Once upon a time, fitness wasn’t a business to me.
It was a hobby. It was something I was interested in. It was something I found fun.
It was eye-opening to me that fitness was so simple.
On the surface, it seems to be tricky and difficult to figure out how to lean out and get healthy. There are millions of people who haven’t yet conquered this goal. I figured I was in a good position to help them out.
Jack, a friend of mine (who also created the Anyman Fitness logo), was the one who put this idea into my head. I had helped him learn how to count macros and get healthy. Over beers one night, Jack says to me:
Dude, you should start coaching other people.
You helped me – others would pay you for this, man.
What do you have to lose?
I thought it over, decided on a cheesy name, bought the domain a few weeks later and away I went.
I installed Word Press, clicked on “add new post”, and created a title:
My first blog post had less than 20 views, and they were 100% from close friends and family.
But I didn’t care. <=== (This is REALLY important for a beginning coach. I did not care that nobody read my articles.)
Even though NOBODY read the articles, I remember feeling confident, with this strange buzzing sensation pulsating through my veins after I hit “publish” for the first time. It was going to happen. I was going to take the world by storm. It was a false sense of bravado, as I had done exactly nothing so far. All I did was hit “publish” to an empty room and no audience.
But that didn’t matter! I was an “author”. I was a “blogger”.
It was intoxicating; I was drunk with excitement.
I probably read that first blog post about 100 times during the first week of its existence.
Truth be told, it was pure shit.
But I didn’t even KNOW it was pure shit at the time.
I didn’t need the money. <=== (Another extremely important piece.)
This wasn’t a “this better work, or we’re homeless” kind of a situation.
This was a “side business”. A “hobby”. If something good came out of it, awesome. If it didn’t, then no big deal. I was just excited to write and hit “publish” and know that I owned a website.
I DID, however, have a plan in place for what I was going to do.
I wasn’t going to try to earn money until a half a year had passed.
I wanted to write, learn, study, and gain experience. I did NOT want to make money right off the bat.
I knew I would be terrible at the start, and I would improve over time.
I didn’t want to sell anyone a sub-par product or experience.
I didn’t even list my email address, or have a “Coaching/Services” menu on my site. There was no way to even think of purchasing such things.
I accepted the fact that there would be a steep learning curve, and allowed my writing and my blog to be a labor of love. I put in my reps.
If you think you’re going to hit “publish”, there will be 10k views of your first post, and you’ll ride off into the sunset with Tim Ferris, you’re sorely mistaken.
Being A Professional
Being a “professional” means that you are a person who is “of or related to a profession”.
If you are a “professional”, you “do your job” regularly and to the best of your ability.
It doesn’t matter what your job is.
- A professional teacher always has their materials together, their lessons planned, their papers graded, and their emails answered.
- A professional nurse shows up to work on time, punches the clock 5 minutes early, speaks with appropriate bedside manner, and serves her patients well.
- A professional sanitation worker places my garbage can upside down after they empty it. And they don’t lose my damn garbage can lid, either. (Still working on that one.)
- A professional football player shows up early for practice and stays late every day. They study defenses, offenses, play schemes, and they are invested in their and the team’s success. (There’s a true pro tossing the pigskin around for the Broncos tonight.)
A professional does their job, is on time, is consistent, and puts forth effort, whether they are “motivated” to or not.
“Motivation” is crap, and will fizzle out over time. You may be “motivated” to begin a fitness business, but if your motivation stems from wanting to get rich and travel the world with only a laptop, your odds of making it are slim.
You need to fall in love with the process and the daily habits. The results will come with time.
I get asked about building an online fitness business on a regular basis, which blows my mind.
It was about 3 years ago that I was the one bugging other fitness personalities, asking them those same questions. (Sorry, guys, didn’t mean to be such an annoying little bugger…….)
There are a few things you must take care of first before you do anything else.
===> Question #1: Do you have a website?
If you don’t, get one. You can’t be successful in the online world without your own website. Just a Facebook page and an email address won’t cut it.
===> Question #2: Do you have a blog on your website?
If you don’t, you need to. People need a reason to come to your website and it CAN’T be “because I sell stuff” unless you’re going to hawk supplements and work the SEO angle.
Your blog is your advertisement. If you’re going to coach others, your blog is where you show off what you know and how you can help.
===> Actionable Advice: Start writing at least one quality article per week for 6 months, then come back and tell me what happened. (Quality means at least 1k words that your reader can use today to start improving.)
I have given many beginners these simple steps.
Guess how many have followed this advice?
Exactly one – and because of this, I will link to his site [HERE] ==> Robbie Farlow is one, hard-working dude.
A few items for clarification:
You don’t HAVE to be a writer or a blogger in order to create a successful online business.
You could be a Youtuber, a podcaster, or simply have an SEO-friendly website selling a product.
Then why do I give that advice?
It quickly vets who is a professional and who is not.
What A Professional TRULY Does
The secret to mind blowing success is to work incredibly hard at all times, whether you’re making boatloads of cash, or you’re making nothing.
When you finally hit a bit of “paydirt”, try to scale that up and magnify it. It will happen eventually, but it’s hard to say when that time will come.
Most people give up before they “turn the corner”.
I turned the corner in about 18 months, and things snowballed from there. I got lucky, though. Well, sorta lucky, since luck is nothing but the intersection of hard work and opportunity. (More on that later.)
If you are building a brand-spanking new fitness business, writing a blog post per week for 6 months will likely make you precisely zero dollars and zero cents.
A professional does their work religiously, even though they might not see the immediate benefit.
The phrase “rise and grind” has become popular lately with the “Instagram Life Coaches”. It’s a tired cliche, but it does have some merit.
Are you willing to work consistently for 6 months without making any money? Can you keep writing even when it’s a chore?
There is merit to writing and blogging. Everyone’s voice is unique. Everyone speaks and thinks differently. If you resonate with others, they will trust you and feel more comfortable purchasing services from you.
Buying Coaching services is a relatively expensive, personal purchase.
You need to develop trust with your audience. This almost always begins by writing articles and/or blog posts. People don’t purchase “Coaching”, they purchase “Coaches”.
Do you HAVE to write articles regularly to make income with an online fitness business?
Not at all.
But if you can’t find the time and get such a simple task done, will you succeed long-term?
Make Your Side Business Your Side Business —- Until It’s Not
There were a few things I did when I started my fitness business that helped me keep the proper perspective and build my audience and clientele organically, without resorting to spammy tactics.
- I began in May, 2013, and I didn’t “open up for business” until October, 2013, almost 6 months later.
- During that time, I focused ONLY on writing and getting my thoughts on the site.
- I did not make one, single penny during that time.
- I took 6 online clients pro-bono during the summer of 2013.
- I put them through programs I created.
- I did this in exchange for testimonials for the site and before and after pictures.
- Again, I made nothing from this. Lots of time, energy, effort, with no money exchanging hands.
- I would recommend this for your first online coaching experience. It’s much different than training someone in person.
- ***Side note – I can’t believe any fitness professional selling services has a site without before and after pictures. Those are your “brochures” – they are a must-have.
- I remained 100% boot-strapped.
- By the time I “opened shop” in October, 2013, I had only invested about $150 into the business between hosting services, a domain name, and an LLC license.
- I did not purchase “systems” or “programs” to be a successful business owner.
- I did not join a “mastermind” group or hire a guru to help me grow.
- Because of this, I felt no pressure to make money – I didn’t need to make much since I didn’t spend much.
- One, single client would put me in the black.
- I nabbed that first, paying client in about 2 weeks, and everything from there on out was “house money”.
- I didn’t “expect” a damn thing – other than to work hard and see what happened.
- I knew I had to write regularly, so I did.
- I wrote a TON – check out the archives.
- Hundreds articles have been written, and I’m still adding more every week.
- I treated my “side business” as my “side business” – but I was still a “professional”.
- I put in my reps. I wrote and wrote and wrote – no matter what.
- I stayed up nights, I wrote on the weekends, and I wrote on my lunch break at school. (Which is what I’m doing right now – I take my laptop and work through lunch every day. I’d rather be productive than gossip.)
- I got it done – mostly because I loved it and it was a passion of mine.
Until the funds became substantial, I never touched my “side hustle” money.
If the money came in, then awesome. If it didn’t, then that was fine, too.
I had a day job to pay my bills. I didn’t “need” extra money.
This gave me freedom. I had the ability to say no to people if need be.
I didn’t need to throw out daily Facebook posts about my services. My thought was that if I gave people information and articles, I would naturally get clients in the process.
I didn’t try to “sell” to anyone until a long, long time had passed.
No social media selling, no email selling, no articles with links for services, etc.
This may not always be the case, but when you are starting, you MUST give away your best stuff.
Your “best stuff” won’t be great, but it’ll be the best you have. And you NEED to give it away for free.
Save your “selling” until you are established.
Even after 6 months, I did almost no “selling”. Yes, there was a “Coaching” link on the site menu bar, but it was totally “pull” and not “push”.
By the time I got around to actually having legitimate, online marketing tactics, I had a fully robust website, countless client testimonials, real-life experience under my belt, an improving system for program creation, and a budding business.
An interesting thing happens when you give things away for a long time.
You tend to get the favor returned.
Yours in grinding,