10 Tips for Coaches Transitioning Online

Trainers Transitioning Online
Jonathan Goodman, the founder of the Online Trainer Academy.

The following 10 tips are contributed by Jonathan Goodman, the founder of the Online Trainer Academy Certification (OTA), and five OTA mentors. They focus on transitioning to virtual training in hopes the Coaches and Affiliate owners out there can be the best online trainers possible. All tips are from Goodman unless otherwise stated.

1. Identify what types of clients you want to work with online.

With location no longer a factor and marketing avenues seemingly endless, you must begin with the end in mind — what kind of clients do you want to train?

Once you know that, the path illuminates. It becomes clearer where your clients are and what type of marketing networks to go all-in on. 

2. Build your program templates.

Once you know your ideal client, you can build one to three template programs with three or four phases of training for them. Most clients will fit pretty well into the template and there’s no use in building brand new workouts for each client. Simply individualize your template for the individual.

3. Decide on your delivery methods/software.

Decide whether to use training software or something like Google sheets. We recommend most trainers start quickly and cheaply and use Google Sheets, or a combination of free tools like Skype, Microsoft Excel and email. Then as they get busier, migrate over to software.

4. Build your packages and pricing.

Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. Write everything you want to deliver on one side — workout program, Skype consult, etc. — and the time in minutes you estimate each will take you per month on the other.

With this, build two to three potential packages and calculate the number of minutes each package will take you to deliver, decide how much you want to make per hour, and price accordingly.

5. Set up payment processing.

PayPal is fine. Venmo works if you’re just in the United States. Don’t overthink this and get it set up quickly. And yes, paying merchant processing fees is a cost of doing business, so work it into your pricing.

6. Become the go-to expert for your market.

You know who your ideal client is, so go to where they already hang out and network and integrate yourself into that network. Begin branding yourself as an expert toward them and craft your content appropriately to suit their needs.

7. Be ready, and even a little excited, to mess things up. 

Amber Bonem, an OTA mentor, said you should have a curiosity and a willingness to fail. Instead of feeling defeated when you do, get excited to learn from it and to pivot.

8. Know the needs. 

Alex Cartmill, an OTA mentor, said understand your needs and the needs of your clients before you make a decision around structure and delivery. Don’t look at what others are doing for examples. Most online trainers are clueless and run terrible businesses. 

Cartmill noted that additionally, there are very few universal rights and wrongs. Don’t get bogged down into trying to pick the perfect path; take imperfect action and refine as you move forward.

9. It’s about the relationship.

Brad Overstreet, an OTA mentor, said the relationship you build with your client is far more important than any program you can give them, any workout they do, or any nutrition plan that they follow.

10. Don’t be scared on imperfect action. 

Jasneet Jhinger, an OTA mentor, said don’t wait around for the perfect moment/situation to take action. As long as you are passionate about genuinely helping your clients live a better life, just get started.

By Jonathan Goodman, the founder of the Online Trainer Academy Certification (OTA). Since 2011, he has supported fitness professionals by publishing over a million words, growing some of the largest online communities, publishing 11 books, and establishing the first-ever certification for online trainers, the Online Trainer Academy. He’s been featured in most major business and fitness publications, including Men’s Health, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Muscle & Fitness, Inc., and many more. Originally from Toronto, Jon spends his winters exploring the world with his wife and son.