Why Your Business Can’t “Just Go Back to Normal”

Cv19 is teaching us more than how often we should be washing our hands. This time is revealing to you where you’ve been building your business on a shaky foundation. Sure, you might miss and wish you could “go back to normal” but was that really working out for you? If it was then you’re not someone who is worried during this time if you’ll survive. But, after reading the many emails and dm’s over the last two months what I’ve seen is many teachers and studio owners walking a fine line of being in business and not. And, this pandemic is affecting more than just our health and way of life. It’s truly affecting many teachers and studio owner’s future livelihood. And, sure, you can sit back and lament over all that you’re losing or you can read on and see why it is good that you have this opportunity.

Now is the time to be evaluating these areas of your business:

  1. Your Prices: If you are not sitting there with the runway to get through two to three months of low to no work then it’s worth looking back at the prices, sessions and packages you were offering. Do you know your lowest dollar amount you can work for and make your living? My AGENCY members (and next week my AGENCY MINI members) know how to figure out what they need to be charging to make the money they want to make. And, while EVERYONE has been affected by this virus they are able to still charge their rates and make close to what they were making before.
  2. Your Offerings: let’s get honest, it’s not going to be anytime soon that equipment classes and even big mat classes will be allowed. And, even if where you live they are allowed whose to say people will feel safe coming. Now is the time to explore what classes, offerings, packages and memberships were actually serving your business and which ones were not.
  3. Your Schedule: very few teachers out there were working their ideal schedule. Unless you had a hard set schedule to work around like many parents or people who teach as their side gig you were likely working 6-7 days a week with classes and sessions sprinkled throughout the day. Leaving you with little time to do anything that propelled your business forward. Or time to do your sessions, self-care routine etc. Do you really want to go back to a time where you are overworking but being underpaid?
  4.  Your website and social media: when times are “good” we tend to let things go. Or, just continue to do what we think is working but rarely take the time to evaluate it. When is the last time you updated the pictures on your website? Are you attracting your ideal client or still trying to talk to everyone? Are you posting pics on social to attract people to classes or are you taking the time to serve them? Talk to them and engage with them? Or, worse, are you scrolling and leaving social media feeling like a failure, imposter or like you’re not able to compete with the other teachers out there? Now is the time to revamp who you want to be talking to and how you want to talk to them. This pause is exactly what you need to reset!
  5. Your vision: When’s the last time you took the time to sit with your vision? When was the last time you reviewed it? Who is in it? Where you live? If you don’t know why you’re doing what you’re doing then it makes it really freaking hard to get up and go for it. In fact, it makes it really hard to know who to say ‘no’ to. I am a massive fan of vision setting and filtering all decisions through them. Its times like these when you feel you’re at the bottom or getting close that sitting with your vision is the most important. It’s how we know which way to go! Here’s a podcast where I talk about vision setting.
  6. Get honest: Was your life really what you dreamed of before this? Look, I loved my life before this but that doesn’t mean I want it back. There was some things in my work schedule I wanted to get rid of. And, there were things I was doing in my life that I liked but I didn’t feel like they were serving me. So, sure I hate that this is happening to us all. People are getting sick and dying. Pilates studios and other small businesses are suffering so much. Many will close. But, we cannot go back. You know that before this your business needed some tweaking. You’ve been given the time to make those tweaks happen. Plus you can blame all of it on CV19.

Look, my friend, this time is beyond rough, its extremely sad, we are not even close to be through it. But, if you’re sitting there counting the days until you can reopen without taking inventory and making the changes in your business now you won’t survive the up’s and downs to come. This reentry to life is not going to be “back to normal.” There will be some services your space can offer and others you cannot. If you’re not taking the time to see how you can creatively serve your clients, your ideal clients, and proactively make changes to your business you will feel the effects of this longer than others. But, if you are taking the time to evaluate everything and making those changes you can go through this and end up with multiple offerings that allow your business to be nimble and move with this crazy, unprecedented, and pretty freaking scary time.

So, what are you going to use this time to do in our business?

xx~LL

PS You don’t need to do this alone. And in fact, you shouldn’t. Brad and I brought back our raved about AGENCY MINI sooner than we had planned to help teachers and studio owners thrive their way through CV19. Get 7 days of business coaching, community, and strategical actions! Sign up here before we close the doors on May 10th.

 

8 Questions to Answer Before Creating a New Offering or Service

Creating income multiple income streams is essential in most businesses no matter the market you’re in. But, right now, during the time of CV-19, if you already had multiple revenue streams you might not be in as bad a position as those who had only one or maybe two income streams that might not be viable during this time. For example, if you made an income teaching private clients in their home and now in a “shelter at home” world you can’t go to their homes you likely lost all or a huge chunk of that income stream. But, if you had other income streams or if you can create other income streams you will be in a better position during and after this CV19 world. But, how do you know what those streams of income should be?

  1. What are people asking you for?
  2. How much could you make by answering this question/need?
  3. Do you need to hire, buy, obtain any other products, services, waivers, property or skill to do this?
  4. What do you think you could charge for this offering/product/solution?
  5. How many people do you know for sure would buy this?
  6. How much time do you think it will take you to create this income stream and keep it going? (then add more).
  7. Do you want to do this?
  8. When you look at your future is this product/service/solution in it?

I have a lot of ideas on a daily basis. I often say my superpower is ideas. I am an ideas machine. But, not every idea I have is a good one. And, even if it is the barrier or cost to enter and the amount of time it would require of me may not make that idea one that works for me, my business or my future vision.

My husband and I wanted to have a podcast years ago around helping people find their perfect mate. We wanted to share our story and other people’s stories from meeting to marriage and beyond to inspire people to see that there isn’t a perfect way to meet your mate. But, we couldn’t figure out how we were going to make the money on it. We knew that sponsors would come in the future. So, were we ok with doing at least one season without a sponsor?

And, then, if we answered the questions above-

Were people asking us for this? Yes.

How much could we make by answering this call to action? No idea yet.

Did we need to hire people? Not necessarily. We had the skills and tools to record, edit and upload.

How much could we charge? podcasts are free to listen but you can charge for ads based on people who listen…still no idea what that amount could be.

How many people would for sure listen? Our family and friends.

How much time would this take us? Season 1 12 episodes, 1 hour each, plus the time to write and edit. Looking at least 24 hours to put together.

Do we want to do this? yes, but, it would take us away from other projects.

Is this in our future? hmmm. maybe.

Do you see how this idea while answering a lot of people’s curiosity and questions isn’t likely to bring us an income in the near future? Now, if it took off who knows maybe we could have had a tv deal, a reality tv show…I mean the sky is the limit. But, the cost to enter was a lot of our time. And, if we think about time as money it wasn’t exactly the best project to take on in place of another one.

As you think creatively about different things you can do for you, your current clients, people you know, first you must make sure people are looking for that. Are you solving a problem? And then, how will you get paid? How much time will it take you? Are you better off using that time to do something else?

The devils advocate to multiple streams of income is, could you instead do a bit more of what you’re doing and instead of filling up your other hours of the day with more work what if you enjoyed some time doing nothing?

If you were teaching in people’s homes and now you can’t can you teach them virtually for the time being? Invite the clients you already have to take and also to let their friends know they can take. Maybe, when you’re back in homes again, you can maintain their sessions when they travel or you travel because they are used to virtual? Maybe you end up with clients from all over and you teach in person and online?

Sometimes multiple income streams appear on their own by you doing what you do best!

If you’re struggling to decide if you should be filming content, where to host it, post it? Or, if you trying to figure out your pricing in this virtual world please check out my blog on income streams here and on teaching virtually here.

I know this is a scary time. I know you’re trying to figure out how to make a living during this chaos. Or even post this chaos depending one when you read this. But, please know that your greatest strengths and your future dreams are the best filters. And, making decisions in a reactionary or fear-based state might have you wasting a lot of time and resources aka money on projects that are not best for your business.

So, yes to having multiple offerings or income streams if you can find ones that allow you to get closer to where you want to be.

xx~LL

Tips for Navigating a Virtual Teaching Business

It’s been one week since my studio has been closed indefinitely but it’s been several years that I have been teaching virtually so except the lack of times my door opens my work week has felt slightly “normal.” But, that might not be the same for you. And, it’s ok to be freaking out, worried, scared, feel lost, depressed, and like the business, rug has been pulled out from under you. And, while virtual is an option, how do you make the switch? What does this mean price-wise? And, can you actually grow your business during this time? Let’s help you navigate what could be your “new normal.”

First, I truly believe this is a great opportunity for reinvention, creation, pause, and getting clear on what you want in your life and what you don’t. So, as you make the necessary changes and choices in your business please know that not everything you offered yesterday will be on the calendar during this unique period and it also might not come back when your doors reopen. And, that’s ok! Let’s talk about it.

Teaching Virtually

There are many options for incorporating this into your business. Brad and I went over all the platforms in our course “How to Teach Virtual Sessions and Classes.” The platform you use is going to be determined by what you are offering.

Many clients will go this route with you. And, some will not. It’s not personal. They are experiencing an insane amount of changes in their lives too. It’s imperative that you make their ability to continue a Pilates practice with you easy.

Determine when you will offer classes, sessions and contact your clients with how they can sign up for these sessions, attend them, and how to prepare for them. For more information on all that should be in these emails and prices please check out my course.

Make sure you’re covered to teach virtually! Yep, you gotta check with your insurer and your waivers.

Does teaching virtually mean discounting yourself, teaching for free on FB or IG? NOPE!

It’s essential that you think about how you want to be, who you want to be, how you want your business to show up when “this is all over.”

Nothing is ever going to be the same but that doesn’t mean it has to be worse! In fact, if you can get your virtual training going your existing clients can invite their friends and family. You could end up with more clients than you started this chaos with. And, you could end up keeping virtual sessions on your class schedule for these new clients to keep attending.

Now more than ever before people are looking for a trainer, classes and community. And, that won’t go away once they are let outside. In fact, they will value you more than ever! So, focus on who you are for, what you want to offer and how this helps them!

You and every Pilates instructor in the world is going through this at the same time. And, you might think you need to do your virtual sessions like someone else is. STOP. DON’T. You don’t know if how they are doing it is profitable, working or good.

Repeating myself here: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE DOING WHEN YOU’RE ALLOWED TO TEACH IRL AGAIN?

This is not the time to scramble, let the fear of having no income cause you to offer more free classes, or discount your product. This is the time to get clear about what you do offer. And, focus your efforts on getting existing clients to come on board and then bring their friends.

I know you’re worried. But, you gotta focus on how this is happening for you.

So, what times do you want to teach?

Who do you want to attend these offerings?

How will they sign up?

Pay?

How will you market it?

It’s a lot. All this happening at once. And, you may now have your kids at home on top of all of this. Take a moment to feel your feelings. Then determine your “new normal.” Create a calendar and inform your clients how you are here for them.

You can do this!

And, you are not alone.

My AGENCY members have been teaching virtually for one week (at the time of publishing) and it’s working! They are teaching, many of their clients are on board and they’ve all had wins they have been sharing. It’s beautiful, inspiring, and I love that they have each other to bounce ideas off of.

So, if you need support navigating your new business plan please checkout AGENCY, check out my course and if you need to schedule a call.

We can get you through this. I am confident that this whole thing can help us expand our reach.

I see you, I’m here for you and you are amazing.

xx~LL

 

What Changes Can You Make to Up-level Your Business

Your business changes all the time. Even if you don’t like change, the people who engage with your business and the businesses you use change. It’s important that you’re in charge of your business and how your clients, or for studio owners, employees/renters engage with it. If you find yourself complaining about something more than once it’s a sign that you need to make some changes in your business.

I love facing complaints head-on. I wrote about some of my favorite complaints in a recent blog post and I think it’s key for your business to grow to listen to your complaints, the clients and others to see where you can make changes. 

Side note: Just because clients or others in your business complain doesn’t mean you need to make changes. You can’t please everyone. But, sometimes a tweak here and there can make your inbox lighter!

Looking at your schedule what do you find yourself complaining about? Is there a time slot you dread teaching? A client that drains your energy?

Write down all the things that you wish were different in your business.

How long have you been compiling about these things?

What if you did change them? What could happen?

Take one complaint this week and try to make adjustments in your business to get to the other side of it.

If you’re struggling with how to ditch these complaints know you are not alone. It’s really hard to figure out what to do when you’re in it. Which is why I offer coaching calls and my online coaching group AGENCY. After you have written your list if you want a second set of eyes and some ideas on what to do next then let’s chat. Comment below with what changes you wish you could make or contact me here.

xx~LL

How to Prepare for a New Client

First impressions are important. And, when it comes to a new client engaging with you or your studio it’s even more integral. When someone comes in for their first class or session 60% of the decision to start a new fitness regimen is made. All you have to do is help them decide that it is you. Here are my tips for scheduling and teaching a new client.

  1. Make it easy for them: Is it clear on your site what to do next? How to schedule? What you offer?
  2. Tell them what to do: Don’t offer them all the times in the world you have or ask them when they want to get started. Train them from the beginning to schedule their life around Pilates with you.
  3. Have a “what to expect” email: Whether they sign up over the phone, email or via text be sure to send them an email that tells them your policies, what to expect, wear, park etc..
  4. Know their why.
  5. Forget about selling Pilates. They just need to trust that you’re the person who can help them.
  6. Follow up even if they said they don’t want to do Pilates. Send them a thank you note.
  7. Remember that their first package is still the courting process. Hold them accountable to their sessions, consistency and goals.
  8. Train them how to treat you and the studio. If your policies are broken you have to uphold them. It’s not a fun convo but it’s most important in the beginning.
  9. Don’t take things personally. Whether a client loves Pilates, doesn’t, late cancels or quits it’s not personal. Read the 4 agreements. You’re not for everyone and that is ok.
  10. Know when you want to teach, where and whom. It’s your business and you’ll get more clients that inspire you when you’re clear on these things. Not everyone is for you and that’s ok.

It’s easy to get caught up on selling Pilates or the training  to the new client. But, the truth is you are the guide. Your studio is the community. If you are clear on who you are for, what you offer it makes it easier for your future clients to decide on you too. And, then help them out by making sure your site, how you schedule them and prep them makes it easy for them to know you are the expert at what you do.

For more tips on first time clients check out this blog and this course. For coaching on converting first time clients for you or your studio contact me here.

xx~LL

Tips to Work Less, Make More and Options for Passive Income Streams

We are in the business of exchanging time for money – we teach a class or session and we are paid for our time. But what happens when we get sick or injured and can’t physically teach? What if we want to go on vacation? How do we save? How will we ever retire? If you’ve ever asked yourself any of these questions, you’re in good company! The most common questions my clients ask are always about money – how do I make more, how do I keep more of it, how I can work less and still earn money.

Lucky for you guys, this is my area of expertise! I’ve put together my top financial strategies and passive income earners for both studio owners and instructors. Ready to get to work? Keep reading below!

For Studio Owners

  1. Raise your rates: I recommend raising rates annually, $5-$10 for session or $15-$20/month. Inflation alone is going to drive your operations expense up 3% annually; you want to make sure you are keeping up with it. Clients expect a small annual increase and will be less likely to bat an eye over small, predictable, annual changes, than a massive increase out of the blue.
  2. Stick to the Late Cancel/No Show fees: You put these policies in place – enforce them! These fees won’t break the bank, but they will still account for a decent amount of income each month for the studio.
  3. Studio Use Fees for Inactive Times: When the studio isn’t being used for set classes or sessions, let someone else use it! Other trainers are always looking to rent space (more on that below), and brands are always looking to do photoshoots or host promotional events.

          If you’re interested in renting out studio space I recommend you 1) figure out available times for                    studio use and pricing for use, and 2) having your Rental Agreement with rates + terms ready to go                for when potential renters or partners approach you.

  1. Rent Space to Instructors: If you have space (or time) in your studio that you aren’t using, make it available for someone else to use! You can rent the space to an instructor, a massage therapist, a stretch therapist, movement specialist, the options are endless.
  2. Host Workshops: Your clients already love spending time with you and trust you; they’ll be more than thrilled to learn more from you. Each attendee will buy a ticket for admission. You can ask speakers to donate their time and brands to donate refreshments, products, and giveaways. The first workshop might take a bit of extra work to get the swing of things, but once you get the hang of scheduling, it’ll be an easy and profitable way to engage your community!
  3. Host Teacher Trainings: These are money makers for the instructors teaching the training and the studio hosting the training. If your studio has its own teaching method, put together a teacher training program. Spend 2-4 days teaching the method, and follow it up with hands-on learning opportunities such as instructor shadowing, mic practice, and mock classes. Even if you aren’t in the market to hire new instructors, many members and fitness-minded individuals will be interested in learning more about your method. The first training might take some work to put together, but once you have the formula down, it’s a repeatable, scalable and very profitable.

          If you are a studio that does NOT teach its own method, you can still be the host studio for a teacher              trainer. You might not make as much money, but you also have way less work to do. And workshop                hosts usually let you sit in on the workshop for free, so double win for you.

For Pilates Instructors:

  1. Keep track of ALL business expenses:   I mean everything – professional liability insurance, certifications, trainings, educational workshops or webinars, marketing materials, etc.  At the end of every year, you can write off these business expenses. More write-offs = less taxes!
  2. Ask for a raise or raise your rates: We can’t earn more money if we’re not willing to ask for more! Plain and simple. If you’ve been teaching at a studio or training clients for at least 6 months, it’s time to reassess your rates.

           If you teach at a studio – set a time to talk with your manager and the owner, go in with your stats                   (class attendance, reviews, client feedback) and propose a fair and reasonable raise. If they aren’t                   able to accommodate your request, where can they meet you? Additional employee perks? Can they               give you a timeline when they’d be willing to sit down again to discuss compensation?

 

           If you set your own rates as a private instructor, consider a reasonable increase ($5-$10 session), set             the price, and notify all clients in writing prior to their next sessions. And while you’re reaching out               to all of your clients you can remind them of your late cancel/no show policies and fees.

  1. Passive Income Streams Online: So many fit-pros are utilizing their online communities and social media to make extra money. I think it’s one of the easiest and accessible forms of passive income because you already have a captive audience who see you as an expert in your field.

         E-Books and Online Training Guides: If you are known for your workout posts or people are always               asking you how to workout smarter, put together an online training guide. Start small with a 4-week             guide offering workouts 3-4x week.

         Accountability Coaching: If you are organized and empathetic you would be an excellent                                  accountability coach to your clients for the other 23 hrs a day they aren’t training with you. You will              check-in daily to check their nutrition/meals for the day, prescribe workouts, and encourage them to            stay on track. Clients will retain you for a monthly fee and you will realize that you’re already doing                most of this work for them as their trainer anyways.

       Affiliate Partnerships: Brands are always looking to partner with influencers in health and wellness              field, and many pay instructors to promote their products in addition to gifting free or heavily                          discounted samples.

I approach brands that I already know, use and love and ask them if they have an affiliate program. Some brands will give me a discount, others will gift free products, others will give me a percentage of sales I drive their way. I look at my partnerships as 1) an opportunity to save money on goods I would already buy, or 2) an opportunity to make some extra cash raving about a brand I already love. However you look at it, they are wins for my wallet and my relationships!

I challenge every one of you to put ONE of these tips in action today! Start planning the conversation to get a raise. Brainstorm hosting workshops or teacher training at your studio. And join Lesley and me on April 3 as we dive deeper into these topics and answer any question you might have about financial planning, and owning your worth and value to give yourself the security and success you deserve!

Xx, D


Connect with Danielle Stead Blanton here. And, join us for this epic webinar that will help you take charge of your finances and get tips on passive income streams on April 3rd webinar replay will be available for one week. Join herexx~LL