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Isn’t it awesome when something you want to do aligns perfectly with something you need to do? That’s the way I think about reading. It’s the thing I know I need to do to be successful in both my personal and professional life. And it’s also the thing I want to do—who doesn’t want to drink a cup of tea and get cozy with a good book? As a fitness entrepreneur, or someone who is curious about how to become a fitness entrepreneur, your roles and responsibilities are vast. You need to be knowledgeable in so many different areas. It can become a little (or a lot) overwhelming. With such a vast range of responsibilities, it makes sense, therefore, to read books from a variety of genres. Since you’re not a specialist, you get the pleasure of reading books from sales to marketing strategies for small business to psychology to technology—and beyond! The more breadth of knowledge you develop, the better.
To aid you in this quest for range, I’ve compiled a list of five best books for fitness trainers (and one bonus book!). Each book comes from a different discipline and one that you will be tested in at one point or another as a business owner. Some you’ve probably heard of, and some are a little more on the fringe. But one thing’s for sure: they will all have a positive impact on your business and your life. Some of them might even be so magical they become life-changing.
A book from the world of sales:
Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
From the book: “Negotiate in their world. Persuasion is not about how bright or smooth or forceful you are. It’s about the other party convincing themselves that the solution you want is their own idea. So don’t beat them with logic or brute force. Ask them questions that open paths to your goals. It’s not about you.”
A former international hostage negotiator, Chris Voss takes readers behind the world of high-stakes negotiations. The guide shares nine practical persuasion principles, strategies, and counterintuitive strategies. In the book, Voss provides tips that can help you become more persuasive, professionally, and personally. To be clear, this book doesn’t tell you explicitly how to sell to your customers. Instead, it’s a tactical guide on how to persuade. If you can learn the art of persuasion (or science of persuasion!), you can sell successfully positively impacting your financial growth.
A book from the world of habits:
Atomic Habits by James Clear
From the book: “All big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision. But as that decision is repeated, a habit sprouts and grows stronger. Roots entrench themselves and branches grow. The task of breaking a bad habit is like uprooting a powerful oak within us. And the task of building a good habit is like cultivating a delicate flower one day at a time.”
Your behavioral patterns, whatever they may be, ultimately define who you are and what you accomplish. You need a framework on how to create great habits and how to eliminate crappy ones, and James Clear is your ultimate teacher. Clear draws on proven research from neuroscience, psychology, and biology. He is known for his ability to break down complex topics into behaviors that can be applied to work and daily life. Packed with evidence-based strategies, teaches you how the power of small changes will transform your habits and deliver remarkable, lasting results that will positively impact your business and personal life. Atomic Habits creates an approachable guide for incorporating good habits into your lifestyle.
A book from the world of mindset:
The Practicing Mind by Thomas M. Sterner
From the book: “If you are not in control of your thoughts then you are not in control of yourself. Without self-control, you have no real power, regardless of whatever else you accomplish. If you are not aware of the thoughts that you are thinking in each moment, then you are the rider with no reins, with no power over where you are going. You cannot control what you are not aware of. Awareness must come first.”
An entrepreneur without a mindfulness practice is like a rower without an oar. Your progress and success as a fitness entrepreneur will always be stifled if you’re not awake and aware. Checking in with yourself and asking simple questions like, “How am I doing today?” “Would a lunch break without my phone be good?” “Am I getting enough sleep?” Being in tune with your thoughts and honest with your needs as a human will make you a better leader.
A book from the world of marketing:
Pre-Suasion by Robert B. Cialdini
From the book: “If we want them to buy a box of expensive chocolates, we can first arrange for them to write down a number that’s much larger than the price of the chocolates. If we want them to choose a bottle of French wine, we can expose them to French background music before they decide. If we want them to agree to try an untested product, we can first inquire whether they consider themselves adventurous. If we want to convince them to select a highly popular item, we can begin by showing them a scary movie. If we want them to feel warmly toward us, we can hand them a hot drink. If we want them to be more helpful to us, we can have them look at photos of individuals standing close together. If we want them to be more achievement-oriented, we can provide them with an image of a runner winning a race. If we want them to make careful assessments, we can show them a picture of Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker.”
For fitness marketing or any small business marketing, you need to know how to present your product or service to people, so they’re really excited to buy it. It’s an art. Cialdini teaches you the fundamental principles on how to get your audience to say “yes” to whatever it is you’re selling.
Also check out our blog on successful inclusive marketing campaigns as a supplement to Cialdini’s book.
A book from the world of personal development:
The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
From the book: “Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing and wherever we are going, we owe it to ourselves, to our art, to the world to do it well.”
As an entrepreneur, your life is going to have many ups and many downs. In this Thrive Global article, Danielle Gronich & Kayleigh Clark of CLEARstem give amazing advice Ryan Holiday would approve of: “Don’t ride the highs too high and the lows too low.” To handle the stress of that kind of lifestyle, you’ve got to have a consistent personal development practice and strong personal development goals. Ryan Holiday is masterful at using Stoic philosophy to help us handle everything (and more) that life throws at us.
Range by David Epstein
From the Book: “Highly credentialed experts can become so narrow-minded that they actually get worse with experience, even while becoming more confident—a dangerous combination.”
Range is the entrepreneur’s best friend. You finally get permission to explore and experiment with any and every discipline that’s interesting to you. And in doing so, in becoming a person with massive range, you become an original thinker and an unstoppable force in whatever your next venture may be.
Remember: You’re not a specialist—you’re a generalist. Your success as a fitness entrepreneur or any small business endeavor is determined by how well you handle all of the massively varying roles and responsibilities required of you.
Be not afraid, therefore, to go well outside the lines of your typical business or entrepreneurship books. Be bold. Be brave. Explore in all the nooks and crannies. If you do, you’ll become one of the extraordinary entrepreneurs of the world.