Is Going Digital the Right Move for Your Fitness Career?

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Considering the challenges of the last year and all the attention that going digital has received, you might be feeling as if you don’t have a choice. Here’s something to put your mind at ease: Entering the world of digital fitness is not necessarily a must-do. While providing digital options can indeed enhance your business, potentially increasing your reach and revenue, you must consider your target market, how you can best support client goals and your reasons for doing the work before you make a move. Here are a few questions to explore to determine if going digital is the right move for you.

1. Who is Your Target Market?

First, it’s important to define and understand your target market. With whom do you do your best work? Who most interests you? Who have you worked with in the past? And who are you most excited about working with in the future? 

Once you know the answer to these questions, it’s essential to determine where the members of your target market are. Have they embraced digital? If so, are they using digital as a solution or supplement? Have they returned to in-person activities? Will they? 

Keep in mind, if you discover that your target market is online, that still does not necessarily necessitate you meeting them there. Knowing if this is even a space where your most desired clients are showing up is step one in determining if going digital is right for you.

2. How Can You Best Support Client Goals? 

Next, you must get clear on how the work you do supports client goals and how the products you offer can enhance specific outcomes.. Clients may be more likely to achieve the results they are looking for through consumption, or usage, of your products. 

Results are pain points your target market is looking to alleviate or the desires they are after. You may have given this some thought in the past, or perhaps this is the first time you’re thinking of talking about what you do in these terms. Take some time to consider the feedback you typically receive from clients or participants about the work you do. You might recall hearing, “You helped me get stronger,” “Your classes increase my energy,” “Her coaching changed my relationship with my body” or “Your cueing gives me the confidence I’ve never had.”  

Once you know the number-one way in which you support goal achievement (probably the one you hear most often), think about how you go about offering that support. This is your “secret sauce” and identifying it might take some deep reflection. Avoid jumping to the conclusion that the delivery (in-person, for example) is how you achieve the results. Think deeper; is it the intake you do, the programming you deliver, the cueing or the accountability you provide? 

After you identify what it takes to achieve that result, you’ll need to determine if it’s possible to do this in a digital format. If it is, you should also explore the tools and know-how you’ll need to deliver digitally. Factor in the time and expense associated to ensure the return on your investment will be worthwhile.

3. What is Your Why

Finally, you’ll need to think about why you do this work. What brings you joy? What is your biggest motivation for serving your target market? 

Motivation comes in many shapes and sizes. For this conversation, let’s boil it down to three inclusive categories. Money (providing for yourself, your family, or saving for a rainy day) could be your driving force. It could also be the applause (knowing that you did a good job, are respected, or appreciated). It could also be the satisfaction of serving (seeing clients reach their goals, bringing joy to participants, empowering clients). 

Each person prioritizes these key motivators differently. The order in which you place these motivators will make digital more or less attractive. For example, if the “applause” is a significant contributor to your overall satisfaction, you will need feedback, interaction and connection, which may be more challenging via digital. It’s certainly doable, but you’d need to explore how to build that into your plans if it’s essential. 

Additional Considerations

I’d also encourage you to understand the potential unintended consequences of digital. Right now, everyone is talking up the positives, which are all very compelling. You may be looking to solve problems for yourself or your clients, but you must ensure the investment or tradeoffs for going digital do not outweigh the perceived benefit.

For example, you may be intrigued by the flexibility digital can provide. Working when and where you’d like versus driving to a gym every day is the upside. To take full advantage of this, however, you must be set up to work wherever you’d like, which might require an investment in resources such as the necessary devices and equipment, as well as Wi-Fi access and setting up an adequate space that projects a professional image. 

Digital can save you time, whether it’s the drive time to and from the gym or clients, or even the time you might have to ‘wait’ between clients. But getting digital going and sustaining a digital business will require more time than preparing and delivering your sessions or classes. You will, for example, need to spend time learning the ins and outs of unique marketing needs and the technical requirements. This leads me to the last consideration.  

Do you have the know-how? Not that you need to know how to do it all from the start, but if you don’t currently possess knowledge about running your business online, can you and are you willing to set aside time to learn? Or are you prepared to set aside resources to outsource? 

While digital is undoubtedly attractive and an emerging opportunity set to evolve the fitness industry, you must take the time to determine if it is the right move for you. There are many resources available to help you build a digital business and a world waiting for you to get them moving.

Looking for more business advice? Check out ACE Continuing Education courses.


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