I have been banging on about going freelance for that long I don't think I ever genuinely believed the day would arrive. Finally and after months of debating the decision, having quite a few wobbles and a lot of tears - this week I joined the world of freelance personal training.
The journey hasn't always been as straight forward as I had hoped but I got here in the end and thought perhaps it would be helpful to share some words of wisdom for anybody else in a similar position who is trying to figure out if this is the right path for you.
Firstly it is worth saying I have been personal training alongside my full time job for nearly a year now and decided to do my qualification whilst working by opting for a weekend course. None of that was particularly easy and although the course was tough (I hadn't sat exams in over 15 years) with the revision and practical assessments taking a lot of time and effort, it was nothing compared to personal training itself.
Any PT will tell you that you need a decent chunk of clients training with you consistently before you go full time. Most people recommended to me I aim for a minimum of 10. Good luck with that! Trying to find the time to build your business and get up to that many clients never mind training them whilst working full time is in my eyes near impossible.
This tells you one thing, there is never a good time to go into personal training full time.
If you're fortunate enough to have a job that would allow you the opportunity to go part time and PT on the side, then perhaps that would allow the flexibility to build your client base up sufficiently. I'm still not convinced you could do it and sustain it for any length of time. At my busiest I had 10 sessions during a working week and almost had a complete meltdown.
You need to prepare yourself to miss out on things. When you're keen to build a client base and want to be able to take on any and every session that comes your way that comes at the expense of other things. I had absolutely no idea how much impact doing PT alongside work would have on my friends, family and relationship. I am lucky to have a really supportive group of people in my life who get it, I don't imagine everyone is as understanding.
That doesn't make the process of building your own freelance business any less exciting. It is still the best decision I have ever made.
I think the only way to really make that leap is to set yourself a deadline and stick to it. So many of us put off doing things pushing things back a day, a week or a month and then it never happens. When it comes to something like a change in career you need time to get your head around it and sort out your finances so that there isn't as much pressure on you when you're starting out.
Also know that it is a scary decision but that doesn't mean you shouldn't make it.
Have really clear goals in mind and think about what your options are to grow your business. For every potential pitfall or weakness have an idea that will keep you ticking over and provide you with additional income. Know that there will be slow and quiet days and utilise those as best you can to do other things. Sitting worrying will just make the niggling doubts grow and successful businesses need someone with serious drive, commitment and enthusiasm for it to succeed long term.
I am hoping for anybody who's been debating taking the leap this has been helpful in some ways and perhaps echos some of the things you've been thinking and feeling in the lead up to taking that leap.
This is a brand new chapter in my life. I accept it won't be easy but I also know it will be the most exciting and rewarding thing I could do for myself and my career.
If you have any questions or want any support just drop me a line, I'd love to help out if I can.
Remember you are always one decision away from a completely different life. You can do it. YOLO.