From Passion to Profit

3 Minute Read

An HFE tutor with a group of smiling fitness students
An HFE tutor with a group of smiling fitness students

Derek Fagerstrom, owner of several successful US businesses recently said: “People no longer think of business as the antithesis of art, but as an opportunity to express their vision”. This is especially true in the fitness industry, where becoming self-employed, essentially creating a business around yourself, has never been more exciting with regards to the opportunities it opens up.

The recent Working in Fitness report, which surveyed 35,000 REPs members, served to highlight what it’s really like working in active leisure and the results were incredibly encouraging. Particularly of note are the variety of main occupations of those surveyed. It’s unsurprising that Personal Trainer (Level 3) was the clear winner with 25%, while Group Exercise (level 2), ETM (Exercise to Music), Gym Instructor (Level 2) were also popular roles.

Of those that responded, 62% are self-employed. This figure is in line with the Labour Force Survey, which identified 57% of fitness professionals as self-employed, but much higher than the 15% that are self-employed across all sectors of the UK economy. Coupled with this is increase in average freelance salary, up since the last survey was conducted. This starts to paint a picture of how viable and enticing freelance work really is in this industry.

Becoming self-employed however, isn’t as simple as turning up to the gym and searching for clients, nor renting out a studio and putting up posters advertising your exercise to music class. The same patience, commitment and passion used to become qualified in the first place can also be used to forge a lasting career. The figures prove that if you have an ingrained interest in health and fitness, you’re already well and truly on the right track. Of those surveyed in the WIF report, 70% entered the industry because they had an affinity for fitness, while 44% did so because they wanted to help other people. What’s clear is that those that succeed don’t initially come into the industry seeking fame and fortune, but through hard work and a genuine love for what they’re doing, they stand out on their own merits.

Besides exuding passion, another great advantage you can give yourself is striving to became an expert in your role. It’s not simply about utilising the knowledge gained from your training course, but also keeping abreast of industry news, giving great advice and continuing to develop your skills. By positioning yourself as an authority in your chosen field, it won’t be long before word spreads and you become the favoured point of contact for people.

If you feel you need to broaden your skills, particularly if the business side of freelancing seems like a stumbling block, our Level 3 Business Skills is designed to equip you with the skills needed to take your self-employment to the next level.


Josh Douglas-Walton

Josh Douglas-Walton

Health and Fitness Writer

Josh is passionate about all things health and fitness, and in his spare time he's a keen marathon and ultramarathon runner.

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