How Going Out On My Own Changed My Life

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It’s a fact- I am the more adventurous type. I chose the performing world despite my parents’ request to do something more stable. I left home at 17 and moved to Hawaii for a boy and ended up being a showgirl. I had my own little business as soon as I could afford a reformer that I stuck in my dining room. Despite all my boldness, three years ago I found myself working for the man in a glass fishbowl I affectionately called the, “Pilates Prison”.  I was a 30-something, unemployed professional dancer with a torn hamstring, things were feeling way more scary than exciting. It was right about that time that I got an offer that changed my life.

As luck would have it, unbeknown to the Pilates Prison Police, I acquired some private clients from a dear friend that left the city for warmer climes. I found a studio in Union Square that would rent to me and started my own thing. Over time the Prison became jealous and suspicious that my little one man show somehow hindered its multimillion dollar empire. I tried to leave, they asked me to stay, and reluctantly I did- big mistake. Eventually what is a long drawn out story that really should be told while enjoying some alcohol- I was forced to resign. Yes please. F@*k you very much.

On my own and flying free was a little like riding a bike for me. I jumped in and built up my private clientele to 5 clients 5 days a week. A solid practice. I was doing what I was good at surviving but who wants to just exist right? My hamstring healed and I desperately tried to regain what once was and the gods responded- YOU WILL NOT KICK BALL CHANGE ANYMORE YOU WILL TAKE OVER THIS PILATES STUDIO!!! The owner of said studio was moving away, was I interested in taking over? I was shocked that an opportunity like this could just land at my feet and during a time when my head was filled with, “what’s next”. Was someone listening in? Apparently so.

What was a difficult decision was followed by many more obstacles, like finding financing and getting new equipment, but ultimately everything worked out. Here I am 3 years later helping other teachers break out of their “Pilates Prisons” and find the business of their dreams. I would never have thought, back in the days of wearing a g-string and a head-dress on the showgirl stage that I would be doing some of the most fulfilling work of my life (and that it wouldn’t be while dancing). Being willing to jump at the opportunity that was presented to me, and taking a leap brought me to where I needed to be. Playing it safe never brought greatness. What are you holding yourself back from and what steps can you take to play big today? 

The crew at FORM wants to help you have to safe space to land when you take your big leap. Enter your info below and take the first step on going out on your own! 

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Guest Post: How to Grow Your Business Through Speaking

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Ask any new business owner what her biggest challenge is and chances are she will say “finding clients.”

Now, ask that same business owner how she is marketing her business to prospective clients and you’ll get a range of answers: social media, networking events, email marketing, word of mouth referrals and more.

One marketing tool that’s often left off the list is public speaking. With thousands of events happening daily, public speaking is a great opportunity to attract more clients, develop your personal brand and take your business to the next level.

Here are a few ways, speaking can grow your business:

  •  Establish credibility – By speaking at events, both in-person and online, you become a thought leader in your industry. You’ve received an endorsement from the organization you are speaking to, which gives you a competitive edge.
  •  Increase visibility – Speaking at events exposes you to new groups of people, thereby expanding your reach. It also allows you an opportunity to speak to a large group of people at once rather than speaking to people individually.
  •  Create connection – Sharing your story creates authenticity and helps to build the “know, like and trust” factor. When people experience your knowledge and expertise first-hand, they are more likely to buy from you.

You don’t have to have a seven-figure business or be a best-selling author to land speaking opportunities. So what are you waiting for? The time is now to start thinking about how to get booked to speak and grow your business.

Want to learn more about how to land speaking gigs? Join me and Lindsay Lopez at the Biz-nass Social on May 30. Click here for more info and to register for the event!

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Regina D’Alesio is a lifelong storyteller with a passion for helping others share their stories with impact. She helps entrepreneurs craft a signature talk and land more speaking opportunities to grow their businesses. Sign up for free weekly speaking and business tips at www.reginadalesio.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s Your Mind That Builds Your Money

 

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An interviewer recently asked me, “What’s the biggest issue you see when it comes to people and their money goals?” and without skipping a beat, I replied, “Resistance.”

I know with Pilates and other forms of fitness, resistance is often a good thing — it helps to strengthen, burn calories and build muscle.  Bring it on! However, when it comes to money matters, resistance translates to procrastination, avoidance or just plain denial

In many ways, having a money goal (like getting out of debt, sticking to a budget, saving more, or raising your rates) is not that much different than starting a new exercise plan or diet.  We start with good intentions and lots of motivation. But before we know it, we fall back into old habits and resist making any real changes.

We may know, deep inside, that we need to get out of debt, stick to a budget, save more, raise our rates, etc.– just like we know that we need to exercise regularly and eat kale.  If we could just get ourselves to do it…but, much to Oprah’s dismay, when we know better, we don’t always do better.

The interviewer was surprised by my answer. She thought that I would have said something more obvious like personal debt or underearning, but in my opinion, those are just symptoms of the real issue.

The real issue is that people don’t have the right money mindset.  When it comes to money, more often than not it’s we’ve inherited an underlying money story from our parents or other authority figures in our lives that have caused us to look at money in a negative light. Rather than view money as something that comes naturally to us and something we want to take care of, people tend to see money from a perspective of lack and scarcity, or use it to mask deeper feelings of fear or inadequacy.  We see finances as too overwhelming, complex, over our heads, boring, etc. that we want nothing to do with them, and would gladly hand the responsibility over to someone else.  Hence, the resistance.

But the question is what can you do about it? 

Developing a healthier money mindset is similar to training a new muscle.  But in this case, the muscle you are flexing is your brain.

Here are a few tips to get you to think about your finances differently so you can begin to tackle all those money goals, break through your resistance, and create the life and business you’ve been dreaming about:

  • Look at Money Story. Begin by noticing what you are telling yourself about money and identifying the stories or belief systems you might have you inherited as a child about money (and work). Did you always hear that there was “never enough money?”  Was money is your household tied to work that was stressful or unappealing? Or was it something that easily flowed in and out of your household?
  • Find alternate evidence.  Whatever negative story you might have inherited, start looking for evidence that proves otherwise.  For example, if you were always told that one could only make a decent living by working a 9-5 corporate job or becoming a lawyer or doctor, find examples of people who became successful by other means, say, through entrepreneurship or creative pursuits. If you were always given the impression that women were not good with money, find examples of females who rocked their finances or career, like Jean Chatsky or Amanda Steinberg.  By finding alternate evidence, you can start to create a new money story that works better for you and brings you closer to the goals you want to accomplish.
  • Change your language. There’s power in words.  Catch yourself whenever you find yourself using negative language when saying things like “should” “have to” “can’t.”  Instead, practice replacing those words with “choose” and “decide” (e.g., I should save more > I chose to save more; I have to keep my rates where they are > I decide to keep my rates where they are) etc. Recognizing that you always have choices will help you start seeing your money goals as empowering rather than as a sacrifice.

And remember, be patient!  Joseph Pilates once said, “Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.”  Our money stories run deep, so be patient with yourself and trust that a new money mindset is something you too can achieve.

 

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Jennifer Faherty is a Martha Beck Life Coach and Certified Financial Planner who loves helping people save and spend freely.  Sign up for more money tips at www.redbirdpartners.com and you’ll also receive a free copy of ‘The Mindful Money Tracker” — the one step you need BEFORE you start budgeting.  

 

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Girl Power: The 4 Ways Women Are Born To Be In Business

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Let’s just face it. Men and women are well- different. Besides the obvious, ahem, anatomy dissimilarity, each sex sees life distinctly their own way. As a female, I have been told that men are just “better” at certain things than women. One of was starting and succeeding in business. This left me pining, “ but, I have a vision! I have a plan! I can be a business (wo)man too!” Not to be discouraged, I ignored their red lights and forged ahead. Good thing I did because the truth is men are not better at business- just different. In fact, it turns out we women are made with some innate qualities that may make all the boys jealous of our entrepreneurial prowess. Below are a list of my favorite ways we’re born to be in business:

  1. We ask for help. You know the old saying, “Woman ask for directions, men don’t”? Well it’s kinda true. Women don’t have the same hang-ups about raising the white flag- finding a friend, a professional, or a therapist to help them in whatever they need. This is particularly helpful in a start-up, where mistakes are many and funding is not. Women are also usually more humble and apt to share credit where credit is due. Plus- the old perfectionist in us, that constantly second guesses, may end up being more a strength than a liability. It helps us think things over and avoid making rash judgments.
  2. We listen to our gut. Our sixth sense, or intuition is one of the more powerful of our feminine wiles. When we get that imagesfeeling that something is just right, or rather really wrong, we have an otherworldly advantage. As women, we can use our intuition to our benefit from anything to hiring staff, to picking out your brand’s logo. We also have the upper hand when it comes to deciding to partner (or not partner) in projects, business deals, or even picking allies.
  3. We are better connectors. All those years gossiping in Algebra class were good training for something. In general women like to talk, connect, and leverage our relationships. We’ll make allies at every conference, networking group, and meet up and actually follow up. It’s this vulnerability with courting strangers that can foster stronger working relationships and make for some awesome cross promotion, strategic partnerships, and let’s face it- some great happy hours.
  4. We value work/life balance. Back in the day it was all, “You can’t have it all. You have to pick- a career OR a family”, and while we realize that there are sacrifices to trying to have a life outside of the office we appreciate the need to have it. Our desire to have more actually makes us better. We take days off when needed, see friends, nurture our love life, and take trips around the world. This rejuvenates our us mind, body, soul, and by proxy our business.

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Want more guidance for your Pilates Biz? make Join us Friday March 11th, 2016 for The Biznass Social! The Social features an inspirational speaker from the health and wellness community. After digesting all that knowledge guests get valuable free advice from the social in small group coaching. We give what our community craves most- connection, advice, and accountability for their biznass in person in the heart of NYC or via the web with a live webstream. This month theme is Crack The Code: Common Pilates Studio Challenges and How to Solve Them! Don’t delay! Grab your ticket and we’ll see you at the Social!

 

10 Traits Every Successful Entrepreneur Must Posses. Do You Have What It Takes?

JAY_SULLIVAN_PHOTOGRAPHER_B8P3908Can I vent for just a quick sec? If I hear another person say, “I want to have my own business to finally make some money”,  I just might scream (well, maybe not scream but roll my eyes at least;). PEOPLE- going into business for yourself is NOT like hitting it big in Vegas. It’s actually a looong road of life lessons, disappointments, victories, surprises, mis-steps, losses, and wins. It is NOT for the faint of heart, the overly cautious, or the nervous Nancy. Now, my intention here is not to discourage you from your dreams of having a Pilates empire, but instead to inspire you to do a heart check. Are you in this for the fame and fortune or because your heart might just burst if you don’t get to bring your dream to the world? If you are in the last category here’s my list of qualities you can nurture to kill it as an entrepreneur:

  1.  You’re a natural born bossy pants. You were the kid in school who was always picked first to be president. You like being a leader, pointing the way, inspiring others to be their best selves. Being a boss means well, you’ll likely have to “boss” other people. If helping others reach their full potential gives you chills (in a good way) then you have #1 covered.
  2. You have ants in your pants. I know this article is starting to sound a little junior but bare with me here. The hard truth about being in business for yourself is it’s well, lonely. No one else is setting your goals, keeping you accountable, motivating you to get out of your comfy bed every day. To be successful as an entrepreneur you’ll have to be naturally self-motived. There’s no one to answer to except yourself. Make sure you’re ready for the job of being a daily cheerleader for yourself.
  3. You’re tough. While you’ll have many amazing victories and a-ha moments growing and building your business, things can definitely get hairy from time to time. If you’re faint of heart and find yourself raising the white flag of surrender under the first signs of duress, you might be in trouble here. Entrepreneurship is a marathon not a race. You have to be in it for the long haul and that takes resilience. Toughen up your skin and you have a chance at success.
  4. You squeal, beam, speak emphatically and wave your hands widely when talking about your business. Going into business for the money will leave you sadly mistaken. Going into business because you are so passionate and excited about what you do- will give you a fighting chance. Passion smells like a sweet perfume, desperation reeks like that cheap drug-store crap. People will literally smell your authenticity and fire for what you do. If you are in love with what you do- “your milkshake is sure to bring all the boys to the yard”.
  5. You know what you want and you go for it. This goes back to #2- it’s usually just you, yourself, and well- you running the show that is your business. If you have trouble making decisions you might want to take a good look at why. Do you want everyone to like you? Do you have fear associated with making the wrong decisions? I will let you in on a little secret: you ARE going to make mistakes while trying to manage your company. That’s just how you learn. Do we not fall when we try to walk??? Seriously, you have to be able to make judgments without tearing your hair out ‘cause there’s gonna be lots of decisions to be made and we like your hair. traits-of-entrepreneur-BL-pan_12358
  6. You’ve got balls (or ovaries if you prefer) Fear is normal when starting a venture on your own, but when it is crippling and keeps you from what you need to do it’s a major weak spot in your persona. Listen, I wasn’t always this tough broad that I am today. I had to learn to put my big girl panties on and stand up for myself. While it wasn’t easy it was one of THE most important things I needed to master to be successful with my endeavors. I grew my cajones, and so can you. Here’s how I did it if you wanna know…
  7. You can touch your toes literally and figuratively. I often find myself comparing my business to a roller coaster ride. While its twists and turns can be pretty thrilling it’s also quite terrifying going up, around, and upside down when you least expect it. If you get freaked out easily when your day suddenly turns course, you might have to adjust your expectations of having your own business. Being flexible with the ever changing needs of your business is a must.
  8. You could sell ice to an eskimo. As yucky as it may sound- selling your service, product, and your self is part of having your own gig. You don’t have the machine of a big studio or gym behind you to procure clients to work with- you gotta do it yourself. Luckily selling doesn’t have to be sleazy. Find your authentic voice and focus on finding your tribe of peeps that want just what you have to give. Then don’t be shy- and shout it from the rooftops!
  9. You can stand on one leg while riding the subway. Striving for work/life balance is probably one of the greatest mysteries of entrepreneur-dom. You don’t have set shifts. No paid vacations or lunch hours. It’s up to you to unplug and take time away from your business. Busy-ness can be an addiction, and obsession with your biz will create burnout. Don’t let your organization suffer from your fixation. Take breaks and live well.
  10. You walk the road less traveled. Contrary to popular belief- business, branding, and marketing are creative endeavors. Being original and uniquely you takes some right brain power. Anybody can find someone with a similar business, and model (or copy) it almost identically. First, not only is that illegal but no one likes a copy-peacock, including your potential clients! Be careful not to spend too much time looking at your competitor’s websites or branding materials. Think outside of the box. Color outside of the lines. This is essential for the success of your work.

Don’t have what it takes just yet? Don’t fret my pet! Business, like life is a learning curve. Don’t wait until you are “ready” to start working for you! Start today! You will probably never feel like you have it all in place, but at least you’ll be moving forward. Move forward fearlessly and don’t give up on your dreams! You will be glad you did!

 

Ask Lindsay- Big Biz Problems

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My business is growing rapidly, which I know is a good problem to have. I just don’t know which area to focus my expansion on first. ~Busy Business in Manhattan

 

 

I picked this question not just because it’s something that inevitably every successful entrepreneur deals with, but also because it’s something I’m dealing with myself these days. Growth is good, but also fated. In the infancy of such an undertaking everything is shiny and new. Every little step it takes and every new client makes you beam like a proud mama, but like every baby it grows, and GROWS. Suddenly, your life is spinning and each day you have new experiences, ideas, and well, stressors. Let me share with you what I’ve learned about bringing up a business…

Follow The Money

If you ever find yourself scratching your head as to which brilliant idea you should pounce on first….focus on the thing that makes you the most moola. Look at all of your revenue streams (private, duet, mat class, products) and determine which are bringing in the big bucks. How do you find out such things Ms. Lindsay? Tracking and analytics, my dear. Mindbody software has reports that are helpful, or if you use Quickbooks that’ll work too. If you have yet to invest in business or accounting software (the former I recommend immensely) start keeping track on a spreadsheet or notebook. While numbers are pretty banal, they are the key to a successful decision. If you don’t know what is making you money you can’t mirror that. Conversely, you can spend a good chunk of cash on a new offering or idea only to see it fail horribly.  Your now empty pocketbook could have been avoided if you just kept simple records.

Map It Out

A wish without a plan is just a dream (simply click to tweet;) Jumping into a new idea just because it gives you butterflies in your belly does NOT constitute great business decision. Write out the full idea and then seek advice. Clarify your ideal client for said offering and then poll or survey them specifically. You’ll either gain insight on how to tweek your idea to make it fit or even the foresight to trash it and head back to the drawing board. The best news is this fact finding mission doesn’t have to be costly. Use a free survey service like Survey Monkey to send your questions out professionally. Consider offering an incentive for filling it out like a discount or even the chance to win a free session.

Move Forward Fearlessly

In the end, all the preparation in the world will not guarantee a happy ending. “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” You’ll still need to test drive your idea with toes and fingers crossed, (maybe even pray a little) and then…let it go. There are no promises in business and in life, but being prepared for when the luck finds you will assure you are ready for your turn! Move forward fearlessly, and know that entrepreneurs all over the world are doing the same thing!

Need more clarity figuring out which way to grow your business? Book your FREE 30min session with me here. I can help you raise your baby biz just right!

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Ask Lindsay- Not Getting Techy With It

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“I think I was born in the wrong decade. I am the opposite of tech savvy and I freeze at any tech problem, whether it’s accounting, scheduling, or setup. Help!”

 ~Technically Challenged in NYC

 

I picked this question, not because I too loathe anything technical (I’m actually freakishly good at this stuff!), but because I know I am an anomaly. While the rest of you cringe and fidget at the mere thought of getting technical, I have some simple and effective tips to bring you into this day and age.

 Tip #1 

Know what you’re good at. Maybe you’re a wiz at marketing or get excited at the prospect of balancing your books. That’s your wheelhouse, and exactly where you should be hanging out. As a business owner, you want to spend your time wisely (remember that time is money). Doing things that you like to do AND that you are good at will keep your spirits up and be the best use of your boss juice. We have an unrealistic need to be good at all things (ahem, perfectionism), which leads me to #2…

Tip #2

Know what you’re NOT good at. If you hate doing something, if it takes you hours (even days) to put a dent in a task, if you’re hair is getting patchy from you pulling it out….HIRE SOMEONE TO DO IT! I know what it’s like to be a one woman show, I did it for SO long, and it can be challenging to hand things over to someone else. The thing is, you’re NOT being productive and helping build your business when you are spending all this time trying to put a square peg in a round hole. YOU are a square peg, my dear and you are never going to fit in that round person’s hole….(maybe a little graphic but you get the picture). If you’re worried about the money it’ll take to hire out, get creative. Maybe you have a relative that can help you out at a discount? Maybe you can barter? Pilates for website design? Babysitting for accounting help? Start asking and you’ll be surprised what help will come to your aid.

 Tip #3

Know what you can learn to be decent at. There are those things that are impossible to learn, those things that are easy to learn, and then there are those things that can be taught. Find an expert who specializes in teaching people, not just doing it themselves. For example make sure you build your website on a platform you can update on your own and learn how to do it. You might not be able to do the heavy lifting but at least you can do the basic day-to-day stuff. Have you always been good with numbers but you don’t quite understand the accounting software you’re using? Have your accountant or bookkeeper sit down and walk you through it. Still strapped for cash but eager to learn? There’s always the world’s best free research assistant…Google. You can learn almost anything with a Google search and Youtube video. If it’s something you think you can tackle try your hand at learning it.

My mentor and biz-nass guru Marie Forleo always says, “Everything is figure-out-able”. You’re smart, you’re an entrepreneur, you’re a bad-ass. Go out there and conquer the tough stuff by doing what’s right for you. I promise you’ll be happier for it.

Got a burning biz-nass question? Leave it in the comments below I’ll give you the A to your Q!

Not quite sure if you’re ready to get your coaching on? Enter your deets here and let’s stay in touch!

 

Suffering From Failure Phobia? Here’s Your Cure

Wondering if I know Pilates Instructors? I mean really know them? I’ve been living and breathing Pilates for over 10 years now. I hold two certifications, have worked in more studios than I can count on two hands, taught out of a little home studio, and eventually inherited an 850 sq foot Pilates studio in the heart of Manhattan. I am an instructor, some of my best friends are instructors, and I work with said instructors all week. Hell yeah, I KNOW Pilates instructors! Which is why, being so close to my industry, I see the struggles and needs of these teachers daily.

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I know its a specific type of person that becomes a teacher, especially a good one. Guiding others is for the giving, self-less, and compassionate. Sometimes though, these same trainers strengths can also be their weaknesses. The good characteristics can go bad- like being people pleasers, conflict avoiders, and, (ek!) martyrs. Nearly all the instructors I’ve encountered while mentoring and guiding on how to run their businesses, love the teaching but loathe anything that eludes to business. They would rather just stick their heads in the springs than market their practice or (eek!) sell anything. There are a handful of us that find creativity and joy in having a little business baby and seeing grow, but not many, and mostly not by choice. Why then do the majority of instructors think they’re alone in feeling like a business disaster? My hunch is we are afraid. More specifically- afraid of failure. How the heck did we become this way and how do we heal? Read on my little Pilates fanatic, read on.

Stereotypes, while somewhat biased, are often true. Forgive me while I wax poetic about the origin of a Pilates Instructor. We come from movement backgrounds- the dancer, the gymnast, the athlete are our tribe. We know what it’s like to be in our body, push ourselves beyond what’s comfortable, and what it’s like when we break. We learned at an early age that excellence requires revery and direction following- we will do whatever our coach, teacher, or choreographer says to achieve our dreams. We would never think of talking back or disagreeing with the status quo. We are good little soliders, which in turn makes us good little teachers because we learn quickly and practice for perfection despite the fact it doesn’t exist. These are the qualities required to become a pro-athlete or professional dancer, but not ideal traits for the successful entrepreneur. Never fret! Even though we spent our years in ballet or baseball instead of getting our MBA, we are smart, we are creative, we are adaptable, we know how to hustle.

So this is the deal- you can work in a studio or venture out on your own, but to be successful you’re gonna need skills other than knowing the difference between internal and external obliques or 100 ways to use a magic circle. This is what successful people do differently….

#1 Believe Perfectionism is a Prison

Although it may be obvious- we all do it. Unfortunately there is no such thing as perfection. It’s a nirvana you’ll never reach. A fictional planet in a universe far, far, away. The quicker you can get used to being human, the quicker you can start forgiving your imperfections and get free! In business, perfectionism is death. Do you think that Thomas Edison never failed when creating electricity? Pshaw! I would be writing this in the dark if he stopped when he thought it wouldn’t be perfect. Joe Pilates himself must of scratched at least a blueprint or two of his inventions before he settled on the reformer. Would you ever not teach a client an exercise because they couldn’t do it perfectly? I. Don’t. Think. So. Why would you do it when you’re making business decisions then? Allow yourself to brainstorm new classes or offerings. Step outside your comfort zone, create something new. It will feel funky. There will be failure, it will be imperfect and that’s just perfect.

#2 Just Do it

Time after time I hear clients and instructors hemming and hawing over what their niche should be or what they should name their business. While a certain amount of contemplation is necessary for finding your north star, months and months of it will get you no where fast. This behavior, commonly known as procrastination, can suck the life out of any dream you might have. Even if you’re afraid of making mistakes (see #1)- just do it. Do something- anything. Make a bold choice even if you end up with egg on your face and your pants around your ankles. This is how you make things happen…by doing.

#3 Above all keep it moving

Once you start moving forward, keep it moving! Forward momentum will create a breeze in the universe that will carry you on, but you have to initiate it. A body in motion stays in motion.

 #4 Set a goal, pick a path, 

I can’t stress enough how much goal setting is an integral part of being successful. Sitting down to work without a plan is like taking a trip to a new place without a map. You’re gonna get lost. Lost in FB, lost in your inbox. Get organized. Pick like 3 things to get done that day, and then (like #2) Just do it! Sit down and eat your greens! Once your plate is clear then reward yourself for the good work. (Chocolate is my fav but Mani and pedis are always nice;)

 #5 Keep Moving Forward- No Matter What

I wise man once said, “Patience and Persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.” Pilates kept keeping on and now you can make a living teaching what he designed. Don’t let down Joe. Keep going, be patient, you’re worth it!

Need more than just 5 tips to quell that fear and get you and your business to where it needs to be? Get a FREE 30 min consult with yours truly. Whadda ya waiting for? Schedule it today.

Not quite sure if you’re ready to get your coaching on? Enter your deets here and let’s stay in touch!

Ask Lindsay: Are your clients your BFFs? Then you HAVE to read this…

Me and my client Lisa at a Vegan Supper Club photo courtesy of Pure Wow

My Client Lisa and I at a Vegan Supper Club
           photo courtesy of Pure Wow

 

Dear Lindsay-

How do you keep a professional relationship between you and your client? Is it dangerous to become friends with them, especially when it’s time for them to pay you?

 

 

I will admit that I’m one of the luckiest Pilates instructors I know. I have made a living working with, shaping, and guiding bodies that just happen to be amazing people and yes- some of my best friends. Maybe it’s because my first studio was in my home, where I’d serve up coffee in the am and appertifs at night, but my clients like to hang out after their sessions and I don’t mind because well- we like each other. I have made life-long friends that I see inside the studio and out with no bad-juju kinda breakups to date. Sounds too good to be true? Well honey, whether you are dreaming of having such customers or maybe are already buddy buddy with your regulars, read on to keep the good keeping on. Here’s how:

Set Boundaries

A relationship, including the one with the body in front of you, must have limits. When you bring a new client into your practice and life, make sure they know the rules of the road before the proverbial shit hits the fan. In a professional business transaction there is always a contract, both verbal AND written. Your policies need to be in writing. Talk them over with your client, have them sign off on them, don’t be afraid to remind them nicely, and then…here’s the kicker – STICK TO THEM! They will respect you for it if they’re the real deal, which leads me to my next point…

Know Your Match

In the ugly land of scarcity the motto is, every man for themselves. There may not be enough so grab what you can and hold on tight!!! In a broader more expansive universe (that exists when you stop being afraid of losing every client), there are more than enough prospects to go around. Imagine there are abundant resources, you get to PICK your clients! Crazy concept, I know, but it is true. It’s what I’ve been doing for years now. If I meet a client that gives me a hard time, orders me around, tries to not pay me, or shows up late they get a slap on the wrist. If they continue the unwanted behavior, I simply show them the door. This no-nonsense approach to my business has kept away the blood-suckers and brought me peeps that make my day. YOU TOO can have this. Start to imagine your ideal client and manifest them!!! What you focus on persists so focus on what you want not what you don’t.

FORM instructor Alissa Alter and BFF/client Abbey Matson

FORM instructor Alissa Alter and BFF/client Abbey Matson

 Be Real

Let’s face it, not every client is going to get the other half of your best friend necklace, and they don’t have to. Feigning affection for every client makes you inauthentic and people can smell it a mile away. You don’t have to kiss ass to obtain or maintain clients- you just have to be you. The right clients will like you for who you are and NOT for how much you love them. They will respect the great teaching you’re doing and all that they are learning, not necessarily all the compliments or back rubs.

So to recap- having bestie clients is cool IF you are tough enough to not lose yourself. Stay true to who you are as a person and whatever rules you’ve set in place. Remember you’ll only have yourself to blame if your new favorite client skips out on her sesh last minute or writes you a bad check. Pick your clients carefully, and your friends even more wisely.

Maybe you have more questions about how to deal with clients and make your business rock? Sign-up for a FREE 30 min consult with me and get a plan to have the business of your dreams! Don’t delay…it today!

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Ask Lindsay- Marketing Spells You Can Cast

0How do I get more clients through the doors of my studio? My studio is fairly new; we opened in February and while I’m excited by the growth that we’ve seen already, I want more! Can you please share how you’ve made your studio a success?! What were some of the pivotal decisions you made that helped to drive up your clientele? My retention rate has been good, and I am confident in my skills as an instructor, but I need your help on how to infiltrate my market and create a strong community of lifers!  ~Anonymous, New York

Getting people in your doors (or on your mat) can be tough when you’re just starting out. Over the past 10 years of my practice I’ve built (and re-built after various moves), from just a handful of loyal clients to today’s bustling studio with a wait list for new clients. Sadly, there’s no magic to my process, just hard work, consistency, faith, and LOADS of patience. Allow me to be your fairy princess of marketing. Here are four spells you can cast on your market to drum up some interest in your Pilates practice:

  1.  Do That Voodoo That You Do So Well The first step is to concentrate on the clients you already have. What can you do to make them absolutely fall in love with you? How can you make their experience like none other so that they gush to their friends and family about how ah-maz-ing you are? Check up on them after your session together. Make them a little homework video. Throw them a party in appreciation and ask them to bring their friends. Offer them a free TY session for referring you to their sister. I’ve gotten 75% of my own clients that way, which proves word of mouth is powerful. Either that or I’m damn good at casting love spells….
  2. Look Into the Crystal Ball Do you even know who you’re marketing to? Casting a wide net may get you a few little fish, but aren’t you going for the big catch? The only way to do that is to identify who your ideal client is and market accordingly. Look into the future…who do you see sharing your space two or three times a week?  Which clients do you just jump for joy over teaching? Write out this fantasy client. Give them a name, a specific job. Know where they live, what they read, even their favorite meal. Then look into the ball and see what their fears are, and how you can solve them. Put that knowledge into your marketing and they’ll come running to you saying, ”Wow, you must be psychic.”
  3. Do a Fly By Get on your broomstick and get out of your studio space! Go to where these ideal clients are hanging out. Concerts, readings, plays, restaurants, clubs. Go there and bring your best self (oh and some biz cards). Chat up everyone and if it feels right share what you do (chances are they’ll ask you anyway). This is a great way to get clients. I once found a lifelong client in the cosmetics department at Barney’s!!! Make sure you have an email sign-up list prominently displayed on your homepage so people can sign up for correspondence with you, which brings me to my final tip….
  4. Spellbind Them Often Send regular correspondence, email newsletters, blogs, and/or video blogs (aka vlogs:) will keep you in the forefront of prospective minds. Don’t be afraid to be a little pesky. Research has shown it takes at least 5 interactions before a potential client actually makes an appointment. Shorten that time by offering new email subscribers a free consult with you or a discounted intro session. Remember that you have to be able to “look” into their eyes often to astonish them!

How do you get clients in your doors? I want to hear from you! Leave your comments below and share with your friends!

Have a burning biz-nass question?  Post yours in the comments below!

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