So I speak from experience here as i’ve had over 30 years in the fitness and dance business; 25 of those years were as a pilates/yoga teacher, and just under 20 years of those were owning commercial studios. Here are just five of the many mistakes that i’ve learnt from over the years. I now offer consultancy to studios and teachers explaining were I felt I went wrong. Remember there are: “No winners and losers, but winners and learners’.
1.You will never please everyone, and not everyone is your customer. I see this with so many marketing campaigns and teachers. They are not specific on who their target client is and what they are actually marketing to them, apart from the words pilates or yoga. People buy services to solve problems. So if you’re promoting more flexibility, better sleep, reduce lower back pain, improve posture etc, this needs to be targeted in the marketing. Clients will hire you for one to one or come to your class based on reputation, availability, location and time. Set your hours of work and location, so if you are going to take Monday off, don’t then work on Monday as at this point you will become nothing but an underpaid busy fool rushing round from place to place people pleasing. Some clients will have unrealistic goals that you personally cannot give them, this could be anything from rapid weight loss, to becoming pain free plus being able to do walkovers for their 50th. Be honest with them and let them go if the vibe does not feel right. They will know it too, so let them go to another studio or teacher who meets their needs.
2 Like attracts like. Human beings are mainly visual learners. As a teacher you will attract clients based on your professional integrity and core values. Acting as a professional will put you in a position to meet clients were they are and help them to achieve their goals. This is not only a great honour but it’s a responsibility. You will be the first port of call for most injuries, problems, life events and social needs. You first need to be sure of your own core values, beliefs and goals before being able to help anyone else. So here is what law of attraction will bring you:
Like attracts like:
- If you look/dress/eat the way your potential clients/class would like to look, you will attract them.
- If your demeanour is likable to them, you will attract them.
- If your current clients see and feel rapid improvements from your pilates/yoga sessions and get the results they want, plus get positive feedback from friends and family, you will attract more clients.
3. It’ s fine to say ‘No’. As the saying goes: ‘Yes means nothing without saying No’. Know your boundaries and stick to them. Are you going to take calls/emails, text messages, whats app at weekends, holidays , after hours and during the day. Get everything in writing, setting your terms and conditions for your clients. Set your boundaries and you time with your family and friends. If a client does not comply and you feel you cannot work around the studio ethos, let them go – especially if they are draining you. It’s better to have one unhappy client than 20 by keeping the bad egg at your studio or class. What every therapist forgets is that the clients you lose becomes someone else clients. The clients you keep have come from someone else, so no right or wrong.
- If you have an abundance of energy and they don’t, you will attract them. This can be draining if they are not meeting you half way by turning up, and taking responsibility for themselves.
- If you are disciplined and they regularly see you exercising, and they have a hard time with discipline but know they need it, you will attract them. You need to be strict on their expectations , so if there are 168 hours in a week are they able to give you one hour a week? If not can they expect results? Are they wasting your time and energy and their time and money?
- If you manage your diet and body shape effectively and they have a hard time with food and their body shape, you will attract them. They may want you to do all the work, this is where helping them take baby steps that are realistic and sustainable will help long term change.
- If you are compassionate with your clients and they lack compassion in their lives, you will attract them. However there needs to be boundaries and honesty. When a clients speak negatively fo themselves or others it is actually a reflection of how they value their body and time.
- If you spend time listening to your clients and actually hear them, prospective clients will hear about you from others, and, feeling the need to be heard, you will attract them.
- If you are female and the prospective client is male, you are more likely to attract them. If you are male and the prospective client is female, you are more likely to attract them.
4. Charge what you’re worth. Teachers are most often either overworked and underpaid professionals or underworked and underpaid professionals trying to juggle their education, job, family, friends, and lives. Unfortunately, that means many of you are living the same kind of lives you were trying to get away from before becoming a teacher! There seems to be a common theme among the general public that exercise including pilates and yoga should be free or donation based. Most of the teachers I know are struggling to pay studio overheads and if they do not have a second job and if they are working free lance, they will be constantly unsure of what and when their next job will come. You would not pay peanuts to an experienced hairdresser so neither would you to an experienced yoga or pilates teacher. You only have to ask the priceless at a Toni and Guy salon to see their net worth of the hairdresser and who has the most experience and hours under their belt. Put value on what you do and clients will more likely get results, also putting value on their own body. Remember the world sees what you put out there and how you value yourself. Having said that, I make sure that every year I do offer free community class for everyone, it is good to give back of course.
5. Don’t do Groupon, Living Social, Class Pass and the list goes on. My experience is that it may work for large commercial studios initially making classes look big, but only a low percentage will actually stay and pay full price. Customers who usually use those platforms just jump from one offer to another. I never race to the bottom. I’ve seen studios and teachers offer free tasters to entice clients in and this is great, but believe me there is no value or incentive to turn up. The studio and teacher ends up with more problems. My experience is that the client wants to reschedule the free class to another time and they repeat the same behaviour again and again; thus, the cycle continues. People are constantly phoning or emailing me asking for free classes because they’ve received them from another studio. Well why did they not stay at that studio or with that teacher???
Interested in consultancy or teacher mentorship? Get in touch
Paul Chek blogs