People always have, and always will stand on the shoulders of giants - they will learn from and use the experiences and achievements of others to achieve even greater things in the future. In other words, "copying", or as I prefer to call it "modelling" is okay. By copying I don't mean literally copying word for word what another person has done (unless you've been given permission to do so by them). I mean modelling what they do, modelling their process, or their strategy or their behaviour or their approach.
There is definitely a place for having role models; people whom you aspire to be like or accomplish similar things perhaps. I'm a fan of reading and learning about really successful individuals, famous and otherwise, and identifying the things these guys have done or do which have contributed to their success. I know I've adopted various habits and behaviours from people and these have certainly helped me along the way. However, I've noticed that many fitness professionals are getting the whole copying thing the wrong way round and there are two mistakes which are particularly evident amongst the Fit Pros I meet.
Mistake #1 - Trying To Build A Successful Business On Your Own
If you are serious about building up a successful fitness or PT business, it's a mistake to try and do it on your own. Not only is it a very slow way to go about the challenge but there are simply too many aspects involved for you to master and an expert in them all. Trying to reinvent the wheel and having the mindset "I'll do this myself, I'll work it out on my own, in my own way, in my own time, is the surest way to fail at worst and at best you'll make a lot of very expensive, frustrating and unnecessary mistakes.
Mistake #2 - Copying The Wrong People
When you do choose to follow in the footsteps of another there are a few rules but the most important rule is to make sure that the person you are copying is actually successful! Make sure that they are successful in the way you want to be. So, if you copy another fit pros' website or you copy another PTs' promotional strategy, whatever it is, you need to be sure that it is actually successful.
Instead, however, there are lots of assumptions being made. Fit pros are copying other fit pros with the big assumption that what they are copying is good, or that it works and that the fit pro they are copying is successful. Unfortunately the reality is often disappointing.
So why do people make this mistake?
Follow the crowd mentality.
If everyone is doing it, it must be right. But when it comes to business, marketing and getting
clients, then the crowd are currently getting it wrong. At this point in the Fitness Industry, if you want to achieve success, you are going to have to do things differently and break away from the crowd which might feel scary but that's just how it is.
Another factor I've come across is the "I'm the only one who's struggling" mentality.
It's easy when you look around at other professionals in your industry to believe that somehow everyone else is succeeding except you. I've got good news for you there because I can assure you that if you're struggling to get clients and make your business work, you're far from being on your own.
This is why you have to select your role models very carefully.
Not only must you make sure that the person or the strategy you are following is actually successful but I said earlier, it must be successful in the way you want i.e. that it will achieve the result you want in a way that suits you and the fit biz you're aiming to build.
Example - "I want to do more than 1-1 training and have more free time."
If what you want is a business that enables you to sell more than your 1-1 time but then you copy the traditional fitness business model and adopt the usual marketing techniques, you will struggle to ever sell more than your time. If you want to sell more than your time but you copy a strategy that is designed to fill your diary with 1-1 clients, you'll end up creating a ball and chain for yourself rather than being able to go beyond 1-1 and create more free time.
Example - "I want to build a website that gets me clients."
When it comes to websites it's a mistake to copy the websites of most fit pros out there for the simple reason that their websites are not working. If you want a website that looks awesome but gets you zero clients, then go for it - copy away. But if you want a website that delivers the results you want for your business, then you have to find either a fit pro who has a website that is doing exactly what you want or a web expert who properly understands how to develop the kind of website you need. Ideally, find both.
Mistake #3 - The Iceberg Factor
The final thing to say about copying is that there is so much stuff that goes on behind the scenes. What you see on the surface is like seeing the tip of the iceberg. There is always lots more to any strategy you see in operation. That's exactly why there are experts, coaches and mentors out there offering opportunities for you to invest in their programmes so that you can learn exactly what goes into the process of getting your first clients on board, or designing a money-making, client-getting, website or what goes in to the process of designing a fitness business that sells more than your 1-1 time.
And that brings me to the thing that lies at the heart of the problems arising from copying the wrong people, (here's where I put my neck on the line) - it all comes down to money and the desire to hold on to it rather than invest in the right people and the right support. In the end, the only way I know to achieve the kind of success you want with your own business is to be prepared to take leaps from time to time by investing in your business and learning from those who have done what you wish to do and who have a system for teaching that. Until you do that, you risk copying from people who are failing and you'll only ever see the tip of that iceberg instead of understanding the bigger picture which is where the real magic takes place.
The only action I can give you right now is to take a step back for a moment and take a look at how you've been approaching your business. Who are you modelling? Are you on the constant hunt for free stuff and for ways to learn strategies and develop your business without investing a penny? Are you investing with the right people to get the right support for the kind of business and lifestyle you aspire to have?
Yvette Nevrkla, The UK's Top PT Business Coach for PTs who want to learn how to sell more than their time so they can have a bigger impact, make more money and still have time for the other things that are important.
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