How To Become a Personal Trainer & Start Your Own Biz

Oct 7, 2020 | Tips

Getting that personal training business idea out of your brain and into the world can seem like a momentous task. If you’ve been toying with the idea of starting a personal training business and need some reassurance as to how to get going, you’ve come to the right place.

While daunting, it’s not all that difficult to put yourself out there and achieve business success in the growing personal training and exercise field. As Mark Twain once said:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” 

With a low barrier to entry, a diverse range of service delivery options, and the accessibility of social media and personal websites, becoming a personal trainer is well within your reach. In fact, there’s scarcely been a better time!

Let’s lay out an initial plan and some thoughts you should be considering when kicking off your personal training business, so that you’re ready for your first fitness clients.

Personal training business plan

Yep, it’s time to write down that personal training business idea on paper. There’s no escaping this one – you absolutely need a business plan before you go too deep or start looking for fitness clients after registering your business.

Start by checking out our tips on starting a business plan. You can also download our free business plan template to boost your progress.

Better yet, this is where you should be finding and catching up with a business advisor or accountant. This is the space where they ‘live’, so don’t try to be a hero and fly blind. Instead, spend a touch of cash and a bit of your precious time with a pro reviewing and honing a business plan for personal training.

A business advisor will also assist in choosing a cloud accounting solution, guide your marketing strategy and remind you of your tax compliance and business registration responsibilities. Every sole trader or business, fitness industry or otherwise, should be doing this straight off the bat.

Personal training niche

It might sound good to have a diverse range of fitness services to catch a large group of clients. It’s not the worst idea in the world, but you’ll find that if your personal training business grows, you can hire staff and spread your training and exercise offerings naturally.

To start, pin down your area of expertise, the area of fitness you’re most proficient and comfortable in, then nail it. Concentrate all of your marketing and sales efforts into gaining these specific clients and grow your business.

Personal training certifications

Have you thoroughly investigated all of the boxes you should be ticking as a personal trainer before putting your fist client through a workout?

According to SEEK, you’ll need one of the following:

  • Certificate IV in Fitness
  • Diploma of Fitness
  • Personal TrainerQualification
  • Degree in Exercise Science or Human Movement

How long does it take to become a personal trainer?

Have you factored in how long it might take for you to become an active and qualified personal trainer in Australia?

In terms of certification, if you go for a Certificate IV in Fitness (from a TAFE facility for example) you-re looking at 9-12 months. Although, this all depends on how quickly you choose to take the course.

After gaining certification in your preferred fitness course, your dedication and time management will determine how quickly you get operational. If you tick all of the boxes in terms of business registration, website creation, marketing efforts and branding while you study for your certification, you could be hitting the ground running within a year.

Where will you operate?

Where and how do you plan on offering your fitness services, personal training or class workout sessions? Do you plan on using a gym, park, your own home, or perhaps home visitation?

Having a strong, yet flexible exercise delivery model is essential to a personal trainer. Take the time to evaluate each training option and consider the pros and cons.

Online personal training

The idea of online personal training has emerged from the shadows as an extremely viable, attractive and accessible way to train and offer exercise services to your clients.

If you’re gearing up to become a professional personal trainer, you should certainly be sparing a thought for this type of remote engagement and not just face-to-face.

It doesn’t take a lot of investigation to see, in a COVID-19 reality, why remote training could be a serious part of the industry’s future. If you want to be diverse and future-conscious consider:

  • Will you need professional mics and cameras for a proper setup?
  • How are you going to adapt from physical lessons to hands free?
  • How are you going to advertise and market these services?
  • What kind of website, online booking solutions and ecommerce needs will you encounter?

Booking and payments

You’ll also need a way to book clients into training slots and fitness classes. Not just that, you’ll also need to be able to charge them seamlessly and without friction.

To tackle this, most fitness professionals organise personal workouts and training sessions through a booking solution like Better Clinics.

Not only does this put your classes online and capture important client information, it also allows you to integrate with EFTPOS terminals, access health care rebates and of course take credit card payments online.

Personal trainer business considerations

After you’ve gained certification, cemented a business plan and figured out your niche, there are some pressing business concerns to attend to before launching your personal training business.

Before you bring in your first clients:

  • Register for an ABN and GST if applicable.
  • Setup your website and social media channels.
  • Create a pricing structure and budget.
  • Research the competition to understand the market.
  • Know your target market and intended client base back to front.
  • Create a solid marketing plan.
  • Enlist a reliable accountant or bookkeeper on top of your cloud accounting app.
  • Spend some time creating solid branding.
  • Invest in quality equipment.

Insurance and safety

What else do you need to get your fitness business humming?

Insurance is a good idea. Go and find some personal liability insurance for a start – you don’t want to be held responsible for a client’s personal injury during a fitness workout.

What else? A COVID-19 safe plan of course. That’s exceptionally important at the moment and you could be in breach of the law, and common sense, if you don’t take it seriously.

Be sure to factor government regulations and constrictions into your personal training business plan.

Further reading


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