Do You Know What Your AGENCY is?

Agency has multiple definitions but one of them has to do with using your own inner strengths and abilities. But, that is not as easy to do on your own. Enter imposter syndrome, the grass is greener over there thoughts, indecision, lack of confidence, unawareness of ones owns strengths, etc. etc. It’s not easy being a confident instructor.

After all, so many people tell anyone with ears there is no money in Pilates. That one can’t make a living as a Pilates Instructor. And so, how can you own your own agency? How can you know what it is and see it’s value? How can you see that your uniqueness is what will make your business thrive?

All these worries combined with the questions that teachers and studio owners have on a daily basis is why I created AGENCY. My group coaching membership. I wanted a place where no matter what your teaching background was, if you were a new teacher, experienced teacher, studio owner or independent contractor could come together in a supportive, positive space.

My desire is to help all Pilates instructors see and believe in possibility. To not run their business the way that everyone else is. Or to market themselves the way that everyone else is. Your goals require their own path.

There is no Pilates Career Ladder.

You can have the business you want if you are willing to do the work. But, how? Well, if you know the what you want to do and they why you want to do it in AGENCY between me and others who have been in your place or are going to do be will be there to provide ideas you may not have thought of. Provide support and positivity. Agency, a community in the Pilates and fitness world that wants to see everyone succeed because we rise together.

If you are reading this and you’re wishing you could just ask the questions you have, get feedback on an idea, high fives when you get a new client then you want AGENCY.

And, AGENCY is more than just the community, you get so much more. You can check out all the member benefits here and if you are wondering if AGENCY is for you then you can contact me here. It’s almost 2 years old and when you check out the benefits you’ll see some of the most incredible things members are saying!

xx~LL

PS all my webinars have moved behind AGENCY doors. In order to continue to support instructors and studio owners after they watch the webinar, it became necessary to add the community to these webinars.

Lead Your Own Retreat

If leading your own retreat is on your business bucket list this is a blog for you! Whether you want to lead a Pilates, Yoga, fitness, nutritional or meditative retreat the same rules apply. And, there are some key things to keep in mind before you even put down your deposit somewhere.  Retreats can be lots of fun but they are equal amounts of work! If not more work. The number of hours you will spend before you lead your retreat will double or triple the time you spend on the retreat.

And, something I think is incredibly important is to know and understand is that a retreat really is not a paid vacation. If you are leading one to have a paid vacation I do think you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

A few questions I want you to answer before you continue. The answers do not mean you should or you shouldn’t lead one. But, these are things you need to know before you go.

  1. Are an organized person?
  2. Do you have enough existing clients who would go on this retreat or will you need to market to people who do not know you?
  3. If the retreat doesn’t make you money will that affect your business negatively? Or, can your business handle a non-profitable event?
  4. Are you comfortable asking for the sale or telling a client no?
  5. Can your website handle taking payments for an event?
  6.  Do you like to be the leader, hostess or be in charge?

I have tons of other questions that I ask those I coach through organizing their own retreat. But, I think these get your mind and juices flowing and picturing yourself actually going through the process.

As far as putting one together, the sky is the limit! You can have a day retreat, a workshop weekend retreat, a week or 10 day long retreat. I’ve seen retreats where they are all inclusive to ones that only cover portions of the trip or time.

On this potential retreat, what does it look like? Where are you at? When they leave what are they saying was their favorite part? How do you feel and the attendees feel? What are they saying as they leave? Before you plan a retreat sit down and meditate on what the retreat looked like when it was over. This will help you not stress out about things that don’t matter. It will also help you answer some of the questions above.

When you start planning the retreat it’s easy to get distracted by all the questions that you’ll have to answer. It’s like a wedding. You start out wanting just a small outdoor wedding and by the end of it you have this luxury destination wedding at the Sandal’s resort and you’re looking at a bunch of faces you don’t know.

The details in between the start of a retreat when you announce it’s happening to attendees showing up, the day to day agenda and how to handle when shit happens will vary from retreat to retreat. The stories of scrambling I have had to do on a retreat are endless. But, most important none of my attendees knew that I scrambled. The time my chef fell through 4 hours before retreaters arrived was crazy! But, the way we fixed it was brilliant and the food was delicious.

If you want to lead your own retreat you not only have to think through the actual retreat and price it out so that it is profitable. Please, please, please do not skip that part! You have to think through a lot of “what if’s.”

My husband has created a sheet, systems and more to help make sure all of our retreats not only are fun and fulfilling to our guests and us but also to help us sell them, make sure every attendee has all the info they need, makes sure we get paid on time and more.

He’s helping me with our from demand webinar on “How to Create and Lead Your Own Retreat.” And, if you are leading retreats or thinking of leading retreats this is the webinar you need to be at. We are giving out all deets on how we do what we do!

xx~LL 

Join us for this webinar live or watch the replay click here

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 

 

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 

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

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

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

For Studio Owners

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

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

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

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

For Pilates Instructors:

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Xx, D


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

5 Things You Need to Do to Make the Leap in Your Business

Can you make a living teaching Pilates? Is teaching Pilates a career you can have long-term? Can you make a living teaching at one location? Should I teach at this studio or that studio? Can I open my own studio someday? These questions are just a handful of the ones I have received this month. New teachers, veteran teachers and soon-to-be teachers reaching out to get advice on going from where they are now to where they want to go. How does one make the leap?

These questions touch my soul actually because at the heart of these questions is “is my dream possible?” And, because I know people believe that goals and dreams are possible. If they are asking this question it’s because they probably wonder if it is possible for them. Which means they are wondering if they are enough.

Here’s the thing about your Pilates business wishes, goals and dreams…they are all possible. But, they require you to do a few things. And, unfortunately these things are not easy.

  1. You have to be clear on what you want for the future
  2. You have to be purposeful and strategic in your trainings and education
  3. You will have to learn to say ‘No’ more often than you think
  4. You will have to take educated risks
  5. You need to build a bridge

That last one is one that I think is important to focus on. Many goals coaches talk about ‘taking a leap.’ They ask “what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” I prefer Brene Brown’s version of this question “What do you have to do even if you fail?” It’s a recipe for anxiety if you only do things that you couldn’t fail at. Or, not doing things because there is a risk it could not work out.

If you have a dream, a goal, you feel a calling you owe it to yourself it try it out. See what happens. Now, I am not saying go get a loan and open your dream studio right out of the gate. But, that you have to take steps towards that goal. Try things on for size see how it feels. Everything is good feedback.

Maybe you want to open a studio someday go manage one. See what you love about it and what you don’t so you can manage your studio differently. Or, if you realize I want my own space but I don’t want to manage anyone! Then your studio dream can still happen it justs means you need a space that only you need to be in.

If you’ve got goals go try them on! Clarity comes from action. Thinking about it a lot and not taking any leaps is draining. And creates a frenetic energy.

Also, by trying on your goals, giving them a go on a smaller scale you are in fact building a bridge from where you are now to where you want to go. With a bridge, no net to catch you is needed. You can walk right across it.

If you are sitting there reading this and feeling like you are wrestling with several options or choices and you don’t know what to choose or what to do then it’s time to talk. I’ve got two options for you. My free webinar on December 16th –How to Make the Leap‘ or a one-on-one coaching call. It’s never too late to build your bridge. But, why wait any longer than you need to?

xx~LL

Is It Time to Make a Leap in your Business?

One of the questions I often answer is how do I go from my current job to teaching Pilates full-time? Sometimes, it isn’t even in the form of a question. It’s more of a wish or dream. “One day I will be able to teach fulltime. I don’t know when yet.” But, “leaps” can be more than just going from your old job, the one that paid the bills to dream job- TeachingPilatess Full time. I have been talking with many teachers lately about if they should quit teaching a particular class or if they should say yes to teaching a class at a different location. And, it’s not just teachers who are in wonder of what to do. Where to go! Studio owners also have to make choices. You may be reading this wondering if you should cancel certain classes, add others, raise rates, hire more teachers, etc. How do you know when it is time to make the “leap.”

Well, I wish I could promise you this blog would be able to give you specific dates, times, benchmarks to hit before you leap. But, I cannot do that. Every single one of you is a unique teacher, owner or apprentice. You have your own history, your own goals and your own vision for what your life will look like.

But, what I can do is give you some questions to ask yourself when you are wondering which way to go or what choice to make:

  1. If it’s 1, 2, or 5+ years from now would you still be doing ____? If you are currently teaching a class at 6am. And, in a year or two years you want to only be teaching 9-1am and your choices are to take on another 6am class or lose the one you have it may be time to let go of that class instead of doubling down. Sometimes we need a little push to force us to get closer aligned with who we want to be and what we want to do. There are always choices. You get to make a choice. Each choice is like a door. You can continue to walk through the door you know even though it leads you towards something that doesn’t rock your soul or pay the bills. Or, you can choose the door that more closely aligns with where you hope to be in the future. It won’t be easy but a year from now you’ll be closer to where you want to be.
  2. Filter through your vision. Have a 30k foot view of your life. Be super clear on this. If you are it won’t change all that much over time. Be firm in your goals/vision. But, be flexible in how you get there. Sometimes we are so firm in our vision that we are too firm in the path. We hire the wrong teachers, say yes to the wrong clients and take ourselves further from the actual vision. As you meet teacher you are considering to hire, interview for studios you are thinking of working for or meeting potential clients. If you filter the choice through your vision and it aligns go for it. If it doesn’t align be confident in saying ‘no.’
  3. Never discount yourself. If you discount yourself, try to compete with the discounted rates of the competition you will eventually be discounted. And, worse you may not be able to leave your other job, other locations or for the studio owners you may not be able to expand or stay open! Honor your value, charge your worth, raise your rates if you need to and feel confident in the awesomeness you are. The benefits of working with you are only felt when the energy exhange (rate for the session) is aligned with your worth. Otherwise, the client discounts your value and you eventually resent teaching for less than you should. Or worse, you can’t afford to teach and we lose and awesome teacher!

There are so many other tips I could give you to help you decide if it is time to leap. But, one more I will leave you with is that it doesn’t always need to be a leap or a free fall. It can be a bridge that you build. Create a pathway for you to go from where you are now to where you want to go. If you want to be teaching full-time book out the hours you can now and overtime pull back on your other gig. Have a clear idea of when you’ll have enough runway to leave the gig to teaching full time. If you want to be hiring teachers for your studio be clear on your studio vision and goals. Create the bridge by having set expectations, benefits, policies and procedures in place before you begin to interview. Show the “bridge” the studio goals to future teachers and see if they feel its a bridge they can cross.

As the holiday come upon us and the beginning whispers of “new years resolutions” begin it’s a good time to get clear on your big vision and evaluate what you’re currently saying yes to. Maybe it is time to leap!

If you want to get clearer on this contact me here. Think you need to raise your rates? Join me here!

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 

What I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Pilates Business

Sometimes I am grateful I didn’t know what I didn’t know when I started my Pilates teaching business. Although to be fair, I had eight years retail experience with seven years in management and a degree in communication so I wasn’t coming into the business side of things without experience in business. But, I know that my background is not normal. And, that many Pilates instructors come from a variety of experiences and that can mean starting out as a teacher and feeling lost and unsure. And, feeling alone. I mean, even if you are teaching in a studio with a bunch of other Pilates teachers when you are new you don’t always feel like you can ask about the business side of things. So, there is a lot of learning as you go into this Pilates world. Which was the impetus to my book but I do hope that this week’s blog post with contributions from teachers and studio owners far and wide gives you some insight and some comfort.

I will start off this what I wish list! I wish I knew that there was no one way to offer sessions, packages, and classes. I wish that ten years ago I knew then what I know and absolutely believe now…that when you know what you want you create the business that aligns with the way you are inspired to offer your services.

I wish I knew that you can say no. I learned very quickly, of course, the hard way and I am a massive proponent that you say no to every session or client that doesn’t align with your goals and soul.

I wish I knew in the beginning that there would be enough time to take all the continuing education. And, instead of signing up for EVERY workshop I was a bit pickier with my time and money.

I also wish I had been comfortable in my own teaching abilities from the beginning. If you are new to teaching you are exactly where you need to be! Keep practicing, observing and asking questions.

Now, I probably could go on for pages but how about hearing from some of you!

Rae Snyder of Infinity Pilates and Yoga:  Finding your Niché: When I was first branding my business (in 2009) I thought Pilates wasn’t well known enough in Waco and that my studio needed a little help from Yoga! Everyone had heard of yoga but not everyone had heard of Pilates so I thought combining the 2 would be a win-win! I was sadly mistaken! Maintaining both a specialized Yoga space and Pilates space proved to be too much! I was serving 2 very different markets and was trying to be too many things for too many people! After a few failed hiring attempts, where Yoga instructors and I did not mesh, I decided to focus solely on Pilates! I really wish someone had told me about finding your niché and going hard in that one area before I decided on a name for my business, Infinity Pilates and Yoga!

For the past 4 years, I have focused solely on Pilates and my business has grown steadily in the direction I have always wanted it to grow!! I now have dedicated clients who schedule their lives around their Pilates appointments and actually want to learn what I have to offer!! I am sure a rebranding is in my future!”

The Pilates Pod “I wish I had known how hard it was to find good teachers”

B Pilates and Training “I wish I had promoted myself as well as the studio I worked for. I never really thought of doing that. Also, that I had been firmer with my schedule, I was too available in the beginning.”

Brooke Tyler of CoreSelf and Clasique   “Wish I knew…it will never “level out” and thinking it will, expecting it to get super smooth and ‘stressless’ is actually the greatest source of stress. Expect instead that running a business will never be level, calm, and comfortable. It’s the essence of life well lived and a business continually evolving. It’s uncomfortable. And that’s part of the passion, the hustle, and the creative entrepreneurship.”

And, two more from Rae: “Socially Isolated: When I began my business adventure, Facebook was all the rage! I knew social media was a fun way to stay connected with friends and family, but I never really grasped the impact it could have on my business! And not in the way you might think! I started a Facebook page for the studio and that was about it. I rarely posted anything, because being on the internet constantly made me feel guilty like I was neglecting my clients and teaching! In the beginning, my studio mostly grew by word of mouth and I never gave my studio page much thought. Honestly, marketing on social media was never necessary for me.

Fast forward 8 years and I started an Instagram account to keep up with other instructors in the Pilates community! After attending my first PMA conference I realized how beneficial an online presence could be for connecting with other instructors and sharing ideas! For me, social media was less about marketing myself and more about sharing ideas with like-minded individuals! I didn’t know what I was missing by being inactive on my accounts! I am so thankful I started reaching out to other teachers in this way! No one tells you how lonely being a studio owner can be. Having a community is crucial to preventing burnout and helping you feel grounded in your work.”

“Competition: When I started my studio I shared my space with another instructor. We were separate businesses, but we worked together really well and for a while, we were the only Pilates instructors in Waco! She and I eventually outgrew our space so we decided to part ways. We had 3 clients who had all pursued their teaching certifications while training with us so before we she and I stopped working together, we tossed around the idea of all 5 of us joining forces and creating 1 really awesome studio! My idea didn’t appeal to everyone so we all did our own thing and one of the newer instructors decided to stay with me! I was so nervous about this new level of competition, but we worked really hard to keep a relationship going between us all and honestly, there has been no change in my business and it’s been 4 years now! I still would love to have 1 big studio, but the Pilates scene in Waco is still fairly new so that might be something that happens later!  I wish someone would have warned me that competition will come and go and it’s really not anything to worry about and that when someone rejects a business plan, not to take it personally because you can’t know what everyone is working toward! I originally felt like I was being rejected and that my business wouldn’t make it with so many other studios around! If I had known, then, how it was going to work out I would have saved myself a whole lotta stress!!”

I know there are a thousand times ten more “wishes I would have known” but I had to end it on the big wish I hope you all know. Don’t sweat the competition. Embrace it, no one can be YOU! And, if you read my “notes to inspire” from the other day there is always room for you if you are being your amazing unique self. There is no room for copycats.

Don’t see your wish you here? I would love to hear it! Comment below! Or, share your high fives with one of our contributors.

xx~LL 

PS It’s really ok to not know what you don’t know. But, its even more ok to ask for help!

 

How to Put Your Goals in First

I’ll never forget the first time I sat down to do my goals. I did the whole 10-year vision and plan with them. I loved it! I couldn’t believe the daring goals I had written down. And, for the most part, all of those goals happened within three years not ten! But, a few didn’t. And, it took me another goal setting experience, a panic attack and a few more years to figure out why. Sure, there was a goal or two that really just sounded good but wasn’t truly my own. But, a couple others were things I really did want to happen. But, they hadn’t and it wasn’t because they were out of my control. Nope, they were totally within my reach. I just hadn’t put them first. I had not put me first!

As Pilates Instructors and Studio Owners it is not always easy to put our wants, needs and desires first. In fact, sometimes it just feels impossible!! But, the thing is while we are in the “service industry” we are not of service to others. If we do not put our goals in our schedule they will not happen and we will lose inspiration. If we do not put our ideas in place and even fail along the way we will wonder why we are doing what we are doing. We will feel the exhaustion that comes from pushing a boulder up a hill. We will start to resent our clients, our work and feel powerless in our circumstances. And, doesn’t that just sound awful?

When I first became a Pilates Instructor I had a very grandiose idea for what I was going to do and be as an instructor. And, just like my goals setting earlier I hit most of them. And a few others I actually denounced and said to those who knew of them that I didn’t really want them or that now wasn’t the right time. Truthfully, I was so busy making others goals happen that I didn’t have the time or energy to give to my own. And, I didn’t believe my goals were possible, I mean, who was I to want those goals?

Well, I wish someone had told my newbie teacher self what I know now. If you want it, you do the work and you maintain control over your schedule and needs you can have it all and it will happen. But, the problem isn’t that you don’t know what you want, and it’s not really that you don’t have the skills or deserve it. It’s that you have to make a space for your magic to happen.

But, as teachers and studio owners, it’s easier to say yes to a client, to come in on our day off or to stay for another hour to get a client in. It’s easier to cover for a teacher instead of getting someone else. It’s easier to do it all ourselves rather than delegate it out! Is this sounding familiar?

Last week I had the opportunity to take a couple days off during the week. During days I usually teach. I almost turned it down. But, one of my goals has always been that I can travel more often. That I can have a schedule that is flexible to me taking a trip for work or for fun. So before I hit send on my declined response I remembered my goals. And, I said yes instead.

Sure, it required me to move a lot of peeps. But, my schedule has to reflect my goals. And, it didn’t always do that…hence the panic attack several years ago. I was stressed beyond my abilities because I was trying to do others goals and fit in my own. And, since getting that straightened out I have made a point to always put my schedule together first. But, I know you’re wondering how do you do that? So, let me stop talking about me and give you tips to help you!

  1. Know what you want! If you don’t we can’t create a schedule around nothing
  2. You have to commit and protect it! Your clients, team, family, and friends do not mean to take you away from your goals. They don’t know that when they ask to come in at 5 pm on a Monday that they are asking for you to give up on your favorite class. You have to tell them “No, I am not available at that time. But, I have ___ or ____.”
  3. Do one thing a day towards your goals. If you put off the action items that help propel you towards what you want you can’t magically get what you want. Isn’t the definition of luck where preparation meets opportunity. You have to do the preparation so that you can find the intersection.
  4. Say No more often…I know this is basically a repeat of #2 but it’s that important! You cannot say yes to everyone and You. So, before you respond to something practice artful ways of saying no. For example, “let me check my schedule and get back to you.” Or, “I’d love to but, until the ____ I cannot take on any projects right now.”
  5. Once a week check in and make sure you are putting you in the schedule first. I used to only check on my goals quarterly. But, then I noticed that I would skip a few weeks on my stuff and my stress levels would start to rise. So, I started doing a weekly check-in. This helps me stay on top of what I need to be doing each week.
  6. Get an accountability partner! Tell someone close to you what you are working on so that it’s even harder to say “yes” to someone else and “no” to yourself. If you are really good at putting yourself last get a few accountability partners!
  7. Give yourself a break! If you miss a week, say yes when you should have said no or feel like your goals have changed it’s all OK! Start over where you left off.
  8. Design you Dream Schedule! This is the biggest KEY to all of these tips. And, if you need help I LOVE doing this! You can do it with me one-on-one or take my course here.

Here’s the deal my friend! I am a massive believer in doing business un-usual! I don’t think there is room for you to be the same as any teacher out there or to run your studio the way others have. I believe there is plenty of room and success out there if you run your business YOUR way! With your goals, your needs and your vision in mind.

So, what’s your dream schedule look like?

xx~LL 

 

Are These 3 Things Holding You Back?

What happens when LL and Cool J get together?! Well, read on to find out! This week’s guest blogger is a soul sister of mine and I couldn’t be more honored to have her share her words here with you in this week’s blog post. Jenna Zaffino, Pilates Teacher, Business Coach, Podcast host and way more than words can describe has shared three common limiting beliefs and help for each of them.  As you read this week’s blog ask yourself if any of this sounds familiar to you. And, if it does let’s talk! Limiting beliefs are walls keeping you from what you want. And, as you’ll read Jenna and I know that there is so much magic on the other side of every wall.  Jenna, take it away!


As a career coach, I’ve been fortunate to work with Pilates Pros around the world.  My favorite part of coaching is learning about the various cultures in different studios.  This provides a great reminder that we are all connected through this beautiful method. 

Most similarities amongst global Pilates teachers fall into the positive realm; health conscious, movement enthusiasts, love the Pilates Method forever and ever, etc. On the opposite end, however, I have seen some major universal themes that get in the way of the progress of Pilates Professionals and create negative stories that hold us back from the true potential of our work.

The following are what I’ve seen to be the top 3 limiting beliefs of Pilates Pros, along with some perspective that may help you see your situation in a new light.

  1. Suffering is part of the job.

Many teachers believe that they must suffer in order to provide help for others. For some, it’s getting paid less than they are worth (or working for free,) for others, it’s working far too many hours in the name of providing help.  The truth is, suffering, rather than thriving will, in fact negatively affect your work. The suffering mindset breeds resentment, irritability, hopelessness and ultimately is a gateway to burnout.  What starts out as a noble sacrifice can quickly become a burden – especially when it negatively affects your finances. To me, it’s about the ripple effect.  If you are paid what you are worth, you may be able to lessen your hourly workload, which preserves your energy for the clients you still see.  When those clients have a quality experience with you, they will be more likely to refer you to the people and opportunities who will appreciate the wholeness of your work and pay you for it.  Start thinking about the areas where you might be overextended.  What is one small change you can make to move towards an energy of thriving rather than surviving?

       2. I should do it all myself to save money.

I used to live and breathe this tenant to a fault.  Then, one day, a successful entrepreneur asked me what I was best at.  “Teaching Pilates!” I exclaimed.  He said, then do more of that and hire someone to do the things that drain you.  The idea of spending money on help can be daunting, but each time I have invested in my business by taking something off of my plate that allowed me to do more of my great work, I have reaped the benefits 10-fold.  Today, I run a small business of just me as the teacher/coach/podcaster AND I have a full-time Operations Director.  She provides the platform for me to shine.  On paper, I may save some $$ without an employee, however, without the help of a teammate, I would most certainly be in burnout mode every day.  What is one area that you can outsource? Laundry, reception internships, and housekeeping are 3 great areas from which to start taking some work off of your place.

       3. I have to stick with the known model of running a Pilates studio.

I feel like this one is a doozy, however, the more I’ve worked with clients to individualize their business practices, policies and procedures to the needs of their business, the more I have seen their businesses thrive.  If you’ve owned a studio, or even run a private practice, you know that there is a certain way that things are done as “norms” in the industry.  The thing is, there are no rules as to how you run your business other than the policies and procedures must serve both your clients and your bottom line.  Have slow months in the summer? Why not run your annual budget on a 10-month projection.  Need to ensure that classes are attended? Why not offer pre-registration for class series?  I encourage my clients to get creative with their models, not only from the standpoint of differentiating themselves from other competitors but to make their business work for them.  What is one way you would like your business to serve you better?

Join me on June 28th with Lesley as we bust through some of your limiting beliefs to help you make the shift towards thriving in your business!


Yes, you read that right! Jenna and I will be teaming up to help you with your Pilates business questions, concerns, problems, projects and more! All you have to do is register here and then send in your questions here. Join us live for the webinar or enjoy the replay for up to one week.

xx~LL

For more Jenna Gems check her out on Facebook, Instagram, her website and her podcast.

Creating, Marketing and Leading Workshops

In the last couple years of coaching Pilates and Fitness professionals one of the repeated projects I’ve worked on with others is how to create, fill (market) and lead a workshop. But, before I dive into all that info let me cover a couple questions I often answer in my DM’s-

Do I have to teach workshops? No, if you don’t want to please don’t! I’m not saying that because the space is filled or that you won’t be good at it. I am saying that because I firmly believe that as teachers and other fitness professionals its important to have offerings that are aligned with how we want to show up as teachers, the types of clients you want to teach and your goals/vision. If you don’t feel the desire to stand up in front of an audience and teach a workshop. You don’t have to. And, the beautiful thing is you’re still an awesomely amazing human and teacher! Leading workshops does not determine your knowledge or ability to rock and grow your Pilates business.

Can I have people teach workshops in my space? Absolutely! There are plenty of teachers who travel around and share their wisdom. You don’t have to be the teacher if that’s not in your wheelhouse. In fact, a great way to bring your clients, community or teachers to your studio is to bring in a guest teacher. If that’s something you’re interested in still read the tips below so you choose an instructor who answers the questions you are asking, and whose message speaks to those who will be attending.

How do I know my workshop will be what people want? Warning! Another non-answer. You don’t, and I don’t! But, if you feel you have something to share and to say and you know who should hear it and you’re willing to put in the work then you should do it and it will be what it will be. Then you’ll learn from that, make some changes and go from there.

Do I have to be a teacher trainer or create a workshop only for other teachers? Nope! In fact, I think more workshops for clients are a great idea! And, you don’t need to be a teacher trainer or “famous” to lead them. The more you prepare and create a workshop in line with your strengths and passions the more successful you will be and the more excited those who attend will be before, during and after.

I want to teach workshops but I haven’t and no one has hired me to do it. If you want to truly teach workshops create the workshop you want to teach (follow my info below and lets talk) and do the legwork in getting some people there. Get some testimonials and do it again. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you cannot manifest a workshop.

When a first started teaching Pilates I was asked about 6 months in to lead my first workshop. It was on how to “Convert First Time Clients.” It’s been almost ten years since that workshop and my workshop has changed as I have changed. But, I have to admit that I felt beyond nervous to present and also had so much self-doubt. Who was I, this baby instructor, to be leading a workshop to teachers who have been teaching years longer than me?!

Well, while they could school me all day on the method there was one area where I had knowledge that could help them. I couldn’t take a new client without turning them into a two, three or even four times a week client. And, people noticed. So, the first workshop was birthed because I was asked, there was a need. Which leads me to my first tip-

What questions are you constantly answering? This will help direct you to what workshop topics to work on.

After that workshop, I went home and thought about what I thought went well and what I wanted to change. I made those notes right then and there. I didn’t want to forget them. Then a couple months later when I was asked to present the same workshop I did it with the new changes. This leads to my second tip-

Don’t try to create the PERFECT workshop! Create what you can, practice it on some close friends or clients, make changes and do it again. Your workshop will forever be adding, deleting and changing as you do and as your audience does.

Over the years my workshop line up grew because I started seeing other areas where my strengths could support my community. I didn’t set out to have a line up of ten or more workshops. I simply followed my curiosity. What and how was I doing things in my business that could be helpful to others?

Which brings me to my final tip for today- What or how does your idea help those who you want to come to your workshop? And, who are “those” people?

Just like I talk about in “Attracting Your Ideal Client” and “Becoming Known” it’s not about trying to get everyone to come to any workshop. It’s about knowing who your workshop is for and how it helps them.

If leading workshops are calling your name, if you have on your business goals to teach a workshop or you’re looking to add to the different revenue streams of your teaching business and the tips above got your juices flowing then join me for my webinar Create, Market and Lead your own Workshops. Or, contact me here for a one on one coaching session that takes you from where you are now to where you want to grow. Maybe you’re already creating and leading workshops but are stuck on the marketing? Both the webinar and my one on one coaching are great for you! Choose the kind of learning that works best for you.

What will you create next? I’d love to hear from you! You can comment below or here for more information on taking your workshops to the next level.

xx~LL