Lindsey Harrod’s approach to being a fitness influencer is straightforward yet incredibly effective: create knowledge-based, credible, and relatable content that helps her audience stay active and get in shape, even from the comfort of their homes.
With over 213,000 followers on social media, the model-turned-fitness trainer has built a successful career by sharing workout tutorials and motivational content online. Since making the leap to being a fitness influencer, she’s been able to generate multiple income streams — from landing brand partnerships, to making bank with her workout subscription and app, where she teaches livestream classes every week.
We spoke with Harrod about how she turned her passion into a thriving business. Read on to learn what prompted her to create her own subscription program, how she establishes credibility in the fitness space, and her top tips for aspiring fitness creators.
How did you start creating content and begin your influencer career?
I began creating wellness content on a personal level to share my journey and experience. Fitness and wellness have always been my passion, so creating content based around the two [topics] came naturally to me.
I was going through a career change from being a model to a trainer when I really began to share my fitness content more. I made this transition because the modeling industry left me in a very dark headspace. So this was a way for me to share my journey and hold myself accountable, and I discovered myself and true health again.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
A typical work day for me starts at 6:30 a.m. I wake up and spend an hour programming my class for the day, creating my playlist, and setting up the studio. Then, I teach my livestream class every morning from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. After class, I upload the class to my app/platform, and spend an hour or two answering emails and doing admin work.
I spend the rest of my day creating content for Instagram, TikTok, LTK (affiliate platform), and Pinterest. They all require different styles and types of content, so it usually takes me all day to plan creative concepts, shoot, and edit.
I try to wrap up my work day by 7 p.m. Then, I spend an hour engaging with my community on social media.
At what point did being an influencer start generating income for you?
I started to make income pretty early on in my career, about a year in. I’m a very visual person, and I put a lot of time and energy into my content, so I think brands were able to recognize and appreciate my creativity and originality early on. I also firmly believe in the content I create and the value it adds, so I never had an issue asking to be compensated fairly for the work I was putting in and creating.
What inspired you to create your own fitness subscription? What was the process like?
After essentially having no choice but to take my business virtual in 2020 due to [the COVID-19] lockdown, I quickly saw the value and need in the virtual space and began game-planning a way to launch a subscription right away.
At first, I was teaching free classes via Instagram Live during lockdown. I offered classes 6 days a week completely free for 6 months straight, because I wanted to offer a healthy outlet to people and connect with others during a trying time.
Once I realized I could make a lucrative business model, I pivoted to a basic online scheduling system, created a website that integrated to it, and launched that to start. It wasn’t the most seamless process at first, but as the virtual fitness space began to grow, newer platforms became available that better served and suited my platform, and I was able to transition to those. I now run my platform and app through a platform called arketa that’s built to specifically serve virtual trainers needs.
What’s something most people may not know about creating a fitness subscription? Was it challenging to get started?
There are a lot of integrations needed on the backend to make everything run seamlessly and in an automated way. To name a few: Zoom integration; Stripe and PayPal integration for payment processing and refunds; Dropbox integration for video hosting; automated emails for class sign-ups, class reminders, account notifications, etc. It’s a lot of work to get it all set up at first, but once you have done it, it’s mostly smooth sailing from there.
I would also highly recommend hiring a certified public accountant (CPA) to help with taxes from the income generated, as it is very challenging to navigate on your own and feel secure financially.
Besides your fitness subscription, how else have you been able to generate income as a fitness Influencer?
What are your top tips for converting a follower to a customer?
My top tip for converting a follower to a customer is engagement. Get to know your community. Chat with them. Make them feel like you are their best friend and someone they can relate to and rely on. Community is everything to me, and I am deeply connected to mine. Don’t just be a face behind a screen, build a relationship with your audience.
How have you been able to establish credibility in the fitness creator space?
The best way to establish credibility in the fitness space is to be properly educated on what you are offering. I have eight different certifications, ranging from pilates, reformer, Megaformer, strength training, HIIT, rowing, pre/post natal, etc.
I see a lot of people on social media who have no proper training or education in the field offering workouts and subscriptions. And truthfully, that is scary to me, because you are dealing with people’s bodies. I take the safety of my clients’ bodies very seriously.
Show your audience that you are educated and [credible], then use your knowledge to educate them. Don’t just post workouts — explain why and how that workout is effective and what it is helping someone accomplish. The more you can educate people, the better.
What are your top tips for aspiring fitness creators looking to break into the space?
1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
I had so many mentors along my journey when I first started out, and that helped me tremendously. Especially when it came to teaching, I was always asking for feedback. And I was eager to learn and grow to be a better trainer.
Reach out to other creators and ask specific questions, not just how they got started. Show that you are taking initiative yourself and not just seeking a handout. Some will be receptive, some won’t — that’s life. But the ones who will be [willing to help] will likely have great insight and encouragement to offer you.
2. Show your personality
Credibility always comes first, but your personality is what will keep people coming back. Release self-doubt and just be your authentic self. Don’t try to replicate other trainers’ personalities — people can see right through that. Be confident in who you are and what you have to offer.
3. Content is king — create as much content as possible
Play around with different content formats to see what does well and what doesn’t. Don’t get discouraged when things fail — it’s going to happen and that’s all part of the process. As long as you love what you do and stay consistent, the reward will follow.
Any final advice for anyone wanting to become a fitness Influencer?
Do not to compare yourself to other people in the space. Their journey is different from yours, and their story is unique to them. It may seem like others had easier success. However, I can guarantee you they worked very hard to get where they are. Be inspired by them rather than discouraged. Stay in your lane. Create content that feeds your soul and lights you up, and let your authentic self shine through.