How to start an online personal training business

10 min read
Take your personal training business online with our step by step guide.

Take your personal training business online with our step by step guide.

Thanks to numerous online resources and fitness organisations providing high-quality training and accreditation, it's never been easier to launch an online personal training business. However, without knowing the proper steps, which program to choose, and the keys to successfully launching a business, it's easy to get lost in the mix.

This guide will not only show you how to become a successful online personal trainer, but also all of the benefits you can experience especially when you have the right personal training software to support your growth and success.

starting an online personal training business


Photo Credit: LGPT Bootcamp

Why personal trainers are choosing to launch their businesses online

Taking personal training sessions online has become increasingly popular recently for a number of reasons.

The COVID-19 pandemic

There's no getting away from the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has played its part in the rise in online personal training. With much of the world in strict lockdowns followed by long stretches of curfews and restrictions, including gym closures, people have had to find new ways to stay fit. Online classes were the perfect solution. Not just for fitness enthusiasts stuck at home, but also for keeping personal trainers employed during a truly unpredictable time. Even now that we're seeing gyms reopen and restrictions being lifted, some people still feel more comfortable working out at home.

Flexibility and boosted attendance

Offering online classes and appointments to your clients is also a pragmatic way to ensure that they continue attending even when they're unable to go to an in-person session. There are times when the week gets too busy or people go away and still want to make time for their fitness training session. Offering online services is the obvious solution, ensuring your client gets the most out of their membership and encouraging them to keep coming back to you for sessions and classes, whether in person or online.

Opportunity to cast a wider reach

Offering online classes and appointments also gives you the opportunity to expand your business's reach. Working in a local area in person tends to only grant you available local business. But if you offer your services online you have a chance to attract clients who may not be located near you at all. Widening your reach online while still attracting ideal clients is one of the best ways to grow quickly with the right clientele for your business. 

A step-by-step guide on how to create an online personal training business

Like any new business venture, setting up an online personal training business isn't going to happen overnight. However, knowing the proper steps to take to get started, to promote, and how to launch your business will give you an advantage and get you there quicker.

Get the right accreditation and certificates

Getting accreditation with a personal trainer certification is a recommended first step if you want to get into personal training. Potential clients who may not know a lot about fitness want to feel confident that they're working with a professional who knows what they are doing, and certificates and accreditation can support your legitimacy and credibility. You want members to have confidence in you as a professional, so choosing the correct program is important. With a number of options for personal trainer certification out there, including online and distance courses, you need to do your research and determine which is the best option for you. Some things to consider when choosing a course include:

  • Length of time - depending on the course you choose, you could be fully accredited within a few weeks, a few months, or up to a year.
  • The cost of obtaining a certificate - on average, you're looking at spending between $1,000 - $3,000. Don't just jump on the most expensive course. High prices don't necessarily convert to the best course, so do your research before committing to a program.
  • How do you want to attend the course - with the option of in-person, hybrid, or completely remote and distance learning courses available, you can choose a course based almost anywhere.

Choose your main focus as a trainer

Within the fitness industry, we can categorise the main market into four areas. To help you focus your business and goals, start by choosing the category that best represents what you intend to offer potential clients:

  • Sports performance — helping clients to improve their performance in their given sport whether that be strength, speed or agility.
  • Weight management — from weight loss to muscle gain through workouts and nutrition.
  • General health — helping clients with a general interest in health and fitness by guiding clients through workouts and nutrition to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Corrective — a corrective exercise specialist helps their clients by analysing their movement patterns, identifying overactive and underactive muscle groups and compensations.

Once you've decided on the main focus for your personal training business, you can start to dig deeper into that field to really decide on the niche that you think will set you apart from your main competitors. Breaking your core focus down into sub-categories will help you to push forward and to fully layout your business model, as well as help you find your ideal client.

Decide who your ideal clients are

By breaking down your focus as a trainer into categories and sub-categories, you can then aim all your marketing to your preferred clientele. While at first, it's tempting to just get as many people signing up to your classes as possible, in the long run, this will only serve to cause you more problems.

If you're trying to appeal to everyone, you'll end up appealing to no one. Therefore, once you've decided on your niche, ensure that all of your marketing is aimed at the ideal kinds of clients who are looking for your services. Whether you're offering rehabilitative workouts for people coming back from injuries or you want to help people lose weight for health reasons, make sure that your website and advertising clearly states what you want to help people achieve.

Create a clear and specific business plan

Organisation is going to be key when you launch your business, and it starts here. You want to make sure you have thought of everything and that you're avoiding mistakes that could actually do your business more harm than good. Having a clear idea of what you want to achieve and how you plan to get there will keep you focused and organised, and a well-defined business plan can help you stay on track.

  • Write your mission statement — what's your focus going to be? Who is your ideal clientele?
  • Research your competition — is there anyone else out there offering similar services? What sets you apart from competitors?
  • Find funding for operating costs — how will you fund your business when you get started? Which funding options are best for you in the long term?
  • Create a sales and marketing plan — direct your marketing towards your preferred demographic using social media to expand your reach.
  • Objectively assess any risks — Have you prepared for all outcomes? What would your advice be if this was someone else's business plan?

Be aware of any present hurdles or any that could develop down the line. If too many people are offering what you hoped to do, is there a way to better or adapt your idea? Do you have a source of funding that will help you to get through the initial stages of your new enterprise? Have you implemented a marketing strategy? These are all areas that take time, but in the long run, you'll benefit more from a well-executed plan than something that's cobbled together with no due process in place.

Once you have your business plan, know who your client is, and have your strategies ready, it's time to begin the process of creating your customer experience. You can start by considering investing in personal trainer management software. 

Invest in management software to make your daily admin easier

All your crucial administrative information such as scheduling appointments and classes, reports and waivers, and payments are clearly labelled and organised within your system to quickly find. And personal training software doesn't just benefit you. It also benefits your clients and makes it even simpler for them to be a member of your business. With the TeamUp Member App to book classes and schedule appointments to a customer site that allows clients to fill out forms and waivers, purchase memberships, access on-demand content and more, your clients will appreciate the use of a professional system to support their membership.

Host your online classes and appointments through TeamUp's integrations

With TeamUp, you can also host your online classes and appointments using our Zoom integration. Your clients will be able to join your class with your unique link once they have paid for the session or purchased a membership that includes your online services. Rather than jumping from platform to platform, you can start your classes from your dashboard with just a click of a button.

When a client signs up for your online class, you can set up an automated reminder to confirm that they have a booking prior to the class or session start time. The email will come with a link to your online session, and when a client enters the session, your attendance record will automatically register it. You won't have to spend extra time writing and sending emails or taking an attendance register. Just schedule your session, and the app takes care of the rest for you. To learn how to offer online appointments with Zoom, check out our guide for, here.

Create on-demand content when you're in demand

Creating on-demand content is another great service for an online personal trainer to offer. Teaching online does allow for more flexibility in terms of times that people can join a session, but there are still going to be times when a client can't make a session. Additionally, some of your clients may wish to supplement the classes they have with you, and pre-recorded content means they can do this at a time that suits them. On-demand content, hosted through our partnerships with YouTube and Vimeo ensures that you can still get business from your clients, who will be able to access your on-demand content through the member app.

Take control of your scheduling with appointments

It couldn't be better timing for a personal trainer to join TeamUp as our new appointments feature is added to our system. You can set up their schedules so that their availability is visible to their clients. The responsibility for booking one of your members into a class is completely off your shoulders. On top of that, you can set out a clear cancellation and waitlist policy that won't result in you losing money if a client is unable to commit to your appointment by automatically booking in and sending a notification to the client first in line on your waitlist.

In summary

Setting up any business from scratch takes time, dedication, and a lot of planning. By following these steps, you give yourself a clear focus of the type of personal trainer you want to be, and subsequently, you'll know who to aim your marketing strategies towards. With the addition of intuitive management software to take the complexity out of managing your admin, running your online personal training business won't just be enjoyable, but it will also be a huge success.

To find out more about how we can help personal trainers launch their online personal training businesses with software, sign up for your free trial today.

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What is the best gym management software?

What is the best gym management software?

What is the best gym management software?

What is the best gym management software?