5 Things You Need to Do to Make the Leap in Your Business

Can you make a living teaching Pilates? Is teaching Pilates a career you can have long-term? Can you make a living teaching at one location? Should I teach at this studio or that studio? Can I open my own studio someday? These questions are just a handful of the ones I have received this month. New teachers, veteran teachers and soon-to-be teachers reaching out to get advice on going from where they are now to where they want to go. How does one make the leap?

These questions touch my soul actually because at the heart of these questions is “is my dream possible?” And, because I know people believe that goals and dreams are possible. If they are asking this question it’s because they probably wonder if it is possible for them. Which means they are wondering if they are enough.

Here’s the thing about your Pilates business wishes, goals and dreams…they are all possible. But, they require you to do a few things. And, unfortunately these things are not easy.

  1. You have to be clear on what you want for the future
  2. You have to be purposeful and strategic in your trainings and education
  3. You will have to learn to say ‘No’ more often than you think
  4. You will have to take educated risks
  5. You need to build a bridge

That last one is one that I think is important to focus on. Many goals coaches talk about ‘taking a leap.’ They ask “what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” I prefer Brene Brown’s version of this question “What do you have to do even if you fail?” It’s a recipe for anxiety if you only do things that you couldn’t fail at. Or, not doing things because there is a risk it could not work out.

If you have a dream, a goal, you feel a calling you owe it to yourself it try it out. See what happens. Now, I am not saying go get a loan and open your dream studio right out of the gate. But, that you have to take steps towards that goal. Try things on for size see how it feels. Everything is good feedback.

Maybe you want to open a studio someday go manage one. See what you love about it and what you don’t so you can manage your studio differently. Or, if you realize I want my own space but I don’t want to manage anyone! Then your studio dream can still happen it justs means you need a space that only you need to be in.

If you’ve got goals go try them on! Clarity comes from action. Thinking about it a lot and not taking any leaps is draining. And creates a frenetic energy.

Also, by trying on your goals, giving them a go on a smaller scale you are in fact building a bridge from where you are now to where you want to go. With a bridge, no net to catch you is needed. You can walk right across it.

If you are sitting there reading this and feeling like you are wrestling with several options or choices and you don’t know what to choose or what to do then it’s time to talk. I’ve got two options for you. My free webinar on December 16th –How to Make the Leap‘ or a one-on-one coaching call. It’s never too late to build your bridge. But, why wait any longer than you need to?

xx~LL

Are You Hiring Out of Desperation or Alignment?

Hiring anyone is a gamble. It doesn’t matter if you are an independent instructor or studio owner at some point you will need to hire help or team members. And, the choices you make can help propel your business forward or cost you time and money. And, while the adage saying “hire slow and fire fast” might be in the forefront of your brain that doesn’t quite explain the things to keep in mind when hiring slow or firing fast. And, what do you do when you have to hire fast? How do you know you are hiring out of desperation?

In my years managing retail stores and studios, there were times when I needed to hire someone ‘yesterday!’ The goals and demands required help sooner than I had anticipated. And, then there were the times when someone quit and even with a two-weeks notice I still had yet to find a replacement. I learned the hard way in my retail days the problems that came along with hiring out of desperation and need rather than listening to my gut or taking a hit on the bottom line and waiting for the right person to come along.

When you hire out of desperation you:

  1. Often lie to yourself about the likelihood that this is a good match
  2. You waste time training, onboarding and holding that person accountable to the expectations of the job.
  3. Lose the opportunity to meet and find the right person
  4. Affect the client experience and could potentially lose clients and money as well as time.
  5. Create a potentially toxic environment for your whole team and could end up needing to do more damage control than the hire was worth

When you hire out of alignment you: 

  1. Choose people based on their goals and abilities cohabitating with your goals and needs
  2. Create a team that is stronger and cohesive
  3. Use your time and energy wisely
  4. Empower those around you
  5. Increase client experience and growth of the community

Are you sitting there reading this and feeling like you have a team member, web developer, a social media consultant who may have been hired out of desperation? That’s ok! We have all been there. And, while I would love to sit here and say that if you hire out of alignment it’s all rainbows and dollar signs I can’t. There are no guarantees. However, in my experience, if you take the time to hire based on alignment even if the relationship is short-lived the experience is positive and creates space for growth!

If you are ready for tips on best hiring practices, questions to ask, answers to pay attention to and what to do when you’ve made a mistake then join me on my next webinar all about hiring! It’s not just about hiring staff that work in your studio. It’s also great advice for hiring people who will create your website or consult with you in other ways. Find out the details on how to watch https://webinars.profitablepilates.com/hiring-help-teachers-vas-and-more/here.

Hiring can be stressful and exhausting but it doesn’t have to be! We can get you to a place where you welcome the hiring opportunities.

xx~LL 

 

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 

3 Reasons Why Blogging Helps Your Pilates Business

I know you think blogging is dead. I know you think you can’t write. Or, that you don’t have “time.” Maybe you believe you don’t know what to write about?! Well, whatever your reason for not blogging is I am here to tell you it’s not dead and so integral to attracting the clients you want, filling your schedule and your classes and making you known in your community. Ever wonder how people get discovered? It’s because of their website and it’s not because they pay for ad’s. It’s because the search engines (think Google etc) pull their site up. And they pull it up because of the words on the website aka blogs. And the most updated website.

You don’t need to revamp your site every year if you’re blogging consistently! More on this at my next webinar or on my course vlogging and blogging. But, for now here are 3 Reasons why you need to be blogging!

  1. You Show off Who you are, what you do and why they should choose YOU! If you have been reading my blogs or working with me for a while you know I am all about the “elevator speech.” A few sentences that tell people why you rock! But, let’s say you are busy. While you are teaching your website is working for you and the blogs on your site tell potential new clients all about your expertise in your area!
  2. Keeps your Website Fresh! I know you think you built the site, the information is current so done and done right? Wrong! For epic SEO (search engine optimization) you need the search engines to pick your website as the answer to peoples questions. They pick websites based on so many things. Most in your control! One of those things is your blog. If you blog every time you post it updates your site telling those engines you are fresh and new! Plus, you can write a blog that is a direct answer to something your ideal client might be looking for online. Which is literally where everyone is getting their info! For more on SEO and what your website needs check out this course.
  3. Engage with Your Community! When you blog you can share what’s happening now, soon and share pics, testimonials and more. When people are going from one studio or teachers site to the next the more they get to know you and experience what you have to offer the more they connect with you. It means that when they come in for that first session they already feel like they know that you are the teacher for them!

This is just 3 reasons why! I could go on and on about why you should be blogging! And, I will be covering those other reasons as well as what to blog about, how to feel confident in your writing skills and more at my next webinar! If you are ready to attract your ideal client, make your website work for you and show how you are the expert in your area then join me here.

xx~LL

Is it Personal When Someone Unsubscribes From Your List?

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

xx~LL 

 

 

Do You Have Your Policies and Procedures In Place?

Do you remember the first time you had to charge someone a late cancel? How did it go over? Were you nervous? Did you worry if they would quit working with you so you didn’t charge them? What about policies over cell phones, scheduling, talking during the class? Whether you are an employee, studio owner, independent contractor or group class teacher if you don’t have clear set rules and policies in place then you can’t expect clients to follow what’s not there or worse what’s there but not enforced.

The truth is no matter how hard it is, uncomfortable or weird it is to enforce a policy it’s integral to the growth and sustainability of your Pilates business. I’ll never forget the client that I lost due to another client’s constant cell phone use. I know, some of you may think that if I or any teacher this happens to were good at what they were doing then our clients wouldn’t notice the person on the reformer next to us talking on their phone. But, the truth is, it doesn’t matter how good you are at what you do. All it takes is one or two clients not listening to modifications being called out because they can’t hear the teacher due to the person next to them having a conversation and they get hurt.

While no fitness class, Pilates studio, or private session happening next to another teacher’s private session is happening in a library it’s important that the clients get the information they need to have a successful workout so they continue to come back. And, I am sure you can remember a time when a client joined a class and treated it like it was their own session. How hard was that for you the teacher? Imagine being on the other side of the footbar?

Talking and cell phone use are the least of the policy problems that can affect a business. If you or your studio is not enforcing your cancellation policy, payment policies and prices this can lead to a slippery slope that eventually devalues your business and not only causes strain and stress but it can also be the thing that takes the inspo right out from under you!

Here’s the thing about charging for late cancels whether it’s for a private or a spot in a class it’s part of maintaining the value of your work and your studios work. Daniel Stead Blanton is a fitness business coach in Los Angeles, CA who spent her time before being a fitness coach as a corporate attorney “commonly see studios that do not enforce their LC/NS policy. They are afraid of upsetting their clients and will let the client’s bad behavior slide (not charge them for no-shows, allow them to stroll into class 15-20 mins late). When management does decide to enforce timeliness and charge fees, the clients lash out because they’ve gotten away with their bad habits for so long.” 

I’ll never forget the first client I had who said: “my last Pilates instructor never charged me for late cancels.” It put me in a position where I had to defend myself, my policies and not just for me but for the future Pilates instructors this person encountered. If you listened to the latest Pilates Unfiltered Podcast episode “Words with Friends” I was interviewed in with some of my friends we discussed how if you charge what you’re worth it allows other teachers to charge what they are worth. The same goes for policies. If you enforce your policies it allows the next teacher to be able to do the same.

As instructors, studio owners, studio managers we not only teach people Pilates we also teach them how to treat us, how to value their time in our space and this not only helps them get the true benefits of Pilates but it also allows you to stay inspired, feel valued and continue to share your gift with the next client.

Danielle and I will be discussing more about How Policies and Procedures Improve the Customer Experience‘ in my next webinar on September 13th 12 pm pst (replay available for one week). To snag your spot and get a chance to ask Danielle an incredible fitness instructor, yep, someone who is actually in your studio shoes who also has experience in the legal side of things register here. 

If you cannot join us live but you have a burning question about policies, procedures client or employee/contractor wise then feel free to send them in ahead of time to me lesley@profitablepilates.com. We will answer them live on the webinar.

Below is more information about this upcoming webinar and my guest, Danielle!

I cannot stress enough how important it is that you as a teacher or studio owner set your self up for success. Growing your business isn’t always about getting more clients. It’s about providing a space that allows your current clients, teachers and yourself to grow and flourish. And, as they do they will send you more awesome business of people who follow your policies and treat you with the respect you show them.

xx~LL

Join Danielle and LL on September 13th 12pm pst for: How Policies and Procedures Improve the Customer Experience

“The foundation of a good customer experience and a customer-centric business is a clear set of policies and procedures. Being consistent in letting your customers know what to expect from you, and in turn what you expect from them, is absolutely essential. In this webinar, we discuss common customer experience scenarios studios and online businesses face and what solutions owners can implement to address them. We encourage you to come ready to discuss customer experience issues that have arisen in your business operations so we can discuss them as well.”

Danielle Stead Blanton is a fitness business coach in Los Angeles, CA. She is a studio consultant and investor, having her hand in running the day-to-day of a successful HIIT studio. Danielle is also an ACE-certified Group Fitness Instructor, specializing in teaching HIIT, Strength, and Megaformer Pilates classes. In her past life, she was a collegiate athlete turned corporate attorney, practicing corporate + real estate law for years before choosing to leave big law. She then started her own consulting agency, providing accessible legal and business services to small businesses, fitness professionals, artists, and independents.

What is the Perfect Teaching Schedule?

I was recently asked for a podcast what I wish I had known sooner. And, I said, “I wish I knew it was ok to say ‘no’ to a client session request sooner.” And, not because I didn’t want to teach. On the contrary! I absolutely LOVE teaching Pilates. And, if I had two or three of me I would teach even more than I do!  But, as far as I know, there is only one of each of us. And the beauty in that is that there are only one you and one me. And, because teaching Pilates requires more than telling people to bend and straighten their limbs. It requires you the teacher being at your best. And, so, you can’t say ‘yes’ to everyone and you can’t teach every day or hours that are not ideal for you. Not only will you exhaust yourself you will probably lose inspiration to continue teaching and that would be the worst! Because there are clients out there that only you can teach!

So, what is the perfect teaching schedule?

Is there even such a thing?

As I mentioned a briefly above I wish I had learned how to say ‘no’ because instead what I did do was say ‘yes’ to every client session that came my way. I quickly was teaching any hour I had available outside my ‘real’ job. And, one day I was able to say I could leave my salaried job and just teach Pilates. But, I was walking into a schedule that made no sense. One of my teacher friends called it the “swiss cheese schedule.” I’ll never forget talking to other teachers about the “best” hours to be available, how many hours in a day I could/should teach, and figure out what was “full-time?”

Here’s the easy and maybe even non-answer about what the “perfect” schedule is. There is no such thing as the perfect teaching schedule. Because there is no such thing as perfect. So, FREEDOM! You can teach whenever you want to teach! The tougher answer is actually in the ‘how.’ How do you create your teaching schedule?

If your answer is ‘whenever clients want sessions” then you’re not wrong…but you may be putting your clients first and your schedule last. Here’s the deal about schedules, teaching schedules are a lot like “store” or “office” hours. Every store has hours that they are open. Most businesses have set office hours. Your teaching schedule can be treated and created the same way. And, because it’s your business and life you should be the one to decide:

What days do you teach?

What hours do you teach?

How many hours a day will you allow yourself to teach?

So, if you were to take a blank calendar out and you were not to consider any clients what days would you be available for sessions? What times on those days would you be able to take clients?

This, in a nutshell, is how you create your ‘perfect’ schedule. If you are sitting there reading this and rolling your eyes are a little bit or think this might work for others but it doesn’t work for you then it’s time we have a talk! If you want to dive deeper into how to create and fill your ideal schedule you can check out our course here.

We are all different, and what works for me or the teacher at the Reformer next to you may not work for you. Some of us can teach 4 hours in a row and do 6 hours in a day. Others may need a 15-minute break every couple of clients. It’s your business, create your own teaching hours!

xx~LL

5 Ways to Make Time for Your Own Pilates Practice

When I was a Pilates apprentice I never worked out more in my entire life! Do you remember being a student? I swear between the Pilates sessions I took from my teacher trainer, then being a body for my fellow apprentices and the self-practice hours and mat classes I had to attend it was multiple hours a day some weeks. I was not at all prepared for life post apprentice life. I became a teacher because I loved doing Pilates. And, as a student in training I got to do so much Pilates and then I started teaching…I know I am not the only one who after finishing their program saw their Pilates practice go from many hours to few hours. In fact, this week’s blog post is inspired by the many teachers who have been asking me how to make time for their own Pilates practice. After a couple week’s of losing out on my regular Pilates practice, I realized that I had to treat myself like I treated my clients. I had to put my sessions in first. I know, easier said than done. But, here are five ways you can make sure your Pilates is a priority. And, if at the end you still think you won’t have time then I want you to hit me up. Because you cannot stay inspired if you’re not exploring Pilates in your body.

  1. Sharpie You in First: If you follow my blogs about getting clients to be consistent or have done my course “getting busy with what you’ve got” then you know how to do this. But, in short, you should schedule your life around your Pilates sessions. I know, you have no room in your schedule. Take a blank schedule and put in your favorite workout times, classes or standing session with your favorite instructor. Then schedule everyone else.
  2. Get Moving with Tech: These days there is no shortage of options. So, if you don’t live near an instructor that inspires you Skype with one. Many teachers like myself are now offering Skype, Facetime or Zoom sessions. But, when you set this up be sure to make it a standing appt so you never miss! You can also get moving with PilatesAnytime.com (use LLOGAN for a 30-day trial) it’s only $18/month.  My weekly online Mat classes are only $5/week and are 30 min long so no matter how busy you are you can get your Pilates on. There is also Pilatesology.com and PilatesAvatar. With all these options and at rates that are less than an almond milk latte I hope you can see I am taking your excuses away. Once you pick one or two of these tech options go back to #1 and schedule your workouts in your schedule.
  3. Workout before you respond to emails: These days there are autoresponders so if you are worried about getting back to people set up an autoresponder that says you’ll “get back to them when you’re done working out and teaching Pilates.” I promise there will always be more emails so your Pilates workout comes first.
  4. Buddy up! Grab a teacher in your studio or even a friend across the globe and have a set Pilates session time. Text or Facetime each other and hop on your separate mats or Reformers and get moving. I used to do this with my friends in high school. We would play the same exact card game and start at the same time. Then we would call each other and see who finished the game first. Now, your Pilates sessions isn’t a race but if you both have to do a 30 min Pilates session that day and if you don’t you’ll have to tell a friend that you had “too much to-do” you’re going to have to take more time out of your day to explain yourself rather than just getting your move on!
  5. Learn how to Say No: I think doing #1 is pretty easy. Writing in your Pilates workout in your weekly schedule. But, protecting it is a whole other situation. However, if you have done the work to block that hour off every week, week after week then no one should be able to take it from you unless you give it away. And, I know that sometimes it’s easier to say you’ll take them “just this one time” so that you don’t lose the money. But, why should you bend over backward for them? You’re planning your life and teaching around your sessions you can train your clients to do the exact same thing. So, while it’s so hard to say no to a client aka money your Pilates practice, body, mind, and inspiration need you to protect your time to refill your Pilates gas tank.

What’s your trick for keeping Pilates in your weekly schedule? Share it below so other teachers can benefit from it. Because the more we do Pilates the more inspired we are which makes our clients feel excited and share the joy of Pilates with their friends. And, that means, more people doing Pilates!

xx~LL 

How do You Handle a Bad Review

Have you ever had a negative review on one of those review sites? Luckily for me, my Yelp reviews are all positive. But, that isn’t the only place where people give us Pilates teachers and studio owners reviews. With the age of social media upon us every single post you put out there is open for interpretation and many people find it there life’s journey to tear us down. To say something not nice. People can now critique you publicly in so many ways. So, it’s important to know how to handle it! Not just because it hurts personally but also because some of those critiques can affect our business.

Here are 3 ways to handle the bullies, critics, and feedback:

  1. Decide if you need to respond: If it’s on a Yelp or site that reviews services a response is probably necessary. But, you will most likely not win them back. However, others coming to the site will see how positively you handle the situation. It is also a good idea before you respond to see if they truly were a client (more on this in my next webinar). If the negative comment is on social media it may not be necessary to respond. And, remember you can always block or delete. There are people who like to spend their time tearing others down. Spend your time engaging with those who want to create a community with you. Lastly, we are not perfect humans (I know, it’s true) and sometimes negative reviews are opportunities for us to review ourselves and our services and see if there is room to improve.
  2. Decide how you want to respond: If after doing your research you decide to respond to the comment you can take the conversation offline and direct message them to try and resolve it. Then go back to the public space and do an “update” on the situation.
  3. Respond immediately: I know! You have a million things to do but it’s important if you are on the review sites or you have forums where people can post comments about you that you stay on top of reviews or responses. If you cannot have someone else monitor them. Referrals are key to our businesses and online referrals are often how we get many new clients. So, while you cannot control everyone it’s important that you save time in your admin hours to show just how awesome you are and respond to reviews.

We will never be without those people who want to say something not so nice. There will always be someone who needs to remind us that they are there or that they may know more than we do. And, there will be those clients who come in and complain about things that are out of our control like parking, traffic etc. But, what we can control we should and if you are reading this it means you care about how you run your business. So, it’s super important that you don’t take these negative reviews personally. But, that you do use them as an evaluation and to see if you are still doing business in line with your goals. If you are, then the review is nothing more than an annoyance. If someone complains that you don’t have classes and your goals are to only teach privates than it’s not a negative review. It simply informs people of what you are, a private session studio.

Do you have a negative review story you want to share? What happened and how did you handle it?

I’ll be talking more about handling negative reviews and feedback in my next webinar. Join me here.

xx~LL 

 

What I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Pilates Business

Sometimes I am grateful I didn’t know what I didn’t know when I started my Pilates teaching business. Although to be fair, I had eight years retail experience with seven years in management and a degree in communication so I wasn’t coming into the business side of things without experience in business. But, I know that my background is not normal. And, that many Pilates instructors come from a variety of experiences and that can mean starting out as a teacher and feeling lost and unsure. And, feeling alone. I mean, even if you are teaching in a studio with a bunch of other Pilates teachers when you are new you don’t always feel like you can ask about the business side of things. So, there is a lot of learning as you go into this Pilates world. Which was the impetus to my book but I do hope that this week’s blog post with contributions from teachers and studio owners far and wide gives you some insight and some comfort.

I will start off this what I wish list! I wish I knew that there was no one way to offer sessions, packages, and classes. I wish that ten years ago I knew then what I know and absolutely believe now…that when you know what you want you create the business that aligns with the way you are inspired to offer your services.

I wish I knew that you can say no. I learned very quickly, of course, the hard way and I am a massive proponent that you say no to every session or client that doesn’t align with your goals and soul.

I wish I knew in the beginning that there would be enough time to take all the continuing education. And, instead of signing up for EVERY workshop I was a bit pickier with my time and money.

I also wish I had been comfortable in my own teaching abilities from the beginning. If you are new to teaching you are exactly where you need to be! Keep practicing, observing and asking questions.

Now, I probably could go on for pages but how about hearing from some of you!

Rae Snyder of Infinity Pilates and Yoga:  Finding your Niché: When I was first branding my business (in 2009) I thought Pilates wasn’t well known enough in Waco and that my studio needed a little help from Yoga! Everyone had heard of yoga but not everyone had heard of Pilates so I thought combining the 2 would be a win-win! I was sadly mistaken! Maintaining both a specialized Yoga space and Pilates space proved to be too much! I was serving 2 very different markets and was trying to be too many things for too many people! After a few failed hiring attempts, where Yoga instructors and I did not mesh, I decided to focus solely on Pilates! I really wish someone had told me about finding your niché and going hard in that one area before I decided on a name for my business, Infinity Pilates and Yoga!

For the past 4 years, I have focused solely on Pilates and my business has grown steadily in the direction I have always wanted it to grow!! I now have dedicated clients who schedule their lives around their Pilates appointments and actually want to learn what I have to offer!! I am sure a rebranding is in my future!”

The Pilates Pod “I wish I had known how hard it was to find good teachers”

B Pilates and Training “I wish I had promoted myself as well as the studio I worked for. I never really thought of doing that. Also, that I had been firmer with my schedule, I was too available in the beginning.”

Brooke Tyler of CoreSelf and Clasique   “Wish I knew…it will never “level out” and thinking it will, expecting it to get super smooth and ‘stressless’ is actually the greatest source of stress. Expect instead that running a business will never be level, calm, and comfortable. It’s the essence of life well lived and a business continually evolving. It’s uncomfortable. And that’s part of the passion, the hustle, and the creative entrepreneurship.”

And, two more from Rae: “Socially Isolated: When I began my business adventure, Facebook was all the rage! I knew social media was a fun way to stay connected with friends and family, but I never really grasped the impact it could have on my business! And not in the way you might think! I started a Facebook page for the studio and that was about it. I rarely posted anything, because being on the internet constantly made me feel guilty like I was neglecting my clients and teaching! In the beginning, my studio mostly grew by word of mouth and I never gave my studio page much thought. Honestly, marketing on social media was never necessary for me.

Fast forward 8 years and I started an Instagram account to keep up with other instructors in the Pilates community! After attending my first PMA conference I realized how beneficial an online presence could be for connecting with other instructors and sharing ideas! For me, social media was less about marketing myself and more about sharing ideas with like-minded individuals! I didn’t know what I was missing by being inactive on my accounts! I am so thankful I started reaching out to other teachers in this way! No one tells you how lonely being a studio owner can be. Having a community is crucial to preventing burnout and helping you feel grounded in your work.”

“Competition: When I started my studio I shared my space with another instructor. We were separate businesses, but we worked together really well and for a while, we were the only Pilates instructors in Waco! She and I eventually outgrew our space so we decided to part ways. We had 3 clients who had all pursued their teaching certifications while training with us so before we she and I stopped working together, we tossed around the idea of all 5 of us joining forces and creating 1 really awesome studio! My idea didn’t appeal to everyone so we all did our own thing and one of the newer instructors decided to stay with me! I was so nervous about this new level of competition, but we worked really hard to keep a relationship going between us all and honestly, there has been no change in my business and it’s been 4 years now! I still would love to have 1 big studio, but the Pilates scene in Waco is still fairly new so that might be something that happens later!  I wish someone would have warned me that competition will come and go and it’s really not anything to worry about and that when someone rejects a business plan, not to take it personally because you can’t know what everyone is working toward! I originally felt like I was being rejected and that my business wouldn’t make it with so many other studios around! If I had known, then, how it was going to work out I would have saved myself a whole lotta stress!!”

I know there are a thousand times ten more “wishes I would have known” but I had to end it on the big wish I hope you all know. Don’t sweat the competition. Embrace it, no one can be YOU! And, if you read my “notes to inspire” from the other day there is always room for you if you are being your amazing unique self. There is no room for copycats.

Don’t see your wish you here? I would love to hear it! Comment below! Or, share your high fives with one of our contributors.

xx~LL 

PS It’s really ok to not know what you don’t know. But, its even more ok to ask for help!

 

Are These 3 Things Holding You Back?

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.

  1. 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.

xx~LL

For more Jenna Gems check her out on Facebook, Instagram, her website and her podcast.

Creating an Optimal Learning Environment Using the SCARF Model

Teaching Pilates is not just teaching Pilates, am I right? Sure, we learn all the exercises, anatomy, study and learn more exercises and more anatomy and some modifications. We get creative when a client cannot do an exercise. We ask all the right questions from mentors and colleagues. And, yet, it’s still not enough. Because the person we are teaching is not a 2-dimensional idea. They are a living, breathing human being with a life outside of their Pilates session. And, teaching that human means learning how they are truly motivated, how they learn and how they need you to show up for them so they can show up for themselves too.

Wow! That’s so much! I mean, I know when I became a Pilates teacher it was because I LOVED Pilates so much and I knew everyone should be doing it. But, nothing in my training prepared me for the client who cried during Tree because she didn’t feel good enough. No one told me how to handle “I can’t.” Because while maybe one client really “couldn’t” another client would use it as an excuse to avoid doing exercises they didn’t like. And, as we know we tend to dislike (even strongly) exercises we need.

And, so learning how to motivate my clients a tennis ball of sorts for me. When I managed a jewelry store I had to learn how to motivate my staff. But, my staff, my team, was made up of ten to fifteen different personalities. Each one needing to know that I saw them. I heard them and I was there for them!

When I realized that I will be doing the same thing for my clients that I did when I was managing a team it became so much easier for me. And, I want to make it easier for you!

There is a great study out there and you can dive deeper into it here if you want to nerd out. But, if not, here’s the “cliff notes” or your LL’s notes on the SCARF model for teaching/training:

Status: someones relative importance to another
Certainty: being able to predict the future
Autonomy: a sense of being in control over the events
Relatedness: feeling safe
Fairness: equal exchanges between people

In the SCARF method, they studied how humans still survey surroundings for threats. So, as a teacher or studio owner its important that we create an optimal environment that when a new client or returning client comes in they feel safe. Imagine being a new client walking into your studio? What energy or message will they receive?

Clients need to know how they relate to you as a teacher and the more equal they feel with you the better for the client. If they show up in a Porsche and fancy gear and you feel like you’re less than they are because of their financial status and so you start to treat them differently they will feel this. Or vice versa, if someone shows up super deconditioned and you act like you know everything this will also cause a “threat” to the relationship and your being able to teach and motivate them session after session. The more you can create a feeling of equality status-wise in your studio the longer and deeper the relationship will go. This doesn’t mean you become best friends. It simply means that you don’t have to know everything and neither do they. Your relationship as a teacher and client is going to be more like a dance. You take the lead but you’re in it together!

Certainty is something we all desire. We all wish we knew what the future had in store. Sharing with your client what the session will cover or asking them for feedback on what they liked, disliked and how they felt last time so you can create a session that helps them like what they dislike, challenges what they like and leaves them feeling better every time will increase their feelings of certainty and continue their desire to come week after week. This also helps them feel a sense of Autonomy. Autonomy also could be achieved by asking them to set up their own equipment, asking them to choose between two exercises. I like to do this towards the end of a session. I will ask them if they prefer to Hang or do something on the Wunda chair. This lets me see if they are needing a little more of a relaxing ending or if they have more fuel in the tank to power to the end.

I think we all know and agree a client should feel safe in a session. In the SCARF model Relatedness is all about safety for a client. This also goes back to Status. But, another way to look at Safety besides feeling safe in an exercise is how we respond to clients feedback. When they tell us something to we discount it? Do we take it personally and tell them why what they are feeling is wrong? Or, do we listen, let them feel they can share whatever idea or discovery and then create a conversation about it? The more your clients feel safe to share the good, the bad and the ugly the more you can find ways to teach them and the whole client-teacher relationship grows even deeper! And, that really leads into Fairness, if clients feel like they are welcome to share their thoughts and its well received the more Status, Relatedness, and Autonomy you’ll have which will even lead to Certainty.

There is so much more to this model and to teaching Pilates then one blog post can really cover. I’ll be diving in deeper to it on my next webinar with Michael Myers “How to Motivate Clients” but we can also go over it in your individual business. Contact me here if you have more questions. Join us for the webinar here. And, if you have questions, comments or stories share them in the comments below!

xx~LL