Let’s face it. Today, almost every health and fitness professional seems obsessed with getting his or her fitness training or health consulting business online. Or at least part of it!
After all, so much of today’s fitness retention, fitness referrals and fitness revenue is being generated online
But, maybe that’s NOT you. At least, not today. If so… there’s no need to read any further.
But, if you are in process or just thinking about getting some part of your business generating money online, then read on.
A Common Thread
I’m a member of 5 different Facebook groups that are entirely focused on the business of “ONLINE TRAINING” — the most popular of which is Jon Goodman’s “Online Trainers Unite” with over 30,000 members.
There’s a ton of great, actionable information in all of these groups
Yet, there’s also a common thread.
As sexy and forward-thinking as online training appears to be, I continually read posts from online trainers asking this:
“Why am I so broke?”
Online Training is a Different Animal
Yes, for a variety of reasons, it’s difficult to attract new clients to the online training world. But, that’s true of the physical location world, too.
And, in both cases, you’re still trading hours for dollars. In that respect both the physical and online models are exactly the same.
So, I’m not going to address the common issue of getting more clients.
Instead, let’s address the business model of the 100% Online Fitness Trainer and/or Health Coach as well as the Hybrid Training/Coaching model.
Build it and They Will Come — NOT!
Way too many fit pros and health coaches are under the false assumption they can simply launch a website, link it to an online training platform (Trainerize, PT Distinction, PT Hub, etc.), throw a few paid ads up on Facebook — and that’s it! —> Done!
If only it were that easy! In fact, that is just the start.
The Online “Mindset”
Here’s the KEY to your online success.
If you’re going to build an online training business, you need to:
- STOP thinking like a TRAINER…
- START thinking like an ONLINE ENTREPRENEUR.
Sounds, simple enough, right?
But, it’s not that easy. It requires a significant shift in MINDSET.
Most credible professionals (like you) got into this business because of a heartfelt passion to help people.
It was NEVER about the MONEY.
Therefore, the schooling, training and certifications were all about helping people. Not about making money… or marketing… or entrepreneurship.
Secret #1 —> Passive Income and Recurring Revenue
O.K., so I’ll stop beating-around-the-bush and get straight to the point.
You will literally “die on the vine” if you think you can make it on just online training sessions — alone.
A 100% online training business model absolutely must create MULTIPLE PROFIT GENERATORS.
And, the more automated (passive income) the better – so that you can reserve your “hands-on” time for paid coaching and consulting.
It’s even better if the profit center generates predictable recurring revenue just like an EFT accomplishes for a club or studio membership.
Recurring revenue not only puts cash in your pocket, but, it also builds equity into your business and your brand — which can be significant if you decide to sell it. (FYI, the Nike brand logo is valued at over $8 billion dollars! For just the schwoop!)
The “Upfront” Work
Without a doubt, creating multiple profit centers requires a ton of “upfront” work. Yes, this is the part that no one ever seems to address. And, hell, YES… it’s freakin’ hard work! (I know… I’ve done it several times).
For example, if you’re going to produce your own workout videos for your “Online Body Transformation Programs” then, you’ll need to spend a lot of time and a bit of money to produce them.
Road Warriors (example)
One of our fitness partners identified a niche and created 12 complete workout programs designed exclusively for traveling sales professionals (Road Warriors).
His programs consist of only body weight exercises and resistance bands because sales people pack light. So, the bands are perfect.
To demonstrate his protocol, he literally went to a Holiday Inn and video recorded hours and hours of specific exercises. More than 200. Each exercise demonstration was just 20-30 seconds long.
He even gave explicit instructions in the videos by saying things like, “Every Holiday Inn has this door knob… so attach the bands right here…” and so on.
It took over a year to complete the video recordings. But now he has a complete INVENTORY of exercises that he can incorporate into any of his 12 different “online” programs (beginner to advanced athlete ) which means he has 12 different “online” profit generators. (Everything password protected).
As an up-sell, he also offers a monthly membership ($19.99/month) where members gain access to his private Facebook group, a monthly tip sheet and online access to his list of healthy eating establishments in 65 metropolitan areas (most of which deliver to motels/hotels).
Even though it took over a year to create his online business, it is 100% fully automated. This allows him to focus on “content creation” while, at the same time, generating non-stop “passive income.”
There are tons of ideas and niches for online businesses. For example:
- Left-handed Athletes
- Handicapped Fitness Enthusiasts
- Sport Specific Training (baseball, football, soccer, skiing, paddle boarding, running, etc.)
- Career Specific Training/Courses (Firefighters, Police, EMT – We’re in process building out a Firefighter/CPAT website with Steve Nunno right now.
- Cooking Courses (Vegan, Gluten Free, Family, etc)
- Mindset & Positive Lifestyle Living
- Age Specific Fitness Training (age 50+ Men / Women) (We’re building one of these for Sandy Mortenson – lots of balance and ROM exercises/videos).
Last year, I even saw an online business set-up for people who wanted to keep working out while on a cruise ship.
Even more amazing, this entrepreneur somehow attracted ad sponsorships (revenue generation) from Norwegian Cruises and Carnival Cruises. Nice way to offset expenses and pick up new clients! Very smart marketing!
Examples of Successful Sites
There’s a saying: “If you want to be successful, study SUCCESS.” In that vein, here’s a small showcase of very professional online fitness businesses.
None of them were “overnight successes.” All of them started small and took years to gain momentum. They were the early ones that found a niche and jumped online.
It’s never too late to get started. And, I’m NOT suggesting you should create something so elaborate.
These sites are expensive and most of them have an entire staff running them. But, they are great studies in “ONLINE FITNESS BUSINESSES.” View them as Idea Starters…. just to get your creative juices flowing:
- Betty Rocker
- Nerd Fitness
- Ashley Horner
- Michelle Bridges – 12WBT
- Eric Cressey – High Performance
- Kelli Hart Davis
Secret #2 —> Done-For-You Platforms
If you lack the tech skills or just don’t have time to create your own online programs, you can purchase “Done-for-You” platforms like the BRANDED ONBOARD 101 Program, the new eCommerce/Dropship Program — both of which are branded “bolt-ons” — and designed to generate revenue.
And, there are plenty of other pre-built, content rich platforms from which to choose.
The best way to find one that meets your needs is to conduct a search for done-for-you online fitness programs or done-for-you online health coaching programs.
You also can look for licensed content like these offerings:
The advantages of DONE-FOR-YOU Platforms and / or licensed content are two-fold.
#1 – The content has already been created. This literally saves you hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars.
Just to provide perspective, our ONBOARD 101 course cost well over $100,000 to produce. That price tag is cost prohibitive for most. (We recover our costs through volume over time).
So, in some ways, a done-for-you platform might offer a better solution and higher profits than something you create yourself.
#2 – Comparatively, it takes almost NO TIME to bring your “product to market!”
If you are in a hurry to get things moving, then, a done-for-you platform or licensed content might be the best way to go.
You may still need help with some of the “techie stuff” via a freelancer, but, by far, the biggest obstacle for most is coming up with CONTENT.
So, done-for-you platforms or licensed content can be a fantastic solution… even if it’s only temporary while you build-out your own proprietary content.
Secret #3 —> Affiliate Commissions
Another essential profit generator for online businesses is Affiliate Commissions.
If this is unfamiliar territory, it’s basically where you place links (text or banner images) on your website that link to other websites like Amazon.
If a visitor to your site clicks on the link and then makes a purchase, you are paid a commission. It’s usually not huge, but it adds up.
For a complete description of Affiliate Marketing, just CLICK HERE...
In the fitness space, there are plenty of Affiliate Programs set up for trainers and health coaches who want to earn commissions on home equipment and fitness accessory sales.
There are literally 100’s of affiliate programs set up for fitness professionals.
Even though this is not in the fitness space, one of the most successful (7 figure) affiliate marketers in the world, is Pat Flynn. Just visit his website called SmartPassiveIncome.com
At the upper right corner of his website, he displays his monthly income. Pretty wild!
Pat Flynn has learned how to “drive affiliate sales” through his podcasts, Youtube channel, online courses, blog and website.
He is widely considered one of the all-time most successful affiliate marketers in the world. And, he’s a super nice guy, too! I highly recommend his podcast.
BONUS SECRET —> YOU MUST “DRIVE” ONLINE SALES
I saved the most important SECRET (#4) for last. And, while it’s the most obvious, it’s also the most neglected. Even some of the best online fitness pros neglect this, but, they quickly figure it out and fix it.
An online business, just like any other business requires you to be PROACTIVE in DRIVING SALES. Don’t let that word “passive” as in passive income fool you.
Let me give you a physical, “on location” real-world example.
There are hundreds of fitness trainers, studios and clubs who purchase our supplements branded with their own logo. To their clients, this is their fitness professional’s own line of superior, proprietary formulations that can NOT be purchased at GNC, BodyBuilding.com or any other retail venue.
Year after year I am totally blown away at how many independent trainers sell way more of their branded products than some of the biggest clubs in the country.
Because the big clubs simply put the products on a shelf in their pro shops where they sit… There’s no pro-active selling.
At the very least, the big clubs should present a seminar on “Sensible Supplementation” and provide “self-education” materials to help clients with their decision making process.
On the other hand, one of our most successful fitness partners is an independent trainer who grosses more than $180,000/yr of his own branded products every year at his location and through his website. He nets about $75,000 per year with no real labor costs.
- He’s pro-active with educational seminars.
- He hands every new client a folder with all of his supplement spec sheets enclosed.
- He puts all online clients into a separate marketing funnel that drips new information to his clients and prospects on a weekly basis – with links to his supplements and other accessories.
- He includes supplements with several of his training packages. He embeds supplementation into his nutrition programs (with an * for optional).
It’s the Same Thing for Online Programs…
This same scenario plays out with our ONBOARD 101 done-for-you platform.
Some fit pros earn a modest revenue stream... while others have created automated “proactive” strategies that generate a few thousand dollars every month!
In both cases, the branded platform is the exact same for everyone. So, the difference is how it is “framed,” presented and sold.
Here’s another strategy (read how Tom and Lettie Samuels just “crush it” with OB-101): CLICK HERE…
There is a direct correlation between “Proactive Marketing” and the amount of money generated.
Rocket Science, No. Take Action, Yes!
If you’ve read this far, you probably realize that once you get beyond all the success examples and resources I’ve provided, the bottom line is quite familiar.
The most successful online businesses are run NOT by geniuses. But, rather, by PRO-ACTIVE, TAKE ACTION ENTREPRENEURS.
I’m a Believer..!
I believe so strongly in creating multiple online revenue streams, that we now ONLY develop websites that include our ONBOARD 101 done-for-you platform and eCommerce/Dropship Program — with more revenue generators in the works.
Yes, it means we’re building fewer websites (it’s not for everybody).
But, on the other hand, as the health and fitness business advances more and more with online offerings, services and products, I don’t want our fitness partners to complain that they’re broke.
My goal is to be a part of… and play a role in… helping to create the next generation of 6 and 7-figure Fitness Success Stories!!!
3 Secret Summary + Bonus…
So, there you have it. In summary, the 3 secrets to running a successful online health and fitness business are:
1.) Multiple Revenue Generators: You absolutely must find a way to create multiple passive and/or recurring revenue generators.
2.) Content: If you don’t have the time to create proprietary content, consider online platforms or licensed content that you can re-sell.
3.) Affiliate Partners: Take advantage of as many affiliate partners as you can. They must be credible and be appropriate for your particular client base.
[BONUS] Proactive Marketing: This point is so IMPORTANT. So many fit pros suffer from an assumption that online services somehow sell themselves. They don’t.
Online services and products still require you to hone your sales presentations and commit them to landing pages, funnels, videos and webinars. In fact, the proactive marketing “mindset” is exactly how the top online fit pros are crushin’ it right now!
I hope you find these tips, tools and resources helpful for your business and your own personal journey.
Questions? Scroll to the bottom of this page.