We are in the business of exchanging time for money – we teach a class or session and we are paid for our time. But what happens when we get sick or injured and can’t physically teach? What if we want to go on vacation? How do we save? How will we ever retire? If you’ve ever asked yourself any of these questions, you’re in good company! The most common questions my clients ask are always about money – how do I make more, how do I keep more of it, how I can work less and still earn money.
Lucky for you guys, this is my area of expertise! I’ve put together my top financial strategies and passive income earners for both studio owners and instructors. Ready to get to work? Keep reading below!
For Studio Owners
- Raise your rates: I recommend raising rates annually, $5-$10 for session or $15-$20/month. Inflation alone is going to drive your operations expense up 3% annually; you want to make sure you are keeping up with it. Clients expect a small annual increase and will be less likely to bat an eye over small, predictable, annual changes, than a massive increase out of the blue.
- Stick to the Late Cancel/No Show fees: You put these policies in place – enforce them! These fees won’t break the bank, but they will still account for a decent amount of income each month for the studio.
- Studio Use Fees for Inactive Times: When the studio isn’t being used for set classes or sessions, let someone else use it! Other trainers are always looking to rent space (more on that below), and brands are always looking to do photoshoots or host promotional events.
If you’re interested in renting out studio space I recommend you 1) figure out available times for studio use and pricing for use, and 2) having your Rental Agreement with rates + terms ready to go for when potential renters or partners approach you.
- Rent Space to Instructors: If you have space (or time) in your studio that you aren’t using, make it available for someone else to use! You can rent the space to an instructor, a massage therapist, a stretch therapist, movement specialist, the options are endless.
- Host Workshops: Your clients already love spending time with you and trust you; they’ll be more than thrilled to learn more from you. Each attendee will buy a ticket for admission. You can ask speakers to donate their time and brands to donate refreshments, products, and giveaways. The first workshop might take a bit of extra work to get the swing of things, but once you get the hang of scheduling, it’ll be an easy and profitable way to engage your community!
- Host Teacher Trainings: These are money makers for the instructors teaching the training and the studio hosting the training. If your studio has its own teaching method, put together a teacher training program. Spend 2-4 days teaching the method, and follow it up with hands-on learning opportunities such as instructor shadowing, mic practice, and mock classes. Even if you aren’t in the market to hire new instructors, many members and fitness-minded individuals will be interested in learning more about your method. The first training might take some work to put together, but once you have the formula down, it’s a repeatable, scalable and very profitable.
If you are a studio that does NOT teach its own method, you can still be the host studio for a teacher trainer. You might not make as much money, but you also have way less work to do. And workshop hosts usually let you sit in on the workshop for free, so double win for you.
For Pilates Instructors:
- Keep track of ALL business expenses: I mean everything – professional liability insurance, certifications, trainings, educational workshops or webinars, marketing materials, etc. At the end of every year, you can write off these business expenses. More write-offs = less taxes!
- Ask for a raise or raise your rates: We can’t earn more money if we’re not willing to ask for more! Plain and simple. If you’ve been teaching at a studio or training clients for at least 6 months, it’s time to reassess your rates.
If you teach at a studio – set a time to talk with your manager and the owner, go in with your stats (class attendance, reviews, client feedback) and propose a fair and reasonable raise. If they aren’t able to accommodate your request, where can they meet you? Additional employee perks? Can they give you a timeline when they’d be willing to sit down again to discuss compensation?
If you set your own rates as a private instructor, consider a reasonable increase ($5-$10 session), set the price, and notify all clients in writing prior to their next sessions. And while you’re reaching out to all of your clients you can remind them of your late cancel/no show policies and fees.
- Passive Income Streams Online: So many fit-pros are utilizing their online communities and social media to make extra money. I think it’s one of the easiest and accessible forms of passive income because you already have a captive audience who see you as an expert in your field.
E-Books and Online Training Guides: If you are known for your workout posts or people are always asking you how to workout smarter, put together an online training guide. Start small with a 4-week guide offering workouts 3-4x week.
Accountability Coaching: If you are organized and empathetic you would be an excellent accountability coach to your clients for the other 23 hrs a day they aren’t training with you. You will check-in daily to check their nutrition/meals for the day, prescribe workouts, and encourage them to stay on track. Clients will retain you for a monthly fee and you will realize that you’re already doing most of this work for them as their trainer anyways.
Affiliate Partnerships: Brands are always looking to partner with influencers in health and wellness field, and many pay instructors to promote their products in addition to gifting free or heavily discounted samples.
I approach brands that I already know, use and love and ask them if they have an affiliate program. Some brands will give me a discount, others will gift free products, others will give me a percentage of sales I drive their way. I look at my partnerships as 1) an opportunity to save money on goods I would already buy, or 2) an opportunity to make some extra cash raving about a brand I already love. However you look at it, they are wins for my wallet and my relationships!
I challenge every one of you to put ONE of these tips in action today! Start planning the conversation to get a raise. Brainstorm hosting workshops or teacher training at your studio. And join Lesley and me on April 3 as we dive deeper into these topics and answer any question you might have about financial planning, and owning your worth and value to give yourself the security and success you deserve!
Connect with Danielle Stead Blanton here. And, join us for this epic webinar that will help you take charge of your finances and get tips on passive income streams on April 3rd webinar replay will be available for one week. Join here. xx~LL