Entries in Business Ideas (67)
By Lara Dalch
When I made the transition from corporate media executive to health/fitness professional, one of the first things I had to adjust to was the more relaxed work environment. This is a great thing on many levels: It creates a welcoming and healing space for clients to escape their busy lives. It fosters community and friendships. It encourages focus on self-care, something many clients aren’t able to do outside of the studio. And, for those of us who work in the industry, it allows for a more relaxed and comfortable dress code!
The downside to this more relaxed approach is a tendency – for some – to skimp on customer service, forgetting that even regular clients have a choice about where to go regardless of how long they’ve been with you. In many markets (like New York City) – where Pilates studios and instructors are a dime a dozen – treating clients like the valued business partners they are will put you ahead of the curve with your competition.
Here are some things I try to do without fail in dealing with clients, whether they come to me for Pilates, health counseling, or marketing:
By Anne Samoilov
I’m passionate about supporting my fellow Pilates instructors and passing on the nuggets of advice that I receive from my own Pilates mentors. We can all learn a lot by observing other successful businesses and applying what is relevant to our own. So, today, I am peeking under the hood of Lynda Lippin’s Pilates in Paradise practice. Lynda works on the Caribbean private resort island of Parrot Cay, where she is the Pilates and Fitness Teacher at COMO Shambhala Retreat. With 20 years of Pilates teaching under her belt, Lynda also sees clients in New York City, works as a Usui Reiki Master, has several blogs and is very active in social media.
Anne: I know you are a respected fitness professional in Pilates, reiki and personal training. After being in this service-based industry for several years, I’m wondering if you have established other income streams which are more automated?
Lynda: I think it is extremely important for Pilates instructors to create multiple income streams for themselves. The internet is a great place to facilitate this. I give away a couple of Pilates ebooks for neck and back pain, and sell inexpensive Pilates audio [content] as well. Plus I have paid advertising on my blogs that brings me a small regular income. In addition, you can sell products to your clients for profit (small props, books, dvds, supplements that you believe in, clothing, etc.). But the internet is key. I created my audios two years ago and they are still selling and receiving great reviews. And I recorded them directly on my Mac using Garage Band - quick, easy and lucrative!
By Laura Dixon
Forty-three years after Joseph Pilates’ passing, there are still people who think Pilates is a fad…well, not so fast! Pilates has proven that it is here to stay. Social media is a term that leaves a lot of people in the Pilates world scratching their heads, but from the looks of things, it’s here to stay, too. So, what is social media, and how can we utilize it as studio owners, instructors and educators?
Use It or Lose An Opportunity
In a time when economic recovery is on the top of everyone’s minds, small business owners are forced to be more creative in their attempts to attract and maintain loyal customers. Most Pilates studio owners and program directors have had to cut back quite a bit on their advertising expenses in the past year. But does a smaller advertising budget have to mean less exposure? There are many Web-based social media tools that allow us to share news, insights, advice, even video, all while interacting with our clients. Sharing information this way allows businesses, both big and small, to create personal relationships with potential clients, before they even set one foot in the door for their first session. This video, from Socialnomics author and blogger Eric Qualman, reveals some incredible facts and figures about the power of social media. For a small Pilates business, the best thing about most social media opportunities is that they are available completely free of charge.
It’s tax season again, a stressful time for anyone who grapples with the complexities of filing a tax return. It can be hard to find an accountant familiar with the details of a Pilates career, so we put out the call for a CPA who’s worked in this area, and Michelle Fama, owner of Core Pilates NYC, connected us with her accountant, Steven Kingsley, CPA. He has worked with many a Pilates instructor over the years; in fact, he’s worked with the entire Core Pilates NYC staff. We put some of your top tax questions to him and he graciously provided answers. We hope this Q&A can be a helpful guide for any confused instructors out there, but be sure to consult a tax professional for help with your specific questions and concerns. Happy filing!
Pilates Pro: This is is the most-often-asked, big Kahuna question: What can I itemize for deduction?
Steven Kingsley: Let me start off by saying deductions are expenses incurred in order to provide one’s expertise, service or to operate that particular business activity. There are expenses that are general to most any independent contractor but in some cases I have tried to put an explanation to how they apply to Pilates instructors.
By Nicole Rogers
Owning your own business is a tough job. Most Pilates professionals know this because they’ve had some experience going into business for themselves. Freelancers, studio owners, and people who teach from their homes can all share stories about the joys and challenges of being your own boss.
So what happens when your partner in business is also your partner in life? With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we thought it would be a great time to look into these Pilates-studio romances. We found three couples—the Collets, the Winters and the McCullochs—willing to open up and share the ins and outs of being in the ultimate Pilates partnership.
We thought we’d ask what you would like to see on Pilates-Pro.com this year. This is a great opportunity to speak up and let us know what kind of coverage you’re looking for. Vote for the category that most represents your needs.
If there’s something you’d like to see that we didn’t mention, please share specific requests in the comments section below. Do you have a burning Pilates question you think we can help answer? Or perhaps there’s a topic you’d like to suggest we look into? This is your chance to let us know!
When tragic events like the recent earthquake in Haiti happen, the devastation is incomprehensible. The outpouring of aid that follows is, at least, heartening, and the innovative ways people come up with to raise funds are impressive and inspiring. The Pilates community is no exception. Information about Pilates fundraisers for earthquake relief is starting to come in, so we’re rounding it up to help out and hopefully to encourage more of the same.
After the jump, read on to find out how different Pilates businesses are pitching in to help with the relief effort in Haiti. You just might find some good ideas for a benefit of your own.
By Christine Binnendyk
Pilates and dance conditioning have a long history, and they make for a highly effective combination. Joseph Pilates himself was well-known for working with many prominent dancers during his lifetime. I’d heard the buzz about barre-style workouts such as Lotte Berk, Fluidity, and Bar Method. I had even tried out a few videos. But it wasn’t until I ran across Barre3, the Portland, Oregon, based studio with the tagline, “Where ballet barre meets yoga and Pilates,” that it hit me: Dance conditioning can be a breath of fresh air for Pilates studios, to draw new clients and keep existing ones coming back for more.
Mt. Pleasant Pilates studio owner Nicole Wallen launched a program called Body By Barre just over a year ago. “It’s been a great success,” she says, and the ticket to bringing in new clientele.
If you’re in the process of building your Pilates business, consider the importance of developing your brand. A brand is a way for potential clients to understand what you’re selling in the blink of an eye. It’s also helpful to clarify your vision for your business, which makes promoting it that much easier. Here, studio owner Erika Quest, a former corporate marketer and branding strategist, shares her studio-starting journey along with strategies and how-to’s for marketing a Pilates business from the very beginning.
By Erika Quest
In late 2005, at the peak of my corporate career in advertising, I was faced with a life-changing decision. I could continue on my corporate path, which guaranteed the comfort of a regular paycheck but was packed with long stressful hours and little time for my family, let alone myself. Or, I could take the plunge into my passion and open a Pilates studio.
I was introduced to Pilates in 2001, after suffering a back injury. A friend of mine suggested that we attend a Pilates mat class together and I was immediately hooked. I began taking mat every week and soon added in equipment classes. After about six months, I became so passionate that I decided to learn more about Pilates and study to teach through Body Arts & Science International and Rael Isacowitz. I figured I could take on clients in the evenings and on weekends.
As 2009 draws to a close and we refocus our energies on the year to come, it’s nice to reflect on the year past. Thus it’s time for our very own Pilates-Pro.com “Year in Review,” a countdown of the site’s 10 most popular articles in 2009. (This is a great place to start if you’re just discovering us!) We’d like to extend huge thanks to all of the innovative, thoughtful, dedicated and generally amazing Pilates experts who contributed to Pilates-Pro.com this year. Kudos as well to the growing number of community members who use the articles and forums as a place for lively, insightful discussion. Pilates-Pro.com continues to grow because of you. And of course, if you have topics you’d like us tackle in 2010, please drop a line and let us know!
1. Pilates for Scoliosis by Suzanne Martin, PT, DPT
2. Pilates for Feet by Madeline Black
3. Five Ways to Combine Cardio and Pilates by Nicole Rogers
4. Pilates on Call with Siri Dharma Galliano
5. Postpartum Recovery: Helping New Moms Get Their Bodies Back by Debbi Goodman, MSPT
6. 16 Fitness Wear Discounts for Pilates Instructors by Christine Binnendyk
7. Pilates DVD Review: The Jump Board Workout by Nicole Rogers
8. Pilates on Call: Core Conditioning PTs
9. Five Ways to Hook Men on Pilates by Julian Littleford
10. Five Ways to Build Successful Client-Instructor Relationships by Devra Swiger