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 

 

 

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

Demystifying Pilates Springs

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


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

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

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

Question 1: How much weight is the red spring?

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Happy Reforming!

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

 

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.

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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 

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

use LLOGAN for a 30-day Pilates Anytime trial

use MomentumLesley for $ off Momentum Fest

Get your EarlyBird ticket for PMA this year soon!

How to Find a Pilates Teacher for You (a Teacher)

Awhile back I wrote about the importance of “maintaining your own Pilates practice.” When I first became a Pilates instructor my personal practice was necessary to help me be a better teacher. To feel how cues from my teacher felt in my own body. I would come early and watch her teach the person before me and if I could I would stay late. Many of us may find that we can continue taking Pilates from our teacher trainers. And, yet, there are still many teachers who find themselves off on their own, working hard to grow their Pilates business and due to location and time cannot get to their original Pilates instructors.The other day I was talking with a Pilates instructor from out of town. Where he lived there weren’t many instructors with more experience than him. He would take classes from the teachers who worked at his studio or online but he didn’t have an instructor that he regularly saw that was helping his own personal Pilates practice grow.  He needed to find a Pilates instructor that would challenge him, a teacher for teachers.

So, how do you find a Pilates instructor for yourself? 

Last week over at my Pilates teaching website I gave some tips for Pilates practitioners to find the best instructor for them. As well all know a quick Google search can give you more than you were looking for. And, while all those tips apply here for you. There are also some key things I think are important for a Pilates teacher looking for their own Pilates teacher.

  1. Get Referrals: Talk to your original Pilates teacher trainer and see if they have any advice for whom you should continue to learn from.
  2. Who trained whom: If you love the way your original teachers taught you Pilates who taught them? Do they have a Skype opportunity, workshop or master training you can take to continue to grow?
  3. Use the Online options: Binge out on PilatesAnytime.com classes (use LLOGAN for a 30-day free trial) and see what instructors really speak to you and your body. Then connect with them. Can you take a Pilates vacation and meet them, take a class or workshop?
  4. Get tech savvy: So the teacher doesn’t live near you? So what! A camera on your phone or laptop with some blue tooth earbuds will do just the trick! Sure, you miss the touch aspect of Pilates but, when you take away one sensory the other ones are enlightened. Seriously, if you are blindfolded your hearing and sense of smell begin to work harder. The clients and teachers I teach via skype/facetime all find that they are more focused during our sessions because they cannot just look at me and tell me about their day in footwork. They would have to turn their head awkwardly to see the camera and chit-chat. And, for me as their teacher, I have to watch more and be as creative as I can with my words to get them to feel what I want them to connect to our change.
  5. Go to Pilates conferences: Take workshops and sessions from as many different teachers as possible. You will find so many amazing instructors at the Pilates Method Alliance, Momentum Fest, and any other Pilates conference you can find. Sure, you have to travel to go to these but one, it’s a write off so do it! Two, continuing education is key for staying inspired and growing your skills to retain your clients. Three, networking is essential for feeling like you are not alone and for getting ideas on what to do or not to do in your Pilates business. I’ll be at both the PMA gathering in October and teaching at Momentum Fest in June (use momentumlesley to save $)! So, come and introduce yourself and share what teachers you want to try to get more Pilates in your body with.
  6. Get a coach: Contact me or another life coach to help you figure out what you need in choosing a teacher that is right for you. It’s essential that your Pilates instructor inspire you as much as they challenge you. That you are not just another hour in their day but someone they are passing the torch to. That they are dedicated to you growing as a teacher and a Pilates practitioner.
  7. Change is ok: Sometimes we find we are going in a different direction. Or, maybe you teach a special population of clients but you are not that population. You need a teacher whose niche is YOU! It’s ok to need a different set of skills. In my teaching journey after being an apprentice, I switched from the teacher who helped me learn all the exercises I needed to do my program to a woman who used to be a teacher trainer for the same program. Then from her due to our schedules not vibing I switched to the woman she was taking from, Sandy Shimoda. And now, I take from her and her team at Vintage.

When I talk about living part-time in one country and part-time in LA I’ll admit at first I was like “what am I going to do for my Pilates?!” And then I laughed out loud! I’ll do what I do now. Take from my teachers who challenge me via the web when I’m away and in person when I am not.

I know you are probably doing an amazing job teaching yourself, taking classes with others or even online with me and my mat classes. But, it’s so important that you have regular Pilates sessions that are just about YOU! Now that I have convinced you of that here are a few things to keep in mind when doing your search.

Tips on what to look for in a Pilates teacher for yourself:

  1. They challenge you
  2. The Pilates instructor is focused on you and not talking Pilates biz during your session
  3. They remember what cues work for you and where your weaknesses are
  4. They have a teacher who challenges them.
  5. They never stop learning
  6. They hold you accountable
  7. They don’t let you take yourself too seriously

Your Pilates practice not only helps you stay connected to your mind, body, and soul. It helps you move. You became a Pilates instructor because you loved the way you felt, you loved the movements and wanted to share them with everyone else. Maintaining your practice is always a challenge. It’s so easy to cancel our own Pilates workout to make room for another client. But, when you have a teacher who is expecting you to show up and workout you will not only do it you will continue to be able to hold your clients accountable, stay inspired and grow.

If you already have regular sessions with your own instructor congrats! I’d love to hear what it is you love about taking Pilates with them. You can comment below or simply send them a message letting them know how much they mean to you. If you are feeling blue because you don’t have a teacher yet that does what I said above then feel free to reach out. Let’s find out what you’re looking for and how we can find you the perfect teacher. I’m happy to be your Pilates teacher matchmaker!

But, no matter how busy your studio is, no matter how little time you think you have or how much money you think you don’t have your Pilates sessions will pay you back tenfold over and over again!

xx~LL

 

 

How Long Does It Take to Become a Pilates Instructor?

So, you’re thinking about becoming a Pilates Instructor! Yay, that’s amazing and I’m super stoked for you. When I first set out to become a Pilates instructor I remember looking at all the workshop dates, apprentice hours and meetings. I remember thinking “wow, 600 hours and in nine months!” I was excited and overwhelmed. I worked a full-time job managing a retail store across town. But, I wanted to become an instructor. So, I buckled down and fit those hours in between every free moment I had. One of the questions I get a lot is how to become a Pilates instructor and how long does it take to become an instructor? When I was a teacher trainer many students would base their choice on the program I taught for based on the length of time it took to become a Pilates instructor.

Now that I have been teaching Pilates ten years and have gone through three training experiences I can say I’m so happy my first program took as long as it took. In fact, one of the reasons I did a second training program was because I felt I needed more information. I had a strong foundation but I just felt I needed more time with people who had been teachers decades longer.

When I wrote my book Profitable Pilates: Everything but the Exercises I spent a whole chapter on how to choose a program, questions to ask each program and why the apprentice hours are so important to your success as an instructor. Learning the exercises, the steps, the reps, orders, safety’s etc is the easy part. Learning to teach, to see and to understand the depth of the work is something that only time in the Pilates method can do.

If you’re in the program decision stage I recommend my free course on “How to become a Pilates Instructor” and my ebook. It’s filled with tips for choosing the program that is the right fit for you! Every program out there has its own set of requirements, apprentice hours, timeline and prices. Before you pick your program take a look at the experience and wisdom about program lengths from some of my favorite Pilates instructors in this world!

Anula Maiberg – Sixth Street Pilates– “Probably a year. I had one pilates cert that took about a year. And one a bit under. So I’d be super happy if the min. requirement was a year. If that could be upheld somehow.”

Jenna Zaffino – Move From the Heart– “I’ve taken two, full comprehensive programs. The first was as an apprenticeship and took a little over a year to complete the training and then I tested out within the first 6 months of completing the study. The second was done long distance. I traveled between 2004 and 2008 to complete my training with Ron Fletcher. Much of my learning was a self-study situation. In my opinion, the longer the program, the better, but I understand the need to begin to make $$. I would love to see a program be 1.5 years where the teacher begins to teach beginning level students after 6 months, continues their practice and teaching for the duration of the year and then has regular check-in educational sessions for 6 months following their graduation.”

Julie Driver- Julie Driver Pilates – “Becoming an instructor isn’t a finite destination, It’s a journey with many defining moments along the way. I still consider myself a student, I’ve had the privilege of working with generous teachers who have shared their knowledge and work with me along my path.  Without continued education throughout our career, we can lose our way and our own passion for teaching.” 

Jessica Valant- Jessica Valant Pilates – “I support the 450-hour requirement of PMA because I feel that’s a good general starting point for a program (to give them guidance). I also agree year minimum – I think that gives students a chance to complete all the required hours and teaching and observing without putting pressure on them to do it too fast.  Another perspective – I’ve had students take too LONG. Meaning they do their classroom work and then take two to three years to do the required hours while putting off the test. They end up losing accountability and develop their own style which is good but also hard when they are then required to test on one specific program. I think it would be nice to have more one-on-one throughout the program so that getting in is a little harder and people have more commitment to finishing.”

Carrie Pages- Carrie Pages Pilates– “Mine was a full year and levels I-V. Obscene amounts of anatomy, gobs of hours, etc. I wouldn’t change it for anything and I loved every freaking second and bit of it. I was also 19 and waiting tables and working the front desk of the Pilates studio. When I started my program I basically modeled it the way I was trained. I taught it that way for about 4 years and then I thought “there had to be another way”. Sooooo I broke the program into 3 parts. First, the mat training where I basically am scoping out who would be a good candidate for the Full Apparatus. It’s two weekends and 50 hours. Then the full apparatus (levels I-III only). It’s 5 weekends. Then after at least a year of teaching or more, I do a level IV-V intensive weekend. It followed by more personal practice and more observation. Once all of that’s done you’ve got 450 hours. I’ve been super pleased with the layout. The students aren’t tripping out over how to teach the rowings but can focus on how to teach the exercises they’re actually going to teach on a regular basis. Depending on the person it may take them a few years to do it all but it is so much better than slamming them with Control Arabesque in their 5 months of training!”

Cloe BunterBreathe Education– “”Firstly, I need to start by saying that is a really hard question to answer! I’m six years in and sometimes it feels like it’s all just brand new again! And perhaps there is the bigger question of the definition between instructor and teacher? A Certificate IV in Pilates, which will enable you to instruct group Reformer and Mat classes to relatively healthy clients, can be completed in approximately six months if you are really consistent with your placement hours, however realistically may take nine to twelve months to complete your practicum dependent on other life commitments. To do a full certification Cert IV plus a Clinical Diploma in Pilates which qualifies you to teach on all apparatus and work with injured clients will realistically take you closer to 18months to complete. I think it’s important for new instructors fresh out of their course to realise that it is from there, in the real word, that the learning really begins and to not expect to know everything and be a master as soon as they complete their course. What I will say is that the learning process should NEVER end. I encourage all instructors to actively seek out continued education both formal and informal. Pilates Anytime, workshops, online tutorials etc. Keep up to date with the latest research in movement and pain so you can best serve your clients and industry. We are so fortunate in this day and age of social media that there are so many incredible resources just there waiting for you to read and discuss them with your peers.”. ”

As you can see the length of time varies greatly depending on your program and YOU! Some programs training weekends might only be over the course of 6 months but the hours can take you another 6 months to a year to complete. My advice is to be consistent, do not let a week go by that you don’t take a lesson and teach a fellow apprentice. Chip away at the hours and be as curious as you can be. You won’t know it all at the end but the more you desire to learn the more you will know when you are done and you’ll have a foundation that will set you up for the years of teaching ahead. The beautiful thing about teaching Pilates is that you will always be learning, always be a student. There is no need to rush the training experience. For more information on the career path of a Pilates instructor read this blog post. We also have great tips on becoming an instructor in this blog post and one more for good measure here.

As always if you have questions or comments you can post them below or contact me here.

Happy Pilates school hunting! It’s a journey, not a race so take the time it takes to learn and grow.  In the end, most clients won’t care where you went to training but they will care how you make them feel and the benefits of working with you.

xx~LL 

 

Pilates Instructor and Studio Owner: How To Take A Vacation!

How easy is it for you to take time off from your Pilates business? If you are a Pilates instructor or studio owner you get paid when you have clients in the door. And, if you’re not there it’s tough to get paid. But, what if you could take a vacation or travel to teach and still keep your Pilates business running?

In the coming months I will be traveling for meetings, my next Pilates retreat to Cambodia and Maui, workshops in the UK, Spain, and Florida (shhh this one is top secret click here to be the first to know the deets). And, while all that travel sounds exciting it also means many weeks away from my clients in Los Angeles.

But, ever since I began managing people (since 2004) I have had the same motto. Put your life in your schedule first, your workouts, your travel, your goals and you can do the things you want. You can take the workshops you want to take, go to the Pilates Method Alliance in Vegas, join me on a retreat or do something totally not Pilates related!

It’s time your clients and studio understood what a Pilates instructor vacation looks like. With the tips below make this coming year the year you can take vacations from teaching and still keep the reformer wheels rolling.

Studio Owners Vacation prep tips
1) Have clients who come more than once a week used to taking Pilates from different teachers so when one goes on vacation; they are used to seeing someone else
2) Prepare studio staff and clients well in advance. By having things on the books early, you can keep other teachers from taking off when you want to be away (if you don’t have vacation policies lets have a call about this). Early announcements also allows clients to book their trips around yours or come extra before and after so no sessions are missed
3) Replace the word “cancel” with “reschedule.” No sessions get canceled they get rescheduled, and they should make up sessions missed for trips, or if they are in town take from another teacher, so they stay on track to hit their goals and bodies needs
4) Hire a team, not individuals. Create a culture in your studio that everyone succeeds together. This way no one person thinks it’s all about them but instead that you and each teacher in your studio deserve a vacation and everyone helps each other out!

Pilates Instructors Vacation prep tips
1) Have teachers that you always use to sub for you when you travel. If you train your clients to take from another teacher when you are away, they won’t get out of the habit of taking Pilates. Then when you get back no time has been lost!
2) Look back at your last 12 months of teaching (if possible) and see when the majority of your clients took off. Can you plan around those times?
3) Let your clients no far in advance so they can plan around your trip or you can teach them extra before you leave and when you get back.
4) Schedule early, and they will be able to schedule their life around Pilates instead of fitting Pilates into their life.

My dear Pilates pro’s I live by these tips and a few others that allow me to not teach at least 12 weeks a year. My schedule to travel and teach workshops to fellow Pilates instructors continues to grow. But, my LA clients deserve a consistent Pilates practice. With careful planning and training them to take from other instructors or do more Pilates before and after my trips my teaching business does not suffer when I go off to teach around the world or take a much-needed vacation.

To dive deeper into this, please check out our past blog “How to have a life and be a Pilates instructor.” We also have my most popular course on scheduling “Never a Dull Moment.” And, because its so important to me that taking time off to do the things you love, teaching around your goals and not fitting your goals into your teaching schedule check out this course “Teaching your Vision.”

xx~LL

PS as always you can comment below or contact me here with your questions or requests for blogs or webinars and courses. We are designing 2018’s calendar and want to give you more of what you want!

My Top 10 Entrepreneurial Books and Podcasts 2017

When I first became a Pilates instructor, I was searching for advice on how to run my Pilates business. My original Pilates training was great for teaching me how to teach Pilates but had very little information for how to get new Pilates clients, retain Pilates clients, what to charge them, how to open a studio and basically all the things that one needs to know when they are a Pilates entrepreneur. So, I absorbed all the business info I could from entrepreneurial books and fellow Pilates instructors. And, then I wrote my book Profitable Pilates: Everything but the exercises. To this day I still get my business inspiration from a variety of places.

Here are my top 10 places for getting great tips and advice:

Entrepreneurial Podcasts

Entrepreneurial Books

Do you have a favorite book or podcast that has inspired your Pilates business? I would love to hear it! Share it below with our readers.

xx~LL