How to Become Fully Booked with Online Clients

How to Dominate Any Niche as an Online Trainer

If there's one thing I've learned over the past five years of online coaching, it's this:

When you want to reach a new goal in your fitness business, you have to be ready to make changes to your strategy. 

What happens if you don't really enjoy the niche you serve?

What if your program doesn't get the results your client's expect? 

What if those needy client's take up way too much of your time? 

Well, the solution is pretty simple - you pivot. You see as an online trainer it's really easy to just 'jump-ship' and take a new direction and dominate the new niche you go into.

So in this week's Masterclass podcast episode I help Masterclass member Eddy decide upon a new path to take and how to create a new program for a totally different niche.

Eddy and I chat about how of structure your time as an online trainer and why it's okay to pivot, and when you should actually do that. We also chat about how a find your new direction and what that will actually take to really get into that space and dominate it. I also give Eddy advice on how to quickly get his new offer out there and make it a quick success.

I hope you enjoy this weeks show.

Can't listen right now? Then read the transcript below!

Episode Highlights:

6.35 - Meet Eddy

9.44 - Setting BIG goals for your online fitness business

12.48 - Problems with choosing the wrong niche

18.55 - Transitioning into a new niche and making you new service a quick success

26.55 - Structuring your time as an online trainer

Links and Resources Mentioned:

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Ru: Tell me what you're currently up to - what do you do day to day right now?

Eddy: It's a bit messed up to be honest, as I'm not doing exactly what I want to be doing each day. Since I signed up to the Masterclass that was what gave me the initial to-go for online nutrition coaching. And then through Uni, I've got my qualifications but I've never got the physical experience in the gym. I've been dabbling in and out of gyms and at the moment I'm in Bupa. It's the corporate gym and it's just for staff. It's really easy going and I'm not doing much PT there. I'm just helping out in the gym, doing a few classes. It's a freelance role, where they call me in when they need cover.

My online coaching is similar, I'm not really fishing for clients online yet because I've struggled with even looking after two clients online. So at the moment I've got two guys that I'm coaching and I find that it takes up so much time. This is where I have a question for you, how do you manage so that you can build your client base even bigger?

I've just left the jobs I've had because I really wanted to give it a go and I'm in my final year of uni now. So by the time I graduate I want to be full time in the business.

Ru: You want to gain that initial momentum now so when you leave your student bubble you want to have your business up and running.

Eddy: My initial idea for the online business was post-natal wellbeing for new mums getting back into shape. That's because I had a little boy and helped my wife get back in shape but I feel something is not clicking into place with that niche at all . The two online clients I have are males, but I find it's a lot of time for little money.

Ru: So, what's the big goal? What do you want to do? I'm guessing it's probably hundred percent online?

Eddy: The big goal is to be able to plan the business around my perfect day. I would love to just work four to six hours per day fully online. But I'm not sure if I'm being realistic here or not.

Ru: I think you're definitely realistic. My goal is exactly the same, I want to have a fully online business, working from anywhere in the world. That wasn't my initial goal but it expands as you keep moving forward and meeting your goals. A big goal initially is perfectly cool and that's exactly what I do. I'm 100 percent online, travel around the world doing what I want, so I think it's totally realistic.

I always say it and I genuinely mean it but if I can do it anyone can. Seriously. I recently read a quote from Steve Jobs, one of the biggest creators in our whole generation. And he says that everything around us, that we use and we touch has not been created by anyone smarter than ourselves. So it's not that you have to be special, you don't need access to hidden tools or some huge investment, it's actually about taking action on that goal and relentlessly pursuing it.

I think you've got what it takes, I've seen your work, I've seen what you've been doing behind the scenes. You've got yourself back into uni and that takes balls. All right, so you want to go fully online, have more time, more money, but at the moment you're finding it difficult with very little reward for the time you put in.

Eddy: Yeah, I think it's the way I'm managing the clients, I've got no structure to my 12 week program and I don't know where I'm going with my online coaching and how I would structure that and manage it.

Ru: You said you've got a couple of clients but you feel something isn't quite right. And you mentioned as well the post-natal idea, which is the niche you picked for yourself and created the website for. What's been the problem with that?

Eddy: I set up a Facebook group as my post-natal wellbeing forum and in there I wanted the women to discuss their issues, problems and challenges. I tried to keep the topics broad and wanted to help them with their health, nutrition, wellbeing and fitness and I've seen a lot of negative stuff coming up. The women were really struggling. And I feel like I'm not the guy to help them with those kind of issues. I can help them with the nutrition, mindset and fitness, but the things that came up, I don't know if I can deal with it so it threw me off a little bit. If I created a different kind of group based purely on nutrition instead, I think I would have had a different story to go by. I maybe messed things up a little bit.

Ru: You haven't messed anything up, you never mess anything up unless the shit really hits the fan. But the shit hasn't hit the fan here, you've started a Facebook group, put some people in it and realised that you don't want to help these people as much as you thought you did. You haven't messed anything up, you have done exactly what every successful person will do. They will test something, see if it works and if it does, great, if it doesn't work you move on to the next thing and that's what we need to find you.

I agree, I wouldn't want to work with post-natal women. Screw that for an idea because I cannot relate to what they feel like. One of the easiest things to do is to find people we want to work with who are very close to ourselves. That is usually the best place to start and it's a reason why I'm now coaching personal trainers and coaches. I freakin love to get on calls like this and chat to people like you. As opposed to maybe having a post-natal mum onboard feeling horrendous today because of X, Y and Z. I wouldn't know what to say, but I know what to say to you guys. I think that would be something to look at in terms of coming back to your avatar and reassessing who you would really like to work with.

Have you had any thoughts on this since you've had this experience?

Eddy: I have, initially I wanted to turn the post-natal welling into a monthly membership. In there I'd have something similar to your nutrition program, like some recipes, meal guides, fitness guides. It would be an overall tool they can use at their own free will. I'd have training videos in there, they could book a call with me once every two weeks or something like that. That's where the initial experience lead me to.

Ru: Yeah, I'm a huge fan of those kind of memberships where you can come in and get exactly what you want when you need it. With the added coaching and support people are going to hang around and really value that service. It's what I've done with our nutrition and lifestyle program and it worked so well that I copied it for the Masterclass as well. It works right. You can let people in for a monthly fee, add some coaching on top, which seals the deal - it's a fantastic service to offer.

I still think you want to make sure that it's not just very generic, I still think it needs to appeal to a specific niche. That's something you definitely want to drill down a little bit. For example, think about the different levels of clients, the beginner clients who maybe don't have much of a clue about eating right and maybe wouldn't even have a gym membership. And then you've got the more advanced people right up to serious athletes who counts every macro and writes down every set. There's online programs out there that appeal to all of those different people and you really want to claim one of those and make everything that you do appeal to them. Have you got any ideas where you would like to slot into that?

Eddy: It would be new moms who just had a baby, are out of shape, and don't know where to start.

Ru: OK. You still want to stick with the mums?

Eddy: Yes, these are my thoughts. Because the missus jumped in to help me with the post-natal stuff. And we came up with this together that the post-natal wellbeing would only be a membership. They wouldn't get the one on one coaching. And that's when I thought I would like to work with the dads. The overweight dads that feel stressed and overwhelmed and they're not looking after themselves.

Recently I've been working with a young entrepreneur guy and he's a bit overweight and it's been working really well, he's been doing well. I feel like the coaching has been really on point for him but it has been time consuming. He's on a 12 week program and I've only charged him two hundred pounds. In my eyes I've been undervaluing myself and the service I am offering to him.

Ru: Okay, there is a bit of undervaluing there but is he a parent?

Eddy: He's not a parent and that's where I can't decide if I want to work with dads or young entrepreneurs, I still haven't got that perfect.

Ru: I think you really need to get that down before we start talking about prices or membership models. You need to know what you are going to create for who. I agree there's definitely that avatar of busy new parents that need more time...

Eddy: That would tie in nicely with the new mums. Initially I wanted to set up a new dads one but I haven't worked with any new dads, so I wouldn't really know.

One thing

Ru: I think you want to set one clear avatar and create one good program initially. That is what you're going to go guns blazing on to a make a success. Only then should you be thinking of serving the other group that you've thought about in the past that you could bolt on or change the content to suit it.

I found this year that doing the nutrition coaching for clients and the business coaching for PT's was spreading myself thin. I wasn't doing the best job that I could do for everyone and making my products and services the best they could be. This year I decided to really down turn my input on the nutrition coaching side of things and put all my focus into the Masterclass. So although we might have all these ideas, being more focussed on one thing at a time can really be beneficial.

I also think that if you've had some experience already with the post-natal avatar and you're not feeling it, then maybe it's now a good time to quit on that and experiment with something else. You say you're getting on well with this entrepreneur, so it would be awesome to help more people like that.

I think there's a market for it. When I was doing a lot of coaching with the nutrition/lifestyle clients, I had plenty of clients who were very ambitious, successful people making good money. Those sort of young successful people who want to look and feel their best at the same time. I think that's a perfectly good avatar.

You've also talked about not getting enough income from charging enough. With that avatar you're going to be able to charge more. The last thing you overly want to do is to pick an avatar that has no money. I'm not saying new parents don't have money but their priority is with the baby. That's why people end up in a bit of a sticky mess with their nutrition and health - they haven't really invested or looked after themselves much. You're obviously not going to meet as much barriers around price if you're targeting young successful people.

So, go by what your gut is telling you. Use the experience that you've just gained and see if you can go and get another couple of clients similar to the guy you're really enjoying working with on the more personal level. I really like the membership model, creating all this content and allowing people to access it. The problem with it is that it's a lot of work. The content that I've put in the Masterclass took me years to create. All of those courses and resources and that's what makes it great. But what you might be better off doing particularly if you're still in this early stages and still not 100 percent sure who you want to work with, is getting another couple of one-to-one online clients. And then it's not about creating content it's about being a coach, providing some simple teachings and the support. You'll then create personal stuff for them when they need it. So it's still a bit like the personal training model as in offline, but you do it from home in your own time.

So I think you want to set that up and get some more of those clients that you are enjoy working with. And if you do that higher personal service I think you're going to be able to charge a lot more very quickly and increase the income as a result. Because even though I've said I love the membership model, you can't charge as much for it because people put more value on personal contact with you and email access etc. You'll find that you need more people to actually increase the income compared to doing that personal service.

Then as you find you really enjoy working with these type of people and get more one to one client's, you'll know what they want and need. And over time you will have created a lot of resources, that you will then be able to put behind a membership model. Plus you'll have the experience and content as well to add to it.

Eddy: Yeah, I still feel I'm lacking the coaching skills. I'll give you a quick overview on how I'm working with this guy I was telling you about. I've done with him what you put inside the Masterclass, each week we set a new goal. I checked his food diary, he wasn't eating breakfast so we implemented a new breakfast routine the first week and a half. Then we concentrated on his lunches, as they were a bit rubbish. Week four and five we increased his exercise, so I've been doing it in little stages. It's been very time consuming with all the Skype calls as we've been doing 2-3 a week and he even came round to my house - I showed him how to food prep and everything.

Ru: I get that you really want to over deliver for your clients at this stage. So you probably feel now that you could have changed a lot more for that kind of service. Don't get me wrong we all do this at the start. But I think you want to set some boundaries for these clients, as in a call once a month or once a fortnight.

When I was doing the nutrition coaching I did monthly calls, that was the maximum I did, unless it was for a competitor, then we would tune in fortnightly. Once a month is more than enough for the check ins, use the email more. Reach out to them once a week and ask how they're getting on. They would then send you an update and their progress chart or habit tracker and you could then record a quick video for them with your feedback. This is what I used to do to save myself time. Then just attach the video in an e-mail and that means you don't have to book in times, you don't have to be there for the call - you do it on your own terms.

So I think you want to restrict the access that you are providing the clients, which doesn't mean the service needs to drop, but just do it slightly differently. Don't worry, he's not going to say it's now not worth it. If the results are coming people will see value in your service. Whether it's a Skype call every day or in email once a week, providing the results are coming that's going to work perfectly fine.

Eddy: We initially had the Skype call on a Sunday and he felt really motived after the call so he wanted additional calls.

Ru: I think you need to go and get another couple of clients like this guy and do exactly what I've said. See if this is a better avatar for you and get them to pay that nice premium price - provide them a nice personal service, but not too much. Don't promise the weekly Skype calls or coming around to your house. Then from there you're going to start getting more experience with that avatar and see whether it's right for you.

And of course you decide to see what they really need and want from you. Once you get that down you will be able to transition that into a one to many type program, putting it into a protected site and then offer it to more people at a discounted price.

Eddy: Yeah. Good stuff. My brains going...

Ru: It's simple steps and I recommend that you put some things into motion. Grab some training in the Masterclass where I show you how to set up a funnel for that coaching model. This should be pretty simple to set up and get out there. Reach out to me when you need some help and support, we can keep you moving forward.

Eddy: Yeah. Thank you.

Let's build your online fitness business together

If you're a health and fitness pro who would like to learn more about creating a successful, meaningful online fitness business, check out The Exceed Masterclass

The Exceed Masterclass is your essential resource for the training, advice and support you need on how to become an online personal trainer.

You'll receive proven, practical training to help you reach more people and create more impact online.

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