Three reasons preventing you from earning $100,000+ per annum as a personal trainer

By DM_admin 3

Hey readers,

Sitting here in my office on the Queen’s birthday long weekend working away after getting in a workout and I saw a post on social media from a personal trainer whom has just opened a new gym. Now in the post this personal trainer was inviting people to contact him today via PM, email or phone to take advantage of his special offer. The offer was that if you contacted him today you could gain access to three free personal training sessions with him… Yes that is right, three whole sessions for free, no charge just entirely free, which lead me to writing this article.

The view from my office today on this lovely public holiday...

The view from my office on this lovely public holiday today, my favourite place to be the entrepreneur at heart that I am and create content such as what you are reading right now…

Now the personal trainer in question I have seen around in the industry for around five-six years now, so seeing him give away his services like this at his stage of his career I found quite saddening. This trainer is very passionate about what he does, both in person and online, along with being more competent than most other trainers out there. Unfortunately though as is the case with many in the fitness industry he clearly isn’t following the three principles below so that he can monetize his passion.

Principle 1: Value your worth

Now obviously after reading the introduction to this article that glaringly should stick out as the obvious, however you would be surprised with how often I see personal trainers undervalue their services. I for one have always been against giving out anything for free from early on in my career, the most I ever gave away was a complimentary session, which I then used to up-sell my service within the first six months of being in the industry. For personal trainers today I can appreciate the need to do this and actually think it can be a handy tool to attract new clientele in a gym environment where you are prospecting people of the floor, but 2-3 years into your career there should be no real need to do this. Your business and profile should be established, as should your current clientele and referrals from them.

Anything more than that initial free ‘trial’ session in my opinion is a complete undervaluing of ones service and time, for example would an endocrinologist ever give out three consultations to a new client just to get them across the line as an ongoing client?

Take myself for example, last week I was drafting up a proposal for an athletic development program for one of Sydney’s most prestigious private girl schools with the Clean Health Fitness Institute. Now this program will last six months and involve 2 x weekly group athletic classes along with some lifestyle and nutrition and education and all post workout nutrition inclusive.

Now as I was finalizing all the particulars it came time to enter the financials on this package. After doing the numbers based the expenses it would cost to provide the program in terms manpower/labor of 50 hours and stock I found out that purely at that minimum it would cost around $10,000. Add into that equation GST and then company tax and I would have to charge at least $20,000 to make it a worthwhile investment of time and money, which would be around $400 per hour for this service.

Now $400 an hour is a lot of money in any industry, let alone the health and fitness sector and something that 10 years ago I didn’t conceive being able to charge and at first glance. So my first impulse was to leave the charge out for this program at that rate which is above market norm, however before hitting send on the email I sat back and reflected and asked myself the following…

‘Is the service I can provide worth more?’ my answer was ‘Yes as it will change the athletic careers of the participants in a positive manner tremendously’. I then asked myself ‘Why?’ my response was the following:

  • In the school athletic performance market the Clean Health Fitness Institute has a track record of exceptional results. Summary point here is experience.
  • The equipment and facilities we have access to are some of the best in the world. Summary point here is facilities.
  • The knowledge base and overall quality of the personal trainers providing the services is some of the best in Australia. Summary points here customer service and quality of service.

With that now in mind I increased the hourly figure to $500, bringing the total package value up $5000 to $25,000. The school accepted and I now have another private school looking at doing the exact same program at the exact same figure, which hopefully will be finalized this week, bringing in total gross revenue of $50,000 from two deals to the company. Had I gone with my initial instinct that would have been $10,000 less overall.

So the take home point? Next time you sit down to sell your services to a prospective client ask yourself the following five questions:

  1. Does your service do what it proclaims to do? I.e.; get results
  2. Do you go ‘the extra mile’ for your clients?
  3. Does your track record justify markets norms, less or more?
  4. What would you personally pay to get the result you offer?
  5. How important is getting a result with your service to you not your client?

This should give you more clarity when it comes to putting a more appropriate figure to the service you are providing and be prepared; it might actually be more than you think!

Principle 2: Set actionable goals

At first I was going to write above ‘Set short and long term goals’ but then I realized, without goals being actioned they are just words with no meaning. So setting actionable goals would better clarify the meaning of that I am referring to here. So what is an actionable goal? Any actionable goal is something that is realistic that you action.

For example, you want to earn $2600 per week gross income after you pay rent in your local gym, which is $135,200 per annum. Currently your stats are:

  • You charge an average of $75 per session
  • You do 35 sessions per week
  • Gym rent is $300 per week
  • 35 x $75 = $2625 – $300 = $2325
  • Leaving you with a shortfall of $275 per week

Now this leaves you with two clear-cut options:

  1. You raise your average session rate to $85 per session which would result in $2975, getting you $175 per week over your target
  2. You increase your current sessions from 35 to 40 which would result in $3000, getting you $200 per week over your target

Both of these options could involve the following:

  • Increased marketing to attract new business through a new website, Facebook, instagram, online blogs, your local community etc.
  • Increased interaction with existing clients to work on lead generation from referrals within. So the development for a referral program. For example at the Clean Health Fitness Institute gym’s the referral program is that a client gets a free session whenever they refer a new client that signs up to a personal training program.

As you can see with the clear-cut options I have gone above the weekly total required. Why? Because this takes into consideration worst case scenarios, it also takes into consideration annual off peak times meaning if you want to earn $2600 per week over the course of a year you need actually should be looking at earning $2816 per week minimum, which if you do the numbers is $2600 x 52 / 48, which gives you a four week buffer of low to bad business. Remember in business it is better to play it safe than to be sorry, a mistake I have made before!

So as you can see with my example goal of earning $2600 per week gross after rent, much more thought goes into it then just a number. There are several areas I need to ‘action’ to make this goal a reality. I use a process like this whenever I set a goal in business, proper planning prevents poor performance and the same applies with your fitness business goals. Write them down, plan them out and then action the steps to each of them one by one.

Principle 3: Chose the right mentors

When people think of mentor they generally think of somebody older that is experienced in an area that is valuable to that person. The reality is the age of the mentor is not all that important – they could actually be younger – what is important is that they are experienced in an area of life that is related to your goal.

As a personal trainer wanting to make a career out of the fitness industry, there are a few areas you need to look at when it comes to mentors, which area will depend on where you are at in your career. If you want to build a six or even seven figure personal training business you need to look at the areas below in the following order…

  1. Industry specific skill set mentors

This means learning from people who are highly skilled personal trainers, strength coaches, doctors, nutritionists etc. Yes that is correct I believe to be a great personal trainer in today’s industry you need to learn from people within multiple sectors of the health industry.

Some of the best industry specific skill set mentors I have learned from over my career and incorporated their methods into my own coaching principles are Charles Poliquin, Andre Benoit, Dr Bob Rakowski, Dr Jess Armine, John Meadows, Francine Savard, Christian Thibaudeau, Sebastian Oreb and Phil Learney to name a few.

Collectively these industry professionals have helped develop my ability to get results with clients, which over time allowed me to develop a reputation as a results producer which lead to a steady flow of clients from both referrals and new enquiries.

  1. Industry specific business mentors

This means learning from people whom have built successful businesses in the area of the industry you want to succeed in. For example if you wish to open up your own gym learning from someone whom has done that or if you want to build up a successful online business learning from someone whom has done well in that sphere.

Some of the best industry specific business mentors I have learned from over my career to help grow my businesses are Charles Poliquin, Nick Mitchell, Paul Timms to name a few.

Collectively these industry professionals whom themselves have developed multi-million dollar fitness industry businesses helped me do the same over the years at different stages of my career.

This has lead to me creating my fitness business mastermind program so that personal trainers who wish to build a successful business have someone whom they can learn from in a systemized manner to take their fitness business to the next level because unfortunately just like in the personal training results area, there are many people out there who actually haven’t done much yet still sell themselves as being experts at getting results.

The same applies with fitness industry business coaches, there are too many these days that have never built a seven or even six figure business, managed large teams and developed a national or international brand.

Over the years I have seen my companies make millions but I have also also lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, through experience I have learned first hand in business what does and does not work and any successful business coach worth a dime will likely have a similar background!

  1. Non-industry business mentors

This means learning from people outside of the fitness industry whom are skilled in the art of developing businesses. I believe this should be stage three of the mentorship curve when it comes to building a successful fitness business. In saying that though it is still important to have non-industry people guiding you early on in the form of a quality accountant, solicitor and perhaps a client of yours whom is successful in business whose brain you can pick.

The non-industry mentor should however only be a small part in your development early on, as you initially need to get amazing at getting results consistently as a personal trainer with all walks of life. You then need to learn from those whom have taken that step and monetized their passion by creating a business off the back end of their competence as a personal trainer. At this point you can start to focus more on non-industry mentors.


If I ever got the chance to pick billionaire entrepreneur and Virgin airlines founder Sir Richard Branson’s brain I would definitely take it!

All too often I see personal trainers with little experience in the industry and results going straight to the non-industry business coach, who teaches them all the tips and tricks on marketing, SEO, Facebook ads, client conversion systems etc. Now it is not the personal trainers fault that they get conned into these Internet marketing and business ‘car salesman’, it is their short time mindset. My advice, you have no place focusing all of your time and energy on marketing, targeted Facebook ads etc. if you have not mastered the basics of getting results and doing it time and time again.

Non-industry mentors tend to be more suitable in my experience for personal trainers to focus on once they have built a successful business and not before, as many cannot relate to the ins and outs of our industry and the what, how and why of what we do. I find these people are better to utilize mainly when you have mastered all the fundamentals of your industry and wish to take it to the next level, perhaps to the point where you want to sell your business.

I have been very fortunate having numerous multi-millionaires and in one case billionaire clients that I have worked with over the years whose brains I have and continue to suck dry when it comes to business related matters. Branding, marketing, systemization of business, staff management, legal related, tax related etc. these are all areas I have grown from tremendously due to the team of business mentors I have both formally and informally.

In closing, if you are wanting to become that six or perhaps even one day the ever elusive seven figure personal trainer in your area I promise you that if you follow those three key principles above you will be on the right path to turning your passion into something of real monetary value!

Keep pushing,


Bryan Sauder

Thanks Daine…… Great article. I can use these tips. About to go on my own, and the info is dynamite.

Shaun Borg

Hey Daine
Appreciate the advice and will keep using the above methods to accomplish my long term goals.
Simple advice like this helps our industry to grow stronger and help the community to become stronger versions of one self.

Keep up the posts.


Shaun Borg


You are welcome Shaun!

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