10 Free Tools For Your Pilates Biz

Feb Biznass8

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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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!

 

Why you need a website

Feb Biznass8

Last month I did a guest blog for Fit with Flair about the importance of having a website for your business. THEN, just last week a good friend and very talented massage therapist, emailed me to ask for help her promoting her business. The thing is- she has NO WEBSITE!!! I couldn’t believe it. All of that work promoting but no where for people to go to find her! A website is one of THE most important things you can do for your business. Check out my post to see why. Vanessa (I could link to your website here V but you don’t have one!)- this one is for you!

Lindsay Lopez | Form Pilates

Written on November 6, 2011

Websites and Social Media, oh my!

Somehow in the infancy of my business, without being informed of it’s true value, I knew the importance of a having a website.

When I started my company, FORM Pilates, almost 10 years ago now, It was one of the first things I did.

Initially, my Pilates business was out of my home, so I knew that without a website notifying who I was and what I did- no one would ever hear of me. I did my homework, looked at tons of other fitness and Pilates business’ sites for ideas. I saw what worked, but mostly what didn’t. The majority of the sites I checked out were confusing, hard to navigate, and missing pertinent information. Armed with this ammunition I created a site that was visually pleasing, without hard-to-load flash, and was the essence of who I was as a business. It was easy to navigate, with links on each page to anywhere on the entire site. No need to click back to go where you’ve already been.

Ah, those were the days. 10 years ago Pilates wasn’t the phenomenon it is today. The internet wasn’t as congested with studios and practitioners as it is today. I got most of my new clients from my website, and because I was the only studio in my area google ranked me as #1. You won’t find that that’s the case in this technology age. Your website is now a virtual business card and everyone has one. SEO has clogged up the web-o-sphere so much that getting your site to appear in a simple search is harder than getting accepted into college! This spawned the dawn of social-media and it’s importance to getting yourself noticed.

Since our existence can be virtually virtual, we don’t network in bars or at meetings, but online- on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Your website is the final destination, but your connection to the world begins where everyone is congregating. I mean, who isn’t on Facebook these days (except maybe your Mom, which can be a good thing)? Even our children and pets have their own twitter accounts! If you want to spread your entrepreneurial wings you have to be Social Media savvy.

Here’s my bit of advice for anyone who will listen:

Hire a designer to do a professional website and get in-the-know with the social media revolution. Don’t try to do a website on your own- it will look home-made. Ask around for recommendations, you can get a professional website without all the frills for less than $500 these days.
Take courses online for free on how to drop into the social media world. I belong to Ladies who Launch (who have free web-inars weekly) and I also subscribe to HubSpot  who has wonderful free webinars as well. Join Hootsuite to easily moderate your online media presence, and above all stick with tweeting and posting stuff that you find interesting and valuable.

Your followers can smell inauthenticity a mile away. Overall- be yourself, stick to your guns, and follow your gut. You’ll find your tribe, and they will be just who you wanted them to be.

I challenge you to pick one thing you can do to update your website and up your game and get to it now not later! Share your plan in the comments below….

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