Why You Should Collaborate and How to Start

Collaboration is key. You’ve heard that. And yet, you think its easier if you just do it on your own. And maybe you could do it on your own for a little bit but now you’re aware that you can only go so far on your own. I mean, picture a canoe and then picture a cruise ship. Those cruise ships can go around a continent! Would be pretty tough to do that on a one-man boat. In your business you can do a lot on your own, you can grow a lot on your own but eventually, you will hit a plateau. And especially during times like these we really are stronger together. So, what is a collaboration? Why should you collaborate? Who should Collaborate with and What/how does it work? Let’s dive in.

First, collaboration is when one or more people in this case businesses get together and team up on a goal. This could be a few teachers coming together like I do with my TCME partners Tasha Edwards, Mychele Sims and Erika Quest. We come together to teach an event around a topic that is important to us. You can also collaborate with people that have nothing to do with what you teach/do (more on that below).

Collaborating is key for growing your audience in a way that actually benefits you. We’ll talk about who you should choose to collaborate with in a minute. But, why you should collaborate is will determine who you choose to collaborate with. Collaborating allows you to be put in front of other people’s audiences and they get put in front of yours. Basically, you need people to know who you are and what you do. And collaborating allows you to show up as yourself and create awareness around that in front of an audience that trusts the person you are collaborating with.

Choosing who to collaborate with is key for a “successful” collaboration. You want to first think about who you are trying to reach. This would be your client avatar. And if you haven’t thought about who you are trying to reach then watch my course on client avatars. You don’t want to just collaborate with anyone. If you’re trying to reach women in their 30’s-40’s in your area and you collaborate with a PT who works with post-surgical athletes or the tux shop across the street. So get super clear on your ideal client and then look at who is also reaching that person. If you don’t know the business owner yet it might take some “dating” before you collaborate. This is a good thing. It allows you to learn more about them, how you can work together, and get clear on who is doing what and how you can help them and they can help you.

Once you have an idea of who you want to collaborate with and know what you are wanting to get out of it aka more followers on social, more people on your list, more people aware of your business etc then its time to decide on how you will collaborate. Here are some ways you can collaborate:

  • Instagram loops
  • Events- virtual or in person
  • Gift Certificates they can give away and vice versa

In an IG loop you and the other businesses would team up to do a giveaway. Everyone who wants to enter the giveaway needs to follow every business, like the picture and comment. Usually asking them to tag a friend (don’t give them too many things to do). Then you pick the number of winners and hopefully you and all the collaborators got some of each others followers and some new ones. SIDE NOTE: while this might get you more followers remember followers do not translate to $$$. But, it is a great way to see if you like working with someone with very little investment.

Events require a bit more commitment but people LOVE a shared experience and better than a loop because they get to experience YOU. So, they skip several steps of awareness and get more connected with you and what you offer. I’ve seen this done in many ways. A studio offers a class, then a nutritionist gives a talk and massage therapist teaches on something, etc etc. People buy a ticket for a nominal price (gets them to commit to showing up). Each business would invite their clients/list and everyone wins. And because each person in the collab is trying to reach the same people your marketing for it goes farther.

Years ago when I moved studios the studio owners offered the shop next door 50% off a first time session to anyone that spent x amount of money in the shop. The shop was able to email all their clients and have a reason to entice them to come in and buy something. And the studio got their name in front of all the people on the list and then those who got the gift certificate heard about the studio another time and were more likely to try it because they had that gift certificate/coupon. I love these because you can get some of these offers from other businesses trying to reach your clients and give those away for referral rewards instead of discounting your services.

We’ve got one more how. How do you ask someone to collaborate with you? Well, first you need to know what you bring to the table. What can you offer these other businesses? If you’re wanting to do a loop and you have 450 followers and they have 45k followers it might be mutually beneficial to them to partner with you. But if you’ve got a coffee shop looking for reasons to reach their clients who can’t sit indoors right now and you have space to do a class outside they would LOVE to bring their coffee to your people and invite their people to the class for a community event. So, when you ask people tell them why you love them/what they do etc, tell them what you want to work on and what you are offering. Then ask if they would like to get on a call and talk about it. Keep the ask simple. They should be able to read it on their phone screen. And, be specific why you like them. People can smell a copy and paste collab ask. Take your time to personalize 3-5 sentences.

Homework: write down who you are trying to reach? What you are wanting to bring more awareness to? Then make a list of businesses who are working with your ideal client and would like those same awarenesses. Then go for it! You’ll get plenty of no’s. I have been told no from many collabs and I have told many people no. Its not personal. It could be the timing, the offer etc. Its not you.

So, who are you going to collaborate with next?

xx~LL

10 Reasons They Are Not Coming to Your Class

Most of the time I hear that there are too many classes, too many teachers, too many studios and that’s why a teacher or studio is having trouble filling their classes. But, to be completely honest that is a lie. Because as often as I hear there are too many there is another teacher or studio complaining that they are the only ones and so no one knows who or what Pilates is. So, if saturation isn’t the issue (trust me its not!!) then what is? Well, below are some of the top reasons I have found most people are not saying “yes” to you. They are saying “yes” to someone or something. Which one of the reasons below might be your issue?

  1. They don’t know what Pilates is.
  2. They don’t know how it solves their problems.
  3. They don’t see the value in Pilates (because they don’t know how it solves their problems).
  4. They don’t see themselves on your websites/social.
  5. You’re selling the process.
  6. Your site doesn’t allow them to book.
  7. You have too many options and so they need to think about it.
  8. Your website isn’t mobile-friendly.
  9. You don’t tell them how to work with you.
  10. There’s no sense of urgency to act now.

Got an idea of which problem you need to solve?

If people don’t know what Pilates is it doesn’t matter how great of a teacher or beautiful your studio is they will walk by and keep on walking by. But, the common fix for this is to talk about Pilates. The mistake here is that you are marketing Pilates. Which is helpful for EVERYONE. Focus on what Pilates is when people work with you and specifically how Pilates with you helps them!

Most people think Pilates is an Ab workout where others think its a PT based workout. But maybe with you its all about posture or horses. Well, if you don’t work on telling people how you solve their problems whenever you say Pilates they are going to hear what they know (if anything) about it. You gotta be selfish a bit in how you talk about Pilates. What is Pilates with YOU and how does it HELP THEM?

When people say that potential clients think they are too expensive I know its not the price. Its the fact that the teacher or studio has yet to show their value. And people cannot place value on something if they don’t know what it is and how it helps them.

Which is why your website is so important! It needs to be mobile friendly because most people use their phones and ipads to search for things. But, it also needs to show people that look like them doing Pilates with you. They need to hear less on how many trainings and certifications you’ve done (trust me that is not a differentiator) they need to know that you get them, you understand their pain and you can help them. Your site also needs to allow them to book. Yes, it’s important! If they are ready to try you out you want to remove as many barriers to entry as possible. And, by the way, your time is worth it! You don’t want to be booking people all the time. And, if you have too many offerings people don’t know what to do when are ready to book. Do they book the intro session, package, classes, duets, semi privates, mat classes, express session…? Make it clear what a new client needs to do first.

Look at your recent posts, how many times did you post your upcoming classes and workshops? When you post “Pilates tonight 6pm” that’s selling the process. And few people will go “Yass sign me up” unless they already know like and trust you. New people need to hear how you’re the guide. What will they get by working with you? Sell the results!!

Let’s say your site is clear on how to work with you…how clear is it in your social media? Do you talk a lot about Pilates but not how to work with you? How to set up a session? What happens when they work with you? Again, shouting out your love for teaching and the method is awesome…but it doesn’t tell the person who is loving what you’re throwing down know what to do next.

Why should people act now? What do they get (please no discounts) for acting now? Why should they start working with you tomorrow instead of next month? You need to spell it out for people. I know it sounds obvious to you and me that the sooner they start with you the sooner they get the results but you need to tell them that. You need to paint that picture.

For example, I can tell you to watch this course to learn how to fill your classes and workshops. And you are now aware that the course exists and what it does. But, if I just leave it at that maybe one or three of you will be tired of trying to figure out how to make your classes fill and you’ll buy it. Or I can talk about how you’ve got 15 spots in your classes and currently, you’re averaging 5 people. And every week you go without putting my tips into place you’re not just missing out on helping 10 people. Which of course is important. I mean, its why you got into teaching. But, what if you did take this course today? Well, you would spend about $99 sure. But, if you started implementing the tips then in a week what if you had 8 people in the class? And those two people told two friends so that next week they had 12 people in class. And by the following week, you had a waitlist. And not only does that mean you’re helping 15 people a week you’ve sold out! And, you’ve made the investment back on the course in less than a month. So you can wait a week or so to buy that course. But, you’d be literally leaving money on the table and your people would wait longer to get your help.

Look, I’m not saying filling your schedule or your classes is easy. But, what I am saying is that too often teachers and studio owners use excuses as to why their classes are not filled. When there are actually a few reasons that are totally solvable…if you want to solve your problems…that can change the direction of your business in an instant.

So, which reasons are you going to work on this week?

xx~LL

 

Why You Need an Ideal Client Avatar and How to Define Yours

You’ve heard that you need to talk to your “Ideal Client Avatar” aka your ICA either from me or from other business marketing experts. But, you know that you can teach anybody. I mean, Pilates is for everybody right? And, yes, you probably have been trained well and can teach all types of people. And Pilates meets everyone where they are. But, that doesn’t mean you get to talk to everybody. In fact, you can’t. You literally cannot write a post on any social, a newsletter, blog, or journal and talk to everyone and get attention. Even big brand names like Coke, Pepsi, or think of any big brand talk specifically to one person. Why? Because people need to feel like you see them, you get them, you understand them. They need to know that no matter their pain, problem or goal you can help them specifically. So, does this mean you only get to have one ICA? How do they do it and still appeal to so many people?

A simple answer is yes you can have more than one avatar. But, you still cannot talk to all of them at the same time. So, sure, you can have 3 avatars (I would keep it to 3 tops if you really can’t narrow down) but you still have to have total clarity around each one and know which one you’re talking to when you are promoting who you are, what you do and why you rock.

How do you know who your ideal client is?

This gets more complicated but it doesn’t have to be. I find that many teachers and studio owners struggle with this because they think about all the clients they have that they like. But, if I ask them if they would want 20 of that person they quickly remember that the client they like is late all the time, doesn’t want to pay their rates and is inconsistent.

So, first, you need to not worry about what will happen to the current clients you have. You might be a lucky person and have a client who is your total ICA. But, you might now. And that’s ok. We’re going to dive into what you need to know about your ICA and how to talk to them in this blog.

  1. Think about why you got into teaching in the first place. Was it to solve a problem you had? Was it because of how Pilates made you feel? Many times our ICA (or one of them) is us before we discovered Pilates.
  2. What do you like learning more about? I see a lot of teachers take workshops on anything. But, those who dive into something more specific will find a path that leads to working with more people that light their fire and allow them to flex their muscles a bit more. Look back at some workshops at see which ones lit you up so much you wished you could take hours more on that topic? Who does that information help?
  3. What are some non-negotiables in your business? Do you prefer to teach privates or groups? Do you want to teach more people or fewer people? Are there days and times that you will teach or won’t teach?

There are a ton more questions to answer about your ICA. But before we can get to them I want you to answer the above. Because these answers will really define a lot about your ICA’s. If you don’t want to teach mornings we need to own that and keep that in mind as we define your ICA. And its easy to get in the scarcity mindset as we dive even deeper into who your ICA is and start to bend your own rules.

Now that we know what information lights your fire, why you got into what you do and what you non-negotiables are we can start to dive even deeper into your ICA. And remember, the reason we need to be specific is so that when we market who we are and what we do we are speaking directly to our clients (future and current) so they feel SEEN! Everyone needs to feel seen.

Let’s get specific:

  • where do they live
  • when do they workout
  • where do they work/do they work
  • where do they workout
  • how much money do they make
  • what do they do for a living
  • what do they do in their free time
  • where do they get their information
  • what social media (if any) do they enjoy
  • what books do they read
  • what magazines/blogs do they read
  • what groups are they part of
  • what do they like to eat/drink
  • what does a normal day in their life look like

Now, let’s talk about why they need you:

  • what are their pain points
  • what keeps them up at night
  • what would they do anything to have a solution to their problem
  • what do they wish they had more of

How do you help them (hint don’t just write “with my Pilates sessions.”):

  • what about what you do specifically helps them
  • what are your ideal client’s program/how often do they need to see you
  • what do past and current clients say you do
  • what protocol do you want your ideal client doing with you

What are their objections:

  • what will keep them from saying yes to you
  • who will stop them from saying yes to you
  • why might they not say yes to you

Ok, you ready to take all this information and put it together to talk to your ideal client and make them feel seen?

If you know how your future client wants to feel every day and you know what their objections will be then you can literally say: “Hey ___, I know you’re tired of feeling tired and you can’t fathom taking time out of your day for your self-care. But, I also know that back pain isn’t going to go away on its own. You know that too. And, I know that if I was able to work with you each week not only would your pain lessen but you would have more energy. Plus, one day a week we can do it while you’re at your office so you don’t lose time coming to see me in the studio.”

The woman I was picturing was someone who works 12 hour days, is working hard to “get ahead” and so she is sacrificing herself. But, she wants more. She wants to feel good and have more energy. So I know I can get her to come in person once a week but that won’t help her so I am going to also see her the second time online because then she can see that I believe in what I do so much that I will meet her where she is.

Notice how I didn’t write: “hey ___, you’re tired, you’re busy, you may have back pain or neck pain, or postnatal problems. And yeah, I can do posture and pt too!! I like to see my clients 3x a week but we can do once or twice or whatever you want. What do you think?”

Does the person above have pain or posture problems? I don’t know. And does this teacher sound confident in how they do what they do? Nope, they are willing to see their client whenever the client wants…

Going back to the first question: Can you have more than one avatar? Yes, as I mentioned you can. But, you have to go through all the prompts above for each avatar. And, every post or piece of marketing you do you need to make sure you know which avatar you are talking to. On OPC we have three avatars. But, lately, I have only been talking to two of them. And, I only talk to one at a time.

And, if you do this really well do you know what happens. The person you are speaking to so well, the one that feels so seen comes to you, takes from you, and tells their friends. And, there’s a high chance that some of their friends are not just like them. So, by talking super specific you still end up attracting other clients. Your business grows and its because you’re mostly teaching the clients that light your fire!

I’d love to hear who your ideal client is. You can share it with me in the comments below. And, for more support defining your ideal client and how to market to them check out my avatar course here, becoming known, and the client journey. These courses will help you go from an idea to an in-person/online client!

xx~LL

 

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