Discover more from Strong As An Ox
Building a $100k USTT Fitness Business
Breaking Into Fitness To Create A 6 Figure Income Source
Good Evening (Afternoon, Morning, whenever you read this), I’m going to take a step back from fitness advice in the traditional sense, and break into how you can use your skills and knowledge to create a lucrative career.
There is a ton of money to be made in this industry, but with most industries, the cream rises to the top. This means you need to be knowledgeable or top 1% of physiques (or both) to succeed in this industry.
Knowledgeable doesn’t necessarily pertain to fitness—this could be marketing, sales, and basic fitness knowledge. Plenty of guys make a killing in the industry without much real fitness knowledge (however, guys like myself will call you out and crush you).
Let’s go over the basic skills you’ll need to succeed in this industry.
First and foremost, you need a background in fitness. Preferably more than 5 years. By then you will have learned enough, and hopefully done enough research/learning to be very competent. Around this time, you will also realize if you have what it takes to make it or not.
This brings us to our second point. You need to look the part. If you plan to be taken seriously, having an impressive physique is going to be crucial. Even as an anon, you’re going to have to show some type of proof of concept, so people will actually listen to what you have to say.
People/communication skills are going to be important—you’re going to act like more of a therapist than a coach, depending what route you go down. I highly suggest reading the book “How To Win Friends and Influence People” to learn basic human interaction skills.
Marketing—this is everything when you start scaling. If no one knows who you are, you will struggle greatly to succeed in this industry (or really any other industry).
Always Be Closing. Sales is how you actually make the money. You have to use your marketing as a funnel, but you have to close the deal—take money from their pocket to yours—by making the sale.
When you first start out, you will more than likely want some experience in the real world—this will help you hone in your knowledge to real world case uses. You can also make a decent amount of money doing this, but this is not the goal—you are trading time for money at this point.
You will more than likely need some type of certification—I went through the American Counsel of Exercise (ACE) and paid around $300 to take the test. I took this test after one all-nighter of studying and passed in the upper percentile. So, it’s a simple process.
After this, contact a local gym and start selling yourself to clients—most gyms will either hand you clients, or (hopefully) pay you to give people trials in which you will close the sale (you did learn how to sell, correct Anon?).
You’ll be making around $15-30 an hour here, so roughly $2,400-$4,800 a month or $28,880-$57,600 a year. Very far off of our $100,000+ goal, but we are far from done.
Still on the local basis, you could set up (most do this) a deal with a local supplement store for a referral link. Now, all of your clients will use those supplements, and you get 10-20% of the net-sale. Assuming you have 10-20 clients, with an average order of $100, this could be an additional $1000-$2000 a month. Error on the side of lower as some clients won’t purchase, but you can also use this referral for people you don’t even coach.
This puts us around $3,500-$6,000 monthly now.
After this, you’ll definitely want to scale. This is where the internet becomes beneficial. Leverage social media to create a following (funnel), and have a website offering your service. This could drive your overall client base up if focusing local, but this allows us a new path, offering online coaching.
Online coaching is awesome and efficient. You can deliver check-ins, training plans, and meal plans from your computer. This can all be done on a certain day of the week, and it can be on an off-day from training, or at night after you’re done at the gym.
This is a eat-what-you-kill business model, but if you grow your following, you can scale this pretty much limitlessly. For this example, we’ll say 20-30 clients a month at $100 per person (much more if you are top-of-the-line in terms of knowledge and reputation). This is an extra $2000-$3000 a month.
We are now at $5000-$8000 a month easily.
We now should be close to our $100k goal; however, we have an issue—we are still trading time for money personal training at a gym. You also probably don’t have the client base you would prefer (I wanted bodybuilders, but was training grandmas).
We need to shift our focus to the online aspect OR start increasing our rates greatly in the gym (this is still a temporary solution).
At this point, on your website and web-based clients, you should have a couple affiliate programs recommending high-quality products to your clients. This can be another big income stream. Another $1-$2,000 online.
We’re nearly touching the $100k with $6000-$9000 total income (opt for the middle ground so $7,500)
You will also want to develop your own downloadable programs. Some people might not want to be coached, but will pay for a one-time, 12 or so week program they can run on their own. Price this how you see fit, but generally $50-100 is a fair price for these.
You can easily sell 50+ a month, so we’ll say you added $2500 total to your monthly income.
We’re easily at $10,000-$15,000 in total income now—we’ve reached the $100,000+ goal.
Once you scale beyond your gym earning, it may be a potentially good time to throttle back and focus your efforts online—don’t necessarily quit until you’ve doubled what you were making at peak in person training—or are passed $100,000 annually in earnings online. This could take anywhere from a year to forever, depending on how well you execute.
At this point, the scale is all on you—this can go a far as you can creatively get. You can offer automated training with apps like True Coach or Train Heroic. These are coaching apps where you post a general program that people follow and the app tracks their stats. This greatly automates things.
As pointed out on Twitter, 500 clients at $25 (low number IMO) is $12,500 a month.
Now that we have a general path to go down—the path I personally did and would suggest to anyone looking to break into the industry—there are some things we need to focus on.
Build the social media platform from day one. Post your own progress (if not anon), or post helpful workout information and content if going down the anon route (just follow my twitter for this example—you can’t fake expertise on a large scale—you’ll be called out).
Building this platform will act like a funnel to whatever content and products you have. The website should be your second focus once you’re up and running with real world clients—if you even go this route.
This can all happen online from day one. It will just be a much longer curve to making sustainable money for your life, rather than starting in a gym and pretty much guaranteeing a livable income right out of the gate. Starting online is the perfect option for people that already have jobs and want a side hustle—as the goal is to end up making your income online anyway.
You will need a system to keep everything organized. This is EXTREMELY important.
A solid client worksheet for new clients is a must so you can tailor their plans to themselves—what worked for Joe might not work for Bob.
Keep some type of client tracking software. Could be excel, but their are plenty of trackers out their for your clients. You can’t gauge progress if you don’t have numbers to track.
Weekly check-ins work great. Have your clients send you weekly pictures and adjust accordingly. This will also serve as great testimonials as you progress with your client.
This leads us to the most important sales tactic you will ever have: Testimonials. If you can show someone what results they will get from your coaching/program, they are infinitely more likely to buy.
For communication, I suggest using something like WhatsApp or Telegram for 1-on-1 messaging. You don’t want to mix business and personal texts because you will likely miss some (I had this problem early on).
If you’re going to offer your programs and coaching online, invest in a nice website with all the features you need (mine is a terrible example of this—however, I am working on making it the best website in the industry). Offer your services, good marketing, and a call to action will be key here. A great user-interface is everything if you want to be taken seriously.
I highly suggest learning from industry experts—find who they are in your specific niche—whether you’re targeting the bodybuilding, functional fitness, strongman, powerlifting avenues, or want to coach the general population.
You must have a good knowledge-base or you will struggle, they could just subscribe to the BowTiedOx Substack for $5 a month. I am your competition—offer something I don’t or do it better; however, the market is plenty big enough for us all to exist.
I highly suggest looking into relevant studies and literature in your niche—be critical thinking enough to deductively reason what is BS and not. Remember, there is some wisdom in Broscience; however, we should find a happy medium between real and broscience.
Most of your clients don’t want to be jacked and hyuuuge—they want to lose weight and add some muscle. Learn how to master these basics for the general population, and you can be successful from that online. Plenty of guys make way more than I do with less of a knowledge-base because they know how to curate to specific niches (older women, busy dads, the elderly, younger kids, etc.).
Sales and marketing are your money printer. Read good books on this—my recommended are as follows:
Cashvertising - Drew Eric Whitman
Secrets of Closing The Sale - Zig Ziglar
How To Write A Good Advertisement - Victor O’Schwab
The Science of Selling - David Hoffeld
The Challenger Sale - Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson
Efficiency - @BowTiedBull (who referred me to the above books.
Additionally, follow @BowTiedSalesGuy who posts absolute gold all day for sales and conversions.
If you can learn sales, you’ll do fine if you go down this route—or any other industry— this is a highly transferrable skillset that will make you a substantial amount of money in your life.
More importantly, to me at least, is you provide a quality service and product to your audience/customers. This is their health and fitness you are affecting, so they deserve the absolute best. There is no long-term future for anyone who wants to scam people or provide a terrible service.
For exposure, the easiest hack I can think of is hire an already established fitness pro to be your coach. Opt for someone in your niche that is respected, but not too big. 20-70k followers is ideal because they will no doubt post your progress, and you will gain tons of followers.
You must be able to establish yourself as an authority. If you are serious about your brand, treat it seriously with your content. No one cares about pics of your car or how you feel about XYZ outside your niche. Balance being a real person and a professional, but it’s wise to error on the side of being overly professional. The fastest way to lose your following and respect is to look like an idiot with your constant political hot-takes.
Learn your health products and supplements—you can actually make a big impact on people’s lives with great product recommendations. I have seen this with TRT and recommending supplements for lipid profile and blood pressure. This will also help you sell the affiliates and referrals better as you are someone who knows what they are talking about in that regard.
This should provide more than enough of a basic framework to get into the industry. If there are more interests in this topic, I can touch on it once a month or so on the paid Substack.
This was meant to be more or less a general overview as we could dive into each of the subjects more in depth; however, I am confident a seemingly intelligent person could take this and run.
Comment below if you’d like to see more.
This is not Legal, Medical, or Financial advice. Please consult a medical professional before starting any workout program, diet plan, or supplement protocol. These are opinions from a Cartoon Ox.