When you start building a fitness business, it can seem like you need to learn how to be the chief of marketing, finance, day-to-day operations, and sales all at once.
You’ll learn a lot by wearing all of these hats, but there comes a time in every business when it outgrows the founder’s DIY skillset. This is actually a great thing because it’s a sign that your business is growing.
If you feel like certain tasks are taking you away from the work you love or you simply want to take your business to the next level, it might be time to think about hiring. Throughout this article, we’ll help you to figure out if now is the right time for you to make your first hire.
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Let’s jump right in at the deep end…
Before you decide to build your small business team, you need to have a realistic budget in mind.
Since freelancers and contractors charge a wide range of prices for their services, you’ll want to look for someone you’re excited to work with who offers rates you can afford. That’s your sweet spot.
Ideally, you also need to ensure you have enough money put aside to cover a few months down before you set out to hire. This could be anywhere from one to three months’ expenses. Business is often unpredictable (though monthly recurring revenue can help), and you don’t want to lose the perfect employee because you’ve lost one or two clients.
So, let’s say you are making around $5,000 each month and have $500 of other monthly business expenses. If you want to pay yourself $3,000 each month and set aside at least $1,000 for taxes, that means you’d have around $500 in your monthly budget to spend on freelancers.
And with the rainy day funds in mind, you probably want to have anywhere from $3,000–5,000 in your bank before you hire. This will mean you can still afford to cover your monthly expenses and freelance bills if you have a tough couple of months.
If you’re hiring someone full-time, you probably want to have at least six months of operating costs in the bank (enough to cover both your salary and your new hire, as well as the cost of business expenses).
Once your accounts are in order, you can then start to think about bringing in some help. But having enough cash in the bank isn’t the only sign it’s time to hire...
There are a few ways to determine whether or not your fitness business is ready to hire freelancers—we’ve highlighted three of the most important reasons we’ve spotted below.
As you go through this list, try to keep a tally of how many indicators resonate with you.
It has been said that business owners spend 80% of their time working on uninspiring tasks inside the business while only 20% is spent doing what they love. By hiring team members, you’ll be able to outsource the tasks that take time away from the projects you’d rather work on.
Before you decide to outsource anything in your business, it will help to get a full picture of what your workdays look like by tracking your time. You can do this with free time tracking tools like Toggl Track or Clockify, logging your hours for a week or two.
This will allow you to see where your time is actually going so you can compare it to where you want your time to be spent. You might be surprised by what you discover!
Most Core fitness instructors would say interacting with members is one of their favorite parts of running a business. If you want to spend more time helping your members or instructing classes, it might be time to hire some extra help.
There are a few benefits to devoting more time to your members:
If this feels like an area you’d like to focus more energy on, we recommend outsourcing some of your other internal business tasks to make more room for these interactions.
You’ve come this far with the skills you have, and that’s a huge accomplishment in itself. However, if you want to elevate your brand, it’s time to hire an expert.
This usually happens when fitness instructors find their time is more valuable when spent on revenue-generating tasks rather than learning something new they’re not really interested in.
It takes years to become proficient in design, social media, photography, video production, writing, and so many other skills. You don’t need to be a jack of all trades to be successful.
In the long run, it will be less expensive to hire the expert than buying all of the equipment and trying to teach yourself. Like money, your time is a valuable resource, so use it wisely.
It’s up to you to prioritize which tasks are worth outsourcing and how much of your budget you’re willing to put toward each one. Then it’s time to do research on who you need to work with before you determine whether or not you want to hire them. That’s what we’ll talk about next.
At this stage, you might be excited to welcome freelancers into your team but also a little worried about making a misstep—like hiring the wrong person or not asking the right questions.
That’s why we’re here to guide you through the entire hiring process so you're able to find the right person the first time around. Let’s begin with the first step.
Most fitness instructors focus on outsourcing tasks they either don’t like or don’t know how to do. When you have the budget set aside to hire a team member and know which tasks you want them to accomplish, now your job is to find the right person.
Here are the main types of roles you may want to add to your team:
After reading through this list, you probably have a good idea of who you want to hire. If so, you can move to the next part of the hiring process.
At this stage, you also need to think about the number of hours you’ll need them to work each week, as this will help you to determine if you need to make a full-time hire or bring in a part-time freelancer.
It’s important to go into the hiring process with complete confidence and clarity around what your project or ideal position looks like.
You’ll need to decide whether you need someone for a one-time project (like hiring a photographer for a brand photoshoot) or if you’d benefit from hiring a long-term partner (like a virtual assistant who works on an hourly basis). This will help you find the right person and set result-driven goals for what you want them to accomplish.
If you haven’t yet, make a list of tasks you ideally want them to take off of your plate and determine what skill set you're looking for. This will help when you begin your research.
Finding high-quality freelancers doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process. When you know what type of freelancer you’re looking for and what capabilities they need to have, it will be easier to scan through their website or portfolio to determine if they’re a good fit.
You can start researching in these key places:
When you look through their website or profile, make a note of what their specialty is and what you like about their work. If the freelancer also lists their budget ranges and current availability, that will give you even more information.
We recommend narrowing down your list so you can focus on three to five freelancer candidates. Once you’ve done that, the next step is to send them a message or email. If you feel like they could be a great fit, try to schedule a free discovery call with them so you can learn more about their process, discuss pricing, and make your final decision.
If you aren’t able to find the ideal freelancer or would rather choose from a few applicants, you may want to write a job description. This allows interested applicants to come to you and may help you skip the research phase entirely.
However, you’ll still need to spend time combing through the applications and interviewing your best candidates if you choose this route. It might also help to write a job description if you are planning to hire a freelancer on an ongoing basis. That way, you can find the best long-term partner based on their initial interest in working with you.
Here a few elements you’ll absolutely want to add to your job description:
You can also add more information about the job, including the benefits of working on your team, a DEI statement, compensation details, tools they need to be proficient in, or hours they need to be available.
Instead of drafting your job descriptions from scratch, feel free to model them after these examples: one for an ongoing virtual assistant position and another for a graphic designer. These templates can be adjusted depending on who you’re trying to hire.
With your list of potential candidates in mind, it’s time for the last step.
It’s not enough to simply have a job description, you need to put it out there in front of people. And in order to attract the right candidates, you need to ensure you’re reaching the right audiences.
So where should you promote your job opening:
The key thing about successful hiring is reaching the right people. Sometimes this can take a bit of time, so don’t rush and also don’t get too discouraged if you don’t find the perfect hire in the first few days of your search.
Once someone has applied for your open role, how do you figure out if they are right for the role?
Honestly, it’s all about asking the right questions. Below, we’ve broken down the best questions to ask freelancers, as well as some questions for full-time hires.
It’s smart to use discovery calls as a way to gain as much information as possible. You might be able to answer some of these questions by looking at the freelancer’s website or FAQs page, but if you’re still unsure, here are a few to keep in mind.
If you’re able to walk away knowing the answers to all of these questions, you’ll feel more confident in deciding which freelancer you want to hire. As you prepare for your discovery calls, these questions can be used as a helpful guide so you don’t miss anything important along the way.
After looking through the applications and choosing your favorite three to five candidates, it’s time to schedule job interviews. To prepare for these interviews, you might want to follow this template of questions to help you understand who the person is beyond their application responses.
Now you have everything you need to determine who would thrive in this position and how their work would benefit your team.
Once you choose the right candidate, you’ll be able to discuss their rate, start date, and how often you will be working together. When the right contracts and invoices are all in place, you can officially say you’ve hired your first team member.
You’ll be able to use this guide for your first hire and every future addition to your team. As a fitness instructor, your sights should be set on thoughtfully expanding your team so you can focus on growing your brand.