So you’ve decided to start a personal training business. Either you’ve been working for a studio or a gym or you’ve just gotten your fitness certification and you have no desire to work for someone else. Starting a business is one of the most difficult but rewarding things you can do. If you’re not careful, it can also be incredibly costly, so we broke it down for you with this guide to starting a lean business.

Create an LLC

If you want to start a personal training business, you’ll want to make it official — both for tax reasons and to protect your business assets. This will likely be the most expensive step of creating your own business (costs hover around $300 or so through a site like LegalZoom), but it’s worth it should you ever run into any problems.

Get liability insurance

If you’ve worked for a gym or fitness studio in the past, you probably didn’t have to get your own liability insurance. But as you start a personal training business, this is something you need to consider. With this insurance, you are typically protected up to as much as $2 million against liabilities, depending on what level plan you buy — but this shouldn’t run you more than about $20 a month.

Open a business bank account

For tax reasons, you need to keep your personal funds and your business funds separate in order to actually be considered a business. Plus, when it’s time to do taxes, it’s much easier to categorize your income and expenditures when you can just export all of your business finance data into a program like Quicken or send it to an accountant.

Set your prices

To figure out how much you should be charging, first figure out how much you need to be making to pay your bills — in addition to regular living expenses. Next, figure out how many clients you can realistically take on. Divide how much you need to make by how many clients you can take on to get a ballpark number of what you should be charging. Ask some of your fellow trainer friends to gauge if this is a reasonable rate for your area.

Location, location, location

When you start a personal training business, you don’t need to spend a lot of money renting out space. In order to keep your costs low, train at your home or your clients’ homes if you can. Depending on weather and outdoor space in your area, you may even be able to train clients in a park. In a pinch, sites like Peerspace will rent out space, but they can be expensive and likely only will be worth it for you if you’re doing small group training. 

Create a marketing strategy

Now that you’ve gotten the boring business stuff out of the way, it’s time to work on the fun part — defining and marketing your business. Who is your target client? What are some of the communities or brands that they’re interested in? Look to those areas to get an idea of how to communicate to them, and then decide what marketing channels you want to be active on.

Establish an online presence for your personal training business

Now that you know how you will communicate with your ideal client, it’s time to actually communicate with them. If graphic design isn’t your forte, you might want to spend a little money on having a logo created for you on a site like Upwork. If you’re just starting a personal training business, you don’t need to spend much on a website, but you do need a website. Use a site like Squarespace or Wix to build one easily. Next, create your social media presence. Think carefully about how realistically you can sustain these presences when you decide what sites to be active on — you don’t need to be on every social media channel. 

Reach out to your network

As you’re getting close to launch time, it’s time to do some word-of-mouth marketing. Your existing network will be the most fruitful way to drum up business. Reach out to friends and your current and former clients; consider offering them a launch deal if they pay upfront for a package. And don’t forget to ask them to reach out to their networks on your behalf — or at least keep you in mind if someone’s looking for a personal trainer.

Every single business will change and evolve over time, so remember that you can change anything you launch with, and bask in how rewarding it is to work for yourself.