When the pandemic hit, Louise Redmond wasn't quite sure what she was going to do. She had just returned from training military personnel in Saudi Arabia and had experience as a PE instructor, so she thought 'why not start offering fitness classes for free online?'. And while that started out as a hobby and a way to motivate people during lockdown, it wasn't until a friend of hers told Louise that she should be charging for her classes. And with that push and encouragement, Louise realised that not only did she have what it took to run a business, but that she really was already was running one and just needed to take the next step.
One year later, Louise has trained over 250 clients across multiple continents and runs one of the largest online PT programs in the UK. Louise's fast growth and success came from a huge amount of effort, hard work, determination, dedication to each and every single client one of her clients. We got a chance to sit down with Louise and ask her about her experience training online over the past year. Follow along with our interview to get her advice for other online coaches and trainers and to see why she plans on staying online for the foreseeable future.
My name is Louise Redmond and I run an online fitness, nutrition, and health business called Louise Redmond PT. I help busy professional change their habits and lifestyles and improve their focus, drive, fitness, mood, and health. And I do all of these things just by being on screen in from of them, coaching and working out with them. I am there for them every step of the way, telling and explaining what to do on a daily business and I put them through their paces. I am very active with them, doing what they do and vice versa. My program is built to fit around their life and we've had absolutely phenomenal and fantastic results which drives me to keep going and continue helping people.
What lead you to start your online PT business?
I am an ex-military instructor as well as a PE teacher. When COVID-19 hit I was actually working in Saudi Arabia as an instructor and I came back to the UK because my contract ended. I didn't know what I was going to do and I didn't have a job. I literally had nothing. I was delivering classes online for free and I collected donations that I then donated to a dog charity.
Then a friend of mine from the military wrang me up and told me that if I wasn't going to charge for my online sessions, I was doing something massively wrong. I thought to myself, I can't ask people to pay for the sessions, that's too much. But really that was exactly what I needed to do because it was a business and it had the footprint of a business. I just didn't know how to take the next step. I didn't know how to take running some online classes and turn it into a business using a platform and connect the two. And that's what TeamUp did and it was fantastic.
I am the product of a lockdown business startup, which I always wanted to do but I kinda never had the guts to do it previously. I didn't know how.
How did you find TeamUp and what made you want to sign up?
I actually found TeamUp completely by accident. I didn't know anything about it at all, so when I started using it I saw how every element of it covered what I wanted to do. People have said to me how brilliant my app is, and I tell them it's not my app, it's TeamUp's and everyone can use it. It's brilliant. It allows me to manage every one of my clients and over the past year because of TeamUp and the help that it gives me, I've managed to help over 250 people with their fitness and nutrition and health goals, and I couldn't be where I am without it.
Why did you decide to launch online during the pandemic as opposed to waiting to train in-person after the first lockdown?
It was a sink or swim time and if you were going to wait till the pandemic passed, you were going to wait a year if not more, as we have already seen. People that said, 'no I am going to embrace this,' and did something with it as I did, took advantage and were able to create something spectacular. Again I started my business by accident, but everything that has happened since has been unbelievable.
In January I had over 100 people sign up with me. I had a company that did a wellness program for their employees because the pandemic was having such a negative impact on their mood. Since then those 100 people have completed their 8-week online program with me and that is phenomenal. The majority of them have decided to stay on as clients because of how much it helped them. And I run those programs all through TeamUp.
How challenging was it to go from coaching in-person to online?
All my online classes are done through Zoom and the way it's streamed between the TeamUp and Zoom is literally seamless. I never have any issues with people getting into the class and if I do I can correct it so easily because the screen has got everything on there that I need. Before signing up for TeamUp I was already using Zoom, and TeamUp said 'yes we link the two,' and it blew my mind. I am quite good with technology, but having it all done for me, there was a new code every time and I run over 20 live classes a week. I have people up until their 70s all the way down to teenagers, so it just shows how accessible this is and that anyone can do it.
How has your experience in the military and background in education influenced your business?
I am a PE teacher so I am able to use the element of teaching classes in my sessions. I'll use relevant and current topics, I use powerpoints, and I add a little personality and comedy into my sessions. I just talk to the people as they're doing it and I'll coach along the way, or I will join in where they can see me doing it with them. Every single morning I wake up and have a session at 6 am Monday - Friday. Today at 6 am I had 20 customers in class, then at 7 am I had 30 customers in class, then at the 12 pm lunchtime session there were 20 people and that's 70 people done for the day.
I pester people to come because I feel guilty if you don't train. If you pay for my service why are you not in my class? I figure out what's wrong and what can we do, and that's different to a commercial gym that doesn't care if you come in or you don't. I am making more money doing this than I was as a teacher, which is another reason to keep going and keep moving and working, and that's not my biggest thing but it was my biggest fear. Can I replicate the waves that I got as a teacher, and I thought I couldn't but I have.
It allows me to manage every one of my clients and over the past year because of TeamUp and the help that it gives me, I've managed to help over 250 people with their fitness and nutrition and health goals, and I couldn't be where I am without it.
What have been your biggest pieces of advice as you celebrate one year of your business?
Sometimes I don't realize I have created for myself a full-time job. And with that here are some of my biggest pieces of advice for other online coaches and trainers:
Encourage your clients to motivate each other
I have little messaging groups that I message people with and one thing I do is I get people to take a selfie at the start of class and they send it in after class to the group. So if one customer hasn't been to class today and sees another customer's selfie, and they start thinking about how they didn't and that they should tomorrow. It's a way to keep everyone accountable for each other. That is a lot of the thing people want to see is accountability.
Learn from other coaches and business owners
I do a lot of looking at what other people do and see what others do well. Nothing is going to come to you overnight but you have to give something to people. I have a friend who has over 50,000 followers on Facebook and she does really really well with everything and it's taken her 5 years to get there. The industry is fairly oversaturated and you have to find what makes you different from someone pressing play on a Youtube channel. They're going to get sweaty and get a workout, yes, but they want a bit of accountability and you, and I think that is a lot of the reason people come back to me. I am approachable and I give advice that is relevant and I make things simple for people.
Step outside of your comfort zone with marketing
I also give free classes out even now, for example, I gave a free class out for Women's International Day. You have to have that presence on social media, but you don't have to pay for a million different elements of marketing. I don't pay for any marketing I do it all myself. It is a big workload and it's a lot of work that goes into even one post, but I don't think people realize how important it is in building and motivating your community.
I don't have a website, but really I don't need one at this time which sounds crazy. I currently have 150 customers that are just my own, but that doesn't even take into consideration all of the people I have previously trained just through having social media, a wide network, and TeamUp to support my bookings and business.
Keep things fresh and offer something for everyone
I won't make you do something that I can't do. I won't make do crazy moves and workouts. CrossFit inspires some of my workouts, but I'll plan my workout and I'll give immediate regressions. I usually give four regressions so that anyone can do it. In all my time doing the sessions, I have never repeated one session. Every session is completely different, and I suppose that makes it quite unique.
Be yourself and be consistent
My biggest advice is to be yourself, make your presence and persevere. Consistency will get you somewhere in the end. For a year I have been doing this and sometimes at 5:40 in the morning the alarm goes off, and I'm like Woah, I'm tired, but I gotta do it. I work out of a studio down the road and I can get up and go. You have to put in the work and believe that you can do it.
Don't stress about the what if's
Manifest your dream and if you put it out into the world, it'll come back to you. If you're negative and always worried you're going to fail, then you will, but if somewhere inside of you positive attitude comes out and people keep coming and they want to be a part of it. I sometimes think, "what if one day everyone leaves," but I know that is not going to happen. I, too, have that narrative with myself every single month and I have to quiet that negativity because it won't happen. As soon as people try a session they're in and they love it.
How do you recommend other personal trainers use TeamUp's software to run their programs?
A really good way that TeamUp works is that I have different membership levels. If someone wants access to everything they can do that. If they want to come to a class a couple of times a week, they do that one, and if someone wants to do the 8-week challenge, they do this one. That 8-week program is a funnel that most often leads to someone becoming a member.
If someone emails me that they want to join, all I need is their email address, I send them a link to TeamUp, tell them how to sign up and choose the membership package that works for them. They can then book a free season and the calendar is open to book anytime and I will always walk them through anything they need.
If someone wanted to purchase one-off classes they can do that too. I won't pester you to join and I don't need to that. There is a real fear in committing to a program, but if someone is interested I will talk them through the program and do what I can, but it's completely up to them.
What are your future plans for your business and will you offer in-person training when the pandemic is over?
I am going to continue in the vein I started because it works so well. I have customers in the USA, Spain, Germany, New Zealand, UAE, Ireland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, all over the world because I have lived in so many different places all over the world, and I still have customers in those places. I kept posting about it and it's been amazing. People are so busy in their lives and with a family that they literally do not have time to get in the car and go to the gym and come back. A lot of people do not have the luxury of time so their gym membership goes wasted.
England has been through so many lockdowns but when we first came out of the first in the summer, I continued online and thrived just as much as I had before. I've done my classes from a balcony in Sardinia, Italy, a veranda in Ireland, a place in Scotland and North Yorkshire. I can do this business from anywhere. I don't want to look like that person that's always on holiday but my customers enjoy how I operate and know no matter where I am I am committed to them. I also film myself via Zoom and upload them to Youtube to offer on-demand content if they can't make the live class. It's so accessible and I plan to grow in that direction.
Video: Why Louise chose TeamUp to manage her online personal training business
And now over the past year because of TeamUp and the help that it's given me, I've managed over two hundred and fifty people to help with their fitness and nutrition and health goals. So it's a wonderful process and I couldn't be where I am without it.