So, you want to start an online fitness business………..do ya?
Sounds good…….well, at least, it sounded good to me. Potentially lucrative, making a difference, helping others………..all from the friendly confines of your own home. Or your own beachfront resort. Either one.
And you have some good ideas? You “get it”? Well, that’s awesome. I’m assuming you’ve mastered the “physical”. And you likely want to help others do the same.
And you begin. You start your own blog. You begin to write. You start to take clients. It’s time. Time to do this thing. You just start without much direction. “Ready, shoot, AIM!”, right? But there’s just one problem………
Everything you can ever possibly say has likely been said before.
Are you going to write about perfecting the deadlift? Sorry. Gentilcore and Dellanave got that covered.
You gonna have a Westside Barbell slant to your training? Nope. Syatt. Done.
You gonna write about how revolutionary hip thrusts are? Yeah, but no – Contreras FTW………
Macro setting? Morgan. Macro setting for skinny fat trainees? Mychal.
Science based nutrition? Aragon. Or pre-porn McDonald. Take your pick.
Helping the general public? Using barbells AND medicine? The Nadolskys, of course.
How about “zombies” and “being sexy”? Rog Law. (Eastern Eagles, hats off to you…….)
Behavioral patterns and geeky tech fitness? Nerdfitness.com and Dick Talens are all over it.
A “zen-like fitness approach”? Juicy. (It was all a dream……….I used to read Word Up magazine…….)
Getting brutally strong with science? Nuckols, for sure.
So, what the hell, exactly, are you going to say?
IT’S ALL BEEN SAID (AND DONE) BEFORE.
You won’t be able to authoritatively give your thoughts on squats, deadlifts, nutrient timing, macros, food biases, program creation……..or ANYTHING, really. Are you going to “change the game”? Are you going to “revolutionize fitness”?
But that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed.
But in order to succeed without revolutionizing the universe, you’re gonna need to learn a few tricks. A few “best practices”. You’re gonna need to approach this beast intelligently. Because unless you’ve got some knowledge up your sleeve that the rest of the world doesn’t know about……..you’re not likely to reinvent the wheel any time soon.
Things have been going pretty well over here lately. And it threw me for a loop the first time someone contacted ME and asked, “What are your secrets?”
I was all like, “Dafuq? Me? My secrets? I have no clue………”
But in the name of self-reflection, I’ve realized I did make some very distinct and specific changes…………that have made all the difference.
11 TIPS TO SUCCEEDING IN THE FITNESS GAME WITH LIMITED FITNESS KNOWLEDGE
1. Get results and have before and after pictures. And testimonials. Loads of them.
This should be priority #1. If you’re starting out, you NEED to get your hands on some legitimate, solid before and after pictures. And fast. And you need to ask for testimonials and put them on your site as well.
Nothing screams, “I want to hire this guy/girl,” like a large number of satisfied clients looking lean, mean, and awesome.
Would you EVER hire someone to remodel your bathroom without first seeing their portfolio? Your before and after pictures are your portfolio. Don’t cheat, don’t photoshop, don’t steal others’ pictures………….do it the right way.
But if you’re not getting solid results on a regular basis, take two big steps back…………and go find another job.
2. Find an existing community and become integrated into it.
Creating a Facebook page and a Twitter account is just fine and dandy. But let’s be honest, you’re gonna spend a large majority of your time sharing your own articles and annoying your friends. It’s gonna take a substantial chunk of time to grow your business that way.
Existing communities for fitness are everywhere. I chose Fitocracy, but that’s just one venue. Yours might be Instagram, Reddit, Bodyspace, Nerdfitness, Fitlink……….or a zillion others.
But you’re going to have to find a very specific group of people who share the same interests as you do. And your normal Facebook friends? They probably don’t cut it.
Ever post about your workout philosophies to have 3 out of 650 friends “like” it? Yeah. That’s because most of the general public doesn’t give a shit about you OR your workout.
But find your own, specific niche? And 3 “likes” will promptly turn into 50.
And after you actually find your own little corner of the internet…………..
3. Call people by their first name often when you interact with them.
I was struggling myself when I asked Andy Morgan for recommended reading material. He sent me to Amazon to pick up Dale Carnegie’s classic “How To Make Friends And Influence People”. I had seen it recommended by nearly everyone. Eric Cressey, Jordan Syatt, Jon Goodman, and now Morgan. So, I picked it up and devoured it.
This tip is directly from that book. People love the sound of their own name. It shows personality, individualism, character………..and, well, it makes others like you. Whether they consciously or subconsciously like you doesn’t matter. It simply matters that they do.
And using their first name will help your likability factor. In spades.
4. Take a genuine interest in others. And stop talking about yourself.
Another Carnegie classic. Want others to like you? And talk with you? And share your posts? And eventually purchase services from you?
Then take an interest in them. A genuine interest.
Look at their online profiles and inquire about them. Ask them about their pictures. Or their families. (Don’t be nosy, though….) If you find out they have a particular interest, engage them in conversation about the interest. Talk to them.
Become friends with the people who “like” your business page. Talk to them “outside” of your business page. Be a real person and interact/meet others. Comment on THEIR posts. And they will likely return the favor in the future.
Be witty and humorous. And first and foremost, talk about others and what THEY are doing. And not yourself.
5. Speak in plurals when discussing your business. You should virtually eliminate the word “I”.
No one gives a shit about you or your business. Unless it can possibly help them.
An easy way to take the emphasis off of you and put the emphasis onto your “team” is to always speak in plurals.
It’s never, “I think you should…….”, it’s ALWAYS, “Why don’t we try this……….”
It’s never, “I tell my clients to……..”, it’s ALWAYS, “In our community, we………”
It’s never, “I recommend BCAA powder………..”, it’s ALWAYS, “Some of our members take BCAAs when training fasted……….”
There’s a huge difference in the relative feel of those statements. They convey the exact same idea. But when said with the emphasis of “we”, you’re letting your audience know……….that there’s a community out there – that’s doing amazing things. And perhaps they would like to be a part of it. And when they ARE part of it? Talking like this gives each member a sense of togetherness. That they aren’t alone in their journey, either.
People want to know that their fearless leader will be walking the walk and not just talking the talk. You want people to JOIN you, not purchase from you. And speaking in terms of a community, a group, or a movement is an excellent way to start to assemble your own army of ass-kickers.
6. Don’t be annoying. Or spammy. Actually, they’re pretty much the same thing.
It’s tough. You wrote a kick-ass article and nobody read it.
And you REALLY think (insert famous fitness personality here) would love it.
So, you send it to them and basically say, “Read this, I wrote it.”
It’s something most are guilty of at some point. I know I am. Some of those names in the introduction paragraph can likely tell you this………
And after doing it a few times, I can say with 100% certainty, that it’s NEVER worked out as I wished.
If all you do is beg others to read your work, your work will likely never be read. They’ve probably heard it all before. And if all you EVER post are advertisements and sales pages………..you’ll likely be “unfollowed” or “unliked” pretty quickly.
Be sure to read #4 again. If you’re not genuinely interacting with others, your spammy post will have even LESS clout. People will overlook an ad here and there if they know you and appreciate you. But if you log on for 30 seconds each day just to throw out an ad?
Don’t be surprised when you struggle to have any lasting success.
7. Thank people at every possible opportunity.
Did someone email you a stupid question? Or give you 8 pages of information and ask you to set their macros for free?
It happens. And it’s a bit eye-roll inducing.
And over time, guess what? It’ll happen MORE AND MORE. Not less and less.
And when it happens? Thank them.
Every note, every email, every inquiry – no matter how small, how insignificant, or how mundane………….thank them.
It’s a simple gesture. Even if the email makes you want to murder a kitten and throw your laptop out the window. Be sure to reply, and start your reply with…….
“Thanks so much for your support and for following along – it’s greatly appreciated………..”
It’s such an easy little thing to do – and it works very well. These emails are your lifeblood. Your interactions are your leads. Don’t dry up a well without seeing if there’s anything in it.
8. Let others “in”.
Don’t just be “John The Fitness Guy”. Be YOU!
Some of the most interesting, successful, and FUN follows in the fitness game are the ones who let others know a bit about them.
Adam Bornstein is the king of the nut butters.
John Romaniello loves Taylor Swift a bit too much.
J.C. Deen hates NFL football and poor customer service. And anything else which messes with his “shakra”.
Dick Talens is never serious, ever. If he seems serious, he’s probably trolling.
Jordan Syatt likes coffee and Chipotle (with double or even TRIPLE meat).
Spencer Nadolsky hates clothes and when people say to “eat less, move more”.
Eric Cressey hates the parents of every child he ever helped.
Greg Nuckols eats large amounts of food and washes them down with designer beers. Pretty much every day.
The most successful in this game? Do they love fitness? Of course! That’s their profession!
But they also have a PERSONALITY as well.
There’s 52 zillion trainers out there. So, what makes you you? Do you have kids? An interesting hobby? Do you like to dress up as Star Wars characters on the weekend?
Okay, maybe leave that one out.
But you get the idea. Whatever YOU are, be that person. Let others “in”. Be honest. Be upfront. Be open. Tell them about your funny little happenings and your general musings. People appreciate the view.
Shaquille O’Neal has 9 million followers on Twitter. And it sure as shit isn’t due to basketball (he’s retired) or movies (Kazaam?) or music (Shaq-Fu, baby!). It’s because he’s open and honest. And he tweets about his life and his musings.
And people love it. I would suggest doing the same.
9. Whatever you do, do it REALLY well.
I do have a limited fitness knowledge. I admit this.
I know the very basics of weightlifting. If you have a 500 deadlift and you want to get to 600, I’m not your guy. I’m not good at creating undulating periodization models. Sorry. Gotta find someone else.
I know the very basics of nutrition. My eyes glaze when I read the super-fine details, though.
I know how to “cut” and how to “bulk”. I know the ins-and-outs of the Leangains protocol. I do know this very well.
But mainly? I know what skills my clients need to have in order to be successful. I can give them just enough information and support to keep them on track and motivated. I can help them tell the difference between what is necessary and what is a waste of their time.
I can help them “slow the game down” a bit. And make things clear and concise.
So, although I might not be able to help certain people, and others may scoff when I give a beginning weight lifter a Starting Strength or a Stronglifts 5 x 5 workout, I’ll tell you what I can do………..
I can help you realize that this fitness shit is easy.
It’s not hard. And I can show you exactly how. And provide the scaffolding necessary to accomplish that.
I can help you lose fat quickly and effectively, and without cardio.
THAT’S what I do. And I do it damn well.
So, you can take your advanced lifting techniques and deadlift variations based on body leverages. You can have your optimal accessory exercises for maximal squat performance. You can utilize your 5-day splits with HIIT, kettlebells, and prowler pushes.
My clients will do none of that.
My clients will lift from 45 minutes to an hour, 3 days per week. Nothing more.
My clients will utilize a basic, linear progression model and make proper progress. Simple as that.
And my clients will get fucking phenomenal results.
Which WAS the first item on this list, by the way.
You decide what YOU want to do. And when you decide what you will do, do it better than anyone else has ever done it.
10. Offer more in value than your services cost.
Want the simplest way to have more income?
Be good at what you do – and be a bargain.
In business, there are exactly two ways to earn more: Make more sales, or make more money per sale.
Making more sales is inevitably going to need to be your goal in order to survive long-term.
Always look to scale up. Find the mavens of your community. You never know when one satisfied customer will turn into 10 referrals. Work on your network, your army, and your friends. Don’t be spammy.
Provide an excellent service – a service that’s so damn good at such a solid price that others HAVE to tell everyone about you.
And they likely will.
11. Be humble.
The more you know, the more you will realize that you know nothing.
I’m such a noob. Seriously. When people ask me, “How did you do (this thing) on your site?”………….I laugh.
I don’t know ANYTHING about computers. Not a thing. I learn as I go. Shit, I use POWERPOINT AND PAINT to create my before and after pictures! How insane is that?!?
Online fitness is pretty damn cool. You can meet people, help them, and generate some income. If you’re good enough, it can be substantial.
But it can all disappear in a flash.
If you don’t know the answer to something, tell the person, “Not sure, but I’ll bet I know who does know…….”……..and refer the question to someone else.
Be gracious. Use manners. Smile often. 😀
In essence, treat others the way you would like to be treated. Look people in the eyes. Give a firm handshake. Thank them for their support, their help, and their friendship.
And always remember………..you’re in the service industry. Your goal is to help others. Not to make sales.
The sales are the byproduct of kicking ass and making a difference in others’ lives.
If you help others, others will help you in return.
And that should NEVER leave the forefront of your mind.
Yours in true health,