Last week Future Fit won ‘Innovative Training Programme of the Year’ at the ukactive Active Training Awards, an accolade we are immensely proud of. After posing for photographs and splashing our achievement across social media, it got me thinking about the ways our industry defines success.
Whilst it’s fantastic to receive recognition for what you do, clearly as a training provider we don’t exist with the sole aim of winning awards and trophies – if anything these are reward for success. There’s a parallel with music business awards such as the BRITs – I can’t imagine many world-famous bands are fixated on winning the ‘best album’ title and give that more significance than playing to 50,000 people in stadiums and arenas.
So what about personal trainers? How do we measure success? This is a question I often ask fitness professionals and the answers are both varied and insightful. On the face if it, it may seem like an easy question; but it will very much depend on your own perception of what success is, and that in turn is closely tied to your personal goals.
Let’s have a look at some common markers – which would you focus on?:
Number of sessions
Being fully booked may be your aim. ‘25 sessions a week’ seems to be a common target for a lot of gym-based trainers, although many do far more. The classic model for most one-to-one trainers is to have perhaps 15-20 clients at any one time who have 1-3 sessions per week. However I once worked with a trainer who had around 60 clients and saw each once a month. Either option can deliver the same level of income but the point is that enough people value your services to keep you busy, which indicates you are doing something right.
Digging a little deeper, we could ask how you become fully booked in the first place. Is a successful personal trainer one who is exceptional at marketing and sales? Undoubtedly this is an important set of skills to have – it’s the entrepreneur mindset that’s necessary for self-employed trainers to build their business, but is this enough?
I know of a trainer who was ‘fully booked’ within 3 months of starting at his gym. He gave up PT 3 months later as he wasn’t making any money. Why not? He’d started with a ‘2 for 1’ offer which proved very popular, to the point where he felt he had to continue it to retain his clients. So whilst he was doing 30 sessions a week, he was only earning £12.50 a session, something that wasn’t sustainable financially. So the number of appointments you have may not be the key statistic when it comes to being successful. With higher fees you can do far fewer sessions and still make good money. There are top PTs in the UK charging the equivalent of £200 a session and more. So if you’re making a small (or large) fortune from your PT