How to start a freelance personal training business from home

4 min
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The first thing you need to do is to decide how you plan to personally train people. Are you going to be a support system with advice and encouragement for the people you train, are you going to train remotely, are you going to make house visits, or are people going to visit you?

Decide how to run your business and make sure you register as a sole trader business before you start making money. Also, get yourself a cheap business bank account because it usually has a low monthly fee, and the tax inspector will be far happier with you if your business has a dedicated business account.

Here Emma Evans in collaboration with Provincial Rubber highlights how to get started on setting up and running your freelance training business from home.

You do not need to register with anybody

The articles that tell you to register with REPs (Register of Exercise Professionals) and with CIMSPA (Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity) are not being honest with you. You do not have to register with anybody to be a personal trainer. Plus, “Personal Trainer” is not a protected term, so anybody can call themselves a personal trainer. You are also able to call yourself a "Nutritionist,” because that is also not a protected word; “Dietitian" is a protected word.

Get liability insurance

You are only starting out, so grab yourself a very cheap policy. You need to explain to your insurance agent what type of business you are running. For example, if you are offering an online course, then your liability will be different from if you are having people walk into your home and train with you. You might also want to consider other types of freelancer insurances such as professional indemnity insurance if you want to be protected.

Set up your home if needed

If you are training people from your own house, then you need a dedicated room. Even a garage can be converted into a gym if you have the right equipment, lighting and heating. Plus, do not forget about having the right type of flooring. Rubber Matting has plenty of grips, it protects your floor, and it has a little bit of bounce to help lower the chances of injury. There are plenty of people who have set up home gyms on the carpet and are now unable to get liability insurance because their client broke an ankle thanks to worn carpeting.

Do not flirt with clients

This may seem out of place here but in the current social climate, you must protect yourself. You must not flirt with or become romantically involved with your clients. What you may consider ‘friendly banter’ may be offensive to your clients or might make them feel uncomfortable. The rise of the “Me Too” should highlight how certain actions and words can come across negatively so you have to remain 100% professional.

If you are worried about being sued (which you should be), then have your clients sign your standard trainer agreement, and include in the small print about allowing you to film your sessions together. Also, ensure that your client is fully aware that the sessions will be filmed. That way, you may place a camera in your house and record your sessions. It may seem excessive, however, its a form of protection andyou will be glad of it when your client gets upset if you rebuff his or her advances and he or she starts making untrue claims on social media and to the police.

The world’s best marketing tip – give them your best stuff for free

The key to successful marketing is to prove that your product is of use prior to the customer handing over money. That is why you have to give your best stuff away for free. Most people give tasters of what they have to offer, and they hold the best stuff back for when customers start paying. Do you know what they call freelancers who do this? Broke freelancers.

It sounds counter-intuitive, but you need to give away all of your best stuff for free. All of your best advice, moves, techniques, etc. If you are a customer, you are more impressed by those who prove they are the best over people who claim to be the best.

What else is left to sell after you have given everything away for free? You are lucky since you are part of the fitness industry and people always need more. You light the fire with your free content, and people pay you to keep the fires burning. You can give coaching and encouragement, and you can help people learn how you got to where you are. You can help people understand why your advice is the best by showing the path you took to find it. Even after giving your best stuff away, people will still need support, and they will still benefit from knowing how you came to your conclusions and how you came up with your techniques, structure and advice.

More on sole trader accounts and bookkeeping and starting up.

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