Hi I am Nick, I am a personal trainer in Sheffield and my business is called LEP Fitness. I have written this article to share with you my story of how i set up my Sheffield personal training business. There have been plenty of ups and downs but I am hoping that by sharing my story with you, you will gain some crucial, and valuable insights, and learn a thing or two about LEP Fitness and what it takes to set up a personal training business in the UK.
How I started My Sheffield Personal Training Business
The plans for LEP Fitness were long in place before i finally set up in July 2012. Plans actually started in my 3rd year at Sheffield Hallam University. I decided to write a business plan for my dissertation, the plan was to become a personal trainer in Sheffield and run my own business. I have always been pretty terrible at taking orders, my longest ever employment (car valeting) lasted just 8 months. I also had 5 other part time jobs, but lasted no longer than 1 week in each! Employment wasn’t for me. From being a child, I had always wanted to run a business, the thought of being your own boss, and creating something unique really gripped me.
After 2 years of partying at University i decided to knuckle down and use third year as an opportunity to develop and start to become the person i wanted to be, and not just some party raver! I wanted to come out of the experience with good qualifications and a stronger mindset, which i would later need to run a business. Most of my days in 3rd year were spent reading autobiographies (Richard Branson, Steve Jobs), business books and scientific journals (for my degree). I had a note board, which i plastered with post-it-notes full of ideas, i would later use a handful of those ideas to set up my UK based personal training company.
I applied for 500 (UK pounds) of POC (Proof of Concept Funding) from Sheffield Hallam University, this would enable me to obtain a small amount of funding for marketing materials so i could start to set up. I actually got rejected from 4x in a row, over 5 months, i felt pretty low, full of self doubt . . . can i actually do this? Finally on my 5th attempt i got accepted and learnt my first real lesson in business. . . never give up!
With the help of my two best friends (Jamie Howard and Ryan Dutton) we designed a flyer. Ironically we stole the design idea from a Dominos Pizza leaflet! (see below)
With the funding i purchased 1,000 flyers from Vista Print, hired a few mates and dropped them around town. From handing out 1,000 flyers, i had picked up just 1 client! still it was a start and i felt pretty pleased. I started training at Endcliffe Park with my new client and continued to look for more people. After a couple more months, I managed to pick up another 2 clients from a Gumtree advertisement I created.
I tried absolutely everything i could think of to build a client base. I was only doing 8 sessions a week for the first 5 months and money was extremely tight, but there was a spark at least, i felt proud and things were finally moving, albeit slowly. I decided to get some extra part time work, working for another Sheffield personal trainer which would help cultivate my experience and help support rocky finances. I had just 20 (UK pounds) to live off a week for the first 9 months and was being held a float by my wonderful other half (Sally), whom without her support and faith none of this would have been possible. I am forever grateful and a very lucky guy.
Getting On GroupOn
The first year was extremely tough, on many occasions i doubted my abilities, lacked confidence, financial stability, and felt like giving in, but i had made this commitment to myself and i would not give in. My first real lucky break came after applying to go on Group On, again this took 5 failed attempts before finally being accepted. When they accepted i posted an add which was: 12 sessions for 10 (UK Pounds) and sold 50 vouchers. Great! i now suddenly had an audience to show my skills to. I also realised i had 600 sessions (50 per week) to get through in just 2 months! arghhh! and i would need to live of just 60 (UK pounds) over the 8 weeks! because Group On took a 50% commission. . . .
But I had learned my 2nd lesson in business. . . sacrifice the short term for long term betterment. I would have to work my but off for 2 months, and for 0 pay but i had an opportunity to market myself to 50 potential clients. It paid off and out of the 23 that actual showed up to the personal training sessions, 19 signed up! Wow! I finally had a business which i could focus on full time. No words can describe how that felt. All the sleepless nights, self doubts, and financial insecurity had been worth it.
Continuing To Progress
Luckily i am very fortunate to have met and kept some great clients over the past 2 years. After building some momentum and getting some good results, word of mouth has spread and luckily a constant stream of clients coming by the way of referrals. Also, just recently I started to employ some extra helpers, Monnel Espiritu a great friend who does excellent computer work for me and my Accountant, Andrew Hulse of UHY. I also have help from a local creative agency in Sheffield called Evoluted who have helped to develop the LEP site. Together a strong team of people are helping to cultivate the future of LEP Fitness.
From November 2013 to this date (14 months later) an average of 45 sessions per week have taken place at LEP Fitness and i have loved every single one of them. Being a Personal Trainer in Sheffield is the best job in world and i would not change it for anything.
Training sessions are mainly completed outdoors. The location is stunning it’s like training in your own private park, surrounded by greenery, fresh air and mother nature.
The LEP Tribe
There are currently 28 LEP ers. The youngest 18, the oldest 65.
Nick’s Daily Routine
Here’s an idea of how i plan my week, my current routine at the moment (Monday to Saturday):
- 5.30am Wake Up
- 5.40am : 6.20am Foam Rolling and stretching warm up, whilst listening to a podcast (usually Ben Coomber, or Phil Learney)
- 6.20am : 6.30am walk to the gym, whilst listening to an audio book (at the moment i am listening to Tony Robbins : Awaken the giant Within)
- 6.30am : 8.30am Gym
- 8.30am : 9am breakfast and shower
- 9am : 1pm Personal Training Sessions
- 1pm : 2pm e-mails and lunch
- 2pm : 4pm Personal Training Sessions
- 4pm : 5pm Eat and completely chill (pretty tired by now!)
- 5pm : 7.30pm Personal Training Sessions
- 7.30pm : 8pm Eat dinner and have a magnesium bath
- 8pm : 10pm : chill, read, watch tv
- 10pm : ZZZZZZ! (sleep time!)
Sunday is a day where i completely chill and do nothing apart from spend time with friends and family and watch Breaking Bad!
I’ve been very lucky to train some amazing people over the years, of whom i now class as great friends. The best thing for me about being a personal trainer in Sheffield has to be watching people transform their lives. It’s the best thing in the world, not only seeing the physical transformation unfold but also witnessing the positive rippling effect it has on other areas of life. Hearing how life is better in so many unexpected ways : job promotion, better social life, happier person, new found hobbies, one client’s now even into rock climbing! the list is endless. Knowing you have helped made a difference, Big or small . . . is well . . . i really can’t put it into words. . . Phenomenally supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!!! Some of my favourite stories are . . .
Breaking News . . . An LEPer was stopped at the airport as they could not recognise the photo to be him on his passport. Sorabh who has lost 4 stone, was vigorously questioned at airport, leaving all interviewees utterly confused and full of admiration! Sorabh started training with LEP Fitness in November 2013 and worked his absolute socks of to achieve this amazing result.
Caroline came to LEP Fitness in April 2013 wanting to get in the best shape of her life for the biggest day of her life! If you would like to read Caroline’s amazing transformational journey in her own words click here!
I have only recently made this mini office, but i love it, it’s my domain and i spend most of my time here outside of the LEP Fitness personal training sessions. I currently use a Mac, it’s super efficient, the screen is big (it doesn’t creak my neck like my old laptop!). I have a mini whiteboard where i write my goals for the week. I also pin up my New Years Resoltions for the year, which i read 1st thing in the morning to remind me why i am getting out of bed at 5.30am! I also have 2 pictures which i look at everyday, which help me keep motivated (see below).
It’s so important to make your work environment work for you. Surround yourself with positive people, pictures and inspirational memorabilia, you will get more done and feel happier during the process.
How To Become a Personal Trainer In Sheffield?
I am going to dedicate an entire blog post to this at a later date, so stay tuned. For now my advice would be to:
- Get as much experience as possible, train your friends and family, complete some work experience in a gym environment
- Book onto a training course, get some strong qualifications under your belt
- Listen to at least 1 podcast per week to boost your knowledge (I would recommend listening to Ben Coomber and Phil Learney )
- Pick up a book on how to start a business (my favourite is The Start-Up of You )
I have learned a few lessons over the past few years and a trick or two, I would like to give back and help fitness trainers in Sheffield so you to can start your own business. Please comment below if you have any questions regarding starting your own personal training business. You can also e-mail me privately by clicking here, it would be a pleasure helping you. For all other enquires please click here
Thanks so much for reading!