When I first became a Pilates instructor I was teaching clients and classes every weekday morning from 6 am to 9 am then racing to my other job across town to manage a jewelry store. And then on most weeknights, I would race back across town and teach one or two more clients. And then I also taught clients on my day off from my store gig. I thought it would take forever to build my business up but it didn’t and so within a few months I was quickly burning the candle at both ends. But, I had no idea at the time that what I was doing wasn’t the best idea. I mean, every other teacher I knew who was building their business and even some who had grown their businesses were working the weirdest schedules. One day after working an almost 70 hr week I wondered what is a Pilates teachers schedule?
Should I be teaching mornings and evenings? Did I need to teach six days a week? And, even though people said I should teach when clients wanted it was that really the best answer?
Over the last 10+ years of teaching, I have changed my schedule almost as often as the wind changes. And, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. What it has allowed me to do is see that there is almost no hour where a client doesn’t want a session! Before you think I am wrong I have taught people at their 3:30 am, I have taught people as early as 5 am in person, and then there are the clients who have requested 8:30 pm or even 8 am on a Sunday! I love changing my schedule because every time I do it I dial it in even more to fit the nature of the life I enjoy living.
If you have ever taken a workshop with me you know that I believe your goals and life go in the schedule first. But, this is not how most people set up their teaching schedule. Instead, they put their clients in first. Admit it, how many times have you not said yes to having lunch with a good friend, going out of town for the day or not scheduling a personal session with another teacher because you had to teach?
I’m not saying just move people around willy nilly. But, I do believe that you should be super clear on your goals and what you want out of life and then create your teaching schedule.
After working with a lot of teachers I have found the ones that are super firm and clear on when they are available to teach no only are booked they also know exactly how much money they will make each week, month because it’s clear when they look at their schedule what slots are empty. And, their clients are also better trained to keep a standing appointment or cancel in the appropriate time. The teachers who let clients tell them when they want to come in typically have clients who are inconsistent. This means they are not truly getting all the benefits of Pilates and will probably disappear for portions of time if not longer. These teachers also will feel like they don’t have control over their schedule and will see a “swiss cheese” schedule. Sessions all over the place, empty slots all over but not big enough to do anything on so they are working for their business instead of the other way around.
I know, that sounds a bit harsh but teachers I love you! I am you. I have done all the mistakes of letting clients tell me when they want to take. And, that quickly lead to me not wanting to be a teacher. The moment I learned the phrase “I have this time or I have this time.” And, “I’m not available then but I do have ___.” My life-work balance became mine! It was under my control.
What is your schedule like?
Do you like it?
What would you change about it?
I was recently asked what a day or a week in my life looked like? How do I structure my days?
To be honest, since I travel I make some changes to the schedule often but the basic structure is there.
5-6 days a week I workout first thing in the morning. That is the time when no one is awake. I can run with my dog and listen to a podcast. I then often go to a fitness class around 6 am and workout with my friends. Afterward, I’ll begin my teaching day. I teach 5 mornings a week for 3-4 hours. Then I use the middle of the day for whatever I want. Sometimes I do Pilates classes other times I catch up on emails or spend a little time on social media. I take calls or watch webinars, read a book, get a facial etc. The middle of the day is mine for whatever I want it to be. Then, on Mondays, I’ll allow 2 more clients in the late afternoon. Tues-Thur I teach a couple of evening clients whom I adore and have been with me for years! The other days of the week I am either off or have called it a day before the afternoon.
As far as how much I teach I follow what I share with many other teachers. I have a goal dollar amount (gross) in mind for the whole year. I divide that number by my average hourly session rate and then by the number of weeks of the year I will teach. I will only teach that amount of clients in a week. If people ask for a session and I have hit that number they go on a waitlist for any cancellation. I promise you unless I had a couple of weeks where I didn’t teach the average amount I do not add additional hours on. It’s important you don’t do this either. Waitlists are great things to have. And, you train your clients to schedule early!
My schedule works for me, I never force how I like to work on anyone and that means you too. I would love for you to watch my course on goal setting if you haven’t yet. And also my course on client scheduling. Then get super clear on the times of days that light your fire. If you’re not a morning person don’t teach in the morning. I promise you there are enough clients to go around! We can find your clients for the afternoon or evening.
The key to a successful business is knowing why you’re doing it, who you are and what you want! So, take a look at your schedule. Is it a good reflection of the life you want to live? Not sure how to make it one? Contact me here. Let’s talk!