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.
Train Your Clients
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.