A million ways to make money.
I believe that the fitness industry has some of the most flexible ways to make money; you just have to commit to one or two of them as you get going. There are extremely active ways to make money that require time and effort, as well as passive ways that allow you to make money off of past work for years to come. Either way, you need to commit yourself to only a couple, otherwise you’ll run yourself ragged trying to make a little money in a bunch of them instead of a lot of money in one or two. There are more ways than the ones I’ll list here, but I have direct experience with these ones and I’ll never give you advice on something that I haven’t tried personally before.
ACTIVE REVENUE STREAMS
Active Revenue Streams require constant time, attention, and effort in order to make them work. The following are the typical Active Revenue Streams that you could use:
Personal Training is where everyone starts in fitness. The typical story is this: you got in shape, your friends/family witnessed it, then they asked you to train them: instant business. The problem is that Personal Training can be time intensive and your income is limited to how many hours/days you can commit to your clients. The only way to scale this revenue stream is by increasing your hourly rate, and even that has a ceiling.
GROUP TRAINING/BOOT CAMPS
Group Training and Boot Camps are a great way to get more income from more people with or without a gym (they’re more profitable without a gym by the way). People can get great results if they’re committed to your program, but most of the time there is a high turnover rate, and class sizes can be limited by equipment and the amount of space that’s available. The best way to cultivate high rate clients is to have an extremely systematic approach to how you get and maintain results for your clients.
SHORT TERM PROGRAMS
Fitness programs that feature a specific timeframe (4-12 weeks usually, with 4 weeks being the most common), are an excellent way to generate revenue as well as prospects for long term clients. Examples of this would be “4-Week Bikini Body Program” or “8-Week Fat Burning Boot Camp.” The key to the success in this type of offering is the ability to lock people into showing up consistently for the timeframe. In this same vein, people are usually willing to spend a little more money that they will justify as additional motivation to get them to attend each workout session. They usually think to themselves, “$300 sounds expensive, but I’ll be more likely to go so the money doesn’t go to waste.” If you’re looking to build up your testimonials online, this is one of the best ways to do it as well, since the “transformations” will be quick if the people take the program seriously. This could also be used to gain more gym members by offering short term, low cost programs, such as “$99 4-Week Trial Workout Program.”
Gym Membership is your typical commercial model featuring an access to a facility, classes, and possibly even some coaching. This can be packaged with Personal Training or paid Group Training, but most of the time the focus of this revenue stream is to get the maximum amount of clientele into a facility.
ONLINE PERSONAL TRAINING
Online Personal Training usually sounds like a good idea, but unless your clients are somewhat self-sufficient, it could be a big time drain on you. This involves providing virtual training with assessments, objectives, diet plans, workout plans, and other advice customized to a trainee. I put this in the Active Revenue Stream category because it will take time to create and facilitate each system. I would advise against creating a one-size-fits all program and trying to pass it off as a “custom” plan if you’re offering this type of service.
Product Sales include all retail revenue streams from fitness equipment to apparel to foods and supplements. In other words, Product Sales are basically anything that you could hand to someone over the counter or ship online. This is another surprisingly time-intensive way to make money, and unless your margins are on point (at least 35-50% profit margin range) it could be far from worth your time.
Fitness Workshops are an excellent way to make money, gain new clients, and build your reputation within your local community. Many people may be hesitant to sign up for long term commitments, especially when “long term” means four weeks to some people. Workshops allow you to make a few bucks while people get to try out a new training technique. I’ve always found that people are interested in kettlebell training, but are fearful to come to a class. It could be because they don’t think they can keep up with the group or are scared that they’ll hurt themselves. Coming to a workshop is a non-threatening way to get people involved without these concerns.
Certifications can be a good revenue stream, but they need to be extremely thought out and very well executed. Even so, despite what you may think, they require no oversight from some fitness mega-organization or government committee. It’s as simple as this: if you say it’s a certification and people are willing to pay for it, then it’s a fitness certification. This doesn’t mean that they’re easy though! I’ve found that the best fitness certifications do more than simply provide you with fitness information; they provide you with tangible benefits to the trainer over the long term. This could be through further classes and coaching, networking between everyone who has been certified in the past, affiliate programs, or opportunities to move up through the organization through testing and experience. Do not underestimate the process of creating a certification; until you can write multiple books about your fitness system and hundreds (if not thousands) of people are using and loving it, you’re probably not ready to create one.
PASSIVE REVENUE STREAMS
Passive Revenue Streams still require work, but much less in most cases, and they don’t require the follow up and constant time investment of Active Revenue Streams. I usually call these “retirement plans” because they offer some of the only options you’ll ever have to live off of something that you built in the past.
Affiliate Programs are created by vendors who are looking to gain traffic and referrals from website owners and social media marketers. It works like this: you put a link to a product or service on your website, your readers click on it, they buy something from the vendor, then you get a commission (usually anywhere from 5-25% of the sale amount). This is probably the most ideal way to make passive income because you don’t actually have to do anything except for set up a link. Here’s a little tip; banners suck at getting clicks and your most likely source of commission is including links within your email marketing.
Ebooks have been around for years and they can be hit or miss depending on what you’re offering. I’ve seen trainers make a lot of money on ebooks (check out the list that Travis Stoetzel has at http://www.TravisStoetzel.com/). They can provide some good income, but will only be popular as long as you are willing to promote them. The minute you stop talking about them, they will stop generating revenue. The key is to make a series that will continue to reinforce past issues, no matter if you’re selling to new or old customers, that way you can use the same branding to sell new and old books.
DVDS & STREAMING VIDEOS
DVDs used to be the go-to solution for generating passive income and getting trainers to the next-stage of guru-development. They are starting to fade in popularity as people make the transition to streaming solutions, but they are an excellent way to encapsulate a fitness system (and you can always put the videos online in the future). You can make between $9.99 to $50.00 per unit, and DVDs currently cost only $0.89 to $1.25 per unit to produce depending on how many you order. The trick is in the shooting and editing of the DVD itself which may cost a lot of money depending on how you produce it. I had a system that only required about $500 to shoot and edit (this is extremely inexpensive), but I was renting equipment and using college students as my crew.
MEMBER ONLY WEBSITES
Member Only Websites are both technical and require quite a bit of work to keep updated. They are about as much work as creating a website to market your products and services in the first place. However, I still think they can make a killing if they offer a cogent solution that is affordable. My favorite examples are BlackSwanYoga.tv (they charge $8 per month per trainer for follow-along yoga workouts) and GymJones.com (they offer part of the website for free then charge for more advanced programs, although the website has had a lot of development and cost a ton).