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How to Start a Fitness Business

I want to be transparent with you for a second: being an expert at something is a very tricky thing.Expert - Concept with Magnifying Glass.

I’m not talking about the process of becoming an expert. That part is fairly simple. It’s a long daily grind of relentlessly learning, practicing, and refining your skills, then demonstrating your results to people in your industry.

No, I’m talking about BEING AN EXPERT. You see, these days I am pretty much the go-to expert on starting successful fitness businesses. This comes with a lot of perks: financial freedom and security for my family, the pride of accomplishment, and a huge range of exciting opportunities open to me every day.

But there is one part that I struggle with…something called the “Expert’s Paradox.”

The Expert’s Paradox works like this: people with serious problems in their lives want and need the help of experts, but they often resist going to actual experts because they see experts as impossible to relate to.

For example, someone on the edge of bankruptcy might look at an accomplished financial advisor and think “I could never manage my money as well as that guy, I shouldn’t even bother reaching out to him.”

And sometimes, I worry about these same thoughts holding back the people who need my help the most: personal trainers who are flat broke, have zero business experience, and can’t imagine working in any other industry.

If you are one of those trainers and you don’t think you could ever earn the sort of lifestyle I have now, you seriously need to keep reading this. I’m going to prove you wrong by giving you a simple, fast, step-by-step guide to opening your own fitness business.

My Story


I’ve told my personal story a lot on this blog, and I’m going to keep doing it until every single personal trainer out there understands that they CAN earn a lifestyle of freedom and abundance.

Because the thing is, I did not start out with freedom and abundance.

I started out as a 6-year-old kid who couldn’t speak a word of English, arriving in this country with a family who had just fled from a communist government.

Then I was a chubby kid in high school who couldn’t get girls to look at me for one second. My family, by the way, was still dirt poor.

fryerTHEN I was a personal trainer working nights as a fry cook because I just couldn’t get enough clients to make a proper living as a trainer.

And despite all that, heck maybe because of it, I’m here now living a life of freedom and abundance, changing people’s lives all over the place, and building a legacy that I’m proud of. 

And on every step of the journey, my success has come from the moments where I got humble and took the advice of successful people who came before me. In high school, I got in great shape by studying and copying fitness professionals.

Then, when I was a struggling personal trainer, I transformed my passion project into a massively successful business by carefully following the advice of sales legends like Tom Hopkins, Dan Kennedy and Brian Tracy.

So now, in the same spirit as them, I’m going to give you a step-by-step blueprint for how to start a fitness business that will bring you massive success.

Step 1 – Identify Your Niche and Your Unique Selling Point


Which demographic in your community is the one that no other personal trainer is selling to?

What is the one thing you do better than anyone else in your training?

Write down the answers to both those questions and you’ll have the foundation of everything you need to do in your business, everything from your marketing strategy to your location design.

The answer to the first question will tell you your market niche. The answer to the second will tell you your Unique Selling Point (USP).

In this day and age (and especially online) the biggest successes in business come to those who know how to target the right niche and offer them the most compelling USP.

Don’t think for one second that you can sell to “everyone” or that you’ll impress anybody by having a huge list of features.

With so many options and so much advertising in the world, nobody is going to be interested in you just because they see your name pop up a few times. Everyone wants a personal connection with their products and services, and they aggressively look for social proof among people who look like them to make sure they’ll get something that works.

Speaking of…

testimonials - file cabinet label

Step 2 – Create Testimonials


Key word here is “create.”

Now don’t get me wrong, you can and will get testimonials that happen organically – people sending you emails or leaving voicemails raving about the amazing results you gave them.

However, when you’re just starting out you don’t want to take any chances. Testimonials are a form of social proof, which these days is the most important form of marketing. Social proof is when your prospect sees people like themselves approve of your product. As you might imagine, a good testimonial builds trust like nothing else in the world.

So, to “create” a testimonial here’s what you do: as soon as you’ve worked out your niche and your USP, go find people in your niche who are willing to be your first clients. Here, you want to carefully screen which people will become your future testimonials.

Find the people who are most likely to succeed using your product or training – people who are highly motivated and cooperative. Then, watch those people like a hawk. Follow up with them, keep them accountable, and do everything in your power to make sure they come out of your program satisfied with their results.

THEN, once they’re feeling happy and grateful and transformed, ask them to do you a HUGE FAVOR by writing (or helping you write) a testimonial.

Step 3 – Start Building Your Email List Through Great Content


Ready for the most important step in how to start a fitness business? 

Now that you have your testimonials and you know your market, it’s time to build the most crucial marketing tool in your business: the email list.

To build an email list, start putting together great content that helps your niche solve a common problem in their life. Maybe you give them an easy, healthy breakfast recipe, or maybe you show them the most effective workout a person can do at home in 30 minutes.

Whatever you show them, it has to be something they can easily apply in their own lives. Put it in a YouTube video or a blog post or whatever platform is most comfortable for you, then use Facebook ads to boost that piece of content out to your niche.

AND, this is the most important part, make sure your content includes an opt-in to your email newsletter.

Step 4 – Send Your Email List Even More ContentBeautiful young woman with coffee using laptop in the kitchen


You want to avoid just slamming your email list with a bunch of offers once you’ve got it. Send them helpful, friendly content so you can build the Know, Like and Trust factor with them.

The Know, Like and Trust factor is the only way that people will ever buy from you. Work on building that every day, then send out direct offers every once in a while and work soft sells into your content emails (soft sells are basically just casual mentions of your product or service with a link attached).

Step 5 – Choose the Right Location


If you do it right, you should be able to raise enough money from your first set of clients so that you can invest in your location on your own or at least get most of the way and have friends and family pitch in. Personally I’ve always preferred this strategy over going to banks and investors because I don’t like anyone else having control over my business.

When you pick your location, don’t worry too much about street visibility. Street visibility is nice to have, but remember that the majority of your clients will discover you online and come seek out your location.

As far as square footage goes, you really don’t need any more than 2,000 square feet. That will be just enough to fill up with your first set of clients, and if things get a little cramped in there that’s fine – it makes your business look popular and busy, like a good restaurant or bar does. The last thing you want your clients and prospects to see is a bunch of empty space.

One Last Thing… (or Maybe Two) 


This guide is a good place for you to start, but honestly I could take any one of these steps and dive into so much more detail. If you want to learn more about how to start a fitness business keep an eye on this blog.

You can also watch this video. It features my fitness franchise Fit Body Boot Camp, yet the story is relatable for any fitness business owner. And hey, if you’re looking to skip a lot of the hardest parts of building a business and instead use a “business in a box” solution, Fit Body Boot Camp is your best bet!

Committed to your success,



This entry was posted in Fitness Business Coaching, Fitness Business Systems. Bookmark the permalink.


How to Start a Fitness Business

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you think about all the ins and outs and all the things you have to do in order to have a successful fitness business. There’s always that little voice in the back of your head causing you to doubt yourself… and if it’s not your little voice, then it’s the voices of the people around you who as far as I’m concerned are afraid of your success.

Just remember that anyone who’s ever had a thriving fitness business felt the same way, and the anxiety that you feel now is only the beginning of something exciting and worthwhile.

There’s so much to remember when you start researching how to start a fitness business that it can get confusing. One of the biggest reasons trainers end up talking themselves out their dream is because of self-doubt and fear. Your goals aren’t impossible or unreachable if you stay positive and learn how to make use of all the resources and information available to you.

Keep in mind that starting fitness business like a group training program or boot camp is so much more cost friendly and less stressful to set up than a personal training business. A personal training business requires more resources like equipment, space, trainers, and not to mention a lower profit margin because more employees means more expense.

Most trainer who want to know how to start a fitness business from scratch never think about the biggest thing of all which is the fact that one-on-one training is all about trading hours for dollars. But boot camps and group training are all about leverage where you can train people to start a fitness business

Do you realize that you can market a fitness boot camp while scouting for your location? As long as you’re familiar with the general area or city you can start building relationships with local businesses and get the word out about your new boot camp location. When it comes to boot camps, indoor is better than outdoor because the conditions are a lot more manageable and it puts you more in control.

You shouldn’t even have to think twice about how important insurance is. You’re not invincible and neither are your clients, so make sure you can take care of them when something unexpected happens. One accident can kill your entire business if you’re not prepared.

Marketing Plans – Here are some great fitness boot camp marketing strategies you need to be using to grow your business:


1. Use Facebook to tag your clients and show them appreciation, then reach out to their local friends who “like” or comment and invite them to a free workout or two. This is totally free and viral marketing.

2. Target homes and apartment complexes within a five mile radius of your facility and drop off postcards with an irresistible and low barrier offer. Make sure to include a deadline so you create a sense of urgency.

3. Distribute door hangers with a similar offer as the one above to the more affluent areas in your city.

4. Purchase ads on Facebook and direct people to a fan page with an incredible offer such as a free report, free tips, or an ebook in exchange for their email address.

5. Set a goal to have 30-50 lead boxes placed in local business that are congruent with your ideal market.

6. Network with local businesses so you can create a strategic alliance with them and promote each other’s business.

7. Film 4-6 “how to” videos and post them to Use specific keywords and the description box to link back to your website.

8. You can boost your traffic by purchasing Google AdWords, but be sure that your site is ready to convert those new visitors.

9. To build an email list of potential clients and local businesses, start by offering free ebooks and reports on your blog or website.

10.  Get your email list to know, like, and trust you by consistently delivering amazing content, articles, and recipes that they can’t get anywhere else.

11. Send periodic promotional emails to your list and offer them irresistible and outstanding deals.

12. Save time when dealing with phone and email inquiries by crafting a well written script.

13. Strongly encourage referral giving as a condition of doing business with you.

14. Make it a habit to run a client referral contest once a month.

15. You should be consistently over delivering on your clients results, customer service, and the recognition and appreciation of your clients.

16. Use the Human Billboard method to generate huge word-of-mouth referrals and leads.

17. Create and distribute press releases that relate to relevant news and human interest stories.

18. See what your community is searching for on Google and get your website to rank for those top keywords in your area.

19. Get in touch with former clients and prospect and offer them fantastic low cost, low risk trials to grab their attention.

20. Get your community excited and involved by offering Free Saturday Group Training and Boot Camps for 3-4 weeks at a time.

21. Learn to become a better “assistant buyer”. Selling is all about transferring your feeling for fitness to the person across from you.

All serious businesses recognize the importance of a well thought out budget. If you don’t know how much you’re spending, then there’s no way for you to know how much you’re really earning. You’re also way more likely to spend money on things that aren’t needed.

You are the face of your own business and you have to be the very best “you” you can be. You have to be the one that brings the energy, motivation, and passion to your clients. Make them believe that you are the expert and that you are the only one that can do what you do.

Remember to love up your clients and show them you appreciate them by congratulating them on their accomplishments and their decision to start a new healthier lifestyle. They should always be happy to see you.

Keep your group training and boot camps fun and invigorating by continuously learning new exercises and by making your fitness boot camp a community… a place where people feel that they belong.

If you’re looking for a boot camp business model that gives you turn-key systems and support and helps you take your passion to a new level then check out the Fit Body Boot Camp franchise model becuase it may be the perfect business that you’ve been looking for.


This entry was posted in Fitness Boot Camp Marketing, Fitness Business Systems, Personal Trainer Email Marketing. Bookmark the permalink.


  • Seth

    Damn BK, the last few blog posts were written to me. How are you reading my mind? Loving the encouragement and words of determination. I needed this, especially after working 28 days strait! I need to make a donation or something…

  • Bedros

    Seth, I’m only here to help :-)


  • JD

    Real good info here in San Diego bootcamps are real competitive you sometimes have 3-4 different groups of trainers training at same time. I have had people leave comeback -leave again-comeback. But, for sure when its going right the money is nice. Nice website lot of great info.thanks alot

  • JD

    Well after reading thru your articles I see you have done well in the San Diego area which I think is very competitive for Personal Trainers. Hopefully, one day I can do well in this market. thanks again BK