I’m going to tell you a story about a husband and wife named Daniel and Kelli Segars, who started creating YouTube fitness-related videos from their garage in 2009 and has since turned their fitness coaching channel “Fitness Blender” into a million-dollar business. And if you’re interested in an online fitness coaching career without relying on a client-to-client basis as traditional fitness trainers do, check out several tips on how to make it work based on The Segars’ success story.
The Story of Fitness Blender
Before Fitness Blender launched its own website and offered comprehensive weight loss programs there, Daniel and Kelli had been uploading YouTube videos to earn “extra cash” during the start of the recession. By 2012, the couple was able to quit their day jobs and focus on Fitness Blender full-time.
As of mid-2017, their YouTube channel has a whopping 44 million subscribers, while its most popular video “10 Minute Ab Workout” has 47 million views. The Segars have also moved to a new house with the same-looking white-background garage, but now with a spare room as their office.
10 Things You Could Learn from Fitness Blender
1. Find a Unique Selling Point
The Segars just got married, signed for their first house, Daniel lost most of his personal-training clients, and Kelli’s work hours from selling gym membership got reduced – all in one weekend in August 2008. With the Great Recession in full swing and the couple doing several odd jobs to pay for mortgage, the couple had the idea that if people can’t afford personal trainers anymore, they should offer their services online (for free) in exchange for cents from YouTube’s ad program.
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To this day, authenticity is the theme of Fitness Blenders, and subscribers love it.
2. Start Small
The Segars had $5,000 to invest on the production of their videos. They kept everything simple – a white-painted wall as backdrop, no music (to avoid legal fees), a DIY studio light from hardware-bought light bulbs and just an ordinary video camera. The couple even edited their videos themselves via iMovie.
3. Know What You’re Selling
Daniel has a degree in Food and Nutrition, with years of experience as a personal trainer. Kelli has degrees in both Sociology and Psychology, with work experience in the fitness industry since 2006. The workouts that they do are simple, but they’re all backed by science. So are their weeks-long weight-loss programs and meal plans. The couple didn’t just decide to become online fitness coaches out of the blue – it was their real-life profession and you can definitely see that they know what they’re doing.
4. Avoid Gimmicks
Daniel and Kelli’s videos become popular because of how genuine they are. Both of them looked nothing like the cookie-cutter images of the fitness industry – Daniel wasn’t buffed to the extreme with veins popping, while Kelli never tanned or put on sexy clothes for the clicks. They also never yell, or pump you out to “do your best.” They simply instruct.
Aside from their looks, Fitness Blender videos are never gimmicky. Viewers actually relate to the couple, since they don’t edit out falls (while performing workouts), or panting. You can even see them sweat, or have a hard time during parts of the workout. They’re not as preppy as what we’ve come to know in fitness videos. Kelli even admitted that she was so shy about appearing on those videos at the start that Daniel had to voice-over instructions. She eventually got out from her shell and began instructing moves on the videos, but the authenticity remained.
5. Learn SEO and internet marketing
The couple’s first AdSense check (from YouTube views) was worth 9 cents. They were happy with their initial earnings. But what propelled their videos was Kelli’s knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) and internet marketing. She was an expert, but she knew how to use keywords to Fitness Blender’s advantage.
While working odd jobs to stay afloat in 2008, Kelli was writing “how-to” articles online part-time. With this job, she learned how to create click-bait titles and content, which The Segars used with every video they uploaded. Soon, their SEO-optimized videos reached the top of Google searches and were able to legally manipulate search engine results extremely well.
6. Sell Affordable Products
When the couple launched their website, they decided to sell complete workout programs. What’s interesting about these programs is that most content are readily-available on YouTube for free, but people bought them for how The Segars packaged their product.
First, the programs were affordable (somewhere from $5 to $15 with discounts every now and then). Plus, the couple took advantage of the number one question their YouTube subscribers asked: “what workout should I do in order to …” lose weight, build muscles, etc. From there, they organized their videos and created a workout calendar people could follow based on their needs. Having a guide to sort through hundreds of Fitness Blender did the trick, and their programs sold like hotcakes.
7. Choose Your Opportunities Wisely
Fame brings all kinds of opportunities and there were various offers that landed the Fitness Blender team. One hotel wanted Fitness Blender to shoot their videos in front of their beachfront property. The couple was even offered a TV show. But Daniel and Kelli declined, knowing that if they accepted these opportunities, their authenticity (their unique selling point) along with their reputation could be greatly affected, and not in a good way.
Instead, the couple decided to upgrade their website with more content. This time, they created meal plans that would work perfectly with the workout programs they were currently offering.
8. Provide Value
Viewers of Fitness Blender love the no-nonsense approach of the videos. Whether the couple is giving out fitness tips, or announcing a new product, viewers accept these with open arms because every video Fitness Blender uploads provide some kind of value to the viewers.
9. Give Thanks
Daniel and Kelli have come a long way since they began their YouTube channel, but the couple knows who made it possible. Every now and again, The Segars give thanks to their subscribers, customers, and followers just because. It’s always good business to make your customers feel valued, and the Fitness Blender team’s genuine acknowledgement of their market is the reason why they have happy, loyal fans around the world.
10. Never Stop
Even with 500+ videos uploaded on YouTube and a million-dollar business, the couple still uploads new content every week. This, even if Kelli admits that she doesn’t like to work out sometimes (even if she knows it would make her feel better afterward). It’s a refreshing thing to hear, and inspirational for regular folk like us who hate working out.
The Bottom Line
The fitness industry has remained a very lucrative industry for decades, but the rise of people on social media has paved the way for traditional careers like fitness training to convert into an online business model.
If you have considerable knowledge in fitness or nutrition, and is confident that you could offer people value, take inspiration from Fitness Blender’s success and turn something you’re passionate about into a full-blown, money-making business that helps people lead better lives.