From Self-Employed Struggles to Business Owner Success: The Fitness Professional's Guide

Being a personal trainer or fitness professional is a rewarding profession. Every day, you make a tangible difference in the lives of your clients, guiding them toward healthier lifestyles. But there’s another journey that every personal trainer must consider – the transition from being self-employed to being a business owner.

Having been influenced by Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, we’re diving deep into this transformative journey to shed light on the challenges, the strategies, and the ultimate rewards. So whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned professional looking to expand, this is for you.

I remember reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad many years ago when I was still a freelance Personal Trainer, and I remember at the time thinking I was a business owner until I read the book and realised I was Self Employed.

A real business is separate from the person who founded it. A real business can continue even when the founder passes away (like Disney, or Apple) or can be sold and continue to function.

Discovering the Cashflow quadrant was a real eye opener for me and it motivated me to become both a business owner and investor.

Here’s a breakdown from the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad

🔵 E – Employee: Do you seek security above all else? The employee quadrant might be for you. But here’s a thought – why are some of us so risk-averse that we never take the time to learn about money’s inner workings? And, when the need arises for more financial strength, is switching jobs the only solution?

🔵 S – Self-Employed: Are you a professional who feels that nobody can do it better than you? While this offers a sense of control, it also means your income is tied to your hours. Think about it: Is having control the same as having freedom?

🔵 B – Business Owner: Business owners prioritise systems over singular effort. Have you ever wondered if business owners actually take the most significant risks or if their risks are calculated, strategic, and therefore potentially less risky than being an employee?
🔵 I – Investor: The pinnacle of financial education. Investors understand the power of passive income and multiplying their assets. Consider this: if the world’s wealthiest derive 70% of their income from investments, is this the path to ultimate financial freedom?


The Self-Employed Struggle

Being self-employed is a commendable endeavor. It means you’ve taken the reins of your destiny and you’re making a direct impact on the lives of your clients. But with these rewards come challenges.

Fluctuating Income: Like the unpredictable ebb and flow of the tide, the self-employed trainer’s income can vary drastically. Holidays, sick days, or even times when clients take a break can mean dry spells for your finances.

Wearing All the Hats: From marketing to accounting, client acquisition to equipment maintenance, when you’re self-employed, you’re doing it all. It’s like being in a never-ending HIIT session, but for tasks you might not even enjoy.

Limited Growth: There’s a limit to how many clients you can take on before your calendar is bursting at the seams. And with that comes the unsettling realization that income growth is plateauing.

The Business Owner Brilliance

Transitioning into a business owner means stepping out of the daily grind and looking at the bigger picture. It’s about ensuring that your business functions efficiently, even if you decide to take a month-long sabbatical.

Steady Income: With a business model, there’s less dependency on immediate client sessions. Think membership models, online training programs, or even franchising.

Specialized Roles: You no longer have to be the jack of all trades. A business owner delegates tasks, ensuring that every aspect of the business, from sales to service delivery, is handled by experts.

Scalability: As a business owner, you’re not just thinking about the next client; you’re considering expansion, be it in terms of services, locations, or even going digital.

The Blueprint to Transition

Understanding the difference between being self-employed and being a business owner is one thing. Making the transition is another. But fear not, with the right blueprint, this journey can be as rewarding as witnessing a client’s transformation.

1. 24/7 Lead Generation:
Your business’s lifeblood is its clients. And to transition from self-employed to business owner, you need a consistent influx. By setting up digital marketing campaigns, referral programs, and community partnerships, you can ensure leads round the clock. This continuous flow allows you to be selective, offering premium rates, and ensuring you only work with clients who resonate with your brand’s values.

2. Systemize Everything:
Systems are the magic behind every successful business. They are your repeatable processes that ensure every client gets the same high-quality experience. Start by documenting every task in your business. From how you onboard a client to your monthly bookkeeping. These detailed procedures not only ensure consistency but also make it easier to train new team members, ensuring you can step back when you need to.

3. Financial Fitness:
In the fitness world, we often advocate for consistency, and it’s no different in the business realm. To ensure your business’s financial health:

  • Set aside a portion of your income. Think of this as your business’s emergency fund. Start with 5-10% of every payment, aiming first for three months of operational costs, then six, and then a full year.

  • Track every penny. Just as a dedicated fitness enthusiast might track their macros, a savvy business owner tracks every financial transaction. This not only helps with tax time but also gives you a clear picture of your business’s health.

  • Invest in expertise. Whether it’s a top-tier accountant or a business consultant, sometimes you need to spend money to make (or save) money.


The journey from self-employed to business owner, especially in the fitness industry, is one filled with learning and growth. It’s about understanding the bigger picture, implementing the right strategies, and continuously adapting to the ever-evolving industry dynamics.

Remember, every great athlete has a coach guiding them. Similarly, every aspiring business owner needs guidance, be it from mentors, books, or articles like this one. Embrace the journey, seek guidance, and watch as you transition from the daily grind to true business ownership, reaping rewards beyond just financial gains.

Need Help?

We’ve got a free workshop coming up next week, on all things Lead Generation. We’ll cover everything from finding the right offer, how to create the lead magnet and how to generate traffic and ultimately leads using the Lead Magnet you’ve created. 

It’s all 100% Free, no credit card required, and no upsells or anything unexpected once you sign up. Just genuine training, and advice. 


Luke Sherrell

Luke Sherrell

Investor and Entrepreneur in the Health and Fitness Industry. Luke helps self employed fitness professionals transition into true business owners.

With 17+ yrs experience building and consulting on dozens of 6 & 7 figure companies Luke loves to write about Business, Marketing, Money, Dad-life & his sometimes facepalm-worthy journey.

Luke Sherrell

Luke Sherrell

Investor and Entrepreneur in the Health and Fitness Industry. Luke helps self employed fitness professionals transition into true business owners.

With 17+ yrs experience building and consulting on dozens of 6 & 7 figure companies Luke loves to write about Business, Marketing, Money, Dad-life & his sometimes facepalm-worthy journey.