- The fitness professional will be able to define a fee-for-service model for their business.
- The fitness professional will discover additional ways to create recurrent revenue by developing customized services, as well as online products such as DVD’s, books, and exercise programs.
- The fitness professional will discover action steps to get started on developing a fee-for-service business model.
Facing an increasingly competitive fitness industry, a challenged economy, and decreased consumer spending on items deemed non-essential, such as personal training services, the fitness professional must become more strategic in how they plan to remain prosperous in this industry. By leveraging their expertise and developing a fee-for-service platform that includes customized services, workshops and seminars, as well as web-based products and programming, the fitness professional can develop a multi-tiered approach to their business. This fee-for-service platform will allow the fitness professional to survive, and even prosper, in an ever-changing and often challenging economy.
With the unemployment rates hovering around eight percent (http://online.wsj.com/) and an increase in the numbers of individuals concerned about their financial future, you have likely seen your income affected in the past year. Combined with increasing competition from fitness clubs that offer reduced rates on personal training, web-based fitness resources that provide individuals with workout programs (www.workoutsforyou.com, www.sparkpeople.com, and www.onlinefitnesslog.com), and do-it-yourself at-home exercise programs (P90X®, Insanity®, and Tap Out XT®), you may find yourself between the proverbial rock and a hard place when it comes to earning potential.
Fortunately, with the population's growing awareness of exercise-related benefits in health - including weight control, muscle mass maintenance, prevention of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and improvements in mood and energy (www.mayoclinic.com) - there has never been a better time to be involved in the fitness industry. However, if you want to succeed in the fitness profession you must be strategic and creative in how you structure your business. One powerful way to remain competitive, and even thrive, is to adopt a fee-for-service business model which will allow you to charge for a variety of services outside of the traditional one-on-one training session. In this article, we will explore the fee-for-service model and demonstrate how restructuring your current model can dramatically increase your income.
Customized Fitness Services
Creating customized services is one of the simplest methods of differentiating your services and increasing your fees. As opposed to offering a generic one-on-one training option, specializing in a niche service and/or market can create demand for your particular expertise. Examples of customized services include nutritional counseling, sports specific training, and corrective exercise. These services may be offered individually, but the greatest revenue is generated when these services are purchased in addition to the current services you offer your clientele, or offered as a "package." Pre and postnatal, senior population and/or youth training are some examples of the niche populations you could serve.
Getting started with customized services – The first step in developing a customized service business is to develop yourself into a niche expert. You must do your due diligence and get the required training or expertise to enable you to work with a specialized niche and to charge a premium for your services. Developing yourself into an industry expert can be obtained by gaining the required training via certification, conventional education, or self-study, in addition to spending time working inside your niche. Take time to research reputable certifications that offer the speciality education needed for your service. For example, if you decide to work with youth soccer players, you can obtain a certification in working specifically with youth athletes through a reputable organization such as the International Youth Conditioning Association (www.iyca.org). Next, spend time working with the population you are aiming to target, either in a paid or volunteer role. Obtain as much information about the niche you desire to specialize in by attending workshops, studying resources, and interviewing industry experts. When you feel you have enough experience and industry knowledge, begin charging a premium for your service. Be sure your marketing information (website and related information) highlights the reasons why you are the expert and why someone should pay for your expertise. Begin marketing your services to your current clients and reach out to the individuals related to your niche. In the example used above, you should reach out to your local youth soccer organizers, parents in your community, and/or the local school district.
Workshops and Seminars
Workshops and seminars are additional ways to make money and get your message out to a larger number of individuals. Workshops, generally hands-on experiences, are best for exercise related topics. If this is the case, the workshop should be hosted in a venue that provides the space for clients/attendees to move around, such as a fitness facility, community park, recreation/convention center, etc. A seminar format works best if your topic is suited for a lecture type of instruction (nutrition for example) or if space does not allow participants to move around. Once you are prepared to host one of these events, consider offering a complimentary one hour workshop or seminar as a way to recruit individuals for your full event. Each event can attract numerous participants, each paying a fee to attend, and therefore prove to be very lucrative.
Getting started with workshops and seminars – The easiest way to get started with workshops or seminars is to begin marketing within your current network. For example, if you specialize in sports-specific training and train runners to improve their strength, running times, and/or to avoid injury, find out where your local running groups meet and offer to give a free lecture. If your niche is working with the senior population, reach out to your local senior community centers or senior groups. If your focus is corrective exercise or nutrition, contacting local businesses that employee numerous sedentary individuals may be a great opportunity for your workshop or lecture. Each complimentary session you offer should cover a a topic that is both specific to the audience, and consistent with their needs and goals. A lecture topic offered to the running group could cover common injuries that affect runners, in addition to teaching three corrective exercises to help prevent these injuries. Before the lecture concludes, you can offer the participants a "special" on one-on-one training sessions with you and/or an invitation to participate in one of your full workshops/lectures. During your complimentary sessions, as well as your paid workshops or lectures, it is critical to collect the contact information of the attendees in order to maintain contact and keep them informed of your future events and services.
When it comes to increasing your ability to generate recurring revenue – income you make from the sale of a product or program that is likely to continue in the future – nothing beats the internet. To no surprise, it has been reported that the internet has become the most utilized resource for searching and finding information (http://pewresearch.org). Since so many individuals search the internet for information and products, creating online products is the easiest and most cost-effective method of positioning your product in front of millions of individuals. Three easy-to-create online revenue sources are instructional DVD’s, books, and/or workout programs. It is important to note that although these online revenue sources are easy to create, they are reliant on having a functional website and an active newsletter. A functional website means that you are actively updating and contributing useable content to your site and are actively keeping in touch with your newsletter list. As discussed in ‘The Hybrid Trainer’ (www.ptonthenet.com) many individuals don’t have the financial means to train in the one-on-one setting, while others may not be geographically compatible to take advantage of your expertise. However, by offering your expertise through DVD’s, books, and/or online exercise programs, you can now reach out to a limitless number of clients, or potential clients, wherever they are in the world.
A simple search on www.google.com on exercise DVD’s reveals that there are over eight million links to popular topics such as weight loss (2,940,000), senior fitness (2,070,000), and pregnancy (3,570,000). While there are a limitless number of topics in which you can create a product, narrowing your topic to your niche expertise is the easiest way to get started and differentiate your product. For example, if you work with youth baseball players, creating a DVD around your best strategies towards correcting and improving muscle imbalances in youth athletes can aid these athletes in maximizing their potential, as well as generate an income outside of your personal training sessions.
Getting started with an instructional DVD - No longer do you need a Hollywood-style studio production team to create and market your own instructional DVD. Owning a smart phone, camera with a video function, or many other affordable and portable devices, makes it easy for anyone to shoot videos simply, easily, and virtually anywhere. Before filming, write out an outline of topics and/or exercises you want to demonstrate, create a short introduction and conclusion, and you have a ready-made DVD product. Most computers have a relatively easy-to-use edit feature which allows you to edit the video and make it look more professional. Whether you edit the content or not, you can then download them onto your website and sell them through your shopping cart. If you need assistance, you can utilize the services of a video production company. These services make it even easier for any fitness professional to create their own cost-effective instruction DVD’s. Many fitness professionals have used video production services for everything from video filming, to post-production, and duplication.
Perform a Google search on exercise and weight loss related books and you’ll find over four hundred million links to three popular topics; weight loss (154,000,000), core training programs (167,000,000) and youth training (9,320,000). Similar to DVD’s, the conventional barrier to entry for authoring your own book such as having an agent, publisher, and distribution source, has been removed by the internet. You can now write a book, post it to your web site, and have it immediately available for purchase.
Getting started with writing a book - So how do you break into the book market if you have never written a book or don’t have a publisher? Simple – write a book on your own and sell it through your website. What if you want to write a book and don’t know what to write about? Use this simple two-step process to writing your very first – or tenth – book: 1. Create a list of the ten most common misconceptions and twenty or so most commonly asked questions about your particular topic; 2. Write answers for each of those questions. By the time you are done with this project, you will have numerous pages of material. Organize it into an easy-to-use format, add in your own expertise or expert ‘pearls’, and then convert it to a PDF document. Download it onto your website and begin marketing it to your newsletter and client list.
On-line exercise programs
A third way to generate revenue for your services via the internet is by writing exercise programs to either sell to your current client list, or to market to potential clients via the internet. You can create weekly, monthly, or quarterly exercise programs around any niche topic.
Getting started with online exercise programs – Create exercise programs for your niche population that include a comprehensive and easy-to-follow program design. This may include information on warm-up/cool-down, stretching, exercise instruction, etc. Your exercise programs may be offered as single workouts, or in a series of workouts to be completed over a specified time period. For example, if you specialize in working with the pre and post-natal population, you can write a pre-natal exercise program to help expectant mothers safely exercise through each of their trimesters. You can then create another series of programs to address many of the common postural issues, muscle imbalances, and functional goals (weight loss, increased energy, improve muscle tone) that are common with post-natal mothers. Other programs that may be appealing to potential customers browsing the internet for their exercising programming needs include workouts specifically for travelling or at-home workouts, both of which may be limited by gym or equipment access. Exercise programs designed for those interested in running their first 5K, or even a "6 week challenge" may be of interest to many. After creating your specialized exercise programs to sell, promote them to your current clients, via newsletter list, and websites related to your topic.
Fitness professionals looking to thrive in this competitive fitness market must be strategic about what services they offer as well as how they can reach the clients they are aiming to work with. By becoming a niche expert, one can charge a premium for services and differentiate from the competition. Offering web-based products such as DVD’s, books, and workout programs, provides a recurring revenue stream that reaches an almost endless source of potential new clients. Developing and structuring a fee-for-service business is beneficial in increasing revenue and allowing the fitness professional to remain prosperous in the fitness profession.
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