0 to 50 Clients: Four Lessons I Learned

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Today’s guest post comes courtesy of Syracuse, NY based coach and personal trainer, Ricky Kompf. He covers a topic I believe every up and coming fitness professional can commiserate with, but more importantly learn from:

How to get more clients.



0 to 50 Clients: Four Lessons I Learned

Even though I have been working as a trainer for a little over four years this past year and a half I have completely engorged myself in the lifestyle and business mindset of a trainer.

I write this article to share some of the lessons I have learned while building my own personal training career and business.

I have come out of this period of my life with a whole new perspective on what works and what doesn’t in this industry and let me tell you something….it is hard!

Plain and simple, the fitness industry can be one of the most challenging fields to start a career in.

While it may be very challenging in the beginning the lessons and rewards that you encounter makes the difficulties of this field very much worth it. What I wish to share with you are four lessons I have learned growing from 0 clients on day one to 50 plus active clients now.


Lesson 1: Priority Number One is Gaining Experience

Gaining experience and knowledge while in the company of very good and successful trainers in the industry will teach you to stay humble and always continue to educate yourself and develop your craft as a trainer and coach. If you want to be the best, be around the best and study their behaviors to bring into your own practice.

That experience will pay for itself.

For my first two and a half years as a trainer I was training out of college gyms in the student section as well as various commercial gyms.

I had no long-term clients, but knew the experience gained along the way would help me forge full-steam a head down the road.

It was only after finishing my internship at Cressey Sports Performance a year and a half ago that I felt comfortable taking money from people to let me train them.

With experience comes confidence.

At the end of the day if your clients don’t trust your knowledge and experience as a trainer you won’t be able to bring results to them.

Additionally, with experience comes knowledge, and with knowledge comes confidence in yourself, and that is the foundation in which you should start your journey to building your training business and brand.

Have confidence in yourself to deliver an amazing service.

Lesson 2: Over Deliver

I can’t stress this enough; to this day with the 50 plus clients I have to manage I am always searching for ways to over deliver to them.

One thing that I heard Eric Cressey say in a Podcast as well as many other fitness professionals is:

“They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Remember that we are in the service industry and what sets you apart from the competition is the quality of your service.

Your clients should be saying “I can’t believe I only pay this much for this training” more than “I can’t believe how expensive this is!”

Some easy things you can start doing right now are giving free consultations and assessments, without trying to push your services on them. Look at it as you trying to work on your assessment process and how you deliver information that is helpful for that person.

I have done well over 200 assessments in the past year and a half. Probably less than half signed up for training. That being said, I have a great assessment process that I have created and it is very rare now that someone doesn’t sign up.

Go overtime.

If you’re training someone and you know you have some extra time at the end before you have to start your next client or group, spend more time with them.

They will appreciate the extra work you give them and will be more likely to refer someone to you.

Even now that I have my clients and groups pretty much back to back, I give them extra work to do at the end.

Follow up with them outside their training sessions.

Text or call your people, ask them how they’re feeling. Talk to them about their goals outside of the two or three hours out of the week in which you see them. This will show them that you care and that you’re invested in their journey.

Lesson 3: Don’t Waste Your Time (Right Away) Trying To Brand Yourself.

To this day I still don’t have a website.


After a year and a half of building my reputation only now am I considering making a website. And even then it’s mainly to communicate with my current clients, giving them information more effectively, in addition to allowing potential clients to see what I’m about and have to offer before signing up.

At my current job one thing we preach to our clients and athletes is that we’re not for everyone.

That being said in the beginning when you first start out, guess what….you are for everyone.

Don’t try to brand yourself as the athlete guy or the basketball guy or the fat loss guy. Train as many different people as you can so you can find your strengths and to find out what/who you really enjoy working with.

For example, I know my strengths are in female and male youth athletes, and adult groups.

This doesn’t mean I don’t train collegiate level athletes or have any one-on-one clients.

I do.

However, I found in the past few years I get jazzed up and excited to train young athletes and to be a mentor towards them. So why not gravitate towards what brings me joy and fulfillment?


Lesson 4: Find a Place or Group of People That Will Help You Grow and Enjoy the Process.

I owe a lot of my success and accelerated progress to my boss and partner strength coach, Vinny Scollo.

He’s been an amazing mentor towards me.

Together we have created an environment in our gym that breeds great athletes and amazing results.

We build each other up when energy levels are low and challenge each other to be better coaches. I couldn’t have asked for a better boss and work environment.

If you wish to last in this field and turn it into a career, you must find or create a team that will build you up, challenge you to get better, and enjoy the process.

I have trained and worked in very bad environments with very negative co-workers and I have experienced the best environments and co-workers. An environment that will build you up is a place you want to be in for the long haul, and will make the challenging moments in your career seem not so bad.

About the Author

Richard Kompf, BS, CSCS

Strength and conditioning coach and Internship supervisor for Scollo Strength and Performance. Located inside of Pacific Health Club, based just outside of Syracuse, NY. Specializing in explosive athletes and general population clientele.

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