Do you dream of ditching your desk job in favour of being your own boss, working flexible hours and do something you love – all while helping other people become better versions of yourselves? This is the motivation behind many people’s decision to become a certified personal trainer.
A 2015 IBISWorld report on the Australian fitness industry estimates that there are 3356 fitness businesses in the country – and this number is steadily growing. So while a career in personal training can be very fulfilling, it’s also very competitive. If you’re set on establishing yourself as a private personal trainer, here are six steps to get you started:
- Be realistic. While it is true that being a personal trainer means being your own boss, this also means working hard. You may be in for lots of early mornings and evenings of work, as in many cases you’ll need to fit in around people’s normal office hours. You’ll also need lots of energy to keep your clients motivation up. And then you’ll also need to think about how to keep a steady number of clients so you can bring in a decent income each month.
- Find a niche. The number of people working as certified personal trainers or fitness instructors has more than doubled over the last decade, so you’re up against stiff competition. One way to set yourself apart is to focus on a specific niche. For example, maybe you want to offer non-medical nutrition advice in addition to your personal training services. Or, you could offer a specialised form of training such as yogilates or aqua aerobics.
- Get certified. In order to be an accredited personal trainer in Australia, you’ll need to have completed your Certificate III and IV in Fitness. There are many ways you can do this including self-paced study online, or part or full time face-to-face study. Several organisations offer these certifications, including the Australian Institute of Fitness and the Australian Fitness Academy.
- Decide where you’ll work. Some private personal trainers find it helpful to work out of a commercial gym, as it’s a good way of attracting new clients who are there working out or attending another class. Or, you could decide that you want to visit your clients at their home, or even rent your own private studio or hold classes in a public outdoor space. All of these have pros and cons: for example while you may not have to pay rent if you visit your clients, there may be more travel and logistics involved. And if you want to work in a public space, you may need a permit to do so.
- Get insurance. Make sure that you have adequate liability insurance in place before you take on your first client. Particularly in the fitness industry, injuries are common, so you need to make sure that you’re legally covered should a client hurt themselves during a session with you.
- Develop supplementary skills. Besides the skills you need for your actual training work, you’ll need other skills to run your business successfully. For example, excellent communication skills are a must, and you’ll need to manage invoicing, payments and accounting. If you don’t already have these skills, a basic business course could be a good thing to consider.
Becoming a private personal trainer means you’re helping people become fitter, healthier and happier, which is a good recipe for a highly satisfying career. But while it is rewarding – and good for your own health since you’ll be working out too – there’s also lots of hard work involved. Once you’ve considered these factors though, you’ve cleared the path to run your own thriving personal training business. Good luck!