Those who know me, know that I refer to the online-training world as a giant sea of turds. The industry is rife with people who are worthless and don't know what the hell they are doing. Within this giant sea of turds, there is a small percentage of trainers who are very good at what they do. If you want to be successful in what has become a super-saturated market, heed my advice.
I may not be the most popular or well-known online trainer/nutritionist/prep guy, but I have been doing this successfully for a very long time. Within that time, I have learned what to do, what is essential, and how to be and remain successful. The fact that I have done this for such a long time, I have had to evolve and adapt to changing platforms of communication. The early days of the message boards were quite different than the current-day social media platforms. Though the method of promotion or exposure has changed dramatically, there are still things that have remained constant to be successful as an online trainer. I am going to share five of the things that I feel are the most important, in no particular order.
1. Spelling, Grammar, and Punctuation
You can be a dumbass, but if you can spell, and properly use punctuation and grammar, you can come across as intelligent. On the other hand, if you are well-educated and articulate but don’t pay attention to spelling, grammar, and punctuation, you can be perceived as being stupid.
You can disagree, but the fact is that people are judging you by how you present yourself in the online world; your words are a representation of you. If you are selling yourself online, poor spelling is akin to showing up to a job interview with a wrinkled or dirty shirt. Like it or not, you are being judged by potential clients when you communicate online.
2. How You Carry Yourself Online
You might enjoy arguing politics or social issues on your Facebook account. If you are using the same account to promote your business, you can alienate those who don't have the same viewpoints on these topics. Hot-button topics have people emoting daily on social media. I am sure we have all seen a friend say, "If you don't agree with me, you can unfriend me right now." People lose friendships every single day over disagreements on these hot-button topics. If you can lose a friend whom you've known for a long time, you can damn sure lose a potential client who knows little about you and is shopping for an online trainer.
If you have a habit of responding to public social media forums and calling people names, this can impact potential clients. I have never worked with an online trainer, but if I ever wanted to, I certainly wouldn't hire someone who easily engages in arguments or name-calling in a baseball or cat forum. If you want people to respect you, show that you respect others, online.
3. Not Charging Enough For Your Services
The easiest way to make yourself look mediocre or even sub-par is to provide your services at a fraction of the price of respected online trainers. You might not have the experience, knowledge or track record of a well-respected online trainer, but low-balling your fees is like screaming to everyone that you suck and are desperate for clients. If you're not that good, take a seat and let the trainers who are good at what they do, work with them.
Working with clients for free to build a client base is also a horrible idea. Ask anyone who has built a successful online training business, and they will tell you that the large majority of the time, clients who get something for nothing will RARELY stay committed and execute. Why? Because they see no value in the information and time you are giving them. They have no skin in the game. There will always be exceptions, but if you have only been training clients for a few years, you aren't going to know what those exceptions are. And I'm helping you enough, already. I'm not going to give away the farm here. Sometimes, you have to learn on your own.
And don't think that by offering a low-ball fee you will be stealing clients from well-known online trainers. The trainers who are well-established are going to get higher rates because they have a proven track record. No one is going to think, "I want top-quality instruction from someone who has done this for a long time, but I want to save $1000, so I am going to work with this person over here who has only been doing this for three years." It isn't going to happen.
4. Walk The Walk
If you are doing contest prep, you should be incredibly well-versed and have a lot of personal experience with contest prep. Otherwise, you don't know shit. Prepping yourself for four or five shows and barely making the top-5 at local shows is not going to impress anyone in this giant sea of turds. There are THOUSANDS of people just like you who have little to no experience but have themselves convinced otherwise.
You can’t expect to get clients huge if you haven’t even been able to gain any appreciable amount of muscularity. At the same time, how can you possibly expect someone to pay you to get them ripped when your own level of "ripped" is the average competitor's 10-week-out condition? A lot of online trainers need to wake the fuck up.
If you can't stay on a diet longer than three weeks, think twice about being an online trainer. I could go on and on, but I think my point has been made.
5. Set Yourself Apart
Again, in reference to the giant sea of turds, how do you plan on standing out and being noticed? Getting good results is not the only factor that determines an excellent online trainer.
First, you should specialize in one area of training. If you are as old as I am, trying to work with young, 20-somethings isn't likely going to work very well. They aren't going to feel they can relate to you. Though I still work with some select 20-somethings, I prefer an older demographic who wants my expertise in other age-related aspects of training and nutrition, as well.
If you are a natural men's physique competitor, taking on open-division bodybuilders isn't in your wheelhouse. The allure of money ends up causing a lot of trainers to take every client that shows any interest in working with them. At the same time, it's irresponsible and unfair to the client who just paid you if you can't provide the service you are claiming to offer.
Do you have a different method of training than everyone else?
Do you have a different method of dieting than everyone else?
Can you get shredded without a natural propensity to have low body fat levels?
Do you have extensive experience using gear?
If you are going to use typical, everyday methods and nothing is any different than any other trainer floating in the giant sea of turds, what exactly do you think you are bringing to the table? The answer is basically nothing. Most bring absolutely nothing to the table, and they would be better off leaving the online training to the people who know what the hell they are doing. Is that going to happen? Of course not. Everyone has an ego these days, and most are convinced they know more than they do. I could go on and on, but I will stop there.
If you are reading this and you are an online trainer, you will take this one of two ways:
- You will be laughing and acting like you know exactly how I feel because you feel the same way (but in reality, you are the exact trainer I am talking about).
- You will read this and take offense because you know you're exactly the type of trainer I am talking about.
Why would the reaction only be those two options?
Because anyone who is a well-known, experienced trainer with a track record wouldn't be reading an article titled, "5 Things Online Trainers Should Do To Be Successful.” Just Sayin’.