Personal training is a hard industry to break into. If you don’t have a distinct competitive advantage identified from the beginning, it’s going to be quite a journey. Luckily, with the rapid advancement of technology, you have a wide array of new tools and resources to help you turn your passions into a way of life (and a paycheck!).
I was watching the Hunger Games the other night (I know I know, I’m really late on the Hunger Games bandwagon), and I started to notice some interesting themes that can apply to developing your career as a personal trainer.
Garner Attention: Stand Out
The Hunger Games Tributes try and stand out from the others. They do this when they parade around the arena in their chariots. They wear extremely eye-catching outfits (sometimes ones that are literally on fire) and attract attention to support their cause. Like the Tributes, you have to stand out from the rest of the personal trainers out there. A lot of personal trainers are attracting attention by re-creating a personal brand and building up an audience on social media like YouTube and Instagram. Get attention by showing users your personality, and don’t be afraid to be different and stand out from the thousands of other trainers.
Garner Support: Show What Makes You Special
Like Katniss wooed the judges with her archery skills during her pre-game trials, so must you woo your potential clients with your special sauce. Show your audience what you're made of, what you’re good at, why you’re special, and why that matters. Maybe you have a strong background in Yoga, maybe you played college football, maybe you were on American Ninja Warrior— you have to figure out what you have that others don’t, and leverage the heck out of it. Figure out what kind of training you're going to specialize in and who you’re your clientele. Do you want to work with athletes? Celebrities? The world is your oyster. Once you’ve figured out your special sauce, and have leveraged it, you will need to engage with your community (be it on Instagram, YouTube, etc.). Make your community feel special, let them know you’re there to help. This will convert those followers and fans into evangelists. They’ll carry your personal brand upon their shoulders as they spread the word about your service, “Have you seen that cool new guy/girl on Insta or Youtube who can do a Pinky Handstand with 3 watermelons balanced on his big toe?”
Garner Success: Form Strategic Partnerships
Once they established their audience and garnered support, Tributes begin forming strategic partnerships with each other. Likewise, you have to figure out what your weakness is and find partners who can compensate for those weaknesses. If your weakness if your reach:cross promote with a fitness brand, or look for athletic sponsorship. There are an abundance of options, and there is no reason you should go at this alone. Look for support from your fellow trainers, as long as you don’t step on anyone’s toes (i.e., by trying to steal their clients), people are generally pretty helpful when you ask for help in a field in which they specialize. At the end of the day, everyone likes to feel smart, and what better way to feel smart than to empower someone else with your knowledge. Find your Peeta, young Katniss, find your Peeta.