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How to Gain Clients as a Personal Trainer

Getting your personal trainer certification puts you on the path toward a new, successful career -- and one that can mean you’re working for yourself and setting your own schedule. Not so fast though.

If you want to set out on your own and avoid the hassle of working at a fitness center that requires you to be there when they say so, you’ll need to find your own clients, and fast. You’ll definitely want to get a website and social media channels to represent your business, but here are a few other ways to drum up some business. 

Join the local chamber of commerce. As the name suggests, the chamber of commerce is often the nexus of business in your community. By joining, you’ll often be placed on a list of businesses in your area, as well as having the opportunity to attend networking events in your area. 

Attend a business networking group -- or start one of your own. A business networking group is like the chamber of commerce on a smaller scale. Typically, these groups allow one or two businesses of the same type into each group, and during weekly or monthly sessions, you’ll be allowed to make your "elevator pitch" to the other members of the group. The idea behind these groups is that each member uses the other members as resources for networking, as well as patronizing each others’ services.

Volunteer as a coach for kids. Showing that you have the knowledge and willingness to help kids may help spread the word about your expertise among the kids’ parents and family.

Offer to do a few free training sessions for family and friends. Your family and friends can be your best "bird dogs", as they’re sometimes called, referring to their ability to scout out new business for you. First though, your family and friends should know more about your style of training. Give a handful of friends a group session for a few weeks, or coach your spouse and his buddies in a boot camp-style group. Who knows, eventually they may also become paying customers. 

Send an email to your contacts. It seems pretty simple, but it works. Send a group email to your network of contacts, letting them know what you’re doing and that you’re drumming up new business. A lot of times, this can help you not only gain a few new clients, but also get more "bird dogs" on your team. 

Put up flyers around town offering a free session. This is another oldie but goodie. Ask the managers of local coffee shops, bookstores or libraries to let you put up a simple flyer that details the types of workouts you specialize in and your typical clients, and offer a free initial session to everyone who responds. 

Don’t overlook community center and fitness center opportunities. You might dread the thought of working for someone else, but in fact, working somewhere even part-time can be a great way to get the word out about your services. Instead of signing on as an employee though, talk to the managers of your local fitness centers or community centers about doing a short stint in the exercise center one or two days a week. During that time, you might advertise that you’re on hand to answer questions and to help people use the machines. If things go well, the people you help may later hire you as a trainer. 

Getting clients for a new personal trainer business is not always easy, but by putting your name out there in as many places as you can, you may find that your schedule is filled sooner than you’d thought possible.

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'6 Steps to Landing Your Next Job'

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