PT Magazine - What To Expect - Article 1

I recently celebrated my first year as a freelance personal trainer and can honestly say it’s been the most thrilling, frightening, interesting year of my life. Everything I thought I knew about myself and the way I work has been challenged, changed, chewed up and spat out numerous times. For all you trainers just starting out, I hope my journey will inspire and encourage you as well as give you a realistic and honest view about what may lie ahead, and for all you old-timers, just a solid reminisce about the good ole’ days!

In my humble opinion, the key to this and indeed many new experiences is actually to keep expectations to a minimum. You never know what or who may be around the corner and how you management of each situation will change and in fact the further down the line you travel, the greater your ability to handle whatever life throws at you will become. Whatever happens, it’s of the utmost importance to remain positive and focused.

As mentioned, a realistic outlook is a good way to handle disappointment – but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim high. You probably won’t get 10 clients within your first week qualified, but give it a month and who knows? Remember, only you have the power to obtain what you want, it won’t fall into your lap. A friend gave me an invaluable piece of advice, which has stuck with me ever since – ‘ be proactive, not reactive’. Preparation is really just another form of expectation and without it it’s likely you won’t be successful in your venture. Make lists, plan every session and draft emails to clients.

Your clients and their behaviour and attitude are two huge aspects of your job that are out of your control. One of the overriding changes I’ve noticed in myself since I qualified is how much more patient and open-minded I’ve become about other people and I’d be very surprised if the same didn’t happen to you. There will be times when clients turn up unhappy, sad, impatient or disappointed and it’s your job not only to train them, but to support them and take on board why they are feeling the way they are feeling, without asking too many questions. Unfortunately, we can’t make people act a certain way and your transition from a good trainer into a GREAT trainer will hinge on how you adapt to each and every person you encounter.

Sophie Kay, owner and trainer at Fitology says, ‘I remember being worried about over-selling myself and sounding big-headed or boastful, but you soon realise self-belief is imperative to obtaining business. Develop your own style, be proud of it, and be ready to adapt ’.

Now for the less theoretical part – or ‘boring bit’ if you will, and you may have already guessed that this is the part where I need to talk about money. Like any vocational job, this definitely isn’t one you should undertake for the money and you may well be working at a loss for a few months, once you’ve got your equipment, your park license if you’re freelance or rent if you work for a gym and your insurance. I had to save most of what I earned my first year to pay a big tax bill + accountant fees – the glamour!

Just because you have become your own boss doesn’t mean you need to feel funny or awkward discussing fees. Deciding what your hourly rate is may depend on where you live or your skill-set but once you know what your price range is, stick with it. You many want to offer people a trial session before they commit to a block so they can see how you both work together; never forget that hiring a PT is for many a big financial commitment and, within reason of course, you need to take steps to reassure them that your service is worth the price.

Once the sessions are booked, write them down and towards each session you might find you need to remind the client of the time and location. Your cancellation policy is completely up to you to decide; be flexible, but not to the extent that it affects the rest of your business. Although I’ve spoken a lot about what you do for your clients, ultimately you are the most important part of your brand. Your personality and your ability to work with others is your USP as a personal trainer; never copy anyone else’s style.

I’d like to wish everyone either recently or soon to be qualified a huge good luck during your first year as a PT and beyond – if in doubt, remember the 3 P’s – Positivity, Preparation and Proactivity. And most important of all – believe in yourself. You got this! 

TBE - One Year In

I cannot BELIEVE it was a year ago that I started Trained By Eleanor and started working as a PT. It’s been one of the most fulfilling, exhilarating, tough, emotional, rewarding, crazy years of my life. I’d like to thank everyone who has trained with me, supported me, read one of my blogs or posts, liked something I’ve posted on Facebook, emailed me, asked me a question or answered one that I had for you. Really, truly and seriously – you are what makes me tick and however dreamy this dream-job is, I couldn’t do it without you.

I’m not going to write about why you should hire a personal trainer or start thinking about getting into fitness. Instead I’ve written something which I hope will inspire anyone who feels stuck in a rut, who is thinking about starting a new journey, be it fitness, work-related or otherwise, or just that life needs a bit of a makeover. These are the most valuable things I’ve learnt since I took control of my life – I hope one of them encourages you to do the same.

 

1.     Believe in yourself.

Change is a scary thing. It’s easy to focus on all the things that might go wrong and the things which you know will maybe alter things for the worst – money, free-time, social life etc. But trust me when I say – if you want something badly enough, you WILL make it happen. You WILL adjust to your new situation and you WILL make the best of it. Don’t let doubt prevent you from doing something that you love. TRY. If it doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world and you never know what you might learn. Ignore the negatives – they’re not important…..

 

2.     Be Positive

I’ve always considered myself quite a positive person but this is the year that particular attribute has really come into play. And actually, you’ll find that the improvement in your quality of life really aids your ability to be positive.  Count your blessings, often.

 

3.     Take every opportunity

Not long after I first started the business I got offered a chance to work with a brand who I wasn’t sure was a good match for mine. I asked the advice of a few people I trust and realized it was be silly not to take this opportunity. Not only was it an amazing experience, but I earned a client who is still with me all this time later.

 

4.     Make sacrifices – and embrace them

There are many things, both material and otherwise, that you might have to sacrifice in order to reach your goals. It’s the nature of the beast. Yes, I have less money to treat myself to things like clothes and shoes – but when I can afford to treat myself to something, it’s the best feeling ever.

 

5.     Be realistic

Being positive doesn’t mean being unrealistic about the way things are. I’d be lying if I said that working for yourself is the easiest option. There are still rules, and unexpected twists and turns. For example, during this, my first year of business, I’ve had to save 25% of my profits to pay for a big ole’ tax bill. THE GLAMOUR!

 

6.     Be proactive, not reactive

A friend of mine gave me this absolutely invaluable piece of advice when I first started out. There’s always a LOT to be done in the world of TBE and I make sure I make lists, work hard, chase, enquire, stay hungry and keep on top of things. The work sadly doesn’t do itself but the harder you work, the greater the pay-off. Don’t sit around waiting for things to improve – MAKE IT HAPPEN.

 

7.     Ask questions

I am constantly asking for advice from others. We never know it all and we NEVER stop learning. There are people I go to for help with fitness, nutrition, business, my people skills, and many MANY other subjects. Don’t be afraid to ask and act on the answers you receive. In the same sentence…..

 

8.     Trust your instinct

This is no-one else’s journey but yours.

 

9.     Aim high

Keep reaching for more. Nothing is impossible when it comes to what you want to achieve. Remember your goals and why you did what you did and keep striving to maintain the new life you have made for yourself. However big or small your goals are – it doesn’t make them any less important.

 

10. CONGRATULATE YOURSELF

Every now and again I make sure I take time to realise how far I’ve come and how much I’ve achieved. It’s totally fine to have a little boast every now and again in ALL walks of life! To everyone who is reading this – CONGRATULATIONS on being YOU – no-one else does it better and no-one else ever will. You are AMAZING: then, now, and always.