The Truth About Online Health and Fitness Businesses


Whether you’re a personal trainer, health coach, studio /club owner or any other certified  health professional — you’re probably thinking about starting some sort of “online” business as a way to generate more revenue.

Am I right?

Would you like to know the TRUTH about building an “ONLINE” business?

It Starts Here…

Almost every day automated emails are sent from “Guru Coaches” who attempt to dazzle us with stories of how their clients made $100,000 (or more) online – their first year in business.

I mean… they make it sound so easy.

More than once, I’ve pulled out my credit card and plunked down $297 or $497 and in some cases over $1,000 because I was “convinced!”

Yup, these gurus are very good at closing the deal!  Can you relate?

They make it seem like running an online business is such an easy formula….

  • Develop some automation in your business
  • Build a big list
  • Make money while you sleep

But then you realize it’s not as easy as it sounds. And you wonder:

“Is it just ME? How the heck are all these people making all this money with so much less effort than I’m putting into it?!”

Listen.. listen… listen…   I can personally and professionally tell you “NO – it’s not just you.”

In fact, it’s a myth that you can quickly or instantly build a 6-figure online business.

And, frankly, it makes me a little angry when I see so many of these Guru Coaches promoting such unrealistic expectations.  It’s like the weight-loss coach who says you’ll lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks.   In both cases, the customer is being set-up for failure.

Maybe you’re thinking:

“Wait, Art, aren’t YOU promoting online business models?  Don’t you sell online web-based applications to health and fitness professionals?  Don’t you help professionals with their online business models?”

Yes, I am, almost by default, an online marketing strategist.  Yes, I believe in the power and growth potential of the online world for health and fitness professionals.

And, yes, I actually develop online, interactive applications and websites like ONBOARD 101 and the MAP System as well as the Seminar/Webinar Kit to help health and fitness professionals create new profit centers and ongoing revenue streams.

I also have some amazing success stories, including Jenny’s Story.

But, for most professionals, I DON’T think the online model is the “end-all” business.

Instead, I believe that for most fitness professionals and health coaches it’s vital to leverage the best of both ONLINE and OFFLINE marketing strategies.

Building a Successful Online Business is Like Marathon Training

An inactive person doesn’t just wake up one morning and decide to run 26.2 miles. Most people would collapse before mile six.

As you already know, a marathon requires “training” through a structured regimen over a period of many, many months.  It takes TIME to build up the fitness strength and cardio endurance for an actual marathon.

Building a successful online business is the same. It’s totally possible to do, but it takes TIME.

Successful health professionals with online revenue streams like Todd Durkin, Eric Cressey, John Berardi, Alwyn and Rachel Cosgrove will be the first to tell you they were NOT overnight successes.

And, most of them run both ONLINE and OFFLINE businesses with physical locations.

Stick With the Hybrid Model

I know it’s frustrating to hear that it takes a while to build an online business – especially if your dream is to close your physical location and go 100% online.

While it may not feel as sexy, just consider this…

You already have paying clients and you’re already writing yourself a paycheck.

Over the years I’ve heard stories about fitness studios that literally shut-down their physical locations so the owner could focus all of his or her efforts on creating an online business.

Unfortunately, they did NOT generate enough revenue to make it — and ended up working as a $15/hr personal trainers at big box clubs or leaving the industry altogether.

It breaks my heart.

This is why I resent the Gurus who try to convince us that we can “make six figures by the end of the year.” I feel strongly about dispelling this myth, because I want you to be able to grow a strong, profitable business that lasts.

Next Steps

Should you give-up developing an online revenue stream?  Heck no!

As I said earlier, I DO believe in the power and growth potential of online health and fitness programming.

With online programming, services and products, you actually can reach more people and start “making money while you sleep.” It’s not only possible, but it’s happening right now as you read this.

But, it does take TIME.

Grow Like the Big Boys

Despite all the hype, there’s no need for you to choose between online and offline – when you can work on both at the same time.

Big and small companies have been doing this for hundreds of years.

  • For example, did you know Chrysler developed the Sherman Tank?  Yup, back during WWII Chrysler made all kinds of military equipment.  But, did they stop manufacturing cars?  Nope!
  • Today, Apple, arguably makes some of the most sophisticated mobile devices in the world.  But, did they stop making desktop computers?  Nope!
  • My business, too.  I still market and sell physical products available for private-label.  But, over the last 8 years, I’ve also added new digital products – from websites to videos.

Take the Pressure OFF Yourself

So, here’s the reality and the point of this post.

Yes, at some point you absolutely should consider some form of online service and/or product offering.  After all, you probably already have a website.  So, why not turn it into a revenue generator instead of an online brochure.

However, you don’t need to do it tomorrow.

After spending thousands of dollars and eight years of developing online products and content, here’s my advice:

  • Stay away from “Get Rich Quick” schemes
  • Take your time and take the pressure off yourself
  • Start an email list with an email service (I recommend MailChimp)
  • Learn WordPress for all kinds of reasons
  • Learn about “protected” content and “membership” websites (I recommend WishList)
  • Study successful online fitness business models.
  • Determine what might work for you (products? services? content?)
  • Think about what you can realistically accomplish (3 months, 6 months, 1 year)
  • Once you think you know what you want to put online, pick a start date