Do You Know Your Businesses Seasons

Feeling the heat in more ways than one this summer? There are few guarantees in life but one of them is that when holidays, summer, spring break, and flu outbreaks are in season your business can feel the effects. But, that doesn’t mean you have to feel it in your wallet or your bottom line. Knowing your businesses seasons and working them is key for making money, and feeling in control of your business. Here are some questions I love to explore with anyone I am coaching:

Do you know your busy and slow seasons?

How much do you want/need to gross each year?

How many weeks a year do you work?

What is your average hourly wage?

When you have these answers then we can get really honest and clear. One studio might be in the suburbs where the calendar is pretty easy to follow. They are busy January-March and then spring break starts to distract people from consistency. Then April-May starts to level out. June-September is “slow.” September-mid November is consistent. And as the year winds down the cancellations wind up.

But, you may live somewhere where it’s busy 6-9 months a year and dead zone for 3 months. That shouldn’t freak you out. Instead, it makes it super easy and clear for you to know when you take your breaks, how much you need to be working those busy months. And enjoy a few months of you time. I think I would like that very much.

If you’re someone who has major seasonal influx and you’re not setting goals in your business to take advantage of the busy months then you will feel it during the slow months.

No business is the same as another. Take some time this week to look at your previous year. When were you the busiest? When were you the slowest? How many sessions a week do you need to come through your schedule/studio during the busy months vs the slow months? What weeks can you just take off?

I would love to hear what your answers are and help you create a plan to make the most of your busy seasons and live guilt free on the slow seasons. Hit me up here or post in the comments below.

xx~LL

How to Not Work ALL The Time

Everyone wants to work for themselves. The idea of being your own boss has a lot of unicorns, rainbows, and freedom around it. But, if you’re not careful, when you work for yourself it’s easy to make your own business, your dream business, be just as much a slog as working for someone else. So, my Studio Owners, Independent Contractors, Home studio owners here are my best tips to not make your dream job just like every other job.

  1. Create your ideal schedule: Grab a blank calendar and put your personal life in it first. Then your personal practice and anything else that you want to make time for before you put work in. Then your teaching hours go in. This part of the calendar is key, the tasks that propel your business forward AKA marketing, networking goes in next. Last is the admin, the daily tasks that have to be done every day but don’t bring in the money. For more help on this catch my course on it or contact me for a one-on-one call.
  2. Set a timer: I use the cube timer but you can use your phone. Set a time for how long you’ll be in your inbox, on Instagram or work on any project. When the timer goes off move on to the next task. I know that means sometimes I didn’t finish a project but it does mean I can move on to the next and keep all the plates spinning. If you work on your email until the emails are all read you will never get to your blogs, contacting businesses to collaborate etc.
  3. Say no: to anything that isn’t an F yass! Seriously, say no to more things than you think. If “no” is too much for you then say “let me get back to you later.” Take some time to filter the opportunity through your goals. It’s easy to say “yes” to clients who want extra times. But, that could mean working at times you don’t enjoy and then you will feel like you’re working all the time.
  4. Have an accountability partner: I have 2 and I love them! We have weekly check in’s and set a timer for each person to share what they are working on, what went well, what didn’t go well and what we need support on. You never want to be the person who didn’t get their sh*t done. I recommend people who have businesses that are different than your own. And, try to keep it less 2-4 people but people who will not cancel on you last minute. So, maybe not your close friends. Those who are in my coaching group get me checking on them and their goals each week!
  5. Have your own goals: Be super clear on your own goals, share them with your accountability partners, me, and anyone else who you feel will help you get your goals accomplished. If you don’t have your own goals it’ll be super easy for someone else’s goals to become yours.
  6. Make dates: seriously, make a date with your person, make it a standing date if you can. Dates with friends, put vacations in the books even if you do a staycation. If you don’t then work will just take over and a year will go by and you’ll feel bummed that you “work too much” or that “time flies” but it’s because you didn’t put breaks in your calendar.
  7. Routines: I have a morning routine and a sleep routine. These are not only vital to me sandwiching life between moments of self-care it also helps me feel grounded and in control of my day and how I feel no matter what timezone I find myself in or what is happening. Everyone has to start their day in their own way but find a routine that works for you. I prefer to create before I consume so I try not to read emails or read notifications until I have written down what my goals are for the day. I also get my workout in before I teach others. You might prefer the reverse of all of this. Especially if you are not a morning person.

I could go on and on with more tips on how to not work all the time so if you need more ask in the comments below or set up a call with me. But, please don’t work all the time. I know that there are times in your business that require more of your hours but set a date for how long that excessive work time will last.

Working for yourself is pretty freaking cool but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. In fact, I find it’s harder. I have to hold myself accountable to arbitrary deadlines and since I won’t fire myself if I miss a deadline then what’s the problem right? Well, the problem is our businesses get more stressful when we are not achieving the goals we have when we want/need them. And then we think we have to say “yes” all the time, work more, do less Pilates, fewer trips, fewer days off. And then all of a sudden you’re working ALL the time!

My weeks look different every month so I have to be really clear about my time off and then I have to put more goals/deadlines in my calendar before my clients get options. That means I have to have clarity around my schedule at least a month in advance. If I don’t I’m racing to get work done, working on my days off, skipping yoga and my own Pilates practice.

You are too good at what you do. You are the only person who can do what you do and your clients and future clients need you to be clear on your goals, firm about your schedule and taking care of you so that you can teach them.

This week, what tips will you try and implement?

xx~LL 

 

How Do You Know If You Are Teaching Enough?

One of my AGENCY mastermind members recently said: “I think that if I feel busy I must be doing good numbers.” She was mistaking the fact that her schedule was full so she must be bringing in enough money. And, here’s the thing, a lot of instructors and studio owners make this error. They work so hard to fill all their classes and teaching hours because if they are busy or teach more then they’ll make more. But, what I often find when I look at their numbers is that while they are busy and some of them really busy they are not meeting the monetary goals and needs they have. And this is because they are confusing busy for successful.

Do you know your average hourly rate? If you’re a teacher this can be easier to figure out than a studio owner but either way you need this number.

Do you have a gross income goal for your business? If you’re a teacher at the end of the year what would you like to have made? Studios if all systems were working what would your gross income be?

If you don’t have these numbers then set aside some time to get super clear on these.

When I was running studios I had goals for the month and the year. Some sessions were privates, or duets etc. Every person had the option of buying single sessions vs packages. Not going to lie the first time I had to figure out how to see what the studio could do based on the schedule I thought my mind might explode. But, when I figured out some averages. Took a look at what was scheduled and compared it to the goal I could see how far away we were. I also could make a plan!

In the teaching part of my business, I have a goal each week that is a “work week” on how many sessions I need to have in my schedule. The freedom this provides is incredible. Because, if I look ahead and my schedule is “full” meaning I have hit my # then I don’t need to add more clients to the week. I have time to spend focusing on my business in other ways. But, if you don’t know this number how do you know if you’re teaching enough?

The burn out is real and it sucks whether you are making enough money or and stings, even more, when you’re not.

Homework for you:

What’s your average hourly rate?

What’s your gross money goal for this year?

How many weeks will you work this year?

I’ll do giving the tips on what to do with these numbers in my newsletter this week. My course on “raising your rates” also goes over how to use this info to help you create a plan for you to make the money you want to make and not overwork yourself doing it.

What if instead of filling every hour you could teach you just taught the amount you needed?

xx~LL 

 

What is a Pilates Teachers Schedule?

When I first became a Pilates instructor I was teaching clients and classes every weekday morning from 6 am to 9 am then racing to my other job across town to manage a jewelry store. And then on most weeknights, I would race back across town and teach one or two more clients. And then I also taught clients on my day off from my store gig. I thought it would take forever to build my business up but it didn’t and so within a few months I was quickly burning the candle at both ends. But, I had no idea at the time that what I was doing wasn’t the best idea. I mean, every other teacher I knew who was building their business and even some who had grown their businesses were working the weirdest schedules. One day after working an almost 70 hr week I wondered what is a Pilates teachers schedule?

Should I be teaching mornings and evenings? Did I need to teach six days a week? And, even though people said I should teach when clients wanted it was that really the best answer?

Over the last 10+ years of teaching, I have changed my schedule almost as often as the wind changes. And, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. What it has allowed me to do is see that there is almost no hour where a client doesn’t want a session! Before you think I am wrong I have taught people at their 3:30 am, I have taught people as early as 5 am in person, and then there are the clients who have requested 8:30 pm or even 8 am on a Sunday! I love changing my schedule because every time I do it I dial it in even more to fit the nature of the life I enjoy living.

If you have ever taken a workshop with me you know that I believe your goals and life go in the schedule first. But, this is not how most people set up their teaching schedule. Instead, they put their clients in first. Admit it, how many times have you not said yes to having lunch with a good friend, going out of town for the day or not scheduling a personal session with another teacher because you had to teach?

I’m not saying just move people around willy nilly. But, I do believe that you should be super clear on your goals and what you want out of life and then create your teaching schedule.

After working with a lot of teachers I have found the ones that are super firm and clear on when they are available to teach no only are booked they also know exactly how much money they will make each week, month because it’s clear when they look at their schedule what slots are empty. And, their clients are also better trained to keep a standing appointment or cancel in the appropriate time. The teachers who let clients tell them when they want to come in typically have clients who are inconsistent. This means they are not truly getting all the benefits of Pilates and will probably disappear for portions of time if not longer. These teachers also will feel like they don’t have control over their schedule and will see a “swiss cheese” schedule. Sessions all over the place, empty slots all over but not big enough to do anything on so they are working for their business instead of the other way around.

I know, that sounds a bit harsh but teachers I love you! I am you. I have done all the mistakes of letting clients tell me when they want to take. And, that quickly lead to me not wanting to be a teacher. The moment I learned the phrase “I have this time or I have this time.” And, “I’m not available then but I do have ___.” My life-work balance became mine! It was under my control.

What is your schedule like?

Do you like it?

What would you change about it?

I was recently asked what a day or a week in my life looked like? How do I structure my days?

To be honest, since I travel I make some changes to the schedule often but the basic structure is there.

5-6 days a week I workout first thing in the morning. That is the time when no one is awake. I can run with my dog and listen to a podcast. I then often go to a fitness class around 6 am and workout with my friends. Afterward, I’ll begin my teaching day. I teach 5 mornings a week for 3-4 hours. Then I use the middle of the day for whatever I want. Sometimes I do Pilates classes other times I catch up on emails or spend a little time on social media. I take calls or watch webinars, read a book, get a facial etc. The middle of the day is mine for whatever I want it to be. Then, on Mondays, I’ll allow 2 more clients in the late afternoon. Tues-Thur I teach a couple of evening clients whom I adore and have been with me for years! The other days of the week I am either off or have called it a day before the afternoon.

As far as how much I teach I follow what I share with many other teachers. I have a goal dollar amount (gross) in mind for the whole year. I divide that number by my average hourly session rate and then by the number of weeks of the year I will teach. I will only teach that amount of clients in a week. If people ask for a session and I have hit that number they go on a waitlist for any cancellation. I promise you unless I had a couple of weeks where I didn’t teach the average amount I do not add additional hours on. It’s important you don’t do this either. Waitlists are great things to have. And, you train your clients to schedule early!

My schedule works for me, I never force how I like to work on anyone and that means you too. I would love for you to watch my course on goal setting if you haven’t yet. And also my course on client scheduling. Then get super clear on the times of days that light your fire. If you’re not a morning person don’t teach in the morning. I promise you there are enough clients to go around! We can find your clients for the afternoon or evening.

The key to a successful business is knowing why you’re doing it, who you are and what you want! So, take a look at your schedule. Is it a good reflection of the life you want to live? Not sure how to make it one? Contact me here. Let’s talk!

xx~LL 

Your Busy-ness is Bad for Your Business

It seems like whenever you ask someone how they are doing they somehow insert how “busy” they are. They use busy as why they can’t hang out with you. They are too busy for Pilates. Teachers and studio owners are too busy to do the work to get new clients but not teaching enough or making the money they want to make. Being “busy” is not just an excuse for why you’re not in contact with people. It’s now this badge of honor that somehow to make people feel proud of. I mean, if you’re busy you must be doing something right, right?

Wrong!

Being Busy is actually impacting you more than your personal life. Sure, you’re sooo busy you can’t see your friends. But, that probably means a lot of other things are falling to the way side. And, worse, you are most likely wasting time. Afterall, studies show we take as much time to do a task as we give it.

Wondering if your busy is affecting your business?

Do you find yourself do all the things all of the time? Multi-tasking is also a new badge of honor in the self-employed world. But, here’s the deal, the data is in, we cannot multi-task. It’s better for you to do one thing at a time. I know, you’re list is long. But, for one week give single tasking a try. See if you feel less stressed and more productive.

Are you trying to do too many things? We often overestimate what we can do in a day an underestimate what we can do in a year. So, give things time to do them right the first time.

Do you think that being busy equals being successful? Truth is, being a master of your own time means being truly successful!  I was listening to a podcast with the uber-successful entrepreneur Caterina Fake. She manages her time ferociously. She even has a list she calls WNO-when next online. So, instead of hopping on the internet whenever she has the urge to look something up or she remembers something she has to do. She writes it in her journal and does it during her blocked out time. This allows her to spend more time working on her ideas, growing her business and reading.

I know, you have a lot to do. You are the teacher, the accountant, the marketer, the blogger, the newsletter writer, the scheduler, a partner and/or parent and friend. You’re busy! But, I don’t want you to be busy doing busy work. I don’t want you sweating the small stuff. I don’t want you to start working on your admin and before you know it 3 hours have gone by.

My desire for you is to be the master of your schedule. To be in charge of when you teach, make the most of the time when you admin and put yourself first. When your cup is full you can pour into others. But, when you are so busy your cup is shaking and vibrating it’s spilling the goodness that is you and not actually helping anyone.

If you’re looking for tips on how to be ferociously in charge of your time and actions and implementations for self-care I’ll be sending those tips in my next newsletter. If you’re on the list you’ll be getting them. For now, I want you to take a good hard look at how busy you are. Is it working for you?

xx~LL   

 

3 Tips to Winning Your Clients Back

Have you had a client go on vacation, have the best time and then come back to their life but not to their Pilates schedule? Or, that client that came 2x a week religiously, got sick, took a break and you haven’t seen them since. There’s a whole lot of feelings when situations like these happen. First, you’re worried? Are they ok? But, you see on social their totally fine. So, then, frustration and feeling rejected ensues. I mean, they loved class with you. Why aren’t they back? Did you do or say something wrong? Should you call them? Ugh, but it’s been weeks, so now it feels awkward! Am I right? When did running your Pilates business feel like dating?

Here’s the thing, we are not the right teacher for everyone all of the time. Sometimes it’s good for clients to take a break. But, what if it’s not. What if it’s the right client and teacher and you know that life has just gotten to them and you want to be there to bring them back, to return them to life? Can you get an old client back?

Yep, and here are three tips to winning clients back:

  1. Contact them! Ok, before you roll your eyes and stop reading this blog hear me out. You probably connected them once when they were supposed to return, maybe even twice. And then you stopped reaching out. I get it. It feels awkward. But, you don’t know what’s going on with them. You may have emailed them the day they got bad news. They saw your email but just couldn’t respond. So, call them, say hi, if you can help them with anything. Don’t ask them to come in just be supportive.
  2. Have a Newsletter: Yes, this works! If you were already writing a consistent newsletter and making sure all your clients opted into it then your love notes would be hitting them regularly. I have two clients that travel a ton and always respond to my newsletters when they are going to be back in LA.
  3. Create a Community at your space. Yes, you can do this even if you teach Privates only and even if you’re an independent contractor. So many of my clients are friends because they pass each other between sessions. That little 5 min break where I am washing my hands and using the ladies they are gabbing away. If you have classes this is easier if you introduce people and encourage them to say hi to their neighbor in class etc. But, the accountability of the others knowing they are missing class keeps them coming back. For those of us who mostly teach privates introduce your clients to each other as they pass. Over time they get quite comfortable gabbing away. They usually start by lamenting over how you torture them! It’s fun!

Here’s the thing, clients are going to disappear. But, there are some key things you can be doing in your business to mitigate those disappearances. And, here’s the thing, getting a new client costs a lot. It costs time and money and those are two things I don’t want you to waste. So, setting your clients and your business up to strengthen your retention is key. If you want to get clients back and also prevent losing the good ones be sure to join me on my next webinar.

In the meantime, go ahead, call them! What’s the worst thing that happens they block you? They don’t call you back? Ok, that’s at least an answer and so not the end of the world. You’ll feel free to go ahead and fill there spot with a client who is more dedicated.

xx~LL 

How Often Do You Think about Pebbles in your Pilates Business?

“Who could love a pebble in their shoe?” One of the harshest lines ever said in a movie from the movie Ever After is what comes to my mind when I think about pebbles. But, what if Pebbles were what we should be thinking about in our Pilates business? What if theoretical pebbles were what would propel your business forward? Well, my Pilates instructors and Pilates studio owners I am here to share that you should be more concerned about making room for pebbles than you have been.

One of the questions I am often asked is “How do you do it all?” And, to be perfectly frank I don’t exactly know what “do it all” means. I do happen to do a lot of things. And, to the outsider, it may seem like I am some sort of magician or more special or lucky because I can “do it all.” But, while I would say I am quite unique as a human my ability to do it all has nothing to do with my uniqueness. It has everything to do with my time management.

There are many ways to manage your time. A lot are obvious and some are not so obvious. I’ll be going over a lot of those not so talked about ways specifically for Pilates and fitness pros in my next webinar. But, just in case you’re not ready to completely bite the bullet and tackle your time management techniques here is one tried and true way that will help you create more time growing your business and less time keeping your business and life status quo. If you’re ready to talk about growth aka pebbles read on!

Picture a mason jar. It’s empty and its lid is laying next to it. Also, next to the jar is three piles, rocks, sand, and pebbles. They will all fit in the jar if they go in the correct order. Put them in the wrong order and the lid won’t fit. So, what goes in first? Well, you need to know what they represent to figure it out.

The Rocks symbolize appointments. These are your sessions, your client’s sessions, meetings etc. These are the things that can only happen when they happen. I do excellent thinking at 4:30 am but not many clients want 4:30 am sessions. So, my rocks go in the schedule where only rocks can go- When I am teaching or taking sessions

The sand represents admin. You know the stuff you don’t want to do but you have to do. There is nothing creative or exciting about admin. This is the bills, the emails, the mail, the blah blah blah.

Pebbles are anything that propels your business forward. This can be the marketing, promotions or advertising you keep saying you’re going to do but then get too busy doing other stuff (ahem SAND) to get to it. It’s also the scary stuff. You don’t know the answer to kind of stuff. But, the stuff that gets you excited about what could be if it worked out!

So, what order should these piles go in the jar?

Grab a blank calendar.

Write in your rocks first. Then your Pebbles!!!!! Finally the Sand.

Yep, that is the order! You should be focusing on what propels your business forward before you deal with the humdrum of the admin.

Be honest, you can deal with bill pay while binging out on Netflix.

You can clean the studio while listening to your favorite podcast.

But, you can’t be creative on a newsletter while you’re watching your favorite TV show.

You can’t research ways to market your business while listening to a mystery thriller.

When you are working on the stuff that will uplevel you and your business it needs to be scheduled and that time should be protected.

When will you work on your pebbles this week?

xx~LL

PS if you need more help managing your time you’re not alone. This webinar is selling out! You can join me live or enjoy the replay for up to a week. Click here to join.

Busting Pilates Business Myths

Thoughts often become facts. Have you heard that before? What about, “don’t believe everything you think?” I think these two often used statements are incredibly important to remember when you are running your own Pilates business. It doesn’t matter if you are a Pilates Studio owner or a Pilates instructor. It is easy to slip and fall into traps and beliefs that will more than likely hold you back or keep you from trying out new things that could grow your business. What are some of the myths that I think need busting?

  1. The people here only want classes or only want privates: Last I checked no community got together and said: “let’s make sure all Pilates studios only offer us, classes/privates.” Clients want what will help them solve their problems. What is your future client’s problem? How do you solve that problem?
  2. We can’t raise our rates because everyone is looking for a deal: Please see my response to Myth #1 and then take a good look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself you offer value to your clients and deserve to be paid your worth. People are not choosing your competitor based on their prices. They are not going to the studio down the street because it’s cheaper. That studio is giving them something that they are looking for. How can you be the answer to your ideal client’s problem? You solve their problem they will reconfigure their budget to get to you! Want to consider raising your rates? Check out the latest webinar here.
  3. There are so many Pilates studios here: Your competition is not going to kill your business. You not defining who you are, what you do and how you rock your clients’ worlds will. Too often we tell people what we think they should hear. We are not listening to what they need and showing them how we are the answer they have been looking for. That’s amazing that you won muscle competitions and have five certifications. I’m not discounting that. But, how do you help them? If you spend your time sharing with your community what you can do for them that is different than anyone else there can be ten studios on your block and you’ll still be successful!
  4. You have to stick to the Pilates “business model”: First, I actually have no idea what this means. But, I think it refers more to having a studio that has lots of teachers, runs classes, privates and has teachers rent. People work 6 days a week and do morning and evening shifts. I’ll admit I thought I couldn’t own a studio because I didn’t want to manage any more teachers or manage a schedule. Glad I didn’t believe in this myth. Because now I have a great walk up studio with everything I need and it’s all by myself. The truth is you can run your Pilates business any way you want that is legal. If you want to be a solo-preneur go for it! If you want to only have classes only have classes. If you want to have privates only do that. Your business will be more successful when you create a space that highlights your strengths and how you want to offer your gift. Will it be difficult? Yep, but copying the studios in your neighborhoods business model isn’t any easier!
  5. You have to work a certain schedule: If you truly want to do Pilates as a business for the long haul I absolutely need you to teach the times that are best for you! Sure, in the beginning, you may be teaching all of the place and random times trying to figure out who you are as a teacher and what times work best for you. But, once you’ve got a good idea of when you are at your best it’s time to get some boundaries and set an ideal schedule and focus on filling that. It’s imperative for self-care, consistent growth in your business and for you to feel like your business works for you instead of the other way around!

There are so many more myths to bust! If I didn’t talk about one you’re curious about post it below in the comments are email me here. Aside from great advances in technology, there are some amazing tools out there that allow you to create the Pilates business that meets your needs. So, what beliefs are you willing to let go of?

xx~LL 

What is the Perfect Teaching Schedule?

I was recently asked for a podcast what I wish I had known sooner. And, I said, “I wish I knew it was ok to say ‘no’ to a client session request sooner.” And, not because I didn’t want to teach. On the contrary! I absolutely LOVE teaching Pilates. And, if I had two or three of me I would teach even more than I do!  But, as far as I know, there is only one of each of us. And the beauty in that is that there are only one you and one me. And, because teaching Pilates requires more than telling people to bend and straighten their limbs. It requires you the teacher being at your best. And, so, you can’t say ‘yes’ to everyone and you can’t teach every day or hours that are not ideal for you. Not only will you exhaust yourself you will probably lose inspiration to continue teaching and that would be the worst! Because there are clients out there that only you can teach!

So, what is the perfect teaching schedule?

Is there even such a thing?

As I mentioned a briefly above I wish I had learned how to say ‘no’ because instead what I did do was say ‘yes’ to every client session that came my way. I quickly was teaching any hour I had available outside my ‘real’ job. And, one day I was able to say I could leave my salaried job and just teach Pilates. But, I was walking into a schedule that made no sense. One of my teacher friends called it the “swiss cheese schedule.” I’ll never forget talking to other teachers about the “best” hours to be available, how many hours in a day I could/should teach, and figure out what was “full-time?”

Here’s the easy and maybe even non-answer about what the “perfect” schedule is. There is no such thing as the perfect teaching schedule. Because there is no such thing as perfect. So, FREEDOM! You can teach whenever you want to teach! The tougher answer is actually in the ‘how.’ How do you create your teaching schedule?

If your answer is ‘whenever clients want sessions” then you’re not wrong…but you may be putting your clients first and your schedule last. Here’s the deal about schedules, teaching schedules are a lot like “store” or “office” hours. Every store has hours that they are open. Most businesses have set office hours. Your teaching schedule can be treated and created the same way. And, because it’s your business and life you should be the one to decide:

What days do you teach?

What hours do you teach?

How many hours a day will you allow yourself to teach?

So, if you were to take a blank calendar out and you were not to consider any clients what days would you be available for sessions? What times on those days would you be able to take clients?

This, in a nutshell, is how you create your ‘perfect’ schedule. If you are sitting there reading this and rolling your eyes are a little bit or think this might work for others but it doesn’t work for you then it’s time we have a talk! If you want to dive deeper into how to create and fill your ideal schedule you can check out our course here.

We are all different, and what works for me or the teacher at the Reformer next to you may not work for you. Some of us can teach 4 hours in a row and do 6 hours in a day. Others may need a 15-minute break every couple of clients. It’s your business, create your own teaching hours!

xx~LL

5 Ways to Make Time for Your Own Pilates Practice

When I was a Pilates apprentice I never worked out more in my entire life! Do you remember being a student? I swear between the Pilates sessions I took from my teacher trainer, then being a body for my fellow apprentices and the self-practice hours and mat classes I had to attend it was multiple hours a day some weeks. I was not at all prepared for life post apprentice life. I became a teacher because I loved doing Pilates. And, as a student in training I got to do so much Pilates and then I started teaching…I know I am not the only one who after finishing their program saw their Pilates practice go from many hours to few hours. In fact, this week’s blog post is inspired by the many teachers who have been asking me how to make time for their own Pilates practice. After a couple week’s of losing out on my regular Pilates practice, I realized that I had to treat myself like I treated my clients. I had to put my sessions in first. I know, easier said than done. But, here are five ways you can make sure your Pilates is a priority. And, if at the end you still think you won’t have time then I want you to hit me up. Because you cannot stay inspired if you’re not exploring Pilates in your body.

  1. Sharpie You in First: If you follow my blogs about getting clients to be consistent or have done my course “getting busy with what you’ve got” then you know how to do this. But, in short, you should schedule your life around your Pilates sessions. I know, you have no room in your schedule. Take a blank schedule and put in your favorite workout times, classes or standing session with your favorite instructor. Then schedule everyone else.
  2. Get Moving with Tech: These days there is no shortage of options. So, if you don’t live near an instructor that inspires you Skype with one. Many teachers like myself are now offering Skype, Facetime or Zoom sessions. But, when you set this up be sure to make it a standing appt so you never miss! You can also get moving with PilatesAnytime.com (use LLOGAN for a 30-day trial) it’s only $18/month.  My weekly online Mat classes are only $5/week and are 30 min long so no matter how busy you are you can get your Pilates on. There is also Pilatesology.com and PilatesAvatar. With all these options and at rates that are less than an almond milk latte I hope you can see I am taking your excuses away. Once you pick one or two of these tech options go back to #1 and schedule your workouts in your schedule.
  3. Workout before you respond to emails: These days there are autoresponders so if you are worried about getting back to people set up an autoresponder that says you’ll “get back to them when you’re done working out and teaching Pilates.” I promise there will always be more emails so your Pilates workout comes first.
  4. Buddy up! Grab a teacher in your studio or even a friend across the globe and have a set Pilates session time. Text or Facetime each other and hop on your separate mats or Reformers and get moving. I used to do this with my friends in high school. We would play the same exact card game and start at the same time. Then we would call each other and see who finished the game first. Now, your Pilates sessions isn’t a race but if you both have to do a 30 min Pilates session that day and if you don’t you’ll have to tell a friend that you had “too much to-do” you’re going to have to take more time out of your day to explain yourself rather than just getting your move on!
  5. Learn how to Say No: I think doing #1 is pretty easy. Writing in your Pilates workout in your weekly schedule. But, protecting it is a whole other situation. However, if you have done the work to block that hour off every week, week after week then no one should be able to take it from you unless you give it away. And, I know that sometimes it’s easier to say you’ll take them “just this one time” so that you don’t lose the money. But, why should you bend over backward for them? You’re planning your life and teaching around your sessions you can train your clients to do the exact same thing. So, while it’s so hard to say no to a client aka money your Pilates practice, body, mind, and inspiration need you to protect your time to refill your Pilates gas tank.

What’s your trick for keeping Pilates in your weekly schedule? Share it below so other teachers can benefit from it. Because the more we do Pilates the more inspired we are which makes our clients feel excited and share the joy of Pilates with their friends. And, that means, more people doing Pilates!

xx~LL 

How to Make Strong Teacher-Client Relationships

Client retention is as integral to your Pilates business as you are. If your clients are not consistent not only does that affect how much you make each week it also can cause you to have to constantly get new clients or manage more clients than you have time to teach. Does this sound familiar to you: A client says they want to come in three times a week and then they move a session here, ask last minute to switch another session. Cancel the next two sessions because they have lunches or dinners, can’t get into the studio because they have this, that and the other. They want to do Pilates three times a week but they are trying to fit Pilates into their life. This song and scheduling dance is not only frustrating for you it’s also exhausting. And, to add more stress about it if they don’t come in consistently then they will not enjoy all the benefits of Pilates and so then of course…bye bye Pilates!

So, how do you manage your client’s schedule and yours? Well, first let me just tell you that you do not have to manage your client’s schedules like you manage yours. But, if you can motivate your Pilates clients to schedule their life around Pilates instead of the other way around then your Pilates business will not only be healthy it will continue to grow. Client consistency is key for Client Retention and their consistency equals reaping the benefits of Pilates which means their friends will notice how strong they are, how well they stand and want some of you too! Hello, client referrals!

Create a strong teacher client relationship by-
1) Know what your client does when they are not doing Pilates.
2) Remember events that are important to them.
3) Schedule them in advance. Tell them to book their sessions a month in advance to ensure they don’t miss their sessions
4) Remind them to “make up” missed sessions by rescheduling vs canceling
5) Let them know when a time they like becomes available
6) Look ahead at holidays and vacations that may affect them and get suggest times they can do to reschedule in advance.
7) Don’t be afraid to be unavailable! People like a busy restaurant!
8) Remind your clients of their goals and why they come
9) Don’t offer every available hour you have. Use the “which” rule. “I have this time or this time which would you prefer?”
10) Be more than the hour-long entertainment. If Pilates is integral to them feeling good then you won’t have to work as hard to get them to come in regularly.

Look, I get that many of these are easier said than done. But, I promise you managing your clients is easier when you teach them from the beginning that you are not just sitting around waiting to teach them. That, even if you have all the time in the world, you are not a beck and call teacher. Studies show if people are given too many options they have to “think about it.” But, if they only have a couple options they can make a decision. If you tell a client they can come in anytime on a Monday then they are going to go and plan their whole Monday and fit Pilates in. And, chances are they will be running late or not be able to get in because they are “too busy.” But, if you tell them two options that are near times you know they like then they will schedule their life around the session.

I get it, it’s not easy to say no to a client or to hold your clients accountable but it’s essential in your self-care as an instructor, making it easy for you to manage all of your clients, and will create a strong relationship with them. If your clients are getting their Pilates in regularly with you because you keep them consistent they are going to realize that you are more than a person they see in their week. You are the person who helps them do their week. When you remember life events they are going to feel special and more than a name in your calendar. And, all of this helps grow your Pilates business.

Which one of these things are you going to work on? Let me know below in the comments. If you have any questions feel free to contact me here. Let’s make your client schedule consistent and as full as you want it!

xx~LL

PS for more on creating an optimal learning environment check out this blog and this one for motivating different personality types.

Pilates Business: How to Take More Time Off and Maintain Your Business

Saying no to a client is already hard enough. Taking time off is even harder. That’s multiple sessions you are canceling, rescheduling. And, I hear ya, as a Pilates instructor any time off is lost income. Or, is it?

Sure, you can take time off when your clients take time off. But, what if they love to travel in May and you have a trip in October? Do you lose money and sessions both times? Do you skip your trip because you “can’t” take time off? Who do you work for you or your clients?

I hope you said YOU!

It is possible to take time off when you want to and it is possible to teach the hours of the day you love and the dates you want to teach. But, you have to set your business up that way!

Tell me, how often do you say yes when you mean and desire to say no?

How often do you let clients move their sessions around in a day and you say yes?

Do you convince yourself that it’s just for “this” one time? Or, it’s only for a little bit? Maybe you even think you have to move them or compromise otherwise you’ll lose them as a client.

When I used to manage teachers I would hear clients talk about their upcoming trips and yet when they finally told the teacher the dates they were leaving it would be right before they left. The instructors would feel like they heard it for the first time.

Truth is the clients had been telling them about their trip for a while. But, clients don’t think about our schedule the way we do.

It’s not personal it’s just not their biggest concern in the world. I talk about this in my courses “never a dull moment” and “teaching your schedule.”

Whether you are an independent instructor or owner of a studio it’s integral that you train your clients how to engage with you and your business.

  1. Know when you are taking time off as much ahead of time as possible. Tell your clients so they have a heads up. Believe it or not, if they see Pilates missing from their schedule and are about to call you to cancel the following week they will realize they need to make up their sessions or in the future plan their events around you
  2. Swim with the current if the stream is strong. I know teachers who live in places where half the year everyone is in town, tourists come in and the business is booming. Then the other half the year its half the amount regular clients. Take advantage! How amazing that you know great times to take off, can enjoy half a year where you work part-time and have tons of free time to create, study and do your thing.
  3. Change your terminology. Instead of saying “we need to cancel next week’s sessions.” Use, “reschedule.” This way when clients are planning their lives they are thinking about how many Pilates sessions they need to reschedule.

If you start a client out with the mindset of telling you their dates out in advance it’s so much easier to know when you have availability or extra time to do your thing. If you have been letting your clients determine when you work you will have a little more training to do.

The more you have clients schedule their life around Pilates instead of the other way around the easier it is for you to run your business and take time off when you want to. It’s integral to staying inspired that your business works for you and not you for it.

You may be in the service industry but you are not of service to people, you are not the hired help.

For more on client, scheduling check out my courses, a previous blog on taking a vacation and my blog on how to have a life as a Pilates instructor. On April 12th I’ll be covering more steps to taking time off for yourself and maintaining your Pilates business. Join me if you’re ready to enjoy the breaks you deserve.

xx~LL