These days, there are so many services out there that are 100% completely and totally free. The reason why this is the case is because supply chains, technological advancements, and the web have made it so that running a business can largely be done without shelling out oodles of our hard-earned dollars.
And while I might urge the newest of us, who are just starting up your fitness coaching and personal training businesses, to stick with the free-option for as long as possible…
There comes a point in time when you’re just going to have to place your bet and whip out your training/fitness company’s debit card. Hey, freebies are wonderful things, but while the best things in life are free -there are quite a few things in business that will benefit your company in the long-run if you look at them as investments -and not overhead costs.
Freebies Are Awesome (But Only For a While)
What I’m not saying is that you should start shelling out cash for everything from pens to WordPress plugins -but what I am saying is that your small startup is going to grow; and when it does, you’re going to need to purchase a bigger plate to accommodate a bigger pie.
But doing this the right way requires a strategic mindset and a strategy that’s based on growth. No, you’re probably not going to want to purchase a company car just yet -but it’s not a foregone conclusion that you should spend the bucks to get yourself a professional sports polo with your professionally designed logo on it. Not only will this be an investment that builds your fitness business’s credibility with your customers -but you might just find your new shirt to be an inspiring kickstart that gets your vision-engine revved for your personal training company.
With that said, let’s get down to 5 more fitness business investments that are going to be worth your hard-earned dollars …so that you can have a bigger piece of the pie from an adequately sized plate.
#1 – Website Domain and Hosting
I’m not always one to turn my nose up at certain blog-platform sites, such as Tumblr and Blogger, since they are free; and making them look amazingly well-designed is actually quite easy to do. However, there are two issues with this…
- You’re stuck with Tumblr or Blogger’s name in the URL of your company website. Can can buy a domain and “park it”on top the the name you are given.
- You don’t have any control over the technical aspects of your website -and you don’t even have total control over its content management system (CMS).
While using free sites like this can offer some advantages in terms of them being zero-cost and user-friendly, the problem is that these options will start to cause problems, as more traffic begins to flow in your site’s direction.
That’s why it comes to a point where I’d recommend self-hosting your website (less than $15/mo with MyFitnessCmpany.com), and registering your own domain. Using this option will offer you far more control, you’ll be able to register YOUR OWN domain name (www.yada-yada-blahblahblah.com), and you won’t have a panic attack if suddenly Tumblr’s servers take a tumble -as they’ve done so in the past.
#2 – Accounting Software
Sure, you could spend your time, plugging numbers into Excel or Google Sheets -but as your business continues to grow, then you’re going to spend your time doing accounting and not training or coaching.
You could hire an accountant, but either way, that’s still going to require your time doing accounting tasks regardless -a task, which you’re already not too terribly fond of. So, my recommendation would then be to either sign up for a paid cloud-based accounting web app, or purchase your own CRM software, like Quickbooks. The point is that it’s just going to make your life easier, especially if you’re running an online or brick-and-mortar store that sells your training business’s endorsed line of supplements and workout equipment. Look at FitnessBusinessNinja.com. There are a lot of management tools to help you for a very low cost
If anything, this will make your life easier to track your company’s sales/costs/etc.; and this is especially the case during tax time. Also, if you decide to hire a CPA later on, then getting yourself setup with a good CRM will make their lives easier as well, and that will manifest itself in a smaller bill when you get the invoice.
#3 – Personal Trainer Logo, Web Design, Content
Quite frankly, this is one area that is of more importance than most folks might give it; but nevertheless, I believe that your logo could lend immense credibility to your company (or leave it with zilch credibility if that logo is not professionally designed). Either way, this is how you know that you should invest some cash into your logo…
- You don’t have any graphic design skills or software, and have no time to learn.
- You aren’t artistic in the least bit, and have no desire to learn.
But that’s why I might suggest using Fiverr, because it will get you connected with otherwise good graphic designers that are hungry for work. However, I would NOT suggest using this site to make off with a logo that’s only going to cost you five bucks -because that will get you $5 quality. Your best bet is to find an artist on Fiverr that you could see yourself sticking with over the long haul, and enlisting their services for things like web design or business cards later on.
Also, remember about content, especially if you’re not exactly skilled in the art of video shooting/editing, infographics, blog posts, written web content, or photography -then you might even want to setup a job on Elance or oDesk. But remember: you always get what you pay for. Period.
#4 – Office Space
Working from home can be nice, especially since you can save tons-o-bucks on the general lack of transportation costs (this could also be due to the fact that you’re probably not eating out as much, since you’ve got leftovers in the fridge that await your lunch break). However, there tends to be a couple small problems with the absence of a professional office to commute to in the morning…
- If you’re not operating your company from a PO Box, then your residential address could further cause credibility problems with potential clients/partnering companies.
- It can be a little humbling when a client asks where your office is located, and you have to reply: “…just down the hall from the kids’ playroom”.
- I’ve found it mentally more difficult to switch into business-mode from home, since there are lots and lots of distractions that lurk everywhere. Also, this can make the maintaining of a work-life-balance even more difficult (though, not impossible).
One great way to resolve these issues is to move your fitness business operations to a co-work space. This is going to provide you with a place that naturally generates creativity, facilitates focus, assists with networking, and it will even be easier to claim as a tax deduction.
And of course, it will be nice to say to a prospective client: “Sure, here’s the address, it’s in the city -but we’ve got our own parking lot. We can go over the details in the conference room.”
Bet On Your Success
Freebies do offer a way for us to dip our toes in the water and test to see if we want to get in up to our knees. However, we can only do that for so long, and I’ve found that sticking with this strategy can hamstring our ability to succeed over the long haul.
Risk has a way of changing the facts, binding our will-power to the expectation and hope of growth from a worthwhile investment. Of course, there are inherent dangers in taking risks -and no, I’m not advocating that we take unwise, uneducated risks either. What I am saying is that there are times when investing in your own company is the act of placing a bet on your own drive, skill, knowledge, and desire to achieve and grow a successful fitness business.
If your chips are down, then you’re going to play your hand better than those that decided against the risk -and that’s because you’ll have far more to lose (and far more to gain), than those who are just sitting at the poker table for the free drinks.