What You'll Learn Whether you are just qualifying as a personal trainer, or you’ve been in the game for a while and are looking for a change, a key question is whether you want to be employed or self-employed. Do you want to have a job or do you want to have a business?
Why it's Important Both options have their pros and cons and we will explore some of the big ones here. Some are general differences across all industries and some are specific to personal training. Some things are more relevant for people new to the industry and other things more relevant to those already working in the industry.
Pro's Of Being an Employed PT
Some of the best things about being employed.
Security & guaranteed income: you will always get paid at least a base salary at the end of the week/month and know that you don’t have to worry about balancing the books.
Less stress & more free time: You are able to shut off outside of work hours and everything is not solely dependent on you
Easier & you only have to train people: you don’t have to worry about running the business and doing all of the back end, supportive work. You can just turn up and train your clients.
Focus on results & improvement: without worry about marketing and running a business you have more opportunity to focus solely on getting results and becoming a better trainer.
Consistent & standardised hours: You know when your shift is and you work standardised hours. Working overtime leads to additional pay.
Defined job role/description: Somebody else has set up your job description and you just have to follow it, you don’t have to do multiple different jobs.
Starting with a wage: You will be getting paid straight away and will probably be assigned clients by someone else.
Tax/National Insurance/Healthcare/etc.paid: You don’t need to worry about any of that, your employer will take care of it all.
Systems and people support you: You will have colleagues, a boss and systems in place to support you and help you to do your job to the best of your potential.
No financial outlay or commitments: You start working without giving anything away and it is only ever one way traffic with cash coming in to your account.
Pro's Of Being a Self Employed PT
Some of the best things about being self-employed.
Freedom: You are in charge and you can do as you please in every area of your business and life.
Earning potential: You run a business that has no ceiling on potential earnings. One day you could dominate your town, county or even country. You get to choose how much you charge and how you want to be paid.
Work your own time/place/clients: You choose who you work with, when you work and where you work.
Varied & exciting: Lots of different things to do and new challenges to overcome; keeping you on your toes.
Make your mark and be passionate: You can leave your mark on the world through your passion without anybody telling you what to do or how to do things.
Be your own brand/gain recognition: You are becoming a somebody, you are building your brand image and reputation, not that of somebody else.
Entrepreneurial: You can take it in any direction you want and grow it in to something bigger.
Asset & potential: You can potentially build a big business that will be an asset and worth something in the future.
Build relationships: Inside the industry, with clients and colleagues you will be building relationships that may have value in the future.
Fixed income: You will never get rich working for somebody else in the fitness industry. You can earn a good wage, but there is a definite ceiling.
You have a boss: You are working for somebody else, and you have to do things their way, answering to them.
No creativity: You will be expected to follow the system and do as the boss says, not allowing you to be creative or innovative.
Less freedom of time/people: You will have to work set hours and work with the colleagues and clients assigned to you, who may or may not be who you would ideally work with.
Making someone else rich and building their brand: You will get your base salary and perhaps some performance bonuses, but you are really only making the owners rich and building their brand.
No assets: You are not creating your own brand or business for the future, so if you leave this job, you essentially start from nothing again.
Cons of Being a Self Employed PT
Uncertainty, stress and fear: You never quite know what is going to happen and unexpected things will go wrong, income will fluctuate and things will be stressful. You have to deal with everything on your own.
Not making much money: You potentially may not make much or any money, especially as you start out. Consider your circumstances, savings and necessities.
Long hours and no holidays: Starting a business is not easy and you will often be working long hours, especially in the initial stages. It can be difficult to take time off because it leads to loss of income.
Mixed focus: You have to consider the business and what needs to be done to support it just as much as you think about your clients and getting them the best possible results.
You wear every hat: You typically have to take care of every aspect of your business; sales, marketing, back end, accounts, management as well as doing the actual training. You have to learn how to do all of these different things.
On your own to build something: You are starting from nothing and you are on your own to figure out how to build something of value.
Potential costs: Your business will have outgoings and if you want to have your own premises, significant start-up costs. Only a percentage of the money coming in to the business will make it to your bank account.
You are responsible for taxes etc. That means submitting the returns, saving the money and paying them. Of course work with an accountant to help you do this.
You have to find clients before your get to train anyone: The marketing and sales has to come first and if you’re new to the industry it is hard to gain experience training people when you spend most of your time trying to drum up business.
Inevitable mistakes: You will inevitably make mistakes and do things wrong. This is completely normal for a new business, but can be frustrating not just for you, but potentially for your family and loved ones too.
Employed PT VS Self Employed PT
There are the major pro’s and con’s of being employed or self-employed.
It is a big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Consider where you are in your career, where you want to be in the future, your personality and your financial stability. Of course, whichever you do choose, it is not forever and you can change course at any time.
Many successful entrepreneurs started out employed, to learn their trade, and then went on to form big businesses and likewise many more people are happy with a consistent wage, free time and security.
Whichever road you do choose, we have all of the knowledge and advice for you, to help you find the best personal training job for you, or to market and build your own personal training business.
iPT lessons are free thanks to our trusted partners.
Get Answers Ask a question in your Community, or use the form below to ask an anonymous question.