How to Become a Freelance Personal Trainer: The Complete Guide

If you would like to pursue a career as a personal trainer, you have two options to explore. You can decide to work in a salaried role, where you will be offering your services in gyms, health clubs and other fitness centers. With this approach, you will be getting a fixed monthly check.

You also have the option of working as a freelance personal trainer. As a self-employed personal trainer, you will be offering your services to your clients of all ages, wherever it’s convenient for them. It can be at their home, in a public gym, or at their workplace. With this approach your income will depend on the number of clients that you have, meaning it can change from one month to the other.

If working as a freelance personal trainer is the direction that you intend to follow, then this guide is specifically meant for you. In this article, we will take a closer look at the pros and cons of becoming a freelance personal trainer. We will also walk you through the steps that you will follow to become a freelance personal trainer. We will also give you some tips on how to become a successful freelance personal trainer.

1. Freelance Personal Trainer Pros and Cons

Working as a self-employed personal trainer comes with its fair share of pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look at what you should expect if you decide to pursue a career working as a personal trainer who is self-employed.

1.1 Freelance Personal Trainer Pros

Working as a freelance personal trainer comes with numerous benefits. And one of the main benefits is flexibility. When working as a self-employed personal trainer, you get to choose your own working hours, based on the client's availability.

For instance, if the client is usually available between 5 pm to 8 pm, you can spend the rest of the day attending to other things. On the other hand, if you are working as a salaried personal trainer, it’s highly likely you will be required to be in the gym every day between 5 am to around 9 pm.

Another benefit of working as a freelance personal trainer is that you have control over your own income. Simply put, your monthly income is not fixed to a certain amount. Instead, you can earn as much money as possible, depending on the number of clients that you manage to land and the hours you can dedicate in a week. Also, you will be charging what you are worth, as opposed to a predetermined rate, which is usually the case with salaried personal trainers.

Furthermore, working as a self-employed personal trainer can help to grow your knowledge base and skill set. When you are a freelance personal trainer, you will be frequently facing unfamiliar processes. You will have to oversee client acquisition, handle marketing, bookkeeping, customer service and various other aspects of running a personal training business. All these processes will go a long way in enhancing your knowledge base and skill set.

1.2 Freelance Personal Trainer Cons

While working as a freelance personal trainer may appear like a slam-dunk career, it’s not always rosy. Like everything else, it also comes with a couple of disadvantages. Some of the disadvantages of being a freelance personal trainer include:

  • Unstable income
  • More administrative work like filing taxes and bookkeeping
  • You can easily get burnt out
  • You will need to buy your own equipment

2. Steps to Become a Freelance Personal Trainer

By now, you already know what to expect if you opt to work as a freelance personal trainer. So, how do you become one? Here are the steps that you should follow if you decide to take the leap and become a freelance personal trainer:

2.1 Get Qualified

Before you begin working as a freelance trainer, you should first acquire the necessary personal training certifications, such as ACE and/or others. While getting certified may not be a requirement, undertaking a personal training course and getting a certification comes with numerous benefits.

First, most clients will not hire you to train them, if you don’t have a personal trainer certification. Simply put, you may struggle to land adequate clients. And if you can’t get enough personal training clients, then you will struggle to pay your bills. And eventually, you may end up giving up.

Second, undertaking a personal training course will equip you with a wide range of skills, including the fundamentals of exercise, fitness, training, movement and coaching. All these skills will be vital in helping your clients to achieve their fitness goals effectively and safely.

Third, most personal training courses will also teach you how to run a personal training business – a skill that most personal trainers lack. For instance, you will learn how to attract clients and retain clients. You will also learn client relations, among other vital skills of running a personal training business.

If you're in a tight spot financially, fear not. You might still be eligible for a government funded personal training course.

2.2 Set Up Your Business

After acquiring your personal training certification, you should then proceed to set up your business. When setting up your business, you will need to consider various aspects before launching your freelance personal training business.

First, you need to secure funding for your fitness business. At the end of the day, you will need money for purchasing the fitness equipment as well as marketing and advertising your business. You will also need money for business expenses like website development and business cards, among others.

Second, you will need to obtain the necessary licenses and permits, needed to operate a freelance personal training business. Considering that you will be training your clients wherever they are, you may only need to obtain a business permit.

Third, you should make sure you get insured. Professional liability insurance will help to protect you and your freelance personal training business. There are several insurers out there, who offer personal trainers with adequate and affordable coverage options. So, do your research and then choose an insurance company that aligns best with your needs and budget.

It’s worth mentioning that you don’t need hundreds of thousands of dollars to start your freelance personal trainer business. You simply need to start with what you have, purchase the basic equipment like weights, exercise balls, resistance bands, and mats.

You can also make arrangements with gyms in your area to use their equipment, in case you are not in a position to buy yours. Normally, they will charge you a monthly fee to train your clients at their facilities. Some gyms may also offer you a deal where you will be training their clients for some hours in exchange for free rent.

2.3 Market and Advertise Your Services

By now, your business is already set up and you are ready to start offering your personal training services. However, your target client doesn’t know about you or the services you are offering. Hence, you will need to market your services, to ensure you reach your target client. Some of the methods that you can use to advertise, market and promote your services include:

  • Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook
  • Flyers and banners
  • Websites and blogs
  • Newspaper pamphlets
  • Ads in local business listing directories

You should also consider partnering with local businesses in your area and offer them discounted rates for their members. You can further boost the visibility of your business by networking through industry meets and events.

3. How to Become a Successful Freelance Personal Trainer: Tips and Strategies

With aggressive and consistent marketing, you will eventually land your first clients. And you can start offering your personal training services right away. Here are some tips that will help you to become a successful freelance personal trainer and grow your fitness business.

3.1 Stay Up-to-Date With Industry Trends

The fitness industry is constantly changing. Fitness trends come and go, as time changes. So, if you want to become a successful freelance personal trainer and remain in business for long, you need to keep yourself updated with the changes happening in your niche.

Keeping yourself updated will help you to adjust your training methods and business strategies accordingly, to remain ahead of the competition. And to do so, you need to keep reading the latest industry articles and journals. Attending health and fitness conferences and events can also help to keep you updated with the latest happenings in the industry.

3.2 Continue Investing Into Your Education

As a freelance personal trainer, you will come across clients from all walks of your life in your career. Some may be struggling to lose weight due to nutrition-related issues while others may be having a hard time achieving their fitness goals, due to injuries or similar issues. Hence, you need to stay on top of fitness education, so that you can provide the best services possible. And you can do so by investing your resources into continuous education.

3.3 Build Strong Relationships with Your Clients

For your freelance personal training business to be successful, you will need to retain your existing clients and attract new ones. And, one of the most effective ways of achieving these two goals is by building strong relationships with your existing clients.

By building strong relationships, it will be easier to understand what they want from you. Consequently, you will be able to come up with the perfect solutions for their needs, leading to high satisfaction rates.

And if your clients are satisfied with your services, they will keep coming back. Besides, there’s a high chance they will also refer their friends, family and close associates, thus helping you to grow your client base.

4. Wrapping It Up

Becoming a successful self-employed personal trainer requires commitment, talent, and plenty of hard work. But, if you are ready to invest your time, money and a considerable amount of effort, you are going to enjoy a successful career down the line.

Jay Bats

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