2015 was a big year for me. Sounds cliché, but my dream has always been to help people in some way and last year I decided “it’s now or never”! In spring 2015 I ran a healthy living week at my workplace where I conducted a circuit training session, and one of the owners of the business said to me: “have you ever thought about doing this as a living, you’d be great” … the answer was yes, I had! In the summer I decided to take a personal training course. I have a Master’s degree in Nutrition, and felt like the two combined perfectly to set up a Nutrition and PT business that enabled me to reach my goal of helping people to lead healthier lives.
I passed my course just before Christmas, and have been setting up my own business over the last month. It feels so good to be contributing to people’s health, but most importantly making sure that they have fun doing so! There is so much interest in fitness at the moment, so I thought I would share my top five tips, just in case you have the same dream as I do:
1. Take the time to choose the right course
I spent a long time investigating this. There are a lot of courses out there, and they certainly vary quite a lot in price too! Choose something that fits your lifestyle. I did a weekend course, giving up 10 alternate weekends, which enabled me to still work part-time and use my other days to study and think about the business venture (oh, and relax a bit too!!). There are other options though, like intense short-term courses where you study all week for a number of weeks – or alternatively you can study one day per week over a longer period of time. If you don’t know where to start, this website can help you see some of the top providers of courses.
2. Money money money
Like with any other business, setting up a PT business is an investment. Not only do you have to pay for your qualification (which can be quite pricey if you choose a good course), but there are so many other costs you may not consider (think insurances, marketing, website, registering with the Information Commissioner, equipment, rent for gym space… the list goes on!). So I would recommend having savings (I’m not a fan of loans, but I guess that’s an option too), and also it might be wise to have an alternative income.
3. Business skills
This is especially important if you are looking to become self-employed. Some courses cover a level of business skills. For my course we had to complete a business plan, which was really useful as it helps you cost up your outgoings and predicted incomings, and helps you to think about your target market too. If you are thinking of making the move, completing a rough business plan would be a great place to start, just to check it is feasible. Marketing skills are important too; you need to think of ways to sell yourself and what you have to offer in order to continually grow your business.
I absolutely couldn’t have done this without the support of my family and friends. My fiancé Stu has been an absolute diamond and has supported me financially, mentally and emotionally! It is tough going when you’re studying for a course whilst having a job, trying to plan a business, and also trying to stay on track of your own healthy living too. Oh, and not to mention those days where you wake up thinking “OMG what on earth am I doing?!” (they were quite frequent, but very normal – don’t panic and trust your instinct!). It is always great to get advice from others too, it is likely that your friends and family with have a skillset that can come in handy. Whether they are self-employed and have business tips, or know someone who is a PT that can give you advice… or maybe they are handy at social media and can give you pointers on the best ways to market your business. You can always offer them some free PT sessions for their time!
This is so important. One idea would be to organise a meeting with another local PT and see if they can give you any advice on setting up your own business. However, don’t forget the more informal kind of networking too. This might simply be having a chat to your neighbour about your new venture – you never know who they might know; a local business that might need a PT, or a friend who wants training. Recently I spoke to a couple of ladies in a shop about what they would look for in a fitness class: a bit of free market research about my local community!
If you have a passion, a goal or a dream to do something, get on and do it! You never know where your journey might take you. It is still early days for me, so hopefully I can share some more insider knowledge when things have been up and running for a bit longer, but I hope I have given you something to think about… and perhaps even pushed you to take the leap of faith!