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October 9, 2017

How to Start Your Online Fitness Coaching Business


Welcome to an ever-changing internet business space.

When I launched JillFit in 2010, I was a blogger. I blogged every single day for 2 years straight. Truth is, I normally still tell people I’m a blogger when I meet them because it’s easier than explaining everything about fitness internet business, ha! But you guessed it, the follow up question is always, “Soooo, how do you make money at that?”

A good question, and one I am hoping to help you understand and then implement over the next several months.

The old school way of doing “online business” was to put ads on your website for random shit, or be an affiliate for stuff, and get a slight kickback anytime someone purchases (still a good side tactic), but the new way is based on you cutting through the noise with sound, quality content that helps people … for a while, a long while, and then eventually asking them to purchase a service of yours (online coaching) or a product (DIY download or membership or course).

Sounds easy, right?

But the hardest part of all is making your mark in a crowded internet space. There are more “online trainers” than ever, and everyone preeeeeetty much has the same level of relative expertise or same certifications. And people’s attention span is smaller than ever, which means writing a ton of long blogs (the strategy I used) isn’t the best use of your time right this second, though you do need to build a body of work somehow, which we’ll talk about later.

So, how do you cut through the noise and start to attract potential customers, clients, or even just readers or followers?

You build trust over time, using content and adding value. This is called Inbound Marketing or Content Marketing.

You don’t hold anything back, you simply give away a ton of great information, for free, in a variety of different ways, over and over and over, and you allow for those with whom that content resonates to … show up.

It’s actually really nice because you don’t have to go out and “find” customers or interrupt people by sending them unsolicited DMs (gross). Instead, the right potential reader/fan/customer comes to you based on the kinds of things you are sharing.

There’s more noise than ever in the online space. But the good thing, is that this allows for the perfect message-to-customer matching to happen. It means that we actually don’t want to attract everyone, but instead only the people with whom naturally appreciate, connect with and want to consume our content.

“Content” can be anything from written content like this blog and emails to a subscriber list. Or posts on social media (like photos on IG and Pinterest, and yes more written content). Or video content that you put on YouTube, or audio content that you put on a podcast, etc.

Your content should always convey two things:

  1. Who you are (be the friend)
  2. What you help people with (be the teacher)

So many coaches tell me they want to “stand out” in the online space, I am going to tell you this right now: you don’t get to create innovative and mind-blowing content until you’ve put in a lot of reps just showing up.

Which means while yes, you want to add quality content and you want to wow people, and that will absolutely come, but even the most innovative content producers don’t get there without just putting up a lot of mundane content consistently first.

Quantity begets quality.

Great ideas come from creating more. The more content you create, the better your ideas will become. The better your communication and delivery will become. AND, the more you consistently create, the more honed your message will become (a lot of you in the survey mentioned you don’t know what your messages are or what your “avatar is”—and you really can’t know that until you start attracting people with your messages).

And so, your homework this week is not to do anything except consistently show up. It’s not sexy and it’s not going to get you 1000 new fans this week. But it’s step 1, and you don’t get to step 2 without going through step 1. I am going to give you a bare bones list of content I want you to produce and I want you to do it.

If you can’t show up consistently for an audience you don’t have yet, then you’ll never grow an audience.

So this week, you will create (write, video, whatever) content for the online space. If you are feeling overwhelmed because “there are so many things to do,” I am helping break it down for you.

Yes, I know you want Likes and Comments and followers and fans. But you don’t get those without putting in your reps. You have to share, and share consistently first. I’m not going to give you a ton of things to do because I know that action begets action and if you can see yourself doing something, anything consistently, you’ll feel more motivated and encouraged to KEEP doing stuff. Which is how you make progress.

So this week is just about reps. Just show up. Hit publish. Have zero expectations of what people need to do about your content. This is FOR YOU. You need to see that you are capable of being consistent and taking action. I don’t care if you get 1 Like or 1000. It’s not for other people yet. Start with yourself and ask, would I do this even if I never made a dime off it? Create because you want to share your knowledge. That’s it.

Okay, ready?

Here’s my weekly Content Barebones Blueprint (CBB) for you:

  • Day 1 – post on IG and FB – same post – share one food prep tip or meal that you love and WHY you do it/have it/use it
  • Day 2 – post on IG and FB – same post – share something about you or your family – what’s a practice you have or a ritual of yours or something few people know about you
  • Day 3 – post on IG and FB – same post – answer a client commonly asked question – what do you clients ask you? Just answer it for all in a post, doesn’t have to be mind-blowing, just the answer you would give them if they asked you to your face at the gym
  • Day 4 – post on IG and FB – same post – what are you doing today and why? Give me some context
  • Day 5 – post on IG and FB – same post – a favorite workout of yours
  • Day 6 – post on IG and FB – same post – share something about you or your family – what’s a practice you have or a ritual of yours or something few people know about you
  • Day 7 – post on IG and FB – same post – a favorite quote and why you love it, what it means to you and how other people can apply it to their life

“But Jill, what about my website? Don’t I need one? Shouldn’t I blog? What about email? And Twitter? Pinterest? Should I do video? What services should I offer?” Yes, yes and yes. To all. BUT NOT THIS WEEK!

The last thing I want to do it overload you with shit to do. Sure, if you have time and energy, do those things (and I’ll be sharing how to do them later), but again, your content pieces are your assets for now. Show up. Daily. And by doing so, feel encouraged to do even more next week.

That’s it. Just do that. You don’t get to do the big stuff without taking care of the little stuff. This is trust-building, and we are in the Trust Business (more on that next week), and by nature, trust takes time to build.

We don’t trick people into reading or buying. We attract the right people through the things we share, and over time we earn the right to ask them for money. Rinse and repeat.


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Teach, Practice

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