Career change, aibu?(13 Posts)
Inspired by another thread, however my OH isn't being an arse, thankfully.
I am a Primary Teacher, having a bit of a wobble as to my future while on mat leave. Amidst all the usual teaching issues, I've also realised that I am barely there for DS1 during term time and know that things will be worse for DS2 when I go back to work.
Working part time isn't financially feasible as I am the main earner, OH working part time isn't financially feasible as my wage alone won't cover what it needs to. Thankfully we have no childcare costs.
For years I've toyed with the idea of re-training/getting additional qualifications and I've narrowed it down to two options.
1. An open uni masters, furthering my education qualifications and allowing me to move from classroom teaching in to policy/research/higher education based roles.
2. An Active IQ level 2 and 3, becoming a personal trainer.
More and more I've been drawn to the idea of number two and building up a client base for online coaching and nutrition, allowing me to go down to part time teaching hours and/or supply teaching. Best of both worlds, in my opinion.
I also have the drean of opening my own strength and conditioning gym, offering one to one sessions and a 24/7 facility. My area has none of this and it makes it hars for a lot of people to attend as the council run gyms only have a set amount of weight training equipment and limited hours outside of 9-5.
With this I could also go in to specialist educational programmes, working outreach in sports within the primary sector.
I figured if I still wanted to do the masters after I could. It's an open uni course, I can do it as and when.
In both instances I will need to pay my own way, as I won't be provides with a tuition fee loan from SAAS (already have an undergrad and PGDE, which is all my allocated funding).
Does this seem like a ridiculous idea to you?
It’s not ridiculous but the first question to always ask with small business ideas is ‘why is no-one doing this already?’ It may be that you’ve hit in a gap in the market or it may be that other people have done the maths on what it would cost to run a gym like yours and realised they couldn’t cover the costs with what the market would pay. Are there enough people who can afford PT? What are those people doing now? Why would they switch to you?
If I never opened a gym I'd still look at doing online coaching, so little cost.
Our area has had interest from Pure Gym but they pulled out due to Xercise4Less setting up shop (and then never actually opening, they're only 7 months behind their initial March opening).
The area has quite a big sports interest, national Rugby acadamies, big council facilities and so on.
The gym thing may be a pipe dream but using the PT qualification in other ways is still possible.
Either way, it’s just a question of developing the business model and working out if you can make it pay. Presumably if you’re looking at an online model then your immediate geographic area is less relevant, but there’s also the question of how to attract clients. I personally probably wouldn’t hire a PT with an entry level qualification and no practical experience of PT in a gym setting before they set up online so that may be something to consider- ie how do you get that practical experience? Or do you have a sports background to build credibility / give you a USP? I know from friends in the business that brand building ( for which read posting photos of yourself doing athletic feats on social media/sharing articles etc) takes more time than you think so of the hours they actually work, only around 70% are billable.
Plan out the practicals too, like how it is going to be pushing 110% to build your client base and contacts, keeping people engaged and paying, how it will fit with life with small children.
You can get student loans for a masters now. I'm a primary school teacher and starting a masters in February Part time distance learning. I'm getting about £10,000 loan and the course is about £8500.
I appreciate you are leaning towards option 2, but this may still be useful information!
If you're looking at having more time, or more flexible time with your kids personal training won't do it. PTs work when others don't. Most PTs that I know work in the morning, break during the day, then go back in the evening. They work incredibly hard and long hours. Double that if you want to own your own business. One facility owner (a S&C facility) that I know works ~12-14 hour days. His business is large enough that he needs to work that, but small enough that he can't really afford help. The attrition rate for gyms and exercise is ~50% in the first 6 months, just because we like to exercise and be healthy doesn't mean that the general population will just buy into it. S&C gyms pop up and fail everyday. If you are a woman it is incredibly hard to get into S&C. Even the worst and dumbest male will be hired in a S&C setting over the smartest most capable female. Sorry to be all doom and gloom, I work in this field, I've seen a lot. I have seen success and balance, but it is rare and hard fought. PM me if you want.
On the flip side, if you love it, it isn't work. I love that my life revolves around fitness and health, but then I also don't have to work with the general population.
The owning a gym is a pipe dream. Something I see in the next 15+ years, not something I'd rush straight in to. Realistically I'd either use the REPs level 2 and 3 with my teaching to move in to educational outreach such as active schools or something similar, or go down a nutrition route in the same setting.
At the very least I'd coach online 1/2 days a week and teach part time the others.
With the masters I'd be looking at moving from class based teaching to policy/research/higher/further education. However this could still be done after the Level 2 and 3.
babybrain are you in Scotland? SAAS told me they would fund no further study, meaning that I'd have to fund my own masters. The OU appealed because I couldn't afford to attend brick and mortar full-time while also paying bills and fees.
In my area, the personal training market is very saturated.
No I'm in England. This link shows the entitlement criteria.
I think there is demand for good personal trainers but it takes a long time to build up a client base. My trainer worked a second job for three years before they had enough clients to do it full time.
People also want personal training sessions before and after work so it’s not necessarily a family friendly career.
But there are loads of careers in sports coaching etc if that’s your passion I would do some research into it.
Yeah personal training would only ever be alongside teaching, giving me more flexibility in how much I teach but still allowing that stability (and time to build up a client base).
I'd only leave teaching for a sports-educational type career that was full time and didn't put any financial strain on us.
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