If you could go back in time as a personal trainer, what’s one thing you would change?

“You’ve written what’s commonly referred to as ‘the bible’ for trainers, run a website that reaches 4.5 million of them a year, and have travelled the world these past 5 years speaking to trainers and gym owners.”

-Yeah, crazy when I think about it.

“So knowing what you know now, looking back, what’s one thing you would change when you were a trainer?”

-Well I could give you the cheesy-easy answer that I wouldn’t change anything because every mistake that I made contributed to what I know now. But that answer sucks.

“Yeah, it does.”

-For the most part, the cheesy-easy answer is true. That said, there is one thing that I didn’t even know was a thing back when I was a trainer. I’ve never seen this taught anywhere in any books or manuals that help prepare trainers to grow a great business that works for them, even when they aren’t around. I can speak about that for a bit. You interested?

“Heck yes”!

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WHAT I’M ABOUT TO TELL YOU is something that I don’t think gets adequate attention in the trainer-business advice ecosystem.

What you’re about to learn (and there’s a detailed download for you at the end of this about how to do it) is kept a secret. I’ve never seen it discussed in any trainer-business materials to date. Why is it omitted? I don’t know, but I can speculate. It seems to me that it’s a secret because it’s not sexy to talk about.

Stuff like marketing, getting clients, and passive income is cool. It’s sexy to talk about. I’m not interested in teaching you about cool and sexy. I’m interested in what really matters.

Do you want to know the most important thing you can do to stop trading time directly for money, avoid the long grind us trainers are familiar with, and begin the process of creating a business that works for you, every day?

It’s Operational Documentation (Ops Docs).

Told you this wasn’t cool or sexy.

But it’s important. Probably the most important thing you will learn.

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The strength of a business lives and dies on the quality of its operational documentation.

Think about all of the things you probably do in a week. Nod your head with me as I list some of them off:

  • Create client programs
  • Train clients
  • Wash your clothes
  • Prepare your food
  • Answer emails from prospective clients
  • Answer existing client questions
  • Educating / improving your technical skills
  • Work out
  • Market your training

Now think of all the things you should be doing more of but are probably not giving enough attention to or neglecting completely:

  • Taking the best possible care of your existing clients
  • Your own workouts
  • Emailing old clients to get them training again
  • Celebrating existing clients’ successes with things like hand-written cards
  • Keeping track of your financials
  • Marketing your training business optimally
  • Putting in place systems (and people) into your business to take on tasks you don’t have the time to do or aren’t knowledgeable enough to do

So why aren’t you doing all of the things that you should be doing?

Do you think that maybe, just maybe, it’s because there are way too many things to know and do over the course of a day and you cannot possibly keep up?

If your answer is yes, you’re not alone. But there is a solution, and I have that solution for you:

The solution is to begin building out your operational documentation.

At its core, the process of writing and collating it is quite simple:

Write down everything that you do in a way that somebody else (not you) can follow.

At the beginning you will still be doing each task you’re currently doing. Instead of repeating it though, now you’re going to operationalize it and write that operation down so that somebody else can follow it — thereby removing yourself from the task in the future (if you wish).

Even if you don’t ever want to remove yourself from the task, this process establishes consistency, reliability, and quality across your work day-to-day. How many times have you gotten the same email question, for example? You should have an answer in your Ops Docs to copy, paste, and individualize. It will take less time to process your email and your answer will always be of the highest quality.

Here’s How it Helps You Free Up Your Time

If at any point you want to hire a virtual assistant, an administrator, or you wish to step away from any aspect of your business, then creating operational documentation (starting today) will make your life a million times easier. It will let you delegate quickly and easily while minimizing mistakes and maintaining quality.

Even if you never hire, this process can help you work smarter, become more efficient, and improve your processes.

And if you’ve already got people on your team, well what are you waiting for?

Your Ops Docs are your key to a better fitness business.

How to Create Your Ops Docs

Over the years my team has developed and systematized a fantastic structure for not only producing great Ops Docs, but also for organizing them. I want to share with you the system that we use internally.

What you will be doing is documenting every thing that you do day-to-day in a way that others can follow. You don’t have to do everything at once. Ops Docs are a never-ending job.

My recommendation is as follows:

• Every time you do anything (financials, marketing, customer support, client retention, etc.) write it down on a note.

• 1 to 2 times a week block off 30 minutes to an hour in your schedule. During this time, open your notes file and write out the full operations (or step-by-step instructions) on how to do the tasks in your notes.

That’s the basic overview, but there’s more to it. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

Your Complete Guide to Writing and Organizing Your Training Businesses Operational Documentation

The link at the end of this short article is a download for something I call an Achievement Plan. Achievement Plans are the main piece of content that my team and I supply to members of our Professional Trainer Society (PT-Society).

As you will soon see, these documents are explicitly detailed. The one I’m giving you lays out how to get your Ops Docs system started, the steps to maintain it, and why it will help you scale your businesses AND free up more time.

If you’re serious about your fitness business, this is for you.

Armed with this document, you can hire a Virtual Assistant (VA) (or offset more jobs to an existing VA) with the confidence that the jobs will be done right.

How do you find, hire, and onboard an amazing VA? Well, we’ve got an Achievement Plan for that too, available to members of the PT-Society inside the content vault that you will get access to once you join.

Don’t delay on this. Click the link below to download the Ops Docs Achievement Plan. Beginning to create these earlier is the one thing that I would change if I could go back in time. I want you to learn from my mistakes.


-Coach Jon

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Operational Documentation Achievement Plan

Click here for more info on the Professional Trainer Society Information and Enrollment