Out of My Comfort Zone
(This week’s post is written by Andrea Maida, a 13-year veteran Pilates instructor who offers private and semi-private lessons at her Solana Beach, Calif., studio. Check out her blog. You can also find at Vintage Pilates in L.A. Andrea read my book, and she attended a couple of my workshops, so I asked her if she would please share how she’s using what she learned to improve her own business model.)
I first got to know Lesley as a business guru via Skype.
Since I don’t live in Los Angeles I participate in Vintage Pilates’ staff meetings remotely. Lesley presented at one of our staff meetings, and I immediately wanted to learn more about her.
Maybe even in person.
So I read her book, which led me to attend her workshops at the 2014 and 2015 PMA (Pilates Method Alliance) annual meetings.
Pilates instruction is what I love; it’s my comfort zone.
The business side of things … what?
Creating a vision for what you want your current and future business model to be …?
And then my head begins to spin…
The business side of things is not my strongest trait.
Clients Now Choose Me!
I am reluctant to embark on such scary things.
But Lesley’s approach is infectious. She really loves this stuff. Her personality and her point of view made me perk up, persevere, and vow to apply her strategies to my own business.
In one workshop, with Lesley’s guidance, I created a vision for my business and my life.
Lesley’s workshop the next year was possibly created just for me. It was about how to “train” your clients.
But equally important as learning their Pilates exercises, clients need training to understand how my business runs.
Lesley’s approach is friendly and no nonsense: she taught me how to make very clear, very straightforward communication and interaction with my clients. In doing so, I remain in control, because I have to. I’m a one-woman show, making me the sole enforcer of my studio’s policies.
Learning this simple concept for communication was so valuable to me. (Now I hear Lesley in my head when I’m scheduling my clients).
“I can see you at this time or that time.”
Stop talking now.
My tendency is to work, work, work and just be available whenever clients need me.
I’m a people pleaser.
I find it hard to say “No.”
After taking Lesley’s workshops, I know how to say, “Yes!” but with defined parameters (“I’m available at this time or that time”).
Even as my own boss, it took me a long time to realize I can make these decisions (because I’m my own boss).
This experience has been empowering.
It’s also been one of the biggest improvements in my business model:
When I say, “I’m only available …” people are much more reluctant to give up their scheduled appointment time with me. I’m helping my clients to prioritize their Pilates practice and ensure they get their sessions and their results.
Hey! They are choosing my session over something else! If they need to reschedule, I am happy to give them my set availability. And now they are saying,
“OK, let me see if I can change my other appointment.”
They are choosing my session over something else. Often they end up keeping their original times.
Stars! They’re just like us!
Lesley is a fantastic asset for Pilates instructors. She’s coaching others to improve their businesses while in the midst of running her own. She’s a people-loving person with expert customer service, but she’s also a whiz kid at viewing the needs of her business through the lens of her life.
My work-life balance needs constant cultivation. It can be challenging, especially when dealing with customer issues.
Lesley sets a strong example of how to be dedicated and efficient while being funny, engaging and positive.
If you’re a Pilates instructor in need of help with the business side of your biz, I strongly encourage you to contact Lesley. She’s positive, extremely approachable, and full of energy. She’s lovely to be around.
And you just might learn something.