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