Tips for Getting New Clients and Rebuilding Right Now

Whether your studio has opened or not doesn’t mean you cannot be growing your business. Let me say that again, it does not matter if your physical studio space doors are open. You can still be growing your business right now. Four months into this pandemic I have seen more teachers and studios in all fitness modalities pivot, grow, change their offerings, raise their rates, and more. This can be you! And I know some of you are hanging your hat on your studio doors being able to open whether you have a brick and mortar or home studio. But, waiting until that moment happens will be fairly anti-climatic because what those who have opened can tell you is when you do get to “reopen” you’re looking at maybe 25% of your original client base. And, I know I don’t have to tell you that 25% is not enough. It’s not growth. So, how do you rebuild, get new clients, and more than survive this time?

Before I go into these tips I need you to promise yourself that you will have an open mind and be willing to try at least one of these things. And more than once. You likely couldn’t do the Teaser on the first try but you didn’t let that stop you. So, if you get a ‘no’ in your business or don’t get the results you’re expecting day one or after the first attempt, you need to remember how long it took you to do the Teaser. AND, I bet you know now that had you done more practice sooner and often you could have seen your Teaser improvements faster. This is not the time to wait and see. This is the time to put your foot on the gas, be brave AF, and not take no for an answer. Are you ready?

  1. Who do you know who would like ‘this?’ Notice that I didn’t say ‘do you know anyone who would like my classes?’ I said, “WHO DO YOU KNOW…” Our brains do not like open loops. And they don’t need to answer it right then. And, you need to ask them again and again. And who are the people you are asking? The 25 % or 10% or 40% of your clients who are joining you for zoom or in your studio now. These people LOVE you! They are braving these weird times and showing up for you now. Ask them. Contact the clients who you’ve not seen since March. I know you’ve already contacted them a couple or few times. Do it again. Remember, their life was upended too. They also are trying to navigate these times. Be patient but be consistent. Be personal. Be human. But, if you want to remain open be persistent. Who will you ask today “who do they know” that could use your teaching?
  2. What other businesses share the same clients? These businesses are in the same place you are. I don’t care what you think you see on IG. They are also trying to find creative ways to get clients to buy their dresses, their coffee their pies. Two minds are better than one as we know. So, how can you all team up and create a virtual or socially distanced day, event, summit etc that allows them to have something exciting for their people to look forward to attending and attend? And, maybe there is some bonus for those who get their friends to sign up.
  3. Don’t be so quick to ditch virtual.  I know so many teachers and clients are not loving the virtual teaching options. BUT, remember, your walls are not limited virtually AND people can attend from all over the world. I started taking a class that is in Houston because I saw my friends taking it. Even though their studio has reopened they’ve kept us, virtual takers, online and they now have double the students in a class and that virtual option has no limits.
  4. Your discounts and sales are not what gets you new clients. I know you think you need to offer a sale to get people to try you out. But, you’re not making dresses where the markup is 2-5x and you have the margins to do that. A dress doesn’t even help people past the time they wore the dress. You are helping people feel better in their skin, stronger in their muscles, and be able to pick up a 6-gallon jug of water on their own at Costco because now they can’t have someone help them. I literally just got that info from one of my online students. I mean, she doesn’t care if I have a sale or not she just wants me to keep showing up so she can remain independent! You do that for people. Never discount that gifts that give beyond the Mat, Reformer or studio. People are not searching google for prices of classes in their area. They are searching for the person/studio who is soo enthusiastic, confident and consistently showing up to help them.
  5. People over Product. Looking back on what you post, market, “advertise” notice how often you are talking about the people you help vs the product you offer. What I see often is that teachers and studios are talking about their product or the sale on their product and not the people they help. I know you help people. But, your future people DON’T. So, be obsessed with how you help people and they will see your enthusiasm (#4) and buy from you because they want to feel like those people you’ve already helped.
  6. Pivot. Look, you may be known for your 12 person classes and now people are not feeling super safe in 12 person classes. So, revamp your offerings, create Semi-Privates, and change your prices to reflect that. Yes, you can make the same with 3-4 people as 12 people. Does that mean you have to find new clients…yep probably, but remember those who used to come to your class know how awesome you are. And you need to tell them why for now, fewer people is the best thing for them. Used to teach Privates but now you need to get more clients what the clients that still come to see you can bring their partners, roommates, and family members? They are already living together so coming to work out together is same same. And, they each can pay a little less than a private, you make more in that hour than you did when it was a one-on-one and you don’t need to teach the same amount of hours to make the same or more amount of money.
  7. Shift your perspective!!! If you are seeing and talking about how many studios are closing, if you are focusing on what other studios are selling or how many local businesses are closing you will see more and more of that and your brain will likely think “if they can’t make it how can I?” Or, “everyone is struggling so I’m gonna have to struggle too.” WRONG. You can absolutely thrive during and after this time. It requires you to believe in yourself. You to pour into people how you help them. You to show up every day and show people how you are what they should be investing in.

My friend, I’m not in denial that studios and businesses will close. But, I do believe that more people will have stronger, better businesses because of this time we are in. You may have to get more creative than ever before. But, for those who believe and take action the path will reveal itself, the clients will appear and the growth will happen. I know. I have seen it every day during this time with those in my AGENCY community. What will you do today to take action and grow your business?

 

xx~LL

How to Choose the Right Scheduling Platform For Your Business

One of the top questions I have seen in the last month is “what scheduling platform should I use?” Or, a variation of “I want to switch from my scheduling system which one do you use?” Whether it is the cost that is causing you to consider a new platform or your business has changed and the one you use no longer serves you, or, you’ve realized you lose too much precious time scheduling/rescheduling clients via text and keeping track of packages on our notes, picking the right platform for you is going to take research. Yep, I know, you probably came here for the answer to which platform you should pick. But, I promise, below I will give you tips to choose the best platform for your business. Ready to have a scheduling tool that literally grows you business by giving you time and options? Here we go!

First, write down EVERYTHING you want your business to do. One thing that will drive you nuts is if you choose a program based on price and what you do this month. But, don’t consider where you want your business to be next year. I know, why pay for something you’re not using yet. But, most programs allow you to add things on too. So consider EVERYTHING! Do you want to have merch, workshops, classes, privates, zoom? What about it talking to your mail server? I want you to dream big here! If you’ve been in business for a while you might already know the answers to this question. But, if you’re at a pivot point or starting out on your own think of this like you’re back in dating life and you’re dreaming up your perfect match. What qualities matter the most to you? What are “must-haves” and “nice to have.”

Second, what don’t you like about the platform, program or system you are using? If you’re using your calendar and your notes on your phone (yes we def gotta fix that) but what about this is a waste of your time? Btw, YES THIS IS A HUGE WASTE OF YOUR TIME! But, what would you like it to do for you? The tool and systems you use should allow you to have more time to do the things that bring you joy or make you money. Literally write down everything that you dislike so you can make sure you don’t swap and do all the work and end up with the same complaints.

Third, now you can ask people “why do you like the scheduling tool you use?” Or, “what platform do you use and what are the pros and cons?” Note, I did not say ask people “what program do you use?” I also made this third for a reason. If you go and ask people what they use and the pros and cons of it before you make your lists your idea of who they are, how well their business is doing, the story you tell yourself about them will sway you to like one program over another. Its just human nature.

So, do the work to list out what you love, need, deal-breakers, and makers. Then get some feedback with the why behind it. And then fourth, start contacting these service providers and get on the phone with them. Yep, old school. Tell them what you want, need and DEF DO NOT WANT. And they’ll try to prove themselves to you. And, because you’ve got your list you can’t be swayed by charm and deals.

Your time is money. Literally every minute. So, anything your platform doesn’t do that you do on a daily basis is costing you money now and in the future. Because it takes up brain space. And wasted brain space means time lost creating future money-making ideas.

And, before you go all in and let your clients in on it have a friend or family member try to sign up for all the things. Not you. Someone who doesn’t know what is supposed to happen when they sign up for a new session. A friend or family member who is similar to your clientele signing up for a package or canceling a session. See where they struggle so that when you go to train your current clients on the switch its a smooth-er transition (no one likes change but that should not stop you). Afterward, if you’re like YASS this is it. Then do the switch. Yes, it will be work. Yes, it will be frustrating. And yes it will take time. But if it solves all your problems then it should actually give you time and energy back!

Please do this sooner than later. Trust me when you are on the other side of this issue you’ll be like “why did I wait so long?!”

What are you looking for in a platform?

xx~LL

PS when you’re ready to talk dream work schedule (yes it exists) check out this course here and my blog here on making sure your schedule has your future goals in your present day.

Can You Make Money Teaching Pilates and Give Back?

The simplest answer is yes. Yes, you can make money and give back. For-Profit For-Cause businesses are not a new thing. But, they have become more popular as more and more small businesses are wanting to not just make money but impact the communities around them. So how can your Pilates or Fitness business make the money you want to make and give back to others? And, how can you have offerings that not only pay for the overhead you have, the equipment, continuing education, etc and also be affordable for those in your community who need it? Pilates is seen as very expensive. And, these days most fitness options are. Spin classes, treadmill classes etc all require expensive equipment. Teacher training is not cheap nor are they easy to get through. It is ok to need to charge your worth. But, I know you are wanting to also bring Pilates to more people. So, let’s talk about some of the easiest ways you can do that.

First, before we can get into the options its important that you know how much your hourly rate is. Without this knowledge not only may you not be charging enough to keep your lights on but it will make it impossible to give back to others. So, if you haven’t done this formula with me before please get out your calculator:

  • How much do you want to gross in a year?
  • How many weeks will you work (teach) in a year?
  • How many days a week?
  • How many hours in a day?

Take your gross income and divide it by the number of weeks, then the number of days then the number of hours and you get a number. That number is the lowest amount you can charge to make your gross income goals.

Now that we have this number its easy to figure out how we can give back.

You can give back as a simple donation to a local charity. For example, OPC was able to start giving a % of our weekly member subscriptions to Lunch on Me. We, unfortunately, we didn’t build that into the business model from the get-go. So as soon as we were able to hit a threshold we were able to add this in. However, you can take your hourly rate and add $1, $5, $10 to that and promote that x amount of every session or class goes to “insert charity here.” Your clients and members will love that for every session they do they are part of that donation. And, they’re less likely to hassle you on price increases and late cancel policies because they’d be taking away from that charity.

If you go this route again, set your prices, packages, memberships with the donation in mind. This          way it’s built into the price and update your clients and members every quarter or even every month            how much was given. If the charity has updates on who that money went to etc. You’ll truly build a                community around your cause.

Have a Special Community Class on the Schedule. For this option again you want to go back to your formula and make sure that your rates for all your teaching hours cover this community class. For example if you want to offer a class each week to a special population for say $10/person or even “pay what you can.” That money can be donated to a charity that supports that population of people. The nominal fee can hold them accountable for showing up. And, yes, this can also be free. But then all your other teaching hours can subsidize this hour. So, if your rate is $80 and you only want to teach 15 hours a week. Then the 14 hours you are paid for by clients can be $86. Not only will this allow you to teach the number of hours you want. But, it also helps hold you accountable for filling those other 14 paid hours so you can offer this session.

Side note: Filling these community classes will take more than just putting them on a schedule and seeing people come. You’ll need to do the same kind of marketing to let people in the population you are hoping to support/reach hear about it.

Go into a community and teach a class. This is similar to the previous option. Your paid teaching hours would subsidize this option. And then you would travel to a community center, charity headquarters, school, etc. There are organizations that are already doing this and you can do some research to see how you can get involved. And, if teaching people who may not be able to afford Pilates is on your heart this option should be front and center. Yes, its less convenient for you. But, where your studio or class is may not be affordable for them to get to. Its truly important to consider meeting people where they are just like Pilates does.

Consider multi-level, multi apparatus, circuit-style classes. I love this option and have been doing it for a long time. It allows even the smallest of studios to have classes and have an offering that is affordable without lowering your hourly rate. You can learn more about this in this course. But essentially, you would channel Joe’s old studio in a sense. Clients would still come at a set time. But they each would have their own workout and you would help them when they need it. This way instead of only teaching Privates or duets at a rate that people might not be able to afford you can have three or four people working out at the same time. Their cost is less but you make your hourly rate or more.

This is literally just the beginning and hopefully gets your juices flowing. Please keep in mind that there are many reasons why someone cannot come to your studio that is not just money. So, if you’re really wanting to reach a community do the research to see how you can best support them. But, its also ok to have a profitable business. And you can truly give back and grow so that you not only pay yourself a wage but you help support the community you’re in as well.

You are the only person who can teach the way you teach to the people you teach. So your people need you to be able to pay your bills so you can continue to support them. Do the formula, get creative with your offerings, and do your homework to help support those who are on your heart.

xx~LL

 

Tips for Becoming Known Online

When you first started teaching you may not have had the goal of being known online. In fact, it’s only pretty recent that almost ANYONE could have their own digital products and be like the fitness dvd mavens anywhere in the world without being discovered by “as seen on tv.” But, now, due to social media, the growth and demand of online platforms and CV19 putting most of us out of our studios and offices and into our home-work and workout spaces online you might be desiring to explore being known online. How do you do that though? Is it even possible to become known online since everyone is online? Is there room for you? And, should you do it? Well, let’s talk about it!

A few years ago I launched my course “Becoming Known.” It was a three-part series. The first was all about becoming known in your community. The second two had a lot to do with what you needed to do on your website to help support the in real life community work you were doing. All the tips in these courses still apply. And, much of them can be translated to becoming known online. Make sure you watch my course and check out Blogging and Vlogging as well as “The Client Journey.”  And then add in the tips below.

Let’s talk about what else you need to do to become known online.

  1. Who are you wanting to lead in the online world? I know you think you are for anyone but you’ll get lost in the social media channels and the online world if you try to be for everyone. All my online products that were not tailored to a specific audience fell on deaf ears. But, the moment I got specific about WHO the product was for they sold. I know it’s scary but in the beginning, especially you HAVE to get super clear on WHO you want to follow, like, and buy from you.
  2. What do they NEED? People buy what they need help with. They buy what helps them escape “pain.” Pain can be physical and literal or it can be something that makes them feel better about who they are and what they do. People buy what they need or what they feel they need. You need to know this answer so you can create products and offerings that help solve what’s on their mind.
  3. How do you help them? If you can’t articulate this then it’ll be pretty hard to get known. Because how you help your people is literally what you are going to get known for. And, you want to get as CLEAR as you can on this. Super specific. I know, it’s going to be hard. Truthfully you might not have the answer to this right now. When I first started AGENCY I didn’t have the full clarity about how we help people. But as I kept talking about it and building it the clarity came. So don’t be afraid to get started and try things out to get the words out of your head and online.
  4. Patience and Consistency. You are going to have to practice both of these because you won’t likely go “viral” overnight. And, if you did (yay) but sustaining that is tricky. It’s better to start where you are, get the clarity and consistency going so that your people help you become known because they are superfans and not lukewarm followers.
  5. Read Story Brand.
  6. Yes, you need a website.
  7. Pick a social platform and go all in! I’m often asked which one. Do the one you love and be consistent on it. People need to hear about you at least 7-17x before they will buy from you. So, consistency wins always.
  8. Be a whole human. I know you just want to talk about what you LOVE to talk about. But, your people nowadays want to know ALL about you. So be honest with them. Share your favorite foods, your family, and your routine.
  9. Pick your lane. Sure every idea has pretty much been done. But not by you. So, what uniqueness do you bring to the idea? And how can you show up in that space as you? What do you bring to the room? Go all in on that and then as you grow your products and offerings can grow.
  10. Time management. This is key! Most of us don’t have all the time in the world. Even during quarantine to spend on all the things to launch your online products. So, grab a timer. And time block how much you’ll spend on social, content creation, your life, your other job etc. When the timer goes off its time to move on.
  11. Remember your WHY. There are going to be days or weeks when you doubt what you are doing. If anyone likes it, wants it, cares about it. And, the motivation behind you wanting to become known online will be key to keeping you going when the “going gets tough.”
  12. Start where you are. I know you want to be known online but the people who know like and trust you in your community are not in a bubble. They have friends in far and away places. So, take those local superfans and have them help you get to where you want to go.

I can go on and on and I will in my coaching calls and AGENCY group and someday another course. But, until then please remember that everything that brought you to here will be a great foundation for where you want to grow. So, take what people say they LOVE about you, take your purpose for being on this planet and show people how its the key to what they are looking for. Be bold. Be brave. Show up! Consistently. And, try to have fun! It’s a journey my friends.

xx~LL

PS we are kicking off our AGENCY MINI program on July 29th AEST and in this 7-day program we can help you get your online knowness questions answered. Snag your spot here.

How to Quit a Client, Studio, Schedule and Make Your Leap

Feeling like you should downsize your studio, schedule or client list is normal. Desiring to work on your business instead of in your business should always be your goal. I get asked often “How did you go out on your own?” “How did you open your own studio?” “Why did you move your studio?” All these questions have one topic in common. “How do you make the leap?

The leap in your business is going to be scary. Let’s get that out of the way. But, the longer you avoid taking the leap that you need to make the harder it will be, and the worse it will feel. And also, the more likely you are to burn out and think about quitting teaching altogether.

So, if you are a teacher thinking about going out on your own keep reading. If you’re a studio owner wondering if you should downsize, upsize, go from having independent contractors to employees or moving your studio at home keep reading.

A leap can also be a switch, a shift, a change of plans. And yes people will wonder if you’re a bit crazy. Some people will not be shocked at all. And others will be inspired. Why? Because only you will know what is right for you. And you must teach the way you are called to teach. Oh, and that might change as you grow along the way. But, if you’re charging based on your goals and clear on your vision I promise that more leaps will be in your future and it gets easier to leap.

First ask yourself what you want for your future? Who is in it? Where do you live? What do you do each day? Pick a date in the future and get clarity around your day to day. This will be your filter. And, you’ll want to do this often. Because you’ll reach the date of the vision and you’ll need another future one.

Second, what in your business are you wanting to stop doing?

How much money does that bring you?

How much time is that?

Third, what is it that you want to be doing with that time? How much will you need to charge/work to replace the income of the thing you’re wanting to stop?

When you know how much you need to do/have to make the switch it becomes more real, more possible, and more tangible.

When I wanted to leave managing studios I figured out how much money I would be giving up when I let go of that job. I figured out how many hours of private clients that would be and the amount of time that would equal. I could replace that income I was getting in 30+ hours a week of work with 17 hours of privates. I figured I could add 8 hours to my current schedule but once those were full I would have to make the leap. Make the leap 9 hours shy of what I needed to replace the income. Yes, that was scary but I was about to gain 30 hours of time to go and find those other 9 hours of clients.

When I wanted to open my own personal studio I looked at how much I was paying in rent and then searched for a space that was close to my average rent. Yes, I had to buy my own equipment and take on the other bills for owning my own space. But, I saved on time spent figuring out if I could teach at this time or that time. I didn’t have to ask when I could film anymore and I could have days off instead of filming on days off because that was the only time that was available. Leap!

When CV19 happened and I lost all my workshops for 2020, my elderly clients passed on virtual I did what I told you above. I figured out how much money that was. I wrote down all the things I LOVE to do when I am working. I figured in how much of the things I loved doing I needed to remake that revenue. And then I leapt.

If you are wanting to quit teaching mornings, classes, running a studio or want to open your own you can! Wherever you are in this world, whatever your dream you will have to make a leap. And, it won’t be easy. But, you can do it smartly and have more confidence when you go and do it. Even if there are those people that question the leap you are making.

So, whatever you are thinking of doing there is a way to build a bridge to allow you space to successfully leap. What leap are you wanting to make?

xx~LL

Why You Need a Reopening Plan Too

As communities all over the world begin to open up we are all taking the time to get to know more about what we can and cannot do in our businesses than probably EVER before. And, while I know you are eager to get back to your studio, clients, and figuring out how to have classes I think it is super imperative that YOU yourself have a reopening plan. Have you taken the time to make sure you are keeping the parts of quarantine that you loved and not bringing in parts of your old life that you didn’t enjoy?

  1. Your Schedule: Now is the time to truly dial this in. If you have found that you no longer want to teach mornings as you plan your reopen how can you keep your mornings for you? Do you have space in your day for your workout, marketing, meditation? You can blame all changes to the schedule on CV19. And, if you need to you can always add things back in but taking things away will be harder later than it is now. So, put your dream schedule together! Here is a course on how to fill it when you do.
  2. Your Offerings: If pre CV19 you were teaching classes but you prefer privates how can you reassess your offerings and only offer privates? Or, if you have been loving teaching virtual do you really need to go back into the studio? What about the size of the packages you offer? Do you need all of those? How can you make your life simpler and your business work for you?
  3. Your clients: Do you want all of them back? Yep, I said it. Sometimes we keep clients around because they have been with us for a long time. Or, they are sort of consistent. But, if they drain you to teach, or are always nagging you about prices, times, wanting to move their session around do you need to reopen with them?
  4. Your Self Care: This may be the MOST important thing I need to you plan and consider during this time. After talking with many teachers who have already been able to open one thing that they are finding is that yes there is excitement and gratitude but there is also fear, stress, and extra cleaning to do. So, while you may have taught 4-5 hours in a row before CV19 you may now feel tired or drained after just 3. As teachers we hold so much space for our clients already. This reentry includes even more. Go slower than you may think. Remember, you can always add things back in. But, give yourself space to see how you feel getting back into the studio.

Some tips for Self Care when you can’t do the normal self care rewards like massages, spa treatments etc:

  1. Make more time for meditation.
  2. Have a fun book to read
  3. Turn your phone off.
  4. Thera gun massages
  5. A buddy you can call and share how your day was without having to filter.
  6. A Routine!
  7. A therapist. Side note I think Therapy needs a rebranding. You can get one on Betterhelp that you can do a call or text as you need.
  8. Uplifting podcasts while going for a walk.
  9. Your regular practice.
  10. Eating healthy
  11. Crafting
  12. Cooking (not just for others but for fun)!
  13. Boundaries!
  14. Morning pages
  15. insert your favorite thing here

Self-care is not a reward for hitting a goal. It shouldn’t be at least. It is a total necessity. And, as you start to reopen and your clients come back and they are super excited to see you, bummed about the changes, and you have more cleaning and listening to do it is extremely necessary that YOU take the time to create your own reopen strategy. When you will work and when you won’t. Who you’ll teach and who you won’t. And what you truly want to be doing.

What will you make sure you put in your weekly schedule to ensure that you are taken care of?

xx~LL

 

Should You Charge Different Prices For Virtual or In-Person Sessions?

How to price your services is a question that has been asked since the dawn of the service industry. And the going advice is “look at what other people are doing and then charge the same or a little less or a little more.” Most often people charge a little less. Which is the wrong thing to do because it’s a race to the bottom. Who can charge the least amount someone will always win. But, you’ll likely be the one who loses. And then, because of CV19 every fitness, Pilates and Yoga instructor had to go virtual. And thus the imposter syndrome pricing began. Enter discounts or free sessions virtually and burnout. So, what should you charge for your services that were in-person and are now virtual?

The short answer is the same.

The long answer, you are not defined by the equipment that surrounds you. Your worth is not determined by how many Rerformers you have access to or which brand equipment you have. Your value comes from your knowledge and what you know doesn’t change based on your surroundings.

How much do you want to gross a year?

How many weeks a year will you work?

How many days a week will you teach?

How many hours in a day will you teach?

Take your gross annual desired income and divide it by the number of weeks you will work and divide that by the number of days in a week and the number of hours in a day. The answer is the lowest amount you can make in a teachable hour.

If you’re a studio owner how much do you want the studio to gross in a year? Divide that by how many weeks the studio is open and then the number of days it’s open and then the number of hours its open. The answer is the lowest amount the studio can make in an hour it’s open.

How much should you charge for virtual sessions? The same!

If your clients balk you be honest. For most of us, our bills didn’t change just because we are virtual. I still have to pay studio rent, utilities, internet etc. Even if in the future I get rid of my studio and stay 100% virtual I still have my continuing education, and bills to run my business from home.

You are a business. Not a charity!

It’s ok to make a profit from helping people feel better.

Do you need that repeated?

If I sound like I am on the pulpit I kind of feel like I am today. I just finished leading our webinar for our AGENCY MINI program which leads people to our AGENCY program that is an ongoing coaching group. And, this question kept coming up. How much should I charge? Even after we did the whole formula. I believe businesses can thrive during this time. I believe people are spending money. You don’t have to discount your already priced too low services. You need to find your people who will pay what you’re worth and value what you offer.

So, what is your lowest hourly rate?

Is that something you’re charging now?

Is it higher than what you’re charging now?

Do you need support for this?

You can check out my course on “how to raise your rates” and “talking to your ideal client.” And, if you want more ongoing support then check out AGENCY. It’s hard to do this business thing alone. You need a community that reminds you when you’re down how much you’re worth.

xx~LL

Short Cuts to Getting Clients, Getting Paid and Getting Known

Before when you were busy teaching, studying, running around from class to class, studio to studio or client to client it was easy to put off making that website, writing that blog or newsletter, and launching that new product or service. Now, you have time. So, with that excuse removed what is really keeping you from doing the thing you’ve been wanting to do? Let’s explore some short cuts to taking messy action and doing what you have wanted to do “when you have more time.”

Website: Look I am a massive fan of a good website. I absolutely believe you should have a website that allows you to take emails, schedule your clients, take the money!!! And really share your expertise. But, if you don’t have a website already and are in a pinch for cash to build it then here are some options:

  • A templated website like those you see on Squarespace etc.
  • Buy the URL and hire someone on Upwork or Fiverr to put your virtual class times, Venmo info, and a contact form.

Keep in mind these will be stopgaps but social media can only take you so far. Google cannot crawl your insta stories. You need a website. It needs to have key info so you can be found. But today with the support of contractor services like those on Upwork and even videos on YouTube you should make getting something online that you own priority!

And, for more info on what your website needs check out this course with a website developer who happens to be my husband but it will get you started with all the SEO you need to know.

But seriously, seriously, you need a website!

If you already have a website you’re congrats. Do a “walk through” of it and make sure its up to date with what you are offering now and what you want to be offering. 

Money: So you don’t have a scheduling system? No worries! I get it. They cost money and you might not be in a place to invest in that right now. Or, you might be needing to cancel yours but not sure how to take the money! Venmo, Cash App, Google, and Apple Pay, as well as the old go to Paypal and Stripe, are at your assistance.

(side note Venmo is not supposed to be used for businesses)

You can post about your virtual pop up and put your info for getting the money and then when they pay you can send them your zoom link! Yes, there are fees to some of these options. But, that’s something you factor into creating your prices. You are not a charity nor a hobbyist. Having a business means there are fees, taxes, and bills. And, that’s honestly ok! In fact, it will help you stand up for your worth because you have to make sure you have enough to cover your needs and the bills that come with it.

There’s no reason to make taking money complicated. If you’re sitting there trying to figure out how to let people’s friends take a class or session with you have them send you the money through one of these apps. Keep it simple!

Marketing: If you don’t talk about who you are and what you do people will not find you. Especially right now. There is a lot of noise out there. And, you can’t just post one time and then think “well no one signed up so just gonna quit.” Or, worse sulk and think you’re not good enough. NO! You have to tell people who you are and what you do 7-17x before they check you out. yes, that many!

Start with those who know and love you. Tell them what you are doing, why you’re excited, and who it’s for. Invite them and ask them to invite their friends. Ask them to share it with their friends via text or email. Seriously, get that old school. The people who already know and love you will do a way better job than the algorithm. As you teach them and get them excited snag their testimonials, ask them to post, get that “user-generated content” aka social proof.

Sure, we are more online than ever before but you don’t have to be getting peeps from all over the world to know you first. You start close to home and then allow the referrals to bring you out further and further.

People want to hear from their friends who they should be taking from. How can you get their friends to talk about you?

And, also be shameless. Seriously, talk about what you are doing more often than you think and then talk about it some more!

Tell stories! People love stories. How can you talk about why you rock with a story?

I’m gonna stop there because those are the 3 areas that everyone gets stuck and then says they couldn’t do x because they didn’t have y. Well, if you have a landing page with your offerings on it and are talking about your classes and sessions and able to take the money then you’ve got the basics covered. Then when you’re feeling like you have some money flowing in we gotta invest it back into your business so you can continue to grow.

Which one of these areas will you be starting with?

xx~LL

PS my AGENCY MINI program is back! May 11th-17th Brad and I are giving you 7 days of what AGENCY members get with coaching, webinars, a private group and a group coaching call. Get more info about it here. It’s $22 if you sign up before May 6th and the entire week is valued over $400. What are you waiting for?

Why You Shouldn’t Discount Your Services

Depending on where you live in the world the date your competitors started teaching for free may differ from me. But, for now, we’ll agree that sometime in March the fitness industry and especially many Pilates teachers started teaching live workouts on every social media platform they could and doing it for free. In fact, the morning after my studio was closed indefinitely I felt like every teacher in the So cal community who used to charge $20+/class and had a waitlist started teaching for free. EVERYWHERE. And, not only did this leave them exhausted it also left them more worried than those I know that didn’t do this. In fact, discounting your services or offering them for free not only will hurt your bottom line it will leave you fill drained and on your way to burn out. Why? Let’s review why discounting hurts your business and some things to do instead.

First, discounting your services not only leaves you taking home less than what you need. And, lets get real, were you charging your worth before? Were you? Probably not. So, now not only are you making far less than you were before which already wasn’t enough to have a runway to get through this unprecedented time. But, you’re also telling people that what you were charging before was likely too much. And, when we are on the other side of this how will you go back to your pre-rona prices?

Second, Your business bills didn’t get discounted. So, now you have to teach even more just to make the same amount. And, yes, while people now have more time than before to workout they are still not picking up the phone and trying out a random teacher. They are taking the classes they did before even if it’s been a year or two. Or, they are asking their friends. So, you need to be nurturing your current clients and asking them to help you get their friends to class. But, if you discount your services to get these new clients in its not rewarding the loyalty of the clients who love you and want to support you. Also, you’re left with the issue of raising your prices on these new clients when “life goes back to normal.” Something very few teachers enjoys doing.

Third, most people are not researching “discounted Pilates near me.” Or, “free Pilates.” They literally are asking their friends and then looking you up online. Even more of a reason to have a stellar website for when they stalk you. So, discounting your services doesn’t bring you a slew of new clients just because you put a slash through the price.

Fourth, and maybe one of the more important reasons, when you discount or offer for free you definitely make it harder for every other teacher in your community, and the world to charge their worth. When you discount your work you devalue it. Devaluing the amazingness of Pilates doesn’t mean you’ll have more. It means everyone will have less. Why would anyone want to do a workout that lacks confidence in itself to charge its worth?

So, what can you do instead of discounting your work?

Take this time to get your business organized. Go over all your website copy, your social media bios etc. Are you talking to your ideal client? Are you telling them how you help them? Why they should work with you?

Evaluate how people can work with you. Maybe you used to sell 10, 20 or 30 packs of sessions. Maybe you keep your prices the same but you change the size during Covid 19 times only. For example, if you normally charge $1000 for a 10 pack of privates you charge $300 for 3 or $500 for 5. They are still paying the same price but less at the front end. Be clear that this is for this particular period of time. I stopped selling my ten packs for now because the reality is myself or my clients could get sick. I wanted to have less sessions on my books to have to worry about owing people. So, my clients pay one at a time for classes (they pre-pay) and they pay either a single session price that is more than a 5 pack session price. But, the 5 pack is at the cost of my 10 pack.

If you were doing only privates maybe you teach duets or semi’s and everyone can pay a bit less for the session but you make more for the hour. This is a great way to start to work less and make more! Everyone wins there. (All examples are considering virtual sessions but keep these in mind for when you are teaching IRL).

It’s a CV19 world! You can change your offerings, schedule and how you teach clients to however WORKS FOR YOU! But, that doesn’t mean you’re worth less just because you are teaching less or not teaching in your studio.

Focus on the VALUE. Take the time to go through all the testimonials. What do clients say about why they take Pilates or fitness with you? People don’t care about Pilates or Barre or HIIT. They care about how you help them. The value you bring to their life which they pay you for with money. You teaching them =energy. They repay that energy with money aka energy. But, you have to tell them WHY YOU! What do you offer them (that’s not a discount).

LOVE YOUR SELF! If you take this time to do some deep self-work, why you do matter? Why you are worth charing more etc.? You will see massive growth in your business when we are on the other side of this. Maybe you need to see a therapist right now or read some books that will help you see how amazing you are and help work through whatever is causing you to feel like you need to discount yourself or teach for free to be relevant. We have been given a gift to get to know ourselves more than ever. That famous quote “Wherever You Go There You Are” has never been more true. Do not try to run from this time. Instead, dive in deep. What do you want out of life? How can you use this time to create the space to make that happen?

My fitness pro, I freaking love you. Prior to CV19 I saw what discounting services did to many peoples businesses. It wasn’t pretty and it doesn’t work. If you base your business of a price and that’s your focus for getting clients it will be a race to the bottom. Someone out there will always be able to go cheaper than you. Focus your efforts on who you want to serve, why your rock so much and charge your worth. You’ll be able to thrive on the other side of this.

xx~LL

PS if you need to talk more about this please contact me for a coaching call or join AGENCY and get the support of an entire community!

How Much Should You Charge For Virtual Sessions?

Like it or Loathe it online teaching is here in full force. Studios across the world are closed or in limited operation these days due to CV19 and if you’re in a position like me it’s indefinitely closed. And, now you’re faced with either going online or not teaching at all. Teaching is your gift, your outlet, your dream and for almost all of us our livelihood. So, how much do you charge when you go from in-person sessions to Zoom, Skype, etc sessions?

For those of you who have been reading my blogs for some time, following me on IG and are in my AGENCY group you know how adamant I am about knowing your numbers. Knowing how much to charge for your offerings in general. This time may feel different in the world but the difference in how the world feels does not mean you throw your numbers out the window. Or, that you need to charge what everyone else is charging. Or, discount yourself. To know how much to charge you need to know your numbers. Here’s how to figure out yours:

How much do you want to gross in a year?

How many weeks a year will you realistically work?

How many days a week will you work?

How many hours in a day?

Take your annual gross divide it by the weeks you’ll work, divide that by the days you’ll work and then divide that by the hours in a day. The answer is the lowest you can go for your hourly rate.

So, how much do you charge for your virtual sessions? The amount you got above is a good starting point.

It’s also the starting point for IRL sessions. I know you’re thinking everyone is doing all these free lives and offering deep discounts. But, when you start teaching virtually and your clients start taking virtually you all will see and feel that virtual is anything “less” than real life. In fact, it’s harder!

And, you need to use this time to be planning for how you want your business to be operating when we are allowed back in our studios.

Discount your time now and it’s harder to charge more for it later. Your LIVE time is the same no matter if you’re in a studio or behind the camera.

If people cannot afford your privates now is a great time to group people off in duets and semi-privates. They can save on the hour, you make more for it and you can work less. This way you do not discount your time. Also, when we are back in the studio if a client is traveling they will likely book their online private session. But, if you discount it now, how will you handle it in the future. Are you going to refund them the difference when they are running late and decide to do their session from home? No, you’re not. So, maintaining your prices but offering options for people to share the session with one or two others can help them “save” on the session. And, they can invite their friends, family or co-workers to these virtual sessions. And, now! Check that out you’re growing your client list!

What about class prices? I am getting this question a lot. Especially from people who either never offered Mat Pilates classes or if they did they offered them at a discounted price from equipment. In my opinion, all classes should be the same price in a studio. Pilates on equipment or off is the same value. But, since we can’t go back in time and change your set up I recommend going back to the equation above and having a baseline price to go off of.

 

Let’s say your baseline hourly rate has to be $100. Look at your client list. How many can you guarantee will show up? 6? 3? 10? Your challenge is to get honest with the number of people you know will show up. And, that minimum should cover your costs. AKA gets you to that baseline or above it. Then everything over that is bonus. And, during a time like this making up for the hours you are not working anymore.

So, before you load up your schedule with 10 live virtual mat classes consider having 6 and making the equivalent of 10.

I know you’re scared. I know this is weird, bizarre, upside down and you’re worried. Havard Business Review wrote a great article about how what we are feeling is grief. So, please definitely feel your feelings. But, now is not the time to discount yourself so that you feel like you’re working. Being busy does not equal being in business.

Your clients WANT to SUPPORT YOU TOO! They need us now more than ever. And, I am not saying you need to exploit that. No, not at all. But, they need you to more than survive this period of time. Your clients need you to be able to teach, be in business when we are able to go back outside and into studios.

So, how much will you charge for your virtual sessions?

If you’re still struggling with how to streamline virtual sessions, wondering about different platforms, taking payment, lighting and more my webinar on “how to lead virtual sessions and classes” is now a course. It’s helped so many studios around the world entire this online world.

Remember, you are the only person who can teach the way you teach to the people you are supposed to teach.

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

 

How to Fire a Client

There is a lot of talk (including on here) about how to get a new client. But, there is not much chatter about how to fire a client. And, it’s not because no client ever needs to be fired. In fact, I think plenty of clients out there probably do. But, if you’re struggling to grow your business or you don’t have solidly policies in place or worse, you have policies in place but you don’t uphold them firing a client is harder than finding a new one. However, I firmly believe that while you are in the “service” industry (meaning you provide a service) you are not “of service” to others. And, you should be treated with the same amount of respect as you show your clients. So, how do you fire a client?

Lets talk about why you would fire a client:

  1. They do not follow policies even after repeated discussions about following policies.
  2. They are verbally or physically abusive to you or other clients.
  3. They do not pay on time or pay for their late cancels (see #1).
  4. They want times you cannot/do not offer (firing may seem like a strong word for this instance).
  5. They’re expectations, pressure on you or Pilates is unrealistic.

If you have multiple clients who are breaking your policies or treating you badly it’s important that you reflect on how you may have created this opportunity.

Do you have policies in place?

Were they given verbally and in written form?

Did the client sign and agree to them?

When they broke them the first time did you address it?

No one deserves to be treated badly and if you don’t have strong policies or an agreement people should still be awesome humans and treat you with decency. But, truth is we train people how to treat us. So, before you fire your entire line up of clients put together a list of rules and procedures. Put it in writing, have your clients agree to these and then when they break them address how they broke them. Uphold the policy.

If the client values you they will likely apologize and continue you on understanding the repercussions. If they don’t and they moan, whine, complain, or worse then you know there is no changing them.

Firing a client no matter how much they deserve it is not easy though. You are in fact confronting someone and also saying no to money. Something most people do not find easy. But, if you want to have a thriving career (part-time or full time) you want to make sure that the priority of you staying protected, valued and inspired is there.

Most clients when you uphold your policies who do not want to follow your rules will fire themselves. Keep this in mind. If you are holding firm on your boundaries, cancellation policies, rate increases and more then they’ll likely make up and excuse and simply stop.

But, there is the rare occasion of the completely oblivious, non-observant, blissfully unaware person who not only treats you badly or doesn’t follow rules that will need to have an actual firing.

I have had to do this one time for myself and a few times for teachers who worked for me in the past for various reasons. Some client rule-breaking is so off-putting there is no need for a warning conversation. Abuse is one of those things and you’ll have to decide for yourself what level of abuse you will have a warning conversation about and which ones you will fire immediately. But, do make sure you have a client agreement of what types of behavior will and won’t be tolerated.

When I fired a client who could be slightly verbally abusive the teacher felt like the client didn’t know they were being that way. So, I had a conversation with the client telling examples of things said that would no longer be tolerated. They apologized and then two sessions later repeated the transgression. The teacher on the spot addressed it. (Which was very brave and can be hard to do). The client didn’t agree they had broken this rule. I had to thank the client for coming but helped refer her to another studio where a teacher might be more to their liking. Her sessions were refunded.

The client I had to fire was someone who was mostly nice. But, every other session she would try to move her time around the same day. And, that was annoying, not a reason to fire but took extra time out of my days.

Then this same client would text me at random hours of the day and night asking non-Pilates questions. When I addressed her not texting me outside of rescheduling her session before 24 hours prior to her session and not for any other reason she said: “she never bothered me.”

She would early cancel every 3rd session by minutes. And then when I told her I could no longer uphold her standing appointment because she had missed it for 2 months. She said that it was because I missed.

It was clear that no matter what evidence I showed her and no matter how much I upheld my policies she was never going to. So, I refunded her what was left of her package and gave her the referral info of teachers who might be better suited for her.

It wasn’t easy. She was combative in email. She lied. She did everything she could to stay on as a client. And, firing her was one of the best things I did. It wasn’t just the two-three sessions a week of time I got back. It was the time around the sessions too.

And, I was able to make room in my schedule for two other clients who are doubly better as humans to be around. Inspiring to teach. Who never ask me to discount them or break a rule.

I know it’s hard to get rid of a client. Saying “no” to money is really hard. Especially if you don’t have a client to replace them with right away. But, once you do you’ll have created space that the universe will fill with an even better client.

So, go ahead and fire them! But first, make sure you’ve done your due diligence to make it easy for them to fire themselves. AKA you must create and uphold policies in your business and train your clients on how to treat you. Sound ok? And if they don’t remember what Ice Cube said, “Bye Felecia.” #blockthemandblessthem

xx~LL

Ps if you need help creating rules around your rates, cancellations, studio use etc. Contact me here. Your business’s strength is only as strong as the foundation it is built on.