How to sell fitness online and what you should consider
If you’re looking to sell fitness online then you have several popular options. But the key steps to selling fitness online are:
- Pick the best fitness product for your online fitness business
- Plan and create your ebook, book, and/or video content
- Decide how you’ll sell: on your website, PayPal, or a third-party platform
- Consider the legalities
- Grow your audience
If you’re a personal trainer, yoga instructor, bodybuilder, or any kind of exercise expert, why not package your expertise, find a new way to connect to clients, and start making some money?
This is a great time to start.
Now, in the age of COVID-19, you have an audience that needs to find ways to stay healthy and get some exercise while at home instead of going to the gym.
Want other reasons why you should sell your fitness expertise? You can…
- Pick what method(s) works best for your personality and clients:
- Generate passive income and don’t just sell your time
- Retain clients regardless of stay at home orders
- Expand your client base and demographic globally
- Work with as many clients as you want
Ready to start making money selling fitness? Let’s get into it.
Which Fitness Products Should I Sell Online?
Let’s tackle the first thing you should figure out: what the format of your fitness product will be.
- Ebooks: workout plans, meal plans, a themed collection of your blog content
- Books: a comprehensive guide of basic moves, a combined workout guide and meal plan
- Online Videos: online fitness “studios”, fitness programs, walkthroughs of your recipes
- Apps (note: we won’t address this in this article)
3 steps to figure out what’s the best product for your online fitness business
Step 1: What is the Market Doing?
To get an understanding of what’s popular and selling in your fitness area, research what your targeted demographic likes, what your competitors are doing, and what your clients or audience prefers.
Is there a way to carve out a niche for yourself in an area that you know well?
Is your demographic fairly young and likes getting their content through video?
Does your audience tend to like structured guides instead of individual videos? (Tip: Ask your audience – it couldn’t be easier with social media or online surveys!)
Step 2: What Do You Want to Do?
Now combine the market knowledge with what you consider to be your strengths and weaknesses.
Is writing a chore for you? Does video editing sound fun? Maybe you want to do both or none? Outsourcing is always an option too.
It’s your business and your decision — you might as well go with the approach that best suits you.
Step 3: Test and Learn
Everyone has to start somewhere. Perhaps you’re fortunate already and have a following you can distribute to or perhaps that will come with time.
Either way, the best approach is to push something out, get feedback often, and improve it as you go!
Selling Fitness Ebooks
Fitness ebooks are a big opportunity to have something always “working” in the background that can continuously attract new clients and represent your brand within the fitness space.
The great thing about ebooks is that once you’re done writing and publishing it, you can share it as many times as you want and set the price to whatever you want.
You can update it as often as you’d like too — perfect if you want to change your photos or if you find typos in your text.
How much cost is involved in creating fitness ebooks?
You can go the free route and do everything yourself from the writing, editing, and images to the layout and cover design.
Alternatively, you can pay others to do it for you. (Yes, even write the whole thing!) Depending on who you get, it’s possible to get a well-written, good-looking fitness ebook done for a reasonable cost. But as you’ve probably heard, the general rule of thumb: you get what you pay for.
What kinds of fitness ebooks can I create?
Some ideas to get you started:
- Create workout plans targeted for a specific body type/audience/goal
- Meal plans or diet plans that can be used alongside your workout plans or standalone
- Nutrition guides
- Weight loss guides
- Muscle building guides
What should I include in my fitness ebook?
Some common things to include in your fitness ebook:
- A quick synopsis of what they’ll get
- Before and after pictures
- Equipment/ingredients needed
- Reviews from past customers/clients
- Calls to action
- Your personality
The options are endless with what you could include. The key idea is to think about what your audience wants to know. If you need more inspiration, we recommend finding similar fitness ebooks and taking notes about what they’re including and how they do it.
For more details on writing ebooks and all the steps that go into that, we have a great general guide on how to write an ebook.
Go from Selling Fitness Ebooks to Selling Fitness Books
Fitness ebooks don’t have to be the end of the road!
If you’re finding success in selling your fitness ebooks, then maybe you should consider expanding your reach to those who prefer physical books.
The market for physical books isn’t as bad as you think, in fact, last year in the US, print had $22.6 billion in revenue while ebooks had $2.04.
So while the market could be lucrative for you, making physical books will require more time and possibly money. There are two ways to get your ebook made into a “real” book.
The Traditional Route
This is where you try to find a publisher (or get an agent that will help you find a publisher) to take care of all the editing, layout, design, printing, and marketing. You’ll still have to write it though.
They’ll typically help arrange the distribution and set the price as well. You’ll get a percentage of royalties based on whatever you agreed to in your contract.
This will definitely cost you time, but the financial cost of getting your fitness book ready for publishing will generally be handled by the publisher.
The Self-Publishing Route
Alternatively, there are self-publishing companies who can handle printing and binding for you. That way you can still do the writing and design yourself, saving you some money.
There are generally four kinds of self-publishing companies, but the ones that we’re concerned with are the Aggregators and Retailers. The Aggregators will distribute your book for you across their many different retail channels while the Retailers will sell your book only in their store (think Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing).
However, depending on the self-publishing company you choose, there will be some fee based on the number of copies you want to be printed or a percentage of the asking price. You’ll still get royalties, but it will typically be less than the cost of distributing the ebook version.
What if I want to sell my fitness books on my website?
Some self-publishing companies will just print the book for you and allow you to handle the distribution and sales yourself.
You can order a small run of copies (small is like maybe a few hundred) and then use an e-commerce platform like Payhip to help you sell those physical books alongside the digital versions too.
Selling Fitness Videos
Remember when exercise VHS and DVDs used to be popular? In a way, they still are — just in a different format.
And similar to ebooks, if you sell fitness videos, you’ll be able to do a recommended routine just once, set the price, and share it as many times as you want. However, if you ever want to update your workout, you’ll probably have to go through the process of making a new video.
How much cost and work is involved in creating online fitness videos?
In terms of cost, it’s possible to make your fitness video low-cost or free, using your smartphone, a quiet room, and a sunny day to shoot your videos.
If you want to add more production value, then, of course, buy a nice camera and a solid audio and lighting set-up.
You’ll also need to edit and probably add music to your videos. This can be free by using the software that’s already on your computer like iMovie or investing in a program like Adobe Premiere Pro.
Regardless of your budget, don’t underestimate the importance of good lighting and clear audio.
And if you want to make a fitness video that sells, no matter what equipment you have, you’ll need some time to plan.
Before getting in front of the camera, create a script or storyboard about what you want to cover in your video or video series. Make sure it’s understandable by your targeted demographic’s skill level.
Don’t forget to bring your personality and style every step of the way! New clients want to see if they “connect” with you — if they do, you have an opportunity for a long-term fitness relationship.
What kinds of fitness videos can I create?
Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
- On-demand or subscription fitness workshops
- On-demand or subscription workout plans
- Walk-through some of the recipes you use
- Quick exercises to do while you’re at the office or while traveling
- In-depth “foundation” videos covering basic moves or basic dishes
What should I include in my fitness videos?
We mentioned a few earlier in the section, like good lighting and clear audio, but here are some other points to remember!
- Simple graphics
- Copyright-free music
- Clean, clutter-less background
- Mention common mistakes and how to correct them
- Mention alternative moves if there’s a variety of skill levels watching
For more ideas that are targeted for your topic, watch videos from fitness experts in your niche that you admire and take notes on how they’ve set up their shots, how they’re talking, what they’re talking about, or anything else that you’re unsure about.
How to Sell Workout Plans and Other Fitness Products Online
The most common options are to:
- Sell via Paypal
- Use an e-commerce platform if you don’t have a website
- Sell through your website
How do I sell fitness products with PayPal?
You’ll need a PayPal Business account to begin. There are two different tiers, free and paid, depending on if you want control over the checkout experience.
Then you’ll need to sign up with a delivery company since PayPal won’t send the digital or physical goods for you automatically. You can also just do this manually but your customers will be waiting on your schedule.
From there, add PayPal’s link or buttons to your website, social media, or wherever you’re selling your products.
How do I sell fitness products online if I don’t have a website?
If you don’t want to make a website or don’t have time to make one, there are services like Shopify and 3Dcart, that allow you to create a store that acts as your website and lets you link to it.
The easiest of these services to use is Payhip.
What is Payhip? Payhip is an e-commerce platform that allows you to sell digital and physical products as well as memberships. This service will keep track of payment details, download links, and important customer information.
After signing up, you’ll get your own Payhip store URL that you can share on your social media or other marketing content. Your clients can click to see all your great fitness ebooks and videos and buy whatever they’re interested in, including memberships.
There are some great benefits to using Payhip as your online store.
- You don’t need to worry about the lengthy process of creating a website.
- You don’t need to pay web hosts and other monthly maintenance costs.
- It’s ready to go as soon as you upload your fitness products.
How do I sell fitness products if I do have a website?
Enable your website’s e-commerce functionality
If you already have a WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, or any other website ready, then all you need to do is to enable the e-commerce tools or plugins.
For instance, if you use an open-source e-commerce platform like Woocommerce to work with your WordPress site, you’ll be responsible for handling the server, determine which plugins you need to adjust speed and functionality, and it’s up to you to keep your stock updated.
Basically, you need to be a good problem solver. Are you up to the challenge?
Use a third-party service to sell fitness products
Similar to the services that allow you to sell without a website, these same services usually also have an option to create an online store that can be integrated and connected with your website.
The most straightforward and easy to use of these services is Payhip.
You just add your fitness products to your Payhip store, no matter if they’re fitness ebooks, workout plan books, fitness videos, or other related content.
Your customers find what they want, click, pay, and it’s on their device immediately without any further effort from you. If it’s a physical product, Payhip will keep track of the stock in its Inventory Manager but it’s up to you to send it. You can also send them a link to private-access fitness videos so they can stream it on your website instead of downloading it.
Another great example is Lauren Anne Kennedy, an adult specialist gymnastics coach. She sells monthly PDFs with links to private video playlists that focus on that month’s theme.
Selling fitness memberships
What if your business model for your fitness brand is more about membership tiers and recurring subscriptions? Payhip handles it just as easily.
Payhip allows you to set up differently priced tiers on your website that give your clients access to varying levels of fitness products or a members-only page.
You can set how often they’ll be charged: starting from monthly to yearly, or even a custom time frame.
If your clients ever want to change their membership level, cancel, or update their payment details, they can do it themselves through Payhip’s interface.
What other ways can I sell my online fitness products?
With ebooks, you can list it for sale with online retailers, like Amazon. These online retailers will take some kind of fee for listing and distributing your ebook.
For videos, of course, there’s Youtube, Vimeo, and other free video hosting sites. In terms of making money from them, you’ll have to check their terms and conditions, but it’s usually dependent on the number of views and ads.
Selling Fitness Online: The Legalities
Now that you have an idea of how to sell fitness online, let’s get into some legal details.
Can you sell workout plans without being certified?
In short, no, you don’t need to be certified. However, it’ll help you attract more clients and improve your standing and authority if you do have certifications that show that you know what you’re doing.
(That being said, we’re not lawyers so please still get legal advice if you can. Laws will vary by city, state, and country and there’s no way we can be 100% sure.)
Does selling workout plans online require insurance?
This is a little tricky, and again, we’re not lawyers. Do you need insurance? Probably not, but if you feel like it might be a good idea, talk it over with your local insurance firm.
If you’re a personal trainer, most likely you already have Professional Liability Insurance. This insurance may cover you for any online business you do as well, but check your policy.
Grow your audience
Once you have your ebook, book, or online videos ready, you’ll need to market them.
If you already have an audience online or in-person then they’re a great group to reach out to first.
Where to share your fitness products
- Encourage existing clients to share your fitness products
- Your studio or gym’s blog or website / your personal blog or website
- Email newsletters
- Social media: Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat
- Ads online or locally
- Network and collaborate with other fitness trainers
Five other ways to help market your fitness products
- You already know what your competition is doing with their products and content, now it’s time to see how they manage their marketing. Look at where they’re active, how they word their messages, and what kind of people are interacting with them.
- Creating a solid content plan will help make sure that audiences (both new and old) are always interested in what you’re sharing and creating — and more importantly, they’re continuously encouraged to visit your website and check out your fitness products.
- As you’re promoting, get into some customer research and keep in mind what people are looking for and when. There’s a reason why gyms always sell the most memberships in January! Think about beach season, the holiday season, the wedding market—who might need to get in shape for a specific goal or at a specific time?
- You can also tie your digital fitness products with in-person and/or live-streaming classes. They can be free to get new people interested or maybe you want to keep them private just for your valued clients, it’s up to you!
- Use a social media tool like Buffer to automate your social media to sell your products (We have a guide on it if you want to learn more!)
The Warmup is Over — Time to Take Action
We hope you now have a good idea of how to sell fitness products online that’s right for you, whether you’re doing this as a side business or if you’re looking to expand your online presence for your fitness brand.
To recap, we covered…
- How to figure out what’s the best fitness product for you to sell
- How to sell fitness online via two formats: ebooks and online videos
- How to sell fitness ebooks and videos online
- Through Paypal
- Without a website
- On your website
- Some legalities of selling fitness products online
- Marketing your fitness products online
If you’re ready for the next step for your fitness business, all you need to do is create a free Payhip account and let’s get started! Time to make money selling your fitness products!