You just finished two personal-training sessions and check your messages.
“I can’t make it today…see you next time,” says your next client.
That means you have a free hour all to yourself! What will you do with the extra time? Work out? Socialize? Check email? Hold up a minute! Take a deep breath and contemplate the next step. This pause can transform unexpected downtime into uptime for your business. Question your go-to habits and consider incorporating one of these proven strategies for getting ahead in your career.
#1 Social Media Mindfulness
It’s natural to check social media or email during unexpected breaks. Create a plan before you sign on to your favorite social media site.
- Who is your audience?
- What can you share to benefit them?
- Write down quotes or tips you want to post and spend your hour off taking photos to go along with them.
- Make a posting calendar for the upcoming week.
Amanda Vogel, M.A., is a social media consultant and presenter for the fitness industry and owner of FitnessTestDrive.com, a blog that reviews health/fitness products. What’s her best advice for this situation? “Go straight to your social media account, whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc., and start posting or pre-scheduling with productivity in mind. Do not start a business-related social media session by taking a “quick look” at other people’s content,” urges Vogel. “That becomes a major diversion and whittles away productivity.”
You could also spend the time reading blogs about social media to learn more about strategizing on social media. Whatever you decide to do, don’t log in without an intention.
#2 Client Check In
Have any of your clients disappeared from your schedule? It’s easier to get someone back on your book than to find somebody new, so pick up the phone and see how this former client is doing to place yourself on the forefront of his or her mind. Be of service and offer encouragement with minimal pressure.
Justin Seedman is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, Health Coach and Behavior Change Specialist and owner JustinFit LLC in Pembroke Pines Florida. He sometimes drops in to say hi to people at work when he has downtime. “It's important to know clients’ anniversaries, birthdays, etc.,” argues Seedman. “It’s a great reason to make contact and ask them how they're doing. I often go through spurts where I text message everyone in my phone to say hi and check in.”
This is a great technique to use when you know about gaps in your schedule ahead of time. You don’t have to attend any special events for networking to be effective. Do this now: Write down the names of five people you admire. Call and invite them for tea, coffee or lunch during the gaps in your work schedule this month. Even a brief chat on the phone with someone who is like-minded can lift you up, stimulate new business ideas, provide support and help you get ahead.
Avoid asking people if you can “pick their brain.” Instead, show an interest in them and build a relationship. Call or text and say something like this: “Do you want to get together and catch up on what’s happening in our business lives?”
If you don’t have anyone in mind, go meet new people in your community. Drop by and introduce yourself. “I have contacted many of the fitness professionals in my area to network,” Seedman says. “We have lunch, work out together and exchange referrals. I view other health and fitness professionals in my area not as competition, but as colleagues working together towards the same goal.”
#4 Mind Your Money
It’s not exciting, but essential. Do you track sessions per week, income and expenses? This is just as important as your clients tracking their workouts and eating habits. Knowing how much money is entering and leaving your bank account can make or break your financial health.
Having a realistic view of your spending habits is the same as monitoring caloric intake. It can save you from “putting on too much financial weight.” Knowing your session counts and income numbers can give you peace of mind when work is slow. You can relax more easily when you know for certain what you’ve accomplished.
#5 Rest and Rejuvenate
Sometimes it’s most productive to use downtime for YOU. Being a health and fitness professional is stimulating and busy. What truly helps you re-charge? Think this through mindfully. Is it walking around the neighborhood, sitting on the beach, attending a yoga class or meditating? Only you can answer this question accurately. To-do lists are ever-present, waiting for your attention. You can be more efficient in tackling other tasks and putting your best self forward after you’ve had some “me-time.”
Find a gap in your schedule, choose your favorite strategy and make a note in your calendar. The next time you get that last-minute cancellation, be sure to pause, take a few breaths and contemplate what you can do to transform your downtime into uptime.