When Should You Hire Help and How Much Should You Pay Them?

Believe it or not the answer to when you should hire someone is sooner than you think and before you are ready. Whether you are working for yourself or you’re running a studio the truth is no matter how awesome you are you cannot do it all. At the beginning of your business, you have to “bootstrap it.” In fact, even if you have the money to hire all the people there is a lot to be said for focusing on doing only what you need and doing most of the work yourself. In the book “Power of Broke” Daymond John explains how so many businesses did better by not having the funds to do everything at one time. But, at some point, your badass skills will fall short of being able to do all the things well. Or, lack of time to do all the things will get in the way of your growth. So, how do you know when to hire? And, then how much do you pay them?

First, let’s talk about how to know when you need to hire. Believe it or not its less about when you have “enough money” to hire someone and more about when you lack of hiring someone is actually costing you money and growth.  Most people make the mistake of hiring people for the job they needed months ago and not for where they are going to grow. For example, you know you need to have your website updated, you have been writing blogs but they are inconsistent because once you get in a groove then you realize your social media marketing isn’t where it should be. And before you know it you’re overwhelmed and not doing any one thing well. You’re tired, frustrated, and wondering why do any of it. You end up not growing your business as fast as you want or could. And, you put off the dreams and goals you have because you “don’t have time.”

I get asked all the time how I “do it all.” And I am really honest, I have a team. And I didn’t start out with a team nor could I afford my entire team at the beginning. I barely could afford my first hire. But, I also knew that the more she did for me the more I could teach aka make money. Hiring my first assistant was scary and also the light I needed under my arse. And yours will be too. Because, when you have people you’ve got to pay you start to see opportunities to make more money in more ways. You also stop feeling like you charge to much or worry about charging for a late cancel. You have a team to pay for.

How did I know when to hire? Great question. There were things I wasn’t doing not just because I didn’t have time but because I dreaded doing them. They literally made me annoyed. Frustrated. And awful person to be around. They actually took longer than they should because they were not my strengths. Which was costing me money because I could have been doing other things in that amount of time I was wasting. So, I decided I needed an assistant. Someone to do the things that were taking too much time.

Step one: Write down ALL the things you currently do, need to do, and want to do in your business.

Yes, that will take time and you should take the time to write these things down. Just brain dump it all. EVERYTHING. Even the changing of the toilet paper. Once you have this brain dumped list then I want you to take anything that doesn’t require YOU and put them in either a “F yes” column or a “no” column.

For example, to put a video of mine up on Youtube it has to be filmed, edited, the copy has to be written, and then it is uploaded to Youtube. Of these tasks love filming and writing! But, do not love editing and uploading. And truthfully the only one of these tasks that requires me to do anything is filming. The writing could even be outsourced.

Here’s another one, teaching a client. To do this they need to be scheduled, they need to pay or their package needs accounting for, then they need to be taught, maybe a reminder has to be sent. Of these tasks the only one that is an F yes for me is teaching. I can do all the other things. And you may even be thinking “But LL most of those things don’t take that long.” True, they might only take one or two texts. But, I don’t want to do those things. They don’t light me up and therefore those texts not only waste my time they cost me money. I could be doing something else with those texts time.

Step two: Whatever is on the “No” list that doesn’t bring you money you have to hire for.

Anything that doesn’t bring you money that isn’t a F yes is literally a drain on your headspace and your business growth. Trust me. I know you think “but if it doesn’t bring me money paying someone to do that is really costing me money.” Yes, it does cost you money to hire for these tasks but I promise you if you use the formula below you will see how in the same amount of time someone can do the work that doesn’t bring you money and doesn’t light you up literally allows you to make more money.

Step three: Know how much your hourly rate is.

When you first go out to hire people for your business some people might ask you “what is your budget?” This question may have you worried. Or even thinking that they’ll cost you too much. But, if you know your “hourly rate” then you’ll know how much you can spend on a new team member. Side note most people will just say how much they charge per hour. But for websites and some projects, they may want to know what your ballpark is and we can talk more about this together if you need. But another way is to have a detailed list of what you want need and then get quotes on the same project from several people. Let them pitch themselves to you. But for someone working for you hourly like an assistant etc you’ll want to have an idea of how much you’re willing to pay for the job. As I mentioned my first hire was an assistant. And I decided that I could pay about $5 more than min wage so I could get a person who would be dedicated during those hours. But, I also could only afford that person to work 5 hours a week for me. How did I come up with that?

I knew my hourly rate!

Here’s how you figure out yours:

What is the amount of money you want to gross in your business in a year?

Divide that amount by the number of weeks you will work in a year.

Divide that number by the number of days you will work in a week.

Then take that number and divide it by the number of hours you will work in a day.

The answer is how much you must be charging at minimum for your time. And, that means anyone you hire that is less than that is saving you money.

So, I knew that I was able to take on one more hour of teaching a week and that gave me 5 hours for my assistant each week. I literally created 4 hours of time for myself each week by hiring her.

And, then when the results of her working for me began to take effect we were able to bring on another assistant to do other tasks on my “no” list. And that meant I taught one more hour a week, got another 5 hours out of another person. And thus had 8 hours extra. What would you do with an extra 8 hours?

Step 4: Create a job description from the “no” list.

In this podcast episode with Kareen Walsh she goes over how to know who to hire. And not just who but literally write the job description that saves you from hiring the wrong people. Too often people finally decide to hire but they don’t have a clear job description. So they hire the wrong people. Which will literally waste your time. AKA money. And then you’ll say “LL I tried to hire and it just didn’t work.” And you’d be right. But, you went about it the wrong way. When you look at the list of the things you love you create your own job description according to Walsh. And the stuff you don’t want to do creates the job descriptions of who you are hiring.

Step 5: Set them Up for Success

Training people to do the work better than you would is not easy but it is possible. There are some great tips for creating systems that are foolproof in the book “The Replaceable Founder” But, maybe you don’t have a system yet because its something you need but you haven’t done or haven’t had a chance to create a good system. Then first be sure to hire someone whose strengths and desires are related to the job. Don’t hire your friend just because they need work and will take what you will pay them. And be sure to take the extra time needed (and you will need it) tell them what you like that they did and why as well as what changes you would make and why. For example, say you’re hiring someone to write your newsletters and they do and you like the first two. And you say “oh I love these.” But then the third and fourth come out and you’re like “ugh these are not what I was expecting.”

All of our team works remotely so when we are having them take on a task of ours we will film what we do and have them create the “system” for it. This system then lives somewhere we can keep so if we ever need to hire anyone to do it they can follow the last person’s system for it. But, before we keep it as a true system we do have another person (in our case on our team but you could use a friend) to follow the system. It should be easy for anyone to follow their steps.

We give feedback often on what we liked and again WHY we liked it. And if we would change something we say why. This way they can start thinking like us.

Step 6: Have a plan for the time they are giving back to you.

If you are like I was in the beginning the people we hired allowed for me to do more things that would propel the business forward aka make more money how many hours is it giving you and exactly what are you doing. If you’re not clear on this you will easily fill it with other busywork. Now, almost three years after our first hire many of our hires actually give us time off. Yep, time to live life. What will you do with those hours?

Finally, I leave you with this reminder, hire for where you are growing. It is so easy to hire for the business you had yesterday. But then you’ll always feel like you’re not growing. And that you’re always playing catch up. Where do you want to grow your business? What jobs would be a “no?” Who are you hiring first?

xx~LL

Ps if you need help with hiring and firing here is a course that gives you more tips on this topic.

 

Pivoting: Tips for Instructors and Studio Owners

Pivoting, I am sure you have heard this word more often than you want during the Corona Virus Shut Down, Re-open, and potential re-closures. And, maybe you have even pivoted once or twice already? I know you struggle to know if you should pivot now? Is it too late? What if things “go back to normal?” And, even wondering if it’s too late and you missed the Pivot Plane. Truth is pivoting may be more than just what helps you survive this time. It might actually take your business to a level you hadn’t thought about. Or, even become more than a band-aid to the times and be the way you help people for years to come. Pivoting doesn’t have to be a last resort or a “bad thing.” It could literally be the thing that sets you free of what you thought you “should be doing.” So, whether you have already made some pivots or are just getting started here are some tips for Pivoting.

First, it’s important you recognize that pivoting is not a bad thing. It doesn’t mean you failed. When gyms and studios were forced to close ClassPass lost 95% of its revenue. OVERNIGHT. The entire fitness industry was sent into a freefall. You are not alone. And, there are tons of success stories already out there where pivots have more than saved a business. There are many that are looking at their future primary product being virtual. You can be (and I hope all reading this will be) saying something similar.

Now that you have let go of feeling like you’re “failing” by changing what you offer or how you show up. Let’s talk about some ideas.

Pre-Rona you or you studio were limited to who could get to your studio. People who lived or worked in the area. You were limited to your ideal client being “nearby.” Now, EVERYONE understands how to use their computer or device to zoom, Facetime, or Google Hangout. And, while some people weren’t as excited to workout online in March many are jumping on board now.

Virtual Classes For Always: In-real-time classes not only feel like “old times” you can easily charge your normal in-person rates. You are not limited to the walls of your studio. People are now used to buying fitness equipment so you can put together kits they can buy from you for your classes. You are also only limited to time zones issues. Your existing clients can help you promote your classes and bring their friends and family from all over the world. Which is where you should start. With people who know like and trust you. And when the time comes to move back inside you can still keep your in-real-time virtual attendees. I take a step class every week with about 28 other women from all over the country. And, the teacher is in a big warehouse with 20 in-person students. That’s 48 on a random night. Their studio could only fit 32. No longer are their profits limited by occupancy rules.

Courses: what questions does your studio or you get asked often? Nowadays creating online courses has never been easier. There are platforms like Teachable and Kajabi and others that make it easy for anyone to film a course put it up online and sell it. Now, I promise you just because you build it doesn’t mean it will be a success overnight. You still will have to promote this product. But, it is another income stream that now without having as many hours spent driving around to go from class to class or to the studio you can finally write, film and sell that course you’ve been wanting to put together. And, go ahead niche down and answer the specific question your ideal client is asking. Your ideal client has back issues do a course on things they can do at home. Maybe there is a level 1, 2 and 3? And, because they will trust you so much after doing the course maybe they join your virtual classes or in-person offerings when that happens for you.

Downsizing: this option is brilliant and I know that maybe it doesn’t feel brilliant in the beginning trust me everything is happening for you. Maybe you have a big studio, you’ve got lots of teachers or you’ve struggled to find enough “good” teachers? You opened the studio so that you could help people. You saw that most people opened with 3+ Reformers, towers, chairs etc. But, the truth is you don’t love managing people and you want to focus on other things. Maybe you want to travel, be with your family more, or simply have a business that is smaller, more manageable? What if you rented out your excess equipment, moved to a smaller studio space, or create a home studio as I did. Truth is most teachers can have a very profitable private business with 20ish clients working 46 weeks a year if they charge their worth. Your clients who are unsure about returning in-studio can rent the extra equipment from you and when they are done you can sell or re-rent it out.

Poll Your People: I’m often asked how come I moved to Vegas or decided to have a home studio? And honestly, I’ll answer the question about Why Vegas another day its a longer story than a bullet point on a blog. But, that part that helps you is I polled my clients who stuck with virtual. I asked them if when things “reopened” what they wanted? Were they going to be going back to their offices, other gyms etc. They all said they were LOVING virtual and were even doing more sessions. They didn’t have traffic, parking, or worry about a meeting running late. Because I knew that they were not planning on coming back it allowed me to explore other options.

Sell the Results, not the Process: maybe your business doesn’t need a pivot but your marketing does. I often see teachers and businesses selling the process. Meaning they sell class times or equipment classes. But they don’t sell what matters to people- how you help them. How does “Pilates Mat class tonight with LL 6 pm” solve their back pain, their lack of self-confidence, their stress level lowering or simply being part of a community? Right, it doesn’t. It sells the process. But, what if you talked about the results? What if you shared with people the big picture, the feeling they will have when they show up? Give this tip a try all week long and see if the engagement on your posts changes.

Stop wallowing: What does wallowing have to do with pivoting? A lot actually! If you add a new offering, discontinue ones you cannot offer, and even do any of the things I have mentioned above but you are still living in the “woe is me” mindset I promise you you’ll get to continue living in this place you are in. You’ve got to stop feeling like this is happening to you and that you’re the only one. And this one is a big one, You have GOT to stop believing that “no one wants to do virtual mat classes and pay for them.” Or “no one will pay for this class I offer because they are used to x, y or z.” You need to believe in yourself. You need to show up every day asking yourself how can you reach the people you were meant to help today? You need to because you are the only person who can teach who you teach the way you teach.

What pivots are you going to make? What are you going to commit to?

Couple things I need you to keep in mind as you make your changes:

  1. Insurance: you gotta make sure your insurance covers you for the on-demand aka pre-recorded content you are offering.
  2. City/County policies: I am LOVING the ideas of studios teaching in their parking lots, parks or beaches. Do you have permission?
  3. Your waivers: anytime you add something you have never done before you gotta make sure your waivers cover you! This is not something you can borrow from a friend download off the internet.
  4. Who is it for? Why do they need it? What do they get after doing it? Remember the results not the process is what they care about.
  5. You gotta market it. More often than you think. More times than you can dream up.
  6. Which is why you gotta love it, believe in it and go for it.

 

Look, I’m not gonna lie, times are WEIRD AF. But, let’s be honest, people are thriving during this time and it’s not because they are finding ways to benefit from a pandemic. No, these are Pilates teachers, Personal trainers, gyms and studios that have decided to get creative, show up and be ready to fail. Yep, failing is inevitable and it gives you Feedback! So, fail fast and you’ll actually fail forward. AKA make mistakes, learn from them, and try again tomorrow. Now is the time to get creative, try new things, and go for it.

What will you try next?

xx~LL

 

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

Resources for Creating an Anti-Racist and Inclusive Pilates Experience

Pilates is seen as an elitist and often even racist fitness modality. And, while most of its teachers would like to disagree I believe the past week’s protests have more than shed a light on where we can all improve in the effort for equality. And, while you might think that racism is not happening in your studio. Or that, you see all people as equal. Now is the time to take a step back and see are you creating a studio space that not only teaches Pilates safely and effectively. But also how are the studio policies inclusive of all backgrounds that might come through your doors? Is your staff or are you aware of micro-aggressions that however innocent you might think they affect the teachers and clients that come through your doors?

The problem of racism in the US and other countries may seem too big for you to fix. But, the truth is if you are doing your part in your community to create change that has a ripple effect that has no ends. And so, below please find the books, podcasts, charities, and more that you can use to educate yourself.

Side note: I’m still learning, I will always be. I am listening and educating myself as best and quickly as I can so that I can continue to use this platform for its mission-helping you do more of what you love- Teaching Pilates.

Part of being able to do more of what you love is making sure that the studio space you are in allows for any client you may attract to feel safe, welcome, and included. For you to feel strong, confident, and aware not just of learning styles but of cultural differences and needs. And, for teachers in the BIPOC community to feel safe, welcome and empowered. I know I am still making my way through these lists. But, I hope they help you on your journey to bringing more Pilates to more bodies.

Books

Podcasts

Courses/Workshops

This is in no way a complete list. And, as I find more I hope to update this. And, please feel free to post more resources in the comments below.

To my teachers out there reading this. If you see something do something. My interview guest Yunny on IG said this. And, it’s important that you stand up if you see a policy at a studio or a client whose actions are racist or micro aggression. Change happens first where we are.

To my studio owners, in these days after quarantine, it’s never been more important to make sure the culture at your studio represents the inclusivity you believe in. Now that clients are more aware of online services and follow teachers on social media you cannot afford to lose a good teacher because your policies or clients create an environment that negatively affects another person. Check out the interview I did with Kristen here.

Big thanks to those of you who sent me resource tips on Instagram and to Crooked Media who shared Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein’s list. You can see the full list here

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!

8 Questions to Answer Before Creating a New Offering or Service

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

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

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

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

And, then, if we answered the questions above-

Were people asking us for this? Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is this in our future? hmmm. maybe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xx~LL

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