According to BLS, the global fitness industry was worth $ 87 billion in 2019. There were approximately 373,000 fitness and aerobics instructors in the United States. Fitness clubs and centers were busy and growing. According to Statistica, there were 174 million fitness club members worldwide.
But that was it then. The effects of the pandemic were immediate and devastating for fitness trainers and instructors who relied on work in facilities that were either closed or abandoned by everyone but the die-hard “fitness freaks” for fear of catching others or giving Covid 19 USA, most states have temporarily closed fitness centers; Many still do not allow running gyms. And when freelance fitness trainers and instructors struggled with closed gyms and gyms, innovators switched to online.
Online fitness was one thing, but protection requirements in the US and internationally have led individuals to online fitness coaching and mass courses. A recent report estimated the online or virtual fitness market to grow across applications and technology platforms and estimated the size of the market to be $ 59 billion by 2027, down from just $ 6 billion or less than 10 in 2019 % of the total market for fitness coaching. I asked Atlanta-based financial advisor and fitness fanatic Kasey Gartner for her general thoughts on online exercise:
“The rapid rise of online training apps makes perfect sense: people realize they need this point of sale but didn’t have a physical place to go. In the longer term, people will be back in the gym. Community craving people and gyms are important social institutions. But online fitness is likely to continue to grow as part of the health and wellness ecosystem – not just for educators, but for content producers as well, to encourage and retain customer loyalty and generate additional subscription income. “
The pandemic won’t last forever. Vaccines are becoming increasingly available, and millions are being vaccinated as I write. Gyms and fitness studios are reopening. However, it has been difficult for many fitness trainers and coaches to figure out how to stay afloat financially and keep the business open and then take the necessary action.
Fitness trainers and instructors are generally freelance. There are several ways that fitness professionals can participate as freelancers:
- As individual freelance solo preneurs
- As a freelance entrepreneurial partner in a studio or gym where they teach and manage
- As a freelance trainer working in a gym or fitness company, e.g. B. Equinox
- As freelance professionals in the larger fitness ecosystem, as writers, videographers, photographers, software developers and designers, educators, exercise curriculum developers, fitness equipment designers, and specialty areas like working with seniors like Age Bold.
The larger fitness community is not the topic of this article, however: my focus is on the individual solo preneur or a small freelance entrepreneurial partnership. And when Covid 19 was raging, they needed help.
There are certainly many fitness trainers, yoga teachers, trainers who are smart and savvy business people. They know how to attract and retain their customers. They are online, have a website and have a calendly app or equivalent scheduling app to make it easy to set appointments. They show pictures on the website and videos from typical meetings. They offer their clients and prospects a blog that provides advice on exercise and other fitness areas like eating healthy, self-care, and what you can do to stay optimistic and positive during challenging times. And they have customer testimonials on the website to help build their reputation.
But a large number of exercise and fitness trainers and instructors have been blind to the speed and severity of Covid 19. And they weren’t sure how to move their business from personal to virtual.
This is where onPodio comes in. Amber Allan, solo preneur of Tuff It Out Fitness in Halifax Canada, an onPodio customer, explained it this way:
“This allows me to concentrate on what I like to do. I don’t like paperwork. I don’t like to raise money. I like working with people and teaching them and onPodio takes care of the rest. I was able to make the change quickly and otherwise it would have taken months to try to get them working. During Covid 19, it gave me a surefire way to make a living: being in people’s homes virtually. And it looks like a lot of people want to continue the video approach, which saves me time and money, and is another aspect of the business that can grow. I don’t just have to rely on my community now: my market is the province and the country. “
onPodio was founded in April 2020 by Kal Jamshidi. Jamshidi is a former Melbourne investment banker who was frustrated during a time in the US Bay Area to learn that his fitness trainer was moving east. As he put it, “I realized how important the instructor was to my consumer experience – I went to this class specifically because of her, not necessarily because of the studio. It was the intangibles: the way she taught, the feedback, the music, and the sense of humor. She was leaving a city where she had a strong but localized brand to a new city where she didn’t know anyone. It was evident that with the right digital tools, instructors could harness the power of their brands and customer loyalty to build their own amazing standalone online businesses. “
Jamshidi started out with a plan to set up a fitness trainer social network but quickly moved on to the onPodio concept: building a business in a boxing platform for fitness trainers that gives them the digital tools to build and manage their online business. Tools like setting up a website, automating bookings and managing payments, managing membership, organizing class packages, and allowing instructors to offer their class records when needed.
Strictly speaking, OnPodio is not a marketplace for fitness trainers, as UK Urban.co, for example, is a platform for yoga classes and massage. Rather, it is a service that provides individual freelance trainers and freelance entrepreneurial training teams with the tools they need to get online, market their offerings, manage their business, and build their community.
Jamshidi’s ambition for onPodio? He has grown the business to 550 instructors and the number of freelance instructors is growing rapidly. He understands that growth requires continuous improvement in business tools and an expansion of the services that help fitness instructors not only automate managing their business, but also attract and retain customers through community tools. At the top of Jamshidi’s priority list: strengthening the community. Since his original vision for onPodio was a social network, he understands better than most the importance of a robust community and network resources. He sees more networking and business tools, and better access to education and best practices over time.
How big is the potential onPodio market? As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, there were 373,000 fitness trainers and instructors in the US alone in 2019, most of them freelance professionals, and the market is estimated to grow at 15% per year by the BLS. onPodio currently represents 0.0014% of the US market and is growing internationally. As Jamshidi says, “It’s infinitely scalable – and clearly global – as we continue to arm the freelance fitness entrepreneurs to create this new era in fitness.”
Long live the revolution!