Back to Blog

How Can I Start a Fitness Business With No Money?


You have the knowledge, expertise, and passion for starting a fitness business. The only thing holding you back is you have no money in the bank. So, what’s next? When you’re starting a new business, it’s easy to get ahead of yourself and plan big. But, when you seriously lack funds and resources, you need to take a step back and go slow. You don’t have the luxury to do everything quickly. 

The fitness industry continues to evolve and expand with countless opportunities to leverage. If you’re ready to start a fitness business with no money, planning is your friend. Every stage of your business will need to be carefully considered. This is what will help you succeed in the fitness industry with minimal start-up resources. Here, we discuss the opportunities in the fitness industry right now and the steps you need to take to start a fitness business with no money. Skip ahead to:

How Do You Start a Business With No Money? 

When you are building a small business with minimal resources, you need to focus on planning and taking it slow. The pace at which you develop and grow your business needs to be much slower. Unfortunately, you’re not at a point where you have the budget to hire staff. So, you will be doing the majority of tasks by yourself before you’re able to expand further. 

Fortunately, it’s possible to grow a brand with the internet and social media and get your name out there in a relatively cost-effective and organic way. But all this takes time. For example, you will need to focus on organic social media and content marketing with a small marketing budget. By writing blogs, engaging with your community, streaming on social media, you can start to build a gym business. When you remove big market budgets, you will find that organic posts and social media marketing are effective but take time to develop and grow. 

It’s easy to think that you just need to get more clients to grow your business. But you can have a profitable business at 50 clients just as much as you can at 300 clients. Chris Cooper, the author of Two Brain Business, says that you should start with a goal of 150 clients and work your way backward. This is because you can maintain relationships with about 150 people. After this, you would need to hire a second layer of staff to help you manage clients. 

While this thinking works for some business models, you now have the ability to launch a digital fitness streaming platform. You could have the potential to reach hundreds of clients at any one time. When you take out the need for a physical location, all of a sudden, growing and scaling your business seems more achievable in a shorter period. This is something to keep in mind when first starting out your business and keeping your overheads low. 

The Fitness Founders Podcast has an interesting episode on how to create a successful virtual fitness platform. This is especially useful for fitness entrepreneurs looking to go into the digital fitness space. Will Brereton, the co-founder of Ministry of Fit, talks about bringing your brand to life online and five essential steps for delivering an incredible virtual fitness experience. 

Business Opportunities in the Fitness Industry Right Now 

Over the last year, digital and online fitness has come to the forefront of the fitness industry. Brands are now competing as hybrid businesses, running both in-person and digital elements of their business. It’s not just digital fitness that is changing the fitness landscape, but the emphasis on health. The coronavirus pandemic has shifted consumer priorities, pushing health and safety as essential factors in many decisions.

Although 2021 continues to be a challenging year for fitness professionals, those who are adaptable and pivot to meet consumer demand will come out on top. Running a fitness business in normal circumstances requires a ton of hard work and effort, let alone a pandemic. Nevertheless, the fitness industry is resilient, and as the vaccine rollout continues, we can look forward to an even stronger industry. If you’re thinking of starting a new venture, here are some health and fitness business ideas to consider.  

Personal Training Business 

There will always be people who need a personal trainer. The main thing that’s changed is the delivery of personal training sessions. You now have the opportunity to be a virtual personal trainer and deliver your sessions digitally. You can also mix up in-person, digital, and group sessions. Using outdoor locations like parks, you can train and help your clients in a relatively cost-effective way. As your business grows, you can expand your services and eventually open up your own fitness studio as you build your client base. 

Digital Fitness 

You have the opportunity to offer online and digital fitness services. This could be as a virtual personal trainer, health coach, stream fitness classes, host online workshops, and create virtual fitness challenges. There are a lot of opportunities when it comes to digital fitness. Depending on your route, you will need certain technology and software in place to deliver your services and create a great digital fitness experience. 

Fitness Instructors 

If you’re looking to start a fitness business, it’s a good idea to raise brand awareness. Many fitness instructors and personal trainers go on to open fitness studios, launch digital fitness platforms, and create larger brands. As a fitness instructor, you can develop a unique workout based on your knowledge and expertise to help your clients hit their fitness goals. 

3 Key Elements of a Successful Fitness Business 

If you have a passion for fitness, the idea of starting your own business has probably already crossed your mind. Nowadays, there is a heap of affordable and sometimes free resources online that you can access to get the information you need to launch a successful business. From personalized fitness solutions to digital wellness coaching, the earning potential is out there if you can set a strong foundation. Here are three key elements of a successful fitness business. 

Understand the Ins and Out of Business

To thrive in a competitive market, you need to understand the business side of your niche. You have the expertise and passion for fitness but need to know how to run a business. You are responsible for delivering fitness services as well as marketing, accounting, and business operations. Get comfortable with admin and lean on your community of professionals to carefully plan your next steps. 

Stand Out From the Competition 

The fitness industry is competitive and saturated. To succeed as a new gym, you need to stand out from the competition. You should have a clear USP and value proposition that explains why a new client should choose you over your competition. Finding your niche, specializing in a specific area, and adapting to consumer demand can help you wade through a sea of noise and stand out. 

The Top 10 Barriers
Slowing Your Fitness
Business Growth

Discover more

Incredible Client Experience 

Whether you’re launching a digital, in-person, or hybrid business, the client experience should be at the forefront of every decision. A great client experience will secure a loyal and growing membership base. Clients expect a better workout in less time with an instructor they can trust. You should understand their goals and help them achieve them. 

Adam Zeitsiff, the President and CEO of Intelivideo, talks about how fitness operators can deliver a winning hybrid experience. He also discusses how you can get ahead of the competition and use micro-personalization to your advantage. 

10 Steps for Starting a Fitness Business With No Money 

To start a business, you need to know enough about fitness and how to run a business as well. It requires a lot of hours and planning to be where you need to be. Follow these 10 steps to start a fitness business with no money. 

1. Develop a Concept and Find Your Niche  

Competition within the fitness industry is fierce. That’s why it’s so important to find a niche and develop a robust concept. By creating a unique idea and choosing your niche, you can figure out what makes you stand out from the crowd. The best brands know exactly who they are and how they will help their customers. 

2. Conduct Market Research and Analyze the Competition 

You need to research and carefully consider each stage of your business. Research the market and analyze the competition to see where your business fits in and serves your customers. At this stage, you can start to find out the demographics and behaviors of your target audience. This will help you to market and sell to your target audience down the line.  

3. Create a Thorough Business Plan 

After gaining insight into the industry and competition, you can write a thorough business plan. A detailed business plan outlines your business, marketing strategy, financial projections, target market, and unique selling points. Writing your business plan will ease the process of starting a business and keep you focused. 

4. Decide on a Business Model 

Do you want to offer pay-as-you-go classes, monthly memberships, or digital sign-ups? Maybe you want to provide flexible member pricing and combine a few different elements. Either way, decide on your business model and how you will offer services and take payments. This section involves thinking about how your business will make money. 

5. Write a Marketing Strategy 

When you write your business plan, you will write a marketing plan. But, you need to take this further and really consider how you will market your business. As a new business with minimal resources, you may want to implement a referral program or start a loyalty scheme. Think about how your organic social media strategy will play a role in your larger marketing plan. Encourage clients to share your services and results. This helps to produce user-generated content and can do wonders for brand awareness and engagement. 

6. Get Your Qualifications 

Whether you’re a virtual personal trainer or digital Pilates instructor, you need to get your qualifications. You should be the expert in your niche and position yourself as an authority. To do that, you need the right qualifications that are recognized in your niche. Continue learning in all parts of your business to be at the top of industry knowledge and trends. 

7. Obtain Permits and Insurance 

When setting up a new business, you need to double-check the business licenses, permits, and insurance requirements you need to start operating. A business owner with a physical location will need to consider a range of gym insurance policies and permits. A personal trainer may need to obtain permits to work with clients in certain locations and business and liability insurance. 

8. Create a Sales System 

If you’re selling something like a digital fitness platform, an 8-week fitness program, or your latest class stream, create a sales system. By understanding your sales funnel and having a website and landing page in place, you can market your services and convert potential customers to paying clients. Your sales system is a process that will evolve with your business.

9. Develop a Client Referral Program 

A client referral program is a great way to turn your clients into brand cheerleaders. By delivering a fantastic customer experience, you can encourage happy customers to talk with their friends and family. A referral program usually offers an incentive for both the referrer and referee to provoke action. 

10. Don’t Rush the Process 

Finally, take it slow and don’t rush the process. When you are working with minimal resources, you need to drop the pace. By researching and analyzing every stage of your business, you give yourself the best opportunity to succeed. Deliver amazing client results and create an experience that makes you stand out from the competition. 

In Summary 

Starting a fitness business is hard, let alone starting a fitness business with no money. But, over time, you can develop a plan and show your clients how you add value to their life. By providing a solution to a problem and creating a unique experience, you can make a significant impact. Nowadays, you can start a fitness business with a laptop and expand with each milestone. Take advantage of technology and gain access to a potentially global reach. 

We empower you to boost your business

"I think Glofox speaks to lots of different fitness businesses. I looked at a few options, but the Glofox positioning was more flexible. Without it the business wouldn't be scaleable”
Mehdi Elaichouni
Owner at Carpe Diem BJJ

Trusted by studios, and global gym chains.

  • flydown-9round
  • flydown-f45
  • flydown-snap-fitness
  • flydown-BMF
  • row-house
  • flydown-spartans