A huge number of personal trainers are thinking about taking their careers to the next level in the hopes of affording them a fuller and more secure lifestyle. In other words, they want to make enough money to have a lifestyle, but without working themselves to death in the process. When these trainers tell me they’re thinking about starting a fitness boot camp, I warn them that it’s not for everyone. For some people, it’s just not for them right now.
I’m certainly not trying to discourage anyone from building his or her fitness business and obviously I believe that the fitness boot camp model is the most profitable and sustainable fitness business there is. However, I do believe that you have to make sure you’re ready to take that step. I don’t want anyone to try and fail because their timing or expectations were wrong. Failure, even a temporary failure, hurts.
I know what it feels like. When I was starting out and just trying to do a better job of building a future for my family, I made so many mistakes that could have put me out of business. Fortunately, I inherited my parents’ strength and persistence and kept pushing onward until I finally learned what I was doing. For me, starting a fitness boot camp was the turnaround point. It could be that for you, too, if you’re prepared for it.
So how do you know if a boot camp is the right choice for you?
Are you goal-driven and determined? There are days when owning a business, even a fantastic business, just sucks. You have clients who are ignoring half your advice and then complaining about their lack of results. Your water pipe burst and floods the studio. Those flyers you had printed up (and have already distributed) have the wrong phone number. Now not only is nobody calling you, but the pizza place across town is upset.
When bad days happen – and they will – your goals have to be there to sustain you. You have to be able to look past today to the tomorrow you’re building. As hokey as that may sound, it’s absolutely essential to your success, especially in the beginning. When you’re earning ten times what you’re making now, that money will buy you the ability to chill out in other ways. But in the beginning, your goals and your dreams have to be solid and tangible enough to keep you going.
Do you believe in your product enough to sell it? A fitness boot camp is hands-down the best solution to getting and staying fit in today’s chaotic, busy, malnourished culture. People want and need an intense, fun workout that turns their health around and reshapes their bodies fast. The fitness boot camp delivers that. But if you’re not your company’s biggest fan, you won’t be able to sell it. Not only that; people shouldn’t be buying it.
You have to be committed to promising people the most effective, exciting and sustainable workout program there is and then you need to deliver that promise, every time. That is absolutely the number one key to having a fitness boot camp that continues to grow almost on its own. Truly satisfied and excited clients tell their friends about you and those friends join, get incredible results and tell their friends and so on. But you have to be committed to delivering that kind of experience and then believe in it enough that others believe in it, too.
Are you willing to push yourself? Most personal trainers understand that starting a fitness boot camp will require them to work hard. What many of them don’t understand is that it will require them to work in areas that may be outside their comfort zone or area of expertise. You might be a great trainer, but not very comfortable dealing with larger groups. You might be an incredibly motivating leader, but not so hot at getting out and meeting new people. You might know more than anyone else about burning fat but nothing at all about marketing.
Once you’ve built your business to a certain level (and I’ve seen boot camp owners do it in a matter of months), you’ll be able to hire people to do those things that you’re not great at or don’t enjoy. You’ll have the luxury of working in your zone of genius so that you’re spending less time running the business, but the time you do spend is spent on things that make you more money. But for at least the first few months after starting your fitness boot camp, you’ll need to push yourself beyond your comfort zone, which is really just a barrier that limits your potential.
Does answering “yes” to these three questions guarantee your success? No. But when you combine those yes’s with a great business model and careful planning, your chances are looking very, very good.