Avoid These Common Online Trainer Pitfalls

This week on the FitPro Masterclass Podcast I'm joined by the awesome Claire. I help Claire create a totally new path to take for creating and planning her online fitness business. And it's going to bring her success way faster!

In fact I believe that if Claire had continued down the old path, which she had decided to take before joining the Masterclass, it might have failed.

And here's the thing... there's a lot of trainers and coaches still taking that old outdated path to creating their online programs. I was there myself, I can totally relate to a lot of the questions, thoughts and feelings that Claire has at this stage of creating her online fitness business. 

So If you're in the planning and creation phase of your online business then this episode could be an absolute game changer for you, so I hope you enjoy it. 

Can't listen right now? Then read the transcript below!


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Ru: If you can get me back up to speed with where you are and start back from the beginning. What you up to?

Claire: Okay. I'm in my full time job, I'm up at 6 in the morning. I head off to work with one hour commute, start the day and finish a half four. Then I get back home and just try and work as much as I can on this. Trying to get up and going, trying to learn as much as possible.

Ru: Okay cool. So you're not in the fitness industry?

Claire: No, not quite. I do a bit of part-time coaching in tennis and I have contacts who are looking for a female fitness instructor for their gym in the new year, so I am not quite sure what that's going to turn into. But it's going to be an experience I suppose.

Ru: Yeah for sure. So you actually said to me that you're working in GIS currently or you have been?

Claire: Yes I am currently.

Ru: Okay, I studied GIS a lot in university. Interesting stuff. What do you think of it?

Claire: I loved it in university. I thought the same thing like it's really interesting. I thought it was going to be more than what it is maybe. But maybe it's just the particular company that I'm with at the minute. They seem to just have one big government contract and that keeps them going. There is no progressing.

I'm three and half years here and it was great at the start really exciting stuff but I just learn that it's the same thing every year and there is no advancing in it. When I really thought about, I'm actually not really that interested in it as in something that I'd like to do for the rest of my life.

Ru: Yeah, it's something I totally relate with, definitely. I did about three and a half, four years as a surveyor and I was the same. I was working for Jacobs Engineering which is a big engineering company.

Claire: I've heard of that.

Ru: You might have done in the GIS field. I came out of uni bright eyed ready for it, big corporate company I thought, this must be pretty good, I've done quite well here. I joined in just after 2008 and that was in whole credit crunch time and I went for years without a single pay rise apart from some little graduate bumps that they did.

I went through the graduate program and it was actually exactly as you said. We had one framework, a united utilities contract which is engineering water works in England and that was it. I spent my days on waste water treatment works. That wasn't what I signed up to, so I can feel your pain.

So the goal is to get into the fitness industry and since you're in the Masterclass with us, the goal is to start making an income and getting clients online is that right?

Claire: Yeah absolutely. I probably forgot to mention that in my spare time this last year I really tore into doing as many part-time courses as I could. I have qualifications in personal training, fitness instruction and tennis coaching. I've just been working on those throughout the year. Now it's time I need to start and jump into the industry so I can get a proper hands on experience. But actually I am absolutely mad about traveling and that's partly why I want to try get at least some if not most of it online. I want to have that freedom to go and travel.

Ru: Okay. So it's a big career change but it's ultimately to do something that you're more interested in but as well for some of the extra perks, freedom, more time and various things like that. Your ahead of the curve than. I initially didn't leave my job for some of those extra perks but I have now jumped in two feet with them, particularly in the last year travelling around Europe. So it's certainly doable and I can really help you do it.

OK, I'm up to speed on where you are currently. I've got some ideas but I am wondering if you've got anything specific things you'd like to chat about or some questions? Where would you like to take it?

Claire: Yeah, I do have a couple of questions. I mean they're probably really general and boring as it's the smaller things I'm not too sure about. I'll just fire away if that's ok?

Ru: Of course yes.

Claire: Firstly, I am setting up a website and I have been messing around with the blog. I've only been experimenting and trying to get used to the whole website building and content creation. My question is actually about the domain name. I have one for my blog but if I'm moving in to the more professional service and business then I'm thinking I should change the name and start with something more professional and to the point?

Ru: OK. So you're thinking of moving towards something like a brand. Getting a brand image out there a brand name, a bit like Exceed Nutrition, right. I don't call it Ru Anderson I call it Exceed Nutrition. So it's kind of putting a brand and a theme around that. So is that would you mean?

Claire: Yeah like I probably wouldn't use my own name purely because I want it to be easy to find. Nobody's gonna google my name randomly. I want key words that people will type in and then the website will pop up. At the minute my blog is called Irish Health Freak and I don't think it really represents the business.

Ru: Yeah, I think it's definitely time to have a little think about that planning stage, what you want to call it and the branding around it. The domain name you have right now may not be something you want to keep forever. But that really depends on your avatar and the type of people you really want to work with.

To me that type of name strikes me as someone who is very into their nutrition and training, which usually us as trainers and coaches, we are. But if you're avatar and the ideal clients that you would like to work with don't really fall into that category then maybe a slight name change will be needed.

But firstly I'm going to give you some important information around SEO and the blogging side of things. I would not get caught up in trying to come up with a name that is google friendly per say. If you're a fat loss coach for example you don't need a domain 'fatlosscoach.com'. I don't believe that's going to bring you any more traffic. You may get ranked by Google as 'fat loss coach' because it's in the domain. But overall it's a tiny thing to consider in terms of your overall ranking with Google.

Just because you bag a great name like 'howtoloseweightquickly.com', as you know that's what people are searching in Google. I still think people may pitch you to the posts with the rankings because maybe they've got a lot better content on their site. Maybe they've got more links to other sites and lots more content referencing that type of material. They've probably also been running for years.

Now, you might be thinking it all sounds like hard work just to get Google friendly. The thing is, even from my own perspective, I have never chased the SEO Google ranking type game. I know that's out there to be had and there's people promising you loads of business by ranking at the top of Google for certain key words. To me and a lot of successful people online that I am in contact with, they aren't doing that side of things.

I agree that some blogging is a great way of improving your website and filling out the site, but ultimately that's there to build 'know, like and trust' with your audience that you would build on social media or ideally on an e-mail list, as opposed to trying to get that Google traffic.

I hear people saying that they get a lot of traffic from Google, they've done the whole SEO thing but they're making no money online. They've spent a lot of time trying to create this site that gets a lot of traffic from Google and it's very difficult to monetize it. What you're better off doing is growing an audience of people who 'know, like and trust' you, ideally on an e-mail list and perhaps on a social media platform, creating that as your own little world.

You're going to still send people to your website but it's not going to be your main hope for your business, that Google is going to send you potential clients. You're going to go out there and get them yourself. 

Claire: Yeah, make sense. 

Ru: SEO isn't dead but it's a very difficult game to play, particularly if you know very very little about.

Claire: Yeah. Fair enough, grand. And just one other quick one. I don't have my website up just yet. I'm hoping to get it up very soon, mainly because I want to take advantage of the January 'new resolution, new me' kind of thing and start my first course and hope to get people on board.

Do you think I should really push for that or do you think I should actually work on other things first like more content? Or do you think I should just launch into a course straight anyway?

Ru: I think you launch straight into a course Claire. Get into it and get amongst it. I feel like I'm being rewinded here four or five years back when I was in the exact same position as you. These are the exact same questions I would have had and the exact same beliefs.

I know we chatted the last day or two and you were saying the first thing you're going to do is register your name and reach out to the revenue. I said to you not to worry about all of these little details right now, because they aren't in my opinion the first steps to making your online business a success.

What is, is getting your first client and then you're second client and then when it's working you can go and register the name officially and tell HMRC that this is a business that's making you money. Not the other way around.

I think what you really want to keep focussed on is not some of those smaller details for now but instead focusing on setting up a very simple system that's going gain you your first online clients. Now we've got a lot of training in the masterclass to help you with that. And I do understand that I mention in the trainings about the website, blogging and social media being important, and os course it is for a long term sustainable online fitness business. But I feel to really get set up initially, ASAP you want to create some form of a give away.

This could be a quick download in form of an e-book, a workout or a recipe. Ideally it's going to solve the biggest problem that your ideal online client is having. That's where you're going to see some success. You can just package it up, it can be just one page, it can be really simple. As long as it provides that quick win and lot's of value to someone.

So if you're going to start creating content, create that first. Then I want you to make sure that you're giving that away in exchange for an e-mail address.

That's then allowing you to open up that communication channel even further and getting people off the social media, out of that noise. Email is going to be your best place to start communicating further with more value like blog posts that you are going to create making sure that people actually read them and see them. Then you can tell people you've got this brand new program starting in January and you can actually send them more details about it, or ask them to book in a call in with you to chat about their problems and see if the program is a right fit for them.

I know that's a little bit different than building out a whole website and doing the blogging and thinking about SEO but it's going to bring you your first set of clients online a lot lot quicker.

Now you might be thinking, okay this is a bit different to the path that I was on, but we have all of the training inside of the masterclass to help you with that. I can point you a bit further in the right direction with some of the necessary trainings based on what I've touched on, like the lead magnet and emails. I think that would be a really great place to start. So go away and created that free thing set it up to an email service provider and then put it out there into the big bad world.

I think if we can get you there then I'll be able to tell you the next steps to make sure that it's always out there on autopilot for people to come in and download. Then every single day you're going to have people joining your e-mail list and you're going to be able to contact them and send them that information automatically, telling them about your program.

Claire: Yeah, that's the idea.

Ru: OK that sounds like a plan to me. Does that make sense?

Claire: Yeah definitely. I've been doing a bit on email marketing as well. I've been dipping into a bit everything.

Ru: I know, it feels like there's lots to do. At this important stage for you it's definitely about picking the right things to focus on. I'm not saying other things aren't important but right now that's where you want to be. So I'm going to pick out a couple of pieces of training that really stand out for me that you would benefit from to help you with the things I've just suggested. I'm going to send them to you so have a look over them, I think you'll be able to start putting that stuff together. From there we can take the next step together.

OK, lets focus on that then and let me know how you're getting on. You have your own thread in the coaching section?

Claire: Yes, I do.

Ru: Cool, well as you go on working through the training just post in there and let me know how you're getting on.

Claire: Perfect.

Ru: And we've got you on this other path now and we're just going to keep you going down it. All right, that sounds like a good plan. Anything else you'd like to ask me?

Claire: Yeah, this is probably an unanswerable question but I've been doing a bit of research on my competitors. What do you find is the best and the most effective way to make yourself stand out from them?

Ru: That's a good question. I think the biggest way and it's something I still struggle with is that you don't try and hide behind your logo. What I'm talking about is you need to really put a big injection of YOU into your online business and not just think it's colours and logos that people are going to be attracted to. People are attracted to people.

If you look at a lot of my stuff from the Facebook pictures that I put up, to the blog posts on Exceed, you'll see a lot of me in it. A lot of my personality, my images. I just try and be real and straight up with people. That's difficult particularly when you're writing a blog posts and it's very personal, about your struggles. But if you can hit send on it and publish that sort of information you will find that people can connect to it a lot more than just, 'five ways to lose weight'. Creating that personal interaction around your brand and around helping your clients is going to be a great way to stand out.

Claire: Okay, so put yourself out there.

Ru: Put yourself out there and keep it REAL, be you, build a personal brand. I think thats the way forward. Put yourself on to the about page and the sales page. Chat in emails and blog posts like you would to your friends. All of those little touch points that you're going to have with people, the more personal that you can make them the more you can be unique moving forward online.

Some people won't like it, some people will not connect with you just like in the real world. But some will and those are the people that are going to become your tribe. And those are the people that are going to ultimately then buy into your coaching,  your services and products. All right?

Claire: Yeah.

Ru: Awesome. Let's wrap it up there. I don't want to take you off the path we've got you on. Let me get in contact with you again with those lessons that I've promised you and we can take it from there.

Claire: Perfect

Ru: All right. Awesome Claire. Thank you very much.

Claire: Yeah thanks a million.