Big Pilates

The rise of Big business has been quickly devouring our urban landscapes and rural terrains.

Its everywhere these days. Gone are the days of getting your coffee from someone who actually knows your name and doesn’t have to ask it just so they can write it on your cup. Pretty much every city in the US is being bombarded by chains. Consumers are being conditioned to follow familiar branding and corporations are cleaning up because of it. No surprise then that Big Business has now come to Pilates.

Corporations have caught on to what we as instructors have known all along- Pilates works and people will pay for those results. We are seeing the rise of gym Pilates programs/certifications as well as dedicated Pilates chains. I’m sure Joe would be happy that Pilates’ popularity is booming but how does this effect what’s nearest and dearest to our hearts- our own Pilates careers?

Throughout my 15+ year Pilates career I have worked in every teaching situation there is. Small studios, big studios, gyms, to opening a studio for myself. The challenges studio owners have grown accustomed to in our industry are being replaced. Where there were once three studios, you can now find ten. Baby instructors are being “born” in certifications every day. I can see the industry has evolved tremendously since I started. With the rise of competition comes the need to stand out in a crowded marketplace, as well as finding and keeping talented instructors in your studio. The private instructor now has almost too many options of where to hang their teaching hat. Work at the studio down the street, for the man, or for work yourself? How do you choose?

In my Pilates NYC studio we have disrupted the industry norms. At FORM we empower teachers to run their own business without the necessity of brick and mortar. While I get lots of teachers applying to become part of the Co-Op, most of my candidates are disgruntled workers from said Big Business chains. Not all teachers are born for the entrepreneurial life which requires much more than just what happens on the mat. What was tolerable for those newborn teachers has become a burden for the seasoned instructor. Teachers with a few years under their belt are now finding that corporate culture can get old, and fast. Not only must you adhere to company policies and procedures, you can work for years in a joint with nothing to show for it other than a line on your resume. As a result of years of resentment, indignant Pilates pros are opting for  “micro” one room studios for themselves and dedicated clientele. One room, with your type of equipment, decorated as you wish, just you and your clients. Sounds like heaven right? But is it?

While owning your own studio may be the Pilates American Dream, it’s just not profitable or recommended for most. Not only do you and your clients feel isolated from the world, instructors start to feel lonely and uninspired when teaching from their solo space. Working dollar for hour, your sessions and clients are your primary income, which could become problematic in time. What happens when you get sick or can’t make it in to teach? I’ll tell you what…NOTHING because you are the only one bringing home the bacon. Teachers who make the break from working for someone else are realizing the value of “owning” their own client list and being their own boss. However, with Pilates popularity booming, chances are you’ll have a hard time finding someone to sub your clients while you are away. That means no vacay and still rent to pay. When your space is tiny how do you leverage your off times? No one wants to rent a space solely during off peak ours. So what’s the solution? Time to pick a side.

I know it may sound like I’m bemoaning Pilates Big Biz, but it can have it’s place. Infusing cash into increasingly expensive brick and mortar operations, Corporate Pilates creates jobs and opportunities where there may not have been any before. Having health insurance and a 401 K are nothing to sneeze at. The key to finding your stride is to feel like you’re being validated and respected wherever you make people sweat. So, if you don’t want to work for the man and opening your own mini studio isn’t sustainable…what’s left?

The FORM Pilates Co-Op

FORM Pilates is where studio meets autonomy. As an instructor, I structured FORM as a place that is serious about Pilates. Fully equipped and manned with friendly and helpful staff, both you and your clients feel like they are getting the experience of a Big Business studio with your own personalization of style and Pilates philosophy. Instructors at FORM can charge what they want and take home 70% of clients fees, but most importantly they own their client list, and THAT is priceless. FORM also offers the business education you’ll need to get more clients, diversify your revenue streams, and do things your way.

Interested in becoming a member of our Co-Op?
Click here for a short application!

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!

 

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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Guest Post- Your Niche Engineered

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I can’t remember the first time I saw Top Gun, but I can say I cried when Goose died. I can also say that I wanted to be Maverick, soaring through the sky in the Grumman F-14 Tomcat at Mach 2.2, writing checks my body couldn’t cash. Cheesy? Yeah, but true. It wasn’t the speed, the “glamour”, the aviator sunglasses, or the bike. It was because fighter jets are fascinating, inspiring, and just downright awesome. The thought of flying around in one gave me goose bumps – I was seven. Meet Regina Arras, Aerospace Engineer.

I can’t remember the first time I did the hundred on the Reformer, but I can say that I probably silently cursed my teacher. I can also say that I was hooked from the start. Simple, yet complex movements accomplished with maximum effort and the minimum number of repetitions for maximum results. Genius? Absolutely!  It wasn’t about getting skinny or ripped. It was about making connections and finding equilibrium through corrective exercise The thought of using specially designed apparatus to help people find answers to questions about their bodies that they’d had for years put a huge smile on my face. – I was much, much older than seven.  Meet Regina Arras, Pilates Instructor.

What seven year old gets chills watching fighter jets soar above the clouds in a corny 80s action-adventure love story and then grows up to geek out about metal machines, springs and wheels, and how they can change people’s lives? Meet Regina Arras, Pilates Engineer.

I never chose to be an Aerospace Engineer or a Pilates Instructor.  They picked me.

What I did choose was to become the Pilates Engineer. I found my niche in fact I created it.

What’s the equation?

Niche= (2 x Passion) + (Support group + Mentor)

Time

Simply, find two things you love to do (anything – promise), add in a support group and a mentor, and give it some time.

For me it looks like this:

Pilates (Instructor + Aerospace) Engineer

Life has a funny way of working out sometimes doesn’t it?

Regina's headshot smallAerospace Engineer and certified Pilates Instructor, Regina Arras, has a unique take on body mechanics and a very real passion for the “nuts and bolts” of Pilates. Regina approaches Pilates from an engineer’s perspective, dissecting the mechanics of each exercise, and from the artistic perspective of a dancer, always pursuing and appreciating the beauty and elegance of each movement. Regina’s distinctive approach has given rise to whole new business model as she tackles the service and maintenance side of the industry to redefine what studio upkeep really means. Learn more about Regina here

 

 

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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- 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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Ask Lindsay- To Discount or Not to Discount?

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“What do you do if someone asks for a discount on your rate? Does it always devalue your product to give the discount or is it better to have the client?” 

~Sandi New Jersey

If I had a dollar for every time a client asked for a discount I’d never have to teach Pilates again. I’d be rich! But honestly, I know what it’s like. When I was starting out on my own, teaching in my ultra-small home studio, almost 1 out of 5 potential clients would ask for a discount. At the time I took it as an experiment in pricing (or I was too chicken to stand up for myself;) and would change my prices willy nilly. It got so bad that I couldn’t even remember who’s rate was what! Now that I’m more established, I still get the occasional appeal for a rebate but very rarely. What’s different? Me! I grew a backbone that’s what! A favorite quote of mine is, “You teach people how to treat you” (tweet that!) How are you teaching people to treat you? Bottom line: If you believe you aren’t worth your rate, neither will they.

Now, how do you get from where you are today to where you want to be? Practice. Most likely you’ve heard that Joe Pilates said, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” when he talks about learning the Pilates method. Whether it’s your practice of doing Pilates or being a killer biz-nass person it takes time, a little coaching, and LOTS OF PRACTICE to become good at it! Build your “business muscle” step by step with this advice:

Grow Some Balls or ovaries, if you please. ;) Here’s the thing with business (and you’ll hear me say it often), it’s not personal. You have to be tough since everyone and their mother will ask for a discount because honestly, that’s good business. If something is negotiable, then you NEGOTIATE! It’s your job as your own boss-lady to make your rates NON-NEGOTIABLE and stick to your guns. Know your worth and believe in it. You  are  worth  it. End of story. Period.

Know Your Market In Sandi’s case, and like most of the instructors I mentor, their biggest issue is recognizing their market. Did you know you have the ability to pick your clients? You should know exactly who you want to work with and focus on attracting just that. Spend some time investigating your ideal client. What do they do? Where do they live? Why do they want to do Pilates, and how much would it be worth to them to <insert one> get rid of back pain, have a sleek physique, or improve their posture? Look at your current clients, chances are there’s someone you just light up at the thought of working with and wouldn’t dare ask for a discount? Wouldn’t you want more clients like them? Focus on what you want and remember all that you bring to the session and what you are offering. Think of giving them a deal and imagine how you’ll feel working with this client for less than you deserve. Like sha-poopie that’s what.

Add Value Instead of Discounting A great marketing tool, which will keep money in your pocket and satisfy even the best of the coupon-clipping mamas, is to add more value to your offer instead of discounting it. Can you throw in a free mat class to a package of privates? Customize a little homework video for a new client? Send weekly recipes or tips on how to eat healthy? Get creative (sky’s the limit) and think of ways you can add to your current service to make it more valuable, and worth every penny.

Have you had this happen to you? Did you do the discount dance? If so how’d it go? Leave your comments below. Have a question you’re dying for me to answer email me here

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Ask Lindsay- Email Woes

email-marketing-stats“How do you do send out email blasts so the people won’t automatically toss it to junk?” ~Jamie Los Angeles

Great question Jamie! We’ve all had this issue. You kill yourself over creating content and then it’s all crickets and tumbleweeds. IS ANYONE THERE???? In my experience building a tribe takes time and patience, but here’s a few tricks and tips I can offer to make the waiting less painful….

  • Have an Organic List I’m not talking pesticides and fertilizers here. Your email list should consist ONLY of email address that people have freely given. They must have opted-in or requested your correspondence. Dumping the entirety of your address book into your email marketing program will leave you with bunk analytics and un-opens up the wazoo. Make sure to get permission to add emails to your list. It’s called SPAM if you don’t and it’s against the law.
  • Be Interesting to Your Client Base Know who you are marketing to, then figure out what it is they are interested in. Yes, Pilates articles, workouts, and tips are valuable but what else can you offer? Maybe nutritious eating tips, articles on health, or even fashion, shopping, or wine reviews. People will read your stuff if it’s interesting to them so figure out what you and your ideal client have in common and share!
  • Speak Like a Human Make sure that your marketing material has an authentic voice. Writing copy like a robot is a sure turn off. You can test your writing by asking your bestie to read it. If she’s like, “who the hell is that?” then it’s back to the drawing board. Write like how you speak, not like you are writing an essay for English Lit.
  • Testing 123 Test the times and days you send your emails. Most email marketing providers have analytics that you can see your percentage of opens. Try sending your correspondence at different times to determine which is best for your audience.
  • Grab them at Hello Your subject lines are the first thing people see and they need to be good. People love secrets. Instead of “Free Pilates Workout,” you could say “My Secret To Flat Abs.” Or maybe you instill a little fear. As a substitute for “Get Healthy” try out something like “Things You Should Never Do If You Want To Live a Long Life.”

Now go out there and send some emails! Be consistent and publish often. My rule is at least twice a month. Leave your comments and questions below. Let’s get this conversation started!

Want more attention than a blog article can give? Allow me to give you a taste of the goodness business coaching can bring. Schedule your 30 minute freebie session today!

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Got Testimonials?

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Earlier this week I returned from an ah-maz-ing trip west to California. While connecting to old friends and clients, I realized that I’ve been teaching for ten years now!!! Pretty amazing how time flies right? Feels like just yesterday that I was in my certification program, getting my first reformer, and struggling to name my biz. Looking back at how I’ve grown makes me realize the importance of how my business has grown. Back in the day when I had my little one room studio in Silverlake, I pieced together a website and just cruised along by word of mouth. People would just stumble upon me searching for that new thing called Pilates on the inter-webs. While that laissez-faire approach to marketing worked when Pilates wasn’t the phenom it is today, nowadays to grow your client base you need proof that you’re not just full of, well…you know. One of the best ways to snatch a client and make them want you is proof, the social kind. 

Simply put, social proof is the positive influence created when someone finds out that others are doing something. People are wired to learn from the actions of others. Think about the velvet rope concept. If there’s a line around a club and a velvet rope separating us from something we see others wanting we want it…and want it bad. The same concept applies in your Pilates business. When everyone is singing your praises, you get a write up in a magazine/blog, or are featured on the tele….the calls and emails start pouring in. So how the heck do you get said proof and start this avalanche of good fortune you ask? Testimonials, my dear. They are the answer to transform proof into dollar signs. Here’s my 5-step plan on how to get mind-blowing-ly effective testimonials. Check it:

Step One: Get out there and ask! The easiest way to get people to gush about you is to simply ask, especially right after you’ve just given them a killer kick-ass session! You want them to speak about their session when it’s fresh in their minds and they are on a Pilates high! Be prepared in advance with a list of questions either on a Google Doc or via a free online survey like survey monkey (check out my list of questions below). Make sure to give them a deadline so they don’t procrastinate too much while still respecting their time. You can also easily record them using a voice recorder (so you don’t have to take notes) and let them just rave away.

 

TrippHeadshotCropped

It’s not just that Lindsay is an amazing Pilates teacher- and she is- or that she’s got a heart big as the outdoors, which she does, but it’s her fierce commitment to the vision she knows I’m capable of and her intuitive sense of how to get me there. In short, Lindsay is a gift!

 Tripp Hanson, NYC, Acupuncturist Extraordinaire, Owner of HealingPerspective

 

Step Two: Mix it up! Since we’re in the visual age, I like to take advantage and use a mix of written and video testimonials. You can ask clients if they’d be willing to be recorded and using a little flip-cam or even your webcam to capture images and sound bites that will convert even the most skeptical of clients. Social Media is also a great place to capture praise. Take screen shots of particularly favorable posts on Facebook or Twitter, and if you have a WordPress blog you can use the tweetstimonial plug-in to stream the honey-tongued tweets.

Step Three: Over deliver but keep lower expectations. Honesty is key here. People can sniff out fake-y praise from a mile away. The best way to get a radiant review is to over deliver. Wow your clients with the best possible service and attention you can possibly give. Before their session, find out what their goals are and make a customized plan. Or maybe give them a print out of their progress, as well as individualized homework in the form of a YouTube video. Then, follow up via email or phone to see how they’re feeling and if there’s anything you can put together for their next session. This full-service attention will make all the difference. It’s NOT ENOUGH to just do what you say you will: teach them Pilates, make them more flexible, strong, etc. You have to give them something that they wouldn’t have been able to get anywhere else. Trust me, give, give, give and watch them shout about you from the mountain tops! So, while you want positive reviews you don’t want to overdo it on the sugar. Make sure you feature some testimonials that include client’s hesitations or possible concerns they had with trying your product or service. Just like we relate to others’ victories, we also relate to others’ fears and losses. Be sure to include some as well.

Step 4: Get Personal and Ask Please. Make sure to include as much personal information about your referrers as possible. Add their name and location, a photo, info on their profession or a link to their website. Seeing a face that you can link to a voice will make the difference to prospects when they visit your website or read your marketing materials. The more you can include the better. Also, make sure to get permission to use everything from the clients, including consent to edit the content. Make your testimonials short and sweet, and bold the important parts to catch the eye!

Head ShotWorking with Lindsay (business coaching) is very empowering and keeping me on track. Totally worth it! 

 Sandi Vilacoba, New Jersey, Owner of ThePilatesProject

Step 5: Mirror Mirror Pick the clients to interview that you would want more of. Do you just love that lady who always pays on time, shows up early, and is interesting, kind, and funny? Interview her! Prospects that see themselves in your current clients will respond to this kind of social proof. We all want more of the good things we’ve already got, right?

So, you’re ready to go out there and get testimonials, right? Get on it now! Start by taking a peek at the 7 questions I ask my clients here. Remember that you can customize them to suit your needs. Create your survey or document today! Make sure to share this post and leave your comments below on how it feels to get testimonials for your biz…

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List Building 101

This video blog is all about lists- email lists that is! Do you know that your email list is THE most important marketing tool you have? Not your Facebook page. Not your Twitter followers, but your organically grown email list.

No list? No problemo. Here’s three quick and easy ways to get people to sign up for your email list:

  1. Just ASK! Getting people to agree to get your newsletter or regular Pilates communication is less complicated than you think. We tend to not want to “bother” people and don’t even ask. How will people know that you even have a list if you don’t tell them?? Tell them you are building the thing and they will come…you’d be surprised;) Have a link to your email list on your biz card, on your website, and pimp it out as much as you can!
  2. Offer a killer freebie on your site Assuming you have a website, and assuming you have an email marketing provider (if not see the ps below), you should be displaying your email sign-up link front and center. If that’s the case and you’re still not getting bites, try offering a little treat in exchange for peeps emails. It can be a short video, a free consult, or an informative article you’ve written. Just the simple act of exchange will make the interested give up the goods.
  3. Shout it out social media style Make sure you tell your followers and fans that you have a list. You can even share exclusive content just with your list to get them to sign up. Put a prominent link to join your list on your page or profile, and make sure to post or tweet weekly about your email list.

Follow just these three simple tips and you’ll see your list grow in no time! Remember that your list is more valuable with 5 organic emails than 500 uninterested ones. List building takes time but eventually you’ll see results.

ps- if you don’t have a website click the link below to get a FREE 30 min strategy mesh with yours truly for easy tips on how to do it inexpensively. If you have a site but don’t have an email marketing provider I recommend: The best free option: Mail Chimp Integrates with MindBody Soft: Constant Contact Newest email marketer on the block: Emma

If you like this video make sure to like it and share it with everyone you know;) Leave your biggest email marketing challenges and freebie ideas below!

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