If you’re looking at setting up your own business, a qualification in personal training could open you up to a career that offers flexible working hours, great earning potential and the intrinsic rewards that come from making a difference in people’s lives.
However, going at it alone could well be one of the most daunting challenges of your life – it isn’t just a case of setting up a website and waiting for the business to come rolling in – but get the groundwork right and you’ll have a solid foundation on which to build your business.
So here are some top tips to make sure you get your life as a personal trainer (PT) off to a flying start…
Don’t underestimate the start-up costs
It doesn’t matter what sort of business you’re setting up, underestimate the initial start-up costs and you’ll be struggling from the outset. And this is especially true when starting out as a PT, a career which could need significant investment in equipment before it gets up and running.
So make sure your business plan factors in all of the initial overheads, from equipment to marketing costs and be realistic, or else you could be dooming your venture to failure before it’s even got started.
Don’t overestimate your earning potential
Another thing you need to ask yourself before you go at it alone is how much you can realistically expect to earn. And then you need to consider whether you’ll be able to support yourself and meet your regular financial commitments if there are times when you’re earning less than you would be in full-time employment.
If not, then now is probably not the right time to start out and before you do you should consider saving up an ‘emergency fund’ that will sustain you for between four and six months of low earnings.
Work out your catchment area
Once you go at it alone, there’s chance you could do some PT work from your clients’ houses and so you’ll have to work out your catchment area. Not only is time on the road time when you’re not earning, it also increases your fuel overheads.
So make sure you’re realistic about the areas you can cover and bear in mind it could take you twice as long to get back from your 8am appointment as it took you to get there.
Get a business bank account
Although you’ll most likely be a sole trader, you’ll still need to keep your personal and business finances separate – so speak to your bank about opening a business bank account, looking out for things like preferential business loan rates and free overdraft facilities.
Your bank should also be able to offer some good advice on how to set up a realistic business plan and clarify your budget.
You’ll need an accountant
Keeping on top of your business finance and tax liabilities can be a complete nightmare, so it’s well worth hiring an accountant from the outset as they will be able to give you advice on everything from what records to keep for tax purposes and how to keep the Inland Revenue happy.