Since blogging is far from dead (it really is) you’re probably more worried about what to blog about than anything. Because of my blogs, I have thousands of hits on my site every month. And you can have that too. But, you have to be writing blogs that answer the questions your ideal client is asking the search engines. So, how do you figure that out and then what do you blog about? Well, luckily I’ve got a list of ideas below you can use!
Personal Blog Topic Ideas
10 things most people don’t know about you/your studio/your teaching
How you prepare for ___
What’s in your Pilates bag
Five things/exercises you can’t live without
What you love about teaching, Pilates, your clients
How you became a teacher, studio owner
Behind the scenes
Your top 10 favorite things/exercises/props
Go to leggings, exercises, books etc
Your Product or Service Blog Topic Ideas
10 reason to fall in love with—
How to pick the right product or service you offer
10 things think about when starting Pilates
Spotlight your product/service
5 ways your service helps ___
Faqs are great blogs!!!
Top 10 questions you get asked
What clients have said
What to look for in a teacher/studio/class
What it looks like to work with you
why are people not hiring you
Put these on a doc and start brainstorming. The ones that you can’t stop writing about are the ones you should use and toss the rest or save them for another time. Pick a blog schedule you can keep up with and get to blogging. For more tips on how blogs get your clients check out my client journey course and blogging for your business.
Most people do not use their website to its full capabilities. They tend to “set it and forget it.” But, a website is truly the 24/7 assistant you want, need and could be doing more for you if you set it up for that. Imagine people searching the internet for a question and your website comes up as the answer? And then, because of the work you put into your site they go on a journey that leads them to schedule a session! Doesn’t that sound amazing?
Here’s How You Do This:
1) You have to have a website. If you don’t watch this course before you spend a dollar or your time building one.
2) Every client needs to be courted. Think about the beginning of a dating relationship. You don’t get married after you become aware of someone right? My course on the client journey breaks down how to take a person from awareness of who you are and what you do to buying your services.
3) BLOG! Its so not dead my friends. My website gets thousands of views every month because of my blogs. Your blogs should be the answer to peoples questions. Then they go to your site and then end up getting on your client journey. See how all that works for you?
4) Newsletters, also not dead! A nurture campaign aka welcome series will help your client journey happen while you sleep. And, regular, consistent newsletters to those on your list keep you top of mind. And your site should be trading emails for something of value so you can guide those people to your core service!
If this sounds like total gibberish then please start with my “what your website needs” course. Then go to the “client journey” before you do the Newsletter 101 or next level. In 4 hours you’ll be sooo ready to put your website to work for you! And, that means it’s attracting your ideal client and telling them what to do while you are sleeping, teaching or reading this blog!
You’re an independent contractor, a small home-based studio or a boutique space with the opportunity to expand and you’re wondering if you need a welcome series for anyone who joins your email list. You are not alone. I get this question and excuses or reasons why people believe they don’t all the time. But, the truth is, if you’re teaching as part of your income, this is not a hobby, then I believe you do!
I know, you’re busy, it’s another thing to do! But, hear me out. You are busy. You don’t have time to respond to EVERY person who joins your list and share who you are, what you do and why you will rock their world! So, by having a welcome email series (did you think I was suggesting a discounted intro pack? I hope not) you can write up a wonderful series of emails (one time) that guides this newbie on a journey that you want so that they get to know you, trust you, see you as the expert in your area and when you say, “take a session from me” they hit that button so fast because they have been waiting for you to ask this whole time!
You have been part of many a “welcome series” or some call a “Nurture Series” and some totally get you excited and others fall flat or make you hit “unsubscribe.” And, while I could write a book about all the nuances and I am doing a webinar on this topic I thought a few quick and easy tips for you to get started today.
A welcome series should:
Introduce You as the guide to getting them where they want to go
Share some background to your awesomeness
Explain what you do
Why You do what you do
How it helps them!
Guide them from “hey, how are ya?” to “Buy my main offer.”
Be automated and spaced out over time until they are dumped into the main newsletter
A welcome series could:
Go on for months (I don’t recommend this for Pilates teachers or other movement instructors)
Have an offer or two in it that gets them to try you out before coming into the studio
Share pics or testimonials
Have a secret offer they won’t find on your site
Be as short as a few emails
Once you put your in place it should kick off as soon as they register for your list. And then when it’s done they should end up on your regular newsletter schedule. Because, a welcome series is a lot of things but it is not a replacement for connection or a consistent weekly, bi-weekly or monthly schedule.
I’d love to know what you wish clients new before setting up their session? How you want clients to see and experience you and your business and what you want to drive your future clients to buy? You can post in the comments below.
PS the next webinar on this will air June 26th 12pm pst and replay until July 3rd.
Writing Newsletters takes time, and it is one of those things that most teachers and studio owners would prefer to not do. Convince themselves that email is dead. It’s not. And, while email marketers are seeing that its harder to get the ROI they used to get you are not an email marketer. You’re using your newsletters to engage with your clients, past clients and future clients (because people forward emails that are worthy).Your newsletters remind clients of why you’re amazing. They offer a way for clients to email you back, create a conversation. But, you feel they are not worth it. And, it’s because you’re not writing effective newsletters. People get an average of 142 emails a day. So, why are yours being trashed with the others?
You are only “selling.” Yes, we want clients to sign up online, to create standing appointments. To get get info about new classes or the schedule changes. But, if all you do is sell to them in newsletters you’re going to totally be flagged by their emails as “promotions” and you won’t even make it in their real inbox. And, your clients don’t open emails to be sold at (unless it’s cyber Monday) they open because they are want to hear more about what they care about. They want valuable information that will make them better.
You are not consistent. You send a newsletter once a month then you miss a month and then you do two in a month. It’s erratic. Humans like predictable. Be consistent. Try to get send a weekly newsletter if possible but if you’re only going to do monthly ADD LOTS OF VALUE and never miss.
Your subject lines are boring. Yep, it’s really all about the subject line. “Monthly Newsletter” is not sexy. Not exciting. It doesn’t make me want to open it. I still might but it’ll be the rare bird. Have fun with your subject lines, grab their attention. You want to stand out amongst the email crowd. One of my best open rates came from my newsletters “the biggest mistake I ever made.”
I know you know you need this newsletter. I know you know you need to stay top of mind with your clients. I know you want to have a way to reach out to old clients and inconsistent clients. Newsletters do that!
Take the time to write a consistent newsletter, that gives away information they can share with their friends. Add value to their life. Have a call to action. Maybe it’s a question they should answer, maybe they should share the newsletter with a friend? Ask them to do something. People don’t do things without a call to action. Have fun with your subject lines.
If you’re wanting more support and advice around newsletters first of all YAY! You’re a rockstar! I can help you. Contact me here for a one on one coaching call or watch my course all about newsletters here.
What will your next newsletter talk about? Share in the comments below!
Do you have a love-hate social media? Totally cool! You don’t need to love it and most teachers don’t even need to use it. But, there is a level of web presence you need to have to make your ideal business grow and known. I know you want to teach Pilates. You only care about your clients and helping them get better, feel better and do more Pilates with you. But, let’s face it, even with referrals those future clients are going to look you up online. And while I do not believe you have to have likes and followers to make money doing what you love. I do believe you have to have some level of online presence. So, here we go!
Website! Yes, you need one. Please don’t think a yelp, facebook page or some other platforms landing page of you is going to do it. You need to own this domain. It needs to have some key things on it so that you can attract your ideal client and get them into your books asap. Check out this blog posts on websites here and my course on “What Your Website Needs.”
Dive in or Don’t: If you’re going to use social media for your business then use it. If you’re not then don’t. But trying to do a little here and there will not only annoy you it’ll frustrate you and when people go from your site to your social media they’ll be confused. If you are going to use social media for your business link it on your site. If you’re not, or are not sure then don’t link it until you are. Wondering if you should be on social check out this blog on why and this one for more tips.
Keep it Simple! If all you do in the beginning is ace a website and tell people who you are and what you do and why you rock at it I promise you’ll get clients. Why? Because I still get the most clients through my website and from personal outreach. Meeting people in real life and referrals. Your website is your 24/7 assistant. USE IT! Make sure it’s clear what you do when they land on your site. Update it regularly with blogs. Be clear on who you teach and why you’re the best for them.
If you start out with a great site and clarity on who you are the rest will follow. I know, you’re thinking, “but everyone is bouncing of facebook and I’m not even sure how to use Instagram.” Here’s the thing I can promise you. There will always be a new thing to learn. That doesn’t mean you have to. In my next webinar, I’ll be going over how to use Facebook and Instagram for your business. You’ll learn if 1) you should 2) what to do 3) what not to do.
I promise I’ll keep it simple and digestible. And, after you’ll know if you need to add either of these platforms to your business. In the meantime, how much online should you be? Website, website website! We’ll dive into the ever-changing social media beast together here.
“Who could love a pebble in their shoe?” One of the harshest lines ever said in a movie from the movie Ever After is what comes to my mind when I think about pebbles. But, what if Pebbles were what we should be thinking about in our Pilates business? What if theoretical pebbles were what would propel your business forward? Well, my Pilates instructors and Pilates studio owners I am here to share that you should be more concerned about making room for pebbles than you have been.
One of the questions I am often asked is “How do you do it all?” And, to be perfectly frank I don’t exactly know what “do it all” means. I do happen to do a lot of things. And, to the outsider, it may seem like I am some sort of magician or more special or lucky because I can “do it all.” But, while I would say I am quite unique as a human my ability to do it all has nothing to do with my uniqueness. It has everything to do with my time management.
There are many ways to manage your time. A lot are obvious and some are not so obvious. I’ll be going over a lot of those not so talked about ways specifically for Pilates and fitness pros in my next webinar. But, just in case you’re not ready to completely bite the bullet and tackle your time management techniques here is one tried and true way that will help you create more time growing your business and less time keeping your business and life status quo. If you’re ready to talk about growth aka pebbles read on!
Picture a mason jar. It’s empty and its lid is laying next to it. Also, next to the jar is three piles, rocks, sand, and pebbles. They will all fit in the jar if they go in the correct order. Put them in the wrong order and the lid won’t fit. So, what goes in first? Well, you need to know what they represent to figure it out.
The Rocks symbolize appointments. These are your sessions, your client’s sessions, meetings etc. These are the things that can only happen when they happen. I do excellent thinking at 4:30 am but not many clients want 4:30 am sessions. So, my rocks go in the schedule where only rocks can go- When I am teaching or taking sessions
The sand represents admin. You know the stuff you don’t want to do but you have to do. There is nothing creative or exciting about admin. This is the bills, the emails, the mail, the blah blah blah.
Pebbles are anything that propels your business forward. This can be the marketing, promotions or advertising you keep saying you’re going to do but then get too busy doing other stuff (ahem SAND) to get to it. It’s also the scary stuff. You don’t know the answer to kind of stuff. But, the stuff that gets you excited about what could be if it worked out!
So, what order should these piles go in the jar?
Grab a blank calendar.
Write in your rocks first. Then your Pebbles!!!!! Finally the Sand.
Yep, that is the order! You should be focusing on what propels your business forward before you deal with the humdrum of the admin.
Be honest, you can deal with bill pay while binging out on Netflix.
You can clean the studio while listening to your favorite podcast.
But, you can’t be creative on a newsletter while you’re watching your favorite TV show.
You can’t research ways to market your business while listening to a mystery thriller.
When you are working on the stuff that will uplevel you and your business it needs to be scheduled and that time should be protected.
When will you work on your pebbles this week?
PS if you need more help managing your time you’re not alone. This webinar is selling out! You can join me live or enjoy the replay for up to a week. Click here to join.
Perhaps you have heard email is dead. But, do you really believe that? I mean, how many mornings is your email the first thing you look at? It’s ok. Statistically speaking most people check their email before they even get out of bed! Which means, they are interested in what’s in their inbox. And, they are not opening it to see what spam they got. Nope, they are looking to see what they need to know! What should they be buying, sharing or doing? And, if you’re sitting there wishing your clients came in more often, scheduled more regularly and thought about their Pilates practice as much as you do then you need to be in their mind’s eye as much as Amazon and their other email subscriptions.
Still not sure you need to be writing newsletters? Here are 3 (and trust me I could have gone on for an hour writing up other reasons) reasons why you need to be writing newsletters for your business:
Email marketing is 40% more effective than Facebook and Instagram ads– With email you get to share more information, tell a longer story, engage in conversation and connect with your community. You have more control over who sees your message and you can reach out to them as often as you want. Because people gave you permission to send them email it means they want to hear from you. So, when they get an email from you they open it. On social media, you have less control over who sees it and who scrolls right on by!
For every $1 spent on email marketing, you receive $44 in return– statistically speaking those who spend time making a living through email marketing earn a $43 return on every $1 they spend to market! That’s insanely awesome! As a Pilates teacher or studio owner your newsletter marketing will most likely be free to nominal in expenses depending on your list size. Which means your profits earned from reaching out to your list will be even better!
Time efficient communication– you do not have the time or ability to have you or your team call, text or email every client you have had, or who have inquired about Pilates to get them the info they need. It’s not cost-effective to text every client about your vacation dates. And, worse, clients will slip through the cracks on those busy weeks! Sending regular communication to those past, current and potential clients not only allows you a touch point with your clients, but it also allows you the opportunity to share with them what they need to know!
If you are already sending newsletters and or building your list congrats! If you are not feeling they are effective, or, are wanting to start but don’t know what to write about or how often to send then my next webinar is for you! We’ll be spending one hour covering what to write about, how often to send, how to build your list and best tools to use. Snag your spot to watch live or receive the replay here.
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.
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.
Teaching Pilates is not just teaching Pilates, am I right? Sure, we learn all the exercises, anatomy, study and learn more exercises and more anatomy and some modifications. We get creative when a client cannot do an exercise. We ask all the right questions from mentors and colleagues. And, yet, it’s still not enough. Because the person we are teaching is not a 2-dimensional idea. They are a living, breathing human being with a life outside of their Pilates session. And, teaching that human means learning how they are truly motivated, how they learn and how they need you to show up for them so they can show up for themselves too.
Wow! That’s so much! I mean, I know when I became a Pilates teacher it was because I LOVED Pilates so much and I knew everyone should be doing it. But, nothing in my training prepared me for the client who cried during Tree because she didn’t feel good enough. No one told me how to handle “I can’t.” Because while maybe one client really “couldn’t” another client would use it as an excuse to avoid doing exercises they didn’t like. And, as we know we tend to dislike (even strongly) exercises we need.
And, so learning how to motivate my clients a tennis ball of sorts for me. When I managed a jewelry store I had to learn how to motivate my staff. But, my staff, my team, was made up of ten to fifteen different personalities. Each one needing to know that I saw them. I heard them and I was there for them!
When I realized that I will be doing the same thing for my clients that I did when I was managing a team it became so much easier for me. And, I want to make it easier for you!
There is a great study out there and you can dive deeper into it here if you want to nerd out. But, if not, here’s the “cliff notes” or your LL’s notes on the SCARF model for teaching/training:
Status: someones relative importance to another
Certainty: being able to predict the future
Autonomy: a sense of being in control over the events
Relatedness: feeling safe
Fairness: equal exchanges between people
In the SCARF method, they studied how humans still survey surroundings for threats. So, as a teacher or studio owner its important that we create an optimal environment that when a new client or returning client comes in they feel safe. Imagine being a new client walking into your studio? What energy or message will they receive?
Clients need to know how they relate to you as a teacher and the more equal they feel with you the better for the client. If they show up in a Porsche and fancy gear and you feel like you’re less than they are because of their financial status and so you start to treat them differently they will feel this. Or vice versa, if someone shows up super deconditioned and you act like you know everything this will also cause a “threat” to the relationship and your being able to teach and motivate them session after session. The more you can create a feeling of equality status-wise in your studio the longer and deeper the relationship will go. This doesn’t mean you become best friends. It simply means that you don’t have to know everything and neither do they. Your relationship as a teacher and client is going to be more like a dance. You take the lead but you’re in it together!
Certainty is something we all desire. We all wish we knew what the future had in store. Sharing with your client what the session will cover or asking them for feedback on what they liked, disliked and how they felt last time so you can create a session that helps them like what they dislike, challenges what they like and leaves them feeling better every time will increase their feelings of certainty and continue their desire to come week after week. This also helps them feel a sense of Autonomy. Autonomy also could be achieved by asking them to set up their own equipment, asking them to choose between two exercises. I like to do this towards the end of a session. I will ask them if they prefer to Hang or do something on the Wunda chair. This lets me see if they are needing a little more of a relaxing ending or if they have more fuel in the tank to power to the end.
I think we all know and agree a client should feel safe in a session. In the SCARF model Relatedness is all about safety for a client. This also goes back to Status. But, another way to look at Safety besides feeling safe in an exercise is how we respond to clients feedback. When they tell us something to we discount it? Do we take it personally and tell them why what they are feeling is wrong? Or, do we listen, let them feel they can share whatever idea or discovery and then create a conversation about it? The more your clients feel safe to share the good, the bad and the ugly the more you can find ways to teach them and the whole client-teacher relationship grows even deeper! And, that really leads into Fairness, if clients feel like they are welcome to share their thoughts and its well received the more Status, Relatedness, and Autonomy you’ll have which will even lead to Certainty.
There is so much more to this model and to teaching Pilates then one blog post can really cover. I’ll be diving in deeper to it on my next webinar with Michael Myers “How to Motivate Clients” but we can also go over it in your individual business. Contact me here if you have more questions. Join us for the webinar here. And, if you have questions, comments or stories share them in the comments below!
Who decided your teaching schedule? Who set your personal goals? Who influenced your professional goals?
If the answer to those questions isn’t You, You and You then we need to talk my Pilates pal! Here’s the deal, and I am going to get pretty honest with you if you do not set your own goals someone will be making sure you’re working towards their goals.
When you do not see growth in your Pilates business, it is easy to want to blame the competition. I remember when I first took over a studio and was struggling to grow. At this time the studio I was running was one of 5 within one square mile. Our prices were the most expensive of them all.
I have been lucky in life to land some amazing job opportunities. My first job fell into my lap as did my second. My third job I hunted a little bit and got pretty picky but then my Pilates jobs again just made their way to me. So, again, I’ve been pretty lucky! But, when if I were honest I would never advise others to just fall into picking their studio location. I would never want anyone to root their business down and hope for the best. I felt that this discussion could use a voice that has been through choosing a location and not just one but two so far! So, I will let Christa Gurka of Pilates in the Grove take the stage and offer up her wisdom.