Two Boundaries to Never Slide on in Your Pilates Teaching Business
I will never ever ever teach at 6am. Or earlier. Ever. Sorry guys. Don’t ask.
Why? Because I believe at my core that you should be in bed until it’s daylight outside. I am fully aware that I live in the northern hemisphere, so I know that it is a bit of an unrealistic worldview given my current latitude, so I compromise with a few early morning clients here and there. But, I know that I am not 100% at my best in the early mornings, so I choose not to try to be an early morning teacher for the sake of the people who take Pilates with me.
Once upon a pre-Pilates life time, I was a nanny and I showed up to my job at 5am. I grew up with parents (bless them) who got up at 4am to get ready for work. I know a thing or two about early rising, and I’ve made due with functioning in that necessity. As much as I want to be, I am not a morning person. I try so hard, but I have found that I am just not at my best during the early morning hours. I know I need the mornings for quiet introspection, journaling, foam rolling, and gentle movement practice.
My morning work boundary right now is 7am, and in a perfect world, I would like it to be 9am. I am not there yet, but I know that someday I will find those amazing midday clients so I can free up my mornings. For now, though it’s 7am, and I make sure to stick to an early bedtime to make sure those early risers get the best of me the next day.
This is one of the many time boundaries I keep in my schedule to make sure that I am taking care of myself and respecting my own time. The word “no” is a precious word. Use it often. If you are an early riser- by all means teach those 6ams!! People like me need you in our studios. I bet you never want to teach until 9pm the night before though.
Boundary two: 24-hour cancelation policy. I will never ever ever give a free late cancel (ok maybe once) but then, you know the drill. Understanding that things come up is one thing, giving a free late cancel is another. It is not mean or cruel to make your clients responsible for the time they reserve on your schedule, and not giving exceptions makes that clear. All of us have busy schedules and lives, and when something comes up for our clients, even if it is out of their control, a clear and iron clad cancelation policy makes it so you do not have to be the judge and jury on what situations warrant an exception.
Having a clear policy doesn’t mean that people won’t ask for an exception. In those instances, you just have to stand your ground. Kindly remind them of the policy, say your sorry they had to miss Pilates(you probably are!) and that you understand the situation was out of their control(because you do. You get it). The policy is clear. To be fair to everyone, and make sure that you have enough time to organize your schedule and make sure that everyone who wants a Pilates session gets one, you have to enforce the policy. It’s not personal (although it feels like it), it’s just the policy.
All of that, I know, is way easier said than done. Having uncomfortable conversations with your clients about money can make anyone feel like wanting to climb under a rock. I know I personally feel like I’ve gone to battle and back, even if the conversation is just through an email. Those feelings don’t last though. If you stick to your cancelation policys, chances are, your clients will stick to them too and respect your business more for it.
Do you have strategies you stick to for your cancelation policy? I’d love to hear about them. Post in the comments below!