Why Paying Yourself Right Means Winning for Your Fitness Studio in 2024

Ileana del Río

You poured your heart into opening your dream fitness studio to inspire people to live active, healthy lifestyles. But don't lose sight of this key fact - it's a business, and businesses must turn a profit to survive. That includes writing yourself a paycheck.

Paying yourself isn't an indulgent treat, it's an absolute necessity to keep your studio running year after year. When you get paid, it's like giving that hard-working high-five to the one calling all the shots - you!

So how do you prioritize your personal finances for maximum success? Follow these tips:

  • Set a Livable Salary: Calculate how much you need monthly for essentials like rent, groceries, utilities, transportation, etc. Bake that exact number into your budget as a non-negotiable fixed expense.
  • Create Extra Income Streams: Diversify your revenue! Offer virtual workout classes, sell branded apparel/supplements, or rent studio space during off-hours. Every new income channel strengthens your financial safety net.
  • Review Finances Regularly: Pick a cadence (weekly, monthly, quarterly) to thoroughly examine your studio's profits, costs, & overall cash flow health. This allows you to course-correct swiftly and optimize for growth.

Remember, feeding your personal finances is giving vital nourishment to the entire business's well-being. If you let your wallet go hungry, your studio will inevitably struggle too.

You Are the Heart (And Financial Brain)

As the owner and fearless leader, you play a sprawling number of pivotal roles. Head instructor, motivator, marketer, accountant, visionary - that's all you! Paying yourself fairly demonstrates you truly grasp how indispensable you are to your fitness empire's success.

Here's why valuing yourself is non-negotiable:

  • Charge What You're Worth: Set membership rates that accurately reflect the skill and dedication you deliver. Undercharging sends the wrong message that your time isn't valuable. Have confidence in your worth as an expert.
  • Your Impact is Immense: You're not simply running a gym - you're changing lives daily by inspiring your community to embrace healthy, confidence-boosting lifestyles. That incredible impact merits incredibly fair compensation.

Drawing a respectable salary isn't just about the financials. It's an outward display that you respect the blood, sweat, and tears you pour into being a fitness leader and entrepreneur. When you pay yourself what you deserve, it elevates your studio's credibility.

Sustainability Safeguards Your Future

The sad reality is 37% of fitness studios fail within their first year of operation. Why? Because too many prioritize explosive short-term growth over building a sturdy, sustainable business foundation.

That stable foundation is precisely what you need. A huge part? Ensuring your studio's revenue consistently exceeds expenses, including your own salary obligations. Pay yourself first, not last.

Here are some proven tips for building sustainability:

  • Be a Spending Sniper: Scrutinize every single cost and vendor relationship. Look for ways to optimize without sacrificing quality. Finding that perfect balance is key.
  • Freshen Up Income Streams: Get creative! Temporary fun runs like "90 Days of Summer Shred" challenges can inject new revenue. Or partner with recognizable local brands - like a healthy meal prep service - for sponsored class experiences.

The goal? Slow and steady profitability for years to come - not explosive short-term gains. Make smart decisions to run lean and efficiently over the long haul.

Fortify Against Any Storm

Let's face it, the only guarantee for any business owner is volatility. Economic slumps, natural disasters, global pandemics - you have to be ready to roll with the punches no matter what. That resilience stems from the right financial foundation.

Paying yourself isn't optional fluff - it's a core strategy for weathering any storm:

  • Build Your Safety Net: A consistent personal income provides a crucial financial cushion for bumpy periods. It gives you breathing room to invest in changes, cover costs if revenue dips, and keep staff/clients supported.
  • Diversify Income Channels: Membership dues are great, but overreliance on one income source is dangerous. Offer umbrella services like personal training, nutrition coaching, MomStrong stroller classes, and more to withstand any single impact.
  • Foster Community Unshakability: When you build a studio culture centered on accountability buddies and supporting one another, your community becomes unstoppable. A united front of loyal members is invaluable during crunch periods.

The right combination of savings, diversification, and community connection makes your business virtually crisis-proof when disaster inevitably strikes.

Credibility Commands Trust and Respect

At the end of the day, the entire fitness industry is rooted in trust. Your members trust your expertise to safely guide their health journeys. Partners trust your integrity and reliability enough to invest their own brands in yours.

The easiest way to reinforce that credibility? Walk your talk by paying yourself market rates.

  • Transparency is King: A studio owner paying themselves fairly tells the world you run an honest, ethical, and fully-sustainable operation. Clients can feel confident their membership isn't being mishandled.
  • Inspire Professionalism: By receiving appropriate compensation, you lead by example for your entire staff. It sets the expectation that everyone's work, growth, and contributions will be valued accordingly.
  • The Long Game Wins: When you pay yourself what you're truly worth, it signals to all that you're playing the long game. This studio isn't a fly-by-night fad - it's in it for the long haul to support your community.

Getting paid the salary you deserve is more than just money in the bank. It's an investment that purchases trust, inspires loyalty, and shapes your studio's professional reputation for decades to come.

When Fair Pay Hits vs. Misses

To showcase the impacts of paying yourself properly, let's look at two different studio owner examples:

Jenn's Total Body Transformation Studio

  • Jenn paid herself a bare minimum "allowance" weekly despite generating solid revenue
  • When a hot new competitor opened across town, Jenn had zero savings to elevate her studio's equipment and keep members from leaving
  • Spiraling losses ultimately forced Jenn to close her studio within 16 months despite early success

Tyler's Thunderdome CrossFit

  • Tyler set a respectable personal salary equating to 10% of Thunderdome's gross revenue
  • While shut down during COVID, Tyler was able to dip into savings to cover 100% of rent and even offer free online classes to retain members
  • Thanks to loyal followings, financial prudence, and constant reinvestment - Thunderdome has thrived for over 7 years

The difference in these two scenarios? Jenn failed to pay herself what she was worth, lacking the resources to ever truly establish her business. Tyler valued his leadership enough to create a sustainable engine for surviving and conquering any obstacle.

Paying yourself the salary you've earned isn't a luxury - it's the ultimate display of confidence. It tells the world you're playing for keeps and builds a business poised to endure for generations. Start prioritizing those paychecks!

share this:
Ileana del Río
Fitune newsletter
We’ll send curated insights on the industry’s most important news, tips and updates.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.