Building Your Fitness
Are you ready to take your business
to the next level?
Hiring a team is a critical step that will make a significant impact on your fitness career. Your success can hinge on which roles you hire first, and who you choose to fill them.
If you’ve never worked with a team, you’re probably feeling lost as to where to start. After a decade of studio ownership, I’m deeply familiar with the nuances of hiring and managing a cooperative, productive team that allows you to grow your business. This article is your guide to building an effective dream team of your own.
Things to know before you start
Be realistic about how much time it will take to hire and develop employees. Set aside time in your schedule for this process. Hiring won’t be an overnight success or a smooth process. You’ll make mistakes, learn, and grow as you go. Be prepared for unexpected setbacks and roll with the punches.
Finally, check with your lawyer and make sure you have everything classified correctly when you hire someone. You need to know whether they’re paid as an independent contractor vs an employee.
The fitness team members
- Admin is always your first hire.
If you know you could fill your client books, but you’re spending a lot of time on other tasks, it’s time to outsource! Your first major hire is almost inevitably going to be an administrative role. You can delegate admin tasks at a lower cost than doing them yourself, and use that time to train more clients.
Virtual vs In-person
We have one virtual and one in-person admin. You should match up tasks based on their skill set, when they’re available, and what fits their lifestyle. While having two admin can make communication more complex, it means we always have a backup on deck if one person is sick, or leaves. If you only have one admin, be prepared to pick up the slack yourself in an emergency.
You should always aim to maximize the value of your time. Document everything you do and identify what could be offloaded for less cost. Create systems to support you.
Prioritize effective communication.
Your admin’s schedules and personality styles need to work together to ensure fluid, consistent communication so tasks don’t fall through the cracks.
Marketing and advertising
You don’t need to do it all alone.
A lot of new trainers waste a lot of money trying to do everything themselves at first. Facebook, Google, and IG have ever-changing algorithms that require experimentation and knowledge to gain real traction. You might be better off delegating social media to someone who can do it correctly, instead of spending money and time on zero results- at least at first.
Once you get a better understanding of those systems, you can run social media and paid ads yourself.
Outsource time sinks.
You can use sites like Fiverr or Upwork to find freelancers who can take care of graphic design, copywriting, and even social media posts. Don’t spend hours sucked into social media or writing if that isn’t your skill set.
Understand the big picture.
You do still need a solid understanding of the basics of sales and marketing so that you can figure out which people are good to work with and how everything works together in your overall marketing strategy. Familiarize yourself with marketing strategies and writing sales copy, even if you aren’t writing everything yourself.
All-star teams don’t always win.
You need different options that fulfill your client’s needs, including diverse skill sets, backgrounds, and genders. You need to hire in the context of how the entire team works together to serve the success of the business. That’s not necessarily going to be the trainer with the best physique or the most certs.
Make sure they’re a good fit.
Your new hire should be a good match in terms of career goals and your company culture. Make sure you are on the same page about your expectations. If they just want to train as a side hustle while they’re in school, but you’re looking for someone to sign on for 40 hours a week and develop long-term, that’s not a good match. If someone wants to be a full-time trainer but you can only bring them on for a few hours a week, they might get frustrated and be more likely to leave for a different opportunity.
Develop your trainers
Train people to coach group classes and expand their skills so they can take on more clients. Block out time to meet with each trainer to set goals, give feedback, and develop specific skills, such as working with groups, client relationships, or anything else that can impact their career beyond their typical training skills.
Unpaid interns are usually college students interning for credit and are more observation oriented. They’ll shadow sessions and classes, but won’t be coaching anyone hands-on.
My paid interns are people we want to develop into full trainers. They function as assistant coaches for group sessions. This means they also help out with program design and typically eventually take over a group class.
I also give them a certain number of free sessions for friends to practice personal training, which doubles as marketing for the studio.
Create an amazing experience.
Focus your internships on your interns’ personal goals. Create a wow experience for them. If they feel supported, they’ll be inspired to be a strong asset to the team and recommend you to future interns. They might even want to work for you full-time! As your business grows, you may also want to take on marketing and admin interns, not just trainers.
Turns interns into hires.
An internship is a great way to vet potential full-time **hires because you’ll be able to see a large sample size of their work before making your decision.
To find interns, you can reach out to local colleges, place paid ads, or advertise to your current members. Once you hire interns, you can use them to help recruit more.
Experience will help you create structured systems to help interns learn quickly and succeed on your team. Track everything related to how your employees and interns help each other. Have your interns help you create documents with step-by-step instructions, delegation, and protocols that will help the next intern.
Research certifying bodies for internship programs, such as the NASM Gymternship. You might be able to set up a program through your own studio. Organizations like NASM and WITS are always looking for placement for their students.
Delegate sales last.
As the owner, sales is ultimately your responsibility. You don’t need dedicated sales reps until your business gets much bigger.
Train your trainers to sell.
You will need to train your trainers to handle sales and have systems in place for sales protocols. Most trainers you hire will hate sales and struggle with it at first, but it’s a skill that can be trained!
I still prefer to do sales consultations myself and hand off clients to trainers, but trainers still need to understand how to handle walk-ins, actively promote in your local community, and be able to discuss the benefits and features that make your studio stand out.
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