The first thing you need to do when you become an online trainer is:
You don’t need a website with a fancy design.
You need to pound the pavement or do whatever you have to do in order to make sales
So should you hire a professional to create your website or do it yourself?
At the beginning, the answer is neither. You need to get clients first.
The best way to get clients when you’re starting out is not with a website. It’s through your social media accounts—your existing networks.
There are a host of free services you can use. Even using a Google form as your intake is totally fine and very normal. I know a lot of experienced online trainers who do this.
You don’t need software. You don’t need a website. You don’t need anything to start.
In fact, you should be able to launch an online personal training business for free.
I know of programs—expensive mentorship programs and similar offerings—that say, “In addition to paying $7,000 to $10,000 to find out how to do this thing, you’ll also have to commit to $500-plus monthly in software expenses.”
What? Before I even have a single customer?
I don’t know, man. That just sounds nuts to me.
So when should you start thinking about a website?
Not until you’re handling at least 20 to 30 clients consistently. That’s usually the point where you can start bootstrapping money you’ve made from your business back into it.
You can start to look at a website like a business card.
It’s a source of professionalism, for sure.
And if you do decide to go ahead with a website, you don’t want to build one that you have to update all the time.
So yes, at that point it’s probably worth it to hire a professional to create your website and make it beautiful, and also to get some branding help.
But again, all that happens later.
The ONE time it makes sense to have a website when you’re starting out is if you really love writing and want to build a blog.
If that’s what you’re into and you have the time and ability, that’s totally cool. Go ahead and build a website.
But again, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on it. You probably don’t need a design. Just make it functional.
Keep in mind, though, that a blog is going to take a long time to recruit clients.
Don’t get me wrong. The PTDC website gets a couple of million visitors every year.
It has been great. But we have over a thousand articles now, and we've been doing this for 10 years.
Blogging and SEO content is a very long game. It’s not what I’d recommend to trainers who are just starting out and trying to get their first bunch of clients.
Remember—you can always put more money into your website later, when you can afford it.
When I started thePTDC.com, I was doing personal training in the gym.
At the time, I’d just written my first book, Ignite the Fire, and I wanted to promote it. This was back in 2009 or 2010, and there weren’t all these free website designer apps available like there are now. You actually had to know how to code if you wanted to build a website.
So I hired somebody to do it for me. I spent $1,500 Canadian.
At the time, that was a lot of money for me. These days, you can do it yourself pretty easily and inexpensively.
My original website was very bare bones, but it was functional. It did what I needed it to do.
And then as the company grew, I was able to invest more into it. Our current iteration was over $25,000.
So know that as you grow, you can always put more money into your website when you can afford it, making it work better and be more beautiful.
Just don’t get ahead of yourself.
If you’re just starting out, you probably don’t need a website. And you definitely don’t need a professional to build and design one for you.
I’ll say it again: At the outset, you need clients.
Anything else that is not directly related to converting clients today is just productive procrastination.
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