How to Hire: A Complete Guide for Fitness Professionals

May 7, 2021

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. 

Keep reading to learn more, or jump to a specific section:

  • Understand how to hire your first team member
  • Determine which kind of freelancer you need to hire
  • Define the scope of the project or position
  • Research and find freelancers who may be a good fit
  • Write a job description to attract applicants
  • Identify key considerations before hiring freelancers

How much budget do you need to hire?

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...

3 ways you know it’s time to hire for your team

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. 

1. You want to spend more time doing what you love

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!

2. You want to devote more time to your members

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: 

  • You’ll have better insights you can use to create tailored fitness sessions and classes for your audience.
  • You’ll be seen as more approachable and personable, helping your audience feel more comfortable and confident in their purchase.
  • You’ll strengthen your influence and impact as a personal brand in the fitness industry.
  • You’ll build more trust with members, leading to higher engagement and retention

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.

3. You’d rather hire an expert to help you level up

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.

How to hire your first team member in 5 steps

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.

1. Determine which kind of hire you need to hire

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:

  • Social media manager—who can create compelling captions and imagery, schedule your content, and engage with your followers.
  • Virtual assistant—who can help you with anything from inbox management to scheduling calls to publishing content and beyond.
  • Visual brand designer—who can create a more professional logo and memorable brand design.
  • Graphic designer—who can design new social media graphics, PDFs, and more. 
  • Video editor—who can edit and repurpose your fitness classes to make content for multiple platforms.
  • Copywriter—who can strengthen your messaging so you can generate more sales from your website and other platforms.
  • Accountant or bookkeeper—who can help you with day-to-day bookkeeping or preparing your finances for tax time.

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.

2. Define the scope of the project or position

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.

3. Research and find freelancers who may be a good fit 

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.

4. Write a job description to attract applicants

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:

  • The name of the position so potential applicants can quickly decide if it’s right for them
  • A brief overview that describes your need for the position in a couple of paragraphs, making it easy to skim
  • A description of your fitness brand so they know exactly who you are, what you do, what you believe in, and who you like to serve
  • A list of job responsibilities so your expectations for the position are completely clear
  • A list of job requirements with certifications, completed education, or other qualifications they must have in order to apply for the job
  • Ideal qualifications and experiences that may not be a “must-have” for the position but will be to your preference
  • Your contact information with clear instructions on how to apply for the job
  • Application deadline along with an approximate timeline of when they can hear back from you about if they are moving forward in the hiring process

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.

5. Promote your job in the right places

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: 

  • Community groups. Almost every niche online has a community now, and these groups provide you with an opportunity to connect with potential candidates. For example, if location matters, you could post your job in a local Facebook group, or if you’re looking for a remote teammate, you might find someone in an online fitness community or forum. 
  • Your website. People who visit your site are already interested in your business, and you never know what skills your visitors might have. 
  • Your customers. Word-of-mouth is a great way to hire, and your customers or subscribers might know someone who would be perfect for your role (or maybe one of your customers themselves would be a fit). In many ways, customers make perfect teammates because they already know so much about your business. 
  • Industry job boards. There are thousands of job boards online now, and almost every industry will have a specific go-to for hiring. 

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. 

Essential questions to ask before hiring freelancers

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.

Hiring questions for freelancers  

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.

  • Can you walk me through your process?
  • Do you have any packages that fit the scope of my project?
  • How long will my project take from start to finish?
  • What is the estimated budget for my project?
  • When is your soonest availability?
  • Do you have any experience working with people in the fitness industry?
  • What tools do you use to work with clients?
  • How do you prefer to communicate with clients?
  • Can you send a proposal with the options we’ve talked about?
  • What do the next steps look like if I want to move forward with booking your services?

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.

Hiring questions for full-time job applicants

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.

  • What initially drew you to the position? 
  • What do you think you would enjoy most about the position?
  • What would you bring to the position that might be different from someone else?
  • How would you describe your personality? (They can mention their StrengthsFinder, Enneagram number, or Myers-Briggs type.
  • How would you describe your communication and collaboration style?
  • What previous experience do you have that relates to this position?
  • If you don’t know how to do something, what steps would you take to figure it out?
  • What tools are you proficient in?
  • Why do you ultimately want this position?
  • How does this position fit into your professional goals?
  • Where are you located and in which time zone?
  • When are you usually available?

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.

It’s your time to experience the benefits of hiring

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.