When Kirsty Ellson, owner of Infinite Balance Fitness reduced the amount of online content she uploaded to her On Demand Library weekly, she found that not only was it more impactful for her clients, but that she had more time to explore other avenues to grow her business. Just only a year later since launching her fitness and nutrition reset program, Kirsty is reflecting on what has worked well for her as a sole fitness business owner.
She shares her best success strategies for pricing and retention and what her goals for 2022 are for her business and for her clients. Kirsty also walked us through her experience growing her business in certain areas while maintaining others that had already reached her full capacity. Learn more about Kirsty and her advice for other sole business owners by reading our interview below.
What areas have you focused on growing your business in the past year?
Reaching maximum customer capacity for personal training
My customers to start with. I link on social media and that has been really powerful with that. I grew my customers, but I’m a one-man-band. I had to decide whether or not to hire more staff and grow to stay with me. I’ve made that decision to stick with me, and so now I’m at maximum with my customers. They’re at my forefront and I want to make sure the customer is happy and stay with me for a long time. Some clients have been with me for 12 years, some people have been with me for two months, and some people will go, ok, I’m going to go and do something else, and quite often they’ll come back. I’ve grown and now I’m maintaining that client base.
Developing the reset program
Another way I have grown my business is through developing a program called the reset program. I’m a personal trainer, but I am also a nutrition coach. My reset program is six weeks and it just gets people into the way of being aware of their calorie balance, daily steps, nutrition, water intake, sleep, managing stress. That is what helps me grow my business now because every two months I can sell something. I can’t sell PT because I don’t have any room within my timetable, but for my online sessions, I can to a certain extent. You could have 20 people in an online session but you don’t really know what everyone is doing. Every Sunday evening I do a check-in on my reset program and all that is through TeamUp.
What led you to launch your reset program?
In September 2020, my clients were coming back into the studio. It had been online and it was when we were coming back to face to face and some of my clients had gained weight through extra calories, and less movement, but more about the imbalance. I had completed my nutrition qualification and I thought I could talk more about nutrition. We started off with a 30 day reset. It wasn’t about a detox, it wasn’t about a quick fix. It did actually start off going to be a quick fix but I realized that’s not actually what my clients needed. It started off just honing down, writing the food place we’re having, knowing that energy balance and it's developed. So I did a 40 day reset in that September and again in October and then November.
It just carried on, and then I tried different timeframes. I did a 12-week challenge last September to December, which was good, but it was too long. So now I am doing a 6-week challenge from January to the middle of February. We have six weeks of focusing. You set yourself your targets. I help people set their calorie target, step targets and how many times a week they want to exercise. Some people exercise once, some three or four times a week. It depends on what your starting point is. We do six weeks and then there’s a couple of weeks of rest maintenance and then in March, we’ll do another six weeks. I am going to do it every other month.
What I have changed this time around is people would pay for the reset program, but now I have done a membership so that people can have access to the reset, my support, and pay an additional 10 pounds and have access to online sessions as well.
How has offering online content helped you expand your business?
Before the pandemic, I was looking for something to support my clients. They would come to me for one or two sessions a week and I wanted something to support them when they weren’t with me so that they could carry on exercising. At the time, I used PDFs, excel spreadsheets, and little short videos taken on my iPhone. But when the pandemic came, I was forced into doing everything from my lounge, and then it grew from there.
I started recording sessions when people wanted to either do the session again or wanted another session that week. I was probably doing about 10 sessions a week then, but now I’ve cut down to doing about 5 sessions a week. It’s always developing, but it means I can record sessions and have a massive bank of sessions I can share with clients and put on the on-demand, which has been brilliant. The on-demand was a golden nugget in making online happen.
By having the recorded sessions. I upload three recorded sessions a week to the on-demand and that’s enough. People don't need any more than three different sessions uploaded to TeamUp, and they're progressive, and they link to each other. Before I was doing 10, so from 10 hours of recorded sessions to three I’ve started to realize that people don't need to be thrown with 10 recorded classes a week, three is good. Some people might only do one of them a week and throughout the session, I am differentiating. I make sure there are some modifications and progressions within every session.
Read on and see how Kirsty found solutions to some common challenges for fitness business owners
What challenges have you run into managing a fitness business on your own?
You can’t juggle all the balls at one time. You need to prioritize and you also need to prioritize yourself because you can become lost. When you run a business, you can lose your own fitness and your own wellbeing and so oftentimes you have to pull back to get that back.
I outreach for help with some of the more common challenges. I have someone that helps me with my books. I use TeamUp for all my software and my bookings, and that helps me as a sole trader. I have other PT friends that I talk to a lot and I’m part of a PT network called Lift the Bar that is really supportive. I’m always learning, and I’m always doing some kind of course.
Before I joined Lift the Bar, I was thinking about going to work in a bigger studio. But Lift the Bar gave me the confidence to stay on my own. I have two young kids, 11 and 13, and it means I’m more in control of my hours. I still work long hours, but they’re good hours.
How do you balance growing certain aspects of your business while maintaining others?
What I found is, I'd implemented growth strategies such as a special offer with the online session, and then I suddenly had an influx of people. When you have a big influx of people, I find it hard to keep all those people. Whereas if I had a few people drifting through, I can look after those members, those clients.
I am at capacity for my personal training but I can have some more people into my online fitness, but I am choosing to develop my reset program because that is more holistic. Some of them will come into my online classes. Some of them do a bit of everything and do PT, the reset program, and online.
I do always have some space. When I do the reset program, it might be one or two people come and do PT, but I don’t promote PT primarily. People do come and go and working out is change, and things change all the time, but I try to keep it always going, always moving.
I do work a lot on my business behind the scenes. Behind every successful business, it’s not just the hours that you see someone working. It’s about being on it behind the scenes as well. I love the business development side of it.
What is your best strategy for pricing your new services?
Knowing your customer base and knowing what they are prepared to pay is something you figure out. I worked out that 40 pounds is a good amount for what people want to pay for online fitness. I’ve worked out pricing from my PT and changed it around. Have value for yourself, your service, and your knowledge. Look around at what other people are doing in your area. Know your market, know your worth. Value your education and your knowledge, because we spend years getting to know what we know.
What is your best-kept retention secret?
Keep going, don’t give up, and keep in touch. The secret to client retention is always about keeping in touch. I was going to have a 10-day break over Christmas, and then one day I did an online session and had 11 people turn up. I just thought, I wanted to move and needed a bit of movement, and thought I bet my clients do too. I put it out there to them the day before and 11 people turned up. It’s about keeping things fresh, don’t let things get stagnant, mixing things up and talking to your clients, seeing what they need. It’s always about what the client needs.
What are your business goals for 2022?
My goals for 2022 are for my business, to continue to grow and develop and to have more in-person workshops because a lot is online. As well as to continue to grow my knowledge in fitness and wellbeing and nutrition to really develop my reset program because that has really been a huge, positive impact on my clients.
For my clients, a lot of them have changed their lifestyles. A lot of my clients come to me when they’re not exercising before. My aim is for them to maintain and to continue to feel fitter, stronger, and healthier.
My goal as a business is to reach more people that want to feel better, stronger, and healthier, and to support my current clients to maintain that and develop that. My business is all about physical, nutritional, and mental wellbeing and we always need that. It’s infinite, never-ending. Sometimes it might be a bit less, sometimes it might be a bit more, but Infinite Balance is always about saying, we always need to look after ourselves.
Thanks, Kirsty! To hear from more TeamUp customers and their experience growing their businesses, check out our customer stories here.
Why Kirsty uses TeamUp for her fitness business and reset program
TeamUp is an absolute lifesaver for me. It is everything in one basket. TeamUp helps me with my bookings. My clients can book their classes very easily. They have their own app that they can access and they can see the schedule. I put all my memberships, all my payments through TeamUp so it's secure, it's GDPR secure and contact details are secure and it's all in one place.
To learn more about using TeamUp to help you grow your fitness business, sign up for a free trial.