Building A Million Dollar Personal Training Business

Jarod Cogswell and Matt Wright know a thing or two about building profitable personal training businesses. Here are the highlights from their IHRSA 2018 session.

“He’s a lion and I’m a tiger,” said Matt Wright of his IHRSA 2018 partner in presentation, Jarod Cogswell. And like two big cats, these fitness professionals paced the front of the room in a high-energy session on how to maximize a personal training business.

Cogswell, who has worked extensively with Mastermind Coach Todd Durkin, heads up a company called Think Like an Athlete, while Wright leads a team of trainers and fitness programming at Healthtrax Fitness & Wellness.

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Matt Wright posing with an image of himself in the IHRSA 2018 registration area. (Source: @mattwrightfitness on Instagram)

5 Parameters for Personal Training Success

The two tag-teamed with sufficient enthusiasm to keep the packed room engaged and attentive throughout the session. Their advice was patterned both to individuals and organizations, as they laid out five parameters for success:

  1. Culture: enhance your personal training culture.
  2. Business mindset: improve your business acumen.
  3. Branding: maximize branding.
  4. Customer service: maximize retention.
  5. Planning for growth: develop a sales and marketing strategy.

“You need to build a strong foundation,” said Cogswell. That means knowing your core values and your mission. “Culture is vital.”

The two stressed consistency, especially in branding and customer service. Said Cogswell: “I take this from Todd Durkin: Try to be one percent better every single day.”

Getting Trainers to Think Like Businesspeople

The problem with some personal trainers is that they don’t think like businesspeople, said the two.

“We’re lucky. We get to be paid for our passion. But you have to have an entrepreneurial mindset,” said Cogswell: “A lot of us got into this business because we’re passionate and purposeful about transforming lives, but we need to run a business.”

“Think big. Think like a big business.”

Matthew Wright, Senior Director of Fitness

Healthtrax Fitness & Wellness - Connecticut

Wright presented the “Four Ps” of being a fitness pro:

  • Professionalism
  • Personality
  • Passion
  • Perseverance

“Think big,” said Wright. “Think like a big business.”

Fostering Team Cohesion and Trust

If you lead a team, it’s important to maintain team cohesion and trust. One way to do that, said Cogswell, is to stay in the trenches and know what people want, what they’re talking about. “The more you’re in the trenches, the more you can understand the challenges.”

Keep them engaged, too. “I talk a lot about coaching versus managing, but it's about educating your people, giving them as much information as possible to thrive,” said Cogswell.

Creating Buzz and Community

An important aspect of success is marketing, said Wright. “You want to create a buzz-worthy client experience.” He presented the “Six Commandments of Marketing.”

  • Video
  • Visibility
  • Instagram
  • Client testimonials
  • Newsletter
  • Daily motivation

“Build a community through social media,” suggested Wright. “It's amazing how clients can motivate and inspire one another.”

While Wright likes both Facebook and Instagram, he cautioned: “Don't ever remove the power of the person. The human touch is important in the digital world.”

Finally, the two stressed the Fit Pro Creed:

  • Be a coach vs. a trainer.
  • Create memorable experiences.
  • Look, play, and act like a pro.
  • Build a tribe.
  • Learn more.
  • You are an entrepreneur.

Wright and Cogswell stressed how you can always learn more and find ways to grow your knowledge base and business through IHRSA’s educational events.

Jim Schmaltz

Jim Schmaltz is a contributor to IHRSA.org