If you are currently working as an in-person fitness coach or are a fitness enthusiast who wants to turn your passion into a job, you may be wondering how to become an online fitness coach. An online personal trainer or fitness coach typically offers a range of services including personalised fitness programs and access to workouts or stretches to help clients reach their goals.
An online personal training business can be a great business model since it allows personal trainers to train clients from all around the world without having to commute to a gym or travel to each client’s home. This, in turn, saves you time while opening up your business to an unlimited number of potential clients.
Tips for Being Successful as an Online Fitness Coach
Online fitness exploded in popularity during the pandemic with the demand for online coaching skyrocketing. By setting up a fitness business that offers live-streaming classes, coaching, fitness videos or online fitness plans, trainers can join this booming sector.
Becoming a successful online personal trainer requires more than just knowledge and experience in the fitness sector, however. Running an online business also requires you to keep up with modern fitness trends and develop a dynamic, modern and streamlined way to interact with your clients.
The following tips can help you attract and retain online clients successfully:
1. Upskill With Personal Training Certifications
As an online fitness coaching professional, you need to be able to establish trust with potential clients before they reach out to you. An online fitness trainer, unlike an in-person coach in a gym, has to rely on their online presence to persuade people to get in touch. This makes your online presence and reputation essential for success.
Being able to demonstrate skill and experience through professional training certifications from reputable organisations will help you appeal to prospective clients who want to be trained by a professional.
Your skills, dedication, pool of knowledge and the ability to apply the knowledge you’ve accumulated will go a long way to helping you succeed as an online fitness trainer. Having niche personal training certificates will also broaden your base of potential clients and could even make you a reference for more specialised aspects of fitness that aren’t offered in many other places.
Completing online training programs in any of the following specialities could broaden your appeal:
Fitness for Kids and Teens
Children and teens looking to get into sports and fitness are an interesting market to explore. According to research by the University of Georgia, 75% of teens aren’t getting the recommended daily exercise and this is partly due to feeling uncomfortable doing sport and exercise at school.
Offering online classes could give children and teenagers a safe and easy way to stay active in the comfort of their own homes. Getting children active and engaged in fitness from a young age could also be a rewarding experience for online coaches who want to make a real difference in people’s lives.
Strength and Conditioning for Sport
These courses focus on giving trainers the skills to design specialised strength and conditioning programs for clients. You can then design training sessions based on sports science principles to build strength in a controlled and safe way.
Specialised Short Training Courses
There are many short and affordable courses available in person or online for online trainers who wish to offer a wider range of services with more specific aims. Possible courses that could appeal to clients include callisthenics, kettlebells, suspension training and many more.
Though nutrition isn’t a necessary qualification for online personal trainers, being qualified to offer advice on nutrition is a definite plus. Nutritional advice can be offered as a standalone service or as part of a larger package that offers fitness and nutrition for clients who want to lose or gain weight.
2. Make It Easy to Do Business With You
Customers searching for online fitness services will be looking for ease of access, use and payment. An online fitness platform therefore must offer various payment methods as well as one-off and recurring payments for subscriptions.
A secure global payment gateway will allow you to facilitate seamless, secure billing cycles for recurring payments and membership plans. The best payment gateway providers also offer merchant services like chargeback mitigation and fraud protection to keep you and your clients’ money safe.
3. Make Marketing a Priority
For new and small businesses, marketing should be a top priority. Social media platforms give businesses and entrepreneurs access to a free or inexpensive way to reach an unlimited number of people. Tap into all the opportunities digital marketing can bring you at the same time as focusing on more traditional ways of connecting with new clients.
The following are some tried and tested ways to reach out to future clients when you start a personal training business online:
- Develop a strong online presence. Take advantage of Instagram, TikTok and other social media platforms and create great content that will engage your target audience and strengthen your reputation.
- Use your website to sell your expertise and skills. Create a blog to show off your knowledge of different topics while educating your existing clients.
- Invest in a strong digital marketing strategy. Good SEO practices and strategic use of Google or Facebook Ads will make your business more visible online.
4. Network With Other Professionals
Unfortunately, you can’t wait for new clients to fall from the sky—you have to work hard to land them. Getting referrals from other professionals like nutritionists and physiotherapists is an effective way to gain more clients. Connecting with professionals in related fields through conferences or other events, or joining local business networks online or in person can be a good way to make new connections.
5. Sell, Sell, Sell
Having expertise and passion alone won’t get you clients. Your online training business will only be successful with constant attention to online sales. Always be on the lookout for potential clients, whether that be online, at your local gym, in local spaces or through friends and family.
6. Offer Bundles and Subscriptions
Client acquisition is probably the job that takes the most time, effort and money when you’re self-employed. That’s why it’s so important to prioritise client retention. Selling bundled courses or videos at a discount and offering subscription services are two great ways to do this. You will need a payment processor to manage recurring payments and facilitate different payment methods so that you never have to turn a potential client away.
7. Optimise Your Group Size
Working one-on-one can be an excellent way to provide personalised service. However, you can often earn more when you train small groups. Group classes are also appealing to clients as they pay less per hour but still feel looked after as long as the group isn’t too big. To make group classes work for you, calculate how many people you’ll need per group to make it economically worthwhile and try to hit that number before going ahead with the class.
8. Use Online Personal Training Software
Managing an online fitness coaching business isn’t always easy, especially when new clients start rolling in. Being a fitness professional isn’t only about giving classes and working with clients—an online trainer also needs to know how to run a business.
Software can help tremendously with this. There are various platforms that can set up client accounts to track progress, facilitate direct communication, create customised workout or nutrition programs and help you keep your agenda up to date.
Still have questions about how to succeed with online personal training? These frequently asked questions and answers might help.
Can You Make Money as an Online Fitness Coach?
As reported by Rada et al. (2022), there was a 40% drop in revenue in fitness clubs in Europe between 2019 and 2022, something that can be directly linked to the impact of the pandemic. This is in stark contrast to the increase in interest in online training. As illustrated by the following graphic, there has been a significant shift towards fitness at home that began in 2019. This shift in preferences can still be seen even after the pandemic.
For workers in the fitness industry, this shows that online coaching has a lot of potential. Adapting to clients’ new wants and needs by providing online services can help you reach those gym-goers who now prefer to exercise at home.
How Much Money Can You Make With Online Coaching?
The exact amount of money you can make from working as an online fitness coach will depend on many factors. A coach with a well-run website and online platform, an active social media presence and a dynamic marketing campaign should do well.
Using a global payment gateway to accept payments from abroad will also allow you to market yourself to potential clients in other countries rather than limiting yourself to local and national markets.
How Much Should You Charge as an Online Fitness Coach?
There’s no right or wrong answer to this question as your hourly rate depends on several factors. Before you become an online fitness coach, you must spend time thinking about the viability of your business and how much you will need to earn per hour to cover your living expenses and future plans.
Hourly rates will differ depending on where you are located, which services you offer and if your fitness classes are group classes or one-on-one. Take these common strategies into account when deciding how much to charge:
- Initial consultations are typically free.
- Charge lower per-session fees for packages and advance payments.
- Offer a range of services at different price points.
- Charge more for highly specialised services.
Offer Different Payment Models for Different Services
Online coaching gives you a lot of flexibility to charge different amounts for different services. These are a few common payment models:
- Hourly rate. This is a good option for online fitness coaches who work with individuals as the time spent with each client is easily controlled. Charging by the hour is also, per hour, the most lucrative way to make income.
- Monthly recurring payments. This can give you more stability and allow you to build a stronger relationship with each client. A long-term arrangement also makes it easier for you to budget as your revenue will be more predictable.
- One-time payment package. Many trainers offer a one-time payment option for a certain number of sessions. This means that the client makes a long-term commitment to your business and you get paid upfront even if the client doesn’t redeem all of the sessions they initially paid for.
- Access to training material. Some online fitness coaches charge a monthly subscription fee for unlimited access to material related to fitness, nutrition or training. This allows clients to use the material when they’re free without having to make and keep appointments.
How Many Clients Do Online Fitness Coaches Have?
Working online gives you the potential to work with more clients than you could in a gym as you aren’t limited by opening or closing hours or even time zones. The number of clients you can have as an online coach will depend on your business model—are you offering live classes, personalised one-to-one consultations and sessions or a platform where clients have unlimited access to your content?
For online fitness coaches, keep in mind that working more than 25 hours with clients per week is a great undertaking. Remember too that you will need to spend a significant portion of your time on marketing, finding clients and managing the everyday aspects of your business.
Prepare to Succeed
Extensive knowledge and passion for the fitness world will contribute greatly to your online business’s success. However, online trainers must also make savvy business and financial decisions to ensure a successful business enterprise. Investing in marketing and online tools is particularly important for trainers who plan to attract clients over the internet.
The financial handling of your online fitness business is also key to its success. Partnering with a payment processor that handles your domestic and international transactions, allows you to accept recurring payments and keeps everything in one place will help you stay on top of your finances. This, in turn, will put you in good stead to build your business to where you want it to be.