Tim DiFrancesco of the Los Angeles Lakers w/Jordan Clarkson

Tim DiFrancesco of the Los Angeles Lakers w/Jordan Clarkson

Question I received: "Gary, I really want to get certified as a trainer. I've been lifting since high school and I'm thinking about quitting my job as a pharmacy tech. I really hate it and want to leave as soon as I get certified. I love basketball, so I definitely want to train mostly athletes." 

First off I told him it was great that he figured out what his passion was, but also that it would be a long road ahead with a huge pay cut. If he was happy taking a pay cut to become a trainer then by all means full steam ahead and I would be more than happy to give him resources to be the best trainer he could be. But if he had responsibilities and things to pay for, that he may be better off as a part time trainer initally on his days off to really see if he enjoyed training and working with others for a living.

As a pharmacy tech or any health field background, becoming certified as a trainer isn't a big stretch. The science part should come easy, but those experiences won't cover coaching people. It's easy to train your friend who is young and healthy, but what do you do with the former athlete who has a surgically repaired ACL or bum hip? What happens when you get a difficult client that doesn't seem to take your advice on proper nutrition?

I brought up the point that he's currently employed with a steady job, by leaving the comfort of that job to become his own boss to "train athletes" right out the gate; he would be in for a rude awakening. Some trainers believe that within a year they'll be working with high level athletes. The problem with that naive line of thinking is this:

You've worked with ZERO athletes, what makes you think a million dollar body is going to take a flyer on a rookie trainer? 
(hint: the answer is none)

If he had only mentioned he wished to train athletes in the future I wouldn't have come at him hard with the truth. I've had the opportunity to meet plenty of well intentioned people who like this individual, they quit their jobs to "follow their passion" only to fall flat on their face after going independent. Wishing to be your own boss and actually cultivating all the skills required to succeed are two completely different things.

I've learned this: 

You cannot live wishing to be an entrepreneur when your skill-set and mindset haven't been cultivated to be one

Remember when you're out there on your own, there are zero guidelines on what to do next and how to spend your time. For many the risk of the unknown and leaving something "steady" is not worth it and I would advise this person to seek a different JOB instead of taking a weekend course to change industries cold turkey. 

Some simply can't get organized enough to get a business off the ground. Other's aren't wired to think on a deeper level strategy-wise.  I used to think "what do I need to do? I want to work but I don't know what to do!" If you really don't have any clue what to do, go get a job. I mean there are so many resources and you still don't know what to do!? I.E: Google it! 

It got to the point where I would pester my wife with "so what should I do?" which is an asinine thought considering I was supposed to be my own boss.
(Note: I knew what to do, I was being lazy and didn't want to own up to doing the work)

Being your own boss is a skill too, one that you may not have been born with. You can still be your own boss but to temper expectations if you don't end up rising to the top of your industry. You'll earn 45K instead of 1 million dollars each year.

It boils down to being happy > everything else. 

Ultimately he wrote back and said thank you for my input and that he would be getting certified to start training part time and see if it might be something he wished to pursue full time. He mentioned it hadn't occurred to him that it would be THAT difficult getting in front of ONE professional athlete. I gave him some more resources, said he should try his hand at  working at the high school level and left it off with an open invite anytime he was in Los Angeles to drop on by and I would love to host him for an hour at the gym.

Ball is life...until you have to pay your bills.