It’s 4:15am and the alarm wakes you up from a Deep Zombie Sleep…Got to get up! I have clients coming in at 5am. Need coffee ASAP and gosh darn it I’m out of creamer! I put on my gym clothes and sneakers, walk outside and it’s black…really black outside. I’m half- awake as I slide into my truck and I head to Dunkin’ Donuts because they open at 4am. I order their Ginormous coffee and off to my studio I go wondering what other few cars that are on the road are trainers like me or have some type of job that gets them up so damn early.
So, does this sound familiar to you? All of us that work in the fitness industry know that this is just the way it is. And, of course, those of us that work splits. Clients in the early am and then clients in the later afternoon that sometimes train until 8pm or longer. Being in an industry that improves our client’s lives and transforms many is usually killing most of us. So, how the hell did I get there and why am I still there?
Well, it’s a common path most of us take to build our fitness business. The problem has many issues all of us deal with. Our clients LOVE us and can stay for years. As we grow, we keep stretching ourselves out further and further as we grow the business but we are working some crazy ass hours to do it. Then we have other stuff to do besides training clients. Marketing, paperwork, payments, keeping the gym clean in between, working out, eating, etc. and you notice I haven’t even got to your personal life at all.
Now, the good news you’re probably making decent revenue, decent enough profit, you’re paying bills and even saving some of that profit. So, where do we go from here? This oftentimes the places we get stuck for a really long time. And as we all know, those years can add up fast and in fact I know trainers that haven’t taken a “Real” vacation in years.
Now, for the hard part. Here’s what can get you your life back:
1. Hire a Part-Time Trainer (What? My clients will leave!) Keep in mind, don’t give the new trainer the whole schedule, just a part of it while they make the transition. And, Yes, I can do a whole blog on just hiring a trainer. Certainly, you have to find a good one.
2. Change your Business Model! I did one on one personal training for years until I launched Semi-Private Personal Training which is up to 4 different clients each doing their own program on their preferred schedule. It “worked out” way better than I could have anticipated. More clients, less time, and increased my profit margin considerably.
3. Hire a Part Time Admin – Find someone that needs some income 3 days a week. Stay- at-home Mom’s fit this well plus like a flexible income while their kids are in school.
4. Systemize Everything You can – Auto payment systems, referral plans, simplify protocols, and make things easy for your clients and yourself. There is a boatload of programs to utilize.
5. Hire people – I still know trainers that come in on the weekend and clean their facility to save a buck while unknowingly losing their minds. Find outsourcing both personally and professionally to make your life easier.
6. Plan & Schedule 2 short vacations and a Long one – You taking care of yourself are the best thing you can do for yourself and most importantly…your clients.
Yes, these are great ideas and don’t do them all at once. Just a few changes can pull you out of burnout and save your fitness soul.
Can you imagine not working every Monday – Saturday? Think what makes the most sense for you and your business. That guy in the beginning…Yeah, that was me. So, what did I do? I hired a part time trainer who now trains most of the schedule today including every early morning. I systemized every aspect of my business I could with auto-pay, simple scheduling, easy protocols that take minutes. I hired people to clean my house, my yard, and do my books. And I created auto marketing in many ways that still work today.
Finally, going to Semi-Private Personal Training was the smartest thing I ever did. Not all of these things happened right away. It took a few years to implement everything and then one day I lived in California with a view of the beach for 14 weeks while I had 2 trainers run the business with me checking in with them once a week.
So, matter where you’re at…It’s possible. I worked plenty of 16 hour days and Monday through Saturday for years. It won’t happen overnight but even if you free up one day it will just leave you craving for more. Burnout begone!