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 

New Strategies to Regional Rockstar Status

I’ll never forget the day I heard people talking about my Pilates mat class while washing their hands in the bathroom! And, the best part was we are all at a restaurant bathroom blocks from where I taught weekly classes. I knew while I was in that stall that my classes were going to start filling up in no time. With students like those telling their friends about me, I wouldn’t have to do the marketing alone. And, that’s what being a Regional Rockstar is all about!

Last year I led a webinar and then created a course on becoming known. And, it has been helping so many teachers and studio owners change up how they market their Pilates business. Instead of trying to be one of the most liked or followed people online they focus their efforts where their community is. And, that has paid off!

So, how do you begin to get known?

1) Know who you are, what you do and whom you are for!
2) Know where your ideal clients spend their time!
3) Be the answer to the questions they are asking!

Do you know whom you for? Where your ideal clients are hanging out? And how you are the answer to their questions?

If you do but need help translating that information from knowledge to clients and referrals than check out my course here on Becoming Known and my one on blogging and vlogging. Or, join me LIVE to get down and dirty on how to take all this info to the next level!

If you don’t then I recommend taking some time to sit down and think about the clients that rock your teaching soul. They may seem very different on the outside but there is a common thread amongst all of them. What is that thread? What questions do you often find yourself getting asked over and over? If you could have any client in the world that you would like what would they be doing when not taking Pilates with you? Why are they coming to you?

Take some time today to answer those questions! 

Next, take a look at your website…I know you don’t want to. You hate dealing with it you’re not into tech and all those things. But, guess what! Even your local peeps are going to be looking at your website. Does it truly represent who you are? Who you teach? What you have to offer? Is it easy for a newbie to go through and figure out what they need to do next? Ask a friend or family member to try, preferably someone who has never been to your site or studio before. Take their feedback and make those changes!

And, if you are ready to grow your business more strategically then, join me for my webinar on New Strategies for Becoming Known in your community. I truly believe it is important to give back to your community. If you are ready for people to ask you to come present and teach at community events, colleges, schools, marathons etc then it’s time to get known in your community for what you are the best at! If you are ready for clients to be calling you instead of you posting away trying to get their attention then it’s time to take an hour and get the tips and steps you need to get your talent out there! I truly believe when you are out there in your community it changes your business.

xx~LL

Get More Clients Without Spending Money on Advertising

This week’s blog post comes from a guest blogger and Personal Trainer Tyler Spraul! I love it because I am a big fan of not spending your hard earned dollars on marketing. And, below he not only gives you 4 tips on what to do he also gives you actions to take to make it work! Cannot wait to hear how these work for you. Take it away Tyler!


In this article, I’m going to show you some simple ways to get new customers without having to pay for advertising.

It’s all too common for a fitness business owner to take one chance at getting someone to sign up, and then never try again. It’s like we don’t want to offend people or come off as “salesy,” but the truth is that we are doing potential clients a disservice if what we have to offer will truly make their lives better!

It’s easy to dig into the things you enjoy the most about your business, like learning how to be a better coach and connect with clients, or continuing education to expand your toolset, or spending that quality hands-on time with your clients. But sometimes this fun stuff comes at the expense of the not-so-exciting portions of your business, like building efficient systems, implementing processes that are easy for new hires to follow, spreading the word about your business through marketing, and more.  

When it comes time to grow and scale your business, it’s the not-so-exciting things that make or break your chances of success, so you can’t afford to ignore them.

Call them habits or systems — whatever you’d like — implementing just one of the following tactics on a regular basis will help grow your business consistently over time.

1.  Find something to give away before you ask for anything from potential customers.

People love free stuff! Offer something your ideal customer can’t resist before they have to give you anything. To keep this simple, you can offer a “free sample” type of session on a regular basis.

This session would provide a low barrier of entry for potential customers to meet you and see what you have to offer.

It also provides an easy way for your current clients to invite their friends. They don’t have to think about selling their friends on your service but can simply invite them to give it a test run themselves, totally obligation-free.

ACTION STEP:

Offer a FREE sample class or two every week on a day that fits your schedule. To keep it really simple, you can start with once a month.

2. Make it easy for existing clients to promote you.

What if your favorite clients went out of their way to hunt down more potential clients for you? What if they were excited to do it? This can be a huge win if you have never gone out of your way to ask for referrals.

You may even want to go as far as incentivizing those referrals.

ACTION STEP:

Part 1: Make sure clients know the best way to refer their friends to you.

Do they just need to give you the correct contact information so you can reach out?

If not, where should they send potential referrals?

    • To your email or mailing list?
    • To your website?
    • To your once-a-week class that’s 100% free?

Wherever it is, make sure that you communicate it clearly and it’s as simple as possible for your clients!

Part 2 (optional): Figure out a sustainable way to reward your clients who refer customers.

You can position it as a fun monthly contest or challenge to see who can refer the most new customers.

You can then offer prizes and rewards to your top referrers. You can announce your winners each month or once per year.

If you just want to keep it super simple, that’s no problem. You can offer a discounted month or class voucher for each new customer a current member refers.

3. Make the most of your existing lists with a regular “ask.”

Your lists can be any social media channel, email newsletter, physical mailing list, etc.

Wherever you’re providing value through your content, you need to be consistent with your “ask.”

You must have a clear call to action (CTA) that prompts your ideal customer to get out of his or her routine and come do business with you.
Before we get too carried away, we don’t want to make the mistake of using these tools to only sell all the time.

80% of your content should be helpful material to enhance your customers’ lives. Then once you’ve provided value consistently, you can point them to your specific calls to action.

Example: If you post 5 days a week on Instagram, one of those posts should be a CTA, while the others should be adding value, sharing client successes, etc.

What makes a good call to action? I was hoping you’d ask!


A good CTA:

  • Only asks for one clear action. Don’t ask for a comment, and a share, and a like, and a text message to friends and loved ones.

  • Provides the exact steps needed to take action. “Enter your email below.” “Call us at xxx-xxx-xxxx to book your appointment.” “Click this link to book your spot in our FREE Saturday session: [LINK]”

  • Gives a reason to take action now instead of later. “Our first 3 reservations each month receive a free water bottle.” “Book today, and we’ll include a free session voucher.” Don’t abuse this one, though. If you have a deadline, stick to it, and don’t make up pretend deadlines for the sake of having one.

ACTION STEP:

Brainstorm 5-10 CTAs you can plug into regularly scheduled programming for social media, emails, etc. Make sure each one checks all the boxes for the requirements above.

4. Follow up, follow up, follow up!

Now that you’re giving value before asking for anything, incentivizing referrals, and moving people to take action with clear CTAs, it’s time to create a regular follow-up system.

How many times have you had a hot prospect get cold feet and duck out of a commitment, only to never see them again? You know your service would increase their quality of life, but it just didn’t work out the first time.

Do you say, “Oh well!” and give up all hope of getting them signed up?

No way!

Your follow-up system will help you make the most of the people who already know about your business and have expressed an interest, but aren’t currently paying members.

ACTION STEP:

We are going to separate these follow-ups into 2 categories:

For leads who expressed interest recently

To follow up: Call them within 2 days of their most recent contact.
If you don’t hear from them within a week, try again. For the first month, follow up once per week.

Once they’re on your “1 Month+” list, give them a call once per month until they sign up or request that you stop calling.

Previous customers and any others you haven’t heard from in a long time

Determine the best way for you to make a personal follow-up with these people who already know about you but haven’t gotten on board just yet.

Keep it simple! It can be as easy as a Facebook message, but the key is to keep it personal. Check in with them, let them know you’ve been thinking about them, and ask how they’re doing.

We don’t want to just copy and paste a sales message with a link here — that’s not what I’m saying at all.

Whether it’s a phone call, handwritten note or postcard, or even just a Facebook message, following up while staying polite and persistent will keep you on the radar and let your potential clients know you care.

So, now that we’ve gotten through the list of these action ideas and examples, it’s time for a call to action of your own!

Pick one of these ideas right now (start small), and set aside 1 hour to work on it this week. Make sure to block off the time on your calendar!

Leave a comment below with the action you have planned. I’ll read every one!

 

Tyler Spraul is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and the Head Trainer at Exercise.com. He played college soccer, then coached the men’s soccer team for five years at Columbia International University, overseeing all aspects of strength and conditioning. Over the years, his focus has shifted from performance first to moving well and getting stronger without injury. He loves helping people and encourages them to practice mindfulness. The little things matter, and consistency is key!


Big thanks to Tyler for sharing these tips and actions you can take! I second Tyler leave a comment below telling us what action you will take this week.

xx~LL 

 

How to Write a Newsletter That Your Clients Actually Want to Read

You know you have to write them, you know you hate to do it and No, email is not dead! Actually, quite the opposite. When people give you their email they are giving you direct access to THEM. You don’t have to play the algorithm game and wonder if your clients saw that you have a new class, workshop or event. But, what to write? And, how do you get them to click on YOUR email as they go through their inbox? Well, this week’s guest blogger Pilates instructor, Podcaster, and business savvy lady Nikki Naab-Levy is here with words of wisdom you must read!


Something I hear frequently from fellow Pilates teachers is “I haaa-aaate writing my newsletter. I never know what to write about and I always feel like I’m pestering my clients when I do it!”

If you feel like this, you’re not alone.

We become Pilates teachers, because we want to teach movement, not because we want to write newsletters. However, when done well, your newsletter is an opportunity to inspire and educate your clients outside of their sessions, deepen your relationship with potential customers, and build your business.

Also, with the right mindset and approach, it might even be fun.

Here are some tips for writing your newsletter:

  1. When choosing a topic, consider your client’s perspective: If you’re ever stuck on what to write about, it helps to put yourself in your client’s shoes and consider what they are struggling with and what they look to you for help with.

Some good questions to ask yourself include:

What questions do my clients ask me all the time? What are they struggling with?

What is something that I teach all the time that my clients don’t know, which gives them big results?

What is a simple exercise or tip that I could teach my clients, which would give them a quick win with a problem that they are trying to solve?

If you brainstorm a list with answers to these questions, it’s likely that you’ll see some themes emerge. Each of these topics or themes could make great newsletter content. For example, if many of your clients tell you “I LOVE how I feel after our session, but I don’t have equipment at home! What can I do instead?” you could write a newsletter with three exercises your clients can do at home to feel great in between sessions.

If you get stuck, don’t forget it never hurts to ask your clients what they’d like to know more about. Most people are happy to share!

  1. Write about things that light you up: If you’re bored with the topic you’re writing about, your readers will be able to feel it. However, if you pick a topic that you’re genuinely excited to share, your enthusiasm will come through and your clients will be excited to read it too.

Don’t believe me? Think about it in the context of normal life. If you asked your friend if you should try a new vegetarian restaurant and she told you, “Yeah, I guess. They have a lot of vegetable dishes and vegetables are good for you” you wouldn’t want to go there. However, if she told you, “OMG. This place is amazing! The food comes out looking like a work of art, tastes as good as it looks, AND it’s healthy,” you’d be all about it.

  1. Be yourself! Your clients come to you for your knowledge, personality, and teaching style. They don’t come to you, because you can teach them the hundred, which they could figure out from a YouTube video.

The same principle applies to your newsletter. The people on your list are following you because they like your unique voice. This means that your newsletter doesn’t need to read like a 2,000-word research paper on rotator cuff function.

If you write the way that you talk about your work in real life, not only will your newsletter be more fun to read (and write!), but your personality will shine through. This can help you attract more ideal clients because if they like what you have to share in your newsletter, they might decide that you would be great to work with in real life too.

  1. Consider alternative forms of media: Not all newsletters require lengthy text.

If you don’t enjoy writing, ask yourself what form of media would be more fun to communicate through? If you’re more comfortable with video, maybe try sharing an idea or an exercise that way and then including a link to the video as your primary newsletter content.

If you feel comfortable talking, you could do a voice recording, like a podcast. There is now voice recording software and apps that make this easy to do. If you’re visually oriented, you could create a gorgeous image in Canva and include a bulleted list of tips for an exercise or a simple recipe.

  1. Repurpose content you’ve already created: If you’re stuck on what to create there is a good chance you already have something finished that would make stellar newsletter content.

Is there a juicy blog post you recently wrote? You can copy that text and email it to your list. Was there a video that you posted on social media that got a lot of positive feedback? You can write a short paragraph about it, include a link, and your newsletter is done. Not only does this save time for you, but it helps the people on your list see the amazing content you’re putting out, which they might have missed if they weren’t on social media the day you shared it.

  1. Include a call to action: When you send a newsletter, ask yourself, “What do I want people to do with this information?” It could be something sales related like, “Want more ways to improve posture? Book yourself an introductory private,” but it doesn’t have to be.

A call to action could be as simple as “try this exercise the next time you feel stiff” or “Find this helpful? Share it with a friend who could also use this info!”

And on that note, if you try one of these strategies, we’d love to hear how it goes. You can let us know in the comments section below.

 ——————————————————————————————————————–

Nikki Naab-Levy is a Pilates teacher and massage therapist for people who aren’t zen, hate green juice, and are allergic to words like self-love (but kinda need it). She has over a decade of experience helping people build strength, improve mobility, and overcome injury.

Nikki holds a B.S. in Exercise Science and a B.S. in Journalism from Ohio University and is a Master Trainer for the Balanced Body Bodhi Suspension System. Her fitness wisdom has been featured in Greatist, Girls Gone Strong, The Balanced Body blog, and Men’s Fitness.  

When she’s not teaching a sneaky hard Pilates class, you can find her hiking in the Pacific Northwest with her husband Kc, freelance fitness writing, and chain-drinking Americanos. For practical fitness advice + workouts that don’t hurt, visit her website NaabLevy.com or check out her podcast Moving Well on iTunes or Stitcher.

Check her out on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and Linkedin!

Discover How to Market Your Pilates Teachers

I know you are so excited when you hear a teacher of yours is taking a well-deserved vacation but inside you also feel that tugging on your gut…how many sessions am I losing while she/he is on that trip?

Or, you maybe you find yourself needing to teach less, run your studio more and you want to pass some of your clients off to another teacher or a new teacher at your studio? Or, you need to make room for more clients, need to grow your Pilates business, and retain your clients.

Maybe, you rent space somewhere and you want to take some time off but you don’t want you, clients, to lose their rhythm?

Do any of these sounds like you? Then you are in luck! This week here are some tips to “sell” another teacher to your clients. All these tips and suggestions will help you manage your clients and grow your Pilates business.

First, if you are in any of these positions or one I haven’t mentioned but requires the same action pat yourself on the back. This is a good thing! You’re getting busier, your business is growing, you are able to grant or take vacations. All, of this, is a sign you are doing well. But, none of these situations should hinder a clients growth or Pilates practice. And, that is what is at the heart of all of these scenarios. Teacher A needs to teach less, change their schedule or take time off. Clients of Teacher A need a temporary or new Teacher. Enter Teacher B, C and maybe even D. But, how do we get Teacher A’s clients to want and trust any of these other teachers? And, does it matter if clients take a break when a teacher does?

Let me address the latter question first. Yes, it does matter if clients take time off when the teacher takes a break. Rarely in life does it work out that a client and their teacher pick the exact same days to take a break. My week of this past spring was right after my client’s kids spring break. So, if I let them take a break when I was gone they would have missed two weeks. And, then wouldn’t you know it when I came back they had the flu. By the time I saw them again, it was three weeks. But, luckily I have teachers up my sleeve in my community and the studio I rent at that could take care of my clients for me. So, they only missed the weeks they were gone.

But, how did I get them to want to take from someone else? Patience, consistency, and honesty were key as well as:

  • Introducing fellow renters in the studio whenever I could
  • Constantly encouraging clients to make up sessions they lost or were going to lose when they took a trip
  • Regularly reminding them of their goals and how far they had come since they began Pilates

How can you do this for your team or for your clients?

Studio Owners:

  • Be aware of all the teaching styles, personalities, and client personalities
  • Know teachers availability at least a month in advance
  • Slide clients into the same timeslot with the best fitting teacher and then let the client know that they are “all set up with teacher B and if they need to reschedule to let you know by ___ day.”
  • Create a teaching space where the clients experience more than one teacher if they come more than twice a week.
  • Have client cards that teachers fill in so clients feel that they don’t have to explain injuries, issues or goals with a sub.

Renters:

  • Introduce your clients to the teachers you know and trust that you would want to sub for you
  • Train your clients to schedule their life around Pilates and tell you in advance when they are traveling
  • Have client workouts, goals and injuries written down and shared with the sub so all your client has to do is show up.
  • Pay the teacher out of your client’s package so again the client just has to show up

The reality is you are going to have to be patient. Especially if your clients have only worked for you for a long time. But, be honest with them. Tell them why you need for them to try out Teacher B, C or D. “I love teaching you three days a week, but my schedule is changing and I don’t want you to lose your third session each week. So, Monday and Thursday you are with me and Saturdays you are with Teacher B. You’re at the exact same time and he/she knows your goals, workouts and favorite exercises.”

Give them an opportunity to try out the other teacher and have them give you feedback on how it went.

Be patient, no one likes change. Put yourself in their shoes. What if your instructor told you the same thing. How would that make you feel?

Don’t give up!

If they don’t go for Teacher B maybe Teacher C or D is going to work. Whether you are a studio owner, manager or instructor looking to share your clients it is integral to the success and future of your business to work on this. You can’t teach everyone every hour they want. Your teachers in your studio need to make enough money to live and want to teach at your studio. If they are busy doing what they love it gives you time to grow your business, take time off and really empower and support both your teachers and your clients.

If you are a renter or independent contractor having teachers who can cover for you means your client’s Pilates practice stays consistent. They continue to hit their goals and feel the benefits of Pilates. Which means you can take your trips and not worry about losing clients because of it.

Client retention has a lot to do with clients feeling they are getting the benefits of Pilates. And benefits come with consistency. But, that doesn’t mean you are at the beck and call of your client’s availability.

So, when is your next trip? Have you set up your subs yet? Got a new teacher on your team? What clients get to try them first?

xx~LL 

Teaching Pilates Part-Time: Have Your Cake & Eat it Too!

When I first became a Pilates instructor my original intention was to keep my “desk job.” Technically, I was a manager of a high-end women’s boutique but you get what I mean. I loved working in retail. I had the best clients and I loved my co-workers. But, I also loved teaching Pilates. I wanted to do both, at least for awhile. I wanted to have my cake and eat it too!

I’m often asked if it’s possible to make a living teaching Pilates full-time. But, I think it’s important to share that you can keep your “day job” and teach Pilates on the side.

In fact, if you look at the recent Pilates in America study you’ll find that the majority of Pilates teachers are part-time teachers. Now, some of these teachers may be part-time because they have another job and others because their family life only allows for part-time teaching availability.

Let’s talk about how you can have a successful side Pilates business and not work 24/7!

1) Know your availability: It’s important that you don’t work 24/7 when Pilates is a part-time business. I know it’s hard to say no to a client and no to money but if you want to continue to enjoy teaching Pilates you need to set and maintain an ideal schedule and only offer those times. Don’t lose the love you have by overworking, check out how to maintain your sanity here and create your ideal schedule here.

2) Get clear on who your client is: This is key no matter how many hours you teach. But, even more, necessary for a teacher who also has to work somewhere else. Think about who can come to sessions when you’re free to teach? What do these people do and where else do they go shopping, life etc. It’s important that you don’t waste your free time marketing to clients that aren’t right for when you can teach. Attracting the right clients for you is key to filling the part-time hours you have available.

3) Know your Why: Why do you want to keep your “desk job” and why you want to teach Pilates? There will be weeks when one or the other is driving you mad. If you have written down why you love your “day job” and why Teaching Pilates is important for you it will help you from tossing out the “cake.”

4) Maintain your Pilates practice! It’s easy to let work and teaching Pilates take over your time and then there is no time for YOU! Maintain your sanity by having your Pilates session on your calendar first. For more self-care tips check out my Pilates Anytime tutorial and why all teachers should have a teacher.

5) Don’t overindulge in the continuing education: But, do get continuing education. When you work and teach Pilates your time is limited. Focus your continuing education on what will help the clients you have today! It’s easy to want to take all the Pilates workshops that come up. But, if you’re spending all your Pilates dollars on sessions and education you may stretch yourself too thin. Or, if you don’t you may feel like you should be and then worried about not doing enough. Be intentional about what you take and it will continue to help you grow, retain your clients and stay inspired.

6) Have your systems in place: How do people schedule, cancel, pay you? What’s the process to do these things? What policies do you have in place? Can any or all of it be automated? The more you are not working in your Pilates business the easier it will be to maintain your Pilates business.

To sum it up, You can have your cake and eat it too! You can teach Pilates and keep your “day job.” You can teach Pilates when you want to teach. And, if you feel like you’re teaching too much then here’s some help for you.

xx~LL

How Long Does It Take to Become a Pilates Instructor?

So, you’re thinking about becoming a Pilates Instructor! Yay, that’s amazing and I’m super stoked for you. When I first set out to become a Pilates instructor I remember looking at all the workshop dates, apprentice hours and meetings. I remember thinking “wow, 600 hours and in nine months!” I was excited and overwhelmed. I worked a full-time job managing a retail store across town. But, I wanted to become an instructor. So, I buckled down and fit those hours in between every free moment I had. One of the questions I get a lot is how to become a Pilates instructor and how long does it take to become an instructor? When I was a teacher trainer many students would base their choice on the program I taught for based on the length of time it took to become a Pilates instructor.

Now that I have been teaching Pilates ten years and have gone through three training experiences I can say I’m so happy my first program took as long as it took. In fact, one of the reasons I did a second training program was because I felt I needed more information. I had a strong foundation but I just felt I needed more time with people who had been teachers decades longer.

When I wrote my book Profitable Pilates: Everything but the Exercises I spent a whole chapter on how to choose a program, questions to ask each program and why the apprentice hours are so important to your success as an instructor. Learning the exercises, the steps, the reps, orders, safety’s etc is the easy part. Learning to teach, to see and to understand the depth of the work is something that only time in the Pilates method can do.

If you’re in the program decision stage I recommend my free course on “How to become a Pilates Instructor” and my ebook. It’s filled with tips for choosing the program that is the right fit for you! Every program out there has its own set of requirements, apprentice hours, timeline and prices. Before you pick your program take a look at the experience and wisdom about program lengths from some of my favorite Pilates instructors in this world!

Anula Maiberg – Sixth Street Pilates– “Probably a year. I had one pilates cert that took about a year. And one a bit under. So I’d be super happy if the min. requirement was a year. If that could be upheld somehow.”

Jenna Zaffino – Move From the Heart– “I’ve taken two, full comprehensive programs. The first was as an apprenticeship and took a little over a year to complete the training and then I tested out within the first 6 months of completing the study. The second was done long distance. I traveled between 2004 and 2008 to complete my training with Ron Fletcher. Much of my learning was a self-study situation. In my opinion, the longer the program, the better, but I understand the need to begin to make $$. I would love to see a program be 1.5 years where the teacher begins to teach beginning level students after 6 months, continues their practice and teaching for the duration of the year and then has regular check-in educational sessions for 6 months following their graduation.”

Julie Driver- Julie Driver Pilates – “Becoming an instructor isn’t a finite destination, It’s a journey with many defining moments along the way. I still consider myself a student, I’ve had the privilege of working with generous teachers who have shared their knowledge and work with me along my path.  Without continued education throughout our career, we can lose our way and our own passion for teaching.” 

Jessica Valant- Jessica Valant Pilates – “I support the 450-hour requirement of PMA because I feel that’s a good general starting point for a program (to give them guidance). I also agree year minimum – I think that gives students a chance to complete all the required hours and teaching and observing without putting pressure on them to do it too fast.  Another perspective – I’ve had students take too LONG. Meaning they do their classroom work and then take two to three years to do the required hours while putting off the test. They end up losing accountability and develop their own style which is good but also hard when they are then required to test on one specific program. I think it would be nice to have more one-on-one throughout the program so that getting in is a little harder and people have more commitment to finishing.”

Carrie Pages- Carrie Pages Pilates– “Mine was a full year and levels I-V. Obscene amounts of anatomy, gobs of hours, etc. I wouldn’t change it for anything and I loved every freaking second and bit of it. I was also 19 and waiting tables and working the front desk of the Pilates studio. When I started my program I basically modeled it the way I was trained. I taught it that way for about 4 years and then I thought “there had to be another way”. Sooooo I broke the program into 3 parts. First, the mat training where I basically am scoping out who would be a good candidate for the Full Apparatus. It’s two weekends and 50 hours. Then the full apparatus (levels I-III only). It’s 5 weekends. Then after at least a year of teaching or more, I do a level IV-V intensive weekend. It followed by more personal practice and more observation. Once all of that’s done you’ve got 450 hours. I’ve been super pleased with the layout. The students aren’t tripping out over how to teach the rowings but can focus on how to teach the exercises they’re actually going to teach on a regular basis. Depending on the person it may take them a few years to do it all but it is so much better than slamming them with Control Arabesque in their 5 months of training!”

Cloe BunterBreathe Education– “”Firstly, I need to start by saying that is a really hard question to answer! I’m six years in and sometimes it feels like it’s all just brand new again! And perhaps there is the bigger question of the definition between instructor and teacher? A Certificate IV in Pilates, which will enable you to instruct group Reformer and Mat classes to relatively healthy clients, can be completed in approximately six months if you are really consistent with your placement hours, however realistically may take nine to twelve months to complete your practicum dependent on other life commitments. To do a full certification Cert IV plus a Clinical Diploma in Pilates which qualifies you to teach on all apparatus and work with injured clients will realistically take you closer to 18months to complete. I think it’s important for new instructors fresh out of their course to realise that it is from there, in the real word, that the learning really begins and to not expect to know everything and be a master as soon as they complete their course. What I will say is that the learning process should NEVER end. I encourage all instructors to actively seek out continued education both formal and informal. Pilates Anytime, workshops, online tutorials etc. Keep up to date with the latest research in movement and pain so you can best serve your clients and industry. We are so fortunate in this day and age of social media that there are so many incredible resources just there waiting for you to read and discuss them with your peers.”. ”

As you can see the length of time varies greatly depending on your program and YOU! Some programs training weekends might only be over the course of 6 months but the hours can take you another 6 months to a year to complete. My advice is to be consistent, do not let a week go by that you don’t take a lesson and teach a fellow apprentice. Chip away at the hours and be as curious as you can be. You won’t know it all at the end but the more you desire to learn the more you will know when you are done and you’ll have a foundation that will set you up for the years of teaching ahead. The beautiful thing about teaching Pilates is that you will always be learning, always be a student. There is no need to rush the training experience. For more information on the career path of a Pilates instructor read this blog post. We also have great tips on becoming an instructor in this blog post and one more for good measure here.

As always if you have questions or comments you can post them below or contact me here.

Happy Pilates school hunting! It’s a journey, not a race so take the time it takes to learn and grow.  In the end, most clients won’t care where you went to training but they will care how you make them feel and the benefits of working with you.

xx~LL 

 

How to Know What Rates to Charge Your Pilates Clients

How did you decide what to charge for your Pilates sessions when you became an instructor? Did you set your rates that same as every Pilates instructor at your studio? Did you guess? When it comes to your Pilates business being successful and profitable, it’s not always about more clients or more offerings. It’s about charging the right prices for what your services offer.

When I ran my Group Classes webinar and my Rates, Revenue Streams and how to raise your rates webinar I received some of the same questions and concerns. “I have a home studio, so I feel I should charge less.” Or, “I’m a senior instructor, and a new instructor in town is charging more than I am.” The truth is there is no exact rate structure I can give you so that you can easily and confidently set your rates for your Pilates business. But, I can provide you advice on how to dive into your Pilates business to set prices that work for you.

When setting your Pilates studio/business rates keep in mind:

-How much training have you had
-How much continuing education do you do each year
-Your studio bills and overheard
-The amount of income you need for your life divided by the number of hours you can teach
-What is the cost of a session: distance to get there, utilities during that hour, equipment, etc. Determine the cost of a session and     then add on to that amount to cover your pay (or your teachers pay), taxes and profit for the future.
-Your competitor’s pricing. Please don’t use this as a way to compete on price. You and your competitor are very different. And,         the costs to run the services can be vastly different. But, you do need to know what your competitors are charging so that you           can market your unique qualities and highlight the offerings that you have that is added value.
-Perceived value: what are your clients and future clients perception of the services you offer. How inspired are clients to work           with you? How much can they trust you with their bodies needs and goals? This perceived value is key to converting new clients     (as discussed in our course here).

The most important thing to remember is that you do owe it to yourself and your business to take time to do the research and make sure that your rates reflect your offerings, cover your costs, create profit for you to grow your business and most importantly stay in business.

Signs you may need to evaluate your rates
You haven’t raised them in two years
You hear things like “you’re a bargain.”

My fellow Pilates instructors your rates can be the difference between overworking, underpaying and staying in business. As you choose your prices for the sessions, you offer to keep the package options to a minimum. Only provide session types you want to teach and make sure you can say your rates out loud with confidence. If you feel unsteady in asking for what you are worth call me! We can work together on this.

For more rates, advice check out our Group Classes course and our Rates, Revenue Streams and Raising your Rates course.

Pilates pro’s, I have said it before in my “Never Apologize” for your rates blog. And, I will say it again, You are so worth what you charge. And, the world needs Pilates instructors so you need to be able to make a living doing what you love: Teaching Pilates.

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

How to Keep Pilates Clients Coming Back

Pilates client retention is not always the first thing we want to think about when it comes to our Pilates business. In fact, in a perfect world, we wouldn’t even have to think about how to keep your Pilates clients. It would just happen, like magic. But aside from knowing how to teach the exercises, retaining clients is essential for maintaining a full schedule.

Clients do not grow on trees. And while Pilates should speak for itself there are some things we can and should do that will help our clients come back again and again, week after week. And, lucky for you, retaining clients is something that you have the most control in.

The truth is the cost of gaining a new customer is high! It’s so much easier to keep the clients you have coming back. Some of these tools are already in your hands.

  1. Client Packages: if they buy into a package they are now committed to you and Pilates for the remainder of that package
  2. Cancellation Policies: While these are usually in place to protect your time these policies also help the client stay accountable for their Pilates practice. This means they feel the results and they continue to show up
  3. Scheduling their Pilates in advance: If you find yourself asking clients when they are coming in next you may be risking losing a client to a busy schedule. Instead, “sell” the time slot they love to them. Make them schedule out in advance and this way they schedule their busy lives around their Pilates session with you.

We’ve discussed attracting new clients on the blog here before. And, even have a course dedicated to it. Client Retention has also made an appearance. And due to many emails, calls and Dm’s from our readers we went and made our Client Retention webinar an online course. So, now you can watch it when it’s the perfect time for you.

Try these tips and for more advice on client retention check out our latest online course “Client Retention” for your Pilates business.

xx~LL