The wonderful Stephanie Benton of Inspired Brand Co. joins me on the podcast today! She shares her teaching experience, valuable marketing insights, and several ways to expand your business in a way that supports your self-care and personal growth. Tune in!
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Stephanie is a Pilates teacher and online marketing superstar based in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. Check out her podcast: Online Marketing for Pilates Teachers, learn more about the services she offers at https://www.inspiredbrand.co/ and connect with her on Instagram at @inspiredbrand.co.
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[00:00:00] Olivia: Welcome to Pilates Teachers' Manual, your guide to becoming a great Pilates teacher. I'm Olivia, and I'll be your host. Join the conversation and the Pilates community on Instagram at @pilatesteachersmanual and visit buymeacoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts to support the show. Today's chapter starts now.
[00:00:56] Hello, hello everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. I am so [00:01:00] excited to be on today with Stephanie Benton of Inspired Brand Co. And she is super incredible. She actually has a podcast of her own, rocking it, doing online marketing for Pilates teachers, or it's called Online Marketing for Pilates teachers. And I love it because it's got these short sweet episodes that have really helpful information, especially for teachers who are working in this online space. So definitely check out that podcast. Um, she's also a teacher and a business coach and she is going to all kinds of things with us today. So thank you so much for coming on today, Stephanie.
[00:01:35] Stephanie: Thank you. That was such a nice introduction. I appreciate that. I'm excited to be here.
[00:01:40] Olivia: Yeah, it'll be a party. So tell me, we were just chatting off the podcast, but how did you get started in Pilates? What was that first experience?
[00:01:51] Stephanie: So I grew up dancing. I was always dancing from probably the age of three or four is when I started. And [00:02:00] because of that, I decided, you know, I wanted to get my bachelor's degree in dance when I decided what I was going to study in college. So I ended up at Cal State Long Beach in California, and may have first introduction to Pilates was actually from Karen Clippinger who a lot of people know her in the Basi space. Of course at that time, I had no idea who she was or what the significance was of being able to work with her. But Pilates was one of the classes that was required for my bachelor's degree. So I studied Pilates with her for about two years. And at the same time was taking anatomy and kinesiology and body alignment classes with her as well, before I ever figured out like that, a lot of people know who Karen Clippinger is. I just, you know, to me, it was like, oh, this is my teacher. This is cool.
[00:02:52] So I think even before that, maybe my very first experience was the Mari Windsor, [00:03:00] like Pilates at home videos and stuff like that, because I always loved those like home workouts as a teenager. And I'm not even sure, like how I got introduced to, to that. It was probably an infomercial of some kind and I just loved it. I think, um, it helped me a lot when, when I was in college with rehab and things like that. And the equipment to me was just really exciting to be able to be on as a dancer. Normally, you're just using your own body to, to create movement. And so I found the equipment to be really fascinating at that time.
[00:03:36] Olivia: I kind of liked that you didn't know who your teacher was before they were your teacher, because you know, in the Pilates world, I feel like maybe that's like this in every industry, but there's like a lot of name dropping and it's like, who's studied with who and like all of these people.
[00:03:49] And I know when I first started in Pilates, I was like, I don't know who these people are. So to meet one of these iconic [00:04:00] teachers and to just know them as like, yeah, I actually really like what they're teaching without kind of that baggage is kind of neat.
[00:04:06] Stephanie: Yeah. It was, it was like a weird backwards way of getting into Pilates and being inspired by it because she, she just has this presence that makes you excited about the work that you're doing. And she's so intricate in what she's talking about. I think if I had taken anatomy or kinesiology from anybody else, I would've been like snoozing on the floor, but, um, our classes were all very applied. So we would be in our anatomy class and we'd be like moving our bodies and everything in a dance space while also learning anatomy.
[00:04:39] And so it was a real just unique way to be introduced to the Pilates method. And also just to learn more about anatomy and physiology and what the heck we were doing with our, our bodies and our dance classes.
[00:04:55] Olivia: So what inspired you to become a Pilates teacher?
[00:04:59] Stephanie: [00:05:00] So my story with that is kind of complicated a little bit because after I graduated from school, Karen was offering like Pilates certification for dancers through Basi, um, add at a discounted rate for the college students that graduated. However, I had student loan debt that I was going to have to repay it, and there was just no way financially at that time in my life that that would have worked out for me. And so when I graduated in, this is in 2009, so right at the height of the economic recession with zero paid dance work whatsoever. Landing in a marketing like telemarketing and marketing job at that point. And it took me about five or six years of working in the marketing space, sitting at a desk. I was still dancing, like dancing locally and, um, at a community college and taking class and all of that. But my body was really suffering from sitting behind a computer all day.
[00:05:59] [00:06:00] And I just had this light bulb moment right after I got married. My husband was like, let's do something different. And I was like, okay, well I want to be, I want to get certified as a teacher. Like I want to make this what I do. And so he, I told him the price, like freaked out a little bit. Cause we were just like newly married and, and all of that. But that's kind of what got me back into a Pilates. I was taking classes at local studios. Um, I even had taught a place mat class at one of the dance studios that I worked at not necessarily being certified, but I had enough of that basic knowledge from Karen that I, I felt comfortable doing that. And so it was about 2014 when I decided to finally like jump in and do my certificate.
[00:06:50] Olivia: So for your certification, did you go through Basi? Did you go for a different school? Can you tell me a little bit about what your teacher training experience was like?
[00:06:59] Stephanie: Yeah, [00:07:00] I did not do Basi. And the main reason for that was I was in San Diego and the Basi headquarters was in Orange County. And so at the time I was working full time and trying to like balance how I was gonna do my certifications.
[00:07:17] I at that moment list, thinking of Club Pilates, because they had a really big presence in the San Diego area starting there. And I had spoken with a couple of different, I got linked up through the dance community to other people that were Pilates teachers in the San Diego area. And I just started asking people like what their opinions were on different trainings.
[00:07:38] And when that really stuck out to me with Stott Pilates. And the reason that that was so attractive to me at that point in my life was that it was very module based. So I could study and just pay for the portion that I was learning at the time. And so that part was really attractive because I knew that I could stretch out the investment [00:08:00] for the Pilates training over a year or 18 months or however long it was going to take me to complete my certification.
[00:08:06] So I did that training at Marshall Eklund studio in San Diego. And they are no longer there anymore, but I love Marshall. He's a very quirky, unique Pilates teacher individual, and his assistant trainer. Alyssa, was also a really amazing, so that's where I did my certification.
[00:08:27] Olivia: I know that I say this on the podcast a lot because I, whenever I have guests on, I always want to hear about their sort of training experience because they can be so different and it just comes up over and over again, that the best training is going to be the one that fits in your schedule, that fits in your budget because it really resonates on your husband's like, oh my gosh, it costs how much? Cause that like some of the trainings, even trainings that, you know, market themselves as affordable, you're still, it's like $5,000 that you're just going to like, hello, take my money [00:09:00] and then a year and a half of my life. And, uh, it's a lot.
[00:09:03] So I'm glad that, that that was there and that, that fit in your schedule. Cause I think that's half the battle really is just finding the good fit. Cause the Pilates, you know, bodies is bodies, but the how it's gonna fit is important. Yeah. So can you tell me a bit about your journey maybe as a teacher and then coming into your super cool business. How did you jump into the teaching land back in the day?
[00:09:32] Stephanie: So after I finished my certification, uh, actually it was a little bit before I finished my certification, there was a new studio that was going to be opening up, actually very close to where I lived. And so I had completed all of my training. I just had not tested out yet at that point.
[00:09:50] And I applied for that position and was able to start teaching some group Pilates classes there at that studio that just opened. Um, and that was in [00:10:00] 2015 and I kind of dragged my feet on doing my certification. Like I think a lot of teachers do, I finished all of my courses. I finished all of my practice teaching hours, my observation, all the things that were required and then went beyond that. But it took me six or eight months before I was like, okay, I can actually take this test now and have somebody stare at me for an hour as I'm like working with the body in front of me. So that's how I started. As I started at a studio that was group classes, pretty similar to Club Pilates, and worked my way up from there.
[00:10:38] I started taking private clients there as well and just really got my feet wet. The clients, they were amazing. A lot of them were like brand new to Pilates too, because there wasn't a studio that had serviced that area before. So it was a great way to just test out everything that I knew and learn about different [00:11:00] bodies and the different challenges that people were facing and how to work the Pilates method around the bodies that were in front of me.
[00:11:09] So I loved doing the private sessions, but then I also really love teaching group classes too, because the dancer in me found it to be very much like choreography. So it was fun for me to come up with interesting ways to flow through the movement and challenge myself in that way too, as well as challenge my clients also. So that's really where I got started.
[00:11:35] Kind of like a lot of teachers when you're getting started. I, I worked at multiple different studios all over the county to pick up enough hours to be able to replace the income that I had from my full-time marketing job. So part of the reason that I was phasing out of that, as well as they were relocating and I was getting laid off too.
[00:11:56] Finding that balance of working teaching [00:12:00] classes at night and weekends, and then also working a full-time job was a challenge, but also really was at a time in my life where I needed to have that movement aspect back in my life. And so it never felt like a job, you know. I, I would leave my job and then I'd go and get to have fun in the evening and have fun on the weekends and, and all of that.
[00:12:25] So worked at multiple studios and then eventually the last studio that I worked at before I decided to somewhat retire as an actual Pilates teacher was, uh, a gym setting that had a full Pilates studio in it. Um, and that was a really great place for me to work in a more private setting. So I did more privates there, small group, not really any large group classes anymore at that point.
[00:12:52] And that's the place where I found my niche of clientele and really found my voice [00:13:00] as a teacher, I felt like I felt like I could create my own brand within that studio. And that's kind of the evolution of where I took my teaching was, I love teaching group classes, but I really found that the smaller, intimate, more private setting was more aligned with who I am as a person. And so I think that knowing that and learning that about myself was a really important step in that evolution as a teacher.
[00:13:34] Olivia: Something that you said that, uh, really clicked for me is like when you're in your teacher training and you're working with other Pilates teachers who know what the exercises are and have, you know, really great body awareness and overall coordination, and often are a type of body.
[00:13:56] And then you go to a studio and people, for the most [00:14:00] part in your classes, are not Pilates teachers, or training to be Pilates teachers or dancers. They're regular people who have desk jobs and kids and sore backs and kind of wonky elbows. And I feel like I kind of like what you did, that you didn't test out immediately, that you actually went, worked with like actual humans and not like Pilates teachers who, like we're weird. We're definitely weird. And the things we think are fun are weird and it's just like, not- regular people think it's fun to do teaser. And yeah.
[00:14:30] And especially in terms of like finding your voice, like, I think you have to work with lots of different types of people and kind of go through that phase where you try a little bit of everything cause you don't know, and then kind of narrow it down and be like, yeah, you know, this is what really, this is what really lights my fire and I feel really passionate about, and I feel energized doing this kind of work versus wishing that I was napping or something like that.
[00:14:57] Stephanie: Yeah, exactly. I think that when you are [00:15:00] first coming out of teacher training, you're like I can work with everybody. And Pilates is really for everybody, but I feel like as teachers, we can't necessarily, in the best way, help every single body there is going to be a niche that's going to kind of develop for you that you find is like really where your really where your expertise lies. And a lot of that ties into your own lived experience, your own, like things that you've gone through.
[00:15:29] For myself, you know, being a very limber in shape dancer, to sitting at a desk for five years, putting on a lot of weight, getting neck pain, back pain, low back pain, the whole gamut of the thing, um, really helped me to understand that demographic of people. And so most of my niche that I worked with were like the desk jockeys, the people um, had that like lumbar issues or a tightness in their shoulders, the forward head. And I did work a lot with joint [00:16:00] replacements and rehab too, because for me, that was really interesting to figure out how we can move the body and mold the body in a way that would allow them to create the movement that they wanted with limited mobility in the beginning.
[00:16:13] So I think, you know, as teacher is it's important for us to understand what that is for ourselves, but it does take some time. Like you have to kind of go out and get to know people and get to know different bodies before you understand what really excites you. And for some teachers, it's teaching group classes. For some teachers, it's teaching really healthy bodies, that you want like a really challenging workout. For some teachers it's slowing it down, you know? I think it's important to give yourself the space and try to diversify it, who you're teaching in the beginning so that you can figure that out in the easiest way possible.
[00:16:51] Olivia: I have a friend who's a teacher, her and her niche is like the 6:00 AM triathletes who like [00:17:00] they, they were up at four running and now they're doing their Pilates session and I'm like, you know what? It's great because there is like a Pilates teacher for everyone. You won't see me teaching at six in the morning, not my niche. Anyone who wants to work out at 6:00 AM is not going to be my kind of client. We're not gonna have a good time. But, I mean, I think that that's so great because we all have our own personality and like joint replacements, you know, someone might be listening to this and be like, oh my gosh, I wouldn't even know what to do with someone with a joint replacement, but to someone else that's like their bread and butter. So there really is a way that Pilates can meet everyone. And you don't have to be the Pilates teacher who meets everyone all the time.
[00:17:36] Stephanie: Yes.
[00:17:38] Olivia: So tell me about Inspired Brand Co. How did this come about as you switch from desk jockey to Pilates teacher to hybrid, hybrid a little bit, everything all the time.
[00:17:51] Stephanie: Yeah, I, uh, so back in like 2019, the, my company really started in [00:18:00] a strange way, but I think a lot of people can understand. I had a son and I had actually gone back to teaching when he was about three months old, because I was really pressured to come back to you at the studio. And because of that, he, I was working like really early mornings to try to like, make things work, trying to squeeze pumping breaks in between clients.
[00:18:27] It wasn't the most fun situation, but I had him in half day preschool. And then I get a notification from the daycare that they have to switch them to full-time because they just weren't going to offer the half-time anymore. So I thought, oh my gosh. Now I got to figure out how to make another $500 a month to really fill in that space.
[00:18:50] Because as a Pilates teacher, we were able to balance me going to work from like six to 12, but I had to pick them up by five o'clock. So. There weren't a lot of clients [00:19:00] that were then going to fill in that like two o'clock and that three o'clock, it would have been really hard to do that. And so I can't even remember like the exact moment where I said to myself, you know what? Pilates teachers need help with their marketing, but it just came to me one day as this inspired idea, which is kind of the, the reason for the name of my company. But at some point I thought to myself, man, there are a lot of teachers out here are trying to build up their own brand or fill their schedules or grow their studio even that are just really struggling with how to market their business, because it's not taught to us in our teacher training.
[00:19:40] Typically what we do is we go and we'll like work at a studio and we'll look at what they're doing. And we think that the only track for us is to create a studio. Right? So you either work at a studio or you create a studio. And the opportunity for that is limited for a lot of people because of overhead or [00:20:00] whatever the myriad of reasons are that it's challenging to open a brick and mortar studio.
[00:20:05] So at that time it was like mid 2019 is when I started just teaching marketing, just kind of putting out some information on Instagram, putting out information on Facebook, a lot of free content I created and I still do. And it, it molded itself eventually into a mentorship, which is kind of the program that I have now is a 16 week mentorship, helping Pilates teachers more specifically build an online business and learn how to market and sell their offers in the online space.
[00:20:38] And much like we were sort of talking about the challenge that a lot of us face when we're marketing our business is we're too general about what it is that we do and we talk about. From the way that we understand it, but a potential client that's never done Pilates before there, it's going to go in one ear and out the other, and they're not going to understand [00:21:00] how it actually is going to help support them.
[00:21:02] So teaching kind of the concepts of marketing and how to understand who your niche is and how to talk to them in a way that they understand so that you can bring more people into working with you, I think is really important. And that was something that was really missing at the time was just the opportunity for teachers to learn some marketing skills in addition to all of the continuing education that we do on a regular basis to become better teachers.
[00:21:34] Olivia: It's definitely been a common thread with guests on the podcast and just teachers in general, that there are amazing, incredible Pilates teachers in every corner of the world. And I see more of them now on Instagram, because that's the way I interact with most people now, when it's not a blizzard outside, this is coming out in April. It's a blizzard outside right now in February. And yeah, and just this idea that, you know, like what you're offering [00:22:00] is incredible and it's going to change lives. And if you're hidden away, then like you're really doing yourself and your clients a disservice or potential clients a disservice..
[00:22:11] Stephanie: And marketing is really a bit different now too, than what worked in like 2009 when I first started teaching marketing. At that time, you could put up a Facebook ad and run a free class or something to your studio and you would get people in the door left and right. And it just doesn't work that efficiently anymore to run Facebook ads and, and all of that.
[00:22:36] And at the same time, traditionally we've all had brick and mortars before a lot of us really pivoted online in 2020 when it was necessary to do so, but a brick and mortar studio has the benefit you know, foot traffic, people walking by and people Googling or searching, but even still, somebody has to know they want Pilates to find your [00:23:00] studio on Google. Right. And so still a lot of people don't know that maybe they're going to need Pilates to like alleviate the back pain that they have and, or whatnot, just to put it in very basic, simple terms.
[00:23:12] And so when we all pivoted online, it was like, oh my gosh, how do I stand out? How do I make myself seem different than other people? And it can be a struggle to really do that. And I think a lot of it just comes from, we're afraid of putting ourselves out there. We're afraid of, you know, a judgment from other people, whether it's teachers or just friends and family even. And so it can be really hard for us to create that visibility.
[00:23:40] And so in the work that I do and the things that I teach, I teach about marketing, but I also teach about how to look inwards, to figure out like, who are you, what is it that you want to affect as a transformation into the world. And getting clear on that is I think the important foundation of marketing as a whole.[00:24:00]
[00:24:05] Olivia: Hi there. I hope you're enjoying today's chapter so far. There's great stuff coming up after the break, too. Be sure to subscribe wherever you're listening and visit buymeacoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts to support the show. There you can make a one-time donation or become a member for as little as $5 a month.
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[00:25:02] What I love about the online space is that now, as you've mentioned, like there's a huge barrier to opening a Pilates studio in terms of, you know, finding a space to rent and in Chicago, does it have parking, like things like this. And then, you know, on top of that, that you've got to get all these reformers and chairs and equipment and get teachers and fill your schedule.
[00:25:28] And it's just.- Even to me, and I'm still relatively new in Pilates teacher years. Like, I'm just like, I don't know if that's where I want to go, but being able to have classes online clients online and like, even if you don't even think of it as an online studio, just the fact that you've been offered services online has really allowed teachers a to survive because 2020 was rough and 2021 was also rough. Yeah. It's still kind of rough out there.
[00:25:57] I think that teachers have had this really awesome [00:26:00] opportunity. And I know that like the first bit of 2020, it was like convincing clients to be like, Hey, you know, you can still do of online if you wanted to. But yeah, I mean, it's, it's opened the door and a lot of way, and you're like, great, now there's this open door, and what am I going to do with it?
[00:26:20] Stephanie: Yeah, exactly. It's the online space really excites me a lot because you can really get to shine as yourself and you can create an online offer for like left-handed basket weavers. I don't know. You know, like it could literally be for anybody that you want to serve and there's going to be a market out there for it. It just takes time sometimes to, to build that up.
[00:26:47] Much like when we go through our teacher training, it's not like overnight that you get certified and you're teaching and you're making, you know, like $10,000 a quarter or a month or a year, even, you know, sometimes. [00:27:00] And so it takes time to build it up. And that's why a lot of times just deep internal belief in who you are and what you're offering and how you want to transform other people is super important when you're building a business, especially in the online space, because I will say that it is so easy to quit an online business because you don't have a lot of skin in the game necessarily.
[00:27:24] You're, you're putting yourself out there, but you're you know, be- maybe taking out a business loan to like buy all this equipment that now you're like, okay, I gotta pay that business loan back. You know, you may make a very small investment into building your online business on like softwares or, or what have you. And so it can become a lot easier actually to decide, you know, oh, I'm just going to quit. So figuring out that drive and that, that purpose of what you're doing is extremely important if you want to have success, long-term in the online space.
[00:27:56] Olivia: So I feel like this is a pretty natural segue, but can you tell me [00:28:00] how and why you started your podcast, which launched just in January. It is a baby podcast and it's awesome. I'm online marketing for Pilates teachers. Tell me all about that.
[00:28:10] Stephanie: Yeah. So I started seeing like, okay, we're all getting a little more busy again. I was first building my business in 2020. I did a lot of Facebook live and Instagram live because we had more time to kind of hang out together in that way. And so I could do a training for 20 minutes, 30 minutes, even sometimes an hour, and people would be hanging out with me like the whole time on Facebook live.
[00:28:36] As we've moved into 2022, and honestly, I really wanted to launch my podcast last year, but you know, much like the rest of us procrastination. Oh, you know, I'll just get to that later. So I had to put a hard date on it and I want it to be able to offer a way to get a little more into detail about tools and tips. And I do give an action step on [00:29:00] every episode to you. So an action step that teachers can take every single week to make traction in their business was really important for me.
[00:29:08] And I feel like podcasts just make it more convenient for people to be able to learn on the go. Now, if we're back to sort of running around all over the place again, which I know a lot of us are, so that's kind of what inspired me to create the podcast. And also I like to talk, so it just felt like a really natural way to serve the Pilates community. And I've been having a lot of fun doing it.
[00:29:35] Olivia: I will definitely link to Stephanie's podcast in the show notes so that you can check it out. But I am in the minority of people who listen to podcasts on Spotify. So you can listen to it on Spotify or anywhere else you get your podcasts. Well, fabulous. Oh, I know you've sprinkled in a lot of advice for teachers in terms of marketing, you know, getting clear on what drives them and their niche and as you [00:30:00] refer to them in your podcasts, like your soulmate, I learned it as avatar, but you don't call them a soulmate, soulmate client?
[00:30:06] Stephanie: Soulmate clients.
[00:30:07] Olivia: The client is your, is your term, um, maybe in terms of teaching because you still also teach Pilates, they're like juggling so many cool things right now. Um, what advice do you have maybe for Pilates teachers who maybe when they're coming right out of teacher training, or maybe they've been teaching for a few years and are kind of in their zone, what can you offer them as a little advice?
[00:30:31] Stephanie: Yeah. The first thing I would say is to just be curious and figure out who you are as a teacher. What, what is your story on how you kind of got into teaching? Because, you know, we shared my story a little bit here today and it makes sense now thinking about what I'm doing in life at this point. And at the time it was like all these fragmented things. It's like, I, didn't- nothing made [00:31:00] sense to me. Why, how am I in marketing now? I don't know. I'm creative and that's just what I'm doing.
[00:31:04] And then now I'm teaching Pilates and freelance marketing. So I think that being really curious and figuring out who you are as a person and what your story is that led you to teach Pilates. Really important. Maybe even taking some time to write that story out, because that can really help you to uncover even who you might want to be working with if you're a brand new teacher or even help you sort of sort out of the clients that you currently have, like who are the ones that stand out to you the most that you really enjoy working with, and that may give you some idea of who your soulmate client niche is.
[00:31:42] Another thing that I wanted to talk about too, is your- the path that brought you to where you are, is going to give you that unique skillset and information. It's going to inform you on, on who you want to work with, but also what makes you unique as a teacher? What makes [00:32:00] you special? And, you know, we used to know, like to call people special, but I think we're all special and amazing and wonderful.
[00:32:07] And knowing what makes you different from other teachers, you can stop thinking about other teachers as your competition so much and start thinking of each other as a network of people that can, maybe you're not the right person to help somebody, but you can refer them to a teacher, friend of yours that can help them with that particular thing.
[00:32:28] So creating those connections with other teachers too. Create this culture that I think a lot of us are trying to instill and trying to, to create now of community and connection and referral and all of that good and wonderful stuff.
[00:32:49] And then I think the other thing too, is I want you to think about learning three really specific things about the clients that you're working with and make this a habit of [00:33:00] getting to know these. Any time you have a new client, or even if you have clients that you've been working with the first is what is it that they're really struggling with? And it's probably not just that they have shoulder pain, right? It's probably a lot deeper than that. And I think as teachers, we want to go a little bit deeper than that, especially if you're building a business in the online space so that you can really start creating the conversation around these deeper struggles that people have. So it's probably deeper than shoulder pain. It might be that they don't have time to prioritize their workout. Okay. Why is it that they don't have time, you know, and try to dig deeply into what that struggle is.
[00:33:40] The second thing that you really want to know about your clients is what does their dream life look like if they took that struggle away? Like, what is it that they're aspiring to you movement wise or otherwise? Because I think that Pilates really facilitates a whole transformation for clients. That's not just physical, it's, you know, [00:34:00] trusting themselves, it's pushing their limits, you know, it's trying new things. So understanding that.
[00:34:06] And then the third thing is also understanding what's really getting in the way of them achieving whatever that dream life is for themselves on their own. Because a lot of times understanding where they're getting stuck. Like maybe they're trying something that's just really not working will help you as a teacher to communicate the value of the offer that you have for them. So really helping them understand if it's that they're not making time for themselves, you know, how can you fit the Pilates into their life? Right. And how is it that your sessions are. Be really easy for them to attend, even if they don't have time, maybe it because they're online so they can do them from home. So understanding that helps you position the offer that you have for your clients.
[00:34:53] Olivia: One of my favorite things that I like to share about the switch to online is I had a client who would [00:35:00] always come to sessions late and would be done before they were done. And that was actually the studio that I had been working at. And then I, you know, I left the studio and then 2020, and they reached out to me and they were like, you know, what'd you do, are you doing anything virtually? And I was very lucky to have to have space in my house that I was able to do virtual stuff. And guess what, when you're virtual, you can do a 30 minute session. And that I think is all they wanted, but the studio was selling them in 50 minutes or 55. And that's not what they wanted, but like a 30 minutes total sweet spot. And now I get to see them three times a week and that's even better for me.
[00:35:43] And that is something that I think, uh, when I was at that student, I was a really new teacher. Like it wasn't even in my mind, it was just like, oh my gosh, they're always late. And not like, why are they always late? Like, why do they always want to leave five minutes early? Um, because when you kind of find out what makes [00:36:00] them tick a little bit, then you can just meet their needs in ways you feel better because they're not like not wanting to be there and then they feel better because they're actually getting what they wanted. So I think that's really cool. Yeah. You make it sound really easy. Like really? I'm like you're right. I should definitely be asking these people these questions.
[00:36:19] Stephanie: Yeah. I know. It's in some sense it is easy, but it's uncomfortable. Right. Because a lot of times we're just not comfortable, like asking and probing that deeply with people. And so it can create this like inner conflict with ourselves of like, oh, maybe I shouldn't press too hard. Or, you know, I don't want to get out of my lane or, or whatever the case may be.
[00:36:45] But I think once you've been teaching for a while, you do start to realize that yes, of course we're teaching the Pilates method, but the things that we're helping our clients with go so far beyond just like movements and sometimes it's communities [00:37:00] sometimes just comradery, a friendship. It's so many different things that we're doing.
[00:37:06] I'm not saying we're therapists by any means, but sometimes it can feel like you're in a little bit of a therapy session with, with the clients because they really trust you. And they're, they're being very vulnerable with you as a client.
[00:37:20] And the other thing that I wanted to touch on too, with the online space as well is that, especially if you've got a clear niche, a clear understanding of who your niche is, you can actually make leverage of some of the knowledge and the skills that you have by creating some content that's recorded for clients in a program, kind of setting where you're supporting them in two different ways.
[00:37:46] You're letting them do some self study. And then you also can add some one-to-one component to that. A group class component to that, depending on you know, where that client's at and what they mean to really leverage your [00:38:00] own personal time and be able to still impact people's lives without having to necessarily trade your hours for, for a certain dollar amount too. So that's also something to think about if you're going into the online space.
[00:38:15] Um, not to be redactive or anything, but a lot of us explain the hundreds exactly the same to every single client. So if you leverage, you know, how you explain the hundreds and maybe include a couple of different cues that you're finding work for clients, you can create a recorded version of you teaching the hundreds that could be really effective for people so that you're not repeating the process necessarily over and over and over again.
[00:38:41] So it's just a different way to kind of think about how we're teaching the method, which not everybody might agree with me on that, but I, I believe really strongly that it creates an opportunity for clients to do self study. And of course you want to make sure that they're in a space that that [00:39:00] can be effective for them to,
[00:39:02] Olivia: I mean, I think that makes a lot of sense and, uh, like we also know that the. online Pilates works. And so whether you're telling them to do the a hundred in their session, or you're telling them to do the a hundred and a video on YouTube, like you're, or even like a video on your membership site or something like that.
[00:39:21] What I've found that clients that have stuck with me for years and years, yes. They like come for the exercise, but it's like not for the exercise. Like we could do the same footwork ,feet in straps, bridging situation every single time. For some clients, we do that actually every single time. And it's about like, I love what you said. Like these is just this far reaching impact beyond just movement, that there's something about surprising yourself and getting stronger and being stronger than you thought you were.
[00:39:57] And, you know, [00:40:00] there's the kind of like the misnomer that Pilates is improving posture. When, like the way I see it, as people carry themselves differently when they feel good about themselves. And so when you're doing Pilates and they're getting more confident and they're seeing the outcome of their hard work with you, but also like inherent, like their work, their muscles, their body doing this like super awesome stuff. Like, of course, you're going to be like, check me out, like doing this thing. Um, and sort of be tall. It occurs to me there's no video, but I was definitely demonstrating being taller.
[00:40:31] Stephanie: Definitely getting taller.
[00:40:34] Olivia: Because yeah, because like you feel good and you're probably sleeping better and less stressed and like all of these fabulous things, drinking more water because you're exercising and all this.
[00:40:43] Stephanie: Yeah. And that also ties into referrals as well. So when, when you have a really specific niche and you're helping that particular group of people, they are going to go tell their other friends that are similar to them [00:41:00] all about all the amazing things that they're dealing with you. Right? So like the triathletes, right. Example, they're all gonna tell each other, and they're all going to want to come work out together. Having a niche also helps to establish that community in the online space that I think is extremely critical right now. And I would have said, you know, just for 2020, but it seems to continue to perpetuate. So we need these communities in the online space where we can feel seen and feel like there's other people there that are struggling with the same stuff that we are, you know?
[00:41:35] Olivia: And I also love what you mentioned about, you know, creating a community of teachers as well. Just operating from this abundance mindset, that there are lots of people out there who will benefit from Pilates. And instead of trying to shapeshift as you to meet all these people's, you know, very specific desires and wants and style of class and [00:42:00] music. I enjoy music, but now I teach online and like, there's no music. So if you wanted like thumping music in a group class, like you probably won't be able to hang out with me because it's me and my room, you know?
[00:42:11] But that if you have this connection with other teachers, which is also really nice, cause I've talked about this on the podcast too, is like, it can feel kind of isolating as a teacher when you're online because everyone's in their house. And not only because it's frigid outside and you don't want to go, but like, this is also like where you're working.
[00:42:29] And so having people that you connect with and, you know, their teaching style that, you know, maybe best problem ever, you've got too many clients, but you know, other teachers who teach like you fab, you know, share that information instead of burning the candle at both ends. Like my biggest advice for people is like, if you teach at six in the morning, don't also teach at six at night, like that is too much.
[00:42:53] Stephanie: I definitely did that with a two year old at home. So I do not recommend that at all.
[00:42:59] Olivia: It's [00:43:00] just exhausting. And it, it like, in some ways, teaching Pilates is work and as much as you love it, there'll probably be days where you're like, I kind of wish I was still asleep, but here I am, like, let's do some Pilates.
[00:43:11] Like you don't have to be on a hundred percent of the time all the time, but you also want your work to be sustainable and you want it to not burn you out, even when you love it. So having that network of other teachers to even connect with, like, I, there's a Pilates, another Pilates teacher friend of mine in Chicago, who we go to a yoga class together sometimes.
[00:43:31] And then we go out for lunch and talk about Pilates and, oh, I've got this client, they're experiencing this. Like, what do you like, we've been doing this on the chair. What do you think? And then just like be able to share, or, you know, you're out of town. You want to like share. Share the love, all of that good stuff.
[00:43:50] Stephanie: And I think also with sharing of potential clients is really important because I remember at the studio that I taught at, there were a lot of [00:44:00] clients that were like, oh, I don't want to work with so-and-so when you go on vacation because XYZ, whatever, whatever the excuse was from the client. And it's important for us to help our clients with that autonomy so that they can understand learning from somebody else can be really beneficial to them too.
[00:44:19] And I think if you're in the online space and you've got some prerecorded content that can really help with that as well, so that people understand like, oh, I'm in control of my bodies. I can say to this person, you know, that doesn't feel good or this isn't the right thing for me right now. And they can adjust to it too. So just trusting the Pilates community as a whole and not being so attached to just the one teacher, I think can really help with that.
[00:44:45] Olivia: I think that is, uh, an interesting thing. And I don't know where I, I heard or read this idea, but like overall, like I want people to feel, like I want my clients to feel good in their body. So I like, I want them to move because we know that moving [00:45:00] is a good way to feel good in our bodies. And if you do it with through Pilates, amazing. If you want to do Zumba or yoga or cross country ski, like go for it, but like move. And then. If they're going to do Pilates, like, I mean, I would love if they do it at my studio or where I'm working, but I don't want them to just be attached to me because-
[00:45:20] Stephanie: You want to take a vacation.
[00:45:22] Olivia: Yeah. I was like, what if I took a vacation? What would that even be ,like a vacation? Um, yeah, so there's another thing. Normalizing vacations for teachers like. Um, I I've had clients, uh, I don't want to say freak out. That seems a bit strong, but were like very startled that I wasn't going to be there. And I was like, sorry, my parents are in town. I am not teaching that Friday. And you're like, it's really fine. Like, Hey, you've been doing holidays for like 10 years. You can do your own Pilates and be, yeah, it'll be okay.
[00:45:53] Stephanie: Yes. And when I started my business to you in the online space, that was [00:46:00] something that was really important to me. And initially I just wanted to have weekends off. I wanted to make enough money that I could take weekends off, which I was able to accomplish, but then it's kind of evolved into now. I only work three weeks out of the month and I take one whole week off and I've designed my business to support me in doing that.
[00:46:18] And I think as, as teachers, that that is a reality that can be met as well, using prerecorded content or using an online program, which is I teach a lot about is, you know, again, leveraging your own ideas, your own skills and knowledge into something that you can then have clients work on while you're enjoying time off. And they're still, you know, they're still being held accountable and they still have you and your voice and your keys and, and all of that with them as well. But it, it can really create so much varying levels of flexibility for us as teachers, which I think is really exciting as we're looking at [00:47:00] 2022,
[00:47:01] Olivia: I think the dream is to get back to like summer vacations. They never should have let us do that in school because now I'm like, all right, I worked for nine months. So like, yeah, I want to take three months off.
[00:47:12] Stephanie: I want to take November and December off, like every year. That's my next goal.
[00:47:18] Olivia: Is there anything else that you'd like to share or anything that we didn't get to? I want to make sure that you hit all of the things that you wanted to talk about.
[00:47:26] Stephanie: I think I just wanted to finish by saying that as teachers, I think we should also normalize, like, learning about business, learning about marketing and, uh, also understanding we want to do our continuing education and, you know, grow as teachers too, but making that part of it, it doesn't even have to be a financial investment that you're making.
[00:47:47] You know, test things, put yourself out there, get more comfortable with your voice as a Pilates teacher and normalize, you know, learning about how to, how to be a business owner [00:48:00] from front to back end, I think is really important.
[00:48:05] Olivia: I think that that is, is excellent advice and definitely something that's applicable in the online space, but also in brick and mortar space. And just like being your teacher self space.
[00:48:16] Thank you so much, Stephanie, for your time, for hopping on this lovely chat with me and sharing all of your wisdom about the marketing sphere. Marketing is still something that makes me go Ooh, but, but you make it seem very friendly and super approachable. And I love the action items in your podcast. Like there's just little steps that you can take and little things you can do that can really help to move the needle in your business. So thank you so much for coming on.
[00:48:42] Stephanie: Thank you so much for having me. This was really fun.
[00:48:53] Olivia: Thanks for listening to this week's chapter of Pilates Teachers' Manual, your guide to becoming a great Pilates [00:49:00] teacher. Check out the podcast Instagram at @pilatesteachersmanual, and be sure to subscribe wherever you listen. For more Pilates goodness, check out my other podcast, Pilates Students' Manual, available everywhere you listen to podcasts.
[00:49:16] The adventure continues. Until next time.