My first date with my husband was because a friend of mine complained one too many times about a lost scarf. It drove me nuts to hear a repeated complaint. So, I offered her my scarf in exchange for a date with my now husband.
Complaints are not a bad thing. But, if you keep them around then they are. Because the time you spend complaining about the problem is actually procrastination. This week, notice when you make the same sort of complaint. What can you do to solve that problem and remove that complaint? What would getting rid of that complaint allow you to do more of?
My parents drilled in my head that I should never talk to strangers. But, once you’re not a young child no one tells you that talking to strangers is a good thing. Talking to people you don’t know can help you get directions, help you meet other people you need to know, help you grow your business, help you make friends and other relationships. I mean, could you imagine if you still only talked to those who you grew up with? If you want to grow your business you need to talk to strangers. And, you need to hear ‘no’ a lot!
The other day Brad and I were sitting in one of my favorite cafes in Siem Reap Cambodia. Two ladies were next to us and about to pay their bill. They both pulled out their wallets and it was the same wallet style as Brads. To me, this wasn’t that big a deal. But, to Brad, it was so cool. So he grabbed his wallet and went up to them and started a conversation about wallets with 2 strangers.
What came out of that conversation was a relationship with an NGO in Siem Reap that will rent our house for their volunteers. That conversation lead to a meeting which lead to some other conversations that allowed our goals to match up with their goals.
Could we have done this via email? Maybe, but highly unlikely. People want to know you, they want a relationship. It takes more than one email to create a working relationship. And this applies to your business too.
If you’re wanting new clients but you are waiting for referral or people to email you or call you then it’s going to be some time before you have a full schedule. But, if you share who you are, what you do and how you help people you will build your business so much quicker.
Will everyone you talk to say ‘yes?’ Nope, and that’s ok! In fact, ‘no’s’ are a good thing. They help you get better at knowing who you are for. They help you refine how you talk about what you do. And, they help you see who you are not for.
In my online group coaching community AGENCY, Brad and I were talking with a few members who need new clients but have only told about a dozen people in one month-is what they do. He shared how he would go for 200 no’s. That he would find ways, sort of like a game, to talk to people and direct the conversation to what he was selling at the time. And he would count the ’no’s’ because they all got him closer to the few ‘yes’s’ he needed.
See, most of us don’t need EVERY client we come across. We need a solid group of consistent clients. And, that comes from being picky and being clear on who you are for and how they should work with you.
So, how many people can you share what you do with this week? I’d love to hear about your ‘no’s’ and how you got to have a conversation with a stranger. Because chances are you don’t know your future client yet.
Blogging vs Newsletter? This is a question I get often from fitness professionals, Pilates teachers, and Studio owners all the time! The follow up to this question is “which one do I need to do?” Or, “do I need to blog and write newsletters?” So, today I am going to explain the differences between a blog and a newsletter and answer if you need one, the other or both!
What is a Blog? Let’s get real for a moment when I started blogging about four years ago (wow 4 years of biz blogs for ya) I fought my biz coach and SEO pro’s on the need to blog. I thought blogging was dead, everyone wanted to find things on Social Media and that no one would read it. But, I was so so wrong! While I may not make a living as a blogger (although some people still do) blogging is still hands down the biggest help in people like you finding me. The search engines love blogs because they read words on the internet to help find articles (pages on websites) that answer peoples questions. They want your site to be the answer to peoples searches. If they provide the best answers to what people are searching for then those people will use their search engine all the time (aka they can hit them with ads). So, your blogs are free advertising for your biz because if your blog answers peoples questions Google and other engines will promote your site! How freaking cool is that?
Blogging also allows you to attract your ideal client. Instead of blogging about a basic answer to what Pilates is you can blog about how Pilates helps a particular ache, sport, hobby, demographics etc. Blogging allows you to show how you’re the expert in your area. And, allows future clients who land on your site to see how awesome you are!
Blogging also updates your website. Yes, you want this! It tells the internet that your site is fresh and being taken care of. If you thought you could make your site once and leave it alone until you raised your rates or updated your bio I hate to break it to you but your website might be a bit “dusty.” I write a blog every week on all my sites. This keeps my websites at the top of the searches! And, I didn’t pay for that.
I could go on and on about blogging, but I already have in this course about blogging. So, if you’re ready to dive into blogging for your biz please take it here.
What is a Newsletter? A newsletter is a direct communication between you and your peeps. Anyone who opts into your list can receive this newsletter. Yes, they should opt-in vs you adding them in especially if you do business with the EU. Newsletters should add value to your clients and are great ways to create communication with your past clients, current clients and future clients. Newsletters allow you to remind people about classes, holiday schedules, events, etc. Some businesses send daily newsletters. I enjoy sending weekly newsletters. And, while a monthly newsletter is also fine it may not have the same effect as something a little more frequent and consistent.
What you put in a newsletter is more current event like. It has CTA’s (call to action) and those who are on your list want to be on your list. They put their info in and said: “Yass, please talk to me.” And, like blogs, people do think emails are dead they are still wrong. Here’s why do you remember when FB and IG went down? Almost a whole day was lost and millions of dollars were lost in ad spend. If you rely simply on social media to share updates, events, etc not only are you betting your business on the whim of other businesses but what happens if any of these platforms decide to change the rules? What happens if they get shut down? As it is if you’re lucky only 6% of your followers see your stuff. Read that again, 6% of your followers might see your stuff. But, a newsletter goes directly into your client’s inbox and if you’re good with the subject lines they get opened, read and more!
Like a blog, newsletters must add value. If you are just telling me what workshop you’re selling this month I’m unlikely to get to the end and hit “sign me up.” But, if you share info (which can feel like a blog but it’s not because a blog is on your website) then tell me how the workshop or class you’re offering goes along with that added value I’m more likely to say “take my money.” Does that make sense?
What you put in your newsletters really depends on you and your business. If you want my newsletter 101 course contact me here. For those of you already writing newsletters who want to take them to the next level join me on my next webinar here. But, keep them fun, think of them as writing to a penpal. What would you say to a friend you haven’t seen in a week, month or year? Why do they need to hear this? How can they hear more?
Do you need a blog, a newsletter or both? Great questions! I am so glad you asked. I am going to say you need both. They serve two massively different purposes. Blogging attracts people to your site but once they are there the likelihood of them coming back is slim. Unless they become a client and have to come back to sign up for sessions or classes then any updates you make to your site, your schedule, your offerings may not be seen. So, having a newsletter that shares these updates is key to getting eyes on all your good stuff! If you just do a newsletter then your website won’t be able to be the best assistant you ever had. It can’t be the answer to peoples burning internet questions if you don’t have answers. How often you blog and send newsletters is up to you. I share a TON about these things in my online coaching group. And we can dive deeper into what’s the perfect combo for your business in there.
I know you are thinking how on earth will I have the time and also what the heck am I supposed to write about? Make sure you read my blog about “not working all the time” and take my blogging and newsletter courses. The answers to all this and more are definitely in there. But, if you want to do more of what you love and make a living doing it then I would find the time to make both happen consistently.
Now, you tell me, what are you going to blog about next? What will your newsletter subscribers hear about in your next newsletter? You can share in the comments below or hit me up!
They say that your list is everything! “They” being the people who are trying to teach, coach, motivate and even sell products on how to grow your “list.” And, by list, they are talking about your newsletter list. And, I’ll be honest. I am not totally in disagreement. Your newsletter list is integral to the growth of your business whether you offer things online or in person only. Email is not dead. And, now more than ever a persons email is a worth so much more than you might think. When someone subscribes to your newsletter they are inviting you into their personal inbox. To their space to share what it is you want to share. So, is it personal when they unsubscribe?
If you don’t have a newsletter you may be getting ready to jump ship on this week’s blog. But, I truly hope you don’t. I hope you reach out to me so we can get your list started. Because, here’s the deal you do not control the algorithms of any social media platform I don’t care how good you are at hashtag’s or how many followers you have. If the rules change tomorrow your likes, comments, and even reach can disappear in a moment. But, your newsletter list is within your control.
How often you reach out to them is up to you. I would argue consistently. And consistently can be once a month, once a week or even daily. I am on a list that emails me twice a day. I actually don’t mind. I love what they send me!
But, if someone unsubscribes from your list is it personal? And, you can also insert if someone unfollows you is it personal?
Truthfully, I cannot answer that. I have seen many a people I do and don’t know subscribe and a few unsubscribe from my lists. I don’t pay attention to who unfollows me. I mean, who has the time to do that? But, every day I get an email that updates me on how many new email subscribers I get received that day and how many I lost, unsubscribed. I don’t often know why people unsubscribe. Sometimes they fill out the survey most times they don’t. But, I never ever take it personally and you shouldn’t either. Even if it is personal.
Read the Four Agreements its a fabulous book that will help you rock your life and business. An easy and quick read and one of the agreements is to not take anything personally. I know this isn’t easy but what motivates people to do things is really none of my business. You and I do not have time for that anyways. You have a path you’re on and their personal attack attempts are just a distraction. Plus, you cannot reach into the internet, grab them by the hands, look them in the eye and ask “why don’t you want my emails?” And, even if you could is it really worth trying to convince someone to want or like your stuff? Nope! There are 10 more people out there who are looking for what you offer. It’s worth your time to go looking for those people and not trying to convince people who don’t want what you offer to want what you offer.
Thank them for leaving! When you use a service like MailChimp, Constant Contact etc to email your list they charge you for the number of people on your list. I do not want you or even myself to pay for people who don’t want what you are offering. The more you only have people on your list who want what you got the better your open rates are the more fruitful your emails will be.
So what if it is personal? Honestly, it sucks when you see someone you know leave your list. You can’t help but wonder why. But, does it really matter? Not everyone will like, love or support what you are up to. And that is ok. Like I mentioned in my self-care video on PilatesAnytime (use LLOGAN if not a member to watch) you need to know the 5 people whose opinions of you matter. You need to tell them and then if you see other people you know leave your list and they are not one of those 5 people you need to let it go. Because you have a business to run, a life to live and a “why” that won’t happen on it’s own.
I know the hardest thing in life is to not take things personally. But, sometimes we have to remember, it’s not always about us. Why they unfollowed you, left your list has a lot more to do with what they want in their life, their inbox, their goals and their business. And, while it may not be you that is a-ok. Because, as I mentioned earlier there are 10 more people who are looking for your list. So, spend more time getting your work in front of those who are looking for it and less time wondering why that person doesn’t want it. Dive deeper into articulating what you have to share. Find unique ways to get your message out to those who you want to hear it. And, worry less about those who don’t want what you have. They are not your audience.
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 love to introduce every guest blogger! And, I know I always say I am excited to share the words of the author but on this day I am beyond honored and grateful to share the words of this weeks guest author. She is a brilliant woman, artist, incredible Pilates teacher and dear friend to me. I could go on and on about all the things that Anula does that make me smile. Her generosity knows no bounds. And, perhaps that is why she is the best person to talk to you about building a community. I’ll let Anula Maiberg take it from here!
Here is what Yoga got right: it went from a spiritual practice a massive cultural mammoth. The branding of the Yogic lifestyle did not happen overnight. Like it or not Yoga is multi-million dollar industry. Certification programs are 200 hours or less (Pilates can go up to 800). Class sizes are only restricted by physical space and can easily be held outdoors where space isn’t even an issue. Between retail sale of water bottles, mats, apparel tied in with oils, crystals, jewelry, hemp/chia/flax power bars laced with water blessed by a shaman in a hilltop by the side of the Himalayan mountains blessed by a single sourced, fare trade butterfly of complete inner peace and spirituality, you’ve got something pretty good going on business-wise.
Pilates, on the other hand, is staunchly Germanic. Its a workout regime for those who like rules. A Pilates teacher may give modifications but a group class is rarely framed through the lens of: you could go into your Teaser practice or hang out in Child’s Pose. That’s not the common style. Sometimes this formula lends itself to an astringent reputation. We all sort of know what the vibe of a Yoga studio can be like. But what’s the vibe of a Pilates studio? When we ask people who have never tried Pilates before they often reference a more clinical environment. That obviously has so much to do with extremely knowledgeable teachers using their skills for rehabilitative purposes. This part of the Pilates industry is amazing and wonderful. There’s another aspect that is sometimes missed: community.
You thought I was gonna say merch? Well, I’m not. Studios can obviously sell what they want but often that isn’t what keeps students coming back.
Group classes are either done on mats (which are often raised from the ground), on Tower units or Reformers. This lends itself to a sense of separation between students. Some people love it and some people don’t. In this webinar, we’re going to explore a segment of the population that may be yearning for a sense of connectivity. We’ll be discussing how to tap into a market that may want to feel in touch with their fellow neighbors to the right and to the left. We will go over some strategies of how we can warm up our overall reputation and how to make Pilates indispensable to a group class goer. Group class is the most financially un prohibitive way to practice Pilates. How do we take the group class from a luxury to a necessity? (and if not a necessity to an event that should seldom be missed). The short answer: create a community. The longer answer is how.
For the “How” on this join Anula and me for a one hour webinar on May 17th 12pm pst for a live discussion with tips and actions you can take to create community. And, if you can’t join us live the replay runs for one week. Snag your spot here. For questions please feel free to comment below or contact me here. Oh, and my Pilates pro’s you don’t have to be a group class teacher to create a community. You can create community in your private based studio too! So, are you ready?
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.
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.