Back in the day when I started my business, I knew very little about what I was getting myself into. Freshly certified, all I knew is that I loved working out for the obvious mental and physical rewards that exercise brings… but I was in for a rude awakening regarding all that entailed running a business. I framed my NASM certification, put it on the wall and got to work.
Clients make a service business. Your customer service (or lack thereof) invites or repels clients. As a personal trainer, the results I deliver to my clients speak volumes about my skills. But as I always explain to new clients, simply hiring a personal trainer is not like waving a magic wand. I troubleshoot problems, give insight and direction- but I’m no genie in a friggin’ bottle. The brunt of the work and results are going to be in direct relation to how hard the client works- I simply direct. And count reps, of course.
During my early years of personal training I took on every client I could find because I was building a business and desperately needed the experience. Looking back, I did so many things wrong- but as they say, hindsight is always 20/20. I had clients who were consistently late, some who complained about their personal problems the entire workout (sharing things that were none of my business), a few made excuse after excuse as to why they couldn’t do something I had asked, and they’d even sometimes argue with things I wanted them to do.
Now, I’m all for people challenging a piece of advice and engaging in a productive discussion about what’s best, but straight up arguing with me because you don’t like a particular exercise I ask you to do is just going to piss me off. Those clients immediately landed on my mental “shit list,” and I vowed to work them harder during the next session.
People are so funny when it comes to being made to feel physically uncomfortable on purpose. Being in a position where I’m telling someone to push through it, and feel the burn! Usually invites dirty looks, uncomfortable silences and a slew of negative ramblings pouring out of the client’s mouth upon completion of their set. Some swear. Some cry. I don’t mind. The nature of the job means I get to wear many hats and that’s what draws me in. I love the unique opportunity of being compatible with different personalities, ethnicity’s, belief systems, and educational backgrounds I get to work with. Because they’re all there for the exact same reason- to become the best version of themselves.
It blows my mind when I look back and reflect on those early, humble beginnings. A lot has changed, and so have I. My clientele is different today too. Nowadays I work with seriously driven people. It took a few years to realize that I needed to raise my standards if I wanted clients who were willing to stay committed to our program and work their asses off for amazing results. I had to take my job as a personal trainer seriously if I expected others to take me seriously. It took a lot of confidence to say ‘NO’ to those I didn’t want to work with, it took even more confidence to fire clients who weren’t compliant, because I had already formed relationships with them.
I’m not here to tell you what you want to hear if it’s false. I’m not dishonest with my clients because I’m not interested in just collecting a paycheck- I’m interested in having the opportunity to help you change your life. In creating a company, you also build a reputation and it’s a slow, arduous process. As Benjamin Franklin said; “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” But I’m not interested in trying to please everyone because it’s impossible. I’m intent on attracting those who are like-minded, who are honest and loyal and who are ready to work for the body and life of their dreams.