“The key to stay on top of things is to treat everything like it’s your first project, like it’s your first day as an intern, and stay humble”. Notorious Big had said that in the intro to Jay Z’s “My 1st Song” and when I heard this song the other day, it made me think. There are a lot of great young strength coaches, trainers and so on now. But there is also a large wave of new trainers who have already figured it all out and are experts in their field.
I have learned the hard way, which as a young trainer and business owner, some people will dismiss you solely because of your age. The only way to combat this is to make yourself appear as a mature professional and not someone who is seen as a typical kid in their early 20s. Here are five steps to help you step your game up and become a respected trainer in your local area despite your lack of years.
Build an Advisory Board
This is maybe one of the best things that I have ever done for both my personal and professional life. I have different people in my life, which I know can help me in different areas that can benefit me for my future. My main areas of focus for my professional development are:
I have selected people for each of the following categories and they help me make sure I’m doing the best I can in that area of my life. Also, most of my advisors have come from me donating my time to these people and helping them. Make sure you’re making good choices for an advisor; don’t have your friend who is broke tell you how to invest your money. I truly believe that no one is self-made and if they tell you they are then they are lying. When these people help you out, be polite and say thank you or send them a thank you card or a gift. Time is valuable and if someone takes time out of their day to help you, shouldn’t you do the same for them?
It still amazes me how many people don’t show up for opportunities. Think of every training session with every client a chance to learn something or make an impact somewhere. If you are late, it shows a lot about you and how much you value your client’s time. They may not say anything for a while, but when they quit showing up one day, you will know why. Showing up could mean going to a conference to network with other coaches and professionals that if you don’t go, you might never meet those people. It is hard to believe that with multiple conferences every weekend across the country, there are trainers that year after year, can’t or won’t go to further learn their craft and network with the people who make up their industry.
Focus on the Client
Clients will keep your doors open and be your best source of referrals if you treat them right. By focusing on the client, and not your social media you will be able to better provide your service to the paying clients. Every time you look at your phone instead of your client, you are sending the message that your social life is more important to you than they are. Coach your clients better than anyone else can and you will have a client and a friend for life.
Look and Talk Professional
If it looks like you just rolled out of bed and you are wearing whatever shirt you picked up off the floor, it doesn’t look good and people will notice. That is something you did in high school and college, but this is your profession and you are trying to make a name for yourself. Wear a clean shirt that is representing the facility you are training out of and have clean shorts and shoes. Does this sound silly? If it does then maybe you fall into this trap. I’m not saying you have to wear a name badge or polo shirts, but look presentable to your clients.
Talking the talk can be another touchy subject in training. Know the clientele you are dealing with and adjust your coaching to that population. At Showtime Strength & Performance, we deal mainly with young athletes between the ages of 8 and 21. You have to be able to effectively communicate with them and get them to push themselves to new strengths without coming off as the coach who yells to hear his or her own voice.
Beware of Social Media
Social media has become the best and worst thing to ever happen to people. It is great that so much information is getting out and people are able to reconnect with long lost friends and family. If you are trying to establish yourself as a true professional at a young age, you should be wary of what goes into your social media. Making vulgar posts, discrediting people, and talking about how awesome your alcohol-induced weekend was might not help get you new clients. Social media might not help get you additional clients, but it can certainly draw people away from you and create a reputation for you without people ever meeting you. If your post will help someone, then go ahead and post, but if you reread it and think it might offend or be useless then it probably isn’t worth posting.
These are just a few ways to set yourself apart from every other young person trying to break way into personal training or coaching. We are seen as the generation of instant gratification, but nothing worth talking about was ever created overnight. At some point, every young trainer or coach has been ignorant enough to think they know it all, but the good coaches and trainers are the ones who break free of that mindset and realize that they don’t know nearly as much as they thought. Staying humble throughout the journey will leave your mind more open to conversations about different ideas that can change your life.
None of the great coaches I have met said, “I have the answer for everything,” but instead they talk with other coaches to see how they might differently implement something or to get feedback on how they could better their situation. Let’s change the mind of the older generations and show them that we can better the fitness industry by providing the best service possible to our athletes or clients.
Contact Nick Showman @ http://www.showtimestrength.com
Nick Showman is the owner of Showtime Strength & Performance, a sports performance facility in Newark, Ohio. He is also the owner of the Natural Ohio Bodybuilding Association and has organized NAS Strongman and IPA Powerlifting meets. Nick has competed in several powerlifting, strongman, and bodybuilding competitions. He can be reached at [email protected]