Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with John Winters, Founder of Lifestyle Performance Training Health Club, located in Tempe, AZ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Lifestyle Performance Training is a personal training business. Our focus is providing a safe and comfortable atmosphere where anyone can begin their fitness journey. Because of this we only do one on one personal training. We don't hold classes that crowd the gym space and keep staffing balanced, so there is plenty of space for trainers and their clients. We also offer remote training programs through our client app. With the app, clients can view their custom workouts with video examples to use either at home or in a gym of their choice.
Our ideal clients are typically middle age to early retired adults who are ready to make their health a priority and want to create a new healthier lifestyle instead of a rapid weight loss short-term program that can only be followed short term. We help clients create sustainable habits in both exercise and nutrition changes for improved health beyond their time working with us.
Tell us about yourself
I grew up with parents who were gym rats. Fitness has been a huge part of my life to the point where I was the guy everyone came to for help with their training in high school. The realization that you could actually get paid for this intersected with a new local gym opening near the neighborhood. I started straight out of high school and paid my way for my Kinesiology degree at ASU, working as a personal trainer. Since then, I have worked for business-to-business health coaching companies and even worked as a Fitness Director for one of the largest gym companies in the nation. Helping people improve their quality of life has always been my main motivation for staying in the fitness industry. However, after seeing time and time again just how little trainers receive in compensation out of what is paid to the gym and the life-draining hours that corporate gym management requires.
I choose to start my own path. With my business Lifestyle Performance Training, my goal is that great personal trainers can be great personal trainers and still make a great living that can support a family. To do this, we offer wages that meet or beat just about any other competing employer, plus benefits and PTO that are easier to access than any personal training business out there. The average personal training career last about 12-15 months due to low wages and burnout from the hours demanded. My goal is to be a force for change in the industry by changing both the way trainers are compensated and the hours expected of them to qualify for practical employee benefits.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
One of the things I'm proudest to do as a business owner is the support we can give to local non-profits in our community. We provide countless personal training packages for raffles and auctions to help these organizations raise funds to keep doing what they do to support the community. My biggest professional accomplishment so far is publishing my first book, Consistent Persistence: A Healthier Life by Changing Your Goals and Mindset. This is available on Amazon in print, ebook, or audiobook. And it reached best new seller in 8 categories the day it was released.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
I think one of the hardest things has been finding other personal trainers that fit with the culture I have worked to create.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
My top recommendation to anyone looking to start a business today is to identify what your non-negotiables are for yourself, both professionally and personally. My top non-negotiable for myself is keeping at least 2 evenings and the weekend free for family and time in my day for my own workouts. Once you've given time to the business, especially for clients, it is very hard to get it back.
My second tip is to not underprice yourself for quick growth, especially for any sort of service-based business with face-to-face time with clients. No matter what you charge, you will only be able to get so booked. This can put you in a trap of being unable to reach a better profitability point because you are overbooked with clients at a lower rate with no room to take on more at a higher rate. Do your market research to find out how much your main competitors are charging and decide based upon what you offer if it should be the same or different without undervaluing yourself. What you charge can definitely impact who is coming through your door. I currently am charging 3-4x more than when I first tried to do independent training, but I get less nos now than before.
Last bit of advice, once you get to the point of feeling overwhelmed with time spent working, start identifying what you can pay others to do instead. When first starting out, it is definitely easier to wear all the hats for the business and home demands. However, you will reach a point where your business or personal life will be better served by you being free to do more client work or self-care to keep yourself from burning out. Pay someone to clean, work, and home; pay someone to manage parts of the business that don't directly generate more revenue, so you are free to do so.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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