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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xx~LL

3 Reasons You Need to Be Writing Newsletters

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:

  1. 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!
  2. 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!
  3. 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.

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 

 

 

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 

Ongoing Pilates Training for Instructors

Recently I saw a question by a very brand new instructor who was struggling to find continuing education to further her Pilates teacher training. And, it wasn’t the first time I come across this concern. In fact, I remember when I first became a Pilates instructor I knew I had a lot more to learn. I was hungry to learn it too. And, at the time searching for continuing education was not as easy as it is today. But, still, as lucky as we are to have so many ways to find out about continuing education it still is hard to know which workshops to choose! And, when to keep take a workshop or practice what you already know.

I actually, do wish there could be a one-stop hub for all continuing education for Pilates instructors. Wouldn’t that be amazing!? So, if in my list below I missed a really good hot spot of info please let me know in the comments and I will happily add it. But, before I go into the list of where to go for continuing education here are a few tips in helping you choose which workshops to sign up for:

  1. Choose workshops that relate to clients you currently have. If you only teach men signing up for a pre/postnatal workshop while informative won’t help you deepen the practice of your existing client base.
  2. Find workshops that sound interesting to you or will help your personal practice. If you are inspired you’ll continue to inspire your clients
  3. If you have the equipment at your ready or you are thinking of ordering a particular piece of equipment take the training and make sure you really want it before investing.
  4. Sessions go a long way! You can learn a lot by taking Pilates sessions from an instructor who has been teaching longer than you. I know for me I have had many eye-opening, a-ha moments in a session!
  5. If a teacher inspires you try to take consistent sessions with them. Or, if that’s not possible find out where they have workshops. You may have to travel to them. How fun!

Ok, here are some ideas and places you can continue to learn more about this amazing method we get to teach!

  1. Pilates Method Alliance posts workshops that offer CEC’s
  2. Pilates Anytime has online workshops. While not the same as being in person it does allow you to learn from so many teachers and then if you find one that really speaks to you look at their upcoming workshops!
  3. Pilates On Tour: Balanced Body hosts some amazing conferences all over the world!
  4. Social Media: While I am not a massive fan of sending anyone to forums to search for workshops because it can be like searching for a needle in a haystack or opposite being inundated with options. There are some forums that are only for posting workshops like Unpoliced Pilates Education and Training while others have specific rules about posting. But, you may find a forum that is for teachers in your region and that might yield some local workshops. You can also check out your favorite teachers on Instagram. If you are following the teachers that light your fire and challenge your thinking and teaching you will see lots of what they have to offer. Or use IG to find a teacher and then get on their mailing list! This way you are not at the mercy of the algorithms
  5. Do a google search. But, please do your research. Ask questions. Make sure the workshop is going to cover something you need.

There are so many other ways I find workshops! So, if you want more ideas contact me here or comment below. I do recommend getting out of your local space from time to time so that you are not waiting for a workshop to come to town. Seek out the knowledge you desire! Or, hire it in your space! Lots of teachers will travel their workshops. I know I do! So, if you are tired of waiting for a workshop to come around your way call that teacher and see how you can host.

There is so much to learn about the Pilates method. And, honestly, we can’t really know everything there is to know. But, we can know a lot more than we get in our first training. Never stop learning my friends and you will always be inspired.

What is the next workshop you are going to?

xx~LL

PS side note: please remember my tips for choosing a workshop. It is easy to get on a workshop kick and go to every single workshop that you hear of. But, sometimes that means not having the time to absorb or try out the lessons you learned from the last one. Just like you do quality of reps and not a quantity of reps in Pilates keep that in your mind’s eye for taking workshops.

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 is the Perfect Teaching Schedule?

I was recently asked for a podcast what I wish I had known sooner. And, I said, “I wish I knew it was ok to say ‘no’ to a client session request sooner.” And, not because I didn’t want to teach. On the contrary! I absolutely LOVE teaching Pilates. And, if I had two or three of me I would teach even more than I do!  But, as far as I know, there is only one of each of us. And the beauty in that is that there are only one you and one me. And, because teaching Pilates requires more than telling people to bend and straighten their limbs. It requires you the teacher being at your best. And, so, you can’t say ‘yes’ to everyone and you can’t teach every day or hours that are not ideal for you. Not only will you exhaust yourself you will probably lose inspiration to continue teaching and that would be the worst! Because there are clients out there that only you can teach!

So, what is the perfect teaching schedule?

Is there even such a thing?

As I mentioned a briefly above I wish I had learned how to say ‘no’ because instead what I did do was say ‘yes’ to every client session that came my way. I quickly was teaching any hour I had available outside my ‘real’ job. And, one day I was able to say I could leave my salaried job and just teach Pilates. But, I was walking into a schedule that made no sense. One of my teacher friends called it the “swiss cheese schedule.” I’ll never forget talking to other teachers about the “best” hours to be available, how many hours in a day I could/should teach, and figure out what was “full-time?”

Here’s the easy and maybe even non-answer about what the “perfect” schedule is. There is no such thing as the perfect teaching schedule. Because there is no such thing as perfect. So, FREEDOM! You can teach whenever you want to teach! The tougher answer is actually in the ‘how.’ How do you create your teaching schedule?

If your answer is ‘whenever clients want sessions” then you’re not wrong…but you may be putting your clients first and your schedule last. Here’s the deal about schedules, teaching schedules are a lot like “store” or “office” hours. Every store has hours that they are open. Most businesses have set office hours. Your teaching schedule can be treated and created the same way. And, because it’s your business and life you should be the one to decide:

What days do you teach?

What hours do you teach?

How many hours a day will you allow yourself to teach?

So, if you were to take a blank calendar out and you were not to consider any clients what days would you be available for sessions? What times on those days would you be able to take clients?

This, in a nutshell, is how you create your ‘perfect’ schedule. If you are sitting there reading this and rolling your eyes are a little bit or think this might work for others but it doesn’t work for you then it’s time we have a talk! If you want to dive deeper into how to create and fill your ideal schedule you can check out our course here.

We are all different, and what works for me or the teacher at the Reformer next to you may not work for you. Some of us can teach 4 hours in a row and do 6 hours in a day. Others may need a 15-minute break every couple of clients. It’s your business, create your own teaching hours!

xx~LL

5 Ways to Make Time for Your Own Pilates Practice

When I was a Pilates apprentice I never worked out more in my entire life! Do you remember being a student? I swear between the Pilates sessions I took from my teacher trainer, then being a body for my fellow apprentices and the self-practice hours and mat classes I had to attend it was multiple hours a day some weeks. I was not at all prepared for life post apprentice life. I became a teacher because I loved doing Pilates. And, as a student in training I got to do so much Pilates and then I started teaching…I know I am not the only one who after finishing their program saw their Pilates practice go from many hours to few hours. In fact, this week’s blog post is inspired by the many teachers who have been asking me how to make time for their own Pilates practice. After a couple week’s of losing out on my regular Pilates practice, I realized that I had to treat myself like I treated my clients. I had to put my sessions in first. I know, easier said than done. But, here are five ways you can make sure your Pilates is a priority. And, if at the end you still think you won’t have time then I want you to hit me up. Because you cannot stay inspired if you’re not exploring Pilates in your body.

  1. Sharpie You in First: If you follow my blogs about getting clients to be consistent or have done my course “getting busy with what you’ve got” then you know how to do this. But, in short, you should schedule your life around your Pilates sessions. I know, you have no room in your schedule. Take a blank schedule and put in your favorite workout times, classes or standing session with your favorite instructor. Then schedule everyone else.
  2. Get Moving with Tech: These days there is no shortage of options. So, if you don’t live near an instructor that inspires you Skype with one. Many teachers like myself are now offering Skype, Facetime or Zoom sessions. But, when you set this up be sure to make it a standing appt so you never miss! You can also get moving with PilatesAnytime.com (use LLOGAN for a 30-day trial) it’s only $18/month.  My weekly online Mat classes are only $5/week and are 30 min long so no matter how busy you are you can get your Pilates on. There is also Pilatesology.com and PilatesAvatar. With all these options and at rates that are less than an almond milk latte I hope you can see I am taking your excuses away. Once you pick one or two of these tech options go back to #1 and schedule your workouts in your schedule.
  3. Workout before you respond to emails: These days there are autoresponders so if you are worried about getting back to people set up an autoresponder that says you’ll “get back to them when you’re done working out and teaching Pilates.” I promise there will always be more emails so your Pilates workout comes first.
  4. Buddy up! Grab a teacher in your studio or even a friend across the globe and have a set Pilates session time. Text or Facetime each other and hop on your separate mats or Reformers and get moving. I used to do this with my friends in high school. We would play the same exact card game and start at the same time. Then we would call each other and see who finished the game first. Now, your Pilates sessions isn’t a race but if you both have to do a 30 min Pilates session that day and if you don’t you’ll have to tell a friend that you had “too much to-do” you’re going to have to take more time out of your day to explain yourself rather than just getting your move on!
  5. Learn how to Say No: I think doing #1 is pretty easy. Writing in your Pilates workout in your weekly schedule. But, protecting it is a whole other situation. However, if you have done the work to block that hour off every week, week after week then no one should be able to take it from you unless you give it away. And, I know that sometimes it’s easier to say you’ll take them “just this one time” so that you don’t lose the money. But, why should you bend over backward for them? You’re planning your life and teaching around your sessions you can train your clients to do the exact same thing. So, while it’s so hard to say no to a client aka money your Pilates practice, body, mind, and inspiration need you to protect your time to refill your Pilates gas tank.

What’s your trick for keeping Pilates in your weekly schedule? Share it below so other teachers can benefit from it. Because the more we do Pilates the more inspired we are which makes our clients feel excited and share the joy of Pilates with their friends. And, that means, more people doing Pilates!

xx~LL 

What I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Pilates Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xx~LL 

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