Becoming an online fitness coach in today’s market and economy might seem like a bit of a stretch, no pun intended. However, the time has never been better to launch your own personal training or online fitness coaching business.
Since its inception, online coaching has grown with a relatively steady climb of 13% compound annual growth rate. To make the perspective a little more precise, the coaching industry is currently at about $15 billion dollars. That’s a lot of money, and it’s only expected to grow.
Did you know that as of 2017, 41.9% of Americans are considered obese, according to the CDC? That’s a lot of people who could use a personal trainer or online fitness coach to help them bring those numbers down and to live their better lives. Don’t think of it as a job – think of it as saving lives, because in a manner of speaking, that’s what online fitness coaches do by helping to motivate and teach their clients to work harder on themselves.
The road to becoming an online fitness coach might seem a little hazy, and in truth, you might not know what to do next. Well, do not worry. We’ve got you covered in this guide to becoming an online fitness coach. Let’s get into this.
Why Choose Online Fitness Coaching?
There are several great reasons why becoming an online fitness coach is a great idea. You’ve likely thought about this already, so you’re here today for our instruction. But just in case you need further reassurance, here are some other reasons you might not have considered.
- Personal Growth – If you ever want to be in great shape so you can live your best life, then being a leader for others is a great idea. Becoming a fitness coach demands that you take great care of yourself, or your clients wouldn’t necessarily want your assistance. Therefore, merely doing your daily routine to stay in shape to show your clients that you mean business will help your own health.
- Flexibility and Convenience – If you’ve ever worked out of a gym, then you know that you spend a lot of time in the early morning and a lot of time into the late evening to help clients. It can really drain your time that you would likely rather spend doing something else. Here’s where online fitness coaching really helps. You can use tools like EliteTrainr to manage your clients and provide them with a handy app where you can share workout plans and more. Furthermore, going with an online fitness coaching business plan will allow you to free up your time, primarily if you use pre-built exercises or other tools to help clients get what they need digitally instead of booking so many hours to do the job in person.
- Greater Market – One of the significant differences between a local fitness coach and an online fitness coach is that an online fitness coach has a much bigger pool to draw upon for clients. A local fitness coach is subject to the number of people who want their services locally. An online fitness coach can coach anyone from anywhere (as long as they share a common language). This extra reach gives online fitness coaches a greater capacity to find clients who value their services.
These are just a few concepts that speak to the potential of online fitness coaching. However, let’s clarify what an online fitness coach does on a regular workday.
Understanding the Role: What Does an Online Fitness Coach Do?
Online fitness coaches play a multifaceted role in guiding, motivating, and supporting clients to reach their health and fitness goals. An online fitness coach is typically a personal trainer. However, unlike traditional in-person trainers, they leverage digital platforms like EliteTrainr to provide services that are often more flexible and accessible than conventional in-person services. Here are some of the primary responsibilities and activities that define the role of an online fitness coach:
Personalized Program Creation
As an online fitness coach, you will assess each client’s fitness level, needs, and objectives to create customized workout plans. These plans could range from weight loss programs to muscle gain or even specialized training for marathons or other athletic endeavors. Tailoring workouts to individual needs is paramount and is part and parcel of the modern digital personal trainer.
Nutrition is a crucial part of any fitness journey. Online coaches and trainers often provide diet plans, grocery lists, or meal prep tips to complement the physical training regimen. Some may collaborate with registered dietitians or nutritionists to offer comprehensive advice. Furthermore, you might even want to partner with a trusted Nutritionist who can help you and your clients better understand nutritional needs and what may negate the hard work.
Virtual Training Sessions
Using video conferencing tools like Zoom, Skype or specialized fitness apps like EliteTrainr, online fitness coaches and trainers conduct live workout sessions. It enables real-time interaction where the coach can correct form, provide feedback, and offer immediate motivation. You’ll find that if you decide to take your business online, you open a whole world of potential customers that you never thought possible.
Besides live sessions, you may want to offer pre-recorded videos, written workout guides, and other educational content that your clients can access anytime, anywhere. It is beneficial for clients who prefer to train on their own schedule. Furthermore, it might just help you take control of your schedule as you will not need to meet clients at times like early morning or late evening – they can just watch your training videos when they are ready.
One of the most essential aspects of running a digital training business is providing your clients with progress tracking. People like to know how far they’ve come, as it is often a source of inspiration. Utilizing software and mobile apps, you can track your clients’ performance metrics and progress. This can include weight, BMI, muscle mass, endurance levels, and other relevant KPIs. Regular check-ins and progress reports help to modify the fitness plan as needed.
Accountability and Motivation
As an online fitness coach, you’ll want to regularly check in with your clients via messages or calls to ensure they follow the program. These touch-points serve as a means to keep your clients on the right track, offering motivation, emotional support, and even a bit of tough love when necessary.
Some online fitness coaches foster a sense of community among their clients through social media groups, online forums, or group challenges. It encourages peer support and adds an extra layer of accountability and motivation. You could set up a group page on Facebook or even run a forum on your website where your clients can chat with each other, receive support, and discuss fitness goals and other related topics. Providing your clients with a sense of community will also help you retain clients, as they will not want to leave the community of which they have become a part.
Being an online fitness coach often means you’re also an entrepreneur. Coaches manage everything from marketing, client acquisition, scheduling, and financial tasks unless they are part of a larger platform or have hired staff to handle these aspects. Remember that a professional system and program will help solidify your authority in the space, so managing your business appropriately is a definite requirement.
By offering a range of services that go beyond just exercise instruction, digital personal trainers and online fitness coaches provide a holistic approach to health and well-being. Their role is to teach and inspire, educate, and lead by example. Through the strategic use of technology, like EliteTrainr, they can reach a global audience, offering their expertise to anyone, anywhere, at any time.
Qualifications: What You Need to Start
There are a variety of certifications that you could get, depending on your preferred learning path and objectives for your coaching/training business. I won’t get into too much detail, as you will likely want to read my article, ‘The Gold Standard: Picking the Best Online Trainer Certification.’
The key to certification is to get the best online certification that fits your needs. Remember, it’s not a good idea to do any sort of training without a certificate, as it could lead you into legal trouble. If you’re thinking of starting without a certification, you’ll want to read my article, ‘Training Without a Cert: Risks and Realities for Personal Trainers.’
Identifying Your Unique Value Proposition
One of the biggest challenges for personal trainers and online fitness coaches is identifying their value proposition. Typically, value proposition creation is left to the content and digital marketers of the world, but it’s something you should seriously think about. Let me explain.
What Is A Unique Value Proposition?
A Unique value proposition is, in a nutshell, how you differentiate yourself and your services from others. It should be something that makes you stand out amongst your peers and competitors. It might be a specialized certification or a new innovative approach to coaching/training. Whatever it is, you want to consider how your service is different and better than your competition. That, my friend, is your value proposition. It’s what makes you better; it’s what will drive potential clients to decide to pay you for your services instead of going with your competition.
Building Your Online Fitness Brand
Your online fitness brand, that is, your services packaged and displayed to the world, is another important factor that runs parallel with your value proposition. Branding is quite essential, especially for those doing business online.
Your brand should stand out, show your professionalism, and offer the potential client something to remember. Consider this: If you have a website where you sell your fitness services, if it were nothing more than a white page with text, it’s likely many people won’t stay on the page (or reach out for service). So, it’s a good idea to brand your business, whether that means slapping a picture of yourself smiling to the camera so people recognize you or a logo or color scheme that you carry throughout your videos, social media, and website.
A brand should be authentic. Don’t just copy someone else’s logo. You want to make your brand ‘fit and feel’ like it is yours, and people need to recognize that connection. According to Stackla, 88% of consumers say that an authentic brand or branding plays a significant role in deciding to support or purchase from a brand, so don’t skip the process of designing a good logo or branding for your business.
Revenue Streams: How to Make Money
Like any entrepreneur, starting out can be tough on you mentally and financially. So, it’s a good idea to have an intelligent plan whereby you practice several means of generating income. You could offer some of the following services:
- One-on-one coaching
- Online courses and plans
- Social media sponsorships
- Selling eBooks
- YouTube monetization
Some revenue streams will take longer to see positive results than others. For example, YouTube can be highly beneficial and generate decent revenue but don’t count on it in year one. Similarly, selling eBooks or getting social media sponsorships can take some time and effort, so start by planning which you feel most confident about and keep your revenue streams diversified to ensure you aren’t putting all your eggs in a single proverbial basket.
Pricing Strategies for Your Services
You’ve got your certification, and you’re ready to start out on your own, but what to charge? Here’s where competitor analysis is crucial. Here’s a simple procedure to find out what to charge:
- Search online for similar services in your country. Try searching with a variety of search queries so you can get a good picture of who or what you’re up against. Make a list of businesses you find that are similar to what you want to offer.
- Research competitor pricing. Take your list of similar businesses and note what they charge and what the client gets in return. This step is absolutely crucial for two reasons:
- You get a sense of what others charge for similar services.
- You may find that some are lacking in a way that you can excel at making better (value proposition). Often, when we research competitors, we will see the holes and cracks in their programs or pricing models. This gives you the opportunity to do a better job and deliver a better (and possibly more valuable) service.
Marketing Your Online Fitness Business
There are many ways you can market yourself or your new business. Below, I have created two categories: Physical marketing and virtual marketing. Take a look and see what ways you could excel at marketing your own business.
- Business cards
- Face-to-face meetings
- Blog writing
- Social media posts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
- Email marketing
- Video marketing (YouTube, Tik Tok)
If you’re just starting out, you might want to focus on business cards and face-to-face meetings with gyms or others who might want to incorporate your services. Furthermore, if you’re strapped for cash, you can always start writing posts on social media and building a following on platforms like Facebook or Instagram. Moreover, you can start making videos for video platforms like YouTube and TikTok. These forms of marketing cost nothing except your time, but they also take some time to gain momentum, so there’s no time like the present to start building out your marketing endeavors.
Feedback Loop: The Importance of Customer Feedback
Once you get started with your online training business, you’ll want to ensure that you are asking each and every client what they like about your services and what they would like to see you improve. This step is crucial to delivering valuable services that outperform the competition, but it can also be challenging to deal with.
You’ve worked hard and built up your business, and you ask your clients what they want to see improved, and they tell you something about your business, your delivery, something that you didn’t think of, which could catch you off guard.
When you pour your heart and soul into a business, taking criticism can be a difficult challenge, especially if you’re passionate about what you do. Furthermore, it can poison your opinion of a client, knowing they don’t like something about you or your business. The most critical thing here is to try not to take it personally and take it in stride. Here are a few steps to help you through:
- Create an anonymous survey. Provide your clients with anonymity for the survey so they don’t feel like they have to hide what they want to communicate. Moreover, with an anonymous survey, you might not take it so personally and maybe won’t build a grudge against a client for their thoughts.
- Take every piece of feedback with a grain of salt. Before you jump off the deep end and turn everything on its head, it’s critical to take feedback in stride. It’s important information that can help you improve your business, so take it as such and don’t take it as a personal attack.
Analytics and Improvement
Similar to the feedback improvement model is utilizing analytics for improvement. If your business is online, there are a number of ways that you can track client movement across your website or platform. For example, for a website, you could set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Both of these free tools for website owners will provide you with data analytics about things like what queries are bringing potential clients to your site, how long people stay on your site, and other data like what pages they spend time on. All of this data can help you improve your site performance and potentially make things better for your users and potential clients.
Social media platforms often also have analytics data; for example, using Facebook’s business suite can tell you all sorts of information about how viewers and potential clients react to posts. These sorts of analytics might seem too granular at first, but it’s essential to set them up early in your business so you can track and monitor changes and growth to your content, whether it’s a website or a social following.
Embarking on a career as an online fitness coach is no small feat, but it’s a rewarding journey that can transform lives—including your own. From securing the proper certifications to crafting your unique value proposition, from establishing your brand to diversifying revenue streams, every step is crucial in laying a solid foundation for your business.
The path ahead is lined with opportunities and challenges, but you don’t have to go it alone. With the right tools and mindset, you can fast-track your way to success. That’s where EliteTrainr comes in—a Personal Trainer Management application designed with you in mind. It streamlines administrative tasks, helps manage client relationships, and even assists in developing workout plans, giving you more time to focus on what you do best—transforming lives through fitness.
So what are you waiting for? The time to take action is now. Equip yourself with EliteTrainr and begin your fulfilling journey as an online fitness coach today.