Tips for Getting New Clients and Rebuilding Right Now

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

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

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

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

 

xx~LL

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

How Much Should You Charge For Virtual Sessions?

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

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

How much do you want to gross in a year?

How many weeks a year will you realistically work?

How many days a week will you work?

How many hours in a day?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xx~LL

Tips for Navigating a Virtual Teaching Business

It’s been one week since my studio has been closed indefinitely but it’s been several years that I have been teaching virtually so except the lack of times my door opens my work week has felt slightly “normal.” But, that might not be the same for you. And, it’s ok to be freaking out, worried, scared, feel lost, depressed, and like the business, rug has been pulled out from under you. And, while virtual is an option, how do you make the switch? What does this mean price-wise? And, can you actually grow your business during this time? Let’s help you navigate what could be your “new normal.”

First, I truly believe this is a great opportunity for reinvention, creation, pause, and getting clear on what you want in your life and what you don’t. So, as you make the necessary changes and choices in your business please know that not everything you offered yesterday will be on the calendar during this unique period and it also might not come back when your doors reopen. And, that’s ok! Let’s talk about it.

Teaching Virtually

There are many options for incorporating this into your business. Brad and I went over all the platforms in our course “How to Teach Virtual Sessions and Classes.” The platform you use is going to be determined by what you are offering.

Many clients will go this route with you. And, some will not. It’s not personal. They are experiencing an insane amount of changes in their lives too. It’s imperative that you make their ability to continue a Pilates practice with you easy.

Determine when you will offer classes, sessions and contact your clients with how they can sign up for these sessions, attend them, and how to prepare for them. For more information on all that should be in these emails and prices please check out my course.

Make sure you’re covered to teach virtually! Yep, you gotta check with your insurer and your waivers.

Does teaching virtually mean discounting yourself, teaching for free on FB or IG? NOPE!

It’s essential that you think about how you want to be, who you want to be, how you want your business to show up when “this is all over.”

Nothing is ever going to be the same but that doesn’t mean it has to be worse! In fact, if you can get your virtual training going your existing clients can invite their friends and family. You could end up with more clients than you started this chaos with. And, you could end up keeping virtual sessions on your class schedule for these new clients to keep attending.

Now more than ever before people are looking for a trainer, classes and community. And, that won’t go away once they are let outside. In fact, they will value you more than ever! So, focus on who you are for, what you want to offer and how this helps them!

You and every Pilates instructor in the world is going through this at the same time. And, you might think you need to do your virtual sessions like someone else is. STOP. DON’T. You don’t know if how they are doing it is profitable, working or good.

Repeating myself here: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE DOING WHEN YOU’RE ALLOWED TO TEACH IRL AGAIN?

This is not the time to scramble, let the fear of having no income cause you to offer more free classes, or discount your product. This is the time to get clear about what you do offer. And, focus your efforts on getting existing clients to come on board and then bring their friends.

I know you’re worried. But, you gotta focus on how this is happening for you.

So, what times do you want to teach?

Who do you want to attend these offerings?

How will they sign up?

Pay?

How will you market it?

It’s a lot. All this happening at once. And, you may now have your kids at home on top of all of this. Take a moment to feel your feelings. Then determine your “new normal.” Create a calendar and inform your clients how you are here for them.

You can do this!

And, you are not alone.

My AGENCY members have been teaching virtually for one week (at the time of publishing) and it’s working! They are teaching, many of their clients are on board and they’ve all had wins they have been sharing. It’s beautiful, inspiring, and I love that they have each other to bounce ideas off of.

So, if you need support navigating your new business plan please checkout AGENCY, check out my course and if you need to schedule a call.

We can get you through this. I am confident that this whole thing can help us expand our reach.

I see you, I’m here for you and you are amazing.

xx~LL

 

The Most Supportive Community and How You Can Have It

When you decided to become a Pilates teacher you thought “I can’t wait to help people!” And, you knew that people were going to love how they felt after they took a session with you. You also worried about being new at something and if you’d pass your tests. But, it wasn’t until you got closer to the end of your hours that you probably thought “how do I get enough clients to pay my bills?” And, even, if you’d ever make enough to have your own studio, quit your 9-5 and take time off.

I hear ya! Seriously, I had no idea when I became a Pilates teacher that I could do it “for a living.” Honestly, I became a Pilates teacher so I could have a side hustle to pay for my Pilates obsession. I’ve shared in many interviews that I became a Pilates teacher during the last recession. And, I took the biggest leap of my life at the time to quit my salaried job and teach Pilates full time.

In studios I had heard from teachers with way more years of experience under their belt that it would take me a long time to build my clientele. That I should charge x because I was new. That I should work 6 days a week to get all the hours I could and that I should offer a discount for cash or for first-time sessions etc etc.

And, while it didn’t take me long to build my clientele up at all. In fact, within a few months, every single hour I had outside my retail job was booked and when I quit my job I had an even bigger problem on my hands…too many clients. I had believed some people on the other advice and it took me some time to rework all those mistakes.

Then, after a 6 months of being a Pilates teachers I started managing a studio and teachers. And that’s when I really realized that most instructors didn’t have the business knowledge that I had. And, because of this lack of information in trainings most people were struggling to make enough to pay back the investment in their training and more.

This realization made me sad and frustrated for every teacher. It drove me crazy to see some of the best instructors out there closing up shop or quitting teaching because “there was no money in Pilates.”

Luckily, being frustrated creates a drive in me. I hate complaints that occur more than once so I started on the path to create Profitable Pilates. I didn’t it know it at the time what it would become but I knew it needed to happen.

It started with my ebook. And then workshops in person and then online courses and webinars. But between the workshops and the webinars I had this vision for an online community that was not only a support group but a community where teachers and studio owners of all backgrounds could live and get advice, strategies, support, virtual high fives and inspire each other. Five years ago I created it. And, no one knew about it or bought it.

Yep, sometimes things fail in a big way.

But, I was still driven to make it work. So, I thought about other ways I could meet teachers and studio owners where they were and give them support. And that’s how webinars, online workshops and coaching calls started. And, then, 2 years ago (3 years after the original idea) I opened the doors to AGENCY my online coaching community.

Five brave souls started that day and today, 2 years later we still have 4 of the original members and 60 others.

AGENCY got its name from its definition. AGENCY = action/intervention. We all have AGENCY within us. And, when we use it there is nothing that can stop us.

I don’t have cookie cutter biz plans to make you rich. Instead, I take your goals and your vision and help you work backwards to today to create strategies and actions you can take to help your business be the one you want to run. Pilates can be just another JOB (Just Over Budget) or it can be the thing that makes you smile when you get up in the morning.

We’ve helped people go from in-home studio to brick and mortar, from brick and mortar to home studio, teacher to studio owner, host retreats, create events, raise rates, fire clients, get more clients, hire a team, and so much more!

Inside AGENCY you get:

access to a community of beyond supportive teachers and studio owners from over 10 times zones.

1 webinar/month (choose from 2)

a membership to OnlinePilatesClasses.com

my ebook

a group coaching call every other month

20% off private Pilates sessions with me (online or in person)

20% off coaching calls

20% off extra webinars

20% off courses

20% off my retreat in Cambodia

The slack group is honestly priceless. Because where on this planet can you find a group of people who will be there when you “need a moment” (a channel we have), when you want to share an idea and get help fleshing it out, where you can share a win and everyone celebrates your win with you even if they just shared their having a bad day? It’s a community, a family, and it’s a space that is open to you if you want it.

You can check out more about AGENCY here.

But, since it’s hard to understand how epic a community like this could be since there is really NOTHING like it out there I decided to do an AGENCY mini. A free version of AGENCY for 1 week only. It’ll kick off with a webinar on Sunday January 12th and end on Saturday the 18th. Those who join will get a group call on the 15th where they can ask any question they want and Brad (my COO and hubby) will answer. And, access to a private AGENCY mini member-only group.

I’ve NEVER discounted my AGENCY group and never will. But, I thought it could be a great way for those of you who have been interested to try it out. So, get in before it fills up. Join here.

xx~LL

PS if you have questions you can contact me here or post them below.

Are You Doing This to Fill Your Classes?

Offering classes allows you to have an offering that more people can afford, to help more people at one time, create community and increase your hourly rate. But, filling those classes can feel like you’re throwing spaghetti at a wall and hoping it sticks. And, worse, when a class isn’t full it can not only hit your wallet but can feel deflating, personal and exhausting. So, how do you fill your classes? Especially today when it seems like everyone is giving classes away for free!

  1. Know who you want to come to class. Ok, so you might not know their real name but you need to have an idea of who they are. What they do and what they are searching for. Then you need to reach out to the them where they are already hanging out.
  2. Know the communities your future attendee is hanging out. Yep, where do they work, grab coffee, shop, workout? Who is their best friend? How can you collaborate, partner up or get their bestie to invite them to your class?
  3. Get creative! You do not need to post about your class times on your social as much as you think. Instead, post about what people are saying, what they are experiencing, and what they will get by coming to your class. Let them look up what your schedule is. You’ve got .5 seconds to get them to stop scrolling IF they are even already following you. So, use that real estate to show off why you rock and who are for.
  4. Go where they are.  This doesn’t have to be in person although that is faster. You can use the beauty of social media geotagging, forums, and groups to find your people and then get to know them. Yep, notice how I didn’t say invite them to your class just yet. Instead, introduce yourself, ask them about themselves. What do they like to do? Think of it like dating!
  5. Be consistent! You’re gonna want to give up the first few times your classes are lackluster in attendance. But, it now takes 7-17 touchpoints for people to make that decision. Yep, FB says average is 12 ads of the same offering before people click. And the other research out there is 7-17…that means you can talk about it once and then be disappointed that people didn’t flock in droves. Get in front of your ideal client as much as you can and be consistent in sharing why you rock and what they get by taking your classes.

For more strategy on getting the word out there let’s do a coaching call. Depending on if you’re a studio owner trying to fill everyone’s classes or an instructor trying to fill your own there are some tactical strategies that will be unique to your goals.

Until then, know who you are talking to, get in front of them often, and then remind them a few more times.

And, do yourself a favor and don’t race to the bottom on the discounts to get people into class. People are not googling “cheapest Pilates class near me.” Own your worth and people will value your classes even more!

Contact me here to strategize filling your classes.

Xx~LL

How to Prepare for a New Client

First impressions are important. And, when it comes to a new client engaging with you or your studio it’s even more integral. When someone comes in for their first class or session 60% of the decision to start a new fitness regimen is made. All you have to do is help them decide that it is you. Here are my tips for scheduling and teaching a new client.

  1. Make it easy for them: Is it clear on your site what to do next? How to schedule? What you offer?
  2. Tell them what to do: Don’t offer them all the times in the world you have or ask them when they want to get started. Train them from the beginning to schedule their life around Pilates with you.
  3. Have a “what to expect” email: Whether they sign up over the phone, email or via text be sure to send them an email that tells them your policies, what to expect, wear, park etc..
  4. Know their why.
  5. Forget about selling Pilates. They just need to trust that you’re the person who can help them.
  6. Follow up even if they said they don’t want to do Pilates. Send them a thank you note.
  7. Remember that their first package is still the courting process. Hold them accountable to their sessions, consistency and goals.
  8. Train them how to treat you and the studio. If your policies are broken you have to uphold them. It’s not a fun convo but it’s most important in the beginning.
  9. Don’t take things personally. Whether a client loves Pilates, doesn’t, late cancels or quits it’s not personal. Read the 4 agreements. You’re not for everyone and that is ok.
  10. Know when you want to teach, where and whom. It’s your business and you’ll get more clients that inspire you when you’re clear on these things. Not everyone is for you and that’s ok.

It’s easy to get caught up on selling Pilates or the training  to the new client. But, the truth is you are the guide. Your studio is the community. If you are clear on who you are for, what you offer it makes it easier for your future clients to decide on you too. And, then help them out by making sure your site, how you schedule them and prep them makes it easy for them to know you are the expert at what you do.

For more tips on first time clients check out this blog and this course. For coaching on converting first time clients for you or your studio contact me here.

xx~LL

Our Best Pilates Business Blogs

Whether you’re looking into how to set up a social media plan for your Pilates business, get new clients, raise your rates or find the right Pilates school for yourself here is a round-up of our most-read Pilates business blogs. We’ve got over 300 blogs to read now but here are the best of the best voted on by our readers.

 

#1 How to Keep Clients Coming Back: Great read for client retention. And you want to know about this before you lose a client because it’s easier to keep them then to get a new one.

#2 My Top 3 Mistakes and What They Taught Me: Learn from the mistakes that taught me the most and why I never make them again.

#3 Top 10 Steps for Owning a Studio: Even if you are just getting started having this information in your mind is helpful.

#4 How to Become an Instructor: Send this one to a friend if you already are one!

#5 Should You Own or Rent: a question you should ask yourself if you’re really busy or if you live in a state that is changing their laws you may wonder should I own or be employed?

#6 How Often Do You Think About the Pebbles in Your Business?: Read this if you need more time or have goals you want to hit. It’s all about time management.

#7 Do You Need Social Media?: Some tips for those of you using social media.

Do you enjoy these round ups? If so, comment below with topics you wished all the blogs were “rounded up” for.

xx~LL

PS what’s blog above did you click on first?

My Top 3 Mistakes and What They Taught Me

When I first started out as a Pilates teacher I made lots of mistakes. And, if you’re new, you will and should too! You will learn more from your mistakes then you will from the things that go the way you wanted. Especially in the beginning. Most mistakes you make in your business are great signs of things you need to work on. And rarely will derail your business. And, most mistakes are not as big a deal when you look back. However, I know that when you’re “int it” mistakes can feel like they are the worst thing that could ever happen. But, below are my top 3 mistakes that I made that I see a lot of Pilates teacher and studio owners make.

  1. Saying Yes to Every Client: When I first started out as a Pilates teacher I was also managing a high-end jewelry store in LA. I would teach Pilates 6 am, 7 am and 8 am and then race across town to open my store and work until 6:30 or 7:30 pm. And on many days I would go back across town to the studio to teach evening clients! I loved teaching and I was so excited that every new client I taught wanted at least two sessions a week that I kept saying yes. I didn’t even know I could say no! I was afraid also if I did that I would lose the client. But, in a short period of time, I found myself teaching 6 days a week and running my store 5 days a week. Which meant I didn’t have a single day off! You guys, this is not good! I know you may be reading this and be thinking “you need the money.” But, if you don’t own your schedule, get firm on your teaching times and protect your self-care time no one will! You’ll burn out faster than you think. And that would be sad because then the world would lose a great teacher.
  2. Not raising my rates sooner: I made up every excuse in the book to not raise my rates come year one. Then year two came around and my rent at both the studio and my house went up. The cost of gas was higher and I was at a point that I needed more continuing education. It was costing me money to do the exact same job. When I finally raised my rates sure a few people griped but they all stayed. If I had done it a year earlier that would have been more money in my pocket soon! I know you’re worried about this but I promise if you get on a schedule for raising your rates you will be grateful and your clients will expect it. You can learn more about how to do this on my course here.
  3. Teaching hours and clients that were not ideal for me: I know you think Pilates is for everyone so you can teach everyone. And, I am sure you can. But, the truth is we don’t all gel will everyone. There are clients out there who are best served by someone else. Not just personality-wise but time of day they prefer and personal goals or body needs. By saying “no” to clients that want times that you don’t thrive in you open up the opportunity to teach a client at a time you do! And, instead of being exhausted at the end of the day you will feel inspired, whelmed, content.

Honestly, I could go on and on about other mistakes I made. But these three at the beginning of my business all came back to bite me and caused me to have to make drastic changes in my business and life to allow me to not burn out!

You are the only person who can teach the way you teach.. You are the only person who can help the people that you help. So, get super clear on when you want to teach, who you want to teach and how often you will raise your rates and you’ll have a great foundation to grow your business on. Will you make mistakes? Yep, and me too! Sometimes I think the universe sends me clients that test my boundaries and makes sure I’m still putting my goals first.

Feeling like you’re stuck in one of these mistakes and don’t know how to get out? Check out my online group coaching called AGENCY. Members get to ask me and the other members for support and accountability so they can finally put their goals first.

xx~LL

How to Find Subs for Your Clients

One thing harder than finding clients to teach is finding subs to teach your clients when you travel! Whether you are an independent contractor or studio owner keeping your clients consistent when you leave town is key for client retention. And, for studio owners, having clients comfortable working with a sub is a great way to retain a client even if you lose a teacher. So, its a win-win for the client, teacher, and owner for clients sessions to run as usual each week. And, you will feel great going on vacation knowing that your clients are not just waiting around for you to get back. But, where do you find these subs? And, how can you set it up so you and your client can trust them?

  1. Are you an Independent Contractor or Employee? If you are not the studio owner then you want to know the answer to this question. If you are an employee check with your studio owners policies for subbing out your clients. If you are an independent contractor or a studio with independent contractors it’s important you check with the laws where you live. For me to sub my clients out when I travel I cannot pay the teacher out of the client’s package. The client and the teacher agree on the time and the client pays them directly.
  2. If you are at a studio try to partner up with other teachers in the studio. Your clients are used to seeing them in the studio and will feel comfortable with them. People don’t like change so having a teacher they can say they’ve at least said “hi” too then you’ll more likely to convince them to take a sub and not miss their sessions.
  3. Find subs who can keep the client at the same place and time. Again, people don’t like change so if the client has to go to another studio or come at a different time or day they are less likely to say yes to a sub. When clients miss their sessions they get out of the habit and then it’s easy for them to think Pilates doesn’t work for them.
  4. Go and take Pilates from other teachers! If you don’t have teachers in the space that you teach that you can turn to then go out and get in the Pilates community in your area. Take classes from other people and the ones you like ask them out for coffee. Or set up a time to talk and inquire if they are ok with subbing clients from time to time.
  5. Have client cards you can easily share with subs. Clients are more likely to take a sub if they know the teacher has their workout plans.
  6. Make sure the subs know your policies and procedures and adopt these rules. You don’t want a sub that isn’t going to charge a late cancel that you would charge. Create a expectations sheet for subs to review and even sign (contact me if you want help on this) and you may even want a contract between you and the sub as to how much they will get paid from each client and who their role is.
  7. Have the sub come and observe you teach. This way they feel comfortable taking on your clients while you travel.
  8. Don’t give up! It took me many years to get my clients to take a sub. Then, when my traveling picked up they finally gave in. Now they each have a sub they love more than another. It takes several times of suggesting a “guest teacher” to your clients to get them to say yes. But, don’t let that stop you.

If you have taken all the classes you can in your area and still haven’t found a sub you love then it’s time to get creative. How can you create a workout for your clients to do at home on your own while you or even they are away?

Which of these tips are you going to try before the next time you go away?

xx~LL

200 No’s and Why You Should Talk to Strangers

My parents drilled in my head that I should never talk to strangers. But, once you’re not a young child no one tells you that talking to strangers is a good thing. Talking to people you don’t know can help you get directions, help you meet other people you need to know, help you grow your business, help you make friends and other relationships. I mean, could you imagine if you still only talked to those who you grew up with?  If you want to grow your business you need to talk to strangers. And, you need to hear ‘no’ a lot!

The other day Brad and I were sitting in one of my favorite cafes in Siem Reap Cambodia. Two ladies were next to us and about to pay their bill. They both pulled out their wallets and it was the same wallet style as Brads. To me, this wasn’t that big a deal. But, to Brad, it was so cool. So he grabbed his wallet and went up to them and started a conversation about wallets with 2 strangers. 

What came out of that conversation was a relationship with an NGO in Siem Reap that will rent our house for their volunteers. That conversation lead to a meeting which lead to some other conversations that allowed our goals to match up with their goals.

Could we have done this via email? Maybe, but highly unlikely. People want to know you, they want a relationship. It takes more than one email to create a working relationship. And this applies to your business too.

If you’re wanting new clients but you are waiting for referral or people to email you or call you then it’s going to be some time before you have a full schedule. But, if you share who you are, what you do and how you help people you will build your business so much quicker.

Will everyone you talk to say ‘yes?’ Nope, and that’s ok! In fact, ‘no’s’ are a good thing. They help you get better at knowing who you are for. They help you refine how you talk about what you do. And, they help you see who you are not for.

In my online group coaching community AGENCY, Brad and I were talking with a few members who need new clients but have only told about a dozen people in one month-is what they do. He shared how he would go for 200 no’s. That he would find ways, sort of like a game, to talk to people and direct the conversation to what he was selling at the time. And he would count the ’no’s’ because they all got him closer to the few ‘yes’s’ he needed.

See, most of us don’t need EVERY client we come across. We need a solid group of consistent clients. And, that comes from being picky and being clear on who you are for and how they should work with you.

So, how many people can you share what you do with this week? I’d love to hear about your ‘no’s’ and how you got to have a conversation with a stranger. Because chances are you don’t know your future client yet.

xx~LL

How I Prepare for a New Client

When you get a new client in your studio there are a lot of butterflies on both ends. Your new client is wondering if this, Pilates, Yoga, Fitness with you is going to be what they need to meet their goals or take away their aches and pains. And, you’ve got butterflies because you know you need more clients in your books to help you earn more money and help more people. So, how do you feel more confident when you have a new client coming in? Here are my go-to tips for when I have a new client.

1) Know your numbers! I’m very clear on my rates, my packages, and what each package equates to when it comes to helping a client hit their goals. If they are coming in for a specific goal and they have a date they want to achieve it by I know which package to offer them in order to help them achieve it. Of course, I hope they stay longer and truth be told they will but in the beginning their why is all they care about. Beyond their why is something I can tackle while they are a client.

2) Be clear on who your ideal client is. This is soo key, my friends. Sometimes I get a new client that I am not the right teacher for. Generally, I am able to weed them out and refer them to someone else before they come in for a first-time session but occasionally it happens. And, it’s important to be able to say no to them after the session. Because, if you are not the right person for them eventually it will not work out. So better to save both your times. And, also clients who are not your ideal client will not refer you more of your ideal client.

3) Tell them what to expect. I love to make sure they know everything about how to find my studio, where to park, where not to park, what to wear, how early to show up, how long the session is! EVERYTHING! I have a pre-written letter that I send out and I even link to it in a confirmation. This helps them feel more comfortable before they even come in. The more you can communicate like you’re already in a relationship the higher the chances of them feeling confident that they can trust you and buy future sessions with you.

4) Tell them when you will follow up with them. And, then make sure you do! No matter how the session goes I always follow up with my first-time client. I remind them of their goals, how Pilates will help them and if they scheduled another session I remind them of when it is, what the cancellation policy is etc. If they didn’t and I want them as a client I offer them times to come in, how long it will take to feel the benefits and ask them a question that requires a response.

5) I have everything ready for them when they arrive. Think of a first date. If the date was late would that make you feel good about how much they value your time? If the date was disorganized would that make you feel like they were an expert? That they could keep all your needs in order? That they could take you where you want to go? Pull out the red carpet for new clients. And by red carpet, I don’t mean discount signs.

I could go on and on but I don’t want to overwhelm you! Pick one or two of these that you are not doing and give them a try. Then add in another one or two. Until they become a habit and you have your own system. And, then, write it down! Then you can review your system before every new client comes in.

Which tip will you try? Post in the comments below.

xx~LL