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  • Instructor Newsletter 28 July 2011

    Note from Rachel

    Thanks everyone for the great feedback on Twitter and Facebook from last week’s newsletter, and here is another action packed edition of the newsletter. This week I am continuing with the ideas on how to get more publicity for your fitness business, classes, Bootcamps and Personal Training, including how to be “The Fitness Expert” on your local Radio Station. Sally Ghafoor has written another article on Zumba and Andrea and Bev from Bootcamp Leeds have written about customer service. I welcome your feedback and comments ,which you can Tweet to me , Facebook RachelHolmes, Choreographytogo, comment on the website or email me directly .

    But I’m NOT a business woman/man

    This is the phrase I hear every day. Either by email, Facebook, Twitter or in person. As I’ve been developing the VLOG and writing a lot of fitness business articles and discussing this in workshops, it’s a quote that SO many Instructors say to me and I GET IT and I’m hearing you.

    I certainly appreciate that we ALL got into this industry for the LOVE of fitness, group exercise, helping people get fit and healthy, spreading the joy of exercise, health and well being.  I doubt anyone here trained to be a fitness instructor thinking it would make them a millionaire.

    But, if you don’t get paid well for teaching, training or PT’ing it can be a harsh industry. There are so many financial outgoings – insurance, REPS, memberships, music, Training courses etc that you have to pay for to keep up with a fast moving industry and, of course, Time – Time to plan your classes, workouts and all the extra, unseen hours you HAVE to put in to stay ahead.

    We all recognise the financial glass ceiling of working  in a centre or club. The wages aren’t likely to go up in the foreseeable future (if ever) Most Instructors  would much prefer owning a small business and teaching/training in the community.

    But what if you aren’t naturally business minded and find it hard to set up a  business because you are people person and you love fitness, you don’t know that much about “business” and it all seems a bit daunting.  Perhaps, you have had a bash at community teaching or Bootcamps in the past and find the hardest thing is actually asking for a good rate from customers. Sometimes our customers can take advantage of our good nature and sunny personalities and  not treat us like they would treat other professionals.

    How can we get to grips with this problem?

    First thing to consider is a massive mind set change.

    Fitness Professionals change lives. End of. It’s that simple. We help people lose weight, feel better about themselves, get fitter, become more positive, be happier, meet new friends, the list as you know goes on. So, why on earth are you charging £3.50 for a class? Please understand YOUR worth. YOU are an educated professional and should be treated as such. Just because your teach your classes in a local village hall or outside in a park shouldn’t mean you have to charge less than a glass of wine in a pub or less than the cost of an eyebrow shape in the local beauty bar.

    Price your classes LOW and it’s very hard to put the prices UP. Consumers REALLY will see you as the cut price, low end brand if you price yourself too low. Customers will take YOU and YOUR business more seriously if you charge a little more.

    September is the best time to set up in the community. It’s the 2nd most popular time the UK goes on a diet and embarks on a new fitness regime. Why not look for a new venue and get something set up. I’ve made several little Videos about how to set up in the community which you can find over on the website.

    Here’s My Top Tips to help you become a bit more “Businessey “without losing your customer Service and people Skills if you are starting out.

    1.Dont be too cheap – Be the VIP Fitness in the area not the cheap as chips. You will be taken more seriously.

    2.Set up clear terms and conditions re cancelling/holidays and payment procedures. Give a hand out to everyone explaining these and post on your website. Don’t waver and then people won’t ask.

    3.Be professional at all times. If the boundaries between friendship and professional become blurred it can be very difficult to enforce terms and conditions.

    4.Run a professional operation. Get a good website, good graphics and branding, marketing. Invest time and effort in your business image.

    5. Network with other businesses in your area . Attend local business meetings, breakfast groups, women’s groups or network using Twitter – introduce yourself and offer to do cross promotions.

    Why not make this September the time YOU branch out and become a business person!


    The Fitness Business Builder Seminar Day Tour

    AT LAST I will be running a full 1 day Fitness Business Builder Mastermind day in the Autumn around the country. These events will contain all the information you need to get your fitness business up and running, PLUS  containing TONS of Priceless information and advice  to move you and your fitness business ahead quickly.  The seminar is aimed at ALL instructors who want to build a successful and sustainable fitness businesses and brand. DON’T PANIC, if you are not sure where to start, I will help you through every stage step by step on the day.

    The day will contain the following action packed  seminars:

    1.. How do you start. Where is your business now, where is it going, goal setting, action plan
    2. Fitness Websites – Building the right fitness website for you and your business.

    3. Personal branding – Create uniformity and a strong recognizable brand

    4.Video – Blogging and Vlogging

    5. Social Media – How to make Facebook/Twitter/Youtube/Google + work for you and 10 other social media sites you haven’t even heard of yet!

    6. Fitness Writing and Article creation – How to do it even if you’re not a great writer!

    7.Create your own programme/course/online product – Have an idea that could be the next Zumba?

    8. Time Management /Action Steps- where do  we go from here?

    Each day will have limited capacity  as I have hired out meeting rooms in hotels and have tried to choose the most accessible areas.

    Early Bird Bookings is £67 for the day.

    click here to watch video

    Saturday 17th September Bristol City Centre Premier Inn, King Street, Bristol 10 – 6pm click here to book
    Saturday 8th October

    Edinburgh City Centre

    Premier Inn Touch Base, Haymarket, Edinburgh 10  – 6pm click here to book
    Saturday 29th October Manchester Premier Inn Manchester Airport 10 – 6pm click here to book
    Saturday 5th November Southampton/Portsmouth Premier Inn Port Solent 10 – 6pm click here to book
    Saturday 12th November London Premier Inn Touch Base Centre, Heathrow 10 – 6pm click here to book
    Saturday 26th November Birmingham

    Premier Inn Birmingham NEC

    10 – 6pm click here to book


    Congratulations to Kelly

    We have had the first Choreographytogo wedding. Last weekend our very own Kelly Reed married Jay Banks in a beautiful ceremony in Cambridge. Myself,  Jayne, Marv, Steve Watson, Jo, Nikkie R all witnessed this fabulous day. If you are on Facebook you can see some of the amazing pictures from the day.


    Promote To Local Media – Have you written any press releases or contacted your local radio station recently

    Media are constantly looking for new stories and  information that will interest their audiences. Chances are, your town has at least one major newspaper, several smaller more local “shopper type”, a regional BBC radio station and possibly village type newsletters.  Local media like to cover local stories.

    You have a much better chance of getting free publicity from a reporter in your area than from national media.
    Send media a press release when you have something new to announce: a new product, service, public service programme, or alliance with another business.
    Small businesses often make good feature stories.  Work up a sheet of helpful tips related to your business.  Make sure they are things the media audience will be interested in.
    Local radio stations and programmes are constantly in need of interesting guests.  Watch for times when your area of expertise fits with a breaking story, holiday, or issue the media is covering.

    Contact your local BBC Radio you can find a full list on the BBC website and put your self forward as the local “fitness expert” it will only take 10 minutes of your time and is a great way to raise your local profile and promote your classes and services.

    Do you want to Be The “Fitness Expert ” on your local radio?

    Watch this video for Rachel’s tips on getting on to local radio.

    Jayne Nicholls

    You know what we are don’t you? We are the equivalent of your old fashioned corner shop. Those of us teaching in the community offer that on the spot service that is familiar, friendly, and affordable. If you add up the price of 3-5 classes per week in the community, it would most likely be cheaper to join a gym and pay the 1 month subscription, especially if you take into account variety, showers etc and this was our Achilles a few years ago when the club chains took off and were offering new and exciting fitness opportunities. Today is different as most club chains are now in their 2nd or third ownership and their eye has gone off the ball in terms of fitness and customer service in favour of corporate values and cost cutting. This makes the community based, personal approach much more favourable in 2011. We offer variety and are eager to facilitate all of the latest trends where as the club chains are formulaic and repetitive. I told you a few week’s ago about a woman tracking me down to my home to see where I teach in desperation for something fresh and freestyle.

    Let’s make the most of this turn around and ride the wave of community classes. The rewards are great in pay, respect and job satisfaction.


    Are you getting enough publicity for your business?  Probably not!

    As we all know, the fitness industry is a people business, clients may be attracted by your qualifications and knowledge but they keep returning to you because they like you! There is something about you that sparks within them and they are buying their health and fitness from you as a person. But if you are operating in the community, naturally clients do drop off and stop coming so marketing your services has to be a constant topic on your list every week. Fliers delivered now and again, the odd advert in the media; the odd poster here and there will not keep your classes going over the long term.

    ” But continually marketing classes costs a fortune and takes all my profits”

    I hear you all scream at me, but it doesn’t have to be money you invest but time and a little planning.

    Everyday Marketing Tips

    Free Marketing ideas these just take time but cost nothing

    1. Get a website, add a sign up box and datacapture system, keep your site updated regularly; include articles. Vlogs, info, pictures. Aim to update small changes every week.
    2. Get business cards made up and leave them everywhere. Make sure you print on both sides of the business card, You could print your time table on the back side. I can’t believe how many cards I get handed that only has info on 1 side. That’s crazy!
    3. Send press releases and articles every week to local media – Make sure you include a picture as a picture will attract the readers attention. Leverage your press release and upload it to Facebook notes and use in your newsletter.
    4. Ring/contact  local radio station offer to do a fitness phone in or talk about a fitness topic that is in the media.


    Build your list – Capture everyone’s email that you come into contact with and start a weekly fitness ezine with articles and advertising your services. I started writing the C2go newsletter nearly 8months before the website was launched and so I built up a great list straight away and I had an audience ready to launch the site too!!! I have been doing that with my local newsletter and local website. I write a weekly newsletter and add everyone to it and ask recipients to email it to their friends getting them to email me with their addresses to add to the list. Even if you work in health clubs, give your business card out and get members to subscribe to your ezine, they may have friends who would like to come to your community classes or book you for a personal trainer. It’s all great word of mouth and email marketing and the best bit is it’s ALL FREE and that’s the best marketing tactic of all.


    Zzzzzzumba by Sally Ghafoor

    Yep I am going to do it again – maybe I am slightly addicted to getting a huge mixed response, as Zumba really seems to be the one thing I write about that causes all sorts of responses.

    A little while back Jayne wrote in C2GO that eventually the Zumba bubble will burst and Jayne is completely and utterly correct. I have watched with interest as many people post how their classes are no way as busy as they used to be, now this could be because of all the new Zumba instructors qualifying and setting up new classes, or is it because the Zumba bubble is slowly deflating?

    When I qualified I looked at how many instructors there were in my area –  12 Zumba instructors, now there are……249. Have we become Zumba saturated?

    I do a lot of leaflet drops for Zumba and I am seeing an increasing amount of signs on letterboxes saying – “no takeaway menus, no estate agent flyers and no Zumba flyers thank you”. To me that is saying a lot!

    Now I am not saying that it has started to deflate but what I actually want to write about today is, what are YOU going to do when it does, or are you sure that it won’t burst?

    I have read many comments – only the good instructors will survive, people will get fed up as they weren’t the type to exercise before and will give up eventually, there are too many instructors too choose from. Who knows? What’s your view?

    So what can we learn from Zumba.

    Format – Simple yet fun, that’s what has brought in the masses. Zumba filled the gap that Les Mills created, people wanted to dance without the pressure of arm lines being correct and not having to worry if the moves were wrong, that’s why Zumba worked. Some people have been quite wise and cottoned on to this, turned away from Zumba and created their own fitness product, a kind of exercise class that is simple yet fun, that isn’t copying Zumba, that is just being business savvy.

    Create something different – Everyone and their aunt is now teaching Zumba- what can you offer that is different? I am a firm believer that when everyone is doing something – do something else, stand out from the crowd. You don’t have to give up teaching Zumba, but start your back up plan have something completely and utterly different to Zumba to teach.

    I have a business plan in place that over the coming months I shall be implementing. Zumba is still alive and kicking where I am but it does not hurt to plan ahead!

    I would love your views on this What is Zumba like in your area, are people bored of hearing about Zumba? Do you think the bubble will burst? And if so what is your plan to maintain the income that Zumba created for you?

    HOW TO GIVE 5 STAR SERVICE by Bev and Andrea of LeedsBootcamp

    Remember ,you never get a second chance to make a first impression. From the moment a potential client makes their initial enquiry we try and make them feel part of our Bootcamp family. We put their mind at rest by guaranteeing we can fix their problem, any barriers they put up we offer a solution in a supportive way.

    Then when they eventually sign up our support of them becomes 10 fold. As soon as they arrive at camp we greet them and ensure we get to know their names and often from their initial enquiry e mail we have gleaned individual information, which we talk to them about, be it childcare, trainers, transport etc this makes them feel like they are special.

    When someone joins camp we add them as a friend on facebook this has been invaluable to us as we are able to motivate and encourage through both our own status updates and comments on their walls. This is particularly useful for those that struggle, as they LOVE getting praise from you for all their friends to see. BUT remember that if you can see what your recruits write they can SEE what your status is….so if you’re having a bad day keep it to your self!!!

    We also have a Facebook page for Bootcampleeds that all our recruits are part of. This again creates the belonging to a “family”. This comes into its own the more camps and instructors you have. It also gives the members another way of contacting you and often each other, it’s great for giving them added value in the form of health related articles and recipes to keep them motivated and on track.

    We have other instructors working with us and we ask them to constantly report back to us if a member is struggling or missing for more than one session. We then follow this up with a courtesy e mail to make sure they are OK. We don’t prejudge as you never know what is going on in someone’s life, but they usually appreciate that personal touch, this normally gets them back on track very quickly.

    Answer their e mails quickly. Don’t panic, this doesn’t mean you have to be chained to your computer or iphone all day every day. It can be something as simple as setting up an automated message that says “Your message is really important to us and we will endeavour to get back to you within 24 hours (or whatever). As long as they know that you have seen it (theoretically!) they will accept that they may have to wait.

    As in anything people are so different and during the workouts some people respond to being pushed others require support.  Take the time to get to know your clients and you will find out what pushes their buttons….you can cater to ALL needs in the same session.

    Don’t be frightened to give give give….although it’s your business it’s not just about buy buy buy!!  Package together anything that helps motivate, support and get them to their goals and just give it to them…you are the expert and they look to you as such. Make sure you have weekly, fortnightly or monthly newsletters going out to the whole of your mailing list giving information and advice on all different topics, and remember they will need to see it 7 times before they actually take in the information!!!! So be patient lol.

    Give FREE places to your recruits that you know have a skill that contributes and enhances your business; for example we have a recruit that is very imaginative with cooking wheat, dairy, sugar -free treats, she gave us far more back than a free place. She has developed recipes for us and also brought in beautifully packaged Bootcamp friendly sweets for the recruits.

    It’s about being a real person and even if you have an automated system/PA try and include personal touches ie personalise your e mails with their names and sign off as yourself.

    No matter how great your product have fun and be you. Find your own style and individuality and inject it into everything you do.

    Most importantly ENJOY it!!

    Andrea and Bev



    Have a fantastic week

    Love Rachel xx


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