How to Find Subs for Your Clients

One thing harder than finding clients to teach is finding subs to teach your clients when you travel! Whether you are an independent contractor or studio owner keeping your clients consistent when you leave town is key for client retention. And, for studio owners, having clients comfortable working with a sub is a great way to retain a client even if you lose a teacher. So, its a win-win for the client, teacher, and owner for clients sessions to run as usual each week. And, you will feel great going on vacation knowing that your clients are not just waiting around for you to get back. But, where do you find these subs? And, how can you set it up so you and your client can trust them?

  1. Are you an Independent Contractor or Employee? If you are not the studio owner then you want to know the answer to this question. If you are an employee check with your studio owners policies for subbing out your clients. If you are an independent contractor or a studio with independent contractors it’s important you check with the laws where you live. For me to sub my clients out when I travel I cannot pay the teacher out of the client’s package. The client and the teacher agree on the time and the client pays them directly.
  2. If you are at a studio try to partner up with other teachers in the studio. Your clients are used to seeing them in the studio and will feel comfortable with them. People don’t like change so having a teacher they can say they’ve at least said “hi” too then you’ll more likely to convince them to take a sub and not miss their sessions.
  3. Find subs who can keep the client at the same place and time. Again, people don’t like change so if the client has to go to another studio or come at a different time or day they are less likely to say yes to a sub. When clients miss their sessions they get out of the habit and then it’s easy for them to think Pilates doesn’t work for them.
  4. Go and take Pilates from other teachers! If you don’t have teachers in the space that you teach that you can turn to then go out and get in the Pilates community in your area. Take classes from other people and the ones you like ask them out for coffee. Or set up a time to talk and inquire if they are ok with subbing clients from time to time.
  5. Have client cards you can easily share with subs. Clients are more likely to take a sub if they know the teacher has their workout plans.
  6. Make sure the subs know your policies and procedures and adopt these rules. You don’t want a sub that isn’t going to charge a late cancel that you would charge. Create a expectations sheet for subs to review and even sign (contact me if you want help on this) and you may even want a contract between you and the sub as to how much they will get paid from each client and who their role is.
  7. Have the sub come and observe you teach. This way they feel comfortable taking on your clients while you travel.
  8. Don’t give up! It took me many years to get my clients to take a sub. Then, when my traveling picked up they finally gave in. Now they each have a sub they love more than another. It takes several times of suggesting a “guest teacher” to your clients to get them to say yes. But, don’t let that stop you.

If you have taken all the classes you can in your area and still haven’t found a sub you love then it’s time to get creative. How can you create a workout for your clients to do at home on your own while you or even they are away?

Which of these tips are you going to try before the next time you go away?

xx~LL

Lead Your Own Retreat

If leading your own retreat is on your business bucket list this is a blog for you! Whether you want to lead a Pilates, Yoga, fitness, nutritional or meditative retreat the same rules apply. And, there are some key things to keep in mind before you even put down your deposit somewhere.  Retreats can be lots of fun but they are equal amounts of work! If not more work. The number of hours you will spend before you lead your retreat will double or triple the time you spend on the retreat.

And, something I think is incredibly important is to know and understand is that a retreat really is not a paid vacation. If you are leading one to have a paid vacation I do think you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

A few questions I want you to answer before you continue. The answers do not mean you should or you shouldn’t lead one. But, these are things you need to know before you go.

  1. Are an organized person?
  2. Do you have enough existing clients who would go on this retreat or will you need to market to people who do not know you?
  3. If the retreat doesn’t make you money will that affect your business negatively? Or, can your business handle a non-profitable event?
  4. Are you comfortable asking for the sale or telling a client no?
  5. Can your website handle taking payments for an event?
  6.  Do you like to be the leader, hostess or be in charge?

I have tons of other questions that I ask those I coach through organizing their own retreat. But, I think these get your mind and juices flowing and picturing yourself actually going through the process.

As far as putting one together, the sky is the limit! You can have a day retreat, a workshop weekend retreat, a week or 10 day long retreat. I’ve seen retreats where they are all inclusive to ones that only cover portions of the trip or time.

On this potential retreat, what does it look like? Where are you at? When they leave what are they saying was their favorite part? How do you feel and the attendees feel? What are they saying as they leave? Before you plan a retreat sit down and meditate on what the retreat looked like when it was over. This will help you not stress out about things that don’t matter. It will also help you answer some of the questions above.

When you start planning the retreat it’s easy to get distracted by all the questions that you’ll have to answer. It’s like a wedding. You start out wanting just a small outdoor wedding and by the end of it you have this luxury destination wedding at the Sandal’s resort and you’re looking at a bunch of faces you don’t know.

The details in between the start of a retreat when you announce it’s happening to attendees showing up, the day to day agenda and how to handle when shit happens will vary from retreat to retreat. The stories of scrambling I have had to do on a retreat are endless. But, most important none of my attendees knew that I scrambled. The time my chef fell through 4 hours before retreaters arrived was crazy! But, the way we fixed it was brilliant and the food was delicious.

If you want to lead your own retreat you not only have to think through the actual retreat and price it out so that it is profitable. Please, please, please do not skip that part! You have to think through a lot of “what if’s.”

My husband has created a sheet, systems and more to help make sure all of our retreats not only are fun and fulfilling to our guests and us but also to help us sell them, make sure every attendee has all the info they need, makes sure we get paid on time and more.

He’s helping me with our from demand webinar on “How to Create and Lead Your Own Retreat.” And, if you are leading retreats or thinking of leading retreats this is the webinar you need to be at. We are giving out all deets on how we do what we do!

xx~LL 

Join us for this webinar live or watch the replay click here

What is the Difference Between a Blog and a Newsletter?

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!

xx~LL 

Why You Need a Substitute Teacher and Where to Find Them

Having someone else teacher your clients for you while you’re away on a trip or training might strike a chord of fear. I know, most teachers are not keen on letting someone else teach their clients. I mean, what if your client likes them better? I bet reading that out loud made you realize just how funny that sounds. Your clients love you. And, if they are willing to go to a sub or guest teacher you are amazing at what you do! Most clients don’t like change and would rather miss their Pilates than take from someone else. But, you should want your clients to take from a guest teacher. It’s good for your business and for clients!

Before we talk about where to find these guest teachers or subs let’s cover three reasons why you should want and be cool with having your clients take from someone else:

  1. Consistency is key! If you take a week off Murphy’s law would almost guarantee your client will be missing the week before or after. By aranging a sub for them you can ensure they only miss what they would have on their vacation. Allowing them to remain consistent, keeping Pilates in their schedule and you feeling guilt-free about taking some much deserved time off.
  2. They’ll realize just how good you are! When another teacher works with your client they will finally hear what you have been trying to get them to understand this whole time. They will also be excited to share (or lament if that’s their personality) about what they did with the other teacher. This is not an “I liked them more” convo but just a “look what I remember, I was a good student” share time.
  3. Clients who take from other teachers hear new things because every teacher has a different pair of Pilates eyeglasses on. It’s easy overtime for clients to tune us out. By hearing a new analogy, new cues or just a new voice they’ll listen to you better the next time you teach them.

Now that I’ve got you convinced that your clients will not leave you for the sub or guest teacher, in fact, they will probably last longer how do you go about finding this person?

If you are a studio owner chances are you have some options to turn to. If you’re an independent contractor it gets trickier. Or, if you work out of your own home or solo at a studio, like an independent contractor finding a sub or guest teacher isn’t as easy.

  1. Talk to your legal expert to make sure the payments for these sessions is kosher. I’ve got a great one if you need just contact me here. She is a fitness instructor who also is a lawyer!
  2. Take from other teachers in your community. When you find one that teaches like you inquire if they are interested in subbing when you travel. If so, is it possible for them to teach at your space? Clients are more likely to take from a sub if all they have to do is show up like usual.
  3. Make sure your client cards are up to date. This makes it easy for a guest teacher to step in, teach the session your client is used to and go.
  4. Follow up Check in with both the teacher and the client to see how it went. The first time might be awkward fro all parties. But, eventually, it’s easy and natural.

If you are a studio owner and the clients are studio clients I highly recommend that clients take from more than one teacher as a policy if they come more than two times a week. This makes it easier and more natural for clients to take from other teachers when their primary teachers are away or sick.

For my independent contractor in a studio with other teachers be sure to introduce your clients to other teachers when they are in for their session so that when you offer up the guest teacher it’s not a random teaching stranger but rather someone they are used to teaching.

Are you ready for your next trip? Whose going to sub for you?

xx~LL 

 

My Top 10 Entrepreneurial Books and Podcasts 2017

When I first became a Pilates instructor, I was searching for advice on how to run my Pilates business. My original Pilates training was great for teaching me how to teach Pilates but had very little information for how to get new Pilates clients, retain Pilates clients, what to charge them, how to open a studio and basically all the things that one needs to know when they are a Pilates entrepreneur. So, I absorbed all the business info I could from entrepreneurial books and fellow Pilates instructors. And, then I wrote my book Profitable Pilates: Everything but the exercises. To this day I still get my business inspiration from a variety of places.

Here are my top 10 places for getting great tips and advice:

Entrepreneurial Podcasts

Entrepreneurial Books

Do you have a favorite book or podcast that has inspired your Pilates business? I would love to hear it! Share it below with our readers.

xx~LL