What was one of the few industries that survived and thrived during the global pandemic?
In particular, online personal training saw an insane surge, not to mention home workout equipment.
Since people weren’t able to go to their normal gym, they had to make do at home.
Years after that craziness and people still seem to prefer the convenience of an online personal trainer.
But clients aren’t the only ones. Trainers are trading in their in-person positions for the freedom of online personal training.
Are you a certified personal trainer who is looking to pivot to the online space? Or maybe you’re interested in becoming an online personal trainer right out of the gate.
Let’s discuss the steps for how to become an online personal trainer.
I’ll also cover how much online personal trainers make and how to set up your own online personal training business.
So whether you are just starting out or are looking for a new career path, read on to learn more about how to become an online personal trainer!
What Are the Benefits of Becoming an Online Personal Trainer?
There are many benefits to becoming an online personal trainer.
I don’t think it gets much more convenient than working from the comfort of your own home (assuming it’s a quiet and productive environment).
Being an online personal trainer means no traffic, no commute to the gym, and less stress.
You can work from anywhere, provided you have a stable internet connection and don’t mind a time zone difference.
If you have wanderlust, you can even become a traveling personal trainer.
Becoming an online personal trainer means you will also have the flexibility to work your own hours and set your own rates.
This can be a double-edged sword if you have clients in different time zones.
Make sure you understand what hours you’re willing to work in your current time zone.
Another benefit of becoming an online personal trainer is that you can help people from all over the world get in shape and reach their fitness goals.
You’re the Boss
One of the best (and possibly worst) things about being an online personal trainer is that you are your own boss!
That means you are in charge of all the fun things like schedule and money, but that also means you are now the accountant, human resources person, marketing person, etc.
Yes, you can hire most of these things out, but keep this in mind for when you get started.
What Qualifications Are Needed to Become an Online Personal Trainer?
In order to be a personal trainer, you need to get certified.
Yes, even as an online personal trainer.
There are plenty of online self-study courses that you can take in order to get certified, such as the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) or American Council on Exercise (ACE).
In order to become officially certified, you’ll need to do two things:
- Pass the certification exam
- Become certified in CPR and AED
Once you have that piece of paper in your hands, you’ll have to get recertified every two or three years, depending on who you’re certified through.
Not certified yet?
Check out my post about what is the best personal trainer certification in the US.
How Can You Set Up Your Own Online Personal Training Business?
There are two sides to the business: official paperwork and the online space.
The Boring Stuff: File the Right Paperwork
Let’s start with the official paperwork you’ll have to do in order to become a legit tax-paying business.
You’re a Sole Proprietor
To start your business as an online personal trainer, I’d recommend going the sole proprietor route.
A sole proprietor is someone who owns and operates a business without having to file any extra paperwork.
This is the simplest way to start your own online personal training business.
To set this up, you’ll need to do the following:
Register with your state as a sole proprietor (usually done through the Secretary of State’s website).
I wouldn’t worry about an Employer Identification Number (EIN) unless you plan on hiring other trainers.
Open a Business Bank Account
This one is important. It’s tempting to just throw all the expenses of your business on to a current bank account or credit card, but this can make taxes messy.
I recommend opening a business bank account from the get-go.
Not only will this help you keep your personal and business finances separate, but it will also make tax time much easier.
To open a business bank account, you’ll need to have your sole proprietorship registration and your driver’s license.
Then, just go to any bank and ask to open a business checking account.
Do the same thing with a credit card.
I’d also recommend researching cards that have benefits for your business.
You’re now an official business!
What Equipment Do You Need to Get Started?
The great thing about being an online personal trainer is that you don’t need a lot of equipment to get started.
The essentials include a computer or laptop with a reliable internet connection and a webcam.
But if you’re serious about making this a career, I’d highly recommend going one step further.
Invest in equipment that will help you stand out from other personal trainers:
- A High-quality Webcam
- An External Microphone
- A Good Pair of Headphones
- Fitness Equipment for Client Sessions (e.g., resistance bands, dumbbells, etc.)
While you don’t need this equipment to get started, it will help you provide a better experience for your clients.
Establishing Your Online Presence
Now that you have the legal stuff out of the way and you have what you need to get started, it’s time to think about your online presence.
First things first, you need a fitness website for your business.
Create a Fitness Website
What should you include on your website?
Your website is the face of your online personal training business, so you’ll want to make sure to make sure that your website is professional looking, easy to read, and explains exactly what you do, who you are, and how prospects can contact you.
There are five main pages you’ll need:
- Products or Services
- Showcase Your Skills or Products
I’d also recommend a fitness blog but focus on these five pages FIRST.
You can read more about each of these pages in my post, The 5 Essential Pages for a Fitness Website.
Get on Social Media
Personal training is perfect for the main sources of social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
Not only does it allow you to connect with potential clients, but you can also post content that offers value such as exercise demonstrations.
Start a Fitness Blog
Video has been called “king” for the last several years, but blogs are still the backbone of marketing content and search engine optimization (SEO).
Luckily, a fitness blog can incorporate both!
I’d highly recommend starting a fitness blog with helpful articles that relate to your business and your products or services.
For example, if you’re a personal trainer, you can include how-to articles on training, nutrition, and healthy living.
You can then record a short video about those topics and place it within the blog.
Post in Online Fitness Communities
I cannot stress this enough: Get involved in online fitness communities and forums.
Quora, Reddit, and Facebook constantly have opportunities to answer fitness-related questions.
This will allow you to demonstrate your expertise and post links to your blog posts and website.
If fitness writing isn’t your thing – or you’re just not interested – consider hiring a fitness copywriter to write answer for online forum questions.
Not only will this boost your credibility and authority, but it’ll give you numerous opportunities to get your name out there without the stress of preparing and writing responses to these forum posts.
What Are Some Other Ways to Market Yourself as an Online Personal Trainer?
You’re certified, you have an awesome set up in your office, and your website is up and running.
Social media is working pretty well as you’re seeing a steady flow of traffic, thoughtful questions, and overall engagement.
But you feel like there are other ways to market yourself outside of the online space.
And you would be correct.
Here are several more ways to market yourself as an online personal trainer.
Present / Speak at Local Events
Are you involved in your local community?
Consider speaking at local events or conferences on topics that are related to fitness.
Think of it like a TED Talk.
Choose a topic that your target market always seems to have a problem with such as maintaining a healthy weight, working out at home, etc.
Put together a short 10-to-15-minute presentation that offers plenty of value and provides people with an opportunity to contact you for more information.
Even in the digital world, networking is still one of the most important keys to expanding your client base and business.
Attend local networking events, or even better, create your own event!
This will allow you to connect with other professionals in the fitness industry, as well as potential clients.
How Much Should an Online Personal Trainer Charge?
When it comes to pricing, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.
You’ll need to consider the following:
New trainers charge less because they are learning. As you grow in experience, you can charge more, especially if you’re offering a specialty service or niche market.
Type of Services You’re Offering
As mentioned above, if you’re offering a very niche service such as training for pregnant women, this will command a higher fee.
Who You’re Training
Are your clients scheduling something you once per month and they aren’t very serious about their goals?
Or are you training well-to-do executives who are looking for a more customized, hands-on approach?
The socio-economic status of your target market can determine how much you’re charging.
Here’s something to remember: If you’re charging more, you need to be able to bring a ton of value with your services.
High-status personal trainers like Tony Horton and Jeff Cavaliere can charge up to $500 per hour because they have a proven track record of being the best in their niche.
Time Commitment Required
Are you offering 30-minute sessions or 60-minute sessions?
The longer the session, the higher the fee.
Average Salary of a Personal Trainer
In general, online personal trainers charge between $20 to $75 per hour.
You can also offer package deals at a lower per-hour rate.
My Recommendation for Personal Trainer Salary:
Think about what your time is worth. Let’s say it’s $75 per hour.
If your focus is exclusively online personal training, I’d recommend charging about 10 to 20% less than an in-person session (your normal hourly fee).
The reason for this is because you have no overhead costs.
An in-person trainer has to either pay for their studio or pay rent at a studio space. Meanwhile, an online trainer can work in their own living room.
Sorry, mortgage or apartment rent – something you’d normally pay – doesn’t count as “overhead costs.”
The slightly lower price point might also encourage more clients to sign up with you.
Once you’re booked up, you can increase that price point for new clients.
Need More Help with How to Become an Online Personal Trainer?
Fun fact about me: I was an traveling person trainer for years. I trained clients in other countries but also online.
So, if you have more questions and you’re serious about jump starting your online personal training business, let’s get in touch!
Schedule a roadmapping call with me and let’s get you on the path to earning money as an online CPT.