The first step to becoming a personal trainer is obtaining certification from a nationally accredited, reputable company. Once you are certified you have a big decision to make between working for yourself or getting employed by a gym. Each of these options carries its own set of pros and cons. Loving fitness and knowing what it takes to live a healthy active life may work for yourself, but as a trainer you have to be able to use what you know to benefit other people, which means taking the good with the bad.
The most rewarding part of being a personal trainer is that you get a lot of the credit for changing the lives of your clients for the better. After the first week of training a new client, the routine becomes easier and the client noticeably becomes stronger and has more endurance. As clients progress closer to achieving their goals, their demeanor changes and they become more self-confident.
Working with Difficult People
Some people think weight-loss is simply for sale instead of something that must be earned. As a personal trainer it's common to encounter clients who believe that you are solely the one responsible for their weight loss simply because they are paying you. These clients may be late for workout sessions or cancel appointments. They give little effort and do not follow their diet. It is your job to motivate the clients, but the clients must be truly committed to their goals as well. It's important to establish this up front before signing a new client.
Pros of Working for Yourself
When working for yourself as a personal trainer, you are in control of your schedule. You don't have anyone to answer to and you make all the decisions. Selling a service is easier than selling goods when you are self-employed. This is because you do not have to stock your product and, since a service is really all about selling time, you can be more flexible with promotions.
Cons of Working for Yourself
Being a self-employed personal trainer requires you to focus on much more than the training. You have to be on top of advertising, finding and signing new clients, printing contracts, establishing policies, scheduling appointments, creating logos and branding, buying equipment and covering overhead. You are also responsible for keeping track of your taxes and paying full price for your health insurance. Once you work for yourself as a personal trainer it may be difficult to later become employed in a gym. Many of the major gyms will consider this as a conflict of interest and will not hire you out of fear of that you will use their resources to steal their clients.
Pros of Working for a Gym
Working for a gym gives you a platform for steady income and you can use the gym's brand and equipment to sell your service. Working as an employee at a gym allows you to take advantage of benefits, such as reduced healthcare, that you would miss out on by being self-employed.
Cons of Working for a Gym
The gym does not give you clients to work with, you are required to sell people on your service. This includes handing out fliers, distributing promotion boxes to local businesses, attending events and selling your services to members. Though you are generally guaranteed an hourly base pay, you are required to keep a set amount of business to stay employed.