Being a successful online fitness coach is possible, but it takes a methodical and disciplined system. If you want to know how the best and most successful online fitness coaches run their business, you need to take a hard look at their habits.

Makes sense, doesn't it?

We regularly tell our clients that habits create the foundational stepping stones that lead them toward their health and fitness goals. Likewise, the right habits will help you spend your energy on business and life in a more purposeful way. Not all habits are created equal, however. Habits aren't inherently "good" or "bad", but some are simply productive to you and your business, while others are counterproductive.

Here are the habits that successful online trainers have in common.

1. A successful online fitness coach uses generic templates that they then tailor for their clients.

Whether you’re an online coach or a personal trainer working the gym floor, every coach should have workout templates that are made for specific types of goals and clients. I’ve gotten some flack for my stance on this, but I believe that once you’ve been in the game long enough, you’ll realize that you don’t need to make a brand new program from scratch for every single client. There may be special exceptions, but they typically are in the minority.

After all, why fix something that’s not “broke”? If you’ve got a program that you feel works best for a client type, keep it for the next time a similar client comes along.

For every template you build, write down 1-2 progressions and regressions per exercise. Then file that away. When a new client comes in that meets your client avatar, give your usual assessment of the client and base his or her individual program off an existing template.

2. Successful online fitness coaches keep it simple and ignore shiny objects.

Online fitness coaching can turn into an incredible six- or seven-figure business, but most people simply want to make a little more with a little less time and more flexibility in their schedule.

If that’s you, all you need to do is keep it simple.

“Simple” could look like five online clients at $200 per month, which translates to an extra $12,000 per year. So adding $36,000 to your bottom line only takes 15 clients.

That’s 15 customers, not 1500.

how to become an online personal trainer | thePTDC | fitness coach online

Let that sink in, because many online trainers end up trying to build convoluted marketing funnels with the aim to capture thousands of potential customers. Again, you need only 15. So with that in mind, here’s a better strategy for your first stage of marketing:

  • Reach out.
  • Don’t be afraid to follow up.

Send 15-25 people a day that you know a message, asking how they are. When they respond asking how you are, tell them that you’re great, and excitedly unleash your amazing new online training program. Be sure to note the benefits of online training:

  • It’s more cost effective.
  • Scheduling is easy.
  • They can work with the best trainer for them (not the convenient guy or girl down the street).

Honestly, that’s usually enough for most trainers to fill up their schedule.

Remember, keep it simple. Once you have your first 5-15 clients, you can decide to scale up. That’s when you can look into magical sales funnels that marketing gurus are always so proud of.

3. Successful online fitness coaches build thoughtful systems and create detailed documentation.

A system that supports your business is very important. I previously mentioned that a bad email system--one where email is a free-for-all--is both a waste of your client’s and your time. My solution to it was a very regimented structure around how often a client could email me and what they could say. The result was that I spent less time responding to emails, and clients got the answers (and results) they needed from me. That’s an example of a “thoughtful system”.

Another example is a “welcome package” that all of my new clients will get. This is a PDF document that you write once, save in a file somewhere, and then send to every new client once. In this document, you:

  • Welcome them to your training.
  • Give them an overview of how things work (i.e. your email support system).
  • Define the workout jargon (assume they know nothing). Define reps, sets, tempo, rest, and so on.
  • Explain gym etiquette.
  • Answer common questions. These can be collected and formed into a FAQ, based on questions you’ve seen on the internet or from other clients.

The better a job you do with your welcome document, the fewer questions you’ll receive. Every time somebody sends you a question, write a great answer to it, add it to a template, and append it to your FAQ for new clients so that question never gets asked again.

As a side note, I’ve made things easier for you and provided a full fill-in-the-blank template to everyone who signs up for our Online Trainer Academy.

Any time you deal with sending something to a client or detail a workflow or process, write it down and save it somewhere. That’s the idea of painstakingly documenting things, because if you take the time to do it once (very well), you don’t have to waste time doing it over and over.