I want to share a story that happened recently as it forced me to evaluate what I want for my Personal Training business, and confront some realities as to what has been holding me back.
The really short version of the story is that the gym (let’s call it Gym X) where I had been training some of my Personal Training clients the last year at, informed me that they would no longer be renting space to independent trainers after the New Year. I was told on Dec.11th
You can do the math and conclude on your own that well the timing and lack of notice SUCKED.
Ok so I digress.
At any rate, that decision on the part of Gym X set into motion a lot of things for me and I want to share those.
- It reminded me to trust my instincts as energy does not lie!
I knew something was up at Gym X for weeks before I got the news. The energy in the gym felt different. Some who used to have more enthusiastic “hellos” for me were barely even making eye contact with me anymore. New patterns were emerging. Things were shifting. Serious conversations between owners and rental trainers were witnessed.
It’s not to say that feeling it necessarily did anything for me other than I knew instinctively one of two things was going down: rent for independent trainers was going up. Or renting to us was going to cease.
At least when I got the news, I can’t exactly say I was surprised or upset about it. (I was not attached to Gym X). It was truly the timing of it that was upsetting.
It would be a challenge to be able to even get a hold of gyms to potentially rent from during the holidays when so many are taking time to be with families.
It also put a major monkey wrench in being able to even use the end of the year to promote myself to capitalize on new business in the new year.
Ahh I digress again.
I suppose the moral of the story is, trust your instincts. And believe in energy around you. It can affect us in so many ways.
2. Transparency is everything.
Back in my corporate days, leadership would always throw in the phrase when delivering news, “I want to be transparent with you,” which by their definition, was really limited transparency for reasons that I kind of understand (such as legalities of what they could share). It created mistrust by employees though.
As a trainer and as a small business owner, I do my best to be truly transparent with my clients. I do not necessarily give every single detail as to the why behind decisions, but I do not hide them either. If anyone is going to work with me, it is a two way street with respect. I know my business decisions are made with tact and thought, and my clients in turn respect that.
When I got the news about Gym X , I admit I had a moment of wondering if I should even tell my clients immediately and be transparent? I had no back-up plan and really did not relish messaging, “So I am soon to be out of Gym X and I have no idea where I will go. Just thought you should know!”
It was short lived of course. I was upset at being informed of a serious business decision that affected me so late in the process. I was not about to do the same to my clients.
I told them what was happening (that I no longer had a space) but that I was committed to finding somewhere else to train them. They all responded that they appreciated that and were there to support me.
Had I waited till the end of the year to tell them, I likely would not have gotten the same respect.
3. The other shoe is not always about to drop.
I found a new space ridiculously quickly, the next day actually, and I initially questioned if it was truly as good as it seemed.
It had the promise of so many things I did not think possible or that I would ever find.
- There’s a mutual partnership with opportunities for both parties to benefit.
- No black-out hours! This is huge because most gyms I have contacted tend to black out early morning hours and evening hours which hello, that is when most people want to workout and I would not be able to run a business with limited hours.
- There is a designated room just for group classes, which means I do not have to compete for space or equipment. I also can train my clients without music blaring so loud that they cannot hear my cues.
- I will be part of a community. *More on this in a bit because it’s possibly the best perk.
- The gym I am going to SPECIFICALLY wants a strong, female trainer. They appreciate what I bring to their community.
I have manifested all these things as requirements, and it can be daunting to think I have found it. Because now the pressure is on in such a different way. It is also really exciting as it has so much promise.
4. When it comes to other businesses, you either live in their world or you are part of their world.
Over the last year or so, I have gotten various business proposals of sorts with other businesses that were either so one-sided to meet their needs or too restricted for what I need. I passed on them.
The detriment though of it is that I sort of just accepted that there is a norm out there that business is business: i.e. just straight transactions that essentially are only about money.
Case and point. I paid Gym X per client session. It served my purpose of providing space to my clients and they in return got paid. However, when Gym X decided to change their business model (by offering Open Gym to their members) presumably to earn more income, the decision left me as dispensable.
And I have realized that does not have to be the case.
Even with the Pilates Studio I am temporarily renting space from for small group classes, the owners are beyond flexible and accommodating. They wanted to meet to make sure we came to an agreement that worked for all of us. I cannot express my gratitude for that and the respect it creates. It was refreshing that there are business owners out there who are savvy and fair.
So when I found the new space, I had that same experience. After being at Gym X for close to a year, I realized I wanted more than just paying rent to someone and kind of just doing my own thing. There was little room for interaction as I was there only about 10 hours a week and it’s not like the trainers were just sitting around. So I get it.
It reminded me though, as situational as it was, it became very isolating.
There are businesses where you are living in their world. And there are businesses where you are an integral part of their world. I was looking for the latter. And I found it.
I want to be in a gym where I have potential to interact with others, not just my clients. I want to be able to inspire others. I want to be visible. I also want to be validated, which is why in particular it makes me happy that as a strong female trainer is appealing to the new gym.
And if I am being honest, this whole recent situation made me realize I am kind of tired of hustling on my own. I want to be busier. I want more clients. I also want some help to get that. By being part of an established gym, it gives me more exposure than I ever had. And it also gives me a chance to give back. I love the idea of integrating my clients with their gym.
That just may be the perfect place to wrap this post up! Sometimes things happen that we do not plan for or expect to happen when they do, but they end up being the best present. I am hopeful this situation is just that.
Here we come, 2020!