Welcome to ProfitablePilates.com, your hub for everything but the exercises. These blog posts are dedicated to Pilates Instructors and Pilates Teachers, specifically on how to create that life/work balance, how not to give up your lunch break, and more. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a read.
Agency has multiple definitions but one of them has to do with using your own inner strengths and abilities. But, that is not as easy to do on your own. Enter imposter syndrome, the grass is greener over there thoughts, indecision, lack of confidence, unawareness of ones owns strengths, etc. etc. It’s not easy being a confident instructor.
After all, so many people tell anyone with ears there is no money in Pilates. That one can’t make a living as a Pilates Instructor. And so, how can you own your own agency? How can you know what it is and see it’s value? How can you see that your uniqueness is what will make your business thrive?
All these worries combined with the questions that teachers and studio owners have on a daily basis is why I created AGENCY. My group coaching membership. I wanted a place where no matter what your teaching background was, if you were a new teacher, experienced teacher, studio owner or independent contractor could come together in a supportive, positive space.
My desire is to help all Pilates instructors see and believe in possibility. To not run their business the way that everyone else is. Or to market themselves the way that everyone else is. Your goals require their own path.
There is no Pilates Career Ladder.
You can have the business you want if you are willing to do the work. But, how? Well, if you know the what you want to do and they why you want to do it in AGENCY between me and others who have been in your place or are going to do be will be there to provide ideas you may not have thought of. Provide support and positivity. Agency, a community in the Pilates and fitness world that wants to see everyone succeed because we rise together.
If you are reading this and you’re wishing you could just ask the questions you have, get feedback on an idea, high fives when you get a new client then you want AGENCY.
And, AGENCY is more than just the community, you get so much more. You can check out all the member benefits here and if you are wondering if AGENCY is for you then you can contact me here. It’s almost 2 years old and when you check out the benefits you’ll see some of the most incredible things members are saying!
PS all my webinars have moved behind AGENCY doors. In order to continue to support instructors and studio owners after they watch the webinar, it became necessary to add the community to these webinars.
Everyone wants to work for themselves. The idea of being your own boss has a lot of unicorns, rainbows, and freedom around it. But, if you’re not careful, when you work for yourself it’s easy to make your own business, your dream business, be just as much a slog as working for someone else. So, my Studio Owners, Independent Contractors, Home studio owners here are my best tips to not make your dream job just like every other job.
Create your ideal schedule: Grab a blank calendar and put your personal life in it first. Then your personal practice and anything else that you want to make time for before you put work in. Then your teaching hours go in. This part of the calendar is key, the tasks that propel your business forward AKA marketing, networking goes in next. Last is the admin, the daily tasks that have to be done every day but don’t bring in the money. For more help on this catch my course on it or contact me for a one-on-one call.
Set a timer: I use the cube timer but you can use your phone. Set a time for how long you’ll be in your inbox, on Instagram or work on any project. When the timer goes off move on to the next task. I know that means sometimes I didn’t finish a project but it does mean I can move on to the next and keep all the plates spinning. If you work on your email until the emails are all read you will never get to your blogs, contacting businesses to collaborate etc.
Say no: to anything that isn’t an F yass! Seriously, say no to more things than you think. If “no” is too much for you then say “let me get back to you later.” Take some time to filter the opportunity through your goals. It’s easy to say “yes” to clients who want extra times. But, that could mean working at times you don’t enjoy and then you will feel like you’re working all the time.
Have an accountability partner: I have 2 and I love them! We have weekly check in’s and set a timer for each person to share what they are working on, what went well, what didn’t go well and what we need support on. You never want to be the person who didn’t get their sh*t done. I recommend people who have businesses that are different than your own. And, try to keep it less 2-4 people but people who will not cancel on you last minute. So, maybe not your close friends. Those who are in my coaching group get me checking on them and their goals each week!
Have your own goals: Be super clear on your own goals, share them with your accountability partners, me, and anyone else who you feel will help you get your goals accomplished. If you don’t have your own goals it’ll be super easy for someone else’s goals to become yours.
Make dates: seriously, make a date with your person, make it a standing date if you can. Dates with friends, put vacations in the books even if you do a staycation. If you don’t then work will just take over and a year will go by and you’ll feel bummed that you “work too much” or that “time flies” but it’s because you didn’t put breaks in your calendar.
Routines: I have a morning routine and a sleep routine. These are not only vital to me sandwiching life between moments of self-care it also helps me feel grounded and in control of my day and how I feel no matter what timezone I find myself in or what is happening. Everyone has to start their day in their own way but find a routine that works for you. I prefer to create before I consume so I try not to read emails or read notifications until I have written down what my goals are for the day. I also get my workout in before I teach others. You might prefer the reverse of all of this. Especially if you are not a morning person.
I could go on and on with more tips on how to not work all the time so if you need more ask in the comments below or set up a call with me. But, please don’t work all the time. I know that there are times in your business that require more of your hours but set a date for how long that excessive work time will last.
Working for yourself is pretty freaking cool but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. In fact, I find it’s harder. I have to hold myself accountable to arbitrary deadlines and since I won’t fire myself if I miss a deadline then what’s the problem right? Well, the problem is our businesses get more stressful when we are not achieving the goals we have when we want/need them. And then we think we have to say “yes” all the time, work more, do less Pilates, fewer trips, fewer days off. And then all of a sudden you’re working ALL the time!
My weeks look different every month so I have to be really clear about my time off and then I have to put more goals/deadlines in my calendar before my clients get options. That means I have to have clarity around my schedule at least a month in advance. If I don’t I’m racing to get work done, working on my days off, skipping yoga and my own Pilates practice.
You are too good at what you do. You are the only person who can do what you do and your clients and future clients need you to be clear on your goals, firm about your schedule and taking care of you so that you can teach them.
Can you make a living teaching Pilates? Is teaching Pilates a career you can have long-term? Can you make a living teaching at one location? Should I teach at this studio or that studio? Can I open my own studio someday? These questions are just a handful of the ones I have received this month. New teachers, veteran teachers and soon-to-be teachers reaching out to get advice on going from where they are now to where they want to go. How does one make the leap?
These questions touch my soul actually because at the heart of these questions is “is my dream possible?” And, because I know people believe that goals and dreams are possible. If they are asking this question it’s because they probably wonder if it is possible for them. Which means they are wondering if they are enough.
Here’s the thing about your Pilates business wishes, goals and dreams…they are all possible. But, they require you to do a few things. And, unfortunately these things are not easy.
You have to be clear on what you want for the future
You have to be purposeful and strategic in your trainings and education
You will have to learn to say ‘No’ more often than you think
You will have to take educated risks
You need to build a bridge
That last one is one that I think is important to focus on. Many goals coaches talk about ‘taking a leap.’ They ask “what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” I prefer Brene Brown’s version of this question “What do you have to do even if you fail?” It’s a recipe for anxiety if you only do things that you couldn’t fail at. Or, not doing things because there is a risk it could not work out.
If you have a dream, a goal, you feel a calling you owe it to yourself it try it out. See what happens. Now, I am not saying go get a loan and open your dream studio right out of the gate. But, that you have to take steps towards that goal. Try things on for size see how it feels. Everything is good feedback.
Maybe you want to open a studio someday go manage one. See what you love about it and what you don’t so you can manage your studio differently. Or, if you realize I want my own space but I don’t want to manage anyone! Then your studio dream can still happen it justs means you need a space that only you need to be in.
If you’ve got goals go try them on! Clarity comes from action. Thinking about it a lot and not taking any leaps is draining. And creates a frenetic energy.
Also, by trying on your goals, giving them a go on a smaller scale you are in fact building a bridge from where you are now to where you want to go. With a bridge, no net to catch you is needed. You can walk right across it.
If you are sitting there reading this and feeling like you are wrestling with several options or choices and you don’t know what to choose or what to do then it’s time to talk. I’ve got two options for you. My free webinar on December 16th –How to Make the Leap‘ or a one-on-one coaching call. It’s never too late to build your bridge. But, why wait any longer than you need to?
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:
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.
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.’
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!
Recently I saw a question by a very brand new instructor who was struggling to find continuing education to further her Pilates teacher training. And, it wasn’t the first time I come across this concern. In fact, I remember when I first became a Pilates instructor I knew I had a lot more to learn. I was hungry to learn it too. And, at the time searching for continuing education was not as easy as it is today. But, still, as lucky as we are to have so many ways to find out about continuing education it still is hard to know which workshops to choose! And, when to keep take a workshop or practice what you already know.
I actually, do wish there could be a one-stop hub for all continuing education for Pilates instructors. Wouldn’t that be amazing!? So, if in my list below I missed a really good hot spot of info please let me know in the comments and I will happily add it. But, before I go into the list of where to go for continuing education here are a few tips in helping you choose which workshops to sign up for:
Choose workshops that relate to clients you currently have. If you only teach men signing up for a pre/postnatal workshop while informative won’t help you deepen the practice of your existing client base.
Find workshops that sound interesting to you or will help your personal practice. If you are inspired you’ll continue to inspire your clients
If you have the equipment at your ready or you are thinking of ordering a particular piece of equipment take the training and make sure you really want it before investing.
Sessions go a long way! You can learn a lot by taking Pilates sessions from an instructor who has been teaching longer than you. I know for me I have had many eye-opening, a-ha moments in a session!
If a teacher inspires you try to take consistent sessions with them. Or, if that’s not possible find out where they have workshops. You may have to travel to them. How fun!
Ok, here are some ideas and places you can continue to learn more about this amazing method we get to teach!
Pilates Anytime has online workshops. While not the same as being in person it does allow you to learn from so many teachers and then if you find one that really speaks to you look at their upcoming workshops!
Pilates On Tour: Balanced Body hosts some amazing conferences all over the world!
Social Media: While I am not a massive fan of sending anyone to forums to search for workshops because it can be like searching for a needle in a haystack or opposite being inundated with options. There are some forums that are only for posting workshops like Unpoliced Pilates Education and Training while others have specific rules about posting. But, you may find a forum that is for teachers in your region and that might yield some local workshops. You can also check out your favorite teachers on Instagram. If you are following the teachers that light your fire and challenge your thinking and teaching you will see lots of what they have to offer. Or use IG to find a teacher and then get on their mailing list! This way you are not at the mercy of the algorithms
Do a google search. But, please do your research. Ask questions. Make sure the workshop is going to cover something you need.
There are so many other ways I find workshops! So, if you want more ideas contact me here or comment below. I do recommend getting out of your local space from time to time so that you are not waiting for a workshop to come to town. Seek out the knowledge you desire! Or, hire it in your space! Lots of teachers will travel their workshops. I know I do! So, if you are tired of waiting for a workshop to come around your way call that teacher and see how you can host.
There is so much to learn about the Pilates method. And, honestly, we can’t really know everything there is to know. But, we can know a lot more than we get in our first training. Never stop learning my friends and you will always be inspired.
What is the next workshop you are going to?
PS side note: please remember my tips for choosing a workshop. It is easy to get on a workshop kick and go to every single workshop that you hear of. But, sometimes that means not having the time to absorb or try out the lessons you learned from the last one. Just like you do quality of reps and not a quantity of reps in Pilates keep that in your mind’s eye for taking workshops.
When I was a Pilates apprentice I never worked out more in my entire life! Do you remember being a student? I swear between the Pilates sessions I took from my teacher trainer, then being a body for my fellow apprentices and the self-practice hours and mat classes I had to attend it was multiple hours a day some weeks. I was not at all prepared for life post apprentice life. I became a teacher because I loved doing Pilates. And, as a student in training I got to do so much Pilates and then I started teaching…I know I am not the only one who after finishing their program saw their Pilates practice go from many hours to few hours. In fact, this week’s blog post is inspired by the many teachers who have been asking me how to make time for their own Pilates practice. After a couple week’s of losing out on my regular Pilates practice, I realized that I had to treat myself like I treated my clients. I had to put my sessions in first. I know, easier said than done. But, here are five ways you can make sure your Pilates is a priority. And, if at the end you still think you won’t have time then I want you to hit me up. Because you cannot stay inspired if you’re not exploring Pilates in your body.
Sharpie You in First: If you follow my blogs about getting clients to be consistent or have done my course “getting busy with what you’ve got” then you know how to do this. But, in short, you should schedule your life around your Pilates sessions. I know, you have no room in your schedule. Take a blank schedule and put in your favorite workout times, classes or standing session with your favorite instructor. Then schedule everyone else.
Get Moving with Tech: These days there is no shortage of options. So, if you don’t live near an instructor that inspires you Skype with one. Many teachers like myself are now offering Skype, Facetime or Zoom sessions. But, when you set this up be sure to make it a standing appt so you never miss! You can also get moving with PilatesAnytime.com (use LLOGAN for a 30-day trial) it’s only $18/month. My weekly online Mat classes are only $5/week and are 30 min long so no matter how busy you are you can get your Pilates on. There is also Pilatesology.com and PilatesAvatar. With all these options and at rates that are less than an almond milk latte I hope you can see I am taking your excuses away. Once you pick one or two of these tech options go back to #1 and schedule your workouts in your schedule.
Workout before you respond to emails: These days there are autoresponders so if you are worried about getting back to people set up an autoresponder that says you’ll “get back to them when you’re done working out and teaching Pilates.” I promise there will always be more emails so your Pilates workout comes first.
Buddy up! Grab a teacher in your studio or even a friend across the globe and have a set Pilates session time. Text or Facetime each other and hop on your separate mats or Reformers and get moving. I used to do this with my friends in high school. We would play the same exact card game and start at the same time. Then we would call each other and see who finished the game first. Now, your Pilates sessions isn’t a race but if you both have to do a 30 min Pilates session that day and if you don’t you’ll have to tell a friend that you had “too much to-do” you’re going to have to take more time out of your day to explain yourself rather than just getting your move on!
Learn how to Say No: I think doing #1 is pretty easy. Writing in your Pilates workout in your weekly schedule. But, protecting it is a whole other situation. However, if you have done the work to block that hour off every week, week after week then no one should be able to take it from you unless you give it away. And, I know that sometimes it’s easier to say you’ll take them “just this one time” so that you don’t lose the money. But, why should you bend over backward for them? You’re planning your life and teaching around your sessions you can train your clients to do the exact same thing. So, while it’s so hard to say no to a client aka money your Pilates practice, body, mind, and inspiration need you to protect your time to refill your Pilates gas tank.
What’s your trick for keeping Pilates in your weekly schedule? Share it below so other teachers can benefit from it. Because the more we do Pilates the more inspired we are which makes our clients feel excited and share the joy of Pilates with their friends. And, that means, more people doing Pilates!
I’ll never forget the first time I sat down to do my goals. I did the whole 10-year vision and plan with them. I loved it! I couldn’t believe the daring goals I had written down. And, for the most part, all of those goals happened within three years not ten! But, a few didn’t. And, it took me another goal setting experience, a panic attack and a few more years to figure out why. Sure, there was a goal or two that really just sounded good but wasn’t truly my own. But, a couple others were things I really did want to happen. But, they hadn’t and it wasn’t because they were out of my control. Nope, they were totally within my reach. I just hadn’t put them first. I had not put me first!
As Pilates Instructors and Studio Owners it is not always easy to put our wants, needs and desires first. In fact, sometimes it just feels impossible!! But, the thing is while we are in the “service industry” we are not of service to others. If we do not put our goals in our schedule they will not happen and we will lose inspiration. If we do not put our ideas in place and even fail along the way we will wonder why we are doing what we are doing. We will feel the exhaustion that comes from pushing a boulder up a hill. We will start to resent our clients, our work and feel powerless in our circumstances. And, doesn’t that just sound awful?
When I first became a Pilates Instructor I had a very grandiose idea for what I was going to do and be as an instructor. And, just like my goals setting earlier I hit most of them. And a few others I actually denounced and said to those who knew of them that I didn’t really want them or that now wasn’t the right time. Truthfully, I was so busy making others goals happen that I didn’t have the time or energy to give to my own. And, I didn’t believe my goals were possible, I mean, who was I to want those goals?
Well, I wish someone had told my newbie teacher self what I know now. If you want it, you do the work and you maintain control over your schedule and needs you can have it all and it will happen. But, the problem isn’t that you don’t know what you want, and it’s not really that you don’t have the skills or deserve it. It’s that you have to make a space for your magic to happen.
But, as teachers and studio owners, it’s easier to say yes to a client, to come in on our day off or to stay for another hour to get a client in. It’s easier to cover for a teacher instead of getting someone else. It’s easier to do it all ourselves rather than delegate it out! Is this sounding familiar?
Last week I had the opportunity to take a couple days off during the week. During days I usually teach. I almost turned it down. But, one of my goals has always been that I can travel more often. That I can have a schedule that is flexible to me taking a trip for work or for fun. So before I hit send on my declined response I remembered my goals. And, I said yes instead.
Sure, it required me to move a lot of peeps. But, my schedule has to reflect my goals. And, it didn’t always do that…hence the panic attack several years ago. I was stressed beyond my abilities because I was trying to do others goals and fit in my own. And, since getting that straightened out I have made a point to always put my schedule together first. But, I know you’re wondering how do you do that? So, let me stop talking about me and give you tips to help you!
Know what you want! If you don’t we can’t create a schedule around nothing
You have to commit and protect it! Your clients, team, family, and friends do not mean to take you away from your goals. They don’t know that when they ask to come in at 5 pm on a Monday that they are asking for you to give up on your favorite class. You have to tell them “No, I am not available at that time. But, I have ___ or ____.”
Do one thing a day towards your goals. If you put off the action items that help propel you towards what you want you can’t magically get what you want. Isn’t the definition of luck where preparation meets opportunity. You have to do the preparation so that you can find the intersection.
Say No more often…I know this is basically a repeat of #2 but it’s that important! You cannot say yes to everyone and You. So, before you respond to something practice artful ways of saying no. For example, “let me check my schedule and get back to you.” Or, “I’d love to but, until the ____ I cannot take on any projects right now.”
Once a week check in and make sure you are putting you in the schedule first. I used to only check on my goals quarterly. But, then I noticed that I would skip a few weeks on my stuff and my stress levels would start to rise. So, I started doing a weekly check-in. This helps me stay on top of what I need to be doing each week.
Get an accountability partner! Tell someone close to you what you are working on so that it’s even harder to say “yes” to someone else and “no” to yourself. If you are really good at putting yourself last get a few accountability partners!
Give yourself a break! If you miss a week, say yes when you should have said no or feel like your goals have changed it’s all OK! Start over where you left off.
Design you Dream Schedule! This is the biggest KEY to all of these tips. And, if you need help I LOVE doing this! You can do it with me one-on-one or take my course here.
Here’s the deal my friend! I am a massive believer in doing business un-usual! I don’t think there is room for you to be the same as any teacher out there or to run your studio the way others have. I believe there is plenty of room and success out there if you run your business YOUR way! With your goals, your needs and your vision in mind.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.