see that the ACTUAL hourly rate breaks down to $35-$43/hr instead of $90/hr. All very respectable when you compare to other typical “jobs” out there – except for the fact that you are trying to build a business. Not a job.
Regardless of how you spin it, you are always, always limited by the number of hours you can work in a day.
Yes, you can raise your rates (and you should) – but you are still capped.
Yes, you can hire apprentice trainers underneath you (as you should) to double and triple down on things – but you are still left working the same amount, and will eventually be capped once again. Plus, not everyone wants to manage multiple employees.
A final point to notice is that this entire business is built upon the fact that you are present, working, in the flesh, every single day. As soon as you leave, the cash flow stops and you may even lose clients.
Vacations are literally a vacation. You are vacating – escaping – the daily grind.
Is there anything wrong with this? No. Not at all. Not if you are happy and content doing it. Many people are – and many of them are phenomenal trainers.
However, it never hurts to explore the possibilities.
Why not hold onto what you love about training people face to face, get rid of the things you hate, while engineering yourself out of a job and into a business?
The following is an example of just one type of model we teach and build within the Coaches Cartel.
New PT Model: Type #1
Tier #1/3: 1-on-1 Online Coaching
Monthly Rate: $350
Number Of Clients: 15
Number Of 20min Skype Sessions/Week: 7-8 (2.5hrs)
Number Of Extra Work Hours: 7-15
Monthly Revenue: $5250
Approximate Profits With Hours Worked:
@ 10-17 hours per week
40-68 hours per month
Actual Hourly Rate:
Tier #2/3: Membership/Group Online Coaching
Monthly Rate: $97
Number Of Clients: 50
Number Of 30min Coaching Calls: 1-2 (1hrs)
Number Of Extra Work Hours: 2-9
Monthly Revenue: $4850
Approximate Profits With Hours Worked:
@3-10 hours per week
12-40 hours per month
Actual Hourly Rate:
Tier #3/3 Semi Private Face-To-Face Training
(Instead of training one on one, go for semi-private where you can. On average, a client will be able to train with you 3x/week for $120. Easy sell.)
Rate Per Session: $40
Clients Per Session: 4
Number Of Sessions Per Week Per Group: 3
Number Of Groups: 4
Weekly Revenue: $1920
Number Of Hours Worked:12
Number Of Extra Hours Worked: 5
Monthly Revenue: $7680
Game Rental Fee: $200/wk ($800/month)
Approximate Profits With Hours Worked
Approximate Profits With Hours Worked:
@17 hours per week
68 hours per month
Actual Hourly Rate:
Total Hours Worked: 30-44/week
Total Monthly Profits: $16,980
SUMMARY WITHOUT SEMI-PRIVATE:
Total Hours Worked: 13-27/week
Total Monthly Profits: $10,100
Whew. That’s a lot of numbers to digest.
Put simply, you can see how diversifying your skills and services not only has the potential to boost your income, it also allows you to leverage yourself.
With on-on-one online training, you are still capped by the number of people you can handle in a given month. This is fine – at least you can do it from literally anywhere in the world.
That issue is addressed when implementing the group and/or membership model. Things are run on a monthly recurring model, and done so in a way that would allow you to have hundreds of people paying for your services every month, if you so chose to grow it to such a place.
Again, you have the freedom to do this where and how you like.
Finally, with the addition of semi-private training, you still have no employees (although that is an excellent option, here), you’re working a fraction of the previous 1-on-1 hours, while still bringing in nearly $2K per week. The real beauty lies in the fact that you could choose to use this tier in the business model, or not, and still make $10K per month once you’ve built things up correctly.
In fact, there are so many variations in business models and tier structures available to you, it’s too much for a single article.
The point is that we are living in an age where bringing your business online can and should be part of your strategy for growth and survival in the industry.
Not to mention, the whole “engineer your ideal life” thing.
We aren’t going to sugar coat it. Building an online personal training business is not an overnight process. Unless you’re already an international legend in the field, nobody is going to come running for your services all of a sudden.
It takes targeted, calculated steps while simplifying the process to eliminate all of the “shiny objects” in your way. Enabling yourself to work predominantly via your laptop does not mean you’ll be working by the pool or beach every day. You’ll never see us working on our laptops on the beach. When it’s time to get shit done, you get it done. When it’s time to play, you head to the beach and leave the laptop and phone behind.
For most of this journey, it’s more work than play. But you do get to play.
Freedom, profits and impact. That is what this is all about.
Take The Next Step Toward Building Your Business
If this speak to how you’ve been feeling lately…
If you’ve been nodding your head…
If you’ve been doing numbers and scribbling notes and ideas on paper while you read this…
Then here’s what you need to do:
Go watch the 100K Coach Plan and download the workbook that goes along with it. It’s 100% free. You are not sold a thing by watching it.
It is simply a master plan to kick-start the foundation of your new online (or hybrid) business model that will ultimately lead to you achieving the lifestyle and impact you crave.
The saying “You don’t know what you don’t know” is very true. The 100K Coach Plan will take you through a process that allows you to see exactly where the holes (and opportunities) in your business are.
If you’re not sure where to start, are needing some clarity, or simply want a structured step-by-step plan that you can use immediately – check out the 100K Coach Plan by Clicking HERE.
PLUS: Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you grow your coaching business:
- Grab a free copy of my book.
It’s the road map to attracting leads, signing clients, and scaling your coaching business. — Click Here
- Watch the $100K Coach Plan.
This is the step-by-step online workshop that is for smart personal trainers to have a clear path to earn over $100K in the next 12 months. — Click Here
- Join our Implementation Program and be a Case Study.
I’m putting together a new coaching case study group at Coaches Cartel this month… stay tuned for details. If you’d like to work with me on your client-getting and scale plans… just send me a message HERE and put “Case Study”, and I’ll send you the info.
- Work with me and my team privately.
If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to earn over $100K each year… just send me a message HERE and put “Private”… tell me a little about your business and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details.