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How To Become A Freelance Personal Trainer

Getting Started
June 19, 2024
Tim Saye

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You have a passion for fitness and a mastery for helping others work out better. But how can you turn this into a profitable career?

Becoming a freelance trainer might be the perfect career choice. It offers you the freedom to maintain your current lifestyle and earn extra income, all while guiding others towards healthier lives on your terms. 

This article will outline the crucial steps you must take, from obtaining the proper certification to launching your business and everything in between. Read on and get started today!

What Is a Freelance Personal Trainer?

A freelance personal trainer is a self-employed fitness professional who provides personalized coaching to clients.

Unlike trainers employed by gyms, freelance personal trainers have the flexibility to operate across various locations, such as multiple gyms, clients' homes, public parks, or even online.

No wonder that according to the latest statistics by FutureFit, 80% of the personal trainers are freelancers in the UK.


  • Flexibility: As a freelance trainer, you have the ultimate say in when and where you work. Once certified and licensed, you can create a training schedule that adapts to your lifestyle.
    You can use the best scheduling software to balance your time.
  • You choose your clients: Freelancing means you can select whom to work with. So, you can focus on clients who best fit your training style and avoid those who don't align with your approach.
  • Higher earning potential: One significant advantage of freelancing is the potential to earn more.
    Without a gym taking a cut, your income is directly proportional to the effort you put in, not just as a trainer but also as a business owner, marketer, and salesperson. Your earning potential is in your hands with the correct rates and strategies.
  • Career fulfillment: Helping clients achieve their fitness goals brings a deep sense of satisfaction. Plus, every day presents new challenges and learning opportunities, keeping your job exciting.
  • You'll enjoy diverse working environments: Become a freelance trainer, and one day, you might be training someone in a park or, the next, in a private studio. This variety will ensure your working days stay dynamic - something to look forward to.
  • With freelancing, you have the reins of your professional growth. You can invest in continuous development, pursue specialties that interest you, and enhance your marketability and expertise. The possibilities for growth are limitless.


  • Financial uncertainty: Income can fluctuate based on client retention and acquisition, which might not always be stable, especially during the initial stages or slower seasons.
  • Responsibility for business operations: You're in charge of every aspect of your business, from marketing to financial planning and client scheduling. This can be overwhelming if you prefer to focus solely on training clients but overcome by outsourcing or employing systems.
  • Marketing and client acquisition: Building a client base from scratch demands considerable effort in marketing and networking. You must continually promote your services to maintain and grow your client base.

How to Become a Freelance Personal Trainer in 7 Steps

Here are the steps to becoming a certified, licensed, and renowned freelance trainer.

Step 1. Get Certified

As a personal trainer, you'll be working with individuals who need assistance with their fitness and lifestyles. This requires a deep understanding of what you'll be training them, which extends far beyond simple workouts.

To gain this knowledge, you'll need to undergo thorough training and acquire the necessary skills. 

You must be at least 18 years old and a high school graduate. An Emergency Cardiac Care (CPR) certificate or an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) certificate would help you enroll faster.

The good thing is that you can learn entirely online, although it's good to have physical classes.

Start with an online personal trainer course such as the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) course. It's a globally recognized organization that offers fitness and nutrition certifications to individuals worldwide.

A career in personal training is broad, so we recommend picking a niche to target a specific demographic. To narrow things down, you can become a nutritionist, a nutrition coach, a yoga instructor, or a geriatrics professional, among other niches.

You can also train for different specializations. Just consider how long each course takes and how expensive it is first. 

You will need to take and pass an exam at the end of each course to get your certificate. 

The only thing remaining is to get licensed—this differs by region and, in some cases, is optional. But please check with your area to understand the requirements.

Finally, to freelance legally, ensure you get federal licensing and an Employer Identification Number (EIN) in the US, register as a sole trader with HMRC in the UK, or take the required steps to be able to conduct freelance business according to the laws in your country.

Step 2. Gain Experience and Specialize

To carve out a successful path as a freelance trainer immediately, gain as much hands-on experience as you can. 

You can intern at local gyms or wellness centers to understand diverse client needs and gain exposure to different fitness environments.

It's practical knowledge that's so crucial when you're ready to fly solo.

Also, think about honing a particular skill set to set yourself apart - especially if you didn't do so in training. For example, you can focus on youth fitness, weight loss, or strength training.

Get enough mentorship and practice to make you the go-to trainer in that niche, and continuously update your skills and knowledge. 

You can even attend regular workshops to keep your methods fresh and your advice sound so that you can devise the most effective training strategies to see your clients progress and achieve their desired results.

Step 3. Develop a Business Plan

Ready to set up your freelance trainer business? You need to develop a personal trainer business plan.

  • Start by defining your goals - outline what you want to achieve in the short term and beyond, from client numbers to financial targets.
  • Specify your services - one-on-one sessions, group classes, or online programs - and where they'll be delivered.
  • Perform a comprehensive market analysis to understand your competition and identify your target clientele. Focus on their needs and how you stand out​ as a freelance trainer.
  • Devise a strategic marketing program to attract and retain clients. Incorporate both digital and community-based approaches.
  • Set competitive pricing that reflects the value you offer.
  • Finally, manage your finances by projecting initial costs, operational expenses, and potential income—prepare for both best- and worst-case scenarios.

Step 4. Create a Strong Brand and Online Presence

Creating a strong personal trainer brand and online presence as a freelance trainer involves several vital strategies to distinguish yourself in a competitive market. 

First, identify your unique value proposition - what makes you different from other trainers? It could be a particular training specialty, your approach to fitness, or a unique combination of skills related to your background and interests​.

Next, develop a professional website as the central hub for your brand - it should clearly communicate your services, experience, and the unique aspects of your training style.

Also, keep it visually appealing using consistent colors, fonts, and a logo that resonates with your target audience.

Finally, stay active on social media to connect with potential clients. Share valuable content, workout tips, success stories, and personalized health advice regularly.

Step 5. Set Up Your Business

Now that you already have a business plan, website, and social media presence, setting up a successful personal trainer business is easier. 

To continue, consider your business's legal structure. Most freelance personal trainers choose a sole proprietorship because it's simple to set up and run.

However, this doesn't provide personal liability protection, so securing appropriate business insurance is important.

Next, investing in the right equipment is essential, especially if you plan to conduct sessions in clients' homes or public spaces like parks.

Ensure you have portable, versatile equipment that can be easily transported to various locations​.

Step 6. Market Your Services

You're all set up now, but you need to market your freelance trainer business to attract clients. Here are some marketing tips you can leverage:

  • To connect with potential clients, regularly post relatable fitness content on your social media channels, including live exercise demos. Also, post regular blog articles!
  • Collect and display client testimonials and reviews to enhance your credibility and offer prospective clients social proof of your training programs' effectiveness​.
  • Create exclusive promotions or fitness challenges that encourage engagement and participation. These could include anything from a weight loss challenge to fitness bingo that includes a variety of workout tasks.
  • Utilize email marketing. Send out regular newsletters that include workout tips, nutritional advice, and exclusive offers to maintain ongoing engagement with your clients.
  • Use paid ads on platforms like Google and Facebook to target potential customers. Ensure your ads lead to a well-crafted landing page that captures leads effectively​.
  • Leverage networking to attract more clients. Build relationships within your community by networking with local health clubs, yoga studios, and other businesses. Partnerships will provide a mutual referral system and increase your visibility in the local market​.

Step 7. Build and Maintain Client Relationships

Building and maintaining good client relationships as a freelance personal trainer hinges on trust, effective communication, and personalization. Here are some key strategies to help you out:

  • Show consistency in your sessions, deliver on your promises, and showcase your expertise and credentials.
  • Adapt your communication style to different clients. Some prefer direct communication, while others prefer a more supportive and empathetic approach.
  • Tailor your freelance training programs to each client's specific goals, preferences, and fitness levels.
  • Keep the lines of communication open between sessions. A simple check-in via text or email can show your clients you're invested in their progress.
  • Recognize and celebrate your clients' milestones and progress. For example, acknowledge their effort during a session or celebrate a new personal best. Recognition goes a long way in motivating clients and building a positive trainer-client relationship​.
  • Regularly seek feedback to understand your client's satisfaction and areas for improvement. It's an excellent way to make your freelance trainer business customer-centered and ensure your clients feel valued.


Nothing is holding you back now. Using the strategies and information above, you can set up and run a successful freelance trainer business in a gym, outdoors, or as a mobile trainer, or launch an online fitness business. 

Whichever setup you go for, ensure you have the best personal trainer software.

Not sure which one? Sign up for a free 1-Month Pt Distinction trial and simplify your client management, program design, and administrative tasks!

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