by Paul Dunn on
Tags: Personal Trainer
Categories: Aim Higher Interviews
This week we speak to Jarrad Smithson, a self employed Personal Trainer from the North East of England. Personal Training wasn't Jarrad's first career choice but he has now turned his passion into a career and self employed business.
Tell us about yourself; who you are, and where you live.
I’m a guy trying to do my part in the world, a grateful husband and father of two amazing kids. I live in a town called Darlington and have my own personal training business operating inside a small strength and conditioning facility.
How did you start out in the industry?
I landed a job as a part time gym instructor in Thirsk whilst also working full time in an I.T based job in Northallerton. I would work extra hours in my full time IT job so I could leave early one day a week and work part time in the gym. After a while I left both jobs; jumped in with two feet, went self employed, moved to Darlington, and started training people in a large 3000 member facility, focusing on doing the best job I could with any client who would hire me. I didn’t know anyone in the town; I had no money, and my wife had a part time job, but, we knew it was the right thing to do. So, I got my head down and focused on making it work. I still remember the beginning; having one client, training once a week for 40 minutes. Not 40 clients, training 40 minutes a week. We all have to start somewhere.
What challenges have you faced during your career?
I thought meeting new clients would be easier. I am naturally introverted and I don’t like going up to people cold. However, I do enjoy being around people once the ice is broken, so I focused on my strengths; self training experience, honesty, and a thirst for knowledge. I just focused on training the clients I had and I hoped the word would spread (thankfully it did).
Managing time, When you're in charge of your own time it can sound great, but you must be disciplined otherwise your work can overrun every other part of your life. I’ve had to remind myself I work to live, not live to work. No more checking emails when I should be spending time with my wife and kids. I still slip up here and there.
Marketing, my biggest challenge is currently my main focus. I do understand that you need to get the word out to influence and help more people, it’s just doing it without getting caught up in all the noise. I am getting better, learning from those in the industry who are great at it.
How has your personal training career changed since you started?
I started off thinking I wanted to train young athletes as my main job, but opportunities were minimal and not financially realistic to support my family, I realised that if I was going to make a living where I was, I had to appeal to the general public in my area. Now after many hours, learning and hard work, I specialise in injury reduction and pain management training.
What do you enjoy about the industry?
It’s the ability to make a huge impact on the people I serve. The need for good coaches is at an all time high. Every person you come across has something different for you to learn from and help with. There is always something new to learn, new challenges to face. It is such a great reward helping people and empowering them.
What’s the best advice you could give to future students?
Get good at coaching people and understanding people. I’ve seen trainers come and go who are very intelligent and have a wealth of knowledge but cannot coach, they don't last. Part of our success is directly linked to how we deal with people.
Remember it’s not about you (the trainers), its about them (the client). Listen more, sometimes were so keen to pass knowledge on and ‘solve’ our clients problems we do not let them speak. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, it’s going to happen, learn from them and move on. Give clients want they want as well as what they need as long as they do not conflict too much. If a client doesn’t like the training or nutrition they will sooner or later give it up no matter how effective it looks on paper. Exercise is medicine but people are more likely to take their medicine if it tastes good! Never stop learning and keep your ego in check. You will never know everything, if your going to pick one, be a ‘learn it all’ not a ‘know it all’. Find coaches and trainers who you get good vibes from, who are already doing what you would like to do and learn from them. A smart person learns from their mistakes, a wise person finds a smart person and learns from theirs. Learn to do some sort of movement assessment but don’t make a client feel bad or intimidated. Learn about nutrition from a psychological and behaviour point of view even if its just a little. Learn about running a business and marketing (especially if you are going self employed). Once you have acquired information, don't stop there, get out and apply as soon as you can, that’s where the real lessons are learned. Lay down solid principles as your methods will probably change and that’s ok ‘Methods are many, principles are few, methods can change, principles never do’.
To learn more about Jarrad and how he operates in the industry you can connect with him on Facebook at iamjarradsmithson and follow him on Instgram @Jarradsmithson.
We hope you've taken something from Jarrad's story, remember that everyone is different but we can all learn from each other. From speaking with Jarrad, we have seen that reflection of your own situation and being consistent in your efforts will help you get where you want to be.
For more information about our Personal Training Diploma please visit our website. On the next instalment of Aim Higher Interviews we will be speaking with Kyle Green, a self employed Personal Trainer from Leeds. To keep up to date you can always subscribe to our newsletter and connect with us on our social media channels.