How to cash in on your talent or passion (And retaining sanity doing it)


One of my BEST friends, Sam, recently entered his 3rd bodybuilding competition, and won the 2nd top spot locally, in the Overall Men’s Category( which is the toughest category, by the way)

He is always complaining of the need for more cash for his bodybuilding lifestyle, and is going back to school in June, pursuing an arts degree so he can teach in a local school by 2014.

All along, his services for personal training was a mere 30-40 dollars(Singapore dollars, mind you!) per session, barely enough to make ends meet. So when I heard about his interest to take his career to the next level, I jumped and told him there was so MUCH more he could do to monetize his passions.

Sam’s business is great because his business idea falls right smack in the centre of my Business Viability Venn Diagram. Please refer to below picture (Sorry, i did it hastily using my MS Paint program, i usually outsource it to my Romanian and Filipino freelancers)

Sam’s personal training fulfills the entire 3 criteria

  • Market demands product/service
  • Market can be monetized
  • Business matches owner’s passion

Let’s see why it is pertinent that a business fulfill all criteria

Firstly, if there is demand for his service and market can be monetized, but the owner is not passionate about his job, it will clearly show in his ability to manage the business. Also, Sam would feel darn horrible about having to wake up each day to go to work.

Secondly, if there is demand and passion, but market doesn’t have the capacity to pay him well, then it is self-explanatory. That is akin to running an expensive hobby!

Thirdly, if there is passion involved and market can pay well, but there is no demand, Sam will be catering to an ultra-niche market, much akin to Eskimos seeking to buy ice or Saharans craving more sand.

And we all know Eskimos can do with less ice and Saharans, less sand!

Since Sam’s business idea is viable, I decided to go full steam ahead to assist him in running his business.

Here is the semi-detailed marketing plan i have laid out for him


Sam will stray from his usual 30+ dollars per session and instead, charge 65-80 sgd per session. Why? Sam, having won several competitions and having great competition pics to boot can simply demand higher pricing, as his perceived value positively correlates to his physical shape and wins in the bodybuilding arena. If he tries to differentiate on price, his branding as a premium service provider will be affected, and he will definitely be outpriced by other over-eager providers.

There is a saying in marketing circles- Don’t differentiate on price, because there will always be fools willing to go out of business earlier than you!

2) Free 1 session coaching


That was the first comment he made when i suggested the 1st free session. He feared that freeloaders would request free sessions, never to be heard of again after the session. Well, there will always be such people around, but for every 1 of these freeloaders, there will be 7 or 8 genuinely interested individuals looking to shape their physiques in time for their wedding or New Year!

With the first free session, Sam will be able put his foot in the door, so to speak, and blow the prospects away with his ability to coach others. Without this initial session, Sam is hardly differentiated from other coaches.

3) Private Label Makeup for Men

Errrrrr… What does this have to do with bodybuilding? Well, it just happens that the gymming community here locally happens to have its fair share of vain men who also steal their sister’s and girlfriend’s makeup foundation or concealers. Go Google make up for men. Other than a handful of pathetic makeup sticks that come in 3 woeful colors, there is nothing more for the men market. Why not create your own private label of makeup for men? This site offers such services

Private Label means that you can buy the makeup desired, but put your brand on it instead, improving the perceived value of the product and sell it as your own.

4)Bodybuilding Tees

Ever seen those ego-driven bodybuilding tees with the words “HOUSE OF PAIN” or “HEAVY METAL KILLS” etc? Well, Sam happens to be a great artist to boot! He draws animals with huge muscles, and call his apparel line “Animal Attitude”

He offers muscular sharks, bulls, Stingrays, and so on for bodybuilding enthusiasts. In our business trip together at the end of April 2010 in Jakarta, we will be sourcing for cheaper shirts here. I wonder why he chose not to stick to Homo Sapiens instead. Are we less “Animal” now?:)

5)Upselling with supplements

Sam is in the perfect position to advise his trainees on supplementation because them hiring him already signals that they see him as an authority in health and fitness. Why not leverage on that? We will be creating our own private label line of supplements and offering them to his clients and the open market as well.

6)Continuity programs

Personal training sessions rarely exceed 20 sessions because trainees always want a fresh breath of ait when it comes to trainers. That is fine, but in 2010, Sam will be offering a nutrition and diet program for those interested to lose weight or compete in the next competitions to come. This will extend Sam’s contact with the clients and maximise the revenue earned.

7)Personal branding for Sam

I am a STRONG advocate for personal branding. Branding oneself makes him or her more memorable to prospects, more likeable, and creates a higher perception of value to the buyer.

Similar to the website, Sam will also brand himself using the FST7 training program popularised by Hany Rambod.

In summary, I wish Sam nothing but the best in 2010 and beyond. I hope he realises his wish to represent Singapore in the 2014 Asian Games.

Ok kid, cut down on the junk, amp up the gym activity and see you on the other side! (the winning side, we both hope)