When to Quit.
Updated: Oct 3
Between my last post (November) and now, just about everything in my life has changed. I spent only about 5 months as a personal trainer before I realized it wouldn't be a good full time career choice for me. During my attempt to be a full time trainer, I made so little money and blew through my savings so quickly that I ended up having to leave my apartment and move back in with my grandparents. I met someone and am now in a committed relationship, and finally, I'm going to George Brown College in Toronto for Electro-mechanical Engineering starting 6 January (this Monday).
My time as a trainer was short lived but I learned a lot about business, people, and the human body. I was 150% committed to making my job work until about a week after I had to quit because of my living situation. After that short time off, I went to apply for new jobs and I actually couldn't bring myself to click apply on any postings. As much as I loved planning, teaching, and personal fitness, I couldn't take the 6am hours (which ironically was part of the reason I chose the industry) and the never ending human interaction (which I knew would be the biggest risk starting this job given my personality). Additionally, after talking to my bosses and co workers throughout my time there, I realized there was only a couple of ways to really give yourself a reliable clientele and income, and as much as I tried to convince myself I would be able to make it through, I knew in the end it would be too much for me to handle emotionally and mentally.
Being a successful trainer is about 50% your knowledge and skills as a trainer, and 50% sales. When you're just getting started, it's a bit closer to 40% and 60% respectively. I come from a family of sales people and very successful sales people at that. I've grown up around the culture and I've known for a long time it's just not for me. I'm fully able to put on a mask sometimes and be that outgoing sociable and energetic person but I can't do that 40-50 hours a week which is what needs to happen when you're in the process of building your client base.
This is really just a long winded way of saying that when it comes to deciding on a career or debating whether or not to switch, you need to do two things: first, weigh the pros and cons; second, be honest with yourself. I knew that trying to make it as a personal trainer in Toronto would be risky and difficult, but I also knew I would be good at it (and I got enough compliments and positive reviews to know that I did do a good job). I decided to take the risk because it was something I had debated doing before and I was finally in a position to be able to commit myself to trying it out. Additionally, I'm lucky enough to live close enough to my family that I knew I'd have somewhere to go if I lost my apartment which is what happened; and I also knew that there is enough government funding to help me go back to school even though it may not cover everything. I ultimately decided to quit because I knew I wouldn't be able to take the sales culture required to be successful as a trainer, and that was what I needed to accept. Being a good or even a really great and knowledgeable trainer wasn't going to be enough. I hope this helps someone somewhere make decision, perhaps one they've been sitting on for a while.