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It's an exciting and nerve wracking time starting out in a brand new career, Personal Training is no exception.

However - the rate of drop out from the industry in the first 12 months following qualification is one of the highest across any industry I have seen.

There are a few reasons for this, by far the biggest one is newly qualified trainers making basic mistakes.

Whether through keenness, lack of business understanding or desperation to get their business going (which is why I made most of my mistakes).

The following 5 mistakes are the most commonly made and have stopped many, many promising careers before they have even properly started.

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1. Not Being Specific On Your Client Type

I honestly get this one - I was there myself, you have invested a load of money and time in a course, maybe you have quit your job in order to complete the course.

Now you are desperate to get out there and start training people - so anyone will do!

You have just fallen into the number 1 trap that has people quitting the industry within 12 months.

This mistake is a problem on a couple of levels....

Firstly - if you are not specific on your clients it makes it SERIOUSLY difficult to interact with potential clients on the gym floor as you will never get past the fluffy 'how was your day' stuff.

Secondly - if (and it is a big if) you manage to build a client base using fluffy platitudes you will end up with a client base which two thirds are not interesting to train at best, at worst they drain you of energy.

The other issue is that you are unlikely to get great results for clients that do not interest you, so in the long term your reputation is likely to get damaged.

How do you avoid this one?

Take time to specifically work out exactly who you want to train - in our PT Career Success plan we have an awesome tool that allows you to get laser targeted (just like a missile) on your ideal clients. You can get access to the trial version (The PT Career Toolkit) by dropping your email address below.

Get Your FREE PT Career Toolkit!!

Just drop your email below to get access to over 2 hours of video coaching and all the resources you need to blast off your career as a Personal Trainer!


2. Not Being Strict On Your Diary

This kind of follows on from point 1...

You have been promised that the PT life is on YOUR terms, you choose your hours. This was one of the reasons you got qualified.

But then your first couple of clients want to train at times that you are not really comfortable with. You don't want to turn them away so you agree to it.

Then another few do the same.

And another couple after that.

All of a sudden you are starting work at 6am, not finishing till 9pm Monday to Friday but only training 4 clients in that time. You are also coming in on Saturday AND Sunday as well.

This awesome lifestyle you were promised has turned into a nightmare!

I have seen it happen so many times over the years it is scary.

In the end it leaves you with 2 painful options....

Quit the industry because 'it isn't what you were promised'


Have a seriously rough few months giving away half your clients and starting again with clients who can actually train when you want to work


How do you avoid it?

Actually this one is pretty simple -keep a paper diary!

It takes 5 minutes to draw up a 5-7 day calendar in word detailing ONLY the times that you are available to clients. Then print off a few months worth and let your clients pick the times that suit them from the times YOU are available

Bingo - you have created a diary that allows you to REALLY work when you want.

It will take you a little longer to build your client base BUT ultimately it will be worth it.

3. Starting In The Wrong Place

This one happens FAR too often...

There are 3 main models of employment within heath clubs - Employed, Freelance (employed sessionally) or Self Employed.

All 3 have their benefits and their drawbacks (for more detail on the models see my other blog post HERE ) BUT it is vital as a newly qualified Personal Trainer that you start within a model that suits YOU!

I have seen many newly qualified trainers be lured into the Self Employed model with the promise of mega earnings and a bottomless pot of gold, only to find that once they start in a club they are competing with 20 other trainers.

It takes a SERIOUSLY confident person to make it in these conditions and it is all too common for newly qualified trainers to go into this model, last a couple of months then leave the industry disillusioned and thinking that they have failed when it may be that they just needed the extra support provided by an Employed model.

On the other side, I have seen some truly talented and exceptional trainers who could SMASH a self employed role go into the employed world and become frustrated that they are not earning what they think they should be.

How do you avoid this?

Research! Be honest with yourself about your own skills and abilities.

The first section of our PT Career Toolkit is designed for exactly this, we have inside knowledge of all of the models, a great personality test and info about how to make the right choice. We will help you find your perfect start point.

Even better - it is absolutely FREE!

Just drop your email below to get started 🙂

Get Your FREE PT Career Toolkit!!

Just drop your email below to get access to over 2 hours of video coaching and all the resources you need to blast off your career as a Personal Trainer!


4. Not Managing Your Finances

Easily done this one...

Personal Training (especially freelance and self employed) is a money for promise industry. This means your client pay you in advance for the promise of sessions and a result.

The general understanding is that as trainers we sell blocks of sessions, so it is likely that you will be receiving payments upwards of £400 in one go. With sessions delivered in the following weeks.

Over the years lots of trainers have got super excited when getting big payments and blown it over a weekend living the high life! Then realised they need to survive for another 9 weeks before they get paid again.

If you have a few clients this is not so bad, you can mix up the cash flow and muddle through. The problem comes when a client needs a refund because they are moving house/job/country.

Suddenly you can't eat, pay rent, pay for your space at the gym and are in a world of trouble.

Trust me - it is not a good place to be (I know from personal experience).

How do we avoid it?

Two ways - 

Put all your client money in an 'untouchable' client account and pay yourself at the end of the month for sessions delivered (minus tax obviously)


Set your clients up on a Direct Debit basis, therefore you end up with a balanced income each month


4. Investing In The Wrong Things

This one comes largely from excitement. the world of Personal Training is a huge goldmine of information, courses, seminars and reading.

So many newly qualified trainers join the industry and want to know everything there is to know - immediately!

This leads them to take multiple courses, in different topics with no real plan of how it will improve their earnings.

Suddenly they realise they have spent THOUSANDS on courses that they will never see a return on.

I am guilty of this one as well.

Do I regret it? Not really.

Would I do it again? Absolutely not!

How do you avoid it?

Critically analyse your weaknesses when it comes to building YOUR business.

Usually you will find that taking more fitness based courses will.not improve these weaknesses.

 The level 2 and 3 training courses are structured to be more than enough to be a successful Personal Trainer - in terms of the knowledge you need to train the majority of clients.

What you really need to do is perfect the skills that you learn in these courses. Far too many trainers are obsessed with 'advanced qualifications' when they cannot even apply the basics.

So take the time in your first couple of years to build up your business skills like sales, interaction, psychology and marketing. Whilst doing this you can perfect the application of the basics.

Then move on to the advanced stuff and become a true specialist!

So there we have it, the biggest mistakes new trainers make and how to avoid them!

If these sound like things you are doing then I hope you manage to turn it around, I have been in the industry for over 15 years and I have made nearly all of these mistakes so it is possible to come out the other side and be successful.

If you enjoyed reading this then please feel free to share it on your socials. Also, why not check out our FREE toolkit. I know I have mentioned it a bunch of times but I really believe you will get loads of benefit from it!

Thanks for joining me

Michael - PT Hero 🙂


Michael Dempster
Michael Dempster

For Michael's full biography please follow this link... www.pthero.co.uk/about-michael-dempster

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