How to Start an Online Training Business, With Jonathan Goodman

Jonathan Goodman-Blog

Andrew: 00:02 – Jonathan Goodman is the founder of the Personal Training Development Center, the largest community of fitness professionals in the world. He offers the first certification for online fitness trainers. In this episode of Two-Brain Radio, Chris Cooper speaks with Jonathan about the growing interest in online training and how it solves some of the problems with conventional personal training. Chris and Jon also discuss how to train people without equipment and how to avoid sacrificing the personal touch.

Chris: 00:25 – I think there have been three great revolutions in personal coaching. The first was the introduction of one-on-one coaching in gyms. The second was the movement of many coaches, including me, to open their own studio or gym. This third revolution is training your clients without a gym at all. Jonathan Goodman is the founder of the Personal Trainer Development Center, the largest independent community of fit pros in the world. He’s also the founder of the first ever certification for online fitness trainers, the Online trainer Academy. Originally from Toronto, Jon spends his winters traveling the world with his young family. Jon Goodman, welcome to Two-Brain Radio.

Jon: 01:00 – Thank you. Thank you. Happy to be here. Happy we could finally get this together, Chris.

Chris: 01:03 – Absolutely. Yeah. I love having another Canadian on here too.

Jon: 01:06 – Yeah, there you go. There’s not many of us. There’s actually a lot of us. I take that back. There are far too many of us.

Chris: 01:14 – OK, well there you go. There’s already a topic for another day. Too many Canadians. True or false, fight us. OK. Let’s start with your story. What led to the Personal Trainer Development Center?

Jon: 01:26 – What led to it? That’s a good question. I was a trainer for eight years. I had a degree in kinesiology. I trained clients at the university gym and I got to the point a lot of trainers get to where I was working too hard for too little money. You know, I was charging as much as I could charge in Toronto, training in one of the most expensive places to live in Toronto. So I was charging as much as you could charge. I was full of clients. I was even earning a commission for referring my overload clients to other trainers. And I was managing trainers and earning a bit of salary, doing some hiring and onboarding as well and like training. And I actually got into teaching trainers like doing little staff and circuit-type stuff.

Jon: 02:05 – And I was 23 years old. And so, you know, I got to the point where I kind of said like, this is fine for now, but at one point I’m probably gonna want to have a family, I’m probably not gonna want to work 10, 11, 12. You know, I was kind of famous for like working seven, eight clients in a row and I was just doing one on ones. And so I remember I was on my parents’ red couch at night. I was just there and I don’t remember why. It’s just that red couch is just that trigger for me. And that’s why I always like to say it. Cause I feel like for a lot of people listening often there’s that kind of trigger moment. And to have that symbol is what they really need. So I was on my parents’ red couch and it kinda hit me this one line that was just, is this what my life is going to be like?

Jon: 02:51 – And I couldn’t get that out of my head, you know, is this what my life is going to be like? So I started diving, keep in mind this is like 2008, 2009, at that point entrepreneurship wasn’t cool. You know, there weren’t like—there were blogs, there were people doing stuff online, but I didn’t know what a blog was when I started a blog. Like I didn’t know what the word meant. Entrepreneur basically meant you were unemployed. Like your parents were not proud to introduce their son as an entrepreneur. So I don’t really know. So I was, you know, I studied residential real estate investing for a long time. I was just looking for anything, different streams of income. Like I go to the library. Here’s a super tactical thing cause you said you wanted tactical things.

Jon: 03:36 – I would go to the bookstore and those still exist and I would look at all the bestselling books and I wrote down all the names and then I walked across the street to the library and I checked out all the books by those people that I could find. And I would just read, just looking for ideas. You know, I built parallel business plans for a smoothie operation. Anything. And long story short, I came across this book called “Multiple Streams of Income” by Robert G. Allen. I mean you can read it if you want. It’s probably super outdated now. And it talked about this thing called infopreneur, which in 2009 was this concept that was like blew my mind. Like you can sell your information. And I remember there was this image in that book and it had this like circle to denote the center of the universe and all around the circle were all the income streams you could make, and in the center of the universe, in the middle of the circle was write a book. And it basically it was meant to denote like write a book and then all of these things can form as a result of it. And the advice was write a book about what you know. And I was so blissfully ignorant at why I shouldn’t have written a book at 23 years old to educate the industry. Like I knew so little about what it would take to write a book and publish a book and get a book out. And I knew so few people in the industry and I knew so little about like why it was ridiculous that any 23-year-old, like that gumption involved in that, and all of that allowed me to write a book. And people liked it. And so that was “Ignite the Fire.”

Jon: 05:07 – That book still month after month sells more copies than the last, it’s in Chinese, it’s in Spanish and a couple of other languages are reviewing it right now. Colleges and mentorships around the world, like at 23 years old. And, to promote the book, I started a little website called the Personal Trainer Development Center. I realized very quickly that I only knew so much and there were a lot of other people who knew a lot about a few very distinct topics. So why don’t I bring everybody under one roof? Now the fancy word for that is an abundance mindset. It’s funny, like all of these fancy terms kind of come up later on, but at the time it just seemed like the smart thing to do, we were syndicating content from other people and yeah, PTDC has grown, you know, based on that idea, if you share good work from good people and legitimately support good people with no expectation of what you’re going to get in return, just because you think that it’s a good idea to do it, good things happen. Who would’ve thought?

Chris: 06:07 – Wow, that’s amazing. And actually that forms a big core of your philosophy, which you shared with me earlier. Right? So when we get into the tactical delivery of online training, you’ve already told me that one of the keys is that you have to actually talk to people.

Jon: 06:22 – Yeah. Isn’t that weird? You actually have to talk to people.

Chris: 06:25 – So weird. OK, well let’s start with, you know, why is there a growing interest now in online training?

Jon: 06:37 – Well, I don’t know if it’s growing interest. I think it’s just an evolution of the industry. I mean, a lot of people don’t realize just how young the fitness industry is. You could trace it back to the formation of couple of agencies. A lot of people trace it back to “Aerobics” by Kenneth Cooper, which was a book that—was it aerobics or cardio? I think it was aerobics. But by Dr. Kenneth Cooper. Wait, which one was it?

Chris: 06:59 – It’s something like aerobics. But anyway, it was like early seventies, so we’re not even talking like more than 40 years ago.

Jon: 07:08 – It was like 72. Yeah. And so that’s like really like the formation of the industry. Fitness industry is young. And it’s grown up fast and it’s like any young adolescent child gone through a lot of really silly iterations and it’s just this pendulum that just keeps getting knocked back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

Jon: 07:28 – Where like, everything goes nutty and then it settles down in the middle. It’s like, I always refer to it as a metaphorical egg. It’s like, you know, eggs are probably good. Like they’re plentiful. Like chickens lay eggs every day. Like you can get a lot of them. They’re pretty cheap. It’s like, well, actually, eggs raise your cholesterol, so don’t eat eggs. It’s like, well, actually eat eggs, but just eat the white of the egg. Well, the yellow is pretty good. Why don’t you just eat the whole damn egg? You know, it’s just like back and forth, back and forth. It’s like do this insane workout where you’re like killing yourself and like throwing up. Well, no, let’s do mobility. Well, actually, probably working out hard with mobility is the right thing to do. Obviously. But this is kind of what’s happened. So, online is just an evolution. You know, I look at it as another slice of the pie. If there are delivery methods for fitness everywhere from regular gym memberships to Zumba to one-on-one training to small-group training, like online training is simply another delivery method. It doesn’t replace anything. It’s just if 20% of people are in the gym right now working out, online is another sliver that might get that up to 23.

Jon: 08:42 – And it’s because different people need different types of advice, need different types of guidance, need different support, direction and accountability. And also for coaches, different trainers should coach different ways. If you’re the type of extrovert who needs to be around people, moving around on your the feet every day, energized by other people. Like I got news for you, you’re gonna be a terrible online trainer and you shouldn’t be. So it’s kind of, you know, I don’t mind talking to people for like half an hour, 45 minutes, and then I need to sit by myself and breathe for a couple hours. So like, you know, I’m pretty good at this computer stuff naturally.

Jon: 09:22 – So it’s another evolution, Chris. How did we come about it? Like anybody with a platform. So by 2012, we had a pretty good platform of trainers. Anybody who has a platform, I feel like it’s their responsibility to actually build a platform and then figure it out what the biggest problems are and then leverage the platforms’ cumulative knowledge to try and figure out what the solution is. And so we did a tremendous amount of surveys and observational data, and I had hundreds of phone calls with our audience back in 2012 and was able to narrow down the issue in the fitness industry. Basically why—Equinox has a 50% trainer turnover rate. You know, it’s just like the majority of gyms and trainers have like 30 to 50% trainer turnover rate. That’s not good. And the problem is that trainers simply need to make a bit more in a bit less time with a bit better schedule.

Jon: 10:13 – Like, if you can solve that problem, basically all of the other nutty stuff that goes on in the fitness industry of trainers doing things and doing things that maybe they’re not so proud of or selling things that maybe they don’t quite believe in, all of that other stuff goes away. Cause the problem is that they need to make a bit more in a bit less time with a better schedule. So with the problem, we found the solution, which was online training, which I mean, we started teaching it to trainers as a potential business model to add onto what they were doing back in 2013. That’s when we developed a hybrid model where you could basically do it in the gym and a little bit online or just purely online. And yeah, I mean since then it’s kind of evolved but that’s how it came about.

Chris: 11:00 – Still, that’s amazing that you’ve been doing this since 2013, because I know a lot of people listening to this will think like, well, with new tools come these new opportunities. But you know, what kind of tools were you using back in 2013? Spreadsheet?

Jon: 11:11 – Basically. I mean if you chat with—I mean, I was the first person, I was probably the first person teaching online training on a large scale. I certainly wasn’t the first person—like I know people who were doing it back in 2007, 2008 and it was the type of thing where somebody, you know, they were reading on a blog or they were reading on T Nation or a couple other sites that were big back then. And people would email them and say, hey, I don’t live where you are. Can you send me a program? And they’re like, you’re going to pay me?

Jon: 11:49 – And so they did. And the person would legit mail them a check. And they would email them, you know, they would go to dot com They would download the Excel spreadsheet and they would email that to them. You know, they would write their program and email that to them and provide email support. Perhaps a little bit of phone support, like actually phone support, and the person would mail them a check. I mean that’s how it was back in 2013. I mean it was PayPal basically and it was emailing back and forth workouts and Skype. You know, we developed a couple of really good support systems cause one of the biggest problems that you haven as a trainer is in a gym, as long as you manage yourself well, like it’s kind of assumed that you available when you are in the gym, it’s not this omnipresence that you’re expected to always be there. And a lot of people, if they do online training poorly, they find out that they’re actually working harder for less money because you don’t have that set hour in the gym. Now you’re saying to somebody, I’m going to give you an unlimited email support, I’m going to send you programs, send you nutrition and send out stuff. Have you actually thought about how long it actually takes you and how much you’re charging? So if you’re making 50 bucks an hour in the gym and you’re charging $200 a month, you have to spend less than four hours per client.

Jon: 13:18 – And very few people actually do that math. And they’re like, well actually it takes me like 45 minutes an hour to do the program. I’m on email back and forth and I’m doing admin for this person another three and a half hours. So I’m actually making less. And that’s why we teach people pricing and stuff, which I mean, I’m happy to get into if you want to, but it basically comes down to writing down what you want to deliver to the client on one side, writing down how many hours per client or fractions of an hour per client per month it’s going to take on the other side of the piece of paper. Putting together a couple of packages, figuring out how much money you need to make, and then breaking down and saying, how many hours do I have to deliver the service?

Jon: 13:58 – OK, how much money do I want to make or do I need to make? Well now you can start to look at how many hours is going to deliver a package and say, OK, well, I need to take seven clients at $200 to make the amount of money I need to make. But those seven clients is going to take me more hours than I have, which means I need to either charge more or offer less. And you start to do that math back and forth. And we provide our students with like calculators and stuff like that. But you could do this on a piece of paper no problem. So basically what happens is support systems become very important. So one really great support system, for example, that allows you to scale your efforts—cause I look at technology and I say the technology’s best use is to allow you to scale your ability to make a personal touch. You basically automate out all of the places where humans don’t need to be so that you can maximize all of the places where humans should be in the coaching process. It’s not so you don’t have to be there. It’s so you could be the more where you need to be there by eliminating yourself out of the places you don’t.

Chris: 15:05 – I think you just said something really profound there, Jon. I don’t mean to interrupt you, but I hope everybody stopped and took a note there, right? Because, you’re saying that like the technology does not replace your presence as a coach. It just gives you better leverage where your presence is more important. That’s amazing.

Jon: 15:20 – Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. No, thank you for pointing that out.

Chris: 15:23 – Carry on.

Jon: 15:25 – I mean, I want to make sure that I’m giving like super tactical stuff that anybody can use. So from support system. How you offer support to remote clientele is paramount to your success as a trainer because a lot of people over promise and as a result they’re forced to under deliver. And so there’s basically, I mean there’s a number of different ways, but a couple of the models that we really love, one is you can still say you offer unlimited support, but you say it all has to be, you know, you can email me once a week, that email has to be point form. The email has to be, each point is less than three sentences. Each point is one topic and you can have as many points as you want. Because what that allows people to do—so I’ll repeat that real quick. So one email a week, point form, no more than three sentences per point, one topic per point, as many points as you want. That still allows you to offer unlimited support. But you’re forcing people to be succinct because if you don’t force people to be succinct in their writing, they’re going to give you a huge block of words and way more information than you ever need. You’re forcing people to create a big list of stuff that they collect because if they’re just filing stuff to you all the time, they’re not really thinking about what’s important. If anybody—I mean anybody who gives you like a big list of stuff and they look at that list and they’re like, oh this is going to suck for that person. Well I don’t actually need like points three, seven and eight. And so they’re just going to naturally cut them out, which allows you to be there.

Jon: 16:59 – You could always jump on the phone in the morning. The other one is to offer office hours. That’s actually one of the most successful models, Chris, is like a university college professor would do. They say I’m in the office from two to 4:00 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays, whatever. What in the office means is that you’re logged into Skype, all of your clients are on Skype and they can pop in there and have a conversation with you, which means that they can have—which means that you can provide one-on-one support to a bunch of people at once. And the nice thing about being in Skype is if you got to jump on a call and talk through something with somebody, you can just hit call, talk to them for two minutes and then finish your call and you’re still going. Those are just a couple of examples versus like the like fire me a question anytime. Text me anytime. It’s like, no, that’s gonna drive you nuts. And then you’re constantly just like addicted to your phone. The whole point is to block off your time so that you know every Sunday morning you responding to emails and throwing on some old school hip hop and that’s your time to do it. And then you can like be with your family and like enjoy your hobbies and get out into nature and you know, have a life outside of training without thinking that you need to be connected all the time.

Chris: 18:21 – Yeah. We actually had an economist on and she has a trainer at Equinox and this person is available through text 24/7. And so, you know, she was describing, oh, I was in France and I was really tempted to eat all this crummy food. And I texted my trainer who’s in California and I’m just doing the math conversion and I’m like, this poor guy is now responding to clients’ texts that are, you know, nine hours ahead of him, you know, it’s 3:00 AM in California and he’s telling her don’t eat the brie. I’m not sure that that’s really what we’re trying to get from this.

Jon: 18:56 – Yeah. There are some really—like a lot of what you’re providing to a client, I mean, there’s this misconception that trainers provide clients with like expertise and that’s what the client’s buying. I think perceived expertise because of the improvement in self-efficacy is very valuable. But actual expertise, I mean, buying a trainer is very rarely an actual merit-based decision. What a trainer is often providing client, especially a remote trainer, is just accountability. Just somebody basically in their corner saying I got you bro. Or bro-et. And so to your point, yeah, that’s nuts. I mean that’s miserable. But we do have a lot of trainers who actually provide an exceptional service to their people, which is they allow and almost encourage their people to take a picture of everything thing they eat. And I mean, I’m sure some people will yell at me and say this is disordered eating or whatever, but like they take a picture of their shoes every time they work out or their food every time they eat or whatever.

Jon: 20:00 – And it’s not the trainer’s job to comment on it at all. It’s the trainer’s job to give a thumbs up. That’s it. That’s really powerful. There’s also really, really cool automated text messaging services that trainers can build in. So basically when a client starts, and all that happens is it goes out to clients on intervals and just says on a scale of, I always like, like weird scales just because I think it like knocks you out of your comfort zone. So like on a scale of one to four, how did you sleep last night? On a scale of three to eight, three being the best, eight being the worst, how do you feel about your workouts right now? And just like, that’s doing two things, right? The first thing that’s doing is the, I got you bro. Like I’m thinking of you. The second is it allows the trainer, I mean immediately you get back that and like if something’s wrong, you can pick it up. You kind of getting ahead of it. Like if they say I’m sleeping terrible or they’re not recovering, stress is going on. Something’s happened. Like sleep is a good indicator of whatever’s going on. So that’s cool because it’s automated texts, which means that the trainer doesn’t need there to be the text. They preload it and then they’re not there, but they get responded to. And again, use technology to automate places where—trainers don’t need to make that initial connection, but they should be there to provide the support afterwards. You can create that kind of external brain.

Chris: 21:35 – I love it. And then that frees you up to, you know, have the actual relationship or do the things that really matter, as you said earlier, Jon. So how do people get started with this? You know, I want to start doing online training. I have no idea where clients come from or how to even start.

Jon: 21:52 – You get clients before you’re ready. That’s how you start it. This is something that’s actually changed in the way that we approach teaching the business. I mean, we’ve been teaching people this business since 2013, I’m fairly confident saying that we’ve helped more trainers transition either full or part time, like we’ll say add online training their business, than everybody else put together at this point. And like we’ve certified people I think in 86 countries now. Like countries I didn’t even know exist. There was a new one the other day, I didn’t even know it existed. It was like an island that’s like a collectivity of the Netherlands.

Jon: 22:28 – Anyway, I said to my dad, I was like, did you know this existed? He’s like, yeah I did. But like I’ve never met anybody from there. How to get started. We used to teach people and say like, you’ve got to know the business before you start. We’ve changed that. Now, step one is you have to get clients before you’re ready. And there’s a very distinct reason for that. I want to tell you a story about Thomas Edison. Cause I love this story and I think it really encapsulates the problem and the reason well. So Thomas Edison, the inventor, like him or hate him, whatever he is, I mean the guy had like over a thousand patents, so like figured out how to do business, at least whether you think he did it the right way or not is another question.

Jon: 23:07 – But Edison, one of his hidden secrets to success that a lot of people don’t know about is he would actually alert the press and create public intrigue about an invention and about the supposed benefits of an invention before he invented it. Because what that would do is it would force his brain into a higher gear, because then if he didn’t invent it by the time that newspaper article, that press release was out, it would be such an embarrassment on him and his reputation that it forced him to get it done. That was one of the secrets. And we see this with a lot of just high-performers all over the place that they create this external obligation, this necessity to produce. So many fit pros are just in this constant reactive mechanism where they’re like, they’re learning more. They’re like I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do this..

Jon: 24:01 – But they never actually start. Or even if they start, they kind of dilute their efforts everywhere. And as a result, if you never really focus on anything it’s not gonna get anywhere. What we found is that the first step is actually to get a couple of online clients way before you’re ready, before you even know how to do anything. Like you might not even know how to take money from them, but like take money from people, get one to five online clients because you know what, if you have people waiting for you for their program, you’re going to figure it out and you’re going to figure it out pretty quick. You’re going to skip Netflix. You might sleep a little bit less that week. But like at any point in time if you want to have what others don’t, you’ve got to do what others want. And you’ve got to kind of be forced into that.

Jon: 24:46 – So we actually look at step one is get clients before you’re ready. And in order to do that, I mean you have to create this compelling offer. And so we put together this founding client challenge. I mean, I’ll tell you the method, now whether you do the challenge with us or whether you just do it yourself is totally up to you, I’ll show you exactly how to do it. So you could do it yourself if you want. The entire idea behind it is the basic tenants of a compelling offer is that it needs to be specific to a very specific group of people. It needs to be a great deal and it needs to have an end point. There’s actually seven. But like those are the most important three and it needs to have an end point where people need to act.

Jon: 25:32 – And so what you do is you broadcast to your personal networks. You don’t have time to like market outside. So you broadcast your personal networks on whatever social media that you have. There’s enough people listening and you’ll use this script. I’m looking for five people who want to give me a goal. It has to be a quantifiable goal. I don’t care how much you hate numbers. It has to be a quantifiable goal for this to work. And that’s just because like look in magazines and books, like if you want to market to people, you’ve got to meet them where they are and then take them where they want to be. So like if you don’t like these numbers, you don’t think they’re important, that’s totally cool. You’ve got to meet them there and then you can impress upon them like why it’s more important to do otherwise. Which by the way, I agree with you. I don’t like numbers either. I just know what works from a marketing standpoint. So I’m looking for five people who want to lose five pounds, gain no more than five pounds of muscle, blah, blah, blah. And it could be people, it could be specific five mums, five fathers, five whatever, people who are over stressed at work, in the next 60 days.

Jon: 26:43 – And what you do is you put out a script and if you do the challenge with us, we provide a script, but the script basically says, I’m starting a brand-new program that’s going to start 60 days from now. But before I do, I want five people to test drive it. Help me look at the kinks and give me some testimonials to use. The program is going to cost $500 when it’s out in 60 days. But for these five people, it’s going to be 197. So now you’re giving a 60% discount. And so you put that out to your network, you put that out consistently with content for five, I mean, we do seven days, and you say the last day to sign up for this is Sunday, you know, so then on Sunday you’re like, guys, it’s the last day. Like if you don’t sign up for this now it’s 60 days, you can do it. But like first of all, whoever is in it right now is going to be already having done it for 60 days. Also, you’re going to pay 500 bucks instead of 197.

Jon: 28:02 – And the beautiful part of this, we call it the founding client challenge, the beautiful part of this founding client challenge is, it will get you clients before you’re ready, it will force you to action this obligation, this necessity. But what I love about it is that it gives you permission to take imperfect action in your client’s eyes. That’s the cool part. You’re clients know that you are working on building this with them and it’s the first time you’ve done it. So many times with fit pros, they never get started because you’re in this kind of expert status, you never give yourself permission to be able to act imperfectly and figure stuff out with your clients. But what you will find when you do this is people actually love being a part of process.

Chris: 28:49 – That’s amazing. So, you know, there’s no expectation of perfection from the client either. Wow.

Jon: 28:58 – Nope. They know, like, like by the way, this works with gyms too. I just gave away all of our secrets. You don’t need to do the challenge, but that’s the general gist of it, right? You just, you have to figure out a way to start before you’re ready, get clients before you’re ready and have permission to not be perfect with those clients, from those clients and in your own mind.

Chris: 29:26 – That’s amazing Jon. OK, well thank you for being so generous with that. The next question that I know our audience is waiting to hear the answer to is how do you train people without equipment?

Jon: 29:36 – I mean everybody has different equipment. How did people work out before gyms? They lifted rocks, they ran outside. I mean, for people who don’t know my story, my wife and I have spent four to six months out of the country abroad every year for the last seven years. We just came back with a two-and-a-half-year-old from seven and a half months abroad. We lived in Mexico for three months, and island in Greece, for two months. And then we went out to Montenegro for two and a half months. We stopped in Albania, Sovia. You know, how do you do it? Like everywhere’s different. In Mexico. I had a trainer who was a boxing coach. In Greece, I had an endurance trainer. In Montenegro I had an old-school, Soviet barbell trainer.

Chris: 30:24 – You know what? That’s awesome.

Jon: 30:28 – Everything works, man. If there’s a mountain, walk up it. So how do you train somebody remotely, well I think you just need to separate the tools from the training, from the results. Like what does the person want or need to achieve? I think they’re both important. Well, can you achieve that with what they have? Oftentimes the answer is yes, but trainers get so wrapped up into own heads. I mean, I do it too, where you love this modality or type of training or method of training and in the gym that’s fine because everybody’s coming into your space. But if you actually separate yourself from that, you realize it’s like, no, actually a lot of things will work for this client.

Jon: 31:16 – For the majority of clients we work with, a lot of things would work. So if you don’t have kettlebells, like don’t use kettlebells, use a different kind of weight. A weight’s a weight’s a weight, the body doesn’t know whether it’s kettlebell or dumbbell or rock, doesn’t matter. So how do you train somebody? You figure out what they have, if anything, maybe if they’re training there at their home, you recommend them a couple pieces of very basic equipment. I mean, you can get a couple of bands and a mat in a house for like 20 bucks and you could do basically anything. And you give them the best workout that you possibly can. And if you honestly think that they can’t get results with what they have, you talk about, but in my experience, that’s pretty much never the case.

Chris: 32:02 – OK. Man. I mean that’s really great for people to hear too because a lot of us started bricks and mortar gyms thinking like, well I have to have a rower and I have to have a reverse hyper. You know, I have to have a cable crossover or I’m not going to get my clients results, and that’s not the case.

Jon: 32:16 – They’re fun. Yeah, they’re super fun. I just came back from the gym before we spoke and like, I just joined like an actual lifters gym. Here in Toronto because it’s just right around the office that I moved into and it’s super fun. It’s like grungy weights. It’s like, you know, the type of gym where you’re like wiping the rust off your hands. I don’t like picking up a weight and the knurling on the weight is like cutting into hand cause it’s got so little use. It’s like, no, I want this old rusted stuff. Like that’s super fun for me, but you don’t need it. I mean, you know, I came back from that seven, seven and a half months abroad whenever we were away. I came back in better shape than I left and I wasn’t on a training regime. I just, you know, if there was a mountain we’d do a three-day trek through it, like why not? That’s what it’s about too, right? It’s about movement. It’s about enjoying your body. It’s about chucking your kid up and down because it’s fun and it’s fun being that dad in the park that all the kids are running up to saying, throw me up, throw me up, throw me up. Cause none of the other dads can do it. Like that’s pretty fun.

Chris: 33:28 – That’s profound too, man. OK. So because I know we’re on a timeline here, I’d like to talk about the tools that you use. You know, now that we’ve talked about the tools that the clients use or don’t use. When you started this, obviously most of these apps and most of the technology wasn’t around, you know, and you know, you’re using a spreadsheet or whatever, the What do you use now?

Jon: 33:56 – So I’m an advisor, I’ve advised most of the major software programs; honestly you can’t go wrong. We recommend a whole bunch of them to be honest. It really depends on what the individual trainer looks for. The best piece of advice that I could give you, there are a lot of areas where people procrastinate and they say they’re trying to make the best decision, but really it’s just a matter of procrastination and trying to choose yourself is one of them. You’re just putting off getting started. My piece of advice for you is, well first of all, you probably don’t need software to start. Like Google Drive is more than enough. And then you can bootstrap that into software afterwards. Once you want to become more efficient. Like get your first five clients, like, just do that.

Jon: 34:40 – Like, don’t think about anything else. Just get your first five clients and figure it out, figure out how to do it. And that’s why we kind of changed—like step one used to be the Online Trainer Academy for us. First step one is now this challenge. Get your first five clients. Because we found that people who already had a few clients that went through the Academy did much better for no other reason than, when they go through the textbook, when they go and they work with our mentors and they work through all the video modules and stuff like that, if they already have a couple of clients they have context and so they can make better decisions because we don’t force you into a business model. We guide you into figuring out the best one for you. That’s kind of hard to make those decisions without context.

Jon: 35:21 – -So that’s another reason why we kind of changed the progression. But in terms of the software, here’s my best piece of advice for how to pick your software. Get the heck away from your computer and your phone. Go for a walk, go to a coffee shop, shut off. Sit there with a notebook, with a paper and pen, like pure analog, and write down and spend 30 minutes or an hour and say what are the three things I need my software to be able to do? I need an internal messaging system. I need to be able to take payments, I need to be able to write workouts, whatever those are for you. Maybe you have a payment provider so that’s not important for you. Like whatever those are for you. I do a lot of body composition training so I need something that has macros integrated into it, whatever, right?

Jon: 36:02 – Write down your three must-haves and then you take that information and you go and you find the first software program that you find that satisfies those three and you sign up for it and you never think about that problem again.

Chris: 36:19 – That is so great.

Jon: 36:21 – That’s not saying that like there might be something better, but man, it’s irrelevant. It’s completely irrelevant. It has so little to do with how successful you are actually going to be, that the worst thing you can possibly do is take any more time thinking about it.

Chris: 36:38 – That is amazing advice, Jon. Thank you. We see that in the microgym industry too. You know, there’s so much, so much debate about what score boarding software should I use. There’s no discussion on how do I get more profitable.

Jon: 36:52 – So for sure, I mean in the microgym industry it’s a little bit more complex. You’re generally working with bigger numbers. You’re generally working with [unintelligible] costs. So having something that that is able to report metrics and KPIs and LTVs and stuff like that is a little bit more important. But I’m totally with you. I mean, probably every major one is OK for 99% of the gyms. And that’s kind of what we see.

Chris: 37:25 – Well tell me about your training process at the PTDC. So you said the first thing is the challenge, get five clients, and then what’s the next step you take to get people ready to do online training?

Jon: 37:35 – Yeah, the first thing is the challenge, get five clients in seven days, and the system that we teach and working through. I mean it’s really a challenge that all of our mentors that are available to you for seven days. There’s no paid ads involved. There’s no phone selling involved, even. After those seven days, we invite people to join us at the Online Trainer Academy, which is certification and mentorship. And that’s a lifetime thing. I mean, you know, it’s a completely self-paced certification course with unlimited mentorship. So you can get on the phone with us, you can live chat with us. We have people come back five years after they signed up and still get on the phone with us, you know, like my situation changed. I’d love to chat with you about it. And then we’re actually introducing a level two. So the idea is level one is get your first five clients. Level two is build your foundation, business. Build your ideal model, get to consistently $1,000 a month extra. And then level three is scale. It’s $6,000 a month. Plus.

Chris: 38:37 – Wow, that’s fantastic Jon. Well, look, man, I know that you’re on a tight timeline here. You’re a super busy guy and I really appreciate the time that you’ve given to our audience here. If people want to make a connection with you, where should they go?

Jon: 38:48 – Oh, that’s a good question. I should have this answer down pat. Personal trainer. When you messaged me before you’re like, OK, we want to make sure that this is tactical and not like super promotional or anything like that. This is how not promotional I am. I don’t even know what to say to people. How bad is that? Personal Trainer Development Center is great. You know, you’ll find everything that we do from there. The website is, if you search online you’ll find me, but I would like if you use that, cause I paid way too much for that domain.

Jon: 39:27 – So is pretty cool too.

Chris: 39:32 – Hey, we think a lot of like, Jon, how many domains do you own?

Jon: 39:35 – I’ve let a lot of them lapse.

Chris: 39:38 – How many have you bought?

Jon: 39:38 – 40, 50, or something like that. But I’ve let a lot of them lapse. Now it’s just a couple of key ones like, like onlinetrainer was not cheap, that was just super expensive. But I’ll tell you a story just before I have to go. What I wanted to buy my son—so my son’s name is Calvin. I wanted to buy his name cause I just think it’s important to like, own your name, your website. And another Calvin Goodman apparently existed. And so I emailed him and I said, Hi Calvin, you have the same name as my son, I’d like to buy your domain name.

Jon: 40:17 – And he of course didn’t want to sell because like it’s the only one in the world. Long story short, I paid this guy 6,000 bucks for his name. And then I turned around and bought all of our, you know, if we have any other kids, we know some of their names. So I just turned around and like bought for like 10 bucks before everybody else could get them.

Chris: 40:37 – That’s amazing. That’s amazing. Inside the mind of Jonathan Goodman. Well, thanks again Jon. Our audience is going to have a great time with this interview and we really appreciate it.

Jon: 40:47 – You got it, Chris, thanks for having me, man.

Andrew: 40:49 – Thank you for listening to Two-Brain Radio. Don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a rating or review. Want to learn what you can do to level up your business in 2020? Book a free call with a mentor today at

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