Spring is For Sales!

Spring has officially sprung! The days are getting sunnier and longer, the weather is finally getting out of its wintry funk. But with spring can come a certain feeling of fear-have you done all you could have to build your business over the fall and winter, so it can flourish? Or, like so many of us, have you run into what can feel like an insurmountable brick wall in trying to draw new clients in? Well don’t fear-it happens to us all, and there are several ways around both the feeling and the problem.

We all know that it can be difficult to grow a business in New York City, especially for health and fitness professionals. With a crowded market place, fast paced lives and a schedule that can sometimes feel difficult to manage, it can feel impossible just to manage your own clients, let alone drawing new ones in. But trust me when I say that you want to focus on your growth in order for your business to start its climb to success!

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As anyone who has tried to build a business knows, perhaps the most difficult thing about the beginning stages are creating and maintaining a client base. It can feel time consuming, sometimes expensive, and even nigh upon impossible. But don’t fret yet-there are ways to grow your business that require a little patience and dedication, but that are ultimately simple and even free of charge!

In my latest Periscope, Planting the Seed of Sales, I take you through the beginning steps of authentically and organically growing your business. Start with list building, opt-ins and email providers, and before you know it, you’ll have a group of real people-no spam bots just for numbers and show-that have really, truly opted to view your content. Time and dedication are the keys to success-the paid ways to boost followers can feel instantly gratifying, but may not be the right decision in the long term.

Keep your eyes peeled for more biz tips and tricks from me, and more Periscopes taking deep dives into biz topics.

Content Is King

28 Day Biz Challenge: Day #10

The best type of marketing is the FREE kind! Use what your mama gave you and create some awesome, high value content to authentically market your biz! Use my ContentIsKing worksheet below to brainstorm some killer blog topics. Share your best one to get credit for today’s challenge. #transFORM

ContentIsKing

10 Biz

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Social Media Meltdown

 Day 8 of the FORM Pilates 28 Day Biz Challenge 

Today we’re talking Social media madness! Social Media Overwhelm? Check out Lindsay’s Vlog below about how to shake the SoMe blues, then share it on your favorite social media platform along with your single biggest takeaway.

Remember to use the hastag #transFORM and tag us @FORMPilates to get extra points

 

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Guest Post: Raise Your Standards

As Fitness and Health Professionals our top priority is to enhance the lives of others by sharing our wisdom and guiding them to achieve their goals. However, we’re also Business Women (and Men) and we have to make a living. An abundant living, at that! Why? Because we’re worth it.

If we wanted to work for free we would be volunteering. This is our livelihood and in order to successfully transform the lives of our clients, we must first transform our own to embody and exemplify what we teach. As a former Pilates Instructor and Personal Trainer (I am no longer in practice as I now focus solely on Health Coaching), I really struggled with sticking to the standards I set for myself. What do I mean? My rates were on a sliding scale and although I had clients sign an agreement form that if they cancelled within 24 hours of our session they would be charged, I never held them to it. I felt like I was doing them a favor by being understanding. That they would like me more because I cut them a break.

Unfortunately, this ended up hurting me more than doing me any good. Clients began to take advantage and would cancel at the last minute knowing I wasn’t going to charge them. I had set the precedent so I felt like I couldn’t go back and began to hold them accountable again. I created this monster! Now I was the one getting screwed out of money and my schedule was incredibly unpredictable.

I finally asked myself, “What am I doing?!” My passion was taking a nose dive and I felt walked all over. My realization was that “I AM WORTH MORE THAN THIS.” I knew I had to take massive action to raise the standards I had set for myself! And once I raised my own bar I could raise it for my clients too. You see, how we hold ourselves accountable and the level of self-love we show ourselves directly translates into our business. Our clients see and feel the vibration we give off. When we come from a place of loving and accepting ourselves fully, we inspire our clients to do the same.

For me, that meant that all of the new clientele I signed on received an overview of the Client Agreement highlighting the cancellation policy so they knew I meant business. I expressed that when we set appointments I expect them to show up, give me the courtesy of a 24 hour cancellation notice or they would be charged their full session price.

Once I set this new standard and held people to it, not only did they fall in line with the policy I set forth, but I started to feel a deeper sense of confidence! I realized that my wishy washy ways of the past reflected my insecurities about successfully running a business and charging premium prices for my services. I knew my skill set and my capabilities, but I had fear around others taking me seriously or believing that I was worth the rates I charged. I finally understood this was just self-doubt and bullshit stories I was telling myself!

The bottom line is this: You Are Worth It. You know what prices your services command and you deserve to be paid accordingly. You are completely justified in holding your clients to the standards you set forth at the beginning of your partnership. In order to grow successfully you must tap into your inner confidence and strength. Give yourself respect and love and you will receive respect and love back.
UntitledMarie Catelli, The Gut Guru, is a Holistic Health Coach guiding women to get to know their body and mind from a gut perspective. How you feel at any given time has everything to do with what’s going on in your gut. When you understand how this affects you in your every day life you are empowered and equipped to make informed decisions about what to eat, when to eat and how to eat. Learn how to trust your gut on a whole new level at www.mariecatelli.com.

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Guest Post: Setting Boundaries

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I’ve been an entrepreneur for the past 8 years, I’ve had 3 different businesses, and I’ve worked with hundreds of clients. When I first started out, I don’t even know if I used a client agreement {don’t tell my wife – she’s a lawyer}. As time went on, however, I learned more and more closely and clearly that setting boundaries in your business is ESSENTIAL to your sanity and success – and will actually improve your client’s experience working with you as well.

Let me explain. Think back to the last time someone got upset with you or you got upset with someone. In all likelihood, it’s because expectations were mismanaged. You expected something of someone and it didn’t happen or vice versa. You expected someone to be nice and they weren’t or someone expected you to be on time and you were 30 minutes late. And setting expectations go hand in hand with setting boundaries. When a client is disappointed, it’s often because she thought something was going to happen that didn’t — you were going to respond to her email more quickly, you were going to express more compassion when instead you went the tough love route — you get the picture.

The problem is is that when boundaries aren’t set, expectations aren’t clear and people start getting upset because they’ve set their own expectations without telling you what they are. Boundaries don’t limit you or your client; they actually allow for more space. Boundaries actually invite spaciousness into a relationship because they allow each person to be more of who they really are. Maybe you’re not an email person, but you’re all about offering text support. Let your clients know. Maybe you don’t check email on weekends. Let your clients know that too. What I actually do when I work with clients is that I send them the fancy schmancy client agreement with all the legal stuff, and then I send them an addendum with super clear, super straightforward – here is what I expect of you, here is what you should expect of me, and here is what you need to do to get the most out of this program. I kid you not – clients have actually THANKED me for giving this to them. People like to know what they should and shouldn’t expect from you. People like structure. People like boundaries. It’s just that the word “boundaries” has gotten a bit of a bad rap – because it sounds like we’re shutting people out and limiting access.

Imagine a fenced in yard. A dog in a fenced in yard is free to run wherever she wants to go. Boundaries create spaciousness for the dog. If there wasn’t a fence, she would be a leash because letting her run freely would in all likelihood be unsafe. Same goes for your relationship with your clients – boundaries create safety for both you and your client; you’ve clearly expressed what can and cannot be expected of you and your client will feel safer with you because you’ve set straightforward guidelines. It’s showing them that you respect yourself and that you care for them. You’ve put in the time and effort to get super clear and share how you want to help them. This may also empower them; a client who has no boundaries may come to rely on her coach to a detrimental degree, and lose faith in her ability to pick up her own pieces when necessary.

Now it’s best to set boundaries and expectations from the beginning; that said, if you’ve already started working with clients, and you know you’re long overdue for some serious boundary setting, it’s all good. First, get clear on what will and won’t work for you moving forward. Second, share how this new change will actually benefit your client and enhance her experience working with you. Then, get it in writing and send it to your client. Share that you’ve made these changes from a place of love and care. Most, if not all, of your clients will probably thank you for setting these new guidelines. And the ones who throw a tantrum? Perhaps it’s time to let them go. You’ve just shared with them what really and truly works for you and if that doesn’t work for them, then the relationship might not be meant to be.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Brene Brown:
“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.”

May you dance in the spaciousness of your new boundaries, and
celebrate the gift you’re giving to yourself and your clients.

 

JordanaJaffeJordana Jaffe is the co-founder of Magical Business Academy, a company she created with her wife, Gena. She works with women entrepreneurs and supports them in creating a business that fills both their hearts and their bank accounts. She believes that a successful business comes from allowing yourself to be exactly who you are and finding a way to make everything you do feel fun. Jordana’s superpowers include, but aren’t limited to, mapping out a super simple step-by-step plan of action for you (she loves spreadsheets), asking you the right questions so that you can uncover the answers that are already within you, and helping you design a business that highlights and celebrates your you-ness, which then magically attracts the people you’re meant to work with to you {since they’re finally clear on what you’re all about}. She is obsessed with creating communities, connecting people, chocolate chip ice cream and TGIT. You can connect with Jordana and over 1300 amazing women entrepreneurs in her free Facebook group, which she endearingly calls the magical playground, here: bit.ly/youaremagical

 

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Guest Post: I AM a Pilates Nerd. (The one who created the brand)

If you would have told me two years ago that I would create a ‘brand’ that would be distributed and wholesaled internationally, get picked up by a major Pilates retailer, and make people smile with knowing enthusiasm, I never would have believed you.

In fact, I would have been really scared to try.

 

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It all started with a logo, a blog idea, and one t-shirt. But even before that, it began with a declaration I read in a blog:

“Once you understand that there are problems just waiting to be solved, once you realize that you have all the tools and all the permission you need, then opportunities to contribute abound. No one is going to pick you. Pick yourself”.     – Seth Godin

Pick yourself.  What?

I’d have to say this idea of picking myself – of creating my own path, changed my thinking and how I see myself in the Pilates world.  Beyond teaching my own students, I hadn’t allowed myself to think I could offer more to the Pilates community.  But if you’ve ever sat down with a copy of Return to Life, you know that Joe Pilates’ discipline was all about pushing yourself.

I’ve been teaching Pilates for 16 years. Some of those years in the trenches were admittedly not my best work. I spent too much time comparing my teaching skills with others and defending my philosophies.

Now I think I wasted so much time not allowing other facets of my creativity come to light.

It turns out it was the shirt, especially the logo, that made an impact on people. What’s surprising is I wasn’t expecting to build a small apparel brand, but that’s what happened. Ultimately, connecting people who feel as passionate about Pilates I do, is the most satisfying part of Pilates Nerd.

While I write this I am knee deep in online orders, preparing another wholesale order, and getting ready for my first big Pilates conference as an exhibitor.  It’s overwhelming not just because of the crazy workload in addition to my teaching, but because there is so much about the apparel business I am still learning!

Believe it or not, I have yet to assert myself and make it widely known that I am, in fact the face behind the brand.

It’s daunting to admit that I created every shirt, every post, and every item.  Mainly because it’s scary to fail, scary to be judged, and scary not to have control. (Insert Contrology joke).

I think we were born to create, to move people and to connect with people. The challenge is finding our niche and following through. Part of the bigger picture is this: we get on the mat and apparatus week after week and you never know what you can do until you try…that’s half the fun of it. So, be patient and move through the fear.

“…Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.”

Thanks Mr. Pilates, that’s a quote to live by – body, mind and spirit – for sure!

image1Raised in upstate NY and now a Southern California local, Karen Ellis is the owner and director of Prana Pilates in Costa Mesa. She began her journey of movement in ballet, earned a BS from Indiana University and received an MFA from the University of California Irvine. After a professional ballet career in Boston concluded with injuries, a passion for healing the body and new career in Pilates was born.

In 2013 Karen created Pilates Nerd®, a company designed to celebrate Pilates through apparel, accessories and shared sentiments.  The simple goal of her idea is to generate enthusiasm for the benefits of Pilates and help connect people.

 

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What Is A Cooperative?

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Three years ago I took over a little Pilates studio in Union Square, called Union Square Pilates. I painted the walls, changed the name, and hung some art, and voila- FORM Pilates Union Square was born. I had absolutely no idea how things would evolve, butI wasn’t worried. I knew what I didn’t want- a factory like studio pumping out clients and controlling  what other teachers taught. I was clear on what I DID want- a studio to bring my clients to that was clean, happy, had a wonderful vibe, as well as a place where the Pilates community could come together instead of pushing each other apart.  So like one of my favorite quotes, “I dream because there is no other way I can see it happen” I dreamed big and boom- I saw it happen.

 

I first heard of the concept of a cooperative in the context of the grocery store, the Park Slope Coop. Members agree to work once every month in exchange for discounts on healthy fare. Very cool I thought and that planted a seed. Then through a woman’s networking group I heard about a shared workspace in the city called In Good Company. It was a place female entrepreneurs come to work, meet, and learn. Cut to two years into my owning FORM USQ and it kind of sounded like what I was inadvertently doing- renting out my space so other instructors could build and incubate their businesses under mine. I wanted a place we could be a community, so like they say, “your dream job does not exist you must create it”, and I did.

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The true definition of a cooperative is an autonomous group of persons who voluntarily cooperate for their mutual social, economic, and cultural benefit. People have been cooperating since the beginning of time. Tribes were organized as cooperative structures, allocating jobs and resources among each other. Bottom line is that cooperatives are a good thing, but why weren’t there any for Pilates instructors? Why were we being left out?

 

The daunting costs of NYC commercial rent, equipment prices, and the shear need for space to house a proper studio keeps wannabe Pilates soloprenuers from branching out on their own. In a sprawling metropolis like New York my colleagues needed a place to bring their clients and work out of. Notoriously divided, Pilates people can be snotty and pretentious. They can be afraid of sharing and living in a world of lack instead of embracing abundance. I refused to believe that’s all there is. What if you could come as you are, with the type of clients that “get” your style, and build a thriving business without going into a mountain of debt. No reason why not so, after months of building our new structure with my team, the FORM Pilates Cooperative was born.

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At FORM you can join our cooperative at one of two levels. As a Drop-In member who sees less than 10 clients a week but is looking to build, or as a Subscriber who already has a full practice, 15+ clients a week, but wants to maximize their time, profit, and diversify their revenue streams. As their fearless leader, I offer office hours, group coaching, and one-on-one consultations to help supplement the practical training we received in our certifications with business savvy. As a fully functioning Pilates studio, we also receive inquiries from potential clients and match them with their ideal Pilates instructor. The client can continue to shop around and work with several cooperative members or if it’s a match made in heaven, the teacher can take on the client as their own. This approach makes for both happy clients AND teachers.

 

We are excited to be the first Pilates Cooperative in NYC!

Want more info on how our cooperative works or an application to join our team? Email us today!

 

Guest Post: Pilates is Optional

Oh hey! Pilates is Optional. Ways I Make Myself Indispensable to My Business and Students

The author, Anula doing kneeling side kicks

The author, Anula doing kneeling side kicks

My mother always told me: "make yourself indispensable". She had a lot more motherly advice like "don't wear a shirt with a stain" or "its never too late to write a Thank You note", but being indispensable stuck with me with me over the years.

I came to Pilates from the Art world where fashion is fickle and a lowly assistant or a mega star can be replaced at a moment's notice. Its the typical NYC high anxiety, cut throat, competition one would find in any field. Lots of big fish in a small pond. The Pilates landscape can feel that way sometimes. But unlike opening a gallery in Chelsea opening a studio or working for one is more about knowing who you are and sticking to it. After all: teaching others to move well never goes out of style.

Here are some ways, in my opinion, to make sure I can't be easily replaced.

  • Remember: Pilates is optional!

There are millions of people who have lived full and rewarding lives without ever doing the Hundred not even once. So when someone comes to me, an "expert" on movement, I owe them something: honesty. Not only can clients go to dozens of other studios they can go to dozens of other fitness modalities (spinning, under water spinning, just jumping up and down in their living room...). Why am I stating the obvious? because even though I do believe Pilates can be for everyone, I, ME personally, am not. I am never afraid to tell a student who isn't "buying" the Method that seeing me is optional. I also don't like to miss represent my skill set. I am not a healer. I often say "sometimes Pilates will help with pain or discomfort and sometimes it won't" and that's OK.

  • Friendship Re-Defined

Am I friends with all my students? It feels that way sometimes. I check in periodically and ask: did I leave that session totally drained or did I leave rejuvenated and ready for the next? A draining dynamic can be "deadly". You know that friend who shows up and sucks all your energy and leaves? Yeah... No. If boundaries got blurred I am not afraid to re-set them. I don't shy away from asking my client to remind me of their goals or re-define those goals together as we go. That usually brings derailed sessions back on track. Same with personal friendships that may have lost their thread. Are we friends because we are helping each other grow or are we friends because we can't remember a time where we weren't? I learn something new from my students every day and I try to make sure they know that. No one likes to be taken for granted.

  • Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself - in group class

We all have off days and off classes. But overall, seeing me isn't a chore, teaching can't be either. For example: when an instructor walks into a group class and announces its their tenth class of the day and they are beat I kinda want to leave. The odds of me returning are slim even if the class was great. I try to watch why I say and the tone I use. I have a sarcastic personality which sometimes does not translate to all students especially in a group setting. But being bland isn't the answer either. Not everyone is going to "get" me so I try to be myself to a point. I am the first to admit sometimes I cross that point and am maybe too cheeky. Its good to remember that there is a section of the population who will go to any class because it fits their schedule and then there are those who make a special trip to MY class. 80/20 rule applies here. 80% be myself. 20% try to be normal.

  • The Rock Star Effect (you win some you lose some but try to win some)

The last and most important point: if my students do not leave classes/sessions feeling like rock stars I should have my Pilates badge taken away. I want to set people up for success however we decide to define it. If I don't hear the words "I feel so much better!" at the end of an hour, at least most of the time, I lost. I don't know how all instructors operate but I find myself walking down the street thinking of my students and what they came to me with. Fitness goals, aches and pains, serious injuries, pregnancies... all that "stuff". My students need someone to really hear them. That means knowing when to push harder and when to back off. When to introduce new concepts or exercises. And when to stop being nice and start getting real: the Real World - Pilates Edition.

 

10527594_10203606678301143_2643539730946280733_nAnula Maiberg was born in Israel and moved to NYC in 2001 in order to pursue a career in photography. While finishing her
degree at the School of Visual Arts she fell in love with Pilates through the classes and private sessions she took at Sixth Street Pilates. After college and a few years at a "desk" job she realized happiness wasn't in front of the computer screen. She decided to attended the Kane School for Core Integration to become fully certified on Pilates apparatus. After a few years of teaching she is now the co-owner (with Jeremy Laverdure) of Sixth Street Pilates where it all began. Anula also recently graduated the Kathy Grant Heritage Training in Denver led by Cara Reeser of Pilates Aligned.

 

 

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Guest Post: 3 Ways to Connect via Social Media (No Selfies Required)

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Selfies. Baby Pictures. Buzz Feed articles about which Disney character you’re likely to be if you turned into a cartoon. For many, social media seems overwhelming and self-centered. And for business owners, it can feel like one more task on an already overflowing “to do” list, but there’s hope!

 

When used well, social media is an incredible way to genuinely connect with your students and clients to help them achieve their life and fitness goals. Read on, to see how…

 

3 Ways to Authentically Connect with Your Ideal Clients:

 1- Post with Your Ideal Client in Mind: social media for business isn’t about you; it’s about them. Who’s your ideal client? What excites him/her? What are their biggest pain points and how can you help them reach their goals? Photos, videos, and blog posts that inspire and encourage them to take action, while inviting them to join you in the journey are a fantastic way to engage.

 

2-Social Media is Social for a Reason: People would not be on social media if they were not open to connect with new people, so don’t be shy about reaching out to someone new via Facebook, Twitter, or other networks. Start with something you genuinely appreciate about her. Maybe you liked a post she wrote or a photo she shared. Let her know, and she will almost always respond and reciprocate.

 

3-Quality Over Quantity: Posting a million times a day is not the answer. Consistency and high quality are much more important. The amount of posting varies based on network and ideal client, but in general, daily posting is preferable and photos, short videos, and quotes that provide high quality content receive more engagement.

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About Jacqueline:

 

Jacqueline Boone is a Business & Digital Marketing Consultant and the Creator of the online publication & web series, 6 Months to Live. She specializes in working with mission-driven entrepreneurs (or soon-to-be entrepreneurs) and small businesses that want to make a profound impact on a global scale and teaches them strategies to expand quickly.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Jacqueline at

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Free Tools For Your Pilates Biz

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Let’s face it. Being a one person show and running all the parts of your business is tough and pretty overwhelming. If you’re just starting out you may not have the budget for hiring help, but that doesn’t mean you don’t still need it. Below is my list of 10 free, that’s right completely gratis, online tools to help you run the production that is your business smoothly just like a baby’s bottom: 

1-Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a social media dashboard meant to manage and measure your social networks. Link your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ accounts, schedule posts, and review analytics all in one place. I’ve been using it for a couple years now, it has completely streamlined my social media posting. Who needs a social media team when you have Hootsuite! Click this link and get 30 day trial of the pro version for free!

2-Basecamp

If you have multiple projects and team members that work remotely, Basecamp is your new BFF. Use it as a communication tool that will save your in-box, organize files all in one spot, create to-do lists for yourself and your team (to insure that no one is doing the same thing twice), and utilize their calendar to plan out the trajectory of your ideas. I’ve used both the free and paid version of this project management software and found it invaluable for keeping all the moving pieces of my business organized.

3- Google

This one is just a no brainer. Google is a startups most useful tool. They’ll hook you up with the ability to create documents, save them in a storage drive, whip up spreadsheets, chat via video on their hangouts, save you the cost of a research assistant with the their search engine, chat it up with G-chat, wrangle your schedule with their calendar, and of course- Gmail. This whole enchilada could cost you hundreds of dollars. Google’s giving it away free, don’t miss out.

 4-Appointlet

As if basic Google services weren’t enough, Appointlet, an online appointment-scheduling app, takes your Google calendar to the next level. Clients can confirm, decline, cancel, or reschedule their sessions all on their own. You can even add it to your website to make it easier for them to find and schedule with you. The free version is good, but for $10 more a month you can use it with PayPall to collect payment as well. Hello more free time and less scheduling missteps plus a waaay more cost-effective option than the beast that is MindBody when you’re starting out.

 5-Spotify

There’s nothing worse than sitting down to work in a crowded coffee shop only to have to sit through someone’s grotesque story of how they ate a bad oyster and was up puking all night. Yuck! Suddenly you’ve completely lost the stomach for getting anything done. Turn on Spotify, plug in your headphones, and tune out the world. I also use the paid version to float some chill tunes in the studio sans commercials. I prefer Spotify to Pandora because you can make your own playlists, download whole albums, and listen even when you’re offline (with the paid version).

 6-LinkedIn

You might be wondering why LinkedIn is on this list? Well, while Facebook, Twitter, and the Insta are great for building relationships with potential clients, what about the relationships you need with your peers? LinkedIn is a fantastic free resource for Pilates teachers or business owners that need advice on anything from how to deal with a difficult client to how to find the best insurance rate for your needs.

 7-Dropbox

Ever try to send an email with an attachment or a picture only to tear your hair out when it keeps getting returned over and over again? Or maybe you’ve wanted to share a extra large file or keep all your docs in one place for you and your team to view. Dropbox is perfect for all of that. Get 2 GB for free which is probably more than you’ll ever need.

 8-SCORE

SCORE is a nonprofit association, supported by the Small Business Administration, dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow, and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. Visit their office or find a volunteer mentor right on their site for answers to your questions, or take advantage of their free templates and tools. They have everything from business plan forms, to financial templates, and more.

 9-Square

Square, a payment processing application for iPhones or iPads, offers a wallet app for mobile transactions and a register app for a virtual cash register. With Square you can track sales, tax, top purchasing clients, and more. You only pay when you sell and there’s no fee to sign up. Bring your business into the 21st century and start taking credit cards for those big packages. In my experience once I started taking cards my sales went up almost 50%.

 10-NutshellMail

For all of you who are feeling overwhelmed trying to keep up with your social media feeds help is on the way! NutshellMail, owned by Constant Contact, sends you email snapshots of your chosen social networking accounts. Get free updates from your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp, MySpace, YouTube, Foursquare, and Citysearch as often as you wish. Easy breezy.

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