If I Had To Start My Fitness Business From Scratch

I’m often asked what I’d do differently if I had the chance to go back and start myLondon personal training business all over again or if my current business collapsed and I had to build it again from scratch.

I think this is a great question that we should all ask ourselves from time to time as it reflects where we’re at in our development, how much we’ve learned and how far we’ve come.

For instance, if the thought of your business collapsing and starting over again fills you with absolute dread and horror, twists your gut and makes you think thoughts of quitting altogether then, the truth is, you probably haven’t come very far.

If, on the other hand, you’d be a little pissed-off (maybe a lot) but thinking to yourself “No worries, I know what to do and this time I’ll do it even better and even faster” then you’ve definitely come a long way in your journey and ready to take on pretty much whatever life throws at you.

Because of this you’ll be far more successful, make far more money, have far more time off work and be far happier than most of your pers in the industry.


Welcome to the club : )

See, that’s where I’m at right now. No, Im not boasting or bragging or anything like that, simply stating a fact. I’d be seriously annoyed and pissed off that the business that I’d spent the last 10 years building went down the toilet but I’d get up, dust myself off and start from scratch with Dax Moy 2.0

Here’s how I’d do it:

1. I’d Make 100% Certain That Only The Best and Most Committed People Could Become My Clients

My company already has what we call a ‘gatekeeper strategy’ that means that we interview and select clients into coaching but this wasn’t always the case. Back in the day, I used to practice what I call WAP marketing which meant simply that anyone with a Wallet And Pulse could become my client.

Sure, I’d get a bunch of clients and make a bunch of money but I’d also get a bunch of headaches and stress from working with rude, difficult and non-committed clients too. Ultimately, the damage to my own spirit and desire to work as a top-notch coach nearly led to me quitting personal training altogether.

The gatekeeper strategy saved me and, to this day, means that I only work with amazing people that are willing to pay me what I feel I deserve rather than what THEY are willing to pay.

The difference in the quality of my business and my life in general is IMMENSE!

Can you imagine going to work every hour of every day knowing that the people you’re working with like you, respect you, follow your advice, get great results and are just amazing people in their own right?

I wish someone had told me this on day one of starting my fitness business, but I know it now and would definitely put this into effect the minute I started any new business from scratch.

2. I’d Work Only In The Fields Where My Passion Lay, Rather Than Running Around Like A Headless Chicken Looking For Each New Get-Rich-Quick Sceme That The Industry ‘Gurus’ Told Me I should Be Chasing

When I first got into fitness I had passion. MAN I had passion!

I loved my work, loved the idea of serving (as corny as it sounds) ‘The Greater Good’, helping people to live abundant, happy and healthy lives.

It was a real buzz that got me out of bed early, kept me up late and fueled me throughout the day and gave real purpose and meaning to my life.

Then I discovered the fitness marketing gurus.

Through their writings, courses and seminars they gave me great advice on how to find clients and have them find me, how to ‘close’ them, how to extend the lifetime value and much, much more besides. A lot of this was great and definitely led to me getting more clients and making more money but somewhere along the way I’d given my power and passion over to the gurus by letting them tell ME how I should be working.

Sure, the money was great but I was now working in ways and with people that I didn’t want to (see point 1) and instead of feeling greater passion, excitement and fulfilment I began to feel a strange detachment from my work and the great purpose that lay behind it.

I’d become a marketer rather than a fitness professional.

Don’t get me wrong, marketing IS vitally important to any business but none of us got into fitness to BE marketers, right? Yet this is where I found myself as my gurus pushed, pulled and prodded me into directions that, in my heart, I knew I didn’t want to go.

That led to cognitive dissonance between the ideas I had about living true to my dreams and passions and those related to earning money. The result? Stagnancy in growth, stagnancy in happiness and stagnancy in income.

If I were starting over again today I’d listen to everything that everyone has to say on the subject of building a stunningly successful fitness business, identify how they could help me strengthen my already existing passions and implement them only if I could do so without changing my main focus.

3. Reduce The Time Between Thought, Word and Action

Like most fitness entrepreneurs, I’ve never been short of ideas on how to take my business forward. In fact, I often call myself an entrepreneurial handgrenade. Just feed me part of an idea, pull the pin and watch me explode with “we could do that” and “what would happen if?” and “wouldn’t it be exciting if…”

I’m now at the point in my life where I’ll often think a thought about something, find someone to talk the idea over with and start Tweeting, Facebooking and Blogging about my new ‘big idea’ or course or seminar or… whatever.

A lot of the time, these ideas end up going nowhere. They fizzle out as bad ideas or simply good ideas who’s time hasn’t come yet.

But often, these same ‘grenades’ explode in the most fascinating of ways.

Studios, courses, seminars, ebooks, joint ventures, mentoring programs, overseas, membership sites, communities, masterminds have all come about as a result of moving quickly from idea to conversation to action. Though, word and action is how ‘stuff’ gets accomplished and, as I’ve found the longer I’ve been applying this, the shorter the time between the 3 steps the better.

But I wasn’t always like this.

Like most trainers, my speed of implementation was poor. Lots of great ideas fizzled out and went nowhere for all the wrong reasons. Mostly because of procrastination caused by, if I’m honest, fear of what would or wouldn’t happen as a result of my actions.

So I chose inaction by default.

If I were starting over again I’d jump into my ideas with both feet, trust my gut a lot more than I did when I started and invest all of the passion that the idea deserved into bringing it to life. And I’d do it quick. No hanging around making excuses.

4. I’d Finish More Of What I Started

Even though I’m now far better at finishing projects than fully 99% of the industry and abou a billion percent better than I used to be when I started out, there are still hundreds of million dollar ideas sitting in my laptop waiting to be completed.

I mean hundreds and yes, I do believe that many of them could make me millions.

No doubt you’re the same. Tons of ideas, lots of open tasks but nothing getting finished?

I used to ridiculously bad at finishing stuff. Reports, websites, programs and much, much more went unfinished as I practiced my career of being a ‘serial starter’. Then, one day I looked into the open files in my computer and realised something that has been a kind of mantra of mine ever since.

You only get paid for ‘done’.

See, it didn’t matter how brilliant or revolutionary my ideas were (and some really were!), until I got them finished, til I got them done I could neither help others with the idea nor could I get paid for them. After all, who would want to buy a half-finished idea or product, right?

Since I finally figured this out I’ve set a lot more of my time to getting stuff done and have reaped the rewards of earning hundreds of thousands of dollars in online book sales, hundreds of thousands of dollars in mentoring, hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal trainer education courses and millions of dollars of income in personal training revenues.

If I’d known about only getting paid for done when I started out I’d have gotten a lot more done than I have to date, but if I were starting today then I’d make completing my projects THE most important part of my work.

5. I’d Hire Slower and Fire Faster

I’ve been a complete idiot with staffing over the years.

I’m still not 100% ‘there’ yet but I’m so much better than I used to be.

I used to think that all the trainers I hired were like me. Passionate, committed, dedicated, trustworthy, go-the-extra-milers.

I believed that when I interviewed them and they told me about how great they wanted to be as coaches and how much they wanted to achieve success that they were telling the truth. Sadly, I’ve learned that that was often not the case.

Over the years I’ve hired lazy slackers of the worst kind, thieves, time wasters, procrastinators and those who like to bitch, whine and moan their lives away. I’ve hired those who only came to steal my ideas only to set up as competitors hundreds of metres from my studios to those who poached clients to train offsite in other gyms and much, much more.

Looking back now, with hindsight, I can see how every single one who either ripped me off or simply didn’t walk their talk were hired too quickly and were fired too slowly.

I often didn’t do my homework before hiring or, worse still, didn’t pay attention to the numerous warning signs of the unsuitability of each person and, even when I did, didn’t act on it as I should have.

Over the years this has cost me money, clients, time, trust and most of all, belief that I would ever find a great team of coaches to work with me.

That’s changed a lot over the last couple of years.

Now it’s much harder to join, the tests that need to be passed in order to stay are in place and the minimum requirements of each team member are both clear and strongly enforced. The system isn’t perfect yet but I now have an amazing team of people that kick the butt of all their predecessors in terms of knowledge, skill, ability and commitment and collectively they make life much easier, much more fun and yes, much more profitable too.

I can’t go back and turn back time and right all the wrongs but if I were starting my business again today I’d use a far more stringent selection process, hire more slowly and operate a ‘yellow card, red card, you’re out’ policy on my staff.

Think about it; you see your work colleagues for more time each day than you see your family. Do you REALLY want to spend your time with those who drain your passion? Does this make sense when you’re the boss?

6. I’d Bring A Lifecoaching Component Into My Business Far Faster

I used to be a ‘fitness’ person. I thought my role with my clients started and finished with the workout programs I designed for them.

That got me so far.

Then I realised that nutrition was the missing component and I added nutritional coaching to the programs I made for my clients. the results were spectacular!

For a few years that was as far as it went, then I started to observe the yo-yo pattern that so many people talk about. You know, improve, regress, improve, regress.

As a fitness professional I knew that I was giving great advice as far as exercise and nutrition was concerned but was puzzled and often frustrated by the yo-yo that even my best clients often experienced when work got busy or life got stressful.

One day one of them said to me “Well, I guess that sometimes life just gets in the way” and opened up a whole new area of study in psychology and lifestyle management that has been a cornerstone of my personal training services ever since, allowing me to charge £150 an hour for my services when the national average is £40.

Lifecoaching, the ability to communicate at a deep level with your clients about their purpose, vision, goals, passions, fears, concerns and more is the glue that binds the fitness work together. It doesn’t just add to the results you get with your clients, it exponentially increases them.

If I’d know that earlier in my career I would have paid far more time studying and mastering these skills as they have completely revolutionised the way I do business and the results I get with my clients. People pay for 2 things when they come to work with a fitness professional.

1. Results.
2. Experience.

Lifecoaching guarantees the results whilst at the same time providing an amazing experience for both client and coach alike. If I were starting over again today, I’d definitely add coaching.

7. Systematise!

When I first started my fitness business I thought I was pretty systematic in my approach. I had PARq’s, program sheets, payment trackers and nutritional handouts.

I thought I was pretty cool. Especially when I compared my stuff to that of the other trainers where I worked!

Trouble was, I was pretty much always reinventing the wheel whenever a new client came onboard. I started each call, each consult, each program, each session and each diet plan from scratch, costing me tons of time, tons of effort and tons of frustration.

Luckily I came across the book ‘The E-myth’ and came to understand that the difference between a job and a business was that a business continued to make money in your absence whereas a job depended on your presence and that the only way to make money in your absence was to have systems that others could follow.

Up to that point, what I’d been calling my ‘fitness business’ was actually just a job and, as Alwyn Cosgrove had once mentioned, the boss was a megalomanic, control freak who expected me to turn up early, stay late, take work home with me and go without pay whenever I was sick or wanted a vacation.

I hated that boss : )

So I set out to systematise my job and turn it into a business.

From that day to this I’ve been working on systems for marketing, blogging, answering calls, performing consults, assessing clients, programming them, delivering sessions, asking for referrals, charging the client, paying the studio and much, much more.

Every new coach that starts in my company first has to master the systems before we allow them near a client.

Systems are IT.

No systems, no business. Period.

If I were starting out today I’d put all my systems down on paper before even thinking of running my first ads for clients and make sure that every step of the way those systems were being followed by all concerned.

There you go.

This is my honest-to-goodness view of what I’d do if my business collapsed and I had to start over.

Most of this is known to you, I’m sure, but how much of this information are you actually using in YOUR business?

See, whilst this is all stuff that can be used to start a successful business from scratch, you can also use it right now in your existing business with amazing results that’ll literally transform your business and your life.

Give it a go.

Put it into action.

You know it makes sense! : )

To your success!

Dax Moy
Your Fitness Marketing Coach

Join My FREE Personal Trainer Success Community At
http://www.personaltrainersuccess.ning.com TODAY!

P.S – What would YOU do if you had to start over?


Dax Moy is a pretty cool dude. Part philosopher, part poet, part high-level health coach, part author, part presenter and part fitness business success coach and COMPLETELY bonkers and head over heels in love with the idea of making the fitness industry into a fitness PROFESSION. Join Dax’s Facebook group of other bonkers fitpros who are making a difference over at https://www.facebook.com/groups/113403992149580 today. You’ll LOVE the great community we’ve built there!
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