Back in your school days, did you have the impression that once you were done with formal education and had a job you’d no longer have to learn anything? As it turns out, whatever career we choose once we become ‘adults’ (or just start pretending to be adults), we never stop learning.
As an instructor, personal development is a huge deal. There are two strings to this for those of us that teach fitness. The first and the most obvious element is the practical skills that you need to teach. It makes a lot of sense that in order to teach a class you need to attend training sessions yourself to keep your skills on point, and that you might need to learn new things as whatever it is you teach evolves over time. This is all common sense, and most instructors can see that it’s worth their while investing their time and money in improving their practical skills so they can be the best instructor possible. To keep on top of these skills and find out about new developments it’s important to get to know other instructors who are doing the same thing you are.
The other side to personal development is the business side of things. You probably didn’t think about the admin side to running your own business when you first decided that teaching classes was for you, but anyone who’s self-employed, no matter what they do, has to stay up to date with any changes in the business world or they could be in for a nasty surprise.
Below are just three of the reasons that you need to make sure you’re constantly learning and have a good and up to date understanding of everything relevant to your business.
These days, the world of digital marketing and social media is constantly changing and new features are being released. The rules on what gets good exposure on Facebook and how Google’s ranking algorithm works (dictating where your site appears in the rankings when someone searches relevant keywords) are constantly changing, so if you don’t keep up to date with developments and make changes accordingly, you might struggle to grow your audience online and therefore grow your customer numbers and build a community around your business.
Being self-employed is great, but at tax-time a lot of us often find ourselves wishing that we just received a nice paycheck every month with taxes handily deducted. When it comes to anything finance related, you need to stay on top of things and make sure you educate yourself on the ins and outs of how things like expenses work and how it’s best to organise your files, otherwise you might find yourself spending an inordinate amount of time getting your ducks in a row when the tax man comes calling, rather than having everything ready and waiting to send off. Knowing your onions when it comes to the numbers side of your business is invaluable. Even if you decide your time is better spent elsewhere and hire an accountant (which I definitely recommend), you still need to keep track of the files that they’ll need, so you can’t just stick your head in the sand.
There’s no getting around the fact that running your own business brings a lot of red tape with it and there are lots of legalities surrounding being self-employed and marketing your business that you need to make sure you understand fully so you don’t find yourself in any tricky situations. Upcoming Data Protection / GDPR changes are just one example of where you need to stay up to date. Another example is the need to make sure you understand the rules behind using other people’s images, for example, making sure you credit the owner in the right way.
There are huge numbers of online courses, webinars, videos, podcasts and blog posts out there that you can tap into and learn a little every day! There’s plenty of free content, but it’s also worth parting with a few quid if you really want to get your head around something. I particularly love downloading business-related podcasts and listening to them when I’m walking or driving anywhere, making the most of that precious time!