So you’ve decided that you want to be a personal trainer, and that you have what it takes to become one. Great! But do you have what it takes to be self-employed? Do you think you could cut it as a freelance personal trainer?
Freelance personal training is a hard climb…but worth it! Being self employed has many benefits. You gain the freedom of being able to choose how you work, when you work and who you work with. Further, as a freelance personal trainer your hourly rate will be considerably higher and your earning potential much greater. Also, as you have already identified yourself as someone with a passion for health and fitness, you will be doing something you are interested in and enjoy, and with no-one breathing down your neck. In fact, some days it won’t seem like you are working at all.
However, as with all things in life there is a flip-side. There is no-one else to shift responsibility to when the going gets tough. While you may have a greater perceived freedom, you are ultimately answerable to your customers, your bank manager and yourself, and sometimes that can seem like more pressure than a line manager who you leave behind when you clock-off.
The bank manager in particular will become a familiar character in your life, either as your new BFF, or your new worst enemy. Banks are very supportive when you first start out as they want your business, and as long as things go well everything will be fine. But should you fall on hard times, don’t expect any tea and sympathy!
With this in mind, if you intend to freelance it’s a good idea to become familiar with some basic budgeting skills. The fitness industry does tend to be somewhat seasonal, and it is vital you don’t spend all your profits from a very good month, only to find you have no income the following month.
As a self-employed personal trainer you will also be responsible for filling in and returning all manner of official paperwork including your own tax returns (urgh!). Sure, you may choose to use a bookkeeper or an accountant, but again these cost money.
You will have to provide your own equipment, including transport, and pay for all your own marketing, insurance and training. Many of these expenses will be up front. Do you have the funds required to start up your own personal training business?
Consider all of these points carefully and ask those that have already set up their own freelance personal training businesses for advice.
And when you get there, congratulate yourself! Like with any fitness programme… careful planning, fitness knowledge and a dash of hard work, will equal results!