How To Start A Fitness Business

how to start a fitness business by person

So you want to start your own fitness business, take the leap. You’re feeling that burn. It’s hard but rewarding. How do you even get started? Running a business can be a recipe for burnout, as everything is up to you alone. Here’s a simple plan you can customize and get started.

Step 1: Do Your Market Research

Did you research your competition and potential market before starting your business? Some small businesses skip this crucial step, but it’s never too late. Do some Google searches for businesses like yours. What are you going to focus on? Here are a few common themes to consider based on your passion:

  • Personal training
  • Spin
  • Yoga
  • Zumba
  • Massage
  • Pilates

Or, find out where your competitors are doing great, and then create a new product or service that pairs with what you’re already offering but creates more value for a potential client. They offer acupuncture? What if you could offer acupuncture and herbal medicine consults?

Step 2: Get Certified

Do you have the proper certifications to be able to take on clients? You may need credentials in order to train people. Check out a few of the following resources:

Step 3. Write a business plan

Do you know if you’re going to be profitable? How much are you going to spend when you start your fitness business? What you need to charge customers? Regardless of the industry you’re planning to invest in, it’s a great idea to put together.

Here’s what we’ve figured out you may need:

  • You’ll likely need a bank account
  • You will want to figure out if you need a LLC, Inc, or something else. Check out LegalZoom for some additional info.
  • Who your competition is
  • Marketing plan
  • Financial projections
  • Get insurance and permits

We have a fairly extensive write up here that reviews the ins and outs of starting a business if you want to read more.

Step 4. Create Partnerships

If you’re a solo business owner, partnerships are crucial. Instead of hiring in help right away, focus on building partnerships with other independent businesses for referrals. Partnerships can also look like joint events hosted together, or even a think tank of entrepreneurs getting together to plan business growth or hack marketing. You might share resources or just ideas. You could offer each other some encouragement or conversation you won’t get working by yourself all day. Being around other people in your ecosystem can spark great ideas.

Partnerships can also be in the form of automation. If you can’t hire in help, hire in automation of the tasks that take up too much of your time or that you don’t have the expertise to do yourself. This will free up time to start your fitness business.

solo business owner

Step 5. Set Goals & Deadlines

One of the hardest things to do is tell if your solo business is on track for growth. If there are no new employees and income is up and down, how do you know you’re on target? Set goals.

Start with goals for being able to support yourself or keep the business in the black. Work your way backward to figuring out how much income that requires. Then calculate how many appointments or clients that works out to. Once you know what your goal is for number of clients or appointments, you can see over time how much marketing, networking, or word of mouth it requires to keep that amount of work coming in.

Set goals with deadlines, but be reasonable with yourself. Many fitness business owners when they start have burned out trying to do everything themselves all at once. Keep trucking.

Some additional advice – use the right tools

Want to know what the best tools are for your fitness business? Consider checking out the following to get started:

  • Yottled is a fantastic all-in-one that will help you with marketing, payment processing, memberships, customer management, and more.
  • MindBody is a dominant player in the all-in-one space but can be pricey if you’re just starting out.

Want to piece things together on your own?

  • WordPress is a great website platform to get your feet wet and also offers plugins with just about every tool
  • Mailchimp is a fantastic marketing tool if you’re wanting to hack it on your own.

Have a Flexible Business Plan

One last note on being a solo entrepreneur: it’s totally fine to pivot the company to a new product or focus. If you started out teaching tai chi and then discover a different martial art or healing art brings in clients, you can switch focus.

How do you know when to pivot? You might want to consider a flexible business plan that allows for these kinds of changes when you find a lot of time is spent on bringing in a little income, but there are bigger opportunities going to waste. Or to put it another way, if you find you started out trying to run one kind of company and your clients seem to want to give you money for something else, consider being flexible about your business plan to allow for growth where it’s easiest for you to scale.

A very wise startup founder whose tech company was acquired for several billion dollars once gave this advice: when you’re trying to figure out what kind of company to build or product to offer, don’t think so much about what product you want to create or what will make you the most money. Think about what kind of person you want to serve. That may just be your guiding light to find bliss when you start your fitness business.


Laura Cowan

Laura Cowan

Laura K. Cowan is a tech editor and journalist whose work has focused on promoting sustainability initiatives for automotive, green tech and conscious living media outlets. A deep study of narrative journalism, storytelling and sustainable technology allows Ms. Cowan to draw out the meaningful stories of best practices from diverse professionals in an exploration of the culture and trends in emerging industries. She is currently Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Midwest tech news blog, Cronicle Press. Ms. Cowan’s writing and speaking have appeared with Automobile Quarterly, Writer Unboxed, Inhabitat, CNBC, The Ann Arbor Observer and The National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

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