Coach first, athlete second

As PTs, we’ve all trodden different paths to get to this point.

Many of us had an interest in becoming professional athletes ourselves, but life got in the way and one way or another it didn’t happen. Maybe you experienced the power of health and fitness in your own life, and are now dedicated to helping other people achieve that same transformation in theirs.

However you got here, there’s one common ground: as a freelance PT, you’re the head of your own little business. And if you want to make a success of it, you need to adopt a mindset that keeps this fact alive, every single day. We all want (need) to make a decent living out of this gig, at the very least.

We’re not saying to forget what brought you here, or your true motivation (in fact, head over to the Find Your Why section and you’ll see that the opposite is true – your story is your strength). But the bottom line of your financial success month to month is inescapable, and you need to get used to that. Your job is to serve the client as well as you can – and to make a healthy living at the same time. Coach first, athlete second.

Here are some things to think about:

Consider your hats

Running your own PT business requires a shift in thinking. As we demonstrated in the Cycle of Action model, it’s not enough to just put your head down and do hour after hour of coaching – there are many more elements to consider now, and each of them requires you to wear a different ‘hat’.

You’ll have your coach hat, which will be familiar to you. But you’ll also have your admin hat, your business leader hat, your marketing hat, your sales hat, and so on.

Manage your time

Each of the hats we described above demands a certain time commitment from you. Approach this haphazardly and you’ll be continually firefighting, never getting on top of things and providing a patchy service to your clients – which won’t do your business any favours in the long run.

There are plenty of intelligent ways to organise your time out there. From time management apps and software through to daily journaling to prioritise the ‘big rocks’ that you need to achieve on any given day, make sure you pick something that suits your habits and your temperament.


It may be that some of the hats you wear should really be worn by someone else. In other words, if you can get someone to do as good or a better job than you at a certain task, for equal to or less money than your own time is worth, then it’s time to delegate. Consider things like admin and marketing here, but make sure you keep hold of the bigger picture so quality doesn’t suffer.