PT on the Net Research

How to ‘Leave the Gym’ and Head Out on Your Own

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn why and how to get clear on your business strategy before going after new clients
  2. Learn how to deliver clear and powerful value to the market to build your reputation
  3. Learn how to attract the right clients so you can have sustainable growth in your fitness business

Do you dream of running your own fitness business?

If so, what’s stopping you?

Too many fitness professionals play a waiting game … and the REAL problem is they lack confidence in their ability to start, operate, and grow a fitness business.

There’s a good reason for the fear. According to a study cited by IHRSA, 81% of new fitness businesses close in their first 18 months because of a lack of business knowledge.

That’s because most fitness professionals and business owners put the cart before the horse. When they think about growing their business, the first thing that comes to mind is “I just need more leads and clients.”

And conventional thinking would tell you that makes sense. Getting more leads allows you to get more clients, more clients equals more revenue, and more revenue solves problems that NOT having enough revenue creates.

But that’s NOT where you need to begin if you really want to create long term success as a business owner. Where you need to start is with understanding how to:

  1. Create a “platform for success” with the right business STRATEGY
  2. Clarify how you will deliver unique and powerful VALUE to the market
  3. Learn how to inspire prospective clients to COMMIT to their goals

These are the three keys not only get your business growing in the right direction, but will keep it on the right course to create SUSTAINABILITY.

In this article, we’ll cover seven steps to set yourself up for success when starting your business.

1. Define what success looks like for you as a business owner

What outcome do you want from your business? What do you want to accomplish as a fitness business owner?

These are the most important questions you’re ever going to ask.

The answer is your “Owner Intent” and it’s the foundation of your entire business strategy.

Your Owner Intent is a statement that defines what success looks like for you in owning THIS business NOW. Your business owner intent often includes desires for:

Put some hard metrics around how you’ll measure success. You’ll need milestones that measure if you’re on track or off track, and how you are progressing. Usually, that’s an income goal.

2. Choose the business model that best fits your passion

How are you going to help clients achieve their health and fitness goals? And how will you make a profit doing it?

The answer to the first question is what’s called your “modality”. It’s your mode of service delivery. Functional fitness, Yoga, Martial Arts, etc.

The answer to the second question is your business model: group training, semi-private, or private training?

You have to pick a modality that gets results with clients, and a business model that is profitable.

You have to choose the right business model, refine the model, and set the model up for success.

That’s how you can really have great success with your passion.

If you’re spread across a couple of different things right now, you’ll need to refine both your model and your modality to work better and get focused.

3. Define the ideal client profile for your business

Who is the best client for you?

The more efficient you get at attracting your best client, the more clients you’ll have and the longer they’ll stay. Your best clients will be more fun to work with; everything in your business will work better.

Choosing your ideal client will determine a lot of the decisions you’ll make. These include your marketing messaging, your sales process, your packaging, and your pricing:

Whoever your client is, choose the client that you are most inspired to serve. That’s going to dictate a lot of these decisions around engineering your business plan for success.

4. Price and package your services for profit

Pricing, packaging, gross profit margins on your services and revenue streams are going to be critical to create profitability and sustainable cash flow in the business.

In this first column is your “program”. Generally speaking, you want to name your program something benefited-oriented … something your market can identify with. If you’re working with athletes, for example, you can name your programs “JV,” “Varsity,” and “Pro League”. Key: Set an aspirational goal.

The second column is “Commitment.” That refers to the length of time required to achieve someone’s goal. Align your packaging to the goals of the client. A 5-pack of sessions doesn’t mean anything if someone wants to lose 100 pounds.

The third column is the sessions per week required to achieve the goal.

In the last column is your price -- the investment required. We recommend presenting price as a monthly investment because that’s how we’re trained to buy goods and services and they’ll know if they can afford it.

5. Get specific strategies and systems to find (and sign up) new clients

You need a strategic plan to generate the right leads. Where does your market show up? What offers will inspire them to move forward?

These are all parts of your marketing plan. It’s really about getting the right message, the right offer, and the right sales process all aligned so you can do the right lead generation strategies to serve the right clients.

Then you need a process for sales consultation. Since 2006, we’ve taught the AUTO-CLOSER® sales system, which has generated about $575 million in total fitness sales globally during that time. This is a 7½ step process we teach to lead and inspire commitments to change.

Show them what their needs are, what the problems are, and show them a path forward to create that change and ultimately, lead them to make a commitment that’s tied to their best interests while becoming a client of yours.

6. Build a professional reputation by delivering great value

How do you build a portfolio that really demonstrates great value and a professional reputation for your company and brand?

If you can show change and your market is people who want to have physical change, then you can show the outcomes - they were fat (or soft), now they’re shredded.

This is all you have to do - show people “This is where people come in and this is what happens.”

If you deliver great value, everybody wants to be your client.

7. Establish a portfolio of client success stories and positive reviews

We live in a trust-based economy. People care about what OTHERS have to say about working with you - not what you say about yourself. So, you need to manage your digital brand, and curate that, over time.

Today, the first thing people do is go to Yelp, Google, or Facebook and look at the reviews of your business. They look at the good, the bad, and they look at how you handle replies.

How do you reply to negative things? This is actually an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and professionalism.

Document client results and share stories to build a portfolio of success stories. People will connect with people and stories (seeing themselves in your past clients).

Testimonials, reviews, and your replies will help build trust in your brand.


To create long term success as a business owner, you need to create a “platform for success” with the right business strategy - map out what you want to do and why. Then clarify how you will deliver unique and powerful value to the market. And then (and only then) attract new clients by learning how to inspire prospective clients to COMMIT to their goals.

To learn more about how to start and grow your fitness business, we are offering PTontheNet members an exclusive FREE eCourse. In this course, you will learn how to:

Register now to start and grow your fitness business and create the life you want at