The Blog

Finding My Niche as a Personal Trainer

Oh the irony of celebrating my very first Personal Training client’s 1 Year Anniversary of working with me while at the same time, I was pretty down and depressed about having lost a few clients recently.

I feel like I am in some outer body experience some of the time given how disparagingly different my emotions are between the two.

My gratitude for having my first client still with me (and that she is always prioritizing training as part of her self –care), is immense. She instills in me the confidence in my talent and abilities (because let’s be real. Being new to something can make us feel anything but that). It also is the best validation I ever could dream of that I am doing what I am meant to be doing.

Her testimonial she wrote was so heartfelt and genuine, that it feeds my desire to keep going.

“Celebrating an anniversary with my trainer and good friend Missy @digyourdeepest. This badass chic left her associate director job and comfortable salary to pursue her passion of promoting fitness to improve people’s lifestyle. She helped me recover from a tricep injury and build physical /mental strength.

Seeing where I started and how much progress I’ve made, I can now confidently say I can deadlift my sibling and almost squat momma bear.

I can carry cases of stuff without problems and I can probably even slap harder.

2019 strength Goals:

5 consecutive tricep push up (done!)

2 unassisted pull ups (in progress)

Curl #20 dumbbells (done!)

Conque side crow (done!)

Burpee Queen (still hate them though)

Couldn’t do it without you, Missy”

That is the kind of stuff I live for, that keeps me going, most days.

But like I said, this was happening right around the time I had 3 clients decide to stop training (maybe indefinitely). I would be a total liar if I could just dust that off my shoulder and carry on. Because the truth is, it brought me down and pummeled the confidence I did have.

I want to be increasing my client base, not reducing it. I want to be helping more people, not fewer. And quite frankly, I want to make more money, not less.

So the paradox of celebrating a 1 Year Anniversary at the same time I am at a low point in client retention is a total mind fuck.

And I have been throwing out a lot of boomerangs in marketing ideas to see what sticks. When they do not come back, my confidence and security become doubted. Am I really supposed to be doing this? Who am I fooling think someone at my age has any business trying to get into this industry? What if I never get another client? Do I have to pick a new career or worse, go back to the one I left behind? The one that gave me no joy, could I go back to it, if I had to?


I had to snap out of the emotional spiral I was taking (because as much as I do enjoy 4 hour epic naps, they are a result of stress). I made a conscientious decision to take a more pragmatic approach to my business woes right now instead of an emotional one.

I started thinking about the clients I do currently train and immediately that gratitude returned to me. They are the clients I want more of. They work hard, show up consistently, do all the things right outside of workouts and they just have the most positive attitudes imaginable. Sure, they struggle with their own stuff but it never takes on a defeatist mindset. Or one that translates to being cranky or unwilling to do what is asked of them. They deal and they get shit done.

And when I started thinking about them collectively, I also started finding other commonalities among them. I realized I needed to take a harder look at the data I have available.

And The Data Says

I put together a very primitive spreadsheet of past and present clients to find trends. Side note that is relevant, I promise! My first job after college was as a Performance Measurement Analyst for a money manager, and a big part of my job was looking at the outlier accounts. You know, the ones who either severely outperformed or underperformed the majority of comparable portfolios.

In theory, they should perform similarly because they are put into composites of like accounts. They have the same growth strategy, mixture of equity versus fixed income (someone please either correct my memory or give me props that I can recall these details almost 2 decades later). So what would cause one account have a monthly performance rate of 3.2% while another account, same composite, performed at 17%?

My job was to analyze by using the data and look at the portfolio history to figure out “why”. It could have been a large deposit that was added or maybe that they had to sell stock to raise funds for a withdrawal. There was always a reason, and I do think those detective skills I picked up as a very green 22 year- old has stayed with me.

There are always reasons and patterns to things; we just have to be savvy enough to identify them. It is no different when it comes to my business. Every client comes to with the intention of similar goals: to lose weight, gain strength, stay injury free, to name a few. Much like my days of a Performance Measurement Analyst, the accounts shared a goal: make money! The end game is the same, but yet each account, each client, could have differences.

And so back to my current business, primarily as a Personal Trainer. When I laid out each “portfolio” (aka client) one next to another, past and present, I could find things that differentiated present from past. I will not bore you with my data collection process (unless you like that kind of stuff. Send me a message and we can chat).

What I do want to say though, is it made me realize that I came into this business as a legit Certified Personal Trainer wanting to cast a really wide net. I did catch, so to speak, a variety of amazing client. I wanted to ensure I did not want to limit myself early on. I also was not entirely sure how to trim that population I did procure (ha! That pun was really not intended).

I am at a point of needing to sustain but more importantly, build. To do so means I have to think more about WHO really I should be servicing at this point in time. (Disclaimer, it is not to say I would not take anyone outside of this niche, if you will). Because the thing is, I am scattered. My energy that I keep putting out into the universe is so broad that I am pretty sure the universe is all, “Ok, Sister, you ain’t J-Lo. Take it down a notch.”

Ok so really, what did the data say?

Let’s skip a few chapters and get to who my niche is, if you are interested. I will say that just because of the numbers in my data, it all came back to women. I do believe men fall into the equation too and my data may be a little limited so men, this could be you too!

Because it is virtually impossible to turn my “marketing” brain off, let’s try this out for size. This is how I would describe my niche at this moment in time.

You have a demanding full time job.

You are pulled in a million directions between families, friends and other obligations.

You like to work out, currently DO work out and want to level up.

You want to keep being injury free so you can live your best life. YOLO!

You want to maybe lose a few pounds/inches and gain muscle definition.

Oh, and you probably hate burpees!

So there ya have it. This mind you, is a consolidated version of all that has been consuming me the last few weeks. It stressed me out greatly initially until I got to that turning point of looking at the loss as a positive. To be successful, I have to focus my time and energy on the people who are ready to be part of my tribe. And it is not to say that life happening is a bad thing, but it is to say that if something comes up that conflicts with their health and fitness goals, there are times to honor that.

Anyways, before I digress further, I shall leave you with this.

Having a business, being new to it, is probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. And most definitely the scariest. But it is what I am meant to be doing. And it is what I absolutely love. Fitness is my passion and I can finally say that I am ready to share it with the right people.

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