Archive for the ‘Yoga Business Marketing’ Category
Look at any fitness or mind/body magazine cover and you will see images of instructors who “have it all”!
They’re fit and toned, wearing the latest track pants, smiling and are the role models of “work life harmony”.
But behind the glossy pages lies another story – a story you may have witnessed or even experienced.
An instructor who loves what they’re doing so much they decide to teach as many classes as they can.
Some instructors work in gyms or studios – others decided to set up their own business.
Wherever you are on your journey as a mind/body professional, there will be times when it can feel like you’re not an example of “work life harmony”.
Here are some clues:
- You can’t remember the last time you attended your regular Pilates, meditation or yoga class,
- You teach so many classes in a day that when you go home, the last thing you want to do is stretch out your own body, or
- You dream about your classes and are constantly thinking about your clients,
From first hand experience, and as a mentor to many mind/body professionals, I know that it can be hard to sustain work life harmony.
Here are some strategies that work:
As a mind/body professional you know how important it is to move your body everyday.
But are you moving your body using the same method – or are you allowing yourself an opportunity to move outside of where you are now?
If you practice and teach Iyengar yoga – consider attending a Kundalini yoga class.
If you teach Pilates – attend a mindfulness meditation retreat.
If you practice and teach meditation – attend a rock climbing class.
Shake up your routine - walk a different route, go bushwalking or get a surfing lesson – then notice what happens.
3 START SMALL
Work life harmony is a term that many people throw around as an aspirational dream – almost like you have to work really hard to get there!
It’s not hard though when you start with a plan.
And the plan doesn’t have to be complex!
All you need to do is look at yourself as a new client or student – if you were sitting in front of yourself right now, what advice, strategy, insight or tool would you give out?
You may tell yourself to:
- Schedule in a massage every week,
- Go for a walk by the seaside on Saturday,
- Start a gratitude journal, or
- Book a holiday!
Make you plan simple to follow and be open every day for spontaneity.
For it’s in the times of spontaneity that you allow life and the universe to reach out and give you exactly what you’ve been yearning for.
As a mind/body instructor, you feel “in the zone” when you’re teaching your students.
You love seeing your students move with more freedom and feel a thrill when you see how their commitment to the practice changes their life.
But it can feel really overwhelming when it comes to how to market your classes.
After 17+ years in the fitness and mind/body industries, I’ve come up with a 3-step process to help quieten the “monkey mind” that can appear when you want to attract more students.
Step 1: Get grounded
Many yoga and Pilates exercises focus on being grounded . That may be when you lie supine and feel every part of your spine on the mat – or when you stand tall at the top of your mat before you commence your Sun Salutations.
Feeling grounded creates an inward sense of stability and a quietness of mind.
Now use this when you market your classes:
- Write down 3-5 things you love about teaching. How do you feel when your classes are fully booked?
- Cast your mind back to when you had “the best” day teaching. What happened during the day and how did this translate into your life “off the mat”? For example, did you come home after teaching back-to-back classes feeling grateful that you’re making a difference?
- Lastly, think back to the first time you seriously considered being a mind/body teacher. Maybe you were in a job you hated and you realised that if you didn’t follow your heart and enrol in the instructor training, you would never feel happy? Perhaps you had a teacher who made such an impact on your life that you felt compelled to follow in their footsteps?
Step 2: Connect
Connection is a key principle in Pilates and yoga. Whether that’s to your core or to your breath, you know from your personal practice and from teaching your clients that it also helps to stay “in the moment”.
Now use this when you market your classes:
- Who do you want to connect with in your local community? What could you offer them that makes your classes “stand-out”? For example, they may be desk-bound workers who really need help with releasing their neck and shoulders, but are reluctant to commit to a series of classes. Could you offer a one-off workshop at lunchtime or offer to go into their office to show them “5 ways to relieve neck and back stress using Pilates/Yoga exercises”.
- Next, connect with what makes you stand out from other teachers. Think back to what your students have told you after they’ve had a great class – “I sleep so much better after your class…this class sets me up for the week, I feel so aligned and peaceful…If it wasn’t for your classes I would have to be at the Physiotherapist every week!” Including a student testimonial in your marketing material is a form of social proof. It’s like when you’re looking for a restaurant online and you look at the reviews before you ring up and book!
Step 3: Set an intention
Setting an intention in yoga is called “sankalpa” which can be loosely defined as a conception or idea formed in the mind or heart.
When you’re planning your classes for the week ahead, you are consciously and subconsciously setting intentions.
From class structure, to researching contraindications for clients, to creating a theme for the week.
Now use this when you market your classes:
- Before starting any marketing, sit quietly and drop down into your heart. When you feel ready, quietly ask, “What do I really want from marketing my classes?” The first answers that come up may be from your head. You may notice things like “I need more students so I can pay my rent easily…I would like more students so I don’t feel like it’s a waste of time when only 5 people turn up in a room that fits 25…” Notice what is coming up, without judgment then breathe deeply. Now, allow the answers to come from your heart. You may notice things like, “I want to market my classes so I can help more people in my community improve their health…I have amazing tools to help young mothers stay present, so they can be peaceful and balanced when they’re parenting…”
- Lastly, ask yourself how you want to feel when you’re teaching. Again, allow the answers to resonate from your heart and watch the “head stuff” without getting caught up in it.
Marketing your classes goes hand-in-hand with teaching classes.
Start slowly, be kind to yourself and most importantly, allow yourself to enjoy the process.
Have you noticed how much louder and busier things get around this time of year?
As the end of year celebrations get closer, stress and anxiety levels rise, grumpiness becomes a default setting for some and there’s a sense of “time running out”.
You may even hear yourself saying things like, “Once I get through these next few weeks, then I can relax…”
The end of year means different things for all of us, yet there is a common feeling that it’s a milestone to aim for.
In a studio setting you may notice that your clients are getting tired, forgetting the simplest of exercises, not turning up to class or turning up in such a stressed out state that you spend most of the class just trying to get them to breathe!
So what to do?
With that sense of rushing towards December 31 comes an internal pressure to “get things done”.
It may be wrapping up your classes for the year, organizing an end of year party or making sure your home renovation is completed by December 25.
And with so many people feeling this way, is it any wonder that so many people world-wide feel like they’re just about ready to explode?
As a mind/body practitioner, it can be challenging to stay balanced and calm at times like this, so here’s some tips to help you and your clients out:
1 Reflect on how far you’ve come this year
As a Pilates and Yoga instructor, it’s almost second nature to set intentions, both in your business and personal life.
Go back in your mind to January 1 this year.
What were your intentions?
Maybe you wanted to increase the number of classes you taught a week?
Perhaps this was the year you branched out on your own for the first time?
Or maybe, you had a goal to expand your reach in your local community by marketing your classes more?
Now quietly, consider how far you’ve come since January…
Maybe your intentions changed mid-stream – and that’s perfectly fine because this is your life; your journey will take little twists and turns along the way.
2 What have you learned this year?
Did you have a goal to learn how to cook cupcakes like a professional?
Maybe you wanted to learn how to meditate?
Sit quietly and consider all the lessons you’ve learned so far this year.
In a class setting, some of the most life-changing lessons can come from seemingly inconsequential moments.
Many years ago, one of my clients suffered a relapse – she knew the secondary pains in her back and hips weren’t muscular, and so did I.
One day, as I was adjusting her reformer straps she quietly mentioned this was her last class.
Instead of putting her body through endless medical treatments and procedures, she had decided to spend her last few weeks at her beach house – surrounded by her dogs and family.
This 3 minute conversation still has a profound impact on me today (as I’m writing this, tears are rolling down my face…)
So stop for a moment, because sometimes the smallest lessons can produce the most profound results.
3 Helping your clients
Your clients come to class to move their bodies; to improve their strength and flexibility – but you are giving them so much more.
Over the next few weeks, take the time to remind your clients how far they’ve come this year – how they’re moving without pain, how they’re stronger and more energized.
Your classes are a perfect space for you to help them slow down – to feel the stress melt away and to appreciate every moment.
So with a new year approaching, take the time to appreciate and celebrate where you are now.
Inhale the possibilities of each new minute, hour and day – exhale the busy-ness, stress and anxiety.
A couple of weekends ago I attended the 3rd ProBlogger conference in Melbourne, Australia.
ProBlogger is Darren Rowse, he is the “Oprah” of the blogging world and has been at it for 10 years. Darren is known worldwide for his insights, sharing of quality information and his desire to help every blogger reap the success they desire.
So why write about blogging in a Pilates and Yoga forum?
Bloggers share the same key values that Pilates and Yoga Instructors do: they value community, love creating connections and share valuable information that can change lives!
Here’s some lessons I learned from attending the conference, held at Etihad Stadium in down-town Melbourne, Australia.
1 The Manifesto for Bloggers:
All attendees received a manifesto to take home – use what feels right as you nurture your community and build your business. You can download this manifesto here.
2 Find 15 minutes a day
Darren’s opening address was one of my highlights of the conference. He “walks his talk” and openly acknowledges that he gets distracted when it comes to doing the “business stuff”. So he sets aside 15 minutes a day for business development – every day.
How can you use this 15 minutes a day? Can you update your email list, write a list of local businesses that you can cross promote your classes with, or think about what promotional activity you would like to do in the next 3,6 and 9 months?
3 Do things that give you energy
Darren Rowse also spoke about “the spark” within. As a blogger, it can be hard going if you’re trying to write content that doesn’t “feel right”.
Ask yourself: what do you do in your business that “fires you up”? It may be that you absolutely love teaching classes, yet you feel drained when it comes to book-keeping. Do a quick audit of your energy levels and consider out-sourcing areas that drain you.
4 Create a point of difference
Branding and “standing out from the crowd” was a theme of a couple of the sessions. Put simply, the most successful blogs are the ones that stand out from the crowd. A newly established blog, Zen Pencils is a great example of how a simple idea, with a quirky difference has created an amazing business.
What can you do to promote your classes and studio that make you stand out from the crowd?
5 Make big mistakes
I was fortunate to be able to meet and listen to media personality and blogger Sarah Wilson. Her key message was to get “in the mud” and make mistakes. She told us about her first day at ACP as editor of Cosmo magazine when she was told “don’t ask for permission”. She urged us all to try things out without getting hung up on “the right strategies”. At the heart of Sarah’s advice was to check in with her inner wisdom – if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
So what lessons can you infuse into your everyday life now?
As a Pilates and Yoga Instructor, you know how important the abdominals are.
Whether you refer to the abdominals as “the powerhouse” or “the core”, you teach each movement with the understanding that abdominal connection is vital.
But there’s a deeper layer to the abdominals that isn’t really spoken about – your “gut instinct” or “intuition”.
So what’s your gut instinct got to do with marketing your Studio and classes?
More than you first think!
And the more you lean into your gut instinct when you go about broadening your reach in the community, the easier and sweeter life becomes.
To help unravel how your “gut instinct” works, I recently spoke to Helen Thomas, a world-renowned intuitive healer.
Here’s what she has to say about using your intuition in your business:
Question: How can we access our gut instinct or intuition?
“We’re born with intuition; it’s our gut instinct and the initial response we have to anything in life. It’s a Yes/No, Good/Bad and is very different to emotion. But if we’re not used to listening to intuition our ego gets involved and says, ‘You shouldn’t listen to this, what if…..happens?’
Our gut instinct couldn’t care less about judgments because it’s the spiritual heart and is who you are; it’s love and understanding without judgment.
By learning to slow our mind down and carving time out to be quiet we can connect with our intuition.”
Question: How did you decide to use your intuition in all areas of your life?
“As a really logical and responsible person, I was taught to work hard and ‘make something of yourself‘. My head was saying ‘work hard and be smart and the success will come’ but my heart and gut instinct was saying, ‘why don’t you check this path out?’ (setting up my own business as a healer).
I was working in a great job (in PR and marketing) and was university qualified. So I ignored my gut instinct and endured 5 years of conflict with this war going on between my head and intuition.”
Question: Is it possible to use intuition when creating a business?
“I was told to do a business plan and knew I had to. But every single time my head wanted to take charge there were blockages. Then I realised that stressing about business and marketing plans was going against what my gut was telling me.
I believe that life is like a magic car ride. You can tell the magic car where you want to go; what lifestyle you want, what people you want to be with, what feelings you want to have, but then you have to jump in the passenger seat, not the driver seat. Because when you try to drive the car, you just want to get there fast! But by allowing the magic car to take you there, life opens up in ways you could never ever imagine.
The head tries to plot and plan but this over-rides the magic. The head can be useful but it doesn’t allow the blinkers to come on. And I’ve found that getting centred and grounded in my heart and intuition has allowed me to make better decisions in my life.”
Question: What are 3 ways to connect with our intuition?
1 – Allow yourself quiet time to “be” who you are
2 – Write down your gut impressions and date them. Note where you felt the intuition in your body and what caused you to feel like this.
3 – TRUST yourself; be comfortable with who you are and don’t worry about others.
And everyday, aim to make choices and decisions that make your heart sing!
I was recently interviewed by Marguerite Ogle from PilatesAbout.com.
Topics that we covered included:
- Why copy-cat marketing doesn’t work,
- How to cross-promote your services without stress, and
- Why more training won’t necessarily result in more clients,
OMG, here it goes again!
You try not to roll your eyes at your client as they justify why they haven’t been doing the exercises you gave them to relieve their pain.
She came to see you specifcally to improve her back pain, BUT is full of excuses:
- “I’m so busy at work that there’s no time to do the exercises…”,
- “I know I should do them, but I get caught up with helping my children with their homework…”, and
- “The pain was so bad that I had to take some medication and go to bed…”
You can see so clearly HOW she’s sabotaging her fitness, health and wellbeing!
Her excuses and stories aren’t serving her in moving towards a pain free life.
And it’s making you so frustrated that you want to scream at her:
- “For goodness sake, please help yourself and commit to these exercises,”
- “Can’t you see that your excuses are holding you back?” and
- “Aren’t you fed up with feeling so much pain?”
Your insights into your client’s health, fitness and wellbeing are what make you such an amazing Pilates and Yoga Instructor & Studio owner!
Do you need to stop the stories, excuses and procrastination when it comes to marketing your Pilates and Yoga Studio?
Sabotaging behaviors that you may need to cut out to move your Pilates and Yoga Studio forward include:
- Telling yourself that you’re too busy teaching classes to take time out and plan your marketing schedule,
- Listening to “that voice” inside that tells you that you’re not experienced or talented enough to actively promote yourself and your Studio,
- Believing the story in your mind that tells you that ‘promoting and marketing your Pilates and Yoga classes is hard work and expensive’, and
- Holding onto the story that you have to ‘teach day and night for years before you can make a healthy profit and live the lifestyle you really want”.
Your “prescription” to move forward?
STOP whenever the stories that deplete your energy come up and ask, “Is this story about my business serving me or sabotaging me?
Falling in Love with your Business…
Have you ever had the feeling that your Studio has a mind of its own?
Maybe you’ve felt like your business isn’t listening to you?
You invest so much time, effort and energy into your Pilates or Yoga business, BUT you’re not being appreciated!
Did you know that the relationship you have with your Pilates or Yoga Studio is exactly the same as your personal relationships?
Whether you’re single, attached, married or “just looking”, the dynamics that exist in your personal relationships also exist in your business relationship.
So it’s always good to step back on a regular basis and assess if the relationship you’ve got with your business is healthy!
Questions to start with include:
- Is it meeting all your needs including financial?
- Is it giving you the return on investment (of energy, time, money and effort) that you expect?
- Is your relationship with your business healthy, thriving and full of passion?
But like all relationships, it’s easy to let familiarity and “being comfortable” creep in.
In your Pilates or Yoga Business this shows up when:
- You’ve lost your passion for what you’re doing,
- Your original intention for the Studio is long forgotten, or
- You feel like you’re “going through the motions”
How can you “fix this”?
Resolve right here, right now to create a new direction for your relationship.
- Where would you like your business to be in 6 months time?
- How do you want to feel in the business relationship? and
- Could it be time to create a new direction that reflects where you are now?
Now look at how you’re communicating with your business!
Like all personal relationships, the communication you have with your business does have its “highs and lows”.
Stop for a moment and check in with yourself:
- Are you listening and hearing what your business is telling you with the cash-flow statements, the client feedback forms, the marketing statistics?
- Do you have clear intentions, backed up with strategies and plans that will help your business achieve what you want?
The relationship you have with your business is personal – it reflects back to you exactly what’s going on in your life.
Your business is an extension of your energy – if you’re tired, it will be tired.
BUT – if you’re passionate, with clear intentions and vision, your business will thrive!
So what could your business relationship be like if you changed the way you communicated with it?
Life moves pretty fast…
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Ferris Bueller
One of my all-time favorite movies is “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”
And the recent Super Bowl car ad, featuring Matthew Broderick, prompted me to watch it again!
In typical Ferris Bueller style, I decided I wouldn’t do what “normal people” were doing on weekday afternoon.
I decided to “crack my routine” and sat down to watch it – because I knew I needed to give myself a break.
Yes, I still had many things on my “to-do” list to action and like you, I have commitments.
But you’ve seen first hand how habits, patterns and routines affect your clients lives – in a negative way:
- The client who has spent years at a desk and now has the “office worker” posture (forward neck & rounded shoulders),
- The client who always places their handbag in the same place, and
- The client who jostles for the same spot in your class.
We get taught from a young age that routine is “good for us” – and maybe it is, at first.
But when was the last time you questioned the habits, routines and patterns in your business?
You have some very important routines:
- Paying wages,
- Returning email enquiries, and
- Working on marketing your Studio.
But are there other routines that have become a part of who you are, that you don’t need anymore?
These strategies can help you “crack your routine”:
- Stop and observe what you’re doing on a daily basis: at home, in your business and in your relationships,
- Notice what actions, patterns and thoughts feel good and that are serving you,
- Now look at any of the routines you’ve got in place that don’t feel so good and that may be hindering you,
- Specifically, look at how you behave, act, feel and think in your Studio.
- Do these routines help you move toward your personal and business goals effortlessly and in alignment with your values?
- If not, it’s time to stop and replace this routine and pattern with a new one.
Taking time out of your daily routine (like Ferris did!) can seem like a “waste of time” – but what if it wasn’t?
What if shaking up your daily routines helped you create better outcomes?