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!

 

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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How To Detox Your Life of Negative People And Not Feel Bad About It

This week I welcome Chin Pham. Chin and I met at our mentor Marie Forleo’s Rich, Happy, Hot Live last year in NYC. We sat next to each other all weekend, experiencing all the wicked speakers, Marie’s brilliance, and shaking our booties every time someone spun the  wheel of dance (that’s right- wheel o’dance!). This girl could MOVE and I fell in love with her energy and enthusiasm for entrepreneurship and her calling as a life coach. We vowed to stay in touch and I thought she would be a perfect addition to our little blog. This week she’s written this handy post about detoxing negative peeps from your life. Take this girls advice people- it will help you not just with your life but also in your business! Now on with her post….

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” – Mark Twain

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Firstly: my definition of a toxic person- Someone who complains and dumps their problems on you but doesn’t do anything to change their situation. Someone who is not supportive. Someone who makes you feel bad. Someone who shoots down your bright ideas, big goals, or bold (and risky) decisions that you need to make in order to be successful.

Secondly, this article isn’t intended to reprimand or paint toxic people in a negative light. Toxic people are usually in a place in their life where they are not open to constructive feedback or changing, so they are stuck in their current situation and don’t have the insight to see beyond their own struggles. And that’s okay. This article is meant to advocate for you so you don’t allow their negativity to impact your life.

First, why it’s important to detox your life of negative people:

  • Negative people slow you down towards achieving your goals. Whether they know it or not, they end up discouraging you from being ambitious or following your dreams by questioning what you’re doing and planting doubts into your head.
  • Negative energy from toxic people affect your energy level, not to mention your stress and anxiety. Ultimately, it’s your health and well-being, so you are responsible for taking care of it!
  • You need to create space for positive change to happen. Being in toxic relationships with people and allowing their negative energy into your life will hold you back from manifesting opportunities for success. Also, releasing negative people will create space for the positive people to enter, who will encourage, support, and help you grow as a person.

How to detox negative people from your life:

Step 1: Decide that you’re worth it

  • You need to feel as if you’re worthy of achieving your goals and changing into the person you want to be. Letting go of any negativity in your life will help you get there faster. You’ve got to be committed to doing this for yourself otherwise your guilt for letting go of these relationships will prevent you from moving forward (more in Step 3).
  • How to realize you’re worth it: Decide. Simply make the choice and decide that it’s time you committed to yourself, your goals, and your dreams and you won’t let anything or anyone slow you down.
  • Think about the negative side effects of holding onto these relationships. Ask yourself:
    • What effect are these relationships having on my life?
    • What are my goals and how badly do I want to achieve them? Are these people supporting my goals or slowing me down?

 

Step 2: Identify the toxic people

  • Toxic people make you feel worse than when you started talking to them. They bring your energy level down. They leave you feeling bummed out. Notice how your body feels after talking to them, particularly your chest and stomach which are areas where most of us carry stress and anxiety.
  • There is a difference between someone sharing with you their struggles/challenges vs someone who constantly complains. The difference is the prior is willing to listen to constructive feedback and is open to change (and does change). Conversely, the latter (i.e. whiners and complainers) don’t want to change and just want you to feel sorry for them.
  • They shoot down your ideas. e.g., They question what you’re doing. They may say something like, “Well, maybe you shouldn’t change careers because you have so much job security here. What about your benefits? Or your retirement?” This is pretty common and sometimes subtle and harder to notice. Even though it may sound like they’re giving you advice, in the end they’re just putting more doubts into your head because your actions may bring up their own fears and insecurity.
  • Toxic people can fall within the spectrum of being subtly draining to all around toxic and poisonous. Even if they fall on the less severe end of the “toxic people spectrum”, it’s important to identify this and work towards letting them go as they will still affect you negatively.

 

Step 3: Let them go

  • Just start. Use whatever method you think is appropriate. Avoid them. Don’t pick up their calls. Apologize for being distant but you do not need to explain why or defend your actions.
  • You don’t have to explain anything to them unless you feel like you need to because they’re being persistent and pushy. Avoid explanation because they are probably in a state of mind where they won’t listen to what you have to say, take it personally that you are letting them go, will probably get on the defensive if you try to justify your reasons.
  • Do it gracefully and with love. Send them off with love and a prayer. Be open to the possibility that if and when they are ready to change and be more positive/supportive, then you would be open to rekindling the relationship.

 

Step 4: Don’t feel guilty

  • Again, you are worth it. You must be your own BEST FRIEND. If you don’t take charge of your life and well-being, nobody will do it for you!
  • You are not abandoning them even though you may feel like that. There is a distinction between abandoning someone vs letting them go so they can find their own way. If you’ve already tried giving them advice, encouragement, or even a wake-up call and nothing happened, then no amount of wise words from you will change their thinking or behavior.
  • It’s not your obligation. You may keep these people in your life because you feel like you have to or you’re obligated to. Maybe they’ve been your closest friend since grade school. Or maybe they’re your cousin and you feel obligated through your blood ties. Whatever the reason, people grow and change and it’s normal for relationships to evolve.

 

Step 5: Bring in the positivity!  Surround yourself with positive people. These are people who:

  • Support your ambitions
  • Encourage your ideas no matter how scary, risky, or seemingly unknown the outcome could be because they know how important it is for you.
  • Are up to big things. They are people you admire because you think they kick ass in life!

You are worth it and you can do this. It begins with an intention to change your life and a commitment to yourself.

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Chinh small FINALChinh Pham is a fear conqueror and life revolutionizer helping people embrace their inner badass so they can create a bigger vision for their biz and life!

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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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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.

 

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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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How I Got My Business Balls

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Business is well, business. While it can be creative, exciting, and fun- it can also be cut-throat. You have to be tough to survive, and even tougher to thrive. In my time as an entrepreneur I’ve had to grow up, put on my big girl panties, and get fierce. I had to build up my ability to deal with difficult situations and ask for what I want.

My story is not unique. Every week in my coaching I hear of women, just like me, that have difficulty standing up for themselves and feeling in control during conflict. Running your own business requires cajones. You have to be willing to act like a “man” to gain respect. Just think of Mr. Pilates himself. Would be wishy washy with his clients? Joe wouldn’t so why should you? Watch this little video about how I got my Business Balls, and how you can find yours too!

Now, make sure you take these two simple steps to get powerful in your business:

  1. Make a list of 3 situations that you need to be stronger with your business
  2. Then under each, list 3 small exercises you can do to help you get gutsy

Next, follow through with your steps and remember what Joe said- “Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.” Just like your one hundred….a little workout won’t kill you and you’ll be happy you showed up!

Got your balls (or ovaries if you please)??? If not, lemme show you how to get some!