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Fitness Business Mistakes: 12 You Don’t Want To Make

Don’t Make These 12 Personal Training Business Mistakes!


There are a lot of mistakes personal training business owners and trainers make that hold them back from reaching their business goals. Here are 12 of the most common:

personal training business

Personal Training Business Mistake #1 – Thinking that aggressive marketing will make up for a mediocre service.

The bottom line is this: you can generate a lot of leads with a strong marketing push – but you won’t keep those clients if you’re all sizzle and no steak.  You have to deliver great results and you have to create an environment that your clients love being in.

I don’t know of any great personal training business that doesn’t get a lot of their clients from referrals. Obviously, you can’t generate referrals with a run of the mill service.

Personal Training Business Mistake #2 – Thinking that blogging, you tube videos and article writing are the best way to grow an offline business.

personal training business

A while ago we had a member of a forum post complaining that he didn’t have any clients.  The economy was bad, the people in his town didn’t have any money and this was a bad time to be a trainer.

I asked what he was doing to grow his business.  He said he was submitting articles and press releases online, he was blogging 2-3 times per week and he was really putting himself out there.

I kindly reminded him that there were probably no prospects hanging out in his home office and he needed to get out and actually meet people in the flesh.

He didn’t like that answer – but most people who are unwilling to do the work don’t appreciate the truth.

Look, I’m all for blogging (this is a blog post), SEO and You Tube – but to this day I’ve never seen a personal training business exclusively built from this stuff.  The people who do it right blend this with high return stuff like public speaking, networking and even direct mail – they don’t think they’ll just start writing a few posts and get rich.

Personal Training Business Mistake #3 – Being a bill collector.

Why did you become a trainer or a coach?

To chase people around month after month reminding them to bring their check next session?  Didn’t think so.  Do yourself a favor and set all of your clients up on EFT billing and eliminate your role as collection agent.

Personal Training Business Mistake #4 – Ignoring atmosphere.

Atmosphere is a big part of any fitness business’ success.  People want an experience.  When it comes to fitness, they want energy.  They want motivation.  Not to mention that a great atmosphere will generate better results.

If you want people to rave about your business – to spread the word to everyone they know – atmosphere will be a key to making that happen.

So when you’re developing a facility, creating a camp or planning your sessions – be sure to factor in atmosphere.

Personal Training Business Mistake #5 – Relying on Deal of The Day Leads.


Deal of the day sites have helped hundreds of fitness businesses grow.  In fact, several of our top level Mastermind coaching members have built their businesses off of Groupon and Living Social.

However, you can’t rely on deal of the day sites to constantly produce leads for you. You especially can’t afford to have deal of the day sites to be your ONLY source of leads.

Despite what many trainers think deal of the day sites are still a viable lead source.  It is the only source of lead generation where someone will get leads for you and actually pay you for them.

The problem is that deal of the day sites are drying up and they aren’t producing the same amount of leads from each day and the quality of those leads is constantly getting lower.

It is easy to get caught up in the deal of the day rush but those that use this as their primary lead generation strategy will suffer in the long run.

Besides, if something is easy to do and is free it will almost always get watered down in a hurry. That’s why public speaking will always work.  Sure – it’s free to do but most people are scared to death of speaking in front of groups and too lazy to get speaking engagements.

So – just like some of the other stuff online I talked about in Mistake #2, I’m not saying deal of the day sites are worthless.  If you’re in a market that isn’t already saturated – they certainly have some value – but they aren’t the magic bullet for adding a bunch more clients.

Personal Training Business Mistake #6 – Trying a dozen things to get clients and doing them all ‘half-assed’.

The most successful students we have typically use 2-3 core lead generation strategies and work them month after month.

Sure, they test other strategies to see if any others really take off – but they have their bread and butter ways to get clients and they work them.

personal training business

Personal Training Business Mistake #7 – Having only one revenue stream.

Having only one revenue stream is a disaster waiting to happen.  If all you have is bootcamps and someone comes in and undercuts you on price and steals half of your clients or maybe summer comes and a bunch of your clients go on vacation  – you’re in trouble.

You need to diversify.  Have several income streams.  A corporate camp.  A youth program.  Sell Prograde. Offer camps, semi-private and even an infoproduct.

Just don’t be stuck with a single means of generating revenue.

Personal Training Business Mistake #8 – Not knowing who you are and who you serve.


Some people are better suited to run semi-private or small group programs and should pass on running bootcamps.  Others aren’t cut out to run kids programs.

You need to figure out what’s right for you.

Decide who you love working with – those clients who’s sessions you can’t wait to start. 99% of the time – that’s who you’re meant to serve. Focus your personal training business there.

Personal Training Business Mistake #9 – Missing on the easiest lead source.

Every time I meet with a group of trainers I ask where their new clients come from and the answers vary person to person a great deal – more than you’d expect.  But the thing that surprises the most is how few trainers actually generate as many clients as they should from a structured referral process.

They may get some clients from word of mouth.

They may get a few from occasional referral promotions.

But instead of making new business from referrals a weekly occurrence – too many trainers settle for a fraction of that.

Personal Training Business Mistake #10 – Missing the easy 2.

athletic revolution

Bootcamps have become much more common over the past couple of years.  Health club chains like Anytime Fitness are growing like crazy.  Competing for general fitness clients is probably tougher now than ever before.

If you want to go into far less competitive markets – youth fitness / athletic development and corporate fitness are ripe for the taking.

Don’t think this means that you can’t kill it training fat loss clients or choosing busy moms or another more common market to target – you absolutely can.

But if you want what I call ‘the low hanging fruit’ – youth fitness / athletic development and corporate fitness are where you need to be.

Personal Training Business Mistake #11 – Not moving to a space of your own when you can.

If I’ve seen it once I’ve seen it two dozen times.  A trainer builds up a great business using someone else’s space and out of nowhere the rug gets pulled out from under him / her.

Either the business they’re renting space from gets greedy and wants more rent or if it’s a fitness facility they decide to try to run a similar program thinking they’ll make more money.

If the trainer is at a park, a competitor moves in and starts using the same locations creating an uncomfortable environment.

So use someone else’s space to build up your fitness business – but for security, the ability to add multiple streams of income and control of your situation move to your own low overhead space when you can.

personal training business

Personal Training Business Mistake #12 – Letting everyone catch up.

If you’re the best at something in your market – do everything you can to hold that position.

It’s a lot like getting a lead in sports – you want to keep your foot on the opponent’s neck and lock up the victory.

But what usually happens is that the person with the initial foothold as the market leader gets lazy, loses focus or tries too hard to expand into unrelated areas and loses their grasp on the lead when the competitors step up their game.

What mistakes did I miss?  Let me know below…

Dedicated to your success,

Pat Rigsby


52 Week Mentorship

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