Are You Hiring Out of Desperation or Alignment?

Hiring anyone is a gamble. It doesn’t matter if you are an independent instructor or studio owner at some point you will need to hire help or team members. And, the choices you make can help propel your business forward or cost you time and money. And, while the adage saying “hire slow and fire fast” might be in the forefront of your brain that doesn’t quite explain the things to keep in mind when hiring slow or firing fast. And, what do you do when you have to hire fast? How do you know you are hiring out of desperation?

In my years managing retail stores and studios, there were times when I needed to hire someone ‘yesterday!’ The goals and demands required help sooner than I had anticipated. And, then there were the times when someone quit and even with a two-weeks notice I still had yet to find a replacement. I learned the hard way in my retail days the problems that came along with hiring out of desperation and need rather than listening to my gut or taking a hit on the bottom line and waiting for the right person to come along.

When you hire out of desperation you:

  1. Often lie to yourself about the likelihood that this is a good match
  2. You waste time training, onboarding and holding that person accountable to the expectations of the job.
  3. Lose the opportunity to meet and find the right person
  4. Affect the client experience and could potentially lose clients and money as well as time.
  5. Create a potentially toxic environment for your whole team and could end up needing to do more damage control than the hire was worth

When you hire out of alignment you: 

  1. Choose people based on their goals and abilities cohabitating with your goals and needs
  2. Create a team that is stronger and cohesive
  3. Use your time and energy wisely
  4. Empower those around you
  5. Increase client experience and growth of the community

Are you sitting there reading this and feeling like you have a team member, web developer, a social media consultant who may have been hired out of desperation? That’s ok! We have all been there. And, while I would love to sit here and say that if you hire out of alignment it’s all rainbows and dollar signs I can’t. There are no guarantees. However, in my experience, if you take the time to hire based on alignment even if the relationship is short-lived the experience is positive and creates space for growth!

If you are ready for tips on best hiring practices, questions to ask, answers to pay attention to and what to do when you’ve made a mistake then join me on my next webinar all about hiring! It’s not just about hiring staff that work in your studio. It’s also great advice for hiring people who will create your website or consult with you in other ways. Find out the details on how to watch https://webinars.profitablepilates.com/hiring-help-teachers-vas-and-more/here.

Hiring can be stressful and exhausting but it doesn’t have to be! We can get you to a place where you welcome the hiring opportunities.

xx~LL 

 

Busting Pilates Business Myths

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

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

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

xx~LL 

Is It Time to Make a Leap in your Business?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xx~LL

3 Tips on How You Can Make Money Teaching Pilates

Can you make the money you want to make teaching Pilates? Absolutely! Is it easy? Is anything in life easy? The likelihood you will be “successful” as a Pilates instructor or studio owner truly depends on how much you think it is possible. I know that’s a bit woo woo but it’s true. Because if you believe it is possible to make the money you want to make teaching Pilates you will be able to think about the different ways you can.

Before we can talk about how much you should be charging or ways to make money teaching Pilates we have to make sure you know how much money you want/need to make. And, if it’s possible to do that by teaching alone.

Take the amount of money you want to make divide it by the number of weeks a year you can work and then divide that amount by the average dollar amount of your sessions. The answer is the number of hours you need to teach each week. If the answer is too high we will need to come up with some additional offerings. And, for that let’s chat here. If it’s about the same as you are currently teaching but you are not making the money you desire then it may be time to raise your rates.

  1. Are you charging what you are worth? It’s easy to go with what the market in your area is charging. If you go on all the Pilates sites in your community and see everyone is charging $80/private you may be inclined to charge the same. But, you could be losing money. Clients do not choose a teacher based on price. They choose a teacher based on how they make them feel, the results they get and the quality of service.
  2. Are you teaching on the right days? Often Pilates teachers think they need to teach 6 days a week and most take Sundays off. But, is that ideal for your community? Do you have a demand for a day you are not teaching and almost no clients on a day you do teach? Maybe a shift in your schedule is needed?
  3. Host a community event or client workshop! Many teachers think workshops are just for teachers. But, the yoga world has been quite successful hosting workshops for their yogis! If you have a large class based business holding regular workshops for Pilates clients can be a great way to make more money doing more of what you love-teaching Pilates! And, it also gets the community together. You can also have wellness days or day “retreats” where other wellness professionals can come in and show off what they rock at and between your clients and their clients you can have a fun event that includes everything your clients would love.

This is just three easy things to think about for your Pilates business. There are plenty more and some that would be ideal only for a studio and others for an individual teacher. It really depends on what your goals are for your teaching business.

If you don’t know what those are then before you start tweaking your offerings take a moment to get a 30 thousand foot view of your teaching business. From there you can work backward. If you don’t want to teach classes but you work on promoting classes it will drain your inspiration and your energy. If you want to be teaching classes but built a private based business the same is true. So, get your goals out, then make adjustments based on your goals.

I know it’s tempting to do what looks successful in the Pilates market in your community. In Los Angeles, I see a lot of studios with the same deal $199/month for unlimited Pilates classes. If I were to have thought about that when I opened my studio I never would have opened my doors. I kept my Pilates business vision in mind and it has been good to me ever since.

What’s your vision for your Pilates business? Share in the comments below!

If raising your rates is necessary (side note if it has been more than a year then it probably is) then join me for my next webinar on raising your rates here.

xx~LL 

 

 

Hiring Pilates Instructors for Your Studio

So, you need Pilates instructors for your studio? You have clients who need a teacher, classes that need a sub and you need a break! But, how do you hire for your studio? Where do you find the right teachers? Is there a hub where all the instructors are hanging out?

When I was hiring for Pilates studios one thing I learned is that I was always looking for the best teachers to work at my space. Because you never know when you are going to find the right fit! But how do you keep an eye out for the right teachers constantly? Hint: You don’t just post an ad and hope for the best.

  1. Network within the Pilates community in your area: If you are cool with the other studios then if they pass on a teacher they can refer that teacher to you!
  2. Know the teacher training programs in your area: Make friends with the teacher trainers and let them know you are a space that has positions for new teachers if the Pilates shoes fit!
  3. Be Clear on your Goals and Expectations: If you know what the vision is for your studio it makes it easier to know who to hire and who to pass. Setting expectations and sharing them with potential new hires also makes it easier for you to hold employees accountable and allows the instructor to decide if you are the right fit for them as well.
  4. Take classes and sessions around town: No, I do not mean “poach.” But, rather introduce yourself and let the owner and manager know who you are. Then go back to the notes for #1.

Finally, and this I cannot say this enough, hire slow and fire fast! Take your time hiring. I know, you need a teacher, I know you needed the teacher yesterday! But, if you hire the wrong teacher for your space you’ll end up having to do extra work. Instead, hire someone whose goals align with your goals and hold yourself and your team accountable to the expectations and goals of your studio. It’ll pay off in the long run!

xx~LL 

Why Followers Don’t Matter When it Comes to Your Business

Do you need to have thousands of followers for your Pilates or Fitness studio business? You post, curate, spend hours thinking about what to write and what hashtags to use. You see that other “famous” fitness influencers have thousands if not tens of thousands of followers and hundreds of likes almost instantly. How? You are doing all the things to show up on Facebook, Instagram and maybe even Youtube. And, yet, your classes and schedule are not filling up as quickly as you need. And just when you get the hang of things the algorithms change.

Oh the algorithms! They change all the time! I spend a good amount of time following the people whose niche’s are Facebook, Instagram, Youtube etc. They go around the world giving speeches on the best practices for each platform and even they have no idea how the algorithms work. But, while you need to have a presence on social media the emphasis on followers and likes is not only misguided it can take you down a rabbit hole in your business. And, worse, the pressure to be some sort of influencer on social media is causing anxiety, depression and deepening the feelings of not being “enough.”

Here’s the things about social media that I have definitely said before in a webinar. It’s pretty much here to stay. At least for the foreseeable future. So, yes, you need to be part of it. But, you don’t need to be IT. You also don’t need to have tens of thousands of followers. Especially if you are a one-human-show or a brick and mortar. You just need to be KNOWN in your community.

Being infamous is not the same thing as being KNOWN

Having thousands of followers who don’t take your classes, don’t engage with your product and don’t live in a vicinity that could partake in your greatness doesn’t help you out in the day-to-day. Sure, it can feel awesome for a moment if a post gets a lot of engagement. But, are those likes and comments putting $$$ in your bank account. My guess is probably not.

So, you end up tired and emotionally drained and you have even less time to put into your self-care and your business.

Being KNOWN is so much easier than getting followers. You don’t have control over how Facebook or IG share your content. You may post the most amazing thing at 3 pm but every one of your followers was working and by the time they get off work that beautifully curated post is hours old and dead in the water.

And, sure you could do all the research on when to post and where to post. But, what if you spent that time finding out where your ideal client is?

What if you spent that time collaborating with fellow businesses in your community whose clients align with what you have to offer?

What if you spent that time promoting who you are and what you do with those who have access to your ideal client?

And, then, you can post the highlights of how you rock at teaching Pilates to those people!

I fully believe that your social platform should be a way for people to see that you walk your talk, that you are the teacher or not the teacher for them.

Do you see how that is different from having lots of followers or likes?

If you are ready to ditch the rat race of Social Media then check out how to become KNOWN in person with me in Milwaukee on December 9th, or take my online course here. Or, if you need some one-on-one attention you can contact me here.

How ever you slice it, this week, take some time to be in your community in real life.

xx~LL 

3 Reasons Why You Have to Say No to Grow Your Pilates Business

Have you ever said ‘yes’ to a client when you knew you should have said ‘no?’  Whether you are a Pilates teacher or Studio Owner having clients on your schedule and in your classes equals money. And, when you say ‘no’ to a clients session request it can feel like you are saying ‘no’ to money. But, what if I told you that if you want to grow your business beyond its current state you have to say ‘no‘ a whole lot more than you think.

  1. Self- Care: You cannot sustain teaching all different hours of a day, different times and days each week or working hours that are not ideal for you. At the beginning of your teaching career, it’s so easy to be excited, to want to grow your business you say ‘yes’ as often as you can. But, if you truly want to grow your teaching business into something that works for you and allows you to continue to have a life, a consistent self-practice and a schedule that inspires you each week you have to say ‘no’ to clients and session slots that do not serve you.
  2. Ideal Client Referrals: If you say ‘yes’ to clients that are not ideal for you, are not in your niche even if you can teach them they are going to have friends or acquaintances that are like them. So, their referral pot will be more clients like them. Which means instead of growing your business with your ideal client you take a different path.
  3. Better Results for Clients: If you are not available anytime your clients want to change their sessions they will protect their Pilates practice times more, be more consistent and truly reap the benefits of working with you. They will also respect your teaching as a business, honor you and your policies. It will make it easier for you to get paid your worth and on time. Also, they will be more consistent in coming which means you can better plan your income.

These are just a few reasons why you have to learn how to say ‘no’. But, how do you do it? How do you say ‘no’ without losing your ideal clients? How do you know when to say no? All this and more in my next webinar. You can join me here. Or, let’s set up a call to help you define who you are for, what you have to offer and how to get that information out to your ideal client!

xx~LL 

3 Reasons Why Blogging Helps Your Pilates Business

I know you think blogging is dead. I know you think you can’t write. Or, that you don’t have “time.” Maybe you believe you don’t know what to write about?! Well, whatever your reason for not blogging is I am here to tell you it’s not dead and so integral to attracting the clients you want, filling your schedule and your classes and making you known in your community. Ever wonder how people get discovered? It’s because of their website and it’s not because they pay for ad’s. It’s because the search engines (think Google etc) pull their site up. And they pull it up because of the words on the website aka blogs. And the most updated website.

You don’t need to revamp your site every year if you’re blogging consistently! More on this at my next webinar or on my course vlogging and blogging. But, for now here are 3 Reasons why you need to be blogging!

  1. You Show off Who you are, what you do and why they should choose YOU! If you have been reading my blogs or working with me for a while you know I am all about the “elevator speech.” A few sentences that tell people why you rock! But, let’s say you are busy. While you are teaching your website is working for you and the blogs on your site tell potential new clients all about your expertise in your area!
  2. Keeps your Website Fresh! I know you think you built the site, the information is current so done and done right? Wrong! For epic SEO (search engine optimization) you need the search engines to pick your website as the answer to peoples questions. They pick websites based on so many things. Most in your control! One of those things is your blog. If you blog every time you post it updates your site telling those engines you are fresh and new! Plus, you can write a blog that is a direct answer to something your ideal client might be looking for online. Which is literally where everyone is getting their info! For more on SEO and what your website needs check out this course.
  3. Engage with Your Community! When you blog you can share what’s happening now, soon and share pics, testimonials and more. When people are going from one studio or teachers site to the next the more they get to know you and experience what you have to offer the more they connect with you. It means that when they come in for that first session they already feel like they know that you are the teacher for them!

This is just 3 reasons why! I could go on and on about why you should be blogging! And, I will be covering those other reasons as well as what to blog about, how to feel confident in your writing skills and more at my next webinar! If you are ready to attract your ideal client, make your website work for you and show how you are the expert in your area then join me here.

xx~LL

Finding Pilates Teachers for Your Pilates Studio

One of the most common questions I get is where do I find teachers for my studio? Or, sometimes it is not even a question, it’s a statement “there are no Pilates instructors in my area.” So, to help you all find the right teachers for your Pilates studio I am bringing in a fabulous Pilates instructor in her own right, a studio owner with her own teacher training program and ideas to help you studio owners find teachers for your studio! Here she is, Washington Avenue Pilates studio owner Hilary Opheim!


Are you a Pilates studio owner? Are you finding you have no time to do all that you need to do? Answering emails, returning calls, marketing, and all the studio business you have to take care of daily? Are you losing the passion that brought you not only to Pilates but, to opening up your own Pilates studio? Do you wonder where are the Pilates teachers you need? Do you have time for your own clients or even your own Pilates practice? Are you spending time and money trying to get teachers to cover for evenings and weekends or subbing? Can you even think of workshops and getting some continuing education now?

Owning and running a Pilates studio is not what I first envisioned when my doors first opened to clients. I didn’t realize that it would be so much more than just teaching Pilates to my clients and getting them in the door.  Soon I found that I was teaching Pilates to the point of possible burnout, paying bills and dealing with all the daily studio business such as marketing, apparatus maintenance, my schedule at the studio and trying to have a personal life.  My day did not begin with my first client and then end with my last. I no longer had weekends off, even if I had no clients. I found myself on a computer, on the phone and my husband wondering when would I have free time?

He was right! I found that I was having no time for me, no time to spend quality time with my husband, family, and friends. Even when I was away from the studio the work was always there. Emails to answer, text to answer, calls to return. Bills, studio business that you don’t think of when you decide to open a studio. All of this on top of my teaching was eating all the hours in my day, week and months. I found it was harder to find good teachers to help with the load at the studio than I imagined it would be. Soon I realized my passion for Pilates was getting eaten away with the hours of teaching, the running of the business and no time to recharge, breathe or even get my Pilates in for me. Vacations? Workshops? What? Even if I got away I  still was having to do the same work just not teaching clients. I was finding my mood was not what it used to be when I got to the studio or when I was at home that night.

I was losing my passion that led me to teach Pilates. I had no resource to help me with all of this. What should I do? Does this sound familiar to you?  

If only I had known then what I know now! What if I  I had been given a resource to help and guide me so that I would have not had to go through all the years of more work and energy and less joy in the studio. That it was easier than it was for me to get my studio running with good teachers so I could enjoy the work of teaching again. Focus on things I needed to and not be overwhelmed.

Do you find that this is happening to you? Maybe on a lesser scale or maybe a larger scale? Do you not have that extra money to get your Pilates workout in for you? Are you thinking how do I get back to the passion that led me down this path? Most importantly where are those Pilates teacher’s to help you with all those clients and give you that time?

Here are 3 things suggestions I have that you can do today to change that for you!

  1.  Talk to Teacher Training Programs in your area and see if they have any graduates they would recommend. If there are Programs or Schools in your area that you connect with in terms of teaching style, syllabus, what they cover in the program and you need now this is a great option for you!
  2.  Put the word out and see if anyone going through training would like to do an Apprenticeship at your studio. That way they can see how your studio runs, your clientele and you can see how they teach and their work ethic.
  3. Bring in a Teacher Training Program like mine. It doesn’t cost you the studio owner anything, everything needed is supplied such as manuals, homework, quizzes and more. You will be able to observe and see the teachers as they go through training at your studio.

~Hilary Opheim

Hilary has been in the fitness industry for over 25 years, and after a knee injury, she found Pilates. She immediately fell in love with classical Pilates and trained in Houston with John Gossett. Hilary taught in various clubs and the studio’s around Houston as well as managing and building a Pilates studio within the University Club where she was the Group Fitness Director for over 10 years. In 2005 wanting a studio that supported and had a positive effect on both teachers and clients she opened up WAPilates in Houston. The studio grew and moved to progressively larger studios until settling in the Art District of Houston. In keeping with her positive energy and passion for Pilates, she developed WAPilates Teacher Training Program, which is a PSAP Approved School and continues to share her passion with those who want to become teachers. She studied with Benjamin Degenhardt and his 360 Pilates Program, which is an immersion into the Traditional Pilates Method. In 2017 she was one of the Top 10 Finalist for the Next Pilates Anytime Teacher Competition.

 

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Do You Have Your Policies and Procedures In Place?

Do you remember the first time you had to charge someone a late cancel? How did it go over? Were you nervous? Did you worry if they would quit working with you so you didn’t charge them? What about policies over cell phones, scheduling, talking during the class? Whether you are an employee, studio owner, independent contractor or group class teacher if you don’t have clear set rules and policies in place then you can’t expect clients to follow what’s not there or worse what’s there but not enforced.

The truth is no matter how hard it is, uncomfortable or weird it is to enforce a policy it’s integral to the growth and sustainability of your Pilates business. I’ll never forget the client that I lost due to another client’s constant cell phone use. I know, some of you may think that if I or any teacher this happens to were good at what they were doing then our clients wouldn’t notice the person on the reformer next to us talking on their phone. But, the truth is, it doesn’t matter how good you are at what you do. All it takes is one or two clients not listening to modifications being called out because they can’t hear the teacher due to the person next to them having a conversation and they get hurt.

While no fitness class, Pilates studio, or private session happening next to another teacher’s private session is happening in a library it’s important that the clients get the information they need to have a successful workout so they continue to come back. And, I am sure you can remember a time when a client joined a class and treated it like it was their own session. How hard was that for you the teacher? Imagine being on the other side of the footbar?

Talking and cell phone use are the least of the policy problems that can affect a business. If you or your studio is not enforcing your cancellation policy, payment policies and prices this can lead to a slippery slope that eventually devalues your business and not only causes strain and stress but it can also be the thing that takes the inspo right out from under you!

Here’s the thing about charging for late cancels whether it’s for a private or a spot in a class it’s part of maintaining the value of your work and your studios work. Daniel Stead Blanton is a fitness business coach in Los Angeles, CA who spent her time before being a fitness coach as a corporate attorney “commonly see studios that do not enforce their LC/NS policy. They are afraid of upsetting their clients and will let the client’s bad behavior slide (not charge them for no-shows, allow them to stroll into class 15-20 mins late). When management does decide to enforce timeliness and charge fees, the clients lash out because they’ve gotten away with their bad habits for so long.” 

I’ll never forget the first client I had who said: “my last Pilates instructor never charged me for late cancels.” It put me in a position where I had to defend myself, my policies and not just for me but for the future Pilates instructors this person encountered. If you listened to the latest Pilates Unfiltered Podcast episode “Words with Friends” I was interviewed in with some of my friends we discussed how if you charge what you’re worth it allows other teachers to charge what they are worth. The same goes for policies. If you enforce your policies it allows the next teacher to be able to do the same.

As instructors, studio owners, studio managers we not only teach people Pilates we also teach them how to treat us, how to value their time in our space and this not only helps them get the true benefits of Pilates but it also allows you to stay inspired, feel valued and continue to share your gift with the next client.

Danielle and I will be discussing more about How Policies and Procedures Improve the Customer Experience‘ in my next webinar on September 13th 12 pm pst (replay available for one week). To snag your spot and get a chance to ask Danielle an incredible fitness instructor, yep, someone who is actually in your studio shoes who also has experience in the legal side of things register here. 

If you cannot join us live but you have a burning question about policies, procedures client or employee/contractor wise then feel free to send them in ahead of time to me lesley@profitablepilates.com. We will answer them live on the webinar.

Below is more information about this upcoming webinar and my guest, Danielle!

I cannot stress enough how important it is that you as a teacher or studio owner set your self up for success. Growing your business isn’t always about getting more clients. It’s about providing a space that allows your current clients, teachers and yourself to grow and flourish. And, as they do they will send you more awesome business of people who follow your policies and treat you with the respect you show them.

xx~LL

Join Danielle and LL on September 13th 12pm pst for: How Policies and Procedures Improve the Customer Experience

“The foundation of a good customer experience and a customer-centric business is a clear set of policies and procedures. Being consistent in letting your customers know what to expect from you, and in turn what you expect from them, is absolutely essential. In this webinar, we discuss common customer experience scenarios studios and online businesses face and what solutions owners can implement to address them. We encourage you to come ready to discuss customer experience issues that have arisen in your business operations so we can discuss them as well.”

Danielle Stead Blanton is a fitness business coach in Los Angeles, CA. She is a studio consultant and investor, having her hand in running the day-to-day of a successful HIIT studio. Danielle is also an ACE-certified Group Fitness Instructor, specializing in teaching HIIT, Strength, and Megaformer Pilates classes. In her past life, she was a collegiate athlete turned corporate attorney, practicing corporate + real estate law for years before choosing to leave big law. She then started her own consulting agency, providing accessible legal and business services to small businesses, fitness professionals, artists, and independents.

What I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Pilates Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xx~LL 

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

 

Demystifying Pilates Springs

It’s so easy to focus only on getting clients, teaching clients and if you’re lucky swiftering your studio! But, while Pilates equipment seems to last a long time its incredibly important that we do more than just keep it germ free. In fact, maintaining your Pilates equipment is more than just taking care of it so you have it forever. It also is integral to keeping your clients safe and that safety may just be priceless.  But, here’s the deal, I like you, know as much about springs as I’ve been taught by people who maintain the equipment. So, instead of me telling you all the in’s and out’s of your studio’s springs I’ve brought in the expert herself, Kaleen Canevari of The Fit Reformer.


Can you imagine a Pilates apparatus using static weights instead of springs?  When I try and picture it, I see an equipment beast: heavy, thick, ugly, and even more torture-device-like than what they look like today!  Using the springs on a Reformer, it is possible to produce well over 100 pounds of resistance, and yet there are no weighty blocks, discs or bars slamming up and down, taking up floor space, or collecting dust like you see on traditional machine weights in a gym.  Joseph Pilates was a genius to use springs rather than weights, and I applaud him for finding such an elegant solution.

However, for all the convenience that springs bring in space and weight constraints, they aren’t as straightforward as traditional weights.  It isn’t possible for our clients to brag about a 200-pound squat because how much tension a spring is providing isn’t constant. Nor, is it labeled and apparent to us as instructors or clients.

Because springs are sometimes seen as this mysterious part of the Pilates world, I want to address the three most common questions I get from Pilates studios around the world.

Question 1: How much weight is the red spring?

Many new clients often ask me, “How much weight am I lifting?”  After so many questions like this one, I’ve chiseled my response down to a concise, two sentence answer: “How much resistance the spring provides changes on how far it is extended and how thick the coils are.  In Pilates, we aren’t concerned so much about your ability to move a certain weight as we are about the ability to move well.”

The resistance, or force, a spring provides is dependent on two things: the amount of stretch (x) it is experiencing at the moment, and the spring factor (k).  This relationship is explained by the equation F=kx, known as Hooke’s Law. The spring factor (k) takes into consideration the design of the spring, including the material, diameter of the coils, and thickness of the material.  Using basic math you can calculate the force a spring provides by multiplying the spring factor and amount of extension. Or, using some algebra, you can calculate the spring constant of your own spring by measuring the force of the spring and dividing that number by the length of extension.

Let’s use a made-up Reformer spring as an example.  Say we are doing footwork with one spring attached, and that spring has a k value of 1.5 lbs/in.  When the carriage is pressed out 2 inches, the resistance is 3 pounds. Then, when pressed out to 6 inches the resistance increases to 9 pounds.  And at 12 inches of extension, the resistance is 18 lbs. You get the idea. The more you stretch the spring the heavier the resistance.

 

 

 

How often do we do footwork with one spring on, though?  If you want to calculate the total force of three springs, you simply add together the resistance of each of the three springs.  So, if we had three of our imaginary springs all with the same spring constant from the example above, the total resistance at 2 inches of carriage extension is 3+3+3=9 pounds, and at 12 inches of extension is 18+18+18=54 pounds.

 

 

 

Using this principle we can also calculate the total resistance of different springs.  Let’s assume we have three unique springs, one with a spring constant of 0.5 lbs/in, one with 2.5 lbs/in and, another with 5.5 lbs/in.  At 2 inches of carriage extension, we can calculate the resistance of each of those individual springs by multiplying 2  inches by the spring constant, and then adding those three values together.

 

 

 

This kind of relationship between the spring constant and the extension is described as linear because if you were to graph this, you would get a straight line.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Question #2: Do my springs wear out over the years?

Many of my maintenance clients have told me that they’ve replaced a spring because it had worn out, meaning it felt lighter than it should.  Theoretically, this is very, very unlikely, because as long as you do not stretch the spring past its extension limit, it should last millions of cycles.  By even then, the mathematical result isn’t an exact number, but rather a probability.  

For example, if the extension limit for the spring is 30 inches (this is my imaginary spring, remember), and you want to know how many times you can pulse the spring in and out to 20 inches before it breaks, the equation doesn’t give you an exact number.  Instead, it might say that at one million cycles the probability of the spring breaking is less than 10%.

Despite the theoretical low probability, I believe it is possible for springs to wear out, though I’ve never tested it.  (Someday!) Why do I think this? Because I don’t know of any Pilates studios that operate like a laboratory. When teaching clients to use a jumpboard, inevitably the carriage will slam home at least once.  Or, someone’s hands will slip off the roll down bar and the springs will snap closed uncontrolled. Or, we let in the cool sea breeze and the springs start developing rust. Or, we touch the springs with sweaty, lotioned hands.  You get the idea. All of these things cause micro-damage to the spring and can add up to significantly shorten the life of the spring.

So how do you tell when a spring’s life is over?

Question #3: Do I really need to replace my springs every two years?

Ordering new springs may be a financial burden on your business, but is absolutely necessary for safety.  Spending upward of $100 per Reformer every two years seems a little ridiculous, and I’m going to confirm your suspicions with a caveat.  If (and only if!) you are closely monitoring your springs for safety hazards, you can go past the 2 year mark and only replace individual springs when you notice a warning sign or have determined the spring no longer provides enough resistance.  

Fun fact: about 30% of my maintenance clients report having a spring break during a session!  Having a spring break during class is a real risk, so I don’t recommend writing off the manufacturer’s warnings.  (Note: If you don’t want to check your springs, then yes, please replace them at least every two years!)

Here’s what I recommend: Check each of your springs every month.  Visually inspect them for any kinks, gaps, or obvious waves. Sometimes if I’m unsure, I will lightly run my hand down the length of the coil to feel for any deviations.  

Then, extend the spring a little bit.  The coils of the spring should separate evenly as you stretch the spring.  If you notice anyone spot in the coil opening more than the others, that’s a sign there’s some damage to the spring and it’s time to replace it.

I’ve included some photos of common examples of damage I’ve seen.  Keep an eye out for these and replace them immediately if you find one that looks like this!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps springs aren’t quite as straightforward as stereotypical gym weights.  But as a mechanism of resistance, they are a fantastic tool for many reasons and integral to teaching Pilates with equipment.  I hope that I’ve been able to explain the basic science behind the springs as it pertains to use in a Pilates setting and that as a result, you can approach your Pilates practice with a little more confidence, understanding, and appreciation for Joe’s genius.

 

Happy Reforming!

Kaleen Canevari is a mechanical engineer and PMA certified Pilates instructor. She began her Pilates journey while working as an engineer at Balanced Body in 2013, and since then has started her own company called The Fit Reformer, which specializes in Pilates equipment care. She currently teaches Pilates part-time at a local studio in Sacramento, and spends the rest of her time traveling the country working on Pilates equipment and Pilates-related projects.