Guest Post by Laurel Blackburn
This is another guest post by the boot camp queen Laurel Blackburn. Laurel last post Marketing a Fitness Boot Camp was and extremely popular post here on KickBackLife.com and I’ve asked Laurel to be a regular contributor.
In this post Laurel is gonna share with you how to actually start a fitness boot camp business… I think you’ll like it…
First of all I have to say that I really appreciate all the great responses I received from my last post. I hope that you guys were able to put the information to good use.
I am so fortunate that I am doing something I absolutely love and I get paid (a lot) to do it.
In talking with some of you and with some of my boot camp coaching clients, I am still amazed at how many people are putting in 8-10 hour days doing 1:1 personal training at the gym. If this is something you love to do and don’t mind only making a percentage of your fees, then my hat is off to you. I couldn’t do it.
If you are one of those, however, that know there is more to life than spending countless hours at the gym working for and supporting “the man” then this post is for you.
First of all, starting your own fitness boot camp business is not for everyone. If you don’t like to take charge, aren’t a go-getter, afraid to take chances, lack self discipline, aren’t organized, lack patience, lack self-confidence and aren’t open to change and learning, then it’s best you keep working for “the man”.
If you have that fire burning within you (desire), drive, tenacity, self confidence, ethics and open mindedness and aren’t afraid of a challenge then you might just succeed.
I think the first mistake people make in starting their own fitness camps is a complete and total lack of planning.
I touched on this in my first post. You can have all the best marketing tips in the world, but if you don’t treat this as a REAL business, then you will either fail or your camps will just barely survive.
Yes, you can get by on doing 2 or 3 camps of 5 people a day, but is that all you want?
Didn’t you get into this to have a hugely successful business and make enough money not only to live on, but to thrive on?
So, let’s take this from the top.
Call me stupid (and you wouldn’t be the first), but I think it’s important to first of all figure out what you want. Not everyone has the same goals in mind.
Some people want to start boot camps because they heard that’s what everybody is doing these days.
Some people want to do some small group training to supplement their personal training and prefer to stay in the gym and pay rent.
Some people want to totally break away from the gym, get their own place, have a bazillion boot camp classes a week and make tons and tons of money.
Some of you may just want to do on site corporate boot camps and not worry about rent, overhead, gyms or anything else.
Some of you may want it all!
Whatever it is you want, here’s my suggestion on how to start your fitness boot camp business…
Take some time and decide. The great thing about planning is that you can always change your mind!
I put everything on paper. I got a notebook and just started writing. I wrote down everything that I wanted my business to be. Some of my original writings included doing fitness camps at schools so that teachers and staff can leave the classroom, change clothes and workout before they go home. I wrote down doing fitness camps for kids in after school programs. I wanted to do family camps, kid camps, camps for obese people. I wrote down things that excited me and lit that fire in my belly that made me want to jump up right then and there and get started!
The fun part of all the initial writing was sitting with a calculator and figuring out how much money I wanted to make. I estimated having 10 people in a class 3 times a week at $120.00 per person. That was $1,200.00 a month!!! For one class!! For 12 hours of work a month!!! It took me 3 months at the gym to make that kind of money.
Let me just stop right here and say… That was my initial planning and back then to go from my measly gym pay to $1,200.00 a month was huge. I hate to even tell you what I really bring in now, but it’s a lot.
Then I figured out I could add another class on the other 2 days a week with 10 people and work another 8 hours a month and bring in another $960.00. Anyway, I played with all kinds of figures and like I said, that was the fun part. I have to admit, I would get greedy and figure out how much I would make if I charged people $200.00 and have a class size of 20 people and did like 10 classes a day! It got crazy and I’ll just blame that on the coffee.
Everyday, I wrote in my book. I had slogans, ideas for contests, give-aways, workouts, marketing ideas, just anything that came into my head that got me excited.
Maybe while you are doing your writing, you may find that you would prefer to do small group training in the gym you work at or you may want to do fitness camps for kids as part of an after school program.
Maybe you want to do camps for stay at home moms right after they drop kids off at day care or school.
It’s your business, make it what you want, make it something that excites you and don’t base that decision on just money. If you are passionate about what you do and you have a desire to succeed, the money will come.
The next thing I did and this was the scariest; I got out my planner and set a start date. This would be the day that I hold my first camp, the day that I no longer work for the gym (that was my goal), the day that I would start my very own business… and build my fitness boot camp
I gave myself a little bit longer than 3 months. It make take you more or less time depending on how much time you have to put this together and do the foot work. If you already have a full time job, which I did not, it may take longer.
If you try to re-invent the wheel, it will take longer.
If you have time each day to do the work necessary to get started, it may not take as long. The most important thing is to treat this as a business. I can’t stress that enough. If you’re gonna start a business, treat it as a business.
The other thing I did from the very start that I think made all the difference in the world was to find another successful small business owner or two and get advice. Since no one else in town was doing what I was doing, I talked to owners of businesses that I frequented. This was a valuable source of information and support.
Who else would know your town, your market, your business climate than the people who are already running successful businesses?
This may not seem like much, but I am going to leave you with this. Do the planning, do the dreaming, do the math. Even if you already have a boot camp business and you just want it to grow or to go in a different direction, do these tasks. There is a such thing as a “Grand re-opening”. Figure out what you want and why you want it, set a date.
I’ll be back next month for more.
Laurel Blackburn is a fitness boot camp marketing specialist. You can learn more about Laurel and her marketing strategies at MyBootCampBusiness.com AND check out her boot camp site at BootCampsToGo.com
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Let me know what you think…