Are These 3 Things Holding You Back?

What happens when LL and Cool J get together?! Well, read on to find out! This week’s guest blogger is a soul sister of mine and I couldn’t be more honored to have her share her words here with you in this week’s blog post. Jenna Zaffino, Pilates Teacher, Business Coach, Podcast host and way more than words can describe has shared three common limiting beliefs and help for each of them.  As you read this week’s blog ask yourself if any of this sounds familiar to you. And, if it does let’s talk! Limiting beliefs are walls keeping you from what you want. And, as you’ll read Jenna and I know that there is so much magic on the other side of every wall.  Jenna, take it away!


As a career coach, I’ve been fortunate to work with Pilates Pros around the world.  My favorite part of coaching is learning about the various cultures in different studios.  This provides a great reminder that we are all connected through this beautiful method. 

Most similarities amongst global Pilates teachers fall into the positive realm; health conscious, movement enthusiasts, love the Pilates Method forever and ever, etc. On the opposite end, however, I have seen some major universal themes that get in the way of the progress of Pilates Professionals and create negative stories that hold us back from the true potential of our work.

The following are what I’ve seen to be the top 3 limiting beliefs of Pilates Pros, along with some perspective that may help you see your situation in a new light.

  1. Suffering is part of the job.

Many teachers believe that they must suffer in order to provide help for others. For some, it’s getting paid less than they are worth (or working for free,) for others, it’s working far too many hours in the name of providing help.  The truth is, suffering, rather than thriving will, in fact negatively affect your work. The suffering mindset breeds resentment, irritability, hopelessness and ultimately is a gateway to burnout.  What starts out as a noble sacrifice can quickly become a burden – especially when it negatively affects your finances. To me, it’s about the ripple effect.  If you are paid what you are worth, you may be able to lessen your hourly workload, which preserves your energy for the clients you still see.  When those clients have a quality experience with you, they will be more likely to refer you to the people and opportunities who will appreciate the wholeness of your work and pay you for it.  Start thinking about the areas where you might be overextended.  What is one small change you can make to move towards an energy of thriving rather than surviving?

       2. I should do it all myself to save money.

I used to live and breathe this tenant to a fault.  Then, one day, a successful entrepreneur asked me what I was best at.  “Teaching Pilates!” I exclaimed.  He said, then do more of that and hire someone to do the things that drain you.  The idea of spending money on help can be daunting, but each time I have invested in my business by taking something off of my plate that allowed me to do more of my great work, I have reaped the benefits 10-fold.  Today, I run a small business of just me as the teacher/coach/podcaster AND I have a full-time Operations Director.  She provides the platform for me to shine.  On paper, I may save some $$ without an employee, however, without the help of a teammate, I would most certainly be in burnout mode every day.  What is one area that you can outsource? Laundry, reception internships, and housekeeping are 3 great areas from which to start taking some work off of your place.

       3. I have to stick with the known model of running a Pilates studio.

I feel like this one is a doozy, however, the more I’ve worked with clients to individualize their business practices, policies and procedures to the needs of their business, the more I have seen their businesses thrive.  If you’ve owned a studio, or even run a private practice, you know that there is a certain way that things are done as “norms” in the industry.  The thing is, there are no rules as to how you run your business other than the policies and procedures must serve both your clients and your bottom line.  Have slow months in the summer? Why not run your annual budget on a 10-month projection.  Need to ensure that classes are attended? Why not offer pre-registration for class series?  I encourage my clients to get creative with their models, not only from the standpoint of differentiating themselves from other competitors but to make their business work for them.  What is one way you would like your business to serve you better?

Join me on June 28th with Lesley as we bust through some of your limiting beliefs to help you make the shift towards thriving in your business!


Yes, you read that right! Jenna and I will be teaming up to help you with your Pilates business questions, concerns, problems, projects and more! All you have to do is register here and then send in your questions here. Join us live for the webinar or enjoy the replay for up to one week.

xx~LL

For more Jenna Gems check her out on Facebook, Instagram, her website and her podcast.

Creating, Marketing and Leading Workshops

In the last couple years of coaching Pilates and Fitness professionals one of the repeated projects I’ve worked on with others is how to create, fill (market) and lead a workshop. But, before I dive into all that info let me cover a couple questions I often answer in my DM’s-

Do I have to teach workshops? No, if you don’t want to please don’t! I’m not saying that because the space is filled or that you won’t be good at it. I am saying that because I firmly believe that as teachers and other fitness professionals its important to have offerings that are aligned with how we want to show up as teachers, the types of clients you want to teach and your goals/vision. If you don’t feel the desire to stand up in front of an audience and teach a workshop. You don’t have to. And, the beautiful thing is you’re still an awesomely amazing human and teacher! Leading workshops does not determine your knowledge or ability to rock and grow your Pilates business.

Can I have people teach workshops in my space? Absolutely! There are plenty of teachers who travel around and share their wisdom. You don’t have to be the teacher if that’s not in your wheelhouse. In fact, a great way to bring your clients, community or teachers to your studio is to bring in a guest teacher. If that’s something you’re interested in still read the tips below so you choose an instructor who answers the questions you are asking, and whose message speaks to those who will be attending.

How do I know my workshop will be what people want? Warning! Another non-answer. You don’t, and I don’t! But, if you feel you have something to share and to say and you know who should hear it and you’re willing to put in the work then you should do it and it will be what it will be. Then you’ll learn from that, make some changes and go from there.

Do I have to be a teacher trainer or create a workshop only for other teachers? Nope! In fact, I think more workshops for clients are a great idea! And, you don’t need to be a teacher trainer or “famous” to lead them. The more you prepare and create a workshop in line with your strengths and passions the more successful you will be and the more excited those who attend will be before, during and after.

I want to teach workshops but I haven’t and no one has hired me to do it. If you want to truly teach workshops create the workshop you want to teach (follow my info below and lets talk) and do the legwork in getting some people there. Get some testimonials and do it again. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you cannot manifest a workshop.

When a first started teaching Pilates I was asked about 6 months in to lead my first workshop. It was on how to “Convert First Time Clients.” It’s been almost ten years since that workshop and my workshop has changed as I have changed. But, I have to admit that I felt beyond nervous to present and also had so much self-doubt. Who was I, this baby instructor, to be leading a workshop to teachers who have been teaching years longer than me?!

Well, while they could school me all day on the method there was one area where I had knowledge that could help them. I couldn’t take a new client without turning them into a two, three or even four times a week client. And, people noticed. So, the first workshop was birthed because I was asked, there was a need. Which leads me to my first tip-

What questions are you constantly answering? This will help direct you to what workshop topics to work on.

After that workshop, I went home and thought about what I thought went well and what I wanted to change. I made those notes right then and there. I didn’t want to forget them. Then a couple months later when I was asked to present the same workshop I did it with the new changes. This leads to my second tip-

Don’t try to create the PERFECT workshop! Create what you can, practice it on some close friends or clients, make changes and do it again. Your workshop will forever be adding, deleting and changing as you do and as your audience does.

Over the years my workshop line up grew because I started seeing other areas where my strengths could support my community. I didn’t set out to have a line up of ten or more workshops. I simply followed my curiosity. What and how was I doing things in my business that could be helpful to others?

Which brings me to my final tip for today- What or how does your idea help those who you want to come to your workshop? And, who are “those” people?

Just like I talk about in “Attracting Your Ideal Client” and “Becoming Known” it’s not about trying to get everyone to come to any workshop. It’s about knowing who your workshop is for and how it helps them.

If leading workshops are calling your name, if you have on your business goals to teach a workshop or you’re looking to add to the different revenue streams of your teaching business and the tips above got your juices flowing then join me for my webinar Create, Market and Lead your own Workshops. Or, contact me here for a one on one coaching session that takes you from where you are now to where you want to grow. Maybe you’re already creating and leading workshops but are stuck on the marketing? Both the webinar and my one on one coaching are great for you! Choose the kind of learning that works best for you.

What will you create next? I’d love to hear from you! You can comment below or here for more information on taking your workshops to the next level.

xx~LL

Creating an Optimal Learning Environment Using the SCARF Model

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!

xx~LL

How to Write a Newsletter That Your Clients Actually Want to Read

You know you have to write them, you know you hate to do it and No, email is not dead! Actually, quite the opposite. When people give you their email they are giving you direct access to THEM. You don’t have to play the algorithm game and wonder if your clients saw that you have a new class, workshop or event. But, what to write? And, how do you get them to click on YOUR email as they go through their inbox? Well, this week’s guest blogger Pilates instructor, Podcaster, and business savvy lady Nikki Naab-Levy is here with words of wisdom you must read!


Something I hear frequently from fellow Pilates teachers is “I haaa-aaate writing my newsletter. I never know what to write about and I always feel like I’m pestering my clients when I do it!”

If you feel like this, you’re not alone.

We become Pilates teachers, because we want to teach movement, not because we want to write newsletters. However, when done well, your newsletter is an opportunity to inspire and educate your clients outside of their sessions, deepen your relationship with potential customers, and build your business.

Also, with the right mindset and approach, it might even be fun.

Here are some tips for writing your newsletter:

  1. When choosing a topic, consider your client’s perspective: If you’re ever stuck on what to write about, it helps to put yourself in your client’s shoes and consider what they are struggling with and what they look to you for help with.

Some good questions to ask yourself include:

What questions do my clients ask me all the time? What are they struggling with?

What is something that I teach all the time that my clients don’t know, which gives them big results?

What is a simple exercise or tip that I could teach my clients, which would give them a quick win with a problem that they are trying to solve?

If you brainstorm a list with answers to these questions, it’s likely that you’ll see some themes emerge. Each of these topics or themes could make great newsletter content. For example, if many of your clients tell you “I LOVE how I feel after our session, but I don’t have equipment at home! What can I do instead?” you could write a newsletter with three exercises your clients can do at home to feel great in between sessions.

If you get stuck, don’t forget it never hurts to ask your clients what they’d like to know more about. Most people are happy to share!

  1. Write about things that light you up: If you’re bored with the topic you’re writing about, your readers will be able to feel it. However, if you pick a topic that you’re genuinely excited to share, your enthusiasm will come through and your clients will be excited to read it too.

Don’t believe me? Think about it in the context of normal life. If you asked your friend if you should try a new vegetarian restaurant and she told you, “Yeah, I guess. They have a lot of vegetable dishes and vegetables are good for you” you wouldn’t want to go there. However, if she told you, “OMG. This place is amazing! The food comes out looking like a work of art, tastes as good as it looks, AND it’s healthy,” you’d be all about it.

  1. Be yourself! Your clients come to you for your knowledge, personality, and teaching style. They don’t come to you, because you can teach them the hundred, which they could figure out from a YouTube video.

The same principle applies to your newsletter. The people on your list are following you because they like your unique voice. This means that your newsletter doesn’t need to read like a 2,000-word research paper on rotator cuff function.

If you write the way that you talk about your work in real life, not only will your newsletter be more fun to read (and write!), but your personality will shine through. This can help you attract more ideal clients because if they like what you have to share in your newsletter, they might decide that you would be great to work with in real life too.

  1. Consider alternative forms of media: Not all newsletters require lengthy text.

If you don’t enjoy writing, ask yourself what form of media would be more fun to communicate through? If you’re more comfortable with video, maybe try sharing an idea or an exercise that way and then including a link to the video as your primary newsletter content.

If you feel comfortable talking, you could do a voice recording, like a podcast. There is now voice recording software and apps that make this easy to do. If you’re visually oriented, you could create a gorgeous image in Canva and include a bulleted list of tips for an exercise or a simple recipe.

  1. Repurpose content you’ve already created: If you’re stuck on what to create there is a good chance you already have something finished that would make stellar newsletter content.

Is there a juicy blog post you recently wrote? You can copy that text and email it to your list. Was there a video that you posted on social media that got a lot of positive feedback? You can write a short paragraph about it, include a link, and your newsletter is done. Not only does this save time for you, but it helps the people on your list see the amazing content you’re putting out, which they might have missed if they weren’t on social media the day you shared it.

  1. Include a call to action: When you send a newsletter, ask yourself, “What do I want people to do with this information?” It could be something sales related like, “Want more ways to improve posture? Book yourself an introductory private,” but it doesn’t have to be.

A call to action could be as simple as “try this exercise the next time you feel stiff” or “Find this helpful? Share it with a friend who could also use this info!”

And on that note, if you try one of these strategies, we’d love to hear how it goes. You can let us know in the comments section below.

 ——————————————————————————————————————–

Nikki Naab-Levy is a Pilates teacher and massage therapist for people who aren’t zen, hate green juice, and are allergic to words like self-love (but kinda need it). She has over a decade of experience helping people build strength, improve mobility, and overcome injury.

Nikki holds a B.S. in Exercise Science and a B.S. in Journalism from Ohio University and is a Master Trainer for the Balanced Body Bodhi Suspension System. Her fitness wisdom has been featured in Greatist, Girls Gone Strong, The Balanced Body blog, and Men’s Fitness.  

When she’s not teaching a sneaky hard Pilates class, you can find her hiking in the Pacific Northwest with her husband Kc, freelance fitness writing, and chain-drinking Americanos. For practical fitness advice + workouts that don’t hurt, visit her website NaabLevy.com or check out her podcast Moving Well on iTunes or Stitcher.

Check her out on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and Linkedin!

Discover How to Market Your Pilates Teachers

I know you are so excited when you hear a teacher of yours is taking a well-deserved vacation but inside you also feel that tugging on your gut…how many sessions am I losing while she/he is on that trip?

Or, you maybe you find yourself needing to teach less, run your studio more and you want to pass some of your clients off to another teacher or a new teacher at your studio? Or, you need to make room for more clients, need to grow your Pilates business, and retain your clients.

Maybe, you rent space somewhere and you want to take some time off but you don’t want you, clients, to lose their rhythm?

Do any of these sounds like you? Then you are in luck! This week here are some tips to “sell” another teacher to your clients. All these tips and suggestions will help you manage your clients and grow your Pilates business.

First, if you are in any of these positions or one I haven’t mentioned but requires the same action pat yourself on the back. This is a good thing! You’re getting busier, your business is growing, you are able to grant or take vacations. All, of this, is a sign you are doing well. But, none of these situations should hinder a clients growth or Pilates practice. And, that is what is at the heart of all of these scenarios. Teacher A needs to teach less, change their schedule or take time off. Clients of Teacher A need a temporary or new Teacher. Enter Teacher B, C and maybe even D. But, how do we get Teacher A’s clients to want and trust any of these other teachers? And, does it matter if clients take a break when a teacher does?

Let me address the latter question first. Yes, it does matter if clients take time off when the teacher takes a break. Rarely in life does it work out that a client and their teacher pick the exact same days to take a break. My week of this past spring was right after my client’s kids spring break. So, if I let them take a break when I was gone they would have missed two weeks. And, then wouldn’t you know it when I came back they had the flu. By the time I saw them again, it was three weeks. But, luckily I have teachers up my sleeve in my community and the studio I rent at that could take care of my clients for me. So, they only missed the weeks they were gone.

But, how did I get them to want to take from someone else? Patience, consistency, and honesty were key as well as:

  • Introducing fellow renters in the studio whenever I could
  • Constantly encouraging clients to make up sessions they lost or were going to lose when they took a trip
  • Regularly reminding them of their goals and how far they had come since they began Pilates

How can you do this for your team or for your clients?

Studio Owners:

  • Be aware of all the teaching styles, personalities, and client personalities
  • Know teachers availability at least a month in advance
  • Slide clients into the same timeslot with the best fitting teacher and then let the client know that they are “all set up with teacher B and if they need to reschedule to let you know by ___ day.”
  • Create a teaching space where the clients experience more than one teacher if they come more than twice a week.
  • Have client cards that teachers fill in so clients feel that they don’t have to explain injuries, issues or goals with a sub.

Renters:

  • Introduce your clients to the teachers you know and trust that you would want to sub for you
  • Train your clients to schedule their life around Pilates and tell you in advance when they are traveling
  • Have client workouts, goals and injuries written down and shared with the sub so all your client has to do is show up.
  • Pay the teacher out of your client’s package so again the client just has to show up

The reality is you are going to have to be patient. Especially if your clients have only worked for you for a long time. But, be honest with them. Tell them why you need for them to try out Teacher B, C or D. “I love teaching you three days a week, but my schedule is changing and I don’t want you to lose your third session each week. So, Monday and Thursday you are with me and Saturdays you are with Teacher B. You’re at the exact same time and he/she knows your goals, workouts and favorite exercises.”

Give them an opportunity to try out the other teacher and have them give you feedback on how it went.

Be patient, no one likes change. Put yourself in their shoes. What if your instructor told you the same thing. How would that make you feel?

Don’t give up!

If they don’t go for Teacher B maybe Teacher C or D is going to work. Whether you are a studio owner, manager or instructor looking to share your clients it is integral to the success and future of your business to work on this. You can’t teach everyone every hour they want. Your teachers in your studio need to make enough money to live and want to teach at your studio. If they are busy doing what they love it gives you time to grow your business, take time off and really empower and support both your teachers and your clients.

If you are a renter or independent contractor having teachers who can cover for you means your client’s Pilates practice stays consistent. They continue to hit their goals and feel the benefits of Pilates. Which means you can take your trips and not worry about losing clients because of it.

Client retention has a lot to do with clients feeling they are getting the benefits of Pilates. And benefits come with consistency. But, that doesn’t mean you are at the beck and call of your client’s availability.

So, when is your next trip? Have you set up your subs yet? Got a new teacher on your team? What clients get to try them first?

xx~LL 

Your Invitation to Investigation

I remember when I first started teaching Pilates. It was over ten years now but I didn’t know what I didn’t know and I was so excited to be teaching something I believed in so much I would say the cues I heard my teachers say. I didn’t always know if I was getting the results I wanted but I knew my teachers who knew what they were doing did and so if it worked for them…

But, then over time, I realized that not all cues work the same. Not all exercises feel the same in different bodies. Clients and teachers have different learning and different teaching styles. It took getting curious and investigative to up-level my teaching!

And, the thing about curiosity and being a detective is that it’s not something you can compartmentalize. Once I turned on this investigative work in my teaching it affected my own Pilates practice. Exercises I would skip doing because I didn’t “get it” or it felt “wrong” I began to find something new. To come at them from a different angle.

The detective work didn’t stop there! It’s like a virus that but the good kind! Because when you practice being curious you don’t take roadblocks as the final answer. You hit a wall and you ask yourself “is there another way?” Of course, there is! So, then you try to find all the other ways. Are you struggling to get to your next level because the universe is against you? Did someone really take that opportunity from you? Or, is there another way?

When you practice finding different ways to get different clients to do the same exercises but for their body options present themselves. When you practice getting curious as to how the Pilates method feels in your body and you stop skipping exercises or practicing the same exercise the same way expecting something different the opportunities for growth in your own body and strength appear. When you stop taking things that “happen” to you as the answer and start getting curious as to other ways you can achieve the same desires you take control over your own life. Your destiny is accessible all because you got curious!

And, my dear friends, Pilates instructors, and studio owners I want to help you become investigative! That’s why I created my online Pilates business course Your Invitation to Investigation!

Your Invitation awaits.

Where are you stuck? Where do you want to grow?

xx~LL

5 Tips for Building your Fitness Business with Christa Gurka

I am thrilled to bring back the incredible savvy Christa Gurka of Pilates in The Grove! You may remember her from her previous guest blog post “Why Location Matters.” She is back here with 5 tips on success for fitness professionals. You can find the original blog post here. And, without further ado here is Christa’s 5 tips!


Okay, so you are crushing it as a pilates instructor, personal trainer, spin instructor or group fitness expert. And now you are ready to branch out and start your own fitness biz. Awesome! But here’s the thing: being a rockstar at your craft and running a successful business is not mutually exclusive. At all.

That’s a lesson that I – a fitness small business owner myself – learned after many, many years of hitting roadblocks, changing direction and learning what works (and what doesn’t). Through these lessons (which I share below), I have taken Pilates in the Grove from a 500-square-foot space to two, 1,600-square-foot locations that generate seven figures…and growing.

And now I want to help you build an infrastructure and cultivate a philosophy that will put you on the path to a thriving wellness brand. Here are my tips for creating a successful fitness business:

1. Understand Your WHY

It is crucial to not only understand WHY you are doing what you’re doing, but to be able to articulate that to your clients. Really think about it: what gets your juices flowing? What is your business’s purpose? And more importantly, why should your potential customer care about what you’re “selling?” In his book, “Start With Why” (which I highly recommend to any entrepreneur and their team), Simon Sinek writes, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” And that couldn’t be truer.

2. Understand Your WHO
I often hear fitness professionals say that “anyone can benefit from my services.” While that may be correct, it actually undervalues what you do and the service you provide. Creating a niche market and truly understanding your customer base (and how they think) will yield much higher returns, especially when budgeting where and how to spend your marketing dollars and time. So set out to become the go-to person for [fill in your fitness specialty]. Not everyone is your customer…and that’s ok.

3. Build A Community

People enjoy doing business with people that they like. It’s just human nature. It’s kind of like that restaurant you keep going back to, not because the food is the best, but because the host knows your name and the bartender remembers your favorite cocktail. Consumers like to feel special, and it’s no different with fitness clients. Growing a successful fitness business is not just about running your clients through a program of exercises, but about developing that personal relationship and creating trust. This approach cultivates clients for life, rather than for a season.

4. Keep Your Clients On Track
Set goals for your clients, and then demonstrate consistency in helping them achieve those goals. Clients seek you out because they want something different or better than what they have or had. They are looking to you for guidance and accountability to achieve their desired results, so communicate with them. Speak directly about how often they should work with you for optimal results, and encourage them to schedule sessions for weeks and even months in advance. Keeping your customers consistent with their schedule improves accountability and ensures a full schedule for you.

5. Continue To Learn & Grow
The world around us never stops moving forward, and neither should we. If you want your business to thrive, seek out opportunities to learn, grow and improve. With new studies about human biomechanics, treatment options and fitness protocols constantly emerging, there’s a lot of information out there. Attend fitness conferences/workshops, listen to podcasts and read. Read a lot. Train with an expert in your area, and soak up all you can from them. Surround yourself with a team that inspires and motivates you to be better. Even after 20 years in the wellness industry, I am still an education junkie that seeks every opportunity to learn from the best. And I believe that has been a key to my success.

I’ll be the first to admit that scaling a profitable fitness biz isn’t easy, but I can tell you from firsthand experience that it is possible. So get focused, work hard and prepare yourself to succeed. And finally, don’t worry about what the competition is doing. Focus on you, your clients and your goals. You are, after all, your best investment.

In Health,

Christa Gurka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Connect more with Christa on Instagram here. Or in person at her upcoming workshop in April! She’s talking all about understanding your bottom line. And, I’m joining her with my workshop on Becoming a Regional Rockstar! Both have PMA CEC’s attached so even more reason to join us.

Hope to see some of you in real life!

xx~LL 

Pilates Business: How to Take More Time Off and Maintain Your Business

Saying no to a client is already hard enough. Taking time off is even harder. That’s multiple sessions you are canceling, rescheduling. And, I hear ya, as a Pilates instructor any time off is lost income. Or, is it?

Sure, you can take time off when your clients take time off. But, what if they love to travel in May and you have a trip in October? Do you lose money and sessions both times? Do you skip your trip because you “can’t” take time off? Who do you work for you or your clients?

I hope you said YOU!

It is possible to take time off when you want to and it is possible to teach the hours of the day you love and the dates you want to teach. But, you have to set your business up that way!

Tell me, how often do you say yes when you mean and desire to say no?

How often do you let clients move their sessions around in a day and you say yes?

Do you convince yourself that it’s just for “this” one time? Or, it’s only for a little bit? Maybe you even think you have to move them or compromise otherwise you’ll lose them as a client.

When I used to manage teachers I would hear clients talk about their upcoming trips and yet when they finally told the teacher the dates they were leaving it would be right before they left. The instructors would feel like they heard it for the first time.

Truth is the clients had been telling them about their trip for a while. But, clients don’t think about our schedule the way we do.

It’s not personal it’s just not their biggest concern in the world. I talk about this in my courses “never a dull moment” and “teaching your schedule.”

Whether you are an independent instructor or owner of a studio it’s integral that you train your clients how to engage with you and your business.

  1. Know when you are taking time off as much ahead of time as possible. Tell your clients so they have a heads up. Believe it or not, if they see Pilates missing from their schedule and are about to call you to cancel the following week they will realize they need to make up their sessions or in the future plan their events around you
  2. Swim with the current if the stream is strong. I know teachers who live in places where half the year everyone is in town, tourists come in and the business is booming. Then the other half the year its half the amount regular clients. Take advantage! How amazing that you know great times to take off, can enjoy half a year where you work part-time and have tons of free time to create, study and do your thing.
  3. Change your terminology. Instead of saying “we need to cancel next week’s sessions.” Use, “reschedule.” This way when clients are planning their lives they are thinking about how many Pilates sessions they need to reschedule.

If you start a client out with the mindset of telling you their dates out in advance it’s so much easier to know when you have availability or extra time to do your thing. If you have been letting your clients determine when you work you will have a little more training to do.

The more you have clients schedule their life around Pilates instead of the other way around the easier it is for you to run your business and take time off when you want to. It’s integral to staying inspired that your business works for you and not you for it.

You may be in the service industry but you are not of service to people, you are not the hired help.

For more on client, scheduling check out my courses, a previous blog on taking a vacation and my blog on how to have a life as a Pilates instructor. On April 12th I’ll be covering more steps to taking time off for yourself and maintaining your Pilates business. Join me if you’re ready to enjoy the breaks you deserve.

xx~LL

Creating a Community, Collaboration and Why it’s Better Together!

The age-old saying “two minds are better than one” and other phrases ” it’s better together” are not just random woo quotes. They are said and offered as advice because there is so much truth to their meaning. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if I did it all alone. I had to create a community. I had to ask for help. I had to collaborate with other amazing humans.

After a weekend talking tribes and following your purpose I would be remiss if I didn’t share with you all how important having a community helps you on your journey.

See, if it wasn’t for the suggestions and support of a few women over ten years ago I wouldn’t be a Pilates instructor. If it wasn’t for my first Pilates boss asking me a question I wouldn’t be coaching the business side of Pilates. If it wasn’t for my current tribe of strong women I would have no one to high five me, hold me accountable to my own goals and even help me see I can do bigger things that I set out to do.

Mastermind groups, Tribes, accountability partners and friends who want the best for you are essential is this world. I think the universe purposefully made it so that you can only go so far on your own.

We were all given strengths. Areas we rock the best. And, the opposite of strengths isn’t weakness but areas that just don’t vibe with us. But, those areas are someone else’s strength!

When I choose a partner in crime on a project I don’t just pick someone who thinks like me or is absolutely in love with all that I do. Living in Los Angeles I have seen what too many “yes” people get you. I partner with people who are excited about what I am about to do but who can come at it with a whole other box of tools.

I was listening to Lori Harder and Lewis Howes talk about their mastermind group. And, she shared her goals with the group and Lewis’ response was how can you double that? Her gut instinct would have been similar to mine. Double it!? I thought that goal was great and that’s all I can do. But, then the mind clears. How could she double it? A network, tribe, mastermind or accountability partner doesn’t just go “Yay!” for you they help you do more, think about it from a different perspective and challenge you to do more.

Currently, I have a couple collaboration partners. I have a tribe and I have a coach. My tribe is there for wins, losses and random life moments. My collab partners have helped me do projects that without them I might not have done or wouldn’t have had the same effect. And, my coach is integral in helping me get out of my head and onto my path. Just like when I coach teachers, as a coach I’m not in the ditches, I get a bird’s eye view. My coach isn’t at my sea level, she’s on a mountaintop and able to guide me. We all need someone or in my case someones who help us make our magic happen.

Are you looking for a community? Do you wish your network helped you grow more? Who is in your tribe?

This coming year I’ve got several offerings for you to help you find the people you need! This Sunday 2 pm pst Andrea Maida is joining me for one of my Pila-Tequila Talks and we are talking collaborations! I’ve got a webinar all about building a network coming up soon. Be sure you’re on the newsletter list or join Agency to see it and check out the roundtable I am leading at the next Pilates Method Alliance gathering in October.

A community doesn’t build over night. But, over time trust and growth are possible and because of this beautiful opportunities arise.

Are you ready?

xx~LL 

How to Talk Less and Teach Your Clients More!

When I first learned how to teach Pilates I was provided with a framework on what say for the first rep, second rep, and third rep. And, while that framework was great for me as a  newbie instructor I soon realized that all those words did not add up to teaching my client anything. It’s easy as Pilates instructors to think we have to cue, correct and talk a lot to help our clients “get” Pilates. But, what if you could talk less and your clients could learn even more?

In a recent interview I did with Breathe Educations Raphael Bender I shared a story about how Jay Grimes told me and my fellow Work crew how you cannot “talk” Pilates into a client. That a clients body will be the best teacher for them. And, how our job is to provide them with the exercises that will allow their body to connect, move and grow stronger.

I know for me, when I heard this, I was slightly skeptical. But, then after practicing it as a teacher, I realized that not only did I have more energy after a day of clients my clients felt that the workout was automatically harder. One client even thought I was “mad at them” because he felt like I had anti-upped their workout. I hadn’t. It was the same workout as the week before. The only thing I did differently was start them off on the exercise and then asked them to feel something while they moved. I didn’t give them any other corrections or cues.

Since that session, we haven’t gone back to the old ways of me guiding them through every rep.

How do you know you might be talking too much? 

Well, there are a few signs. One, they get confused from rep three and four, they don’t “get” or “feel” the exercise and the last one is my favorite. They come in telling you something you have been trying to tell them for years!

I had a client that I had been telling for a couple years how to stand up straight only to just let it go when I decided to stop “talking” Pilates into my client’s bodies. One day she came in and showed me how she discovered to stand up straight on her own. It was all the cues I had been giving her for years. She finally was ready to do it on her own. And, her body was at a place of strength, ability, and coordination to do the thing.

So, how can you try to incorporate talking less and allowing them to feel more?

  1. Ask them a question? What can they try to discover on their own while they move?
  2. Allow it to be ugly. Safe but ugly. Don’t correct their bodies to make them look like they are doing the exercise. Looks can be deceiving. It can look like a Teaser but they can be totally in their quads and lower back and not their center at all.
  3. What other exercises around the room can teach the concept of the exercise you are trying to correct. Or, trying to teach them. I never teach Horseback on the Reformer until they are doing Spine Stretch, Arm Circles, Side Splits, Standing Arm Springs, and Push-down. All of those exercises have key elements of Horseback on the reformer. So, when they go to do the horseback I can ask them for more push down or more teaser or more side splits.
  4. Give them permission to take ownership of their workout and remember their exercises. Think up daily life activities that an exercise help them do and encourage them to think about them as they are out and about. They will be so excited when they are out doing their life and they can call upon their Pilates that they’ll want to dive into it, even more, to see what other activities get easier.

Why does talking less help your clients?

  1. When you take one sensory away the others step up a notch. If they are not constantly trying to do whatever you say the mind and touch sensors will pick up the slack and connect quicker.
  2. Clients will always try to appease you and do what you say and will get frustrated with themselves and Pilates when they feel they cannot do what you are asking. If you let their bodies see what they can take each exercise your client will feel more successful.
  3. On their own, they will be more inclined to do their Pilates homework because they won’t have you coaching them through as a crutch.
  4. Their body is smart, and given the chance to be its own captain it will step up!

How can do begin to incorporate this into your next session?

  1. Start small. Don’t go from talking every rep to being silent and miming. Instead, see how much they can do an exercise without your coaching. Maybe talk every other rep.
  2. Think about your client and think about the exercises they struggle with the most. Then give them other exercises that could teach them at the beginning of the session. Then call upon what they felt in those exercises throughout the rest of their session.
  3. When in doubt about what to say try “Keep Going.” And, just see what happens.
  4. Self check-When you work yourself out how much are you correcting every move you make? Try to talk half as much the next time.

Change takes time. Whether you are trying to change how you teach and talk or how a client does an exercise. Pilates is a practice and they have their whole life to “get it.” So, give them the freedom to make some errors along the way. Give them permission to move. Give yourself credit for all that you know and get creative with what your client needs to do the exercises you want them to do.

For more on this stay tuned for an upcoming webinar or check out a mini-course on this topic. Or, if you’re wanting more training on this contact me here and we can do some personal training and observation on your teaching. In the meantime enjoy saying few words and watching Pilates teach more.

xx~LL 

Teaching Pilates Part-Time: Have Your Cake & Eat it Too!

When I first became a Pilates instructor my original intention was to keep my “desk job.” Technically, I was a manager of a high-end women’s boutique but you get what I mean. I loved working in retail. I had the best clients and I loved my co-workers. But, I also loved teaching Pilates. I wanted to do both, at least for awhile. I wanted to have my cake and eat it too!

I’m often asked if it’s possible to make a living teaching Pilates full-time. But, I think it’s important to share that you can keep your “day job” and teach Pilates on the side.

In fact, if you look at the recent Pilates in America study you’ll find that the majority of Pilates teachers are part-time teachers. Now, some of these teachers may be part-time because they have another job and others because their family life only allows for part-time teaching availability.

Let’s talk about how you can have a successful side Pilates business and not work 24/7!

1) Know your availability: It’s important that you don’t work 24/7 when Pilates is a part-time business. I know it’s hard to say no to a client and no to money but if you want to continue to enjoy teaching Pilates you need to set and maintain an ideal schedule and only offer those times. Don’t lose the love you have by overworking, check out how to maintain your sanity here and create your ideal schedule here.

2) Get clear on who your client is: This is key no matter how many hours you teach. But, even more, necessary for a teacher who also has to work somewhere else. Think about who can come to sessions when you’re free to teach? What do these people do and where else do they go shopping, life etc. It’s important that you don’t waste your free time marketing to clients that aren’t right for when you can teach. Attracting the right clients for you is key to filling the part-time hours you have available.

3) Know your Why: Why do you want to keep your “desk job” and why you want to teach Pilates? There will be weeks when one or the other is driving you mad. If you have written down why you love your “day job” and why Teaching Pilates is important for you it will help you from tossing out the “cake.”

4) Maintain your Pilates practice! It’s easy to let work and teaching Pilates take over your time and then there is no time for YOU! Maintain your sanity by having your Pilates session on your calendar first. For more self-care tips check out my Pilates Anytime tutorial and why all teachers should have a teacher.

5) Don’t overindulge in the continuing education: But, do get continuing education. When you work and teach Pilates your time is limited. Focus your continuing education on what will help the clients you have today! It’s easy to want to take all the Pilates workshops that come up. But, if you’re spending all your Pilates dollars on sessions and education you may stretch yourself too thin. Or, if you don’t you may feel like you should be and then worried about not doing enough. Be intentional about what you take and it will continue to help you grow, retain your clients and stay inspired.

6) Have your systems in place: How do people schedule, cancel, pay you? What’s the process to do these things? What policies do you have in place? Can any or all of it be automated? The more you are not working in your Pilates business the easier it will be to maintain your Pilates business.

To sum it up, You can have your cake and eat it too! You can teach Pilates and keep your “day job.” You can teach Pilates when you want to teach. And, if you feel like you’re teaching too much then here’s some help for you.

xx~LL

5 Benefits of Continuing Education for Pilates

Once I finished my first comprehensive Pilates training I knew that I had so much more continuing education in front of me. I had learned 600+ hours of Pilates but my teaching and eyes were still young.  At the time there was not much (if any) online Pilates education. So, whenever I saw a workshop in my area I was there. About a year into my teaching,  two conferences and five workshops later I took a pause on small workshops and signed up for a masters training program. Then after that, I was accepted into another masters program with a student of Joseph Pilates Jay Grimes.

I will admit I took a lot of continuing education. And, possibly a little too much. But, after I switched to the master’s programs I became more picky about all of my continuing education and funneled it towards what I love to teach and now it helps me for what I am known for as a teacher.

As I mentioned above, when I first started taking continuing education workshops I took whatever was in town. Then I realized I needed to understand what I already knew better. My first master’s program at The Pilates Center helped me do that. A couple years later and post a broken leg I wanted to learn Pilates for my body more. This has helped my teaching tremendously.

When I talk to new instructors I encourage them to take continuing Pilates education. You don’t always or even have to know what your niche or interests are from the get-go. The clients you attract will help you figure out what you need to know more as a new teacher. Then as a more experienced teacher, you may find yourself searching for specific workshops, maybe even Pilates workshops outside Pilates!

5 Benefits of continuing your Pilates education

  1. Inspiration: it’s easy to get stuck in a “walk-of-the-same” and forget ALL the options we have as Pilates instructors. Plus, after teaching clients re-learning some of the basic exercises can be eye-opening and make you want to dive back into them with more zest!
  2. Networking: Growing your Pilates teacher friendships is key to growing as a teacher. Even if these friends become virtual friends and live distances away. The friendships I have made from my two master’s programs have given me some of my best friends in life. And, it’s easy to feel alone in your studio, like you’re the only one going through what you are going through. But, then you reach out to your Pilates buddies and wah-lah you are supported and encouraged.
  3. Nicheing out: You don’t have to be the master of all the things Pilates. You can become the best Pilates teacher for one type of client or get super known for a specific group of humans. And while niching out may feel like you’re saying no to future clients it actually allows you to attract your ideal client and become super known for that. Still worried? Check out my Becoming Known and Attracting New Clients courses.
  4. Ah-ha Moments: ever wonder why an exercise exists? Or, maybe you just never “got it” during your training. So you find yourself avoiding teaching it and doing it. A workshop can break it down for you and you get to enjoy ah-ha moment after ah-ha moment!
  5. Find a mentor: I have had a couple mentors in my Pilates career now. All came from taking a workshop from them that lead to me taking regular sessions with them. You will never know all there is to know and that should feel good! But, that doesn’t mean you stop learning. By having regular sessions with an instructor that inspires you your education will grow even more and you don’t have to wait for a workshop to be scheduled to do that! I know, I spoke about the importance of having a teacher already this month but had to remind you!

Before you run out and sign up for more continuing education lets have a checklist for you. Recently in an episode of Pilates Unfiltered with Jenna Zaffino, she mentioned that you might wait on signing up for the workshop about the “big toe” if you haven’t spent the time to learn and use what you already know. And, I completely agree with her. I don’t want you to overdo it and then feel broke and confused.

  1. Will this workshop help deepen what you already know?
  2. Is this course going to help you teach the clients you have?
  3. Do you already have (or have access to) the equipment this workshop is on?
  4. Have you used the information from your past education yet?
  5. What’s your why? Have you taken the time to ask WHY you want and need to take this workshop? Does the answer pass questions 1-3?

Now that you are ready to take some continuing Pilates education where should you take it? And with whom? Well, the beauty of continuing education today is that you can go to a conference like the Pilates Method Alliance in October, Momentum Fest in June, workshops in your area or even online! Pilates Anytime has great online workshops and I’ll be streaming a webinar this week on elevating your Pilates business. Plus, there are courses that are on my website here for whenever you are ready.

Not sure who to take from? Check out PilatesAnytime’s classes. If you like how a teacher teaches look them up and see when they are teaching a workshop next. Maybe you make a Pilates vacation out of it.

And finally, as I mentioned above you can also challenge yourself and continue your education outside of Pilates. I take Khmer, Spanish and Comedy classes. All have helped me in my Pilates teaching (even though that wasn’t the original goal). The point is that teaching Pilates is amazing, how it affects each body is unique and how you see Pilates in a body is unique to you. Continue to expand your mind and your abilities and you’ll enjoy teaching Pilates for years to come and you’ll be able to continue to grow and challenge your clients for years.

xx~LL

PS

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