Pilates Teachers' Manual

Career Paths for Pilates Teachers

January 28, 2021 Olivia Bioni Season 4 Episode 4
Pilates Teachers' Manual
Career Paths for Pilates Teachers
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What comes after your Pilates teaching certification? Lots of things! Today I share some potential career paths that are available to you once you obtain your teaching certification. 

I want to hear from you! Share your thoughts and follow the podcast on Instagram and Facebook @pilatesteachersmanual. Full show notes, episode transcription, and chapter markers can be found on the podcast website here: http://bit.ly/pilatesteachersmanual. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast for updates, and rate and review wherever you listen!  Episodes now available on YouTube: *https://bit.ly/YouTubePTM*

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[00:00:00] 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.

Hello, hello everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. [00:01:00] Today we're going to be talking about what comes after your certification and sort of career paths for the Pilates teacher. I think that this is an important thing because it's not something that I thought about right when I got out of teacher training. Like the end of teacher training was, I want to teach Pilates and now I can do that.

You can continue to do that, as I will discuss in this episode, but there's also a lots of fun paths that you could choose to take if they speak to you, if they interest you. And yeah, I just want to dive deep into your options as a Pilates teacher. One of the great things about being a Pilates teacher is you really do have a wide open field of things that you can do.

So just a quick summary to set you up for what we're going to talk about. You can continue to teach and all the ways that you currently do. You can transition to teaching [00:02:00] workshops or teaching and teaching workshops. You might become a teacher trainer or a master trainer teaching future teachers of Pilates. You might start your own business and go into business for yourself. And you may choose to open your own studio and really run the show, be the fabulous person behind the curtain who is orchestrating everything. 

This is by no means a comprehensive list. You could be a Pilates teacher and become anything. You could become a Pilates teacher and an author, and an educator, or a singer, like you could really be a Pilates teacher and lots of different things, but these are some paths that I think of when I think of what I can do now that I have my teaching credential as a Pilates teacher. 

Once you've been studio certified and you've completed your teacher training program, [00:03:00] you are ready to teach, or the paper says that you're ready to teach. And, you know, that's probably what you're doing right when you get started, is you're just teaching. Maybe at the studio that certified you, maybe at a gym or a community center, or, you know, in your house doing videos on Instagram live or something like that. But you're set up to teach Pilates. 

As many of the guests on the show have said, and I will echo their wise words that it is important to continue learning. And whether you chose to go the route of taking the national Pilates certification exam and becoming a nationally certified teacher, that additional certification process, whether you've done that, which requires you to do continuing education, I would recommend that you continue learning. Whether it's for credits that you need to renew your certification or just as a person who wants to stay current in what's going on in the movement world [00:04:00] and just continue to build your toolbox and have new ways of approaching exercise, new ways of approaching Pilates. 

You might be teaching part-time. You may have an established career that you're currently working in and you're teaching Pilates on the weekends or really early in the morning. Bless you. That is definitely not me, but you could definitely have a career that isn't Pilates and also teach Pilates. You may transition to teaching Pilates full-time. This might be a career change for you and now Pilates is the thing you do all day, every day. 

As you are doing your continuing education, or just as you're working with people, you may realize some commonalities, you may decide that there's more training that you want to do. You might do additional trainings that are a little bit more comprehensive and you might consider becoming a specialist in [00:05:00] something. Whether it's, you know, active aging or osteoporosis or prenatal/postpartum, or scoliosis, you know, like Pilates for kids. There might be a population that you really are passionate about working in and you really want to specialize in working in that population. 

Do I recommend that you specialize, like right when you get out of teacher training? I do think that there's a little bit of just getting experience working with a variety of bodies, but you may know that you're like, I really want to work with older populations and I want to go into nursing homes and I want to do chair Pilates or something. Like that's awesome. You might know that and then choose to really focus your continuing education on that so that you can become a bit of an expert in that area. 

You might choose to expand your movement language, and do something like Adam McAtee did on the podcast last week, and then train to become a physical therapist. That is awesome. You might add in certifications to [00:06:00] be a personal trainer or in other movement modalities like yoga and Barre. Like those are all options. 

Or you might choose to stick with just Pilates and really focus your energy and your continuing education on learning new apparatuses and new ways to teach the exercise, like that is fine as well. Different things really appeal to different people. It's not that one way is better, but I do recommend that you do keep learning as you go so that you don't find yourself in a rut or think that you know everything, which is an easy trap to fall into. 

It might come out of your specialization or you're adding in movement modalities, and just also working with people that you start to see these common threads, these things that may not be true for everyone, but you know, you're answering the same questions and you're modifying, or finding variety in the [00:07:00] exercises to, you know, make the exercise more accessible in like a similar way to the point that you might be interested in teaching workshops.

And again, this may be something that's a couple years down the line, that you have some experience under your belt and, you know, just like this podcast, you're sharing what you know. You don't have to know everything, but if you learn something, of course share it with other people so that they can learn it a little bit faster.

You know, if it took you- like, for me, it took me three years to have a schedule that I really loved. If you can do that in less than three years, then I've won and you've won. We all win. So you might choose to do things like workshops, and they might be workshops for students. And it might be something like intro to reformer, like just getting people comfortable with the apparatus and how that works. It might be something- you might be doing a series of classes on Pilates for people who sit at a [00:08:00] desk or for runners or for mountain climbers or swimmers or something, if there's that population. So you can do something where you're engaging with students and really equipping your students with tools to get more out of the exercises. 

And you might even make it a workshop for teachers. If you have a really cool way of teaching something or something that you found is really important about any aspect of teaching. And it could be a choreography thing, like here's, you know, creative combinations on the chair. But it could also be something like how to find your ideal client, if we've got any like entrepreneur teachers in here who also are interested in the business side of things. Like things like that could be really useful for teachers, like budgeting for Pilates teachers, like really anything. It's so wide, I feel weird throwing out ideas cause I'm like, there's like thousands and thousands of things, but you could make your workshops for teachers as well. 

[00:09:00] Still going the route of teaching you may decide again a few years down the line, but it's nice to have, you know, a path or a five-year plan, something to look forward to or work towards. And that could be becoming a master trainer or becoming a teacher trainer where you are really interested in teaching future teachers how to teach the exercise. 

And I don't want to be too specific on what that entails because every teacher training program really has its own specifications and requirements for you to be a part of their program and to become a teacher trainer. For some there's a years of teaching or an hours of teaching experience that's required, or you need these additional certifications, or you need an LLC because they're going to hire you as an independent contractor. Like there's a lot of hoops for each program, but [00:10:00] if you're really passionate about teaching Pilates and something that, you know- I love this podcast because I'm talking to Pilates teachers, but if you really enjoy nerding out with people who appreciate you nerding out about the movement and the philosophy, and, you know, it's beyond the exercises and really the art of teaching, that you might really enjoy teaching teachers.

Even if you're not formally teaching teachers, if you've been teaching a while, you also have the opportunity to mentor new teachers, even if you didn't teach them Pilates necessarily. But if they're new teachers at your studio or new teachers in your business, that you have the opportunity to help shape them in a less formal sense setting and just, you know, getting coffee and answering their questions, having a chat. Seeing what they're loving about teaching what they're struggling with and kind of give them a hand up on the next phase of their teaching journey. 

[00:11:00] Those three options, you know, staying a Pilates teacher, beginning to teach workshops, or becoming a teacher trainer really have teaching as the focus. Coming up after the break, I'm going to be talking about ways to incorporate management into your teaching in the form of starting a business or starting your own studio. That's coming up next.

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.

Membership comes with some awesome perks, including a shout-out in the next episode, a monthly [00:12:00] newsletter, a monthly zoom call with me and more. You can also visit links.OliviaBioni.com/affiliates to check out some sweet deals on products I use and love. Now, back to the show.

One of the great things of being a teacher is that your management responsibilities are much more limited. Depending on the studio that you're working for or the gym, you may just be coming, teaching, and then leaving. You may not have a ton of responsibility beyond your class and really leading your class.

That can [00:13:00] be awesome if, you know, that's what you want to do. But by taking on a little bit more managerial responsibility, you can also reap even larger benefits, I would say financially, but also personally, and that you get a little bit more involved in the business. You get to just be a bigger piece of the studio puzzle.

So the two things that I'm talking about here are starting a business for yourself, and what I'm going to be talking about mostly because this is currently what I'm doing, is this idea of like having your own business, where you're the only person who is involved in it. In the United States, it's called a single member LLC or limited liability company.

Other countries may have something different, but it's really like a single member business. And you are the single member. It's you [00:14:00] it's one step beyond a sole proprietorship, which would just be you as an independent contractor. And there's like more paperwork in being an LLC. You're already assumed to be a sole proprietor if you are working as an independent contractor. 

I do apologize to my friends listening in Europe and Australia and other continents and other countries, because there might be slightly different terminology for you here, but in the United States, there's a couple ways you can work for a company. You can be an independent contractor, in which case you're considered a sole proprietor and you get a different tax document. Taxes aren't taken out of your paychecks. You're paid like the full amount, and then you need to handle the tax payments on your own. And then you could also be a part-time employee, maybe a full-time [00:15:00] employee. I mean, I hope you're not teaching 40 hours a week. That seems like a lot. 

But usually a part-time employee. If you're working, you know, less than 20 hours a week at a studio. And there are studios that I teach two hours a week and there are studios I teach like eight hours a week. There's no one place that I'm teaching a full 20 hours. But if you add them up, we get close. 

You may not need an LLC. Well, I'll say that, you don't need an LLC to work as an independent contractor for a studio. Definitely you don't. I was a little bit confused about why I needed an LLC. Like I'm going to share this so that you can learn from my confusion and hopefully make choices that are better for your business than I did. So I can just put this disclaimer out right now that I am not a lawyer or a professional in any regard. This is not sure-fire advice for your business. I'm just sharing my experience with my [00:16:00] little LLC adventure. 

So I knew that down the line, I wanted to be a teacher trainer and that is still something that I'm working towards and I know that the program that I was looking at. In order to be a teacher trainer there, you need to have an LLC set up because they're paying you as an independent contractor, and they're paying your company instead of you, the individual. So I knew that I wanted to set up an LLC for that because I knew I was going to need it later.

The primary benefit of a limited liability company is that it limits your liability. Like if there was a claim against you, if someone was injured in your class, and then they tried to sue you, having an LLC means that they're suing the business and not suing you the person. So they could potentially have access to your business assets, but they couldn't go after like your individual retirement account or your personal checking account or anything like that. That your personal finance and your business [00:17:00] finance are really separate. 

Mistakenly, I thought that there would also be some tax benefit to that because I thought that I'd be able to write things off as expenses, but you can also write things off as business expenses without an LLC. So that's something that I learned. You did not need an LLC to do that.

I kind of like having an LLC and that it does- like my business land has its own bank account has its own. Like I track all of my expenses and income and everything kind of separately. So in that way, it's kind of cool. And there's like a lot of paperwork and a lot of fees that come with that, especially I'm in Chicago. So I'm paying for my business license for the state of Illinois, where I have founded my little LLC and also in the city of Chicago in order to operate within the city of Chicago, you need another license. So that's a fun time. 

I saw this as a way of managing my private income, that doesn't happen through the [00:18:00] studios. So way back in season one of the podcasts where I talk about teaching privates in clients' homes, that is something that I was doing a lot of and now I'm doing a lot of virtually. And it's not through a studio, I'm seeing them as just me. And so I set up an LLC to sort of track that income. 

Every state and possibly city is going to have its own requirements for you to start your business. So I don't really want to get too much into the specifics of it. You can definitely reach out and ask and I'll share with you what Illinois is like, but that is something that you might do. Like it might be worthwhile if you are, you know, instead of teaching at a studio, you are teaching classes in your home studio or in my case, in your living room. And that might be something worthwhile to you to be set up for that. Or if you also know, yes, I definitely [00:19:00] want to teach teachers that that might be something kind of worth having. It's also kind of cool. Like I do have my business license for the city of Chicago displayed above my desk because you know, I have a home office and that's kind of a cool thing. 

Going beyond what I've done with my micro business in which I am the only person working in it and I'm only teaching, you know, the hours that I'm teaching. You could also create a studio in which maybe you're renting a space, or maybe you're doing it virtually, but you're also hiring teachers. You have more people who are working with you or working under you to really expand your business.

There are more costs of course, with starting a big studio, and even like a small studio is just going to be bigger than your computer for sure. And it might involve, you know, finding a location and renting it and building it out and hiring [00:20:00] teachers and building a schedule and paying for, you know, software to track your clients and payment and all of that.

So there's a lot that can go into running a business. But in terms of the way- I feel like I talk about money a lot in this episode and money is not everything, but if you own the studio and teachers are working for you, a you're going to be able to help more people and work with more people by extension because you've created this environment for them. And it's beyond what you, as one human being, even working all the time, can do. 

And two, you break away from this idea that your time is exchanged for money constantly. And this is something that if you're working as a teacher or as a teacher who's leading workshops, or as a teacher trainer. [00:21:00] Unless you're a salaried employee, your time is worth X amount of dollars or X amount of whatever currency you're being paid. 

When you own the studio, you can kind of break away from that because you might be working 40 hours a week, you know, doing business management and studio management, or you can hire someone to do that. Like that's cool, but you might be doing that work for sure for 40 hours, but then every class that happens, regardless of whether you're teaching it, your getting a cut of that. And it's going back into the business and it's paying off some of these overhead costs, but you get to make money while you sleep, which is like the passive income dream. 

And like, is passive income real? No, like you're still gonna have to be doing work and you have the, you know, "the buck stops here" responsibility, that you are the end all be all you set the policies and you also assume the greatest risk as the owner, but the benefits are also [00:22:00] gigantic as well. 

I am not super interested in starting my own studio because I already find the management of, you know, having my own personal clients is like, there's a lot of unpaid labor that goes into managing your even mini-micro, even more micro than micro-business, literally just you, but it is an option that would allow you to teach perhaps less, but then still have an income.

I don't want to speak to that too much either because that's not something that I have an experience in yet, possibly ever, but it is something that you could do as a Pilates teacher. And I can say that I have really appreciated the studios that I've worked at that the owners were also Pilates teachers because they understood a little bit more what I needed as a teacher, [00:23:00] whether in terms of, you know, when classes were, or how many classes I was going to teach, or working with people, like it is really nice to work for someone who understands the work that you do.

So if you are a Pilates teacher and you decide to open a Pilates studio, I will say that it is a different skill set than teaching Pilates. You can be a great Pilates teacher and a not great studio owner. You can also be a  teacher and a great studio owner, but it is a different skill set. Like there are different things that you need to be able to do, and you might be able to do both of them really well. Or like I said, you might be able to hire someone who can be the business back end, like mind of the business, and you can still teach. There's just so many options. 

And so I'm really excited for you. If you're listening to it, regardless of how many years you've been teaching, because there's so much that you can do, you know, you can go to school and become a physical therapist. You can open your own studio, you can go into business for [00:24:00] yourself. And if you go into business for yourself, that could be virtual or in-person. Like we found out last year that you don't need a brick and mortar studio to teach great classes. You know, that YouTube is a great teacher, that zoom is a great teacher, and that virtual also offers a lot of benefits and ways to connect with people and ways to grow in your Pilates practice.

I hope that helps you look at your future as a Pilates teacher with some new lens and perhaps some new insight. Really big thank you to all of my supporters on Buy Me a Coffee. I really appreciate your contributions to the project and for helping this continue to go and grow. Really great episode coming out next week with Maria Earle talking about her working with Kathy Grant learning from Kathy Grant and her secret sauce to teaching, which I always love to share. That's coming up next week on the podcast. I hope you have an [00:25:00] excellent week. Look forward to that and I'll talk to you again soon.

Thanks for listening to this week's chapter of Pilates Teachers' Manual, your guide to becoming a great Pilates 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.

The adventure continues. Until next time.

Beginning to Teach
The Option to Specialize
Offering Workshops
Becoming a Teacher Trainer
Starting Your Own Business
Olivia's LLC Adventure
Opening a Studio