How Do You Plan Your Fitness Career in These Times?
How Do You Plan Your Fitness Career in These Times?
“It’s a mess.”
…said dear friend of mine and university lecturer describing what it’s like for kinesiology students who were to graduate or did this spring or summer 2020.
“I’m at a place where I don’t have money coming in but I need to invest money in my future.”
… said a participant in a recent master class.
Sometime in the future this will be the year of COVID19 and you will be looking back knowing exactly what you did and how it worked out. You won’t be stressed or emotional as you talk about it. It will just be a memory.
Right now, it may feel like a black hole. There are things you don’t know.
What We Know
Let me remind you though there are things we do know. We know people can’t be healthy without exercise. We know that they are distracted by other things right now. PPP loans and layoffs and full houses or empty houses, or work-at-home.
We know they’re confused by what to do. We know they have so little time and energy. We know they’re scared, potentially depressed or anxious. All of those things point to a need for support, a plan, and that’s a model for business. Especially for those looking for support whose gyms are closed, or even reopened but they don’t feel comfortable.
The business you end up working for may not even exist yet. Just 10 days ago authorities projected that 35% of brick-and-mortar businesses won’t be here next year. That’s before the next 6 or 12 months when we don’t yet know what will happen.
New Business Models
So while it’s easy to focus on the negativity of that, focus on this instead. New businesses will be there instead. They may be online or entirely different hybrid models. You may start your own business. Can you teach? Did you know with Zoom fitness instructors with a following are charging $8/class. Say 100 people do a class. That might work. One class won’t work but if you give people a reason to feel good, they’ll come back. That could be a membership. Instead of $8 a class, $29 a month. You can make it easy. Easy to get started.
It’s not hard to set up Venmo or Paypal to accept money. Send the link for the private paid class. That’s figuroutable.
How to Plan Your Fitness Career
Whether you’re in your 50s and you need to decide how you’ll recreate your business, or you’re in your 20’s with ink waiting to dry on your diploma -or just hoping you get one now that the internship you’d planned has been put on hold indefinitely or cancelled… this is for you.
No matter what you need to do right now at the moment – and it may be away from health and fitness – if you’re committed to a career and life in fitness, don’t stop building a foundation.
It may feel like there’s nothing. But there is opportunity.
When others are quitting, folding, going out of business, there is more opportunity for you.
Few others will do the consistent steps I’m going to suggest. They’ll start and then realize it’s not convenient or it’s not earning them any money and they’ll quit. There are trainers and instructors who are getting paid unemployment and enjoying being at home getting paid. They’re probably trainers who should have been fired because anyone on your team complacent is not someone you want to work with.
If you will stick with it, it will set you apart. Because no matter if you want to work for yourself or you want to work for someone else when that opportunity arises. Look, online fitness platforms are going to expand and going to be hiring … people all over the world are now potential hires when a business goes digital.
People have found they can exercise at home. Some have enjoyed getting the commuting time back, the ease of any time they’ve got time, and that they’re not dependent on a class. Some have always exercised at home. But one thing most still need… is accountability. They need to report to someone. That is never going to go away. App or no app… talking to a person about what you are going to do, what you did and how it went, the value of that will remain.
Start to Plan Your Fitness Career for NOW
So, here’s what I’m suggesting you do: establish an online presence. Find your voice. Start getting comfortable with marketing in a way that will feel comfortable to you if you love fitness. No matter what happens in your future influencing someone else will always be a skill you want. And you’ll benefit personally in the process.
Create a challenge that you’re willing to do yourself.
You’re going to share the whole thing on social media. You can blog it, vlog it, share it in Instagram or Facebook or YouTube lives or recorded video. Here’s a rough idea of how to start.
Choose something that is challenging for you.
- Want to go 100% plant-based?
- Want to start running?
- Want to learn to golf?
- Want to cook for yourself every day for 30 days?
- Want to start doing yoga?
- Maybe you weigh yourself every day and you want to stop doing it.
Make it legit.
Choose a walk to run program only if you’ve never been a runner. If you’re already a runner isn’t a true challenge.
Cooking for yourself every day for 30 days is only really a challenge if you can’t cook! A yoga challenge is best if you are stiff as a board.
Here’s why: people want to be able to root for you. They want to see you struggle. They’ll root for you if you’re more like them. Think reality TV. There have to be just real raw days of you doing this.
Where to Do This?
Choose a platform you’re already comfortable on and use. You may already have followers or fans.
Choose a platform after you choose an audience that you want to work with. It’s the platform they’re on that you want to use.
My advice for the project here is do this on a platform you’re already interacting on. You will be more comfortable and have less learning curve. What you’ll be able to do is replicate this whole experience later and do it for another “market” after it works for you.
No matter which way you go: talk to ONE person whenever your posting. You want to talk as if you’re talking to a best friend. The best friend most likely to do this with you or want to watch you to see if it works before she does it.
Know the Rules
If you talk to “you guys” you forget a huge marketing tool. YOU is the most influential word in marketing. Know that anyone person is watching from their phone most likely. So, what “you guys” are you talking to? You’re not. Don’t think about what it’s like for you… think about what it’s like for the viewer. Seem like a small detail? It’s not… your following will drop off, you lose. Every viewer wants to feel special. The mind says, this is for masses, not for me. It feels weird. A listener doesn’t even know why but they begin to think you’re not talking to them.
Start a pre-launch.
First lesson in marketing! You’re going to choose a start date. Maybe you choose the 1st of the month or a Monday or your birthday happens to be this month.
The week or two before that you start talking about this. Post about it, text about it, place polls about it.
Invite others to do it with you.
Set some “rules” or guidelines around it.
Keep asking, polling, and getting engagement from your audience during this pre-launch phase. People like and support things they’ve helped create. They’ll be more personally invested in it.
Then start, aka launch.
Post the whole story. Track your progress behind the scenes. Are you getting more followers, more engagement? Use your insights. The world is online right now. Yes, you have more competition because of that, but I mentioned about, few people will be consistent. If you can commit to doing something for 30 days, showing up when it’s not convenient, when you don’t want to do it, talk about THAT.
That’s real life. And people are resisting health habits now. They’re getting too comfortable staying up late watching Netflix or eating junk because it’s in the house. They’re trying to exercise but there’s no gym. They’re trying not to drink but the wine cellar is right there.
You’re a marketing influencer.
You have to start somewhere. Marketing is a skill that you will need no matter what else you do. We are all marketing all the time. You’ll learn so much from this little experiment – about how to talk to your audience, about how to attract the right people, and what they love. This doesn’t cost you anything. A little time and creativity.
You’ll be in action. And that feels much more in control than waiting to see what you should do. The Gods are not going to open up and reveal the answer. No one in the world has ever gone through this before. Everyone in the world is going through it. Your answer could be just what you need, and maybe others are helped in the process.
How Not to Plan Your Fitness Career
Don’t wait and worry for things to get back to normal.
They are NEVER going to be the same as they were. Ever.
If you wait 6, 12, or 18 months for a see-what-happens answer you will have wasted that time. The time is going to pass. Start creating the future you want.
Don’t try to do this all yourself.
Get a mentor – whether they know it or not – and follow, study. Be careful with this one, however.
Don’t surround yourself with people who are doom and gloom or feeling sorry for you.
You may be related to them. So, you can’t just leave, but you can get the equal and opposite support. Find groups online, and podcasts to listen to that put positive, actionable steps in your head. Every time you listen to someone/news or around people ask yourself how it makes you feel. You need to find the things that make you feel good and make you want to take action.
No leaders later are sitting back right now. They don’t know exactly what they’re doing either but they are making one decision and action at a time all the time.
Don’t ignore other opportunities now to help you earn money.
Get some money coming in and get grounded as you grow the fitness career you want. You may need to drive for door dash, or be a virtual assistant, or do social media for another business. Don’t however get complacent with that and forget proactively what you really want to do. Ten years from now you’ll still be driving for Lyft if you do that.
There you have it the steps to plan your fitness career even in these uncertain times. There are fitness businesses that have been waiting and watching for more than 12 weeks now. They haven’t changed what they’re doing or what they sell. That is an opportunity for you.
Don’t get hung up on the need for perfection. Think through these details. Pick a challenge that makes you a little nervous as well as excited. Have fun with it. That’s the key to staying excited about it on a bad hair day, no make-up day, too busy to do this day… you’ll post anyway.
Last… don’t make this about Pilates, or Yoga, or TRX… make it about a transformation. You have to be solving a problem. You may use Pilates or running or weight training to do it. But people look for answers to problems. This is how and why we buy. We don’t go shopping for Pilates first. We have a problem we believe Pilates solves. Before that we have a problem. More on this in the next episode.
Time to share
Post in the show notes if you’re going to do this. If you’d like some support, and followers and feedback put your URL in the comment.