Becoming a Self-Employed Personal Trainer: What You Need to Know


It’s a popular career choice, and for a good reason. After all, the thought of spending every day in a gym environment whets the appetite of a vast number of people.

However, it’s not always straightforward. Unsurprisingly, competition is fierce, and you need a solid plan before taking the plunge.

Today isn’t about providing a pre-prepared business plan; every personal trainer (PT) should have a slightly different offering. Instead, it’s about highlighting some factors you should be aware of to make the best of your new business.

It’s a business – and you will have costs

As we’ve alluded to, it’s important to realise that this is a business. A lot of new personal trainers are so enthusiastic about working in the industry that they fail to consider the business aspects.

For example, now that you’re doing this full-time, there’s every chance that your gym will be charging you a rental fee. This is typically hundreds of pounds every month and will naturally eat into your bottom line.

The alternative is to effectively work for your gym and provide sessions to their members. However, you will lose flexibility, and income, so weigh the pros and cons carefully.

You’ll also have tax to pay

Remember that you are now effectively running your own business, which means you will be liable for paying tax. This is something that many new PTs fail to factor in, and it can come as a nasty shock when the tax bill arrives.

The good news is that you will still have a tax-free allowance (if you’re operating as a sole trader), and you’ll also have expenses (such as the ones mentioned in our first point) to offset your profits.

However, don’t mistake spending all your income every month. There will be a bill to pay in January.

You will be selling yourself

In many ways, you are the product that you are selling. This is why it’s so important to market and sell yourself effectively.

Your potential clients need to see you as an expert in your field. They need to see you as someone who can help them to achieve their fitness goals.

This is why it’s essential to spend time on your personal brand. What do you want to be known for? What are your unique selling points? What can you do to stand out from the crowd? Again, personal training is a competitive business, and it might be an idea to niche down and become the ‘expert’ for certain types of clients. Examples could include being the go-to trainer for distance running, bodybuilding or even injury recovery.

You’ll need to get insured

If you’re working with clients one-to-one, you will need insurance. This protects you (and your business) if a client is injured during a session.

You’ll need to keep on learning

The fitness world is always changing, and as a personal trainer, it’s your job to keep up-to-date with the latest trends.

This might involve attending regular seminars and workshops or reading industry-specific magazines and websites.It’s also important to remember that your clients will have different goals, and it’s your job to help them achieve these. This might involve learning new exercises or using different pieces of equipment.

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