7 more stupid business mistakes we’ve made as online personal trainers

By Johnny and Yusef

We’ve made plenty of mistakes over the years as online personal trainers.

So many, that we’ve made multiple videos about them (you can find these at the end of this post).

We’re sharing more of the terrible business mistakes we’ve made over the years to save you from doing the same thing.

Let’s dive straight in.

Mistake #1: Paying £6,000 for a website 💰💰💰

We drew out a plan of what we wanted our website to look like and sent the brief across to an agency.

And the website did look very nice after the 14 months it took to develop.

But the staff turnover was so high that there were weeks without any real progress.

And then we’d have to start from scratch whenever the team changed.

We probably did eventually make money from it. But we weren’t getting any real traffic to it for quite a while.

Nowadays, web building tools are so much better. You can get a really nice, bespoke website for what we paid.

Now we’ve been through the process of building our own website, we wouldn’t recommend that people spend more than about £500 on theirs.

The great news is that nowadays, if you’re looking to build your own website, there are some great tools around for doing this.

We’d recommend trying Graphicriver or Elementor.

WordPress 6.2 also allows you to completely customise your website with absolutely no coding knowledge.

Mistake #2: Do you actually need a website?

A website is great as a digital business card.

And if someone is considering working with you, having a website definitely increases your credibility.

But these days you won’t get much traffic to it unless you already have a source of traffic from something else.

Search-based content is very powerful.

This is why we do a lot of our own stuff on YouTube and Spotify.

One real benefit of a website it allows you to control the traffic you drive.

But getting a website that ranks highly on Google is a very big time commitment.

You’ve only got a certain amount of time and energy as an online coach.

And we know plenty of online personal trainers who are very successful without having a website.

So, whether you choose to have your own website or not, pick a platform and go all-out to make it a success.

Mistake #3: “Tripwire” offers

If you haven’t heard of a “tripwire” in the online business sense, it’s an aptly-named offer that you have on a website.

It’s low-priced, but costs enough to discern people who are freeloaders from people who will be willing to pay more than £1 for something.

The problem is, we used it to determine people who would buy our flagship program.

We kind of blew our load by making the flagship program a £37 product.

And then downselling…

And then upselling again.

Rather than taking people through a really convoluted sales process, we should have just been clear on what we offered as a solution to a specific problem.

You don’t often hear of online businesses using tripwires these days.

They’d generally work by offering something at a lower price than usual as a way of generating leads.

But that also meant that we were selling one of our regular products at a massively discounted price, in the hope that it would eventually lead to them buying something else.

So, what’s the lesson from this?

In the end, we learnt that it’s the simple things that are the most scalable.

In that sort of funnel, the number of things you have to optimise is endless. So it’s easier for things to break.

And even if you offer something at a fraction of the price, you’ll still come across those people who just want quick results, or get taken in by the latest fitness fads they’ve seen on social media.

However good or cheap the product you’re offering, you’ll never be able to keep those people happy.

Mistake #4: Pressing “Boost Post” 🚀🚀🚀

We still remember building up to our first Facebook ad and pressing “Boost Post”.

We added about 40 different interests, from bodybuilding to supplements, and spent about £300.

Then got nothing back.

We hear a similar story from a lot of people.

They think they’re not seeing results because Facebook ads just don’t work.

But if you fire a shotgun at a huge target, of course it won’t get the result you want. Neither will spending £300 on an audience of about 14 million.

It’s easy to think that a post is doing well if it’s getting loads of likes and comments.

But does it matter how many people like your post if you don’t generate any sales from it?

You should take a specific and precise approach to ads, isolating variables so you know exactly what works. Because if you throw in too many, you’ll be trying to appeal to too many different people.

You can read this article to find out more about some of the mistakes people make with fitness ads, or watch this video:

Mistake #5: Building a Facebook page to 18,000 likes (that amounted to nothing)

Overnight, we found that the number of likes on our Facebook posts went from over 100 to about one.

The lesson we learnt from this was to avoid putting all of our time and effort into one platform.


Because whichever social media platform you’re on, their priorities can change pretty quickly.

And they’ll go with whatever will generate the most income for them, not what will get you the best engagement.

Don’t forget that you’re renting traffic from any social media platform you use for your business.

So, your aim should be to use social media to:

  • get people’s attention
  • use your posts to offer them value
  • get them onto your email list as soon as possible

The amount of screen time people will give to the right emails (and the amount of buying decisions that are made this way) is insanely high.

And getting people onto your email list will give you traffic that you can control, rather than traffic that you rent.

Mistake #6: Complicated funnels

Our next mistake we made was waiting 12 weeks to pitch our product.

At the time, we’d been building up to our biggest project – the Propane Protocol – a free, twelve-week programme.

It included advice on diet and supplementation, and even had weekly emails to walk people through it all.

The idea was for people to sign up to our paid fitness programme at the end of the twelve weeks.

The product itself was great.

So, what was the problem?

We left it until week 12 of the email sequence to share any information on how to buy from us.

We sold quite a few subscriptions to our service at the end of it…

But at £8 a month per subscription, we were really selling ourselves short.

We were manually reviewing and adjusting our clients’ macros and writing blurbs each week…

Which took so long that we ended up paying someone else to help us.

This ended up cutting into the income we made from subscriptions.

Meaning that we barely saw any of the income we’d generated from a product we’d spent ages on.

Mistake #7: Sales calls (for high-ticket fitness)

If you watch our videos or listen to our Podcasts, this won’t be the first time you’ve heard us rail against high-ticket coaching.

When we gave it a go, we had an open calendar and were carrying out sales calls at 2am to people in the US.

Having an open calendar encourages a lot of people to book in a call when they just want to have a general chat about your content.

We had no qualifying process, so we’d be speaking to people without knowing whether they were interested in actually buying from us.

What did we learn from the process?

If you’re a busy personal trainer who’s juggling building an online business with a full-time job, you don’t have a lot of time left over to hold sales calls.

But naturally you want to be flexible and fit around a potential client’s time.

And if you’re looking to work with people overseas, this opens you up to working at all hours of the day.

There are all sorts of other problems with the high-ticket model. Here are just a few:

  • Every hour you spend on a sales call is an hour you’re not spending coaching clients
  • Relying on the high-ticket model makes you reliant on sales call
  • If you become too busy with delivery, you don’t have as much time for sales calls
  • If your sales call volume is too high, you’ll reach a point where current clients start to leave

We talk about the problems of high-ticket coaching in more detail here.

Want to know about our other mistakes?

You can read the first post we shared about our mistakes here or watch this video:

We’ve also created a post that covers five common mistakes online coaches make. Read this here or watch the video:

Want to find out how we can help you?

It can be daunting to set up your own online personal training business, and sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.

We’ve been through the whole process and can walk you through the processed we’ve used to help you grow your business.

You can book in a call here to find out more about what we do and how we might be able to help you.

If you’re not quite ready for a call but would like to find out more about the systems we use, sign up for our free online training.

free video guide: ⬇️

The EXACT process we used to build PropaneFitness to 15k/month: