Paul and I often sit and chit chat about business or hip flexors or some weird and strange topic of conversation. Seriously even the kids have stopped asking questions!
And I often catch myself saying “If I knew then what I know now” so I figured I”d put it in a blog for you and in some way give you the heads up on all the ups and down you’ll have running your own business.
All I can say – is that – if it were easy – Everyone would be doing it!, But… I wouldn’t want to do anything else and I absolutely love my life and the challenges have been worth it. If I had to do it again – I would in a heartbeat!
These are probably the top 5 things I would have liked to have known when I started so I could have better prepared myself.
STAND IN YOUR TRUTH
I’ve cried many a day and there have been days when I’ve wanted to pack it in. And in all honesty none or very few of the times I have felt like that has never been because of the business – but because of people!
When you run your business you will without a doubt make some good friends who will stand by you…… Until you make a decision about YOUR business that they don’t quite like…
It seemed to take me a few years to actually grasp this and I have let myself get into the same pickle a few times – I obviously didn’t learn my lesson the first time. However, now, I am a much stronger person because of working with a coach and working on ME and really understanding WHO I AM, WHAT I WANT, and WHAT I WANT FOR MY BUSINESS.
On the last occasion this happened I ended up losing 5 clients because I finished one class, that was running at a loss. But I stuck to my decision regardless…. as I knew it was the right decision for my business and for me. Just because it’s the right decision doesn’t make it the easiest decision and I went through a very bad anxiety and stress, but I pushed through and stuck to my guns… and now our Pilates studio and Yoga Studio is better for it!
Paul has always been very supportive and he likes to find videos for me that will help keep me strong (I suppose he suffers indirectly if my mental health is not in a good place! So we both win!). This one video made me realise exactly what had happened and now I’m very careful about who I disclose business stuff to.
If you start watching from 0:50 it’ll start from there.
It may sound negative but in fact, it’s only human nature – we all want to get what we want – and for some people, it doesn’t matter at what cost, not realising the effect it’s having on other people.
Know what you want, make those decisions and BE STRONG. This is your business … you do what YOU want.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and certainly not by working on it one hour per day. You are going to have to put some time into building your business.
As it stands Paul and I have worked all day all weekend on the business because we’ve got targets and goals to reach. However last week his kids were here and we didn’t do any work on the business.
So you’ll have time to graft and times to rest, but be prepared to put the hours in. When I first started I used to be up late trying to do websites and all sorts, because I didn’t know any better. I’d also be doing all the accounts and flyers and advertising and whatever else…
But at the time, I did not have the information that I have now, all the information that I’m sharing with you, which will ultimately save you time, money and energy! (so you’ll have to keep reading the blogs ha ha).
I will admit a lot of what I was doing, in the beginning, was either wrong or not necessary at all! Hopefully, the information I can share with you will help prevent you from making the same mistakes!
3. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
When I first started this business we risked our homes to finance the renovations of the studio etc.
That’s crazy you might think…
Well yes to a sane person…
If you knew 100% that what you were working towards would work and that “everything would be okay”
Would you not go for it???
Well there you go, that’s exactly what we did!
At no point did I doubt the studio wouldn’t work. I’ve never had a doubt that things would go bust or business wouldn’t be good enough.
Even when we couldn’t pay the mortgage and were getting final reminder letters…
I STILL BELIEVED IN US…
and we pushed through all VERY hard times….. to where we are now…..
Funnily enough, we had the opportunity to open another studio and my gut instinct wasn’t comfortable… We chose not to take the other place on.
You have to believe in yourself and listen to your gut. it will never lead you astray.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of our all-time favourites – he is a very intelligent man and his work ethic is second to none and in this video, he talks about his 6 RULES OF SUCCESS and this is something we actually live by.
4. YOU MUST KNOW HOW TO MARKET – DON’T LEAVE IT “JUST HAPPEN”
Again, I do chuckle when I think back to 2012 when I first started.
This was me…
“If I’m good enough I won’t need to advertise”
If people don’t know about you, how can they become a client? And also people are not always ready to become a client the first time they hear about you. So you MUST market CONSISTENTLY and CONTINUOUSLY.
I have people coming to me who have been on my database from 3 years ago, wanting a class!!!
You want your brand to be the first thing anyone thinks of when they think “I’m looking for pilates”.
My business only really took off when I took on a coach who taught me how to market my business and I grew from about £800pm to £3000 in a period of about 6 months.
5. BE PROTECTIVE OF YOUR TIME
This is probably one of the most important tips. Time is something you will NEVER get back. Have boundaries in place. There are some people I will answer a text to when they text at night, and there are some people I won’t.
Start as you mean to go on. If you don’t want to work Sundays – then don’t answer emails/texts or anything on a Sunday. Clients will soon know that your Sundays are out of bounds.
Another way you need to protect your time is with clients. You will get clients who like to stay after class and talk and that’s great. But you’ll get some that like to stay for 5 hours after a class and chat.
Make sure your time is paid for…
Don’t go over when you’re doing 1-2-1. If they are late, YOU finish on time.
Be aware of people that want to “pick your brain”. Just respond “That sounds painful”.
No doubt picking your brain – means they want your intellectual property for free.
We have spent probably near to £20 000 in the past year on business coaching and mentorship. Why would I give anyone else that information when I’ve had to pay that much for it?
I’ve had people ask if they can meet up for a coffee etc and I’m like “oh that sounds great, on the condition we don’t talk business, I need a break”… I make it clear I have no intention of discussing MY business or theirs.
If they want to pick my brain I give them a link to my calendar and ask them to book an appointment and it’s £50 🙂 In fact when I started my business I paid the local gym owner £50 to spend an hour with him.
AND I actually paid £75 for a haircut at a very exclusive hair salon because I was told the owner was a very good businessman and he would be able to give me some tips for the business and they were right – I did get some valuable help from him!
So how does this relate to you?
You might get another pilates teacher who covers for you, or you cover for them asking you how you grew your business so quickly etc.. be aware of giving away your knowledge for free.
Now I am not saying don’t help people. All I am saying is be mindful and protective of your time and your brain.
AND HERE’S A BONUS TIP
*BONUS* ENJOY THE JOURNEY
We can get very fixated (well I can) on goals and achieving goals and driving things forward and I went through a stage where I didn’t actually want to teach anymore. Not because I didn’t like teaching, but because I wanted to get back to the computer to answer the emails and do all the “stuff” that I thought would help me to achieve my goals.
They, of course, will help you to achieve your goals but managing your time/tasks effectively will help you to create more time and space to ENJOY teaching and being with your clients.
Now, when I am at the yoga studio teaching – my brain/my heart/my soul – everything is at the studio with my clients. They get my full undivided attention and I love being in that space with them. It’s an hour of THEIR time they are giving to you so you should also respect that and do the best you can for them in that hour.
Your undivided attention will not go unnoticed and your connection with your clients will grow stronger and you’ll love how you’re helping them even more because you will SEE it in them.
All the struggles I had three years ago are gone. I can’t even remember what I cried about. In 5 years from now all the things that annoy you and worry you now… will be gone. But the memories of your clients and the smiles on their faces will be imprinted on your mind forever.
And trust me….when a client who has barely been able to move for 5 years comes to you and says “Thank You, you’ve given me my life back”, the only place you want to be in that very moment … is there with them.. it truly is priceless to be able to help another human being in such a way…
AND if your mind is on other things, like mine used to be…
You’ll miss the moment.
Thanks for reading!
All my love from Newton Abbot Devon
St Marychurch Road, (next to Plant World)
Newton Abbot DEVON TQ12 4SE