By Danny Gallagher
Do you look forward to doing more physical chores like spending hours installing perfectly seamless gutters or building that backyard barbecue?
Have you always been “the athletic type” who works out so religiously that your doctor has to tell you to slow down before you pull something?
Your health habit could be the start of one of the fastest growing career paths in the current economy. You could become a personal trainer.
It might sound like the crazy dream of someone looking to break free from the shackles of office life, but it’s more reachable than you might think. According to The New York Times, the personal training industry has seen a major boom in just the last 10 years. Demand is also at an all-time high, and it’s one of the few industries with an extremely low turnover rate.
Of course, being part of a high-demand, dependable business is still a business, and just being able to break the office push-up record isn’t enough to ensure that you’ll be ready for the daily grind it can deliver. It’s just like any other business and requires a great deal of flexibility, organization, and marketing skills.
It can also take some work to make your business reach such a lucrative level. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, fitness trainers and instructors earn a median annual salary of $31,090, which roughly comes to just under $15 an hour. That, of course, is just an average number. It’s very possible to go above and beyond those earnings levels if you can tap into a market that doesn’t have access to quality trainers or even regular access to exercise equipment.
It also requires a great deal of schedule organization and flexibility. Running your own business may allow you to set your own hours, but you’re also providing a service that is designed to meet the needs of your clients’ busy schedules. That requires being able to meet your clients on time at some very odd hours.
The most important service you can provide, however, goes beyond just meeting your customers’ schedules and nagging them enough to stick to their weekly cardio workouts.
Clients who pay you for your time are also paying you for your knowledge and expertise in health and nutrition, and they expect results if traditional diet and exercise can’t deliver in those rare cases. They expect you to know ways to refocus their efforts to help them reach their health goals. You’ll definitely need a broader well of knowledge beyond just what works for you.
Starting a personal training business is just like any other business. There are positives and negatives to starting one, and requirements and preparations that need to happen on a daily basis to make it a success.
However, being a personal trainer has one unwritten positive that can make it more fulfilling than just getting a regular paycheck. You’ll be helping people improve the quality of their health and their lives at a time when they need help most. That may not show up on a balance sheet, but it’s a comforting feeling that money can’t buy.
Danny Gallagher is a freelance writer, reporter, humorist, and blogger.