You finished your program, earned your certificate, quit your job, and designed your website. You’re ready to go. You’ve built it, now just wait for clients. Experienced fitness entrepreneurs know it’s not that simple. Entrepreneurship has its pros and cons. Whether it’s right for you depends on, well, you. Pro: Independence As an entrepreneur, you’re the boss. Let’s say you’re a personal trainer at a gym. If you’re an independent contractor, you schedule your appointments, design your program, and run the show. If your clients succeed, your reputation grows. Pro: Control You call the shots. As a studio owner or at-home personal trainer, you control your time, fees, services, and clientele. You can target specific clients, say young athletes or active seniors, since you’re not restricted to gym members. You set the price. As the boss, you set your fees, considering your overhead, specializations, and services, something you can’t do as an employee. Con: Running a business It’s a business. At a club, you get clients and a paycheck. All you do is show up, do your job, and leave. On your own, you train--and run a business. Without experience, you’ll spend endless hours learning. And even with know-how, you’ll spend exhausting hours doing all but training. To grow a fitness business, you have to market, sell, hire, number-crunch, manage, research, and pay bills, especially as a start-up. Even established businesses take tremendous time. Rolf Goelnitz runs half of Help Your Health, a southern California yoga studio and health website. His wife, RoxAnn, a certified yoga therapist and instructor of senior adults, runs the other half. While she teaches and prepares for weekly classes, reads up on her trade, and collaborates on blog posts, DVD’s, and yoga retreats, Rolf handles the rest. He designed and maintains their website, markets, communicates, researches, and analyzes data. To target specific clientele, he studies the analytics from client surveys, market research, and trends, along with social media, SEO, and business contacts. On entrepreneurship, he remarks, “You can’t stand still a moment, thinking you’re done.” It’s constant upkeep, innovation, and adaptation. Con: Income instability. You get paid after the bills. At the outset, you’ll pay for equipment, space, licenses, legal fees, and taxes. You may hire consultants, web designers, employees, accountants, or others. You may earn nothing. And even ongoing businesses have busy and slow seasons. Budgeting and dealing with financial stress are among the skillsets you’ll acquire as an entrepreneur. Pro: Flexibility Since you schedule your sessions (or hire others), you can take time off for yourself and family. How much you work is up to you. Cons: Time management In all phases, businesses take time. Since you only make money when you work, you’ll find you work longer than eight-hour days. The good news, though--in time you develop business management efficiency. Take a hard look at yourself. Are you a brave, determined, independent, innovative, confident, self-disciplined, persevering, flexible, optimistic, organized, forward-thinking, resourceful planner? Perhaps you’re talented with technology, paperwork, and research. Whether you teach, train, or open a studio, you’ll need to assess your goals and circumstances. Do you want an empire or simply a decent living doing what you love? As a fitness entrepreneur, your financial success and, more importantly--happiness--depend on you.