My journey started fresh out of uni,
I got a job as a Self employed Personal trainer at Lifestyle Fitness in Preston. I thought this is it Im gonna be rich. £30 Per hour yeah buddy.
My ex ex said to me why don’t you keep your job t WHSmith just in case. That pissed me off I was like don’t you believe that I Can make it & anyway I’m on £30 per hour I only need a few clients a week and I’ll be on the same wage..
I didn’t really know what I was doing, but the first couple of months were great we had the sales guy (Scott) Here bringing in new members & he would introduce them to us for a free consultation. Which means we got leads for free it was great & when he wasn’t bringing them in personally they would show up later to sign up it was a constant flow of new leads.
My diary was full – but a lot of those were no shows (A common theme) but I dint mind coz there was always new leads coming in.
I tried everything to get new clients 3 Hours of Free Personal Training, Yeah that got a lot of interest people would show up for like one or two but cancel the third so I never got to do my pitch (It sucked anyway) so I was working for free without any conversions into sales. On top of that a lot of people weren’t showing up to their consultation’s so I was waiting around for nothing.
I went from being a student (3 Days a week) to working 12-14 Hours a day every day for nothing.
I kept going though I was passionate about this so wanted to make it work, Plus the gym was getting a refurbishment so it was going to generate a lot of business (What I kept telling myself.)
A couple of months went buy I had a few clients paying like £12 for 20 minutes (Not great) Scott had gone to another gym and the refurbishment had started (But got delayed) So the whole downstairs had been knocked through and that was it so we had no reception area.
potential new members had slowed and wouldn’t join until the gym was finished. But I was living in the past still expecting new members to walk through the door.
“In Times of Change the Learners Inherit the Earth, While the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists” – Eric Hoffer
I would wait at the top of the stair’s (Our makeshift reception) all day waiting so I would be the first one to pick off the new member’s – They rarely came and if they did rarely signed up for a free consultation & if they did they defiantly did not sign up for PT.
The pressure at this point was pilling up, Me and my Ex had broken up, I was paying rent in a gym but making no return, The bills were piling up, My PT Manager was pressuring me on why i’m not making any conversions (He was trying to help but It was pressure for me) I couldn’t afford food ect.
And this only got worse as the refurbishment went the gym was full of dust and all the machinery was cramp into one tiny area.
I kept telling my self that business would pick up once the refurb was finished so I stuck at it.
I also decided that I needed a website & That I Needed my Level 4 PT qualification (Do you know what REP’s Level 4 is?) No .. None of any potential clients did but I thought that it would help get more clients in being the highest qualified PT in the gym (With a website).
So I invested money that I didn’t have into a qualification I didn’t really need and on A website that I could of utilised better if I invested my money in marketing education.
The one good thing about my website was that It allowed me to write articles and publish them on a platform .. However this was not making me any money though.
I got my level 4 around the same time the gym had nearly finished and the same time I had actually gone Flat Flat Broke.
Flat Flat broke is the level of broke’ness after Flat Broke.
“I almost broke down in Tears telling him I had ZERO in my bank account”
All my clients kept cancelling , My student finance got cut off (I Dropped out of my 3rd year top up to focus on my business – haha whatta mistake that was.)
So I stopped going to work (The place that made me no income but I spent my whole life there.) I only went in on my service hours (The 14 hours we worked for free for the gym in return of reduced rent)
One of those nights my PT Manager pulled me in the office and asked me what was going on – I almost broke down in Tears telling him I had ZERO in my bank account.
He said he was going to speak to the regional manager and The MD of the company (My Idol at the time.)
A couple of days later I got a phone call in short – “Hey Roy were opening a Coffee bar do you want to manage it, You’ll get a wage, pay no rent & still get to PT”
This was great – income, rent free & still get to PT. I felt like I had won the lottery It gave me a second lease of life I picked up 2 new Clients that day both for 2 sessions a week.
It was Eastham’sPersonalTraining Version 1.5 an update in the system – I think I picked up a couple more clients that week as well.
The Glory Didn’t Last
The day before the cafe opened my car broke, I couldn’t afford to fix it nor could I afford to get home I had to sleep in the gym that night, In the managers office head on a Bulgarian bag and a couple of training mat’s (Literally sleeping where other people have sweated their ass’s all over.)
A couple of weeks went by and I managed to get a car on finance (I don’t know how but I did)
My first full months pay at the cafe came in 50% less than what I was expecting. My Heart sank, I wanted to cry I had been undercut by half.
And on top off all the past due bills I now had finance to pay for.
I emailed the boss lady she said she would foreword it to the MD, Didn’t hear back from him got undercut the next month. He finally got back to me said he was coming to visit.
‘You look pale and look like you’ve not picked up a dumbbell in Months’
One of my clients had also dropped off so I lost out on £40 per week, Another went on holiday for 2 weeks so I was left with one paying £15 for half an hour for two weeks.
The MD came and In short he basically said “I’ve not paid you in full because you’ve not made me enough money”
He also grilled me about my life and totally mind fucked me as well – One of the things I remember most was when he said ‘You look pale and look like you’ve not picked up a dumbbell in Months’ (Which was actually true) But the reason I was on my Death bed was because I couldn’t afford to eat and didn’t have any energy to workout.
I wanted to cry, Punch him, Shout at him, Quit, Demand my money.. I was an emotional wreck. But I had to be semi smart 50% of something was still better than 100% of nothing so I handed my notice but stayed until they replaced me (Which gave me enough time to find a job.)
I Am the Reason For My Own Failure
As much as I want to blame everyone for not showing up to my sessions & consultations & Blame the refurb for not bringing any members into the gym & Blame MD for undercutting me..
When it comes down to it I am the only person responsible for going broke.. Just like your responsible for the situation your in right now.
We can point fingers but were in these situations because of the actions we Take or don’t take.
I went broke because I didn’t adapt to change, I let my fears take over and avoid talking to member’s because I got rejected a couple of time. I made excuses instead of taking action, I invested money and studied the wrong area’s.
I was mentally drained because I was working 15 hours a day making no money and I didn’t even work out so I was scrawny as F*ck..
Every Action has a consequence & My actions effected my Health – Wealth & Relationships (I hardly ever saw my family, I avoided people in the gym (PT Manager who was also a friend)) Just like every decision you make effects yours.
Maybe but I will never know because I let FEAR control me
Lessons in Business
I used to resent the fitness industry and say I never wonted to work init again, say that there was no money init – I was in denial I actually love the fitness industry and im thankful I experienced this extreme failure.
Lesson 1 – You’ve got to adapt to change
When the gym was booming my dairy was always full (Unfortunately not with paying clients) We had a sales guy bring us leads and members in the gym so we had new people to talk to if he didn’t. When all that changed I was still excepting new leads to be given to me and new members to walk through the door – They didn’t and I didn’t attempt I was still expecting the old way to work and in return It set me back big time.
Lesson 2 – Fear will Kill You
So after months of pitching my services and being rejected and only so few taking me up but with my lower price options, I developed a fear of being rejected and therefore made excuse to not speak to members. The ones I did have a consultation with I was so convinced that they would reject me I gave them a lousy half arsed pitch, When they said no I was like I knew it. If I had pitched, If I had spoken to more members my future might have been different, Maybe I wouldn’t of been starving and having to decide whether to put petrol in my car or buy some lunch. Maybe when the gym was a construction site I would still of been making money with my current clients (Like the other PT’s) instead of waiting around .. Maybe but I will never know because I let FEAR control me. To Succeed Get Comfortable with the Uncomfortable rejections going to happen but it wont kill you.
Lesson 3 – Study How to Market
When I was in uni I didn’t really pay attention to the business side of things, When I started PT’ing I was pretty clueless to (Obviously I went Broke) I though a FB page some business cards and a Website would make sales. I though having Personal Trainer on the back of my shirt people would come begging me to train them. When that didn’t work I though paying for a qualification would work, Wrong again.
If I had spent half my time studying marketing listening to Podcasts and subscribed to a fitness business mentoring group Then things might of been different. I would of learnt about email marketing, FB ads, What people actually want (Not what i thought they wanted) Lead generation, Walking the gym floor techniques and probably the most import one How to Sell.
I hope you enjoyed reading.