Learn From The Pros (Part 2)

If you’re thinking about creating a Fitness Business (or maybe already own one), who better to learn from than some of the most successful businesses using LEGIT FIT!

In this series, we asked some outstanding customers to tell us about their experience setting up a business and what they learned along the way. Thank you KT FITNESS for sharing these insights!

Want to take your part-time PT gig and turn it into full-time employment? Here are my top tips to maximize your business.

My name is Katie O’ Connell and I run an award-winning boutique-style fitness studio in North Cork called KT FITNESS.

I first started my career by renting a space in a local hotel gym. In order to better myself and get more exposure to the Health, Fitness and Well-being industry, I made the move to Dublin. After gaining a great insight into the industry and developing myself personally and professionally, I spotted a niche in the market and decided to move back home.

In 2017, I took the plunge and opened my very own studio. It was a big risk, but I was confident in myself, my skills and my ‘can do’ attitude. Thankfully, the hard work paid off. I now offer 25 classes weekly along with personal training and nutritional profiling.

It’s been a hugely rewarding and stressful two years… but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am leading a very happy and fulfilling life, and my aim is to continuously provide a professional service to clients that come through my door.

Here are my top tips.

  1. Never stop learning

If you are brand-new to the industry or a complete novice my number one tip is to never stop learning. In our industry, there are no excuses to be uninformed. There are many channels to use such as Youtube, podcasts, and books. This industry is growing at a rapid rate and by keeping up with trends and doing research you will be able to steer your clients away from dangerous fad diets and bad raining techniques. I book at least 1 new fitness/nutrition/wellness course each year, and this helps me to stay focused and also prevents me from falling into the trap of being “stagnant”. Knowledge is power and the more knowledge you have the more knowledge you can give to your clients.

2. Be prepared for setbacks

Running your own fitness business isn’t as glamorous as it appears on Instagram. It’s not all photoshoots, beach holidays and protein shakes. Our business can be very seasonal. For example, a lot of people will slack off the gym in December and certain months in the summer, and you need to be able to prepare and deal with this shortfall in an appropriate manner.

A wise man gave me this piece of information when I first started running my own studio and that was: every month have enough saved or in your bank account to pay for the next two months' bills. You never know what’s going to happen when you're self-employed. You are always at the mercy of your clients availing of your service. Before LEGIT FIT, this was my MOST energy-sapping activity — contacting each client to see if they wanted to renew. Now I have memberships available i don’t have to do any of the tedious work and can focus on upskilling and delivering great classes.

3. Build a tribe of positivity around you

Being self-employed can be very lonely at times — so having a big support system around you is very important. The last thing you need when taking a calculated risk is to have a negative friend voicing their opinion. Surround yourself with like-minded people and people who support you and your goals.

4. Have fun & give back

The old saying: “do what you love and you will never work a day in your life” is completely true. Working for yourself is challenging, but also extremely rewarding. My advice is to enjoy every moment and realize the sweet fact that you get paid to train and live a happy life :) Give back your knowledge by doing talks in schools or at charity events, and know that everyone you come in contact with could be a potential future client. Keep networking!

5. Here are another few final tips…

  • Get a good honest accountant (yes they do exist)
  • Contact your local LEO (local enterprise office). They offer free advice clinics and courses which are very valuable to you and your business.
  • Set your working week and stick to it. Don’t fall into the trap of working 24/7 or you will just grow to resent the business and have no work-life balance.
  • Make an annual business plan and revert back to it regularly.
  • Enter into awards for your industry it’s great for marketing and it’s good to meet your competition.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with this quote by Thomas J. Watson

“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really: Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.” — Thomas J. Watson