At this time last year, I was struggling. I mean strugggglllllinnngggg. Not saying I’m Bill Gates today, but things are much better. Trying to make it as a personal trainer/strength coach on your own is a tough job. My training was great, but I still didn’t know how to run or grow a business. Here are 10 things that I’ve taken away from the last year that have really helped me get to where I am now:
1) You haven’t read Gary Vaynerchuk’s, “Crush It.” Or better yet, you haven’t listened to the audio version, read by Gary V himself. This book will teach you all about how to use social media as free marketing and grow your business and create a personal brand that will dominate your industry. You have to know your stuff, and deliver good content, but if you aren’t using the right tools, no one will ever know how smart you are. Snowballing from that:
2) You haven’t friend requested or followed everyone you see in your industry. Ben Bruno once told me, “If you don’t have 5,000 friends on facebook, you’re missing out on all the people who will see your posts everyday.” Snowballing continues…
3) You don’t have a blog. If you don’t have a blog, with good content, how will people know who you are. How will they know where you’ve been, what you’ve learned and who you’ve learned from and worked with. Scenario, 2 guys with the exact same qualifications apply for a job. One has kept a great blog of all of his experiences through internships, work experience and training. The other, has done all the same things, but has no blog. Who is the employer going to be drawn to? No question, the man who has displayed his experience for the world to see.
4) You don’t continue your education. If you have been working with the same clients for a year or more and you haven’t brought back a few new things that you picked up over the weekend at a seminar or read from someone else’s blog, your clients are going to get bored and you are going to be left behind by all the other people who are putting in the time. I’m in NO WAY saying that you need to have crazy changes and stray from being brilliant at the basics, however, introducing new mobilization techniques, breathing patterns and conditioning circuits are a good way to keep your clients happy.
5) You bring your garbage to your sessions. We all know that training is also an hour of therapy for most people. Remember who the therapist is…? It’s you. Your clients come to you to vent mentally and physically, not to hear about your sob stories or any crap like that. If you’re having THAT bad of a day, you’re better off canceling.
6) You haven’t explored everything. Let’s face it. Boyle describes it best in his “Evolution of a Strength Coach” article. You need to and will try lots of different things in your career. Some things will work, others you will look back and say, “WTF was I thinking?” It’s all about the ability to figure out what works for your clients and business. I haven’t explored everything yet either, but every day I make sure I read something new.
7) You’re not capitalizing on all of your potential write-offs. If you own your own business, like me, you’d better be really smart or have a solid accountant. Don’t just use someone that was recommended to you. Do your research. Find an accountant who has experience working with small business owners, particularly in the customer service field. You’d be amazed at how many things you can write off. I was.
8) You haven’t purchased liability insurance. This is just a no brainer. Unless you are employed by someone and covered under their roof, you’re taking a big risk every time you walk into someone’s house to train them. Premiums are generally under $200 for the year and extremely necessary.
9) You haven’t figured out your niche. Dan John says, “find your niche and roll with it.” Figure out what it is you do best. Are you a motivator, a pain killer, a monster builder…what do you do best? When you figure that out, roll with it. Not to say doing all the other things aren’t important, but create an area of expertise for yourself.
10) You are not training holistically. Your training needs to consist of soft tissue, stretching and mobility, activation, movement prep, rehab/prehab, strength training and conditioning. Don’t just do the exercises YOU like. Think about your clients and their needs. Deliver them the best possible training session every time.
I guess I should have made this 11 things…
11) Lastly. You’re an asshole. If you’re an asshole, no one is going to give you money. Be super nice, to everyone, all the time. If you own a business treat everyone like a potential client or reference. When you’re a business owner, you are working 24 hours a day. No exceptions.