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The 5 Stages of Personal Training Business Growth

The 5 Stages Of Personal Training Business Growth

Estimated reading time: ∼ 17 min

The 5 Stages of a Personal Training Business

5 Stages of personal training business growth

To ensure that your personal training business achieves the success that you would want of it, you must know what stage of growth you exactly are on. It is only then that you will be able to apply the rules and tips and turn things around for you.

Let us take a look at the 5 stages in the life of a personal trainer and ensure the growth of your business depending on the stage you are on.

Stage #1: You’ve just started

stage 1 you have just started

Revenue: Low

Challenge: To survive in the sea along the big fish to compete and ultimately excel.

Goal: You are new in the field and have the ambition of making it to the list of the top and most successful personal trainers in your country.

Success Factors: Determination

For a newbie, it is not only about sustaining but competing as well.

With so many big fish in the sea, you have a lot to look out for. You feel intimidated but with the right determination and enthusiasm flowing in your veins, compelling you to take your chance at success.

Why should you? It is not that difficult and with the Essential Tips for Growing A Successful Personal Training Business, you certainly will be on the right path if you plan on adhering to them.

When you start out as a personal trainer, there are many things that you would have to consider.

For the industry which has a worth of over £4 billion in the UK, is something you need to step in very carefully. There are as many chances of you succeeding as there are of you failing. So, playing your cards right is the only way you can ensure your success.

SEE ALSO: Fitness Industry Trends for Personal Trainers 2017

Where do you stand: You are new in the field and have the ambition of making it to the list of the top and most successful personal trainers in your country.

When it comes to resources and investments that you can make for your fitness business growth, you have a lot of time on your hands to give to it but maybe not enough money.

So, what you can do is to use it properly: get your paperwork in order.

When you are new to the field, you can still have your clients trust your instincts and take you at your word. The best way to go about is to make sure that you have completed the certifications that are needed for this field.

As you are starting out, there aren’t many clients who would be there to back you up for your skills as a personal trainer so to get started completely all the paperwork that you might need to get into a gym or get clients of your own.

Apart from this, you need to be a registered personal trainer with an insurance for the kind of training you will be offering to your clients. The thing with personal training business is that the whole kingdom relies and depends on you.

So, to ensure that you don’t fail while trying to fly, get your footings right.

Here is what you can do: Amidst all the confusion, self-doubt and fear of failing there is only one thing that you can do and that is to concentrate on the few clients you have. Make sure they produce the kinds of results that would get everyone talking about you in the field.

Try to talk to different people who can help you out and maybe become a part of the fitness gym to keep yourself occupied. It will also serve as a learning ground and keep you updated with the latest trends.

When a part of the industry and affiliated with a gym, it is then that you would get noticed as a newbie. Give your best to the clients that come to you so that your skills stay polished and sharp while you wait to land your first client.

However, do not waste this time at all. It will set the foundation for your business so make sure you tackle all the management and administrative issues during this time.

So that once the things get busy, you can focus on your clients entirely.

Stage #2: Working as a part-time PT

stage 2 Working as a part-time PT

Revenue: < $1000/month

Challenge: To compete with the highest paid personal trainers in the industry through great communication skills and time investment.

Goal: to make the most use of your limited time to grow your client base and make policies for your own personal training business.

Success Factors: Vision, Time management and improved Communication Skills

In the early stages, you can expect a lot of struggle and time investment. Most of the personal trainers start out on a part-time basis at this stage or work with a gym till they have things sorted out in order.

You can also try doing this so that there is enough investment in your personal training business to get you going through the initial tough months.

Where do you stand: This is the stage where you can expect to get a few clients to yourself and things might not be going at a good pace but they will be looking promising. From the stage where you were still finding a single client, you have come to stage where you have at least 2 to 3 clients to yourself and are helping them fulfill their goals.

At this point, your only goal should be to make the most use of your limited time. Since you are juggling a routine between the gym and your personal training business, you will feel the strain of it but it shouldn’t put you off.

The thing with part-time personal trainers is that they have a lot going on in their life. From acquiring certifications to working at a gym or teaching courses, they are already too occupied to manage anything else. But take this as a testing point and prove your worth by making the most out of your struggles. Your earning at this point will be nothing more than $1000/month but do not let this dampen your spirits.

Here is what you can do: If you have been thinking along the lines that what do I need to start my own personal training business, then you are on the right track. When you get your first few clients, you are bound to lose the momentum and end up making some mistakes there.

The trick is to invest the time you have while you are waiting to bait on some clients into thinking of some policies for your fitness business growth. This would include terms of cancellation, refund, billing and closing along with the others aspects of your business.

Work them out and stick to them as it would help set the record with your clientele base.  Also be very firm about your approach and sticking to your policies. In case you ever make an exception, let your clients know this politely so that this would earn you extra credits.

But it will not be a bed of roses for you at this stage. While you would be struggling, you will also realize the shortcomings you have and the areas you would have to work on. One of the biggest problems you will feel here would be with your communication skills.

Still being new to the field, you will have to compete with the highest paid personal trainers in the industry. What makes them this great and has helped them reach this stage is their ability to deal with their clients and handle them professionally.  It will take time but if you are on the right path it should work out for you too.

As has been discussed already, there are certain things that will distinguish you from the others competing with you on the same level. When dealing with your clients:

  • Be polite
  • Maintain a friendly composure
  • Greet them with a smile
  • Do not make it about yourself
  • Focus on their problems and listen to them intently
  • Make plans that are suited for them
  • Be available for guidance and help
  • Make your availability hours clear and known
  • Follow the rules but make exceptions now and then

With all these tips in your arsenal, you will be in a perfect spot to move on to the next stage of your successful personal trainer business plan. Things will be bleak and a bit stressful but if you stay motivated and do everything by the book, you sure will come out stronger and a part of the successful personal trainers.

Stage 3: Struggling full-time Personal trainer

Stage 3: Struggling full-time Personal trainer

Revenue: $1500 – $3000/month

Challenge: Managing financial fluctuations while attracting potential prospects in the given time.

Goal: Attracting your audience and turning them into your prospective clients to increase your client base

Success Factors: Patience, Commitment, Communication skills, Time Management skills.

Having spent two to three years in the field, you have now finally conjured up the guts to go full time with your personal training business. This is the phase where you let go of your comfort reigns and go with your instincts that tell you that you are finally ready to step into the fitness industry solo.

Where do you stand: These couple of years working part-time has given you confidence in your abilities and has helped you built a solid, if not a huge, clientele base. This means that the clients that you have been working with so far have:

  • Fulfilled their fitness goals
  • Passed on a good round of words for you
  • Handed you some referrals to keep the work going

Apart from this, you have been working on your own as well to improve the grey areas and fix up the issues that you felt lacking in yourself. This would mean that you are better at one-to-one dealing with your clients and have been handling them quite professionally the past couple of months.

If you feel that this is not something you have accomplished so far then you might want to spend a couple more months at this stage, working as a part-time personal trainer.

This way you would have time to work on your people skills while you still have time. Once you go full time into this business, there will be no turning back.  So, make sure you are prepared for the step forward as the road will get tougher here on wards.

SEE ALSO: Essential Tips for Growing A Successful Personal Training Business 2018

Here is what you can do: Stage 3 in the personal training business growth curve is a great start for you to go full time. This is the time which is full of struggles and self-doubt just as it was in the early days of your career.

The revenues in this stage are not fixed. There will be times when you will be making over $3000 per month and then when the monthly income would be lesser than $1500. Financially managing these fluctuations will be a challenge on its own.

The new business would require investment and with you not making enough, you will be left in a challenging situation. Thinking on why you are not really able to make it work, you will be often blaming the fewer number of clients on the low fitness season involving Easter break, summer break, Xmas break and August break.

The reality is after some months of a failing and struggling business you’d be thinking of giving up altogether.

You are already not making enough as compared to the time when you had a steady job, there are not many new clients coming in, you are putting in a lot of hard work and struggle and struggle and the results are nowhere to be seen. It’s times like these that make or break a business.

If you give up now, you will never know how it was to succeed and see yourself to become the highest paid personal trainer as it has always been your dream. The key is to stick to the rule and work out ways through which you can get more clients for yourself.

Stage 4:  Established Full-time PT

Stage 4: Established Full-time PT

Revenue: $3000 to $6000/month

Challenge: Get client referrals, incorporate latest fitness trends and get out of the comfort zone to keep exceling.

Goal: To become a successful personal trainer by bringing in new clients and never letting things get stagnant.

Success Factors: Strategic Planning, Sales and Marketing, Team Management, Finance

Having seen the crunch time for a few months and even years and still not giving up has finally paid off. This is the stage where you can actually think back and come up with your own answer to how to build a personal training business.

Having been a part of the fitness industry growth for 5 to 8 years has given you enough experience. You are now not only a part of the successful personal trainers but have also learned how to manage this business successfully.

Where do you stand: Things that you were doing wrong earlier on, you have learned from those mistakes and turned them into positive life lessons. With you making a steady income of $3000 to $5000 a month, things have shaped on nicely for you.

Of course, there are low fitness seasons for you as well when your clients are off for a break or on vacations but apart from that, it is all good.  But is it really enough?

With enough skills to get clients from 10 to 30, you certainly seem to have picked up a few communication skills of your own. Remember stage 2 where you were adjusting in with your life and everything seemed to be going pretty good for you?

You knew you had to break free of your comfort zone and it is only through that risk you took that you are now enjoying such an established personal training business.

So, why stop here? Why not figure out what it would take to reach the top ranks and be counted as one of the highest paid personal trainers around? You had something special to you and the determination to fight, so why settle for less?

Think about it, you are actually settling for what you have and not making any efforts to grow big from here. This stagnation is what is keeping you from the success that awaits you at the other end of the road.

With a trusted clientele base working to your benefit, it is the time that you took your personal training business off for another spree of success. Start making efforts once again to get new clients so that not only the average revenue increases but you also do not have to worry about the off season anymore. Things would be good for you all year round.

As for the business, to take maximum money home, you have been managing everything on your own till now. This has kept you more busy with the management and administrative tasks than you should be. You are complacently trying to run all the aspects of your business without realising how to move on to the next step.

Here is what you can do: The fact that you are not pro-active enough is what is keeping you from reaching out to the next stage of the personal training business growth. It is time you prepare yourself for another haul and start doing things that will help you move on to the next stage.

  • Work with all your old clients and start reaching out to them again. See if anyone can bring you referrals or would want your help with their fitness goals again
  • Get heads on with all the latest certifications which are a part of the industry now
  • Get familiarised with latest fitness trends and how you can incorporate them to your fitness plan.
  • Staying cocooned in your shell is not going to help. Take time out to be a part of the community so that you can meet new clients
  • Hire an administrator to look over your business and manage it for you while you focus on other important things

What you need in short is a system and a plan that will consistently bring new clients and keep the business going.

If you want to move to the next step, this is one problem you need to find a solution for and that too on a priority basis. The key to becoming a successful personal trainer is to never let things get stagnant. If you settle for anything less than what you deserve, all your efforts would go to waste eventually.

Stage 5: Successful Full-Time PT

Stage 5: Successful Full-Time PT

Revenue: $5000-$10000+/month

Challenge: Having achieved the initial goals now you are dreaming of bigger and better things; like opening up your gym.

Goal: To keep growing by getting inspired and challenged by other and engage with entrepreneurs to add new dimensions to the business.

Success Factors: Inspiration, the will to bring a change

This is the day you have been working so hard for the past decade in your life. You are now a part of the most successful personal trainers and have made a name for yourself in the market.

There was a time when you were stuck in the comfort zone but having the strength to break free from it has finally brought you the success you wanted.

Where do you stand: From the times when you struggled to even make $1500 a month, you have now reached a stage where you can comfortably make around $6000-$10000+ per month.

The client base you have is trusted and really solid at the moment with 10-30 clients that have you fully booked. What makes this stage work for you is the fact that you have turned yourself into a brand.

You are now a renowned fitness expert and this means that gaining new clients is not a problem for you anymore. Having worked through the crunch, you have learned how to keep a steady flow of clients coming in to keep the business going.

With your ample knowledge of the fitness industry growth and how to how to build a personal training business,  you are now considered an expert in your field.

It’s you who is the main face of the business and this means that you do not get to take time off. You can only make money when you are there even if it means working all year round without a break. You have all your friends and family members help you out take care of the management aspects of your business.

Here is what you can do: The business is going good and this is what you’ve been thinking if you are ready to open up a gym of your own. With a steady flow of clients coming in and you making enough money on your own, you can certainly use another push and turn your personal brand into a successful gym.

With people taking care of your business, and you hiring help to manage things for you, it will possible for you to take time out to enjoy break once in a while. If you plan it nicely, you will also be able to squeeze in a few more clients and introduce group session to cater most of them at the same time.


Personal training business like all the other businesses requires time and a lot of effort on your part. If you are willing to give that and invest ten years of your life into it, there is no way that things won’t work out for you. The start might be a little shaky but if you play it right and hold onto your cool you will eventually work it out.

The five stages of personal business growth are the part of the growth cycle. Learning from each stage and preparing yourself to move on to the other is what is expected of you. Being qualified, you how to build a personal training business. So, do not let your efforts and education go to waste here. Be a part of the growing industry and make a better life for yourself while doing so.

Fitness Entrepreneur. Personal Trainer. MSc Sports Scientist. Author.

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