When I first started out as a personal trainer all I knew for sure was that I had a love for health and fitness, I knew the fundamentals of anatomy and physiology, and that I was a reasonable communicator, writes Fitness Business Owner, James Anderson.
So, with this youthful confidence (bordering on arrogance), I started working at a big box gym with a firm belief that in two years (three at most) I’d be a millionaire who works 4 hours a week and takes luxurious three-month holidays every year.
Well, it’s now 12 years on and all I can say with certainty is “WTF happened”?!
You see, what I failed to realise is that for all the perceived ‘sex appeal’ of being your own boss, the fact of the matter is that running a small business requires a little (read: a lot) more than just being good at a couple of things.
Don’t think so? Well, have you thought about these things yet?
Accounting, tax, GST, banking, client nurture systems, marketing, sales, innovation, strategic planning, branding, social media, copywriting, building an email database, graphic design, web design, SEO, AdWords, Facebook marketing, Instagram marketing, blogging, joint ventures, referral, partnerships, legal, insurance, disclaimers, first aid services…
The above list could go on forever -- this was literally just me rattling off a few things that came to mind.
Think of the personal training business as an iceberg
You’ve got the visible, or small surface part – this being your “client-facing interactions”. And then you’ve got what lies beneath, a huge “foundational” part of the business – this is where everything else lives.
So don’t be fooled by the allure of the term “small business”, as it’s only really called that because there’s generally only you running the show. And since the buck starts and stops with you, I can promise you one thing -- it won’t often feel like a “small business” once you’re running it.
Look, I’m not trying to scare you out of getting involved in this amazing industry, I am simply making sure you know that there’s more to meets the eye when it comes to developing yourself and your brand as a long-lasting and profitable business, rather than just a flash in the pan.
So how can you be a jack of all trades in your business?
Answer: Don’t be.
I guess the title of this article may lead you on to believe that you could be the jack of all trades in your business when in actual fact the term “jack of all trades, master of none” is the most truthful saying when it comes to business.
Because as much as you may want to, you can’t do everything all the time if you want to grow your business. There will inevitably be a “sticking point” where you try to do too much, and instead of kicking goals, you’ll fumble the ball. This can lead to a mistake (or a number of mistakes) that will cost you.
I personally know how unpleasant this process can be as I mismanaged my own accounting. It cost me a huge amount of money to learn that lesson. This is why I think that it’s important to immediately outsource certain key roles that require a skillset and expertise in excess of what you can manage as there are some things in your business that should be done with care and accuracy.
If these things are done poorly – the ripple effect can be catastrophic. Examples of what you could consider outsourcing are accountants and lawyers who should be seen as a valuable investment.
With that said, that shouldn’t stop you from learning about everything else
Learn about things that interest you, which could be sales, marketing, social media, branding, content creation, copywriting etc. These things can be learnt over a period of time whilst being tested, measured and managed along the way.
The best part is that if you make a mistake, it’s not likely that it will cost you much more than a “learning experience”.
Which leads me into my next point -- if you’re self-aware enough and you’re able to continually learn, change and modify things as needed, then I can honestly say that “experience” can be one of the best and often most frustrating ways to learn.
So, rather than getting overwhelmed by everything I simply suggest, you could start by educating yourself in as many areas of business as you can by reading books, listening to audiobooks, watching YouTube videos, learning courses online, attending face-to-face courses, listening to podcasts, finding experts to follow, finding mentors to learn from, or finding coaches to upskill from.
Just start learning! You’re only limited by your inability to be resourceful.
And once you start this process of learning, you’ll begin to notice that you’ll be stronger and find much more enjoyment in certain areas of business, and be less apt and less motivated in others.
This is where I suggest you follow your strengths
Outsource those time and energy-draining things. They are still important but will slow your progress. Again, this requires that you use self-awareness.
At the end of the day you need to see yourself as the captain of the ship, focusing on the direction of the business rather than being constantly caught up in the engine room – with no view of the horizon to check for oncoming dangers (like icebergs!)
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, set yourself up for success by seeing your personal training business as a marathon, not a sprint. Know you’re going to make mistakes along the way and accept that you’re not likely going to be a millionaire within 3 years!
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