When word of mouth is the driving force behind a business, a website may not seem like a priority. We talked with Sydney-based personal trainer, Marcus Bradbery, who recently added a website to his marketing mix.
What changed? A world pandemic that made digitising his business a matter of priority.
Hi Marcus, tell us about MB Barefoot Training
I started my personal training business, MB Barefoot Training, in 2015, and work with clients at Flow Athletic in Paddington NSW and now online.
Was fitness a career change for you?
I actually spent 15 years working in the jewellery industry as a gemmologist. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in mineralogy and went on to specialise in gemmology, which is the study of precious gemstones and minerals. Eight of those years were spent working for Tiffany and Co. here in Australia.
I had a bit of a life-changing moment. You could call it a quarter-life crisis, if you will.
After a successful career in the jewellery industry, I had pretty much everything that I wanted, but I was absolutely miserable.
I walked out of a very successful career and moved into something that spoke more to my passion, which was fitness. And of course, I wanted to align that with helping people. Personal training spoke to that.
I was always a very active person, participating in adventure sports like snowboarding, trail running and rock climbing. In my old career, I didn’t have a lot of time to do things. I had all the money but didn’t get to do those things.
What is your business philosophy?
My business philosophy is making fitness and health simple.
What was 2020 like for personal trainers?
During the lockdown, a lot of us personal trainers who were purely operating in a gym environment found the need to transition to other methods of delivering our programming to our clientele.
I’ve been transitioning my business model from being purely in-person, in a bricks-and-mortar environment, to a hybrid model with digital content throughout the last couple of months.
I started working on an app that would allow me to create a customised program for clients where they can easily access it from their device wherever they are.
How long did it take you to create your digital products?
It was during the lockdown that I felt the need to transition to online. So, all of this has really come about in three or four months. The industry had transitioned significantly online due to demands, and I thought it was necessary to keep up in that sense.
Why did building a website become a priority?
During the lockdown in May, I engaged with a program developer and developed a training app available on the Apple store and Google Play. My clients can train or use the programs that I write for them via the app.
I developed the app during the lockdown but needed a foundational platform to launch my personal training app and promote the program. A website was the next step.
It was always something that I knew I needed to do and wanted to do, but COVID very much created an immediate demand for it. It really made me expedite what I had intended to do for some time anyway.
It was almost like the kick up the bum that I needed to get it started. And during the crisis itself, we were incredibly busy throughout that entire period. Personal training was in very high demand, and I was running close to 50 sessions a week!
What challenges did you face moving your business online?
There are definitely downsides to not meeting clients in person, leaving them to train by themselves.
I must admit, training clientele externally or away from my gym was a very uncomfortable thing for me to do as a trainer.
I pay a lot of attention to the detail of the client’s program and how they perform their exercises. But online training was something that I needed to embrace because that was the direction that the industry was heading.
How does your website prepare you for the future?
If we go into another lockdown, then I need other streams of income, and I don’t really want to be training in the local park as much as I was during the first lockdown.
So, the website and digitised programming are another way to diversify my income to reach as many people as possible.
What was it like building a website from scratch with GoDaddy?
I didn’t have the time to set up the website — I didn’t have time to do anything.
From domain registration through to the web hosting of the website and the web design. Right now, I’m using the website as a digitised mobile business card, but I’ll need the website to handle eCommerce in the near future.
What was your experience setting up a GoDaddy website?
I could probably speak to GoDaddy’s assistance in setting up my web-based business as being simple. They made the process easy to digest. Their approach to offering their products online is similar to how I deliver my products online to my clients.
I want it to be:
- Easy to understand
- Something that gets results
This is ultimately what GoDaddy was able to provide.
Where do you see your business going?
I don’t want my business to be a massive one. Very rarely are the biggest organisations ever the best organisations. I like to provide a personalised approach to my products, so I don’t want it to grow too large.
I’m really just looking at a business that provides for me and my family. My focus is taking my business into the future with its hybrid structure, which is partially in person and partially digitised through my app and via my website’s downloadable programs.
How will GoDaddy help you grow your business?
I’ll definitely be using a lot more of GoDaddy’s services in the future. The website is still in its infancy, and the training products I’m looking at listing on the website require a professional touch and making sure they’re presented in the right way. I’ll be looking at GoDaddy to ensure that they’re launched in the best way possible.
What advice do you have for someone starting a business in personal training?
My best advice would be to understand who you are and understand how you want to help people. A lot of trainers try to emulate others. They try to do everything that the industry offers, and it’s impossible to cover all bases that the fitness industry offers.
Are there any mistakes that you’ve made that others should avoid?
Yes. I lacked direction from the moment I went into the industry.
It takes time to understand what direction you want to take.
When you enter the fitness industry, some people find their direction immediately. Others take some time or don’t even look at all. It’s probably only been in the last 12 months that I’ve really nailed down the four primary training areas that I specialise in.
What’s one thing you wish you would have known when you first started?
That’s a really good question. I would have to say, the amount of time it takes to really understand the human body and the person.
Thanks Marcus. If readers want to check out your new website, where can they find you?
Sure, they can go to MB Barefoot Training.
Image by: MB Barefoot Training