So you’re now a qualified personal fitness trainer. What next? If you want to make a living as a personal trainer, you need to build a business, and that means finding clients. Getting your first client is the hardest part of starting any business but following these simple tips will help set you on the course to success.

1. Appearances matter

In personal training, you are your own product. If you want people to see you as a professional, then make sure you look like one. Have sports shirts made up with your name and what you do. Have business cards printed, making sure that your details are accurate, and everything is spelt correctly. Keep these on you at all times. If you have a car, get some magnetic signs made, which can be put on and taken off as you like. And make sure that your car also reflects your professionalism by keeping it clean and tidy.

2. Get online

We live in a digital world, and having an online presence is vital. Create a LinkedIn profile, and a Facebook page. Again, make sure that they make you look professional, by ensuring that everything is spelt correctly, and that it is grammatically correct. If this isn’t your strong point, ask a friend to check it for you. People like to see who they’re doing business with, make sure to upload a good photograph.

3. Network, network, network

Networking is a bit of a buzzword. You’ll keep being told that you need to do it, but perhaps you’re not sure why, how, or where to do it. The why: networking is both cost effective and powerful. It can be done anywhere and with anyone. For personal trainers, there are obvious places to network, such as at the gym or in health clubs, which will enable you to connect with both potential clients and business owners. However, only focusing on gyms and health clubs could mean that you’re missing out on business.

Think creatively. Speak to people such as estate agents, baristas, and hairdressers. Anyone who works with the public has the potential to recommend you to other people, especially those in roles where relationships develop over time. Ask if you can leave business cards with them for their clients to pick. Joining local business networking groups is a good way of meeting and connecting with other local business people.

4. Work with other professionals

Linked to the above, make connections with professionals in related disciplines. This could be physiotherapists, dieticians, rehabilitation centres, and doctors. Anyone who works with people and their health issues. They will often refer to other services that they feel will help their clients.

5. Establish yourself as an expert

Linked to getting online, think about getting your own website. This could be a free WordPress site, or you might want to invest in your own domain name. As well as writing pages about you and your personal training services, include a blog. Through writing about your area of expertise, you will demonstrate your knowledge, and establish yourself as an expert in the mind of those who visit your website.

6. Be prepared to invest your time

This can mean working for free for a short while. Consider volunteering, whether that’s at a gym, or with a local sports team. This will allow you to demonstrate your skills and abilities, and build relationships. Think about offering free initial training sessions, or a discount if someone refers a friend. While you need to make a living, such offers should be considered a small investment in your future livelihood.

7. Diversify

There’s a lot of competition out there as a personal fitness trainer. Being able to offer additional services is a great way to stand out from the crowd. Consider getting qualifications in related areas, such as more specialised exercise types, nutrition, or massage. Perhaps you could create an e-book, or produce online training videos that only your clients can access. Maybe you could provide an exercise kit including things such as a water bottle and exercise mat. Think added value.

8. Work on your selling skills

Many of us cringe at the idea of selling, especially when we’re trying to sell ourselves. But being able to sell yourself and your skills is a vital part of getting hired as a personal trainer. While some people are natural salespeople, many of us aren’t. Don’t panic if you’re not – there are plenty of online resources or, if you know any successful salespeople, ask for some tips. While selling your services may well feel uncomfortable to begin with, over time you’ll find it much easier.

Getting your first client can be difficult, but knowing how to market yourself and understanding what your clients want will set you on the road to a successful career in personal fitness training.

If you’re interested in qualifying as a personal trainer and would like more information about the courses we offer, including what you can expect to learn, and how we can enhance your career, then call us on (07) 3385 0195 or send us an email at