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How to Become a Great Online Personal Trainer


Did you know that the online fitness coaching industry is set to skyrocket to an astounding $30 billion by 2026? With numbers like these, it’s tempting to think that the future is entirely digital.

However, it’s crucial to understand that online personal training isn’t here to replace the traditional, gym-based experience; it’s here to complement it.

A word of warning as you dive into this article. This is the most comprehensive article I’ve ever written for Strength Matters. It’s a long one, but it’s literally everything I know about how to become a great online personal trainer.

I share this with you to help you avoid making the same mistakes we first made when starting out. My advice; grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and use the table of contents below to help you navigate to the appropriate part of this article. You’ll need it.

Welcome to our ultimate guide to “How to Become a Great Online Personal Trainer”.

Table of Contents


Our Journey at Strength Matters:

At Strength Matters, we recognized the untapped potential of online personal training as early as 2016. Our aim wasn’t to replace the in-person training experience but to address a critical gap that traditional methods couldn’t fill: accountability for the other 160+ hours of the week when our clients weren’t in the gym.

Yes, a one-hour gym session is powerful, but what about the remaining hours in a week? That’s where online personal training shines—it offers a holistic approach that keeps clients engaged and accountable, effectively turning their entire week into an extended training session.

Our Mistakes, Your Lessons:

Now, we won’t pretend that our journey was flawless. Far from it. We made mistakes—plenty of them. From pricing models that didn’t work to ineffective client engagement strategies, we’ve been through it all.

But that’s exactly why we’re well-equipped to guide you. We’ve learned from our mistakes, so you won’t have to.

This comprehensive resource is your roadmap to a successful career in online personal training. Whether you’re a newcomer to the fitness industry or a seasoned personal trainer wanting to venture online, this guide is engineered to equip you with the best practices, tools, and insights to not just succeed but excel.

Prepare to immerse yourself in crucial topics like selecting the right training software, developing an effective and profitable pricing model, crafting an application process that attracts high-quality leads, and mastering the nuances of online fitness assessments.

By the end of this guide, you won’t just know how to become an online personal trainer—you’ll know how to become a great one.

online personal training

Part 1: Laying the Foundation

Why Choose Online Personal Training?

As we dive into the rapidly expanding universe of online personal training, it’s crucial to understand its underpinnings.

Is this digital shift just a modern convenience, or does it offer a symbiotic relationship between trainers and their clientele?

Benefits for Trainers
  • Flexibility: Let’s start with what’s apparent. Flexibility in online personal training isn’t merely about choosing when to work; it’s about designing a lifestyle that complements your career rather than constrains it. We’re talking about the luxury of training clients while you’re on vacation in Bali or while attending a family event. This model decouples your time and place from your earning ability, which is a significant shift from traditional personal training.
  • Accessibility: Earlier, you could only target clients within a 20-mile radius of your physical location. The online model shatters geographical constraints. You can now cater to clients from different time zones, cultures, and socioeconomic statuses. This global reach isn’t just good for business; it’s an excellent opportunity for personal growth and understanding wider human conditions affecting health and fitness.
  • Scalability: Traditionally, your earnings had a cap based on the number of hours you could physically be present in the gym. Online training introduces a paradigm shift. The model allows you to replicate your expertise digitally, through recorded sessions, specialized programs, and digital products, creating multiple income streams that work simultaneously. It’s like cloning yourself for greater financial benefits.
Benefits for Clients
  • Convenience: The digital age offers unparalleled convenience to your clients. No more commuting woes or scheduling snafus. With an online training model, your clients can receive personalized training even in remote areas, leading to increased adherence, less attrition, and more sustainable health benefits.
  • Personalization: Online personal training can be a haven for niche experts, allowing clients to find the exact skill set they require. From prenatal exercise routines to geriatric fitness plans, the sky’s the limit. Clients are more likely to stick with a program tailored to their needs, making their goals more attainable.
  • Affordability: When a client engages in online training, they aren’t paying for the overheads of a gym, your commuting costs, or any other extras. This often translates to more affordable packages, making personal training accessible to a broader population.

The Symbiotic Relationship: A Sustainable Model of Mutual Benefit

In a traditional personal training model, the relationship between a trainer and a client is often straightforward: the client receives expert advice and coaching, and the trainer receives monetary compensation for their time and expertise.

However, the dynamics are shifting with the incorporation of online services. Online personal training has ushered in a new age of mutual benefits that goes far beyond simple transactions.

It’s not a zero-sum game where one party’s gain is another party’s loss. Rather, it is a sustainable model of mutual benefit that amplifies the value for both the trainer and the client. Here’s how:

For the Trainer
  • Continued Education and Skill Improvement: Online platforms often necessitate trainers to keep up-to-date with the latest in fitness, nutrition, and technology to provide top-notch service. As you update your coaching techniques and methods to suit the online medium, you inadvertently become a better trainer.
  • Client Accountability: With access to real-time data and digital tools, trainers can track the progress of clients more meticulously than ever. This not only enables personalized tweaks to the program but also provides a sense of responsibility that helps trainers excel at their job.
  • Psychological Insights: Understanding a client’s behavior patterns, motivational triggers, and personal obstacles are far easier when you have a steady stream of data and interaction history to refer to. This makes your job more insightful and enables a more holistic coaching approach.
For the Client
  • Comprehensive Support: Unlike in-person training where the trainer’s support might be limited to scheduled sessions, online training allows for a more continuous relationship. Clients can ask questions, seek clarifications, and get motivational boosts almost instantaneously, making them feel more supported.
  • Personal Growth and Autonomy: With resources like video tutorials, recorded sessions, and digital literature, clients can take charge of their own health and fitness journey. They can review materials at their own pace, enabling them to understand their bodies better and make more informed choices, which leads to lasting lifestyle changes.
  • Enhanced Motivation and Commitment: Knowing that a trainer is regularly monitoring their data and progress can be a powerful motivator for clients. It makes them more committed to their fitness routines, knowing that someone is holding them accountable.
Creating a Balanced Ecosystem

When both parties are gaining multidimensional benefits, the relationship stops being transactional and starts becoming relational. The trainer isn’t just a service provider, but a partner in the client’s fitness journey.

And the client is not just a source of income, but a case study in human psychology, a test subject for new training methodologies, and a brand advocate who will likely refer more business your way.

In essence, online personal training creates a symbiotic relationship that enriches both parties, not just in terms of physical fitness or financial gain but in a broader, more meaningful manner.

It turns the conventional client-trainer relationship into a dynamic partnership aimed at mutual growth and long-term sustainability.

hybrid online personal training

The Power of the Hybrid Training Model: Maximizing Impact Through Online and In-Person Interactions

When it comes to venturing into the realm of online personal training, it can be tempting to focus solely on the digital aspects and forget about the foundational elements of in-person training. After all, online platforms offer unprecedented scalability and reach.

However, at Strength Matters, we’ve been at the forefront of the online coaching revolution since 2016, and one crucial insight we’ve gained is the invaluable role of human interaction in the training process.

Here’s why we firmly believe that the most effective and holistic training model is a hybrid one—melding the best of both online and in-person training methods.

If you want to learn more about our Hybrid Personal Training Model, you can do so here.

The 160+ Hours Problem: A Real-World Scenario

Let’s take a typical scenario: your client has 2-3 sessions with you per week, each lasting an hour. What happens during the remaining 160+ hours that you’re not physically present with them?

Without consistent guidance and accountability, those hours can quickly become a breeding ground for poor decisions, missed workouts, and sliding motivation.

The Hybrid Solution

The hybrid model offers an elegant solution to this conundrum by integrating the in-person ‘real-world testing’ with online ‘ongoing support.’

  • Real-World Testing: When you see your clients in person, you can assess their form, modify their techniques, and conduct fitness tests with precision. The tactile and immediate feedback you provide during these sessions is irreplaceable.
  • Ongoing Online Support: With the online component, you can offer 24/7 support, routine adjustments, and tracking. You can also provide a wealth of resources—videos, articles, podcasts—that your clients can consume at their leisure, further enriching their understanding and commitment to their fitness goals.
The Mutual Benefits
  • For Trainers: This approach allows you to maximize client retention and long-term satisfaction. Clients are more likely to stick with a program if they feel they are getting a holistic, personalized experience. Also, you get to fine-tune your training strategies through continuous real-world feedback.
  • For Clients: They receive a richer, more rounded coaching experience. In-person sessions allow them to ask questions on the spot and get immediate feedback, while the online component enables them to maintain their fitness journey at their own pace and on their own time.

Creating the Perfect Synergy

Incorporating a hybrid model doesn’t mean diluting the effectiveness of your coaching; rather, it amplifies it. You’re not just a digital guru or a gym buddy; you’re a comprehensive health consultant who engages with clients on multiple levels.

This is not just about diversifying your business strategy; it’s about enhancing the quality and depth of the service you provide.

The hybrid model doesn’t make you choose between online and in-person training; it empowers you to leverage the unique benefits of each to create a synergistic impact.

It addresses the ‘160+ hours’ problem by keeping your clients engaged, motivated, and accountable every single day—not just when they see you in person.

So, as you venture into the realm of online personal training, consider incorporating elements of in-person interaction. The fusion of these two modalities not only strengthens your business model but enriches the lives of your clients in a truly holistic manner.

Part 2: Building Your Brand: Elevating Your Professional Identity in the Digital Ecosystem

brand identity for online personal training

Navigating the digital landscape requires more than just skills and passion; it demands a compelling brand presence. Your brand is not merely a collection of visual elements; it’s an emotional and psychological relationship you establish with your audience.

This section aims to guide you through the nuanced intricacies of basic brand development as a personal trainer, laying a strong foundation for a credible and memorable digital identity.

The Naming Dilemma: Personal Name vs. Business Name

The choice between a personal name and a business name goes beyond mere identification; it’s a strategic decision that impacts your brand’s long-term sustainability and scalability.

  • Personal Name: Utilizing your personal name can make your brand feel more approachable and relatable.
    • Pros: Easier for one-on-one connections, builds personal accountability, and allows your personality to shine through in your business.
    • Cons: Difficult to separate personal life from professional life, challenges in scalability, and potential risks in reputation management.
  • Business Name: Opting for a distinct business name provides a framework for exponential growth and serves as a canvas for a broader brand story.
    • Pros: Offers opportunities for team expansion, delineates professional boundaries, and lends itself to a wider range of branding activities.
    • Cons: Requires a more extensive initial marketing push, can feel impersonal, and might demand legalities like trademarking.

Reflect deeply on your long-term objectives and short-term constraints before finalizing your decision. Personally, I wish I built up a personal brand before Strength Matters.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I think in today’s world, you need to build both simultaneously.

Design an Impactful Logo Without Breaking the Bank

Your logo is not just a decorative element; it’s a visual synopsis of your brand’s philosophy. While having a sophisticated logo is tempting, monetary extravagance at an early stage can backfire.

My advice is don’t spend more than $100 until you’re earning over $20,000/month. You build a brand by selling, not by having a fancy logo.

  • Affordable Options: Platforms like Fiverr offer cost-effective solutions without compromising quality. But be thorough in vetting designers; check their portfolios and reviews.
  • Effective Logo Components: A compelling logo blends simplicity with purpose. It should be versatile, relevant, and memorable. Your choice of color, typography, and symbolism should align with your brand ethos.

Crafting Your Client Avatar: The Importance of Precise Targeting

The concept of a “client avatar” transcends traditional marketing jargon to become an indispensable tool for any online personal trainer. Essentially, an avatar is a detailed profile of your ideal client.

While many trainers make the mistake of casting a wide net, hoping to catch as many clients as possible, the most successful understand the power of specificity.

  • Why a Client Avatar is Essential: The client avatar isn’t just a demographic outline; it’s a psychological and emotional blueprint. Understanding this helps you tailor your services, content, and even your branding to speak directly to the clients who will benefit most from your expertise.
  • Psychographic vs. Demographic: Demographics cover age, location, and income, while psychographics delve into values, attitudes, and lifestyle choices. A compelling client avatar synthesizes both. For instance, if you specialize in postpartum fitness, your demographic might be new mothers aged 25-40, but your psychographic information will include values like the importance of family, the desire for self-care, and the struggle with body image post-childbirth.
  • Common Pitfalls: Avoid creating an avatar based solely on surface-level traits. Your avatar should include pain points, aspirations, objections, and preferred communication channels. You’re not just identifying who you’re targeting, but why they would choose you over another trainer.
  • Tailoring Content and Services: Once you’ve identified your client avatar, every piece of content you produce, be it a blog post, an email newsletter, or social media update, should speak directly to this avatar. The same goes for your services; your programs should be designed to solve the specific problems faced by your ideal client.
  • Iterative Process: Your client avatar is not set in stone. As you gain more experience and data, revisit and refine it. Even slight tweaks can lead to more engaged clients and a more profitable business.

Understanding and developing your client avatar enables you to carve out a unique niche in the competitive online personal training marketplace.

It streamlines your marketing efforts, focuses your brand message, and ultimately, facilitates a service offering that is as rewarding for you as it is transformative for your clients.

An Indispensable Website: Your Digital Headquarters and Client Avatar Showcase

In a world where first impressions are often made online, your website serves as the digital facade of your online personal training business.

This isn’t just a digital business card or a static brochure; it’s an interactive platform that speaks volumes about your credibility, expertise, and the value you can offer.

Your website plays a significant role in attracting and converting potential clients, while also serving as the cornerstone of your professional web presence.

At Strength Matters, we learned the hard way so that you don’t have to. We’re here to tell you that a well-crafted website, done right from the start, can be the linchpin in your success. It’s how we’ve built our entire business without spending a fortune on advertising.

  • The Imperative of Starting Early: One of the most crucial pieces of advice we can offer is to set up a high-quality website early in your career. This will serve as an investment in your long-term success, contributing to your credibility and helping you get found by your ideal clients. This is not a corner you want to cut; it’s the foundation of your online reputation.
  • Credibility and Authority: How many times have you Googled a service or product before making a decision? You’re not alone; your clients are doing the same. A professional-looking website can be the deciding factor in whether a potential client chooses you over a competitor. Your website is your first, and sometimes only, chance to establish credibility.
  • Your Client Avatar, Front and Center: Your ideal client should be the star of your website. When potential clients land on your page, they should immediately see themselves in the testimonials, the problems you solve, and the services you offer. This creates an emotional connection, which is often the first step in conversion.
  • Local SEO and Google My Business: Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on paid ads to get found. Setting up and optimizing a Google My Business page can do wonders for your local SEO. Being featured in Google’s local search results is like being recommended by Google itself — and it’s often more cost-effective than other forms of advertising. It’s the best place to start getting online clients
  • Design Aesthetics Matter: Design isn’t just about pretty colors and graphics; it’s also about user experience. Your website needs to be visually appealing, easy to navigate, and optimized for mobile users. Poor design can turn off potential clients, no matter how excellent your services may be.

By paying attention to these aspects, you’re not just creating a website; you’re establishing a digital headquarters that commands respect, attention, and ultimately, client engagement.

It’s a long-term investment that pays off in spades, both in terms of client acquisition and your reputation in the industry.

If you need help with this, we offer a FREE website-building service. You can learn about that here.

Social Media Nuances: Why LinkedIn and Selective Presence Are Crucial

While the allure of social media is undeniable for personal trainers looking to establish an online presence, not all platforms are created equal. You might be tempted to emulate the fitness influencers who post content prolifically across all social media channels.

However, indiscriminate activity on too many platforms can dilute your message, drain your time, and be demoralizing.

This is why, at Strength Matters, we advocate for a more focused and strategic approach to social media, prioritizing professionalism and long-term value.

  • The Pitfalls of Emulating Fitness Influencers: It’s easy to get caught up in the allure of social media fame. But attempting to copy influencers can make you lose your unique voice and drown you in a sea of noise. This approach can be time-consuming, minimally rewarding, and emotionally draining because you’re always chasing likes and follows rather than building meaningful relationships.
  • LinkedIn: Your Digital Business Card and Networking Event: Unlike more casual social media platforms, LinkedIn serves as your digital resume and professional networking space. It’s where people will go to check your credentials, view your professional experience, and generally assess your credibility. If you’re starting out, focus on optimizing your LinkedIn profile to reflect the professionalism and expertise you bring to the table.
  • Choosing Evergreen Platforms for Long-Term Value: At Strength Matters, we emphasize platforms that offer more of an ‘evergreen’ nature to the content—YouTube being our platform of choice. Evergreen content remains relevant and valuable over time, giving you a better return on the effort you invest in creating it.
  • Quality Over Quantity: The Focused Approach: Many new trainers make the mistake of spreading themselves too thinly across multiple platforms, trying to post new content daily. The truth is, especially when you’re busy building your business, this approach is unsustainable. Choose one or two platforms where you can offer unique value and focus your energies there. You’ll build a more engaged and dedicated audience this way.

By following a more disciplined and strategic social media approach, you’ll not only build your brand more effectively but also keep your sanity intact. This allows you to direct your energies where they are most needed: in providing high-quality personal training services to your clients.

In 2016, the online personal training landscape was akin to a vast, untamed frontier—ripe with opportunity and there for the taking. Fast forward to today, and it’s more like a bustling metropolis where every man and his dog have set up shop.

In this crowded marketplace, standing out is no longer a luxury; it’s a necessity for survival. That’s why we introduce the concept of branding early in your online personal training journey.

Think of your brand as your own unique signature in a world of mass-produced, generic prints. Creating a compelling brand doesn’t require a fortune, but it does demand thoughtfulness and strategy.

In today’s saturated market, a strong brand is not just an accessory but the very fabric that can set you apart.

Part 3: Tools of the Trade—What You Need

online personal training software and video

Navigating the rapidly evolving landscape of online personal training is akin to sailing through uncharted waters. The direction you take will often be dictated by the instruments you have on board.

In a brick-and-mortar gym, the dumbbells, squat racks, and medicine balls form the bedrock of your service. However, in the virtual realm, your equipment set extends far beyond just weights; it encompasses everything from the technology you use to the software that runs your operations.

In this section, we’ll dive into the critical tools you’ll need to steer your ship successfully in the bustling waters of online personal training.

Choosing the Right Equipment for Absolute Professionalism

Technology Setup
  • Webcam and Microphone: In the world of online personal training, your webcam and microphone act as your eyes and ears. But remember, we advocate using these primarily for consultation calls, not for one-on-one training sessions via Zoom. This method avoids unnecessary fatigue and maintains the quality of the coach-client interaction.
  • Lighting: Underestimating the power of good lighting is a rookie mistake. Proper lighting not only enhances your visibility during video consultations but also sets the tone for a professional engagement.
  • Setting: It’s not just about what you say but where you say it. Whether it’s a designated home office or a neat corner in your living room, maintaining a professional backdrop during your calls signals that you take your job—and by extension, your clients—seriously.
Client Equipment
  • The Client’s Responsibility: When it comes to the client’s equipment, understand that you can only work with what they have. Online training should adapt to the client, not the other way around. You can make suggestions, however, keep it relatively small and inexpensive.
  • Role of a Trainer: Your primary task is to modify your workout programs to suit the range of equipment available to your clients. Adaptability is your greatest asset here.

Picking the Right Software: It’s Not One Size Fits All

Navigating the complex labyrinth of available software solutions isn’t merely an exercise in ticking boxes. The tools you select will become the digital framework that supports your entire online training venture.

One might liken it to constructing a building; you wouldn’t settle for makeshift scaffolding, so why compromise on software?

Why Spreadsheets and WhatsApp Won’t Cut It

The temptation to make do with familiar platforms like Excel spreadsheets or WhatsApp for your business operations can be strong, especially if you’re just starting out.

However, what initially seems like a simple, cost-effective solution can quickly become a logistical nightmare. Spreadsheets might suffice for basic data management, but they lack the robust tracking and integration features that specialized software offers.

Similarly, while WhatsApp might be a ubiquitous communication platform, it falls egregiously short when it comes to secure file sharing, structured communication, and record-keeping.

Streamlining Operations

Professional software designed specifically for personal trainers will automate various components of your workflow, freeing you to focus on what truly matters—your clients.

Think of these software options as a specialized Swiss Army knife for trainers; they can handle scheduling, program management, client tracking, and payments all under a single digital roof.

This not only conserves your valuable time but elevates the client experience by offering a unified, user-friendly interface.

The Financial Backbone: Payment Processing

Money talks, and in the online training world, your payment processing system can say a lot about your professionalism. This is why it’s advantageous to invest in a comprehensive Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

An ideal CRM system goes beyond merely tracking customer interactions to incorporate features like calendar bookings and various payment options, including recurring payments.

This streamlining creates a smoother, more seamless client experience and reduces the chances of errors or lapses—think of it as the gears in a well-oiled machine.

By coordinating all your client-related activities through one dashboard, you not only make your life considerably easier but also fortify your brand’s perception as a professionally run operation.

Don’t worry if this sounds daunting, we set this up for you when you build a FREE website with us.

Finally, we come to the topic of choice. In today’s market, there’s a cornucopia of specialized software platforms designed for personal trainers—Trainerize, My PT Hub, and TrueCoach, to name just a few.

Each platform brings its unique bouquet of features, strengths, and limitations to the table.

What’s critical is that you identify which features are non-negotiable for your business model and which you can compromise on. Perhaps you prioritize seamless payment integration or maybe a user-friendly client interface sits at the top of your list.

Make these determinations early on to streamline your search process. Your business model shouldn’t have to conform to your software; rather, your software should seamlessly adapt to the needs of your business.

At Strength Matters we use TrueCoach. Is it perfect, no. Does it do what we need, yes. However, we are actively looking for better solutions. Just our two-pence here.

Online personal training has grown exponentially since we first ventured into the field in 2016. The landscape is now saturated, making it more essential than ever to distinguish your brand early on.

Investing in the right set of tools from the outset is not just advisable; it’s critical for long-term success. Building your brand and assembling your toolkit are foundational steps that can shape the trajectory of your career.

These decisions impact not only your day-to-day operations but also how prospective clients perceive your business. That’s why getting it right early on is so important—it sets the stage for everything that follows.

Part 4: Business Models & Pricing: The Nuanced Approach

online personal training pricing models

In an industry teeming with diversity, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to business models and pricing strategies. Your choice must resonate with your unique blend of expertise, the particular market you’re targeting, and the services you offer.

In a crowded landscape, especially compared to the less competitive space of 2016, your pricing strategy can serve as a strong differentiator.

Here, we dive deep into the intricacies of business models and pricing options, infusing insights from Strength Matters’ experience and the hybrid personal training model.

1-on-1 Online Personal Training Model

Price Range

The typical price range for a 1-on-1 personal training model falls between $100 to $1000 a month.

In-Depth Analysis

The 1-on-1 online personal training model holds a unique position in the market because it offers a level of individualization that’s hard to match. This is the arena where you can command premium prices, but this also means you need to provide an equally premium service.

Your clients will expect a high degree of personal attention, custom workout plans, and regular check-ins. The pricing in this model needs to be reflective of this high-touch service, so don’t undervalue your offerings.

This model is often the entry point for trainers making the transition to online coaching. It’s an excellent starting place because it doesn’t demand a massive shift in how you operate.

If you’re already used to providing in-person training, the switch to online 1-on-1 sessions will be fairly seamless. You won’t need an extensive marketing strategy, technical prowess, or even a website to get started.

Your primary focus will be on delivering high-quality service to a limited number of clients, making it relatively straightforward to manage.

  1. Stable and Realistic Revenue: Because you’re working with a select number of clients who are paying a premium for individualized service, the revenue is generally stable.
  2. Easy Transition from In-Person: If you’re already experienced in one-on-one in-person training, this model is the least disruptive to your existing workflow.
  3. Low Barrier to Entry: There is a minimal requirement for technical skills, advanced marketing, or even paid advertising.
  1. Slow Initial Growth: The highly personalized nature of this model means that it takes time to onboard each client, slowing down initial growth rates.
  2. Limited Scalability: There’s a natural ceiling to how many clients you can manage while still providing the level of service they expect.

The 1-on-1 model is often an ideal gateway into the world of online personal training, especially given its straightforward nature and its similarity to traditional, in-person training modalities.

However, it comes with built-in limitations, chiefly its scalability. There is a practical cap on how many clients you can effectively manage in a 1-on-1 setup, often maxing out at around 40 clients per trainer.

This limitation is due to the high level of personalized attention and service each client expects. As you become more adept and efficient in the online training landscape, you may find it necessary to explore other business models that offer greater scalability, without sacrificing the quality of service that remains central to your brand.

High-ticket Transformation Programs

For those looking to offer an in-depth, immersive experience to their clients, high-ticket transformation programs can be a lucrative avenue. These packages are usually holistic, encompassing not just physical training, but also lifestyle coaching and nutritional guidance.

Clients invest in these programs with the expectation of achieving significant, measurable results within a defined timeframe, typically ranging from three to six months.

Price Range:

These programs are priced at a premium due to their comprehensive nature, usually falling within the range of $1,000 to $5,000 for an eight- to twelve-week program.

  • The potential for profitability is extremely high.
  • You can focus more of your time and resources on each client, allowing for a more personalized experience.
  • The marketing process can be more targeted, given that you are selling a specific outcome, rather than open-ended coaching.
  • The sales and conversion process can be complicated and long, often requiring the development of specialized content, paid advertisements, and multiple client interactions including at least two phone calls.
  • Your income stream can be more volatile; losing just one client can significantly affect your bottom line.
  • You need well-developed sales skills to convince clients to invest in these high-ticket items.

High-ticket transformation programs are best suited for experienced online trainers who are willing to put in the work both in terms of content development and salesmanship.

Given the high stakes and premium pricing, this model requires a significant commitment of time and resources, as well as a well-planned marketing strategy.

While the earnings can be substantial, the revenue stream can be unstable due to the high cost for clients and the effort required for client acquisition and retention.

Hybrid Online Personal Training

The hybrid model provides the best of both worlds, incorporating online coaching programs along with optional in-person training sessions. It’s our default model here at Strength Matters and it’s what we teach in our Hybrid Coaching Program.

In this model, the cornerstone is a base monthly rate for an online program that could include training, lifestyle modifications, and nutritional guidance. On top of this, you can offer in-person sessions that clients can choose to add based on their preferences and needs.

Price Range:

The most effective monthly pricing for online coaching in this hybrid model often falls between $199 to $499. Strength Matters, for example, has found the sweet spot to be $299 per month for optimal client retention and value.

In-person sessions are then added on, usually priced individually. To illustrate, let’s say you charge $100 per in-person session. If a client opts for twice-weekly in-person sessions, the additional cost would be $600 per month after accounting for two free sessions.

  • Provides a smooth transition for trainers and clients moving from an exclusively in-person to an online model.
  • Offers dual revenue streams, making your income more stable.
  • Enables a flexible and cost-effective training option for clients, allowing them to customize their experience.
  • Limited by geographic location for the in-person component.
  • Convincing existing in-person clients to switch to or add on an online component can be challenging.

The hybrid model is an excellent option for trainers who are transitioning from in-person to online coaching but don’t want to completely forgo the benefits of in-person interactions.

It’s also a solid choice for those who want to diversify their income streams. However, this model still has geographical constraints and might require some legwork to get existing clients onboard with the online components.

Overall, it offers a flexible way to adapt to varying client needs while also providing multiple income avenues for trainers, and it’s our default model here at Strength Matters.

Learn more about our Hybrid Coaching Program here.

Low-end Membership Programs

Low-end membership programs stand in stark contrast to high-ticket and 1-on-1 training models by targeting a larger but less individually-attended-to audience.

In this model, clients gain basic access to a range of services, like a library of pre-recorded workouts, community forums, and limited live interactions. The primary focus here is on scalability rather than individualized service.

Price Range:

Low-end membership programs generally charge between $10 and $50 per month, aiming for volume over high margins.

  • High scalability potential: This model can grow significantly if you have a large online following.
  • Lower barrier to entry: The lower price point makes it accessible to a broader audience.
  • Minimal ongoing time commitment: Pre-recorded workouts and automated systems do most of the heavy lifting.
  • Lower profitability per client: The revenue from each member is significantly less than more premium models.
  • High customer churn rate: Lower engagement often results in less customer loyalty and higher attrition rates.
  • Difficulty in differentiation: With low price points, it can be tough to distinguish your offering from competitors.

The low-end membership model is best suited for trainers with a large online following who can generate a volume of leads without relying heavily on paid advertising or intricate marketing campaigns.

While it lacks the per-client profitability and individual attention of other models, it excels in scalability. This model should be approached with caution, as the high churn rate and lower customer loyalty levels can offset the benefits of its scalability.

It’s an attractive option for those who can successfully manage a large community but comes with its own set of challenges that need to be carefully considered. We don’t recommend for beginners or people new to online personal training.

Bonus: Advanced Pricing Strategies for Online Personal Trainers

Pricing is often seen as a mere number, but in reality, it’s a complex strategy that not only influences your profitability but also the perception of your brand. Here, we dive deep into the intricate elements of an advanced pricing strategy that puts you ahead of the competition.

Conduct Thorough Market Research: Factoring in Geographic Considerations

Before you even start jotting down figures for your pricing models, undertaking comprehensive market research is absolutely essential. The scope of this research is not confined to merely looking at what your competitors are charging; it is far more nuanced and expansive.

You’ll need to assess the value delivered by each competitor, scrutinize their feature lists, and investigate customer satisfaction levels. Additionally, you’ll need to factor in geographic considerations, which can significantly impact the pricing architecture.

For instance, the cost of living and purchasing power can vary dramatically between different locations. You may find that you can charge premium prices in affluent urban areas like New York City compared to smaller towns or less affluent regions.

Operating in a metropolitan area with a higher cost of living usually means clients are willing to pay more for services they perceive as valuable. To illustrate, if you are a personal trainer in New York City, the market might comfortably bear monthly 1-on-1 training packages that range from $400 to $700.

However, in a smaller town like Aberystwyth in Mid Wales, you may find the price tolerance to be in the ballpark of $100 to $300 for similar services.

Geographic considerations are not just about what you ‘can’ charge but also about what you ‘should’ charge. Premium pricing in a smaller town, for example, could alienate potential clients and make your services accessible only to a very narrow segment of the population.

Conversely, charging too low in a wealthy urban area could actually undermine the perceived quality and value of your services, making it harder to attract committed and long-term clients.

In essence, pricing is not an isolated decision. It’s deeply interlinked with the local economy, your target market’s demographics, and the competitive landscape. By taking a well-rounded approach to your market research, you’re not just avoiding guesswork, but laying down a robust foundation for your business’s long-term viability and success.

Steer Clear of the Bottom Tier: Why Low Pricing Could Cost You More in the Long Run

You might be tempted to think that offering the lowest prices will make your services more attractive. After all, who doesn’t like a bargain? However, it’s crucial to understand that low prices often attract less committed clients who are looking for quick fixes, not long-term solutions.

These clients are less likely to invest their time and effort into your program, and their results will reflect that. In turn, this affects your brand’s reputation and long-term profitability.

Here’s the problem with a race-to-the-bottom pricing strategy: it’s hard to climb back up. Once you set low prices, increasing them later can alienate your existing client base, limiting your revenue and growth potential.

Also, let’s not forget how pricing affects the perception of your brand. If you’re the ‘cheap’ option, you risk being perceived as the ‘low-quality’ option as well.

And in an industry where value goes far beyond price—encompassing factors like customization, expert knowledge, and measurable results—this perception can be incredibly damaging.

Instead, focus on delivering unparalleled value that justifies a more premium pricing strategy. This approach does several things for you. First, it elevates your brand, making you synonymous with quality and excellence.

Second, it brings in clients who are serious, committed, and more likely to stick around, benefiting both you and them in the long run. Third, it makes your business model more sustainable by increasing your profitability per client.

The lowest price isn’t always the best strategy for long-term success. Set your prices to reflect the high-quality value you deliver, and you’ll attract clients who appreciate what you have to offer. This ensures that your business isn’t just profitable but also sustainable in the long term.

Trust as a Tangible Asset: The Power of Money-Back Guarantees in Building Client Confidence

In the digital landscape where face-to-face interactions are often replaced by screen-to-screen exchanges, trust has become a crucial and tangible asset for any business, especially one offering personal services like training.

Building trust is not just a good-to-have element; it’s a necessity that can significantly influence your brand’s reputation and bottom line. One potent way to instill trust and thereby elevate your brand’s status is through offering a money-back guarantee, particularly for the online components of your training programs.

The notion of offering a money-back guarantee may initially seem counterintuitive. You might worry that it devalues your services, implying that there’s a possibility they may not work.

However, this strategy accomplishes the opposite. When deployed correctly, a money-back guarantee is a powerful statement of self-assurance. It says, “I believe in my service so much that I’m willing to risk my own earnings to prove its efficacy to you.”

For prospective clients, particularly those who have never worked with a personal trainer before, making the investment can be intimidating. They may ask, “What if this doesn’t work for me?” or “What if the trainer and I aren’t compatible?”

A money-back guarantee helps to alleviate these anxieties by providing a safety net. It turns a high-stakes decision into a no-risk scenario, making it easier for prospective clients to take the plunge.

Furthermore, in a saturated market where clients have endless options, this sort of guarantee can serve as a significant differentiator. It moves you from being just another service provider to being a risk-free option, making the choice easier for potential clients who are comparing various service providers.

Importantly, the provision of a money-back guarantee also places an implicit emphasis on customer satisfaction. It tells your audience that you’re not just in it for a quick sale but are invested in delivering tangible results.

In turn, this helps to foster longer-lasting relationships with clients, which often translate into referrals and sustained profitability over time.

Far from being a risky strategy, offering a money-back guarantee can be a calculated and effective method for building trust and credibility. It acts as a pivotal marketing tool that not only reassures hesitant clients but also enhances your brand’s perceived value in a crowded marketplace.

Part 5: Getting Your First 5 Online Clients—Starting Small and Growing Authentically

online personal training clients

The Crucial Role of Your First 5 Online Clients

Securing your first five online clients is more than just a milestone; it’s a pivotal moment that can shape the trajectory of your entire online personal training business.

These initial clients serve multiple, invaluable roles that extend far beyond the revenue they generate. Here’s an in-depth look at why each of these first clients holds a special significance:

Your First Product Testers

The moment you bring your first client onboard, you’re essentially putting your product—your online training program—through its first real-world test.

While you may have theories and assumptions about what will work best, these early adopters provide you with the practical data needed to refine your offerings.

They will reveal any blind spots in your program, from the ease of accessing your workout plans to the clarity of your instructional videos, thus helping you enhance usability and overall client experience.

Your First Brand Ambassadors

Happy clients are the most effective marketers you could wish for. If your first five clients are satisfied with the service they’ve received, they’re likely to become ardent advocates for your brand.

They’ll share their positive experiences with friends and family, post about their progress on social media, and may even agree to be featured in your marketing materials.

Essentially, they act as brand ambassadors, giving your business social proof and organic reach that money can’t buy.

The Starting Point of Your Online Training Journey

In any journey, the first steps are often the most meaningful, and the same is true for your online training business. Your initial clients offer the first real validation of your business concept, and their engagement with your services will set the tone for what’s to come.

It’s with these clients that you’ll establish your first processes for onboarding, training, and follow-up. Essentially, they help you build the operational backbone of your online business.

An Indispensable Source of Feedback

Don’t underestimate the importance of candid, honest feedback. Your first clients can provide you with insights that can make or break your business.

For example, they can point out what they love about your program, allowing you to emphasize these strong points in your marketing.

Likewise, they may highlight areas for improvement that you weren’t even aware of, enabling you to resolve issues before they become widespread complaints.

Your Future Marketing Arsenal

The success stories and testimonials from your first clients can serve as cornerstone content for your future marketing efforts.

Their before-and-after photos, reviews, and even short video testimonials can be incredibly persuasive when showcased on your website or social media platforms.

These stories can humanize your brand and serve as compelling evidence that your services deliver real results.

Your first five online clients aren’t merely transactional relationships; they’re foundational to your business.

They help you refine your product, spread the word about your brand, and give you the actionable insights and marketing materials you need to scale effectively.

Treating these initial clients as the invaluable assets they are can yield long-term benefits, shaping your business for future success.

Make sure you avoid the mistakes we made at Strength Matters. We launched on day one and got 87 new clients. Now this isn’t normal, we had a very large email list.

However, three months later we only had three clients left. It was a terrible mistake on our part, but we learned a lot from it.

So take our advice, start small, ideally with one, then slowly build up to five when you feel comfortable and ready. You’ll thank us later in the long run, I promise.

Your Best Personal Training Client = The Ideal Candidate for Your First Online Client

Transitioning into the online training arena can feel like venturing into unknown territory, even for seasoned personal trainers.

However, the perfect candidate to help you take this bold step might be closer than you think—your best in-person training client.

Here’s an in-depth look at why this client is poised to be your ideal first online customer:

Pre-established Trust

Trust is a valuable currency in the world of personal training, and if someone has been working with you in-person, that trust is already deeply established.

They’ve seen your professionalism, felt the impact of your programs, and have firsthand experience with the results you can deliver.

Transferring this trust to an online format is significantly easier because the foundation has already been built. They’re not taking a risk on an unknown trainer; they’re simply following a trusted expert into a new platform.

Seamless Transition in Training Styles

One of the most significant advantages of starting your online venture with your best in-person client is the minimal disruption in training styles.

Your techniques, language, and even the cadence of exercises will remain largely unchanged, making the transition to online training far less daunting for both parties.

This continuity is particularly comforting for your client, who will appreciate the familiar training methods and cues, even if they’re now delivered via a screen.

Technological Readiness

If your best client is already comfortable using fitness apps or smart gym equipment, they’re a prime candidate for online training. Technological readiness is a huge factor in the successful adoption of online fitness programs.

Clients who are not daunted by the prospect of navigating a new app or platform will transition more smoothly, reducing the initial friction and learning curve that can sometimes serve as a barrier to entry.

Accelerated Onboarding

The onboarding process can be time-consuming as it often involves in-depth assessments, orientation, and a fair amount of hand-holding.

However, with a client who already knows your system, you can fast-track this process. They’re familiar with your assessment methods, your scheduling, and even your billing cycle.

This not only saves you time but also allows you to focus on fine-tuning the online-specific aspects of your program.

Enhanced Feedback Loop

Given the pre-existing rapport and open lines of communication, your best in-person client is likely to provide you with some of the most candid and constructive feedback.

They have a vested interest in your success—both in-person and online—and can offer pointed insights that a completely new client might hesitate to share.

Test Case for Refinement

Your best client’s transition from in-person to online training can serve as a case study for you, allowing you to spot any gaps, make necessary adjustments, and create a roadmap for converting other clients to your online service.

Their journey provides you with a real-world example to study, refine, and, ultimately, replicate.

Essentially, your best in-person training client offers a unique blend of trust, familiarity, and technological readiness, making them the ideal first online client.

Leveraging this existing relationship can set you on a path to a successful, scalable online training business. It’s a win-win situation that benefits both you and your client, giving you both the opportunity to grow in new, digital directions.

The best part, once you get comfortable with one, you ask your next best client and repeat the process, which should be faster and smoother than the first time.

And just like that, I promise you, you’ll be up to five online personal training clients in no time.

Why Paid Advertising Isn’t the Best Approach Yet for Start-Up Online Personal Trainers

While paid advertising holds the allure of quick results and broad visibility, it’s not the most prudent approach for personal trainers just transitioning to the online realm, particularly those making less than $5,000 to $10,000 a month.

Here’s why:

  1. High Costs: Effective paid advertising is expensive. You’re not just paying for the ads; you’re also likely paying for a specialist or spending significant time learning to use the ad platform yourself. Plus, paid advertising demands continuous investment to see any consistent results. If you’re not already earning upwards of $10,000 a month, these costs can severely dent your revenue.
  2. Necessity for a Polished Product: To make the most out of any paid advertising spend, you should ideally have a well-defined, high-quality product or service. New online personal trainers are in the beta stages of their offerings; they’re still fine-tuning, gathering client feedback, and making adjustments. Pumping money into advertising an unrefined product is like building a mansion on a shaky foundation—it might look good for a bit, but it’s bound to collapse.
  3. Learning Curve and Time Commitment: Platforms like Facebook and Google Ads are powerful but complex. They require a thorough understanding of audience targeting, A/B testing, and ad design for maximum ROI. The time spent learning these nuances can distract you from the more immediate tasks of refining your online training program and building relationships with your first clients.
  4. No Guarantees of Quality Leads: Paid advertising can drive traffic, but it doesn’t guarantee the quality of clients. In the early stages, you’re looking for highly committed individuals who will not only benefit from your services but also provide valuable feedback. These ideal first clients are more likely to come from your existing network than from cold leads generated through paid ads.
  5. Risk of Negative ROI: With all these factors combined, the chances of a negative ROI in your early days are quite high. Paid advertising only becomes truly efficient when you’ve got the basics down to a science: understanding your client avatars, having a highly converting sales funnel, and offering a product or service that you know meets market needs and expectations.

For those reasons, paid advertising should ideally be a strategy implemented by trainers who have already been earning at least $10,000 a month consistently.

At this stage, you likely have the financial cushion to absorb the initial costs, and perhaps more importantly, a finely-tuned service offering that you can confidently advertise for maximum returns.

Don’t fall for what those online marketing gurus are trying to force you to buy. Steady and slow wins the race in the long term when it comes to building your online personal training empire.

Testimonials and Success Stories: Your Currency for Growth and Credibility

The positive experiences and transformations of your first five online clients can serve as the backbone of your marketing efforts, giving prospective clients compelling reasons to choose your services.

Here’s how you can maximize the impact of testimonials and success stories:

Collecting Testimonials

Before you can leverage client testimonials, you need to collect them. The process isn’t merely about asking for a review; it’s about asking the right questions at the right time to gather the most impactful and sincere endorsements.

Here are some strategies to make the collection of testimonials as effective as possible:

  1. Ask at the Right Time: Timing is key when asking for testimonials. The best moment is usually right after a major win for your client, whether that’s achieving a weight loss milestone, smashing a personal record, or simply feeling more confident. They are most likely to give you a glowing review when the benefit they’ve received from your service is fresh in their minds.
  2. Make it Easy: You can streamline the process by offering a template or a few guiding questions. This makes it less daunting for your clients to write their testimonials. For example, you could ask:
    • What was your initial reason for seeking out online personal training?
    • How have you benefited from the program?
    • Would you recommend this service to others? Why?
  3. In-Depth Interviews: For clients who have undergone significant transformations, consider doing a video or written interview. This can become a case study, showing the ‘before’ and ‘after’ state in greater detail.
Leveraging Success Stories and Testimonials

Once you’ve collected these golden nuggets of credibility, it’s time to put them to work for you. Displaying a testimonial on your website is just the tip of the iceberg; there are myriad ways to integrate these endorsements into your long-term marketing strategy.

Here’s how to make the most of your testimonials and success stories for maximum impact:

  1. Website Showcase: Dedicate a section of your website to display client testimonials and case studies. Visuals like before-and-after photos can make these reviews even more powerful.
  2. Social Media: Share snippets or full-length testimonials on platforms where you’re most active and where your target audience hangs out. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook are particularly good for this. Use relevant hashtags to increase visibility.
  3. Email Campaigns: Integrate testimonials into your email marketing campaigns to reinforce your value proposition and build trust. You could also send out a periodic newsletter featuring a ‘Client of the Month’ as a case study.
  4. Blog Posts: Case studies can be expanded into blog posts, giving you the opportunity to delve into the specifics of a client’s journey. This not only showcases your expertise but also adds valuable content to your site that can improve SEO.
  5. Public Speaking or Webinars: If you get the chance to speak publicly or host a webinar, real-life success stories make for persuasive presentations. They give concrete examples to back up your expertise and can be used to illustrate various points in your talk.
  6. Client Referrals: Case studies serve as excellent referral tools. Potential clients who see the tangible results you’ve achieved are much more likely to both trust you and refer others to you. Share these studies with your in-person clients and within your network to encourage word-of-mouth referrals.

By conscientiously collecting and strategically leveraging testimonials and success stories, you’re not just celebrating client successes—you’re building a robust, evidence-based marketing strategy that can significantly enhance your business’s credibility and appeal.

Verdict: Start Slow to Grow Fast

There’s wisdom in starting your online personal training business with a slow, organic approach. Focusing on building a strong foundation through word-of-mouth marketing, referrals, and quality service sets you up for scalable and sustainable success.

The relationships you form with these first few clients can be lifelong, and the lessons learned in these early stages can guide you as you expand and evolve.

By following this roadmap, you’re not just adding clients; you’re building partnerships, increasing your brand value, and paving the way for a successful online training business.

Part 6: Creating Your First Online Personal Training Programs

online personal training client

The transition from in-person to online personal training is a multifaceted endeavor that involves far more than a simple switch of platform.

It’s essentially a pivot that impacts every facet of your business—from training methodologies and techniques to client communication and engagement strategies.

This significant change requires thoughtful preparation, especially if you want to carry your existing clientele with you into this new domain. Below are some key areas to consider:

Online Personal Training Requires a Different Approach

While you are essentially offering the same service—personal training—the online experience is a different beast altogether. You’ll need to consider various new elements like asynchronous communication, tracking client performance digitally, and troubleshooting tech issues.

This demands a change in your approach to ensure that you are providing the same level of service your clients have come to expect in-person.

Familiarity Session: A Tech Walkthrough

The key to making this shift less intimidating for your clients—and for you—is to conduct a “Familiarity Session.” In this session, which takes place in-person, introduce your clients to the online platform you’ll be using for training.

Walk them through every feature they’ll need to understand, from where to find their workout plans to how to log their reps and sets.

This not only makes them more comfortable with the technology but also allows you to identify any possible barriers to entry that could be addressed before fully diving into the online model.

Understanding the Importance of Client Relationships

In the online world, it’s easier to lose that personal touch you can naturally offer during in-person training sessions. Therefore, this transition stage is crucial for setting the tone for how you’ll maintain strong, meaningful relationships with your clients.

From the outset, explain how communication will work when you switch to online training—will there be weekly check-in calls? How quickly will you respond to messages or calls? What’s the mechanism for feedback?

Setting these expectations early can prevent misunderstandings later.

Addressing Tech Hurdles

It’s crucial to acknowledge that not all your clients will be tech-savvy. Some might struggle with even the basics like downloading an app or logging in.

During the Familiarity Session, offer a step-by-step guide on overcoming these tech barriers, and provide ongoing support for clients who need a bit more help.

Remember, these tech challenges are temporary but can greatly affect your long-term success if not managed properly.

Your availability during this transition to help clients troubleshoot issues will go a long way in preserving trust and ensuring the switch to online training is as smooth as possible.

Opportunity for a Soft Launch

This transitional phase also acts as a soft launch for your online services. You have the opportunity to identify the pitfalls, shortcomings, and areas of improvement in a controlled environment, essentially using it as a pilot testing phase.

Your immediate focus should be on delivering an experience that is just as rewarding and effective as your in-person sessions, even if it takes a few tries to get there.

By taking a thorough, planned approach to the transition, you minimize the risks involved and pave the way for a smoother, more effective move to online personal training.

This initial effort, although demanding, can save you countless hours of troubleshooting and potential client dissatisfaction down the road.

Software Familiarization: An Interactive Introduction to Your Digital Platform

As the saying goes, “practice makes perfect,” and this wisdom holds true when it comes to acquainting yourself and your clients with a new online training software.

It’s one thing to tell your clients how to use an app, but it’s an entirely different, and more effective, approach to walk them through the experience in real-time, with you by their side. This hands-on orientation is instrumental for both parties—here’s why:

Real-Time Practice: No Room for Theoretical Hiccups

During your next scheduled in-person session, take the opportunity to move away from traditional methods like printed workouts or verbal instructions.

Instead, utilize this valuable face-to-face time to write out that day’s workout program directly into your online training platform.

Walk your client through each step, from logging in to navigating to their personalized workout for the day.

Ensuring Seamless App Integration

Before starting the session, confirm that your client has downloaded all the required apps and has access to all features.

This may seem elementary, but you’d be surprised how many potential hiccups can be avoided by ensuring that everyone is on the same (digital) page.

The goal is to make the software an extension of your training session, not a confusing obstacle.

Live Troubleshooting and Q&A

Having you right there for this hands-on tutorial eliminates guesswork. Your client can ask questions as they arise, and you can troubleshoot any issues on the spot.

This not only bolsters your client’s confidence in using the new platform but also gives you immediate insight into any user-experience issues that may need addressing with the software provider.

Assessing Comfort Levels for Future Interactions

Just as you assess a client’s physical capabilities, this session allows you to gauge their digital prowess. Understanding their comfort level with the online tools can help you tailor your future online interactions.

Are they adept at tracking their reps and sets? Do they understand how to toggle between exercise demos and their workout plan? Knowing where they stand will help you offer the right level of tech support and guidance moving forward.

This interactive, in-person introduction to your online platform performs a dual function: It empowers your clients to confidently navigate the digital aspects of their training, and it gives you a valuable opportunity to identify and resolve potential challenges before they become roadblocks.

It’s a proactive step in ensuring a smooth and effective transition to your new online training format.

Your First Mini Programs: The Art of Starting Small Yet Effective

At the start of your online personal training journey, there’s a natural inclination to ‘go big or go home.’ You may be tempted to put together an elaborate 6-12-week program filled with varied workouts, challenges, and milestones.

While ambition is admirable, it’s crucial to remember that both you and your client are navigating new terrain. The key at this stage is not to overwhelm, but to facilitate a comfortable and enriching transition into the online space.

Here’s why crafting 2-5 focused workouts as your first ‘mini-programs’ is a strategic approach:

Ease of Execution: Reducing Complexity

By focusing on creating just a handful of well-designed workouts, you reduce the complexity and the time required for planning.

This lets you direct your energy towards ensuring that these ‘sample’ workouts are of high quality, aligned closely with your client’s immediate goals, and are easily executable via the online platform.

Familiarity Before Complexity: Building Confidence

A smaller set of workouts allows your client to focus on mastering the essential elements first. Whether it’s the perfect squat form or the proper breathing technique during cardio, this narrow focus lets them build confidence in their abilities, while also becoming familiar with the software features. It’s akin to learning to crawl before you walk.

Feature Utilization: A Training Ground for Software Skills

These initial workouts should not just push your clients physically but should also challenge them to interact with various software functionalities.

For instance, you might include sets that require them to manually track reps and sets in the software, set rest timers, or even use in-app messaging to send immediate feedback or questions.

The idea is to gradually make them comfortable with technology as an integrated part of their workout routine.

Feedback Loop: Real-time Adjustments

One of the primary advantages of starting with mini-programs is the quick feedback loop. With fewer workouts to assess, it’s easier for both you and your client to evaluate what’s working and what’s not.

This enables real-time adjustments and rapid improvements, something that’s often more cumbersome in longer programs.

Building Anticipation: Setting the Stage for More

When your clients successfully complete these mini-programs, not only do they gain a sense of achievement, but it also whets their appetite for what’s to come.

It builds anticipation and makes them more likely to commit to a longer, more complex program in the future.

By adopting a mini-program approach it helps ensure a smooth and effective initiation into online personal training for both you and your clients.

It’s a carefully measured step that allows for skill development, feedback, and adjustments, setting the stage for more extensive and customized online training programs down the line.

In-person to Online: The Homework Approach for Seamless Transition and Continuous Improvement

The move from in-person to online training is a significant shift, not just logistically, but also in terms of habits and comfort zones for both you and your clients.

One highly effective way to ease this transition is by assigning ‘homework’—workouts to be performed independently using the online platform.

Here’s how and why this approach is essential for a smooth and impactful move to online training:

Building Client Autonomy: The Confidence Booster

After you’ve walked your clients through the online platform and they’ve completed a workout under your direct supervision, having them execute one or two workouts on their own is the next logical step.

Doing so helps them to navigate the software without the safety net of immediate in-person guidance, thereby enhancing their self-efficacy.

The client learns to rely on the platform and their own understanding of the exercises, reinforcing the idea that they can manage their fitness journey even when you’re not right beside them.

Data Gathering: A Goldmine for Personalization

When clients complete their homework workouts, they generate real-world data that is invaluable for you as a trainer. This can include tracking metrics like time taken to complete sets, number of reps, heart rate, or even their mood and fatigue levels.

All these data points can help you refine the training program, making it even more personalized and effective.

Feedback Loop: Quick Catch-Up for Immediate Insights

After your clients have completed their homework, it’s crucial to schedule a quick follow-up session. This can be done either in-person or online, depending on what’s most convenient for both parties.

This session should be geared towards understanding their experiences with the homework workouts. Were there technical difficulties? Did they find certain exercises too easy or too hard? What aspects did they enjoy?

Getting answers to these questions will provide you with immediate insights that can be leveraged to make adjustments to the program.

Success and Challenge Audit: Learning from Both Ends

The catch-up session is also an opportunity to celebrate successes and confront challenges. If your client managed to perform an exercise they found difficult or navigated a complex feature in the software, these achievements should be acknowledged and celebrated.

On the flip side, challenges and hurdles should be addressed as learning opportunities to make improvements.

Client Engagement: Keeping the Momentum Going

Lastly, assigning homework keeps the client engaged with both the fitness plan and the online platform even when they are not in an in-person session with you.

This consistent interaction keeps the momentum going and further integrates online training into their routine, making them more likely to continue with the program in the long term.

After your clients have completed their “homework,” it’s crucial to sit down and discuss their experience. Was the app interface intuitive? Were the exercises challenging enough? Did they face any technical issues?

Gathering this feedback not only shows your commitment to continual improvement but also provides valuable data to enhance your services.

In essence, the homework approach acts as a microcosm of your larger online training program.

It’s a stepping stone that allows clients to experience the online training model in a controlled, yet independent manner, while also providing you with invaluable data and feedback to continually refine and improve your services.

The Path to Full-Scale Online Training: Evaluating Lessons and Preparing for The Next Level

Once you’ve successfully implemented mini-programs and gathered crucial initial data, it’s tempting to hit the ground running with a full-scale, comprehensive online training program.

However, this transition needs to be both thoughtful and strategic. Here’s how to go about it:

Scaling Assessment and Readiness: A Multi-Client Approach

As you consider moving from pilot mini-programs to full-scale online training, it’s crucial to assess not just your readiness but the readiness across multiple clients.

After all, scalability is the ultimate goal. Here’s a structured approach for evaluating your multi-client readiness for a full online transition.

Assessing Your Capabilities as a Trainer

It’s one thing to manage one or two online clients, but what about five or ten? Can you handle crafting unique programs, monitoring progress, and maintaining communication at scale?

You need to assess your own bandwidth and systems to ensure they’re capable of supporting a larger client base.

Evaluating Multi-Client Comfort and Readiness

Next, take a close look at your clients’ comfort and proficiency with your online programs. Are the majority navigating the software easily? Are they engaged in the program and providing you with actionable feedback?

It’s not enough for just one client to be comfortable; you need a broader base of satisfied clients who can vouch for your services.

Survey your clients or have one-on-one discussions to gauge their experiences and willingness to continue in a more intensive online format.

The Importance of Collective Readiness

Remember, the transition to full-scale online training is a symbiotic process that relies heavily on both trainer and clients being fully on board. Your clients’ collective readiness is just as crucial as your own in making a successful transition.

If both you and a critical mass of your clients are confident and prepared, then it’s likely a good time to roll out your more comprehensive online training programs.

Iterative Expansion: A Phased Approach

It’s okay to start small. Instead of moving all your clients to a full-scale program simultaneously, consider an iterative approach. Transition a small, committed group first, learn from that experience, and then gradually add more clients to your online offerings.

This phased approach allows you to fine-tune your programs and systems while minimizing potential disruptions.

By being mindful of these considerations, you set the stage for a successful and sustainable expansion of your online training services, allowing you to scale your business in a way that benefits both you and your growing clientele.

A Learning Journey: Lessons and Reflections

Even though you’re progressing, remember that every new level brings its own set of challenges and learning opportunities. Regularly review what has worked well and what requires adjustment.

Was the software efficient? Were the mini-programs effective in achieving the desired outcomes? Understanding the answers to these questions is foundational for ongoing improvement.

Capitalizing on Early Wins: Your Launchpad for Future Success

As you become more adept at this online transition, document your achievements. The testimonials, feedback, and even the analytics are not just ego-boosters; they’re essential tools for future marketing and refinement of your program.

These success stories offer irrefutable proof of your capabilities and can serve as compelling case studies when you’re ready to expand your clientele.

Setting the Course for Long-Term Success

Taking this gradual, methodical approach to transitioning from in-person to online training isn’t merely a strategy for mitigating risk; it’s about building a sustainable and scalable business model.

By carefully pacing this shift, capturing lessons learned, and setting robust expectations for fuller programs, you’re not just wading into new territory—you’re laying down a solid pathway for both you and your clients to walk toward long-term success.

Part 7: Managing Payments – Building a Robust Financial Infrastructure for Now and the Future

online personal training finance and payments

To sustain any business, you must ensure not only seamless service delivery but also a reliable and professional transaction process. While online personal training has its own appeal, particularly its flexibility and potential for passive income, your focus should equally be on the mechanics of payment—how to effectively, securely, and professionally get paid for your services.

But the need for a robust payment management system doesn’t just end at facilitating transactions; it extends into the realm of future marketing efforts as well.

While some online training software platforms come with rudimentary payment solutions, they often lack the holistic capabilities needed for comprehensive business management.

This is where the integration of a robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system with a specialized payment platform like Stripe comes into play.

Why Consider Future Marketing Efforts?

It’s vital to understand that a good CRM system is not just about managing customer data or tracking sales. It is engineered to be a potent marketing tool.

From sending automated follow-ups and newsletters to segmenting your client base for targeted marketing campaigns, a CRM gives you the marketing horsepower that most online training software lacks.

Incorporating a CRM system from the outset allows you to think beyond immediate financial transactions and to also lay the groundwork for sustained marketing efforts.

It sets you up for success by building in mechanisms for customer retention, upselling, and even referrals. The marketing features of a CRM can be harnessed to not only keep existing clients engaged but also to attract new ones, thereby ensuring long-term revenue streams.

Scalability and Adaptability

A CRM system can grow with your business. As your client list expands, the data analytics and customer insights provided by a CRM become increasingly invaluable.

They can guide your marketing strategies, helping you to allocate resources more effectively and even to identify new business opportunities.

By integrating a CRM system with Stripe, you’re not just setting up a system to get paid; you’re installing a comprehensive, scalable, and future-proof infrastructure that will serve you well in the long run.

This integration ensures that you are prepared for the complexities of not just payment management but also effective marketing, giving you the most holistic toolset to succeed in your online personal training venture.

Understanding Stripe: A Payment Solution for Businesses

Stripe is a technology company that builds economic infrastructure for the internet. In layman’s terms, it allows you to accept payments securely over the internet.

It’s not just a payment gateway but a comprehensive tool that manages transactions, handles subscriptions, and even helps you manage your business finances.

Stripe has several advantages. First, it’s incredibly secure and compliant with rigorous payment standards, thereby ensuring that your financial transactions are in safe hands.

Second, it’s user-friendly; even those with little to no technical know-how can navigate it easily.

And third, it’s globally accepted, meaning you can receive payments from almost anywhere in the world, giving your business a truly global footprint.

Why Two Systems are Better Than One: Online Training Software vs CRM

Your online training software is exceptional for what it is designed to do: manage clients and program workouts. However, these platforms often lack sophisticated marketing and financial capabilities.

On the other hand, a CRM system focuses on customer relationships, including streamlining marketing efforts and payments.

When you operate both systems concurrently, you’re essentially playing to each platform’s strengths. The training software provides an excellent service to your clients in terms of their fitness journey, while the CRM takes care of the business end of things.

This dual-system strategy offers you the best of both worlds: excellent client service and robust business management.

Setting Up from the Start: Investing in a Scalable Ecosystem

When launching your online personal training business, the tools you choose to manage client interactions, workouts, and payments can make a significant impact on both your short-term success and long-term scalability.

We recommend setting up three crucial components from the get-go: online personal training software, a robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, and a secure payment platform like Stripe.

The Importance of a Three-Pronged Approach
  1. Online Personal Training Software: Though we may not be able to assist with this component yet, it’s vital for managing client workouts, tracking progress, and delivering your training services in a structured, user-friendly manner.
  2. CRM System: This serves as your marketing powerhouse, equipped to handle everything from automated follow-ups to advanced analytics. Its role isn’t just to manage client data but to also facilitate potent marketing campaigns tailored to your growing customer base.
  3. Stripe Integration: This is your financial workhorse. Stripe offers a secure and seamless payment experience, from one-time transactions to monthly subscription models.

Initiating your business with this trinity ensures that you’re not just catering to present needs but also preparing for future growth and scalability.

Each of these systems is designed to adapt and expand as your clientele grows, thereby saving you the time, effort, and financial costs associated with system migrations further down the line.

The Strength Matters Powerhouse: More Than Just a Website

When you opt for a website built through us—offered at no additional cost—you’re securing much more than just a digital storefront.

Our package includes a comprehensive suite of marketing tools designed to integrate seamlessly with your CRM and Stripe.

This full-fledged ecosystem provides you with an advantage that standalone systems simply can’t match.

Long-Term Benefits

By investing in our integrated suite, you are essentially laying down a robust, adaptable foundation that will serve your business for years to come.

The capabilities go beyond just accepting payments and managing customer data; they extend to advanced analytics, customer segmentation, and automated marketing.

This comprehensive approach ensures that your payment processes are not only smooth but also professional, reinforcing your credibility and trustworthiness in the competitive online personal training market.

By focusing on these three pillars—training software, CRM, and Stripe—you’ll not only be setting your business up for immediate success but also ensuring its long-term sustainability and scalability.

The Professional Edge: Why PayPal and Venmo Just Won’t Cut It

In the world of online personal training, professionalism can set you apart. While platforms like PayPal and Venmo offer ease of use, they’re generally not perceived as professional solutions for business transactions. Plus, they lack the business-centric features that Stripe and a CRM system offers.

Automating for Efficiency: Subscription Models & Recurring Payments

As your online training business grows, the last thing you want is to get bogged down with manual administrative tasks. Automating your payment processes frees up your time, allowing you to focus on what you do best: training your clients.

Setting up automated recurring payments through your CRM and Stripe isn’t just convenient; it also contributes to a more predictable revenue stream. Once set up, the system takes care of billing, freeing you from the task of chasing down payments.

In summary, while it might be tempting to manage your payments through your online training software, our experience suggests that a specialized CRM system, integrated with a professional-grade payment platform like Stripe, is the most robust and scalable option for serious online personal trainers.

It not only makes you look and operate more professionally, but it also sets you up for long-term, scalable success.

Part 8: Ongoing Marketing Efforts – Setting the Course for Sustainable Growth

online personal training - google business set up

In the fast-paced world of online personal training, staying still means falling behind. Ongoing marketing isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s the linchpin for sustainable business growth.

But where should you focus your efforts, especially when resources are finite?

This section aims to guide you through setting up a focused and effective marketing strategy that evolves with your business.

Starting Local: Establishing Your Business on Google

Your initial marketing should aim for maximum impact with minimal effort, and there’s no better way to achieve that than by focusing on local SEO strategies. Getting your personal training business to show up on local searches on Google not only increases visibility but also sets the foundation for broader marketing efforts.

Google Business Profile: Your Online Business Card

Consider your Google My Business (GMB) page as your online business card but with superpowers.

A well-optimized GMB page not only provides essential details like your location and hours of operation but also serves as a platform to showcase client testimonials, post updates, and even share blog posts.

Regularly updating your GMB profile can significantly improve your local search rankings. Ensure all information is up-to-date and accurate.

Potential clients will often see your GMB profile before they ever reach your website, so make it count.

LinkedIn: The Professional’s Social Network

After optimizing your GMB, LinkedIn should be your next point of focus. As a platform designed for professionals, it offers a unique opportunity to build your brand and network with other industry professionals.

Start with a well-crafted profile that showcases your experience, specializations, and client success stories.

Don’t underestimate the power of a compelling LinkedIn Personal Page. This is your opportunity to post valuable content, from workout tips to client testimonials, and engage directly with your target audience.

The Pitfalls of Influencer-Style Marketing

While it may be tempting to dive into influencer-style marketing, this strategy is often a time-consuming and resource-draining distraction from more targeted and sustainable marketing efforts.

Crafting the perfect Instagram shot or producing regular vlogs may garner likes, but it often fails to convert into tangible business growth. Furthermore, it requires a constant stream of content, drawing your focus away from client training and program development.

In short, it’s a high-effort, low-return strategy that’s best avoided in the initial stages of building your online training business.

Choose One Platform and Master It

It’s easy to get carried away and spread yourself too thin across multiple platforms. But the key is to choose one platform after you’ve solidified your presence on Google and LinkedIn, and do it exceptionally well.

Whether it’s Instagram for showcasing client transformations or YouTube for sharing workout tips, focusing your energy on mastering one platform allows you to build a more engaged and targeted audience.

The Future: Diversifying Marketing Channels

Once you’ve firmly established your brand on Google My Business and LinkedIn, you can start thinking about diversifying your marketing channels.

Platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube can be added to the mix. The choice of platform should align with your target demographic and the type of content you’re comfortable creating.

Tracking and Metrics

What gets measured, gets managed. Use the analytics tools available on these platforms and integrated within your CRM to understand how your marketing efforts are translating into business metrics.

Are you acquiring new clients? Is your engagement rate increasing? Use this data to refine your strategies continually.

Setting up a focused, manageable, and effective ongoing marketing strategy isn’t just about immediate gains. It’s about laying the groundwork for long-term, sustainable growth.

And remember, the world of online marketing is ever-changing. So, staying up-to-date and agile is not just advisable; it’s essential for long-term success.

By concentrating initially on Google My Business and LinkedIn, you can create a robust and professional online presence.

This sets the stage for further diversification and enables you to build a comprehensive marketing strategy that stands the test of time.

Conclusion: A Comprehensive Guide to Mastering Online Personal Training

online personal training guide

The journey from traditional in-person personal training to a fully-fledged online business is a multi-faceted endeavor that demands far more than a mere change of platform.

It requires a holistic approach that encompasses brand identity, the careful selection of tools and software, nuanced pricing strategies, focused client acquisition, and ongoing marketing efforts.

As we’ve navigated through this intricate roadmap, we’ve explored how each aspect interconnects to form a cohesive and sustainable business model.

Starting with the foundational aspects, the focus is not merely on ‘why’ you should venture into online training but on ‘how’ to do it effectively and professionally.

This involves strategic planning that encompasses crafting compelling training programs and establishing a robust financial infrastructure.

The journey is replete with opportunities to tailor your offerings, reconsider pricing models, and to ensure your marketing aligns with your brand ethos.

Furthermore, as we discussed transitioning from traditional payment models to more robust CRM and financial systems, it’s clear that the professional image you project isn’t just about your training expertise but also about how seamlessly you can manage your operations and financial transactions.

This professionalism extends to your marketing strategies, suggesting a measured approach that starts with foundational platforms like Google My Business and LinkedIn, rather than scattering efforts or succumbing to time-consuming trends like influencer marketing.

Importantly, this isn’t a ‘set it and forget it’ process. As you scale, both your operational systems and marketing strategies will need to adapt. The guide is designed to set you on a path that is not only profitable but also sustainable and adaptable to the ever-changing digital landscape.

It’s about laying down a blueprint for a business that is resilient, continuously evolving, and primed for long-term success.

The move to online personal training is less a leap and more a thoughtful journey—one that involves careful planning, continuous assessment, and a willingness to adapt and grow.

Whether you’re a seasoned trainer or a newcomer to the online space, this guide aims to provide a comprehensive resource that will help you not just to navigate but to master this exciting realm.

But remember, the future of personal training is hybrid training—a future that promises to be as dynamic and rewarding as the effort you’re willing to invest.


How to Do an Online Personal Training Session?

To conduct an online personal training session, start by setting up a reliable internet connection and choosing a video conferencing software that both you and your client are comfortable with.

Prepare the workout plan in advance, ideally within your online training platform, so that the client can easily access and follow it. Once the session begins, guide your client through warm-ups, workout routines, and cool-downs, just as you would in an in-person session.

Use the video function to observe their form, provide real-time feedback, and make any necessary adjustments to the workout plan.

How Profitable Is Online Personal Training?

The profitability of online personal training can vary based on several factors including your pricing model, the number of clients you have, and your operational expenses. However, it generally offers a higher profit margin than in-person training due to lower overhead costs. Once you have set up your digital ecosystem effectively, scalability becomes easier, allowing for higher profitability in the long run.

Can I Train to Be a Personal Trainer Online?

Yes, you can train to be a personal trainer online. Several accredited institutions offer online certification programs that include coursework in anatomy, nutrition, exercise physiology, and program design. However, it’s crucial to supplement online learning with practical experience to gain a comprehensive skill set. Also, make sure the certification you choose is recognized and respected in the industry.

How Much Do Online Personal Trainers Make?

Earnings for online personal trainers can vary widely depending on factors like experience, client base, and pricing model. New trainers may earn around $20-$50 per session, while experienced trainers with a larger clientele can charge upwards of $100 per session or more. Some trainers also offer subscription models, which can provide more stable, recurring income.

How Much Do Online Personal Trainers Charge?

The cost of hiring an online personal trainer can range widely based on their experience, the services offered, and the length and complexity of the program. Rates can start as low as $20 per session for new trainers, and go up to $100 or more for seasoned professionals. Some trainers offer package deals or monthly subscriptions, which can also influence the overall cost.

What Tools Are Essential for Online Personal Training?

The essential tools for online personal training include a reliable computer, high-quality webcam and microphone, workout equipment, and specialized training software. Additionally, a robust CRM system integrated with a payment gateway like Stripe will be crucial for client management and financial transactions.

How to Build Your Online Personal Training Brand?

Building your online brand involves defining your niche, creating a visually consistent brand identity, and leveraging social media and other online platforms. Make sure your messaging is clear and aligned with your target audience’s needs and aspirations.

What Are the Different Business Models for Online Personal Training?

The business models for online personal training can vary widely. You could offer one-on-one coaching, group sessions, or packaged training programs. Subscription models, flat fees, and tiered pricing structures are all options for generating revenue.

How to Get Your First Online Personal Training Clients?

To get your first clients, focus on leveraging your existing network. Use social media, online forums, and referrals from current or past in-person clients. Once you’ve gained a few clients, use their testimonials and success stories to attract more.

What Steps Are Involved in Creating an Online Personal Training Program?

Start by transitioning current clients to familiarize them with the online platform. Begin with a small set of 2-5 workouts, collect feedback, and then expand into more comprehensive programs. It’s crucial to introduce them to the software in an in-person setting first, to mitigate technical issues.

How to Manage Payments in Online Personal Training?

It’s advisable to integrate a robust CRM system with a specialized payment platform like Stripe to manage payments professionally and efficiently. This ensures a seamless, secure transaction process while also enabling you to manage client relationships effectively.

What Are the Best Marketing Strategies for Online Personal Trainers?

Start with optimizing your Google My Business page and LinkedIn profile for credibility and local search results. Choose one platform and focus on doing it well before diversifying your marketing efforts.

Is a CRM System Necessary for Online Personal Training?

While not absolutely mandatory, a CRM system offers numerous advantages like customer segmentation, advanced analytics, and more effective marketing campaigns. It is highly recommended for long-term business sustainability.

How to Set Up My Google Business Profile for Online Personal Training?

Setting up a Google My Business page involves creating an account, verifying your business, and optimizing your profile with appropriate categories, images, and service listings. Consistent posting and collecting customer reviews can further enhance your visibility.

What Are the Benefits of Using Stripe for Online Personal Training Payments?

Stripe offers a seamless and secure payment gateway that can be integrated into your CRM and training software. It supports multiple payment methods and currencies, making it easier to cater to an international clientele.

How to Avoid Common Mistakes in Online Personal Training Marketing?

To avoid common mistakes, start by focusing on professional platforms like Google My Business and LinkedIn, rather than getting sidetracked by influencer-style marketing. Also, ensure that your marketing efforts align with your brand’s values and message.

What to Consider When Pricing Your Online Personal Training Services?

Consider factors such as the value you offer, your operating costs, and market rates when setting your prices. A tiered pricing strategy can allow you to cater to different client needs and budgets.

How to Transition from In-Person to Online Personal Training?

Start by introducing your current clients to the online software during in-person sessions. Use this opportunity to familiarize them with the platform, address any technical issues, and transition smoothly to a full-fledged online program.

Why is Local Marketing Important for Online Personal Training?

Local marketing, especially via Google Business Profile, is crucial for establishing credibility and attracting clients who may be searching for local services—even if you plan on expanding globally. It’s an excellent starting point for SEO and building a robust online presence.


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