Getting the personal trainer qualifications is just a beginning of your journey. Diploma on its own is nothing but a piece of paper. The hardest part is to make it as a trainer.

Here are few beginner tips to help you out making it as a personal trainer.

Set realistic goals

You need to set up some realistic goals. It’s OK to dream big but setting unrealistic goals can easily discourage you. In my book getting any clients by a newly qualified PT is a hell of an achievement.

Refine your goals every few months. If you noticed you are achieving them early – set yourself more ambitious targets.

Remember – your targets are supposed to help you monitor your progress. Not achieving them is not a sign of failure.

Gain real-life experience

A lot of gyms employ personal trainers on zero income terms. You earn only when you have your clients. In most of the cases, you don’t have to pay any rent to the gym. The deal is simple – gyms need personal trainers to assist their client base – PTs need clients. While it may not work for everyone, this system allows you to gain some experience in the gym environment. There is a good chance you will have at least few clients each week. You will learn how to talk to them, how to help them achieve their goals and most importantly you will learn a lot about getting clients from a gym floor.

Learn how to get clients from a gym floor

This is one of the most important tips on my list. Your interpersonal skills (also known as “people” skills) will be crucial to your success. You need to learn how to talk to potential customers. You need to be confident and likeable. If you work in the gym you have access to hundreds of fitness enthusiasts. Take advantage of this situation.

Without “people skills” you won’t get too far. You may not feel confident talking to people at first, it is normal. Your approach anxiety will disappear over the time – just keep practising. The more people you approach the better.

Learn basic marketing skills

You don’t have to be a master marketer but you need to know basic marketing principles to succeed.

First, you need to learn what your customers really want. This will help you to advertise your services in a way attracting more customers. Most of the customers will need help with either weight loss or muscle building. But their real motives go deeper than that. A man wanting more muscles may be fighting through the sense of inferiority while the woman who’s keen on shading few kilogrammes before summer may want to make that particular woman jealous.

You need to know how to write your ads so they really attract potential customers. This book will help you to uncover tactics used by advertising agencies (1-hour read).

You need to learn basic web design principles. Most of the designers out there can code some beautiful websites but rarely understand the principles of marketing. If you decided to invest in the website you need to learn how to maximise the number of customers you get from it.

Social media skills won’t hurt you. In my opinion, Facebook may be effective. I wouldn’t spend too much time on Twitter.

If your website is well made (not in terms of design but lead capturing) you may invest in some paid advertisement. Both Google Adwords and Facebook are a natural choice.

Don’t forget about simple branding and offline marketing materials. Business cards are the least you can do to start with.

Respond to new inquiries timely

The reality is most of the personal trainer do not contact you back in a timely manner. Most of the time it takes them more than 48 hours to get back to you. This is just too long. 48 hours is enough time to search for a new PT who will be willing to respond timely. Make sure that you respond to enquiries as soon as possible. Check your emails daily – ideally open it on your smartphone. That way you won’t miss any opportunities.

Client retention is crucial

It costs much more to attract new clients than to keep them. Yet the majority of business fail to retain a client.

One of the reasons is that majority of efforts go into the search for new customers. Marketing activities and budgets are spent on attracting new faces but the reality is any successful personal trainer needs to keep current client base happy or they fail.

Customer satisfaction is key to your PT business success. Happy customers not only will stay with you for months guaranteeing steady income stream but also will serve as referrals. Referrals are one of the best ways to get new customers and most importantly it is a free way. You want free, especially at the beginning of your journey.

Offer discounts and special deals to customers who stay with you for longer. Free training session from time to time or extra discount will go a long way.

Set terms of service

You need to have a set of terms written. Make sure your clients are aware of things like cancellation processes. Your terms of services should apply to all of your customers – you need to be consistent. Don’t worry – customers won’t be put off by your set of rules. In fact, the majority of them will welcome it.

Sort out payments

How are you going to process payments? Refunds? You need to sort these out before you even start looking for customers.

Apply doer’s attitude

You may have the finest plan but you won’t succeed without realising it. In my experience doers are more successful than thinkers even if they lack thinkers knowledge and talent.

By doing stuff you learn. You win, you fail, you refine your plan and finally gain all skills required to your success.

Don’t give up

It is important to understand you won’t become successful overnight. It takes the time to build a client base. It takes the time to learn what works and what doesn’t.

Realistically. you won’t see any major results before the first 6 months of running your PT business. It may, however, take few years before you are on the level you wanted to be.

Persistence is a key. You never know how close you are to the success. You may be closer than you think. Read this story from Napoleon Hill.

Stay focused

You need to work hard to achieve your goals. You need to eliminate distractions in your life. Perhaps even sacrifice something. There is a lot of newly qualified PTs out there – all of them with a similar dream. Only few will succeed. Stay focused!