Friday, February 7, 2014

I Have Confidence in Me

Where to begin. This post has been percolating around in my brain for a week because I have a lot of feelings about this but sometimes it takes a while for me to extract all the feels from inside my head and make sense of them all. Here we go.

A lot of people know that I got my personal trainer certification last year. The one thing I didn't want to do upon obtaining my certification was to walk into a big name gym and get put an a virtual hamster wheel- training people who get a one *free* session with their membership and never seeing them again, leading huge classes where I'd never match all the faces with names, and putting all the focus on selling memberships instead of building relationships. I also wanted to have control of when and where and how much I worked as a trainer. Honestly, this is not something I decided to do in order to help put food on the table. We're good over here. I chose to do this because I have a genuine interest in the field and think that I have something to offer people.

So that's why I had my own business. My own sad, small, half-ass little business. And here's what I learned:

1. Marketing is hard. Business-ing is hard. And I am terrible at it.
2. It's even harder if you're marketing for a business you really only want to do part-time.

After a couple of weeks I wanted to block MYSELF on social media with all the shouting about bootcamps and incessant retweeting invites and reminders about classes I was teaching. I also had no idea how to reach out to people outside of my own personal network, which is why I mainly ended up teaching classes to friends, and friends of friends.

Not to say I didn't learn a lot of useful things. Once I started training actual people instead of memorizing facts and figures from a big book, things started to come very naturally to me. I even picked up some one-on-one training clients where I really felt like I learned a lot about modifying exercises to suit a person's specific needs, and getting to know them on a more personal level. I remember when I was first considering getting certified I asked a trainer (again a friend of a friend) what advice he had and he said, "Listen. People really just want to be heard." That advice really stuck with me because as I taught more people I realized that it was much more than just presenting some movements and shouting out numbers of repetitions at them. People hire a personal trainer or go to a bootcamp class because they're looking for some kind of motivation outside of themselves. They need someone to listen to them and help them find their path to success.

ANYWAY. Back to me and half-assing my way through my business.

I decided to take a hiatus from training over the holidays (except for the one client I was working with in-home.) It had gotten too cold and dark to host bootcamp classes at the park anymore and I hadn't secured an indoor space for the winter. In fact, I wasn't sure it was even worth it for me to try and rent space for the number of people I thought I could potentially get into a class over November and December. After the new year I was feeling kind of down about my prospects and was procrastinating about taking action when I saw that a small personal training studio in the neighborhood, Wild Workouts and Wellness, was hiring trainers. The owner, Amber, is a person with whom my social circle overlaps with a lot and I've always had my eye on her as someone I was impressed with in the Milwaukee/Bay View fitness community.

So I submitted my application. She called me. We met. And I got the job.

I feel like a weight has been lifted. Like I can finally get down to doing what I want to do. No messing around with sales and marketing and spreadsheets. I show up, I meet awesome people, and we get to work. I feel very lucky that I stumbled upon his opportunity and that I've been welcomed fully onto their little team. During this past year I had bouts of feeling like I wasn't a "real" trainer because I wasn't out there enough "in the field," so-to-speak. I was even pretty nervous walking into her gym and presenting myself as a real deal, legit trainer. But now that I've started coaching the workouts it's like everything is starting to fall into place. I really DO know what I'm talking about. People can ask me questions and for the most part I KNOW THE ANSWERS. And if I don't- well I then have the opportunity to learn something new. I've got tons of room to grow and I'm looking forward to growing it.

I've been doing this thing lately where I say to myself, "All you have to do is be yourself and everything will fall into place." It's a little Maria Von Trapp-ish but hey, it works me for. And it probably helps that being myself is also not being a jerkface. (At least I'm pretty sure I'm not a jerkface.)