Preventing Burn Out and Overwhelm in your Fitness Business

“Do you ever have a bad day? A day that makes you question why you even do what you do?” I was asked that by a fellow Pilates teacher this week. And that question came after hearing from more than one teacher that they are overwhelmed, stuck, exhausted, and stressed out. Are you? Are you teaching more than you want but making less than you need? You’re not alone. It’s really easy when you are in a service-based business like teaching to say “yes” too often and try to be all the things to all the clients. It’s easy to put unreasonable pressure on who you should look like or what you should be saying. Let’s talk about some reason burn out happens in your business and ways you can prevent it (or at least catch it before its bad).

Here are some of the things I see teachers and studio owners do that leads to burn out and overwhelm:

  • saying ‘yes’ all the time.
  • teaching on their day off (even if its just one client).
  • marketing to everybody.
  • skipping their workout to teach a client or class
  • not charging enough (money is energy you give your clients energy that’s how they repay you).
  • not having a teaching schedule.
  • not having an ideal teaching schedule.
  • not having set time off that is off-limits for work.
  • letting clients contact them anytime and responding.
  • not upholding cancellation policies.
  • trying to market to everyone so they talk to no one and feel like no one is listening.
  • listening to too many people tell them what to do.
  • not having a community.
  • no accountability to their goals, boundaries or practice.
  • not having a consistent connection with those who support them.
  • a safe place to share what they are worried about.
  • not delegating.
  • trying to be the teacher, owner, ceo, marketer, janitor, social media expert, and website developer.
  • not firing clients who abuse the policies or are verbally or physically abusive.
  • have not taken the time to know their why and filter their goals through it. So they keep doing what everyone else is doing in the industry and wonder why it doesn’t make them happy.
  • do not have a clear list of whose opinions of them matter so then everyone’s opinion is weighted the same.
  • have a fixed and/or scarcity mindset.

I could keep going but that’s a good start. Which ones reflect where you are in your business?

Here are some things you can implement in your business or reflect on today that will help prevent burnout or at least will help you see when you’re on the road so you can catch it before you go too far down the path.

  • Learn how to say ‘let me check my calendar and get back to you.” Before you say yes to a client who isn’t already in your calendar buy yourself some time. Look at your schedule and see how much you’re already teaching that day/week. And ask yourself if that time they want is an ideal teaching time for you. If it’s not then offer them a time that is. It’s ok to say ‘no.’ It’s easier to build a schedule around what you love then it is to move people around later.
  • Know how many hours a day/week you need to teach to make the money you want to make. Think about how much you want to gross in a year and divide that by how many weeks you want to work in a year (hint its not 52..it shouldn’t be more than 48). Take the and divide it by how many days in a week (not 7) and then hours in a day. The answer is how much you should be charging. And if you’re charging that rate then all you need to do is check to make sure all your teaching hours are filled. If they are for that week then the person who wants a session needs to book next week where there is a spot.
  • Create an ideal schedule. This schedule should begin with YOU! I have a whole course on how to create your schedule and fill it here. But, to get you started you need to make sure your schedule includes your practice, your family, and your sleep and days off first. Then the amount of teaching hours that when filled = the money you want to gross in a year and then hours where you will work on your biz but not in your biz.
  • Know whose opinions of you matter and tell them! If someone criticizes you then you can see it from their perspective but remember if they are not on your list then it doesn’t get to hold the same weight as someone who is on your list. So go talk to those people. Everyone needs a community, accountability a place to go, and share what’s on their heart and mind. To get feedback and support. It’s literally why I created my online coaching group AGENCY.
  • Keep your practice up! Whether it’s with some on-demand platform or hopefully someone else teaching you and seeing you. If you lose your practice time to your work you will eventually resent your clients. But it’s not their fault. You’re the one that didn’t uphold your boundaries.
  • Make notes in your calendar when you are feeling less than optimal. Notice if there is a pattern. I know if I don’t take off 3-4 days in a row every 4-6 weeks on top of my regular 2 days off a week I will start to feel like I’m running on steam. And if I push through…it just means I’ll need more time off or I’ll get sick.
  • Know the signs (it’ll take a few bouts) or ask those around you to tell you some things they noticed about you before your burn out happened so that you can start to see and recognize that you are going down a path to be overwhelmed, have an anxiety attack, feel like you’re so burnt out you have to take off time or worse…consider quitting.
  • have cancellation policies and systems in place for scheduling and canceling so that you’re not always available. And uphold them.
  • Remember that people are just being themselves but that doesn’t mean you have to let them walk all over you or be an energy vampire. You need to figure out what you need to be your self and have energy afterward. Then create the boundaries around this an uphold them.

There are plenty more including hiring and delegating but let’s start with those. Which ones will you implement first? Side note: Don’t try to implement 5 of these at once. That will just overwhelm you more. Pick one or two to implement then one or two more until you’ve got your business working for you.

One more thing, just because you have your perfect work schedule, policies, the ideal client, and charge your worth doesn’t mean you won’t have a bad day or feel overwhelmed. These things simply help you have fewer of them, feel in control and reveal when one is coming. And, sometimes bad days or overwhelmed weeks reveal to us where we need to make changes. When I have them now its because I am doing a role in my business that is not the role I want to play. This requires me to make some new changes, maybe bring on another team member or hire someone to do some things that don’t need to be done by me.

But, if you do all focus on teaching your ideal schedule, upholding your policies and boundaries, and are clear on your why you’ll be able to take pauses, breaks, see possibility and potential on those days when you’re wondering “why am I doing this?” It’s more productive.

Let me know if you need support in creating policies, raising rates, firing clients, and more. Always here to help you do more of what you love.

xx~LL

Why Your Business Can’t “Just Go Back to Normal”

Cv19 is teaching us more than how often we should be washing our hands. This time is revealing to you where you’ve been building your business on a shaky foundation. Sure, you might miss and wish you could “go back to normal” but was that really working out for you? If it was then you’re not someone who is worried during this time if you’ll survive. But, after reading the many emails and dm’s over the last two months what I’ve seen is many teachers and studio owners walking a fine line of being in business and not. And, this pandemic is affecting more than just our health and way of life. It’s truly affecting many teachers and studio owner’s future livelihood. And, sure, you can sit back and lament over all that you’re losing or you can read on and see why it is good that you have this opportunity.

Now is the time to be evaluating these areas of your business:

  1. Your Prices: If you are not sitting there with the runway to get through two to three months of low to no work then it’s worth looking back at the prices, sessions and packages you were offering. Do you know your lowest dollar amount you can work for and make your living? My AGENCY members (and next week my AGENCY MINI members) know how to figure out what they need to be charging to make the money they want to make. And, while EVERYONE has been affected by this virus they are able to still charge their rates and make close to what they were making before.
  2. Your Offerings: let’s get honest, it’s not going to be anytime soon that equipment classes and even big mat classes will be allowed. And, even if where you live they are allowed whose to say people will feel safe coming. Now is the time to explore what classes, offerings, packages and memberships were actually serving your business and which ones were not.
  3. Your Schedule: very few teachers out there were working their ideal schedule. Unless you had a hard set schedule to work around like many parents or people who teach as their side gig you were likely working 6-7 days a week with classes and sessions sprinkled throughout the day. Leaving you with little time to do anything that propelled your business forward. Or time to do your sessions, self-care routine etc. Do you really want to go back to a time where you are overworking but being underpaid?
  4.  Your website and social media: when times are “good” we tend to let things go. Or, just continue to do what we think is working but rarely take the time to evaluate it. When is the last time you updated the pictures on your website? Are you attracting your ideal client or still trying to talk to everyone? Are you posting pics on social to attract people to classes or are you taking the time to serve them? Talk to them and engage with them? Or, worse, are you scrolling and leaving social media feeling like a failure, imposter or like you’re not able to compete with the other teachers out there? Now is the time to revamp who you want to be talking to and how you want to talk to them. This pause is exactly what you need to reset!
  5. Your vision: When’s the last time you took the time to sit with your vision? When was the last time you reviewed it? Who is in it? Where you live? If you don’t know why you’re doing what you’re doing then it makes it really freaking hard to get up and go for it. In fact, it makes it really hard to know who to say ‘no’ to. I am a massive fan of vision setting and filtering all decisions through them. Its times like these when you feel you’re at the bottom or getting close that sitting with your vision is the most important. It’s how we know which way to go! Here’s a podcast where I talk about vision setting.
  6. Get honest: Was your life really what you dreamed of before this? Look, I loved my life before this but that doesn’t mean I want it back. There was some things in my work schedule I wanted to get rid of. And, there were things I was doing in my life that I liked but I didn’t feel like they were serving me. So, sure I hate that this is happening to us all. People are getting sick and dying. Pilates studios and other small businesses are suffering so much. Many will close. But, we cannot go back. You know that before this your business needed some tweaking. You’ve been given the time to make those tweaks happen. Plus you can blame all of it on CV19.

Look, my friend, this time is beyond rough, its extremely sad, we are not even close to be through it. But, if you’re sitting there counting the days until you can reopen without taking inventory and making the changes in your business now you won’t survive the up’s and downs to come. This reentry to life is not going to be “back to normal.” There will be some services your space can offer and others you cannot. If you’re not taking the time to see how you can creatively serve your clients, your ideal clients, and proactively make changes to your business you will feel the effects of this longer than others. But, if you are taking the time to evaluate everything and making those changes you can go through this and end up with multiple offerings that allow your business to be nimble and move with this crazy, unprecedented, and pretty freaking scary time.

So, what are you going to use this time to do in our business?

xx~LL

PS You don’t need to do this alone. And in fact, you shouldn’t. Brad and I brought back our raved about AGENCY MINI sooner than we had planned to help teachers and studio owners thrive their way through CV19. Get 7 days of business coaching, community, and strategical actions! Sign up here before we close the doors on May 10th.

 

Your Busy-ness is Bad for Your Business

It seems like whenever you ask someone how they are doing they somehow insert how “busy” they are. They use busy as why they can’t hang out with you. They are too busy for Pilates. Teachers and studio owners are too busy to do the work to get new clients but not teaching enough or making the money they want to make. Being “busy” is not just an excuse for why you’re not in contact with people. It’s now this badge of honor that somehow to make people feel proud of. I mean, if you’re busy you must be doing something right, right?

Wrong!

Being Busy is actually impacting you more than your personal life. Sure, you’re sooo busy you can’t see your friends. But, that probably means a lot of other things are falling to the way side. And, worse, you are most likely wasting time. Afterall, studies show we take as much time to do a task as we give it.

Wondering if your busy is affecting your business?

Do you find yourself do all the things all of the time? Multi-tasking is also a new badge of honor in the self-employed world. But, here’s the deal, the data is in, we cannot multi-task. It’s better for you to do one thing at a time. I know, you’re list is long. But, for one week give single tasking a try. See if you feel less stressed and more productive.

Are you trying to do too many things? We often overestimate what we can do in a day an underestimate what we can do in a year. So, give things time to do them right the first time.

Do you think that being busy equals being successful? Truth is, being a master of your own time means being truly successful!  I was listening to a podcast with the uber-successful entrepreneur Caterina Fake. She manages her time ferociously. She even has a list she calls WNO-when next online. So, instead of hopping on the internet whenever she has the urge to look something up or she remembers something she has to do. She writes it in her journal and does it during her blocked out time. This allows her to spend more time working on her ideas, growing her business and reading.

I know, you have a lot to do. You are the teacher, the accountant, the marketer, the blogger, the newsletter writer, the scheduler, a partner and/or parent and friend. You’re busy! But, I don’t want you to be busy doing busy work. I don’t want you sweating the small stuff. I don’t want you to start working on your admin and before you know it 3 hours have gone by.

My desire for you is to be the master of your schedule. To be in charge of when you teach, make the most of the time when you admin and put yourself first. When your cup is full you can pour into others. But, when you are so busy your cup is shaking and vibrating it’s spilling the goodness that is you and not actually helping anyone.

If you’re looking for tips on how to be ferociously in charge of your time and actions and implementations for self-care I’ll be sending those tips in my next newsletter. If you’re on the list you’ll be getting them. For now, I want you to take a good hard look at how busy you are. Is it working for you?

xx~LL   

 

5 Things You Need To Be Doing In Your Pilates Business

Pilates Teachers, Pilates Studio Owners, and other Fitness Professionals there are not quick fixes in business. But, don’t let that stop you from reading this week’s blog post. I’ve got 5 things you should be doing in your business that I promise don’t cost money and just a bit of your time. If you’re ready to get out of your rut then keep reading!

  1. Communicating with your clients and community regularly: this can be blogging and newsletters.
  2. Growing your newsletter list and writing to it: You don’t own the algorithms. So you might be posting daily on social but I bet 7% of your followers are seeing what you write. So, repurpose that content and make it a newsletter! If the Social Platforms disappear your reach won’t!
  3. Networking with other businesses in your community: Get known my friends! I know it’s easy to be in your business and think your neighbors can’t help you, they are the competition and blah blah blah. But seriously, if you find out what other people are doing and tell them what you rock at then referrals begin to flow! So, go outside, bring some sugar just in case they need it.
  4. Upholding Clear Policies: You should have clear policies on prices, payment, and cancellation policies. And, you also have to uphold them. If you don’t your clients won’t. This will affect your business and in a compounding way.
  5. Not giving discounts: I know you think you need deals to get people in the doors, or that you cannot raise your rates to keep them there. But, I’d rather see you reward loyalty and referrals than discount yourself and try to compete in the race to the bottom on prices. Someone once told me if you discount yourself you will be discounted. And you’re too awesome for that!

Take a moment to check on all of these and how you are doing with them. Do you need help? I’ve got a 6th tip for those who get my weekly newsletter. If you want it (and ps my newsletters are free yo) then subscribe and be sure to opt in here.

xx~LL 

How Often Do You Think about Pebbles in your Pilates Business?

“Who could love a pebble in their shoe?” One of the harshest lines ever said in a movie from the movie Ever After is what comes to my mind when I think about pebbles. But, what if Pebbles were what we should be thinking about in our Pilates business? What if theoretical pebbles were what would propel your business forward? Well, my Pilates instructors and Pilates studio owners I am here to share that you should be more concerned about making room for pebbles than you have been.

One of the questions I am often asked is “How do you do it all?” And, to be perfectly frank I don’t exactly know what “do it all” means. I do happen to do a lot of things. And, to the outsider, it may seem like I am some sort of magician or more special or lucky because I can “do it all.” But, while I would say I am quite unique as a human my ability to do it all has nothing to do with my uniqueness. It has everything to do with my time management.

There are many ways to manage your time. A lot are obvious and some are not so obvious. I’ll be going over a lot of those not so talked about ways specifically for Pilates and fitness pros in my next webinar. But, just in case you’re not ready to completely bite the bullet and tackle your time management techniques here is one tried and true way that will help you create more time growing your business and less time keeping your business and life status quo. If you’re ready to talk about growth aka pebbles read on!

Picture a mason jar. It’s empty and its lid is laying next to it. Also, next to the jar is three piles, rocks, sand, and pebbles. They will all fit in the jar if they go in the correct order. Put them in the wrong order and the lid won’t fit. So, what goes in first? Well, you need to know what they represent to figure it out.

The Rocks symbolize appointments. These are your sessions, your client’s sessions, meetings etc. These are the things that can only happen when they happen. I do excellent thinking at 4:30 am but not many clients want 4:30 am sessions. So, my rocks go in the schedule where only rocks can go- When I am teaching or taking sessions

The sand represents admin. You know the stuff you don’t want to do but you have to do. There is nothing creative or exciting about admin. This is the bills, the emails, the mail, the blah blah blah.

Pebbles are anything that propels your business forward. This can be the marketing, promotions or advertising you keep saying you’re going to do but then get too busy doing other stuff (ahem SAND) to get to it. It’s also the scary stuff. You don’t know the answer to kind of stuff. But, the stuff that gets you excited about what could be if it worked out!

So, what order should these piles go in the jar?

Grab a blank calendar.

Write in your rocks first. Then your Pebbles!!!!! Finally the Sand.

Yep, that is the order! You should be focusing on what propels your business forward before you deal with the humdrum of the admin.

Be honest, you can deal with bill pay while binging out on Netflix.

You can clean the studio while listening to your favorite podcast.

But, you can’t be creative on a newsletter while you’re watching your favorite TV show.

You can’t research ways to market your business while listening to a mystery thriller.

When you are working on the stuff that will uplevel you and your business it needs to be scheduled and that time should be protected.

When will you work on your pebbles this week?

xx~LL

PS if you need more help managing your time you’re not alone. This webinar is selling out! You can join me live or enjoy the replay for up to a week. Click here to join.

Busting Pilates Business Myths

Thoughts often become facts. Have you heard that before? What about, “don’t believe everything you think?” I think these two often used statements are incredibly important to remember when you are running your own Pilates business. It doesn’t matter if you are a Pilates Studio owner or a Pilates instructor. It is easy to slip and fall into traps and beliefs that will more than likely hold you back or keep you from trying out new things that could grow your business. What are some of the myths that I think need busting?

  1. The people here only want classes or only want privates: Last I checked no community got together and said: “let’s make sure all Pilates studios only offer us, classes/privates.” Clients want what will help them solve their problems. What is your future client’s problem? How do you solve that problem?
  2. We can’t raise our rates because everyone is looking for a deal: Please see my response to Myth #1 and then take a good look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself you offer value to your clients and deserve to be paid your worth. People are not choosing your competitor based on their prices. They are not going to the studio down the street because it’s cheaper. That studio is giving them something that they are looking for. How can you be the answer to your ideal client’s problem? You solve their problem they will reconfigure their budget to get to you! Want to consider raising your rates? Check out the latest webinar here.
  3. There are so many Pilates studios here: Your competition is not going to kill your business. You not defining who you are, what you do and how you rock your clients’ worlds will. Too often we tell people what we think they should hear. We are not listening to what they need and showing them how we are the answer they have been looking for. That’s amazing that you won muscle competitions and have five certifications. I’m not discounting that. But, how do you help them? If you spend your time sharing with your community what you can do for them that is different than anyone else there can be ten studios on your block and you’ll still be successful!
  4. You have to stick to the Pilates “business model”: First, I actually have no idea what this means. But, I think it refers more to having a studio that has lots of teachers, runs classes, privates and has teachers rent. People work 6 days a week and do morning and evening shifts. I’ll admit I thought I couldn’t own a studio because I didn’t want to manage any more teachers or manage a schedule. Glad I didn’t believe in this myth. Because now I have a great walk up studio with everything I need and it’s all by myself. The truth is you can run your Pilates business any way you want that is legal. If you want to be a solo-preneur go for it! If you want to only have classes only have classes. If you want to have privates only do that. Your business will be more successful when you create a space that highlights your strengths and how you want to offer your gift. Will it be difficult? Yep, but copying the studios in your neighborhoods business model isn’t any easier!
  5. You have to work a certain schedule: If you truly want to do Pilates as a business for the long haul I absolutely need you to teach the times that are best for you! Sure, in the beginning, you may be teaching all of the place and random times trying to figure out who you are as a teacher and what times work best for you. But, once you’ve got a good idea of when you are at your best it’s time to get some boundaries and set an ideal schedule and focus on filling that. It’s imperative for self-care, consistent growth in your business and for you to feel like your business works for you instead of the other way around!

There are so many more myths to bust! If I didn’t talk about one you’re curious about post it below in the comments are email me here. Aside from great advances in technology, there are some amazing tools out there that allow you to create the Pilates business that meets your needs. So, what beliefs are you willing to let go of?

xx~LL