Founder, Fitness Solutions Plus
5-time fitness/nutrition author
Performed over 400 speaking engagements for some of Canada's largest corporations
Mentor, Markham Small Business Center
I'm actually one of the most expensive trainers in Toronto, and here's how I did it:
1. I wrote 5 books.
2. I promoted the heck out of those books, from Amazon, to book signings in stores, etc.
3. I was able to get my own radio show. To this day, radio shows have way more clout than podcasts. People know that anyone can start a podcast, but it's the perception that only a special person can be a radio show host.
4. Be able to communicate complex concepts very clearly.
5. Point out common mistakes in your competitors, without calling them out by name.
6. Do public speaking
7. Create an email list.
8. I appeared on TV multiple times (and it's not as hard to get on there as you think).
9. I appeared in local newspapers a number of times (also not as hard as you think).
10. I got the mayor to endorse my books.
11. I made sure everyone knew about the above.
Oh, and on the technical side of things: I took a ton of courses, and spent tens of thousands of dollars studying about exercise, nutrition, hormones, neurology, etc. The centerpiece of good marketing is a good product.
Look at it this way: if you have space for only 10 clients, 2-3 times per week, but there are 50 people who want to work with you, you can raise your rate so that only the top 10 are able to work with you. That's what it really boils down to - creating demand.
And the way you create demand is by first being good at your craft, second, making sure that everyone knows how good you are, and third, creating the "aura" of a celebrity.
I've actually done this exact thing to grow my personal training business from a one-man operation, to now, 14 trainers working for me.
I MUCH prefer doing free speaking engagements at corporations, for one main reason: bureaucracy.
As soon as you start asking for money from a corporation, even a small amount, you've now involved multiple decision makers, and your success rates will plummet. In my experience, with free speaking engagements, success rates (at least for me) are already 1 in 50. Imagine asking for money. If you do a free speaking engagement, it's really just 1-2 decision makers (some folks in HR).
When you're first starting out, I wouldn't focus on any particular industry. I'd do a "shotgun approach", and talk at as many industries as possible.
After each speaking engagement, track your stats - how many people in the audience, and of those, how many signed up for the retreat. Over time, patterns will start to emerge, and you can narrow your focus to just the most profitable industries.
The way I'd start getting speaking engagements is by asking people you already know who have corporate jobs. Look through your phone contacts, your Facebook profile, your LinkedIn profile, etc., and see who works in a corporation. Call them (it's better than email), explain what you're trying to do, and ask them if they'd be comfortable introducing you to either HR or someone in a management position. Don't expect 100% of people to say "yes" though.
After they agree to make the intro, about 50-80% of people will forget, so just gently remind them after a few days or a week.
Once the intro is made, talk to the decision maker, and explain what's in it for them. How do they benefit by bringing you in for a speaking engagement.
There's definitely way more to this, but this is where I would start.
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