Whether you are starting an online fitness coaching business from scratch or you have decided to transition from face to face coaching to online coaching, the following information will ensure you get off on the right foot.
Below, we’ll explain how online fitness coaching varies from in-person coaching, the benefits of moving your coaching business online, what you’ll need to get started and how to market your business once you’re ready to launch.
What Is Online Fitness Coaching?
Online fitness coaching entails delivering training sessions over the internet to clients who could potentially be anywhere. Most online fitness coaches work out of their home, and because they conduct numerous coaching sessions every week they typically have a portion of their home set aside for just this purpose.
Some online fitness coaches work with only 1 type of client. That might be people who want to lose weight and improve their cardiovascular health, athletes looking to gain a competitive edge, or people primarily interested in building muscle mass. Others work with a variety of clients with a variety of goals.
In most cases, the online fitness coach provides remotely-led workouts on a set schedule. They may do so for a single client at a time or for numerous clients all tuning in for the same session. If they work with 1 client at a time it is usually because that client has very specific needs and goals.
Some online fitness coaches also offer nutritional advice, though you should be certain you are qualified to do so before wading into that particular pool. All will conduct periodic assessments to determine what kind of progress their clients are making toward their stated goals.
The Practical Benefits of Having an Online Fitness Coaching Business
The online fitness industry is worth billions of pounds and is growing by leaps and bounds. Certainly, the pandemic had something to do with expanding the market for remote coaching, and some clients may disappear now that things are returning to normal, but not all of them. Not even close. So, besides a booming market to tap into, what are the other benefits of starting an online fitness coaching business?
Petrol prices have nearly doubled in the past 18 months which means driving to see your clients is more expensive than ever. With an online fitness coaching business, there is none of that. You saunter into your home studio a few minutes ahead of the scheduled appointment, review who you’re working with and what is on the agenda for this session and then connect with your client.
You set your own rates
When you work with a gym they have very definite ideas about how much you can charge and other aspects of your sessions. They also take a pretty significant cut of what you make. Neither is the case when you have your own online fitness coaching business. You not only set your own rates, but you also keep everything you make and you can lead a group of as many clients as you want without running afoul of the fitness club’s T&Cs.
The business is scalable
An online fitness coaching business is entirely scalable to meet your ambitions. If you want to take on additional clients the online structure and technology that powers it can easily accommodate you. Whether you lead 1-on-1 sessions or you lead group sessions with 20 or more clients, you will not need to buy additional fitness equipment, nor will you need to change your studio setup.
It’s also flexible
Even if you’re on holiday you can still keep in touch with your clients and even conduct sessions. As long as you have your camera and an internet connection, you’re good to go on the beach or in the hotel room. It’s the kind of flexibility most people only dream about.
You set your own schedule
Face-to-face training sessions are never easy to arrange. Both parties have to be available at a certain time and be able to meet at a certain place. More often than not that means working early mornings and late evenings. But when you have your own remote fitness coaching business you set your own schedule.
You can work less if you want
Because you won’t be spending hours running back and forth to meet clients face-to-face you can work with the same number of clients and spend fewer hours on the job. Not conducting face-to-face sessions also means you won’t have to spend time cleaning up gym equipment after a session. Remember too that because you’re not paying transportation costs or the fitness club premium you’ll get to keep more of what you make, which means less work for more pay.
You can moonlight as an online fitness coach
If you’re a qualified fitness coach but you like your current job you can still make some money on the side by taking on clients in the evening or whenever you have openings in your schedule. All you need is some fitness equipment, a camera and an internet connection.
How to Start an Online Coaching Business Step By Step
Now that we have a better idea of the benefits of starting an online coaching business let’s go through the steps of actually setting one up. It should go without saying that you may need to tweak some of these steps to accommodate your particular situation.
Step 1: Make a coaching plan
The first thing you need to do is decide what type of fitness coaching you’re going to offer and to whom. Are you a cardio coach, a bodybuilding coach, an endurance coach, a flexibility coach or a combination of all the above? You need to answer this question before you can do anything else. Once you have the answer, break down what you do into bite-sized increments. These will form the components of your fitness program. Make sure you don’t frontload your program too much in an attempt to dazzle clients right out of the gate. By doing so you may run short on valuable info later in the programme.
Step 2: Bring together the tech
If you hope to produce professional-looking live streams you will need the right equipment. For fitness coaching there are two types of equipment you’ll need: the AV equipment and the fitness equipment. Let’s look at the AV equipment first.
At a minimum we would recommend you have a:
High-quality video camera – That might be the camera on your phone or tablet, or the one on your laptop. Whichever one you choose, it needs to produce a nice clear picture because nothing will turn your clients off faster than a poor quality image being transmitted from your end. They’ll start wondering what they’re paying all the money for.
A high-quality mic – You are going to be sitting, squatting or standing some distance from your camera so you want a mic that will pick up everything clear as a bell. You could take a chance with the mic built into your phone but a better idea is to invest a little money (much less than what your phone cost) in a standalone mic you can plug into your phone that will produce audio to match your video quality.
Lights – You don’t want to appear as a dusty smudge to your clients so it will pay handsome dividends if you invest in a couple of LED studio lights. A pair might cost £100 or so, but they will make a huge difference in the quality of your production. And being LED lights, they won’t run your electric bill through the roof.
Pro tip: Make sure your workout area is contrasty. That is, you don’t want everything to be the same shade of grey. You want things to be easily recognisable and stand out from one another on camera.
Step 3: Gather the necessary fitness equipment
If you are a qualified fitness pro you will likely already have some or most of the equipment you will need. But it’s important that you don’t launch your online fitness training business unless and until you have everything. You don’t want to ever say “You know what? I just realised I don’t have that piece of equipment, so let’s do something else.” That sort of thing is reputation kryptonite.
Fortunately, most workouts can be conducted using a small amount of equipment. During some sessions, you may only need tension bands, or even nothing at all. As we do not know exactly what type of virtual training you will be doing, it’s impossible for us to say “get 1 of these and 2 of those”. But unless you are a bodybuilding coach equipment should not be a major expense.
Let’s talk about coaching bodybuilders and weight training for a minute. The fact is, if you want to lead people in weight training sessions you will need to have a fairly extensive setup. How do we define “fairly extensive setup?” Well, a selection of dumbbells is a good place to start. And you won’t be able to do much without a weight bench, barbells, a rack and an assortment of plates of differing weights. You should also have other staples including a medicine ball and kettlebells.
But before you do anything, go through each and every step of your coaching program with a fine-tooth comb, noting what will be needed for each step and then checking to see if you already have it. Make sure there are no parts of your programme that call for something you don’t have or aren’t willing to buy.
Step 4: Set up your training area
Chances are you will be conducting most of your training sessions from your home. So go through your abode and find an area that you can dedicate to your online sessions. This should be somewhere you can leave the lights, camera stand and exercise equipment in place between sessions. The visual continuity will be reassuring to your clients, and not having to set things up and break them down around each session will save you time and effort.
Make sure your training space:
- Has enough room for you to operate without restriction.
- Is able to host all the exercise equipment you need, again, without restricting your movement.
- That the space is clean and free of visual distractions.
- That it is in a place where no one is going to walk through during a session.
- That the room is free of excessive noise from the street or the rest of the house.
- That everything you need to conduct the session is at hand. You never want to leave the frame entirely during a coaching session.
If your coaching area meets all of those criteria you will be in good shape to get started with your online coaching business.
Tips To Get Your New Online Fitness Coaching Business Off The Ground
The prospect of giving up a regular job and a dependable salary to strike out on your own can be a daunting one. The unknown, after all, is where our most primal fears live. It would be nice if you could hang out your digital shingle and the world would beat a path to your door. But it doesn’t work like that. You will need to hustle a bit, at least at the beginning, to get the word out about your new online fitness coaching business. Here are some tips that should help.
Start a fitness newsletter
You might feel this is pointless because you don’t have an email list to send your newsletter out to. Not to worry. There are numerous companies that (for a fee) will help you create an email mailing list to target your specific demographic. Databroker is one such company, but there are many more.
This type of B2B and B2C “data as a service” company will build out an email list that targets the kind of people you’re looking for. This can be an extremely cost-effective type of marketing and can make a world of difference if you’re just getting started with your online fitness coaching business.
Create a sense of urgency
Running a limited-time offer is a great way to create a sense of urgency in potential clients and drive conversions. You can try something like “There are only 2 afternoon and 3 morning slots remaining, so get in touch today and reserve yours before it’s too late.” Try it. It works.
Use paper flyers
These days people are bombarded with digital advertising from the minute they wake up to the minute they shut their eyes at night. Embracing “Old School” marketing like paper flyers and posting them on community message boards, or paying someone to pass them out on the street downtown, can be a very effective type of marketing. It’s memorable because it’s so against the grain.
You can never have enough positive client testimonials. So don’t be shy about asking people to provide them or about using them. Sprinkle testimonials around your website, add them to your stationery and put them on those paper flyers we just talked about. People want to feel comfortable that they’re not being drawn into some elaborate hoax. Testimonials are an effective way to address their fears.
Now you’ve done the training, you’re fit to take your fitness coaching business online! We hope you found this guide useful. When you’re ready to push through to the next level for even greater gains, see how you could introduce community aspects that tie everything together and keep members coming back for more.