The Pros and Cons of a Successful Online Business Compared to Being a Face to Face Personal Trainer – Part One; Work and Holidays

Feb 2, 2017

By Tim Saye

The day I gave up face to face personal training my friends thought I'd retired age 34. To them I hang around with my family at home, go on quite a lot of holidays and occasionally venture out in the evenings when the kids finally fall asleep!

I live the life of a successful online entrepreneur and it's great..... However, it's not without its challenges or struggles.

To help you decide if you want to pursue an online training career I wanted to write this 100% honest comparison of life with a successful online business compared to life as a successful face to face personal trainer.

A Super Brief Bio

My name is Tim Saye, My brother and I set up and run the online personal training software, PT Distinction. Before that business took off I was a personal trainer for 11 years.

At the start of my PT career I worked in a local gym earning £6 an hour, for years I did every course I could get myself on to and towards the end of my personal training career I was able to charge £120 an hour and didn't lose a client for the final 4 years.

I have a wife and two boys aged 1 and 3..... They are all awesome.

That's about all you need to know for this review!

What's Harder Work, Online or Face to Face?

Face to face

Personal training can be a pretty demanding job, always on your feet, getting up very early most mornings and working late many evenings. Then in the supposed rest time in between your generally studying, writing programs or working on your business.... Lets be honest, the hours are really long!

However, if you select your clients well you get to hang out with awesome people all day long and have fun while helping them to transform their health and add years to their lives. It's a very rewarding job.

On top of that days off, weekends and holidays can be genuine time off spent 100% doing the things you love with the people you love. No real need to check your phone, answer emails etc.. unless you really feel like it, if a client has a problem they will see you soon anyway!


Online is different. You have certain things that need to get done, (no doubt about it if you want a successful online business you have got to do the work and you have got to be consistent) but you can do them at a time and in a place that suits you.

You're never really 100% off duty. Members and clients don't suddenly stop needing you because you're on holiday. You have to check everything is running smoothly and everyone is happy on a regular basis.

A story that sums up a lot of my feelings towards a work comparison;

As a personal trainer you do so much work that you don't get paid for, creating training programs, meal plans (if you make them), going on courses, doing research and more. Online is the opposite, there are so many occasions where you're getting paid but not working.

The other day I bought a meal for my friends and family, in the time it took to eat it my business had earned more than the meal cost.... I was actually in profit when buying and eating food with friends....... Weird feeling!... That said, half an hour later I was checking my phone to ensure everyone in the PT Distinction Facebook group was happy.

As a face to face PT you're usually paid for the hours you spend with clients, restaurant meals were sure as hell not profitable but I never felt the need to check Facebook when sitting with my friends!

Reward wise you can certainly help many more people online than you ever could face to face and that is a pretty great feeling.



No doubt about it as an online entrepreneur you can take a lot more holidays than you can as a face to face PT. Your holidays can be as long as you like, your income won't drop by a penny, your clients won't care that you're away, you can be anywhere in the world that has Wi-Fi and you can probably put most of it down as a business expense if you have a half decent accountant which means it is all paid for before tax.

However..... You're never really 100% on holiday, the work that has to be done still needs to get done. You still have to answer your clients questions, you still have to ensure the business runs smoothly, you still have to produce content or have people in place to do this for you.

Every holiday I take I put aside at least 2 hours a day to ensure all members of PT Distinction are happy and feel taken care of, there are no exceptions to this (although it was tough the day after Adam's recent stag do in Thailand!!).

And... If you value things like bringing in new clients, being at the top of Google, YouTube etc.. (which you should because these things are very important for an online business!) you have to set time aside to create great content or check that others in your team are doing it....... Google and YouTube reward quality and consistency, they don't do holidays!

Face to Face

A holiday as a face to face trainer is ridiculously expensive as you generally pay for the holiday and lose out on getting paid by clients while you're away.

Holidays can't be too long as clients will get annoyed and for the same reason you can't take them too often.

That said a normal holiday as a face to face PT can be pretty much 100% holiday, even though book reading choices always seem to be nutrition or training related (it was for me anyway)!!

In general I feel online kicks face to face in to touch when it comes to holidays. That said one big rule must apply if you want to be successful and stay successful. No matter where you are or when it is, the work that needs doing still needs to be done. Either you do it yourself or you pay someone else to do it. It's then your responsibility to make sure they are doing it brilliantly.