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Going Solo as a Personal Trainer: 7 Steps to Take Before Striking Out on Your Own

The demand for personal trainers remains fairly steady, but working for someone else in a gym or studio will only take you so far. If you want your skills as a personal trainer to really pay off, you will eventually have to strike out on your own. But before giving notice at your job and hanging out your shingle, there are a few strategic steps to take to ensure a successful business launch.

  1. Do the math: Before deciding to start your own personal training business, it is important to be honest with yourself about money. How much will you need to make per month to pay all your personal expenses, plus additional business expenses that may include overhead, insurance, transportation and equipment purchases. If you plan to open a studio, be sure to factor in rent, utilities, wifi, cleaning and other overhead expenses. Once you have a realistic overview of your financial requirements, figure out how many sessions a month you will have to sell to meet your needs, and add an extra 10 percent to account for unexpected expenses.
  1. Make a business plan: If you are launching a business as a single owner and not borrowing money from a bank or investor, you may assume you don’t need a business plan. Nothing could be further from the truth. A business plan outlines the details of your business and clarifies its goals. Periodically referring back to your business plan and making revisions can help keep you on track as your client base grows.
  1. Register as an LLC: A limited liability corporation is a legal entity that separates a business owner from the business. In the event of a lawsuit from an injured client, an accident that destroys equipment, or if your business falls behind on payments to creditors, the LLC protects your personal assets and those of your family from being confiscated to pay debts.
  1. Line up liability insurance: A lawsuit can literally put you out of business if you don’t have a solid insurance plan in place. Liability insurance for personal trainers is reasonably priced, and having insurance defines you as a professional.
  1. Build relationships: Finding quality clients who pay for long-term training is key to building a successful personal training business. Begin by building relationships with health care professionals and other related businesses in your community. Many physical therapists and chiropractors refer clients to trainers for additional exercise. One trainer I know sets up a table on weekends at a local nutritional supplement shop to interact with customers. Set up a table at local races to attract runners who want to perform better. Offer a free body fat analysis or complimentary consultation to interested customers. Use your imagination…potential clients are everywhere!
  1. Set goals for time management: Being in charge of your own schedule has great appeal, but don’t expect to have extra time to chill. Most entrepreneurs work harder, with longer hours, than wage employees. Moreover, if you are working from home, there are plenty of distractions. Set up a work schedule and stick to it, and be sure to factor in time for your own workouts and for your loved ones.
  1. Don’t quit your day job: Unless you have a partner who is willing to support you while you launch your business, or you have alternative financial resources to pay your expenses, it is best to remain employed for the time being. That will mean allocating extra time after work and on weekends to work on building your business.


Launching your own business is an exciting step toward realizing your dreams. W.I.T.S. has all the educational support you need to help you build your business and keep up to speed with the latest fitness trends. We offer continuing education courses on everything from Fitness Management to Social Media Marketing. Explore additional business course offerings in our Online Business Management Success Series.

And be sure to check out our special rates for liability insurance.

You may be going solo, but W.I.T.S. is here to support you, every step of the way!

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1 thought on “Going Solo as a Personal Trainer: 7 Steps to Take Before Striking Out on Your Own

  1. Never forget the great tools of the Small Business Administration [SBA] from the US Government. They have veteran mentors that have retired and work to help you set up all of the items listed above in the Blog. Easy answers are there for you and they always have a local office.

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