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  • Instructor Newsletter 30th April 2015

    Hi from Las Vegas where I’m celebrating
    my friend Gregs 40th.

    It’s Fab to get away
    & take time out with friends.

    This week you can find some insightful articles on opening
    your own studio & getting your fitness business online.

    It’s a question I get asked so many times…

    therefore I wanted to get articles
    from some of the UK & Ireland’s
    most successful business owners
    Danni Evans, Laura Armarda Buch
    & Helen Barness who has recently
    given up her  Essex studio.


    A very inspiring article from Jill Huskisson.
    Jill is one of my
    Fitness Business Academy mentoring
    members & she is now seeing her
    online fitness business flourish.


    Rachel Holmes Podcast

    I’ve added lots of new podcasts this week taken
    from my talk at the WIFE conference and a great interview
    with WIFE events founder Jacqueline Hooten.
    Listen via the website click here or subscribe via iTunes


    Laura Armarda-Buch

    10 Dos and Don’t When Opening Your Own Studio

    1: Make sure you have a client base before embarking on leases, rates and rents. Many people do not realise how much more expensive it is to have your own premises compared to renting a room per hour. You will need to have many clients to cover these expenses.

    2: Market research: check what’s available locally and try to offer something different. It is not about the pricing, but about the service you provide.

    3:Invest in yourself: you will need to be at the top of your game to survive in a tough market. You can’t compete with the facilities of a large gym chain (swimmingpool, etc) so you and your staff is what sells it.

    4:PASSION (this should be number one). You have to have passion, passion and more passion for your project.

    5: BELIEVE: So many people I have encountered in the industry have doubted the success of their studio from day 1. If there is room for doubt you won’t be successful.

    6: Surround yourself with other similar peers that are business minded, strong and successful.

    7: INVEST in equipment/brand/ programme that is not available in your area (hot yoga/ antigravity yoga/ cross fit etc). Many clients from other gyms will come to your premises as you are the only one offering it.

    8: MARKETING MARKETING MARKETING… no matter how good of an instructor you are, you need to be even better at marketing.

    9: Online presence: facebook, twitter , instagram….

    10: DATABASE: mail chimp, constant contact…. you need email addresses to build your business.


    1: Don’t avoid doing a business plan…they can be time consuming but it is essential.

    2: Don’t go into a partnership with other instructors unless you have to!!! I’ve seen far too many going wrong.

    3: Don’t doubt yourself

    4: Don’t try to grow too quickly.

    5: don’t neglect your health. Look after yourself..the first year in business is not tough…BUT SUPER TOUGH… your health is your wealth

    6: don’t neglect your family either! But at the same time make sure they support your 100% before you embark on this.

    8: Dont’ lose your personality… far too many instructors teach only branded programmes which in my opinion takes away from showing your big personality… mix it up

    8: Don’t try to do everything yourself (i should apply that one myself!)… but identify which are your weak areas and source an expert to do it.

    9: Don’t create tension with other local businesses of the same never know when you may need their help.

    10: Dont let hiccups put you off…they are part of the learning journey !


    10 Do’s and Don’ts of opening a studio by Danni Evans

    Hey all, it’s been a while since I wrote for Choreography to Go but the last time I did was about taking the plunge into setting up my own gym in Ellesmere, Shropshire.  Since then I have opened another Studio with friend and colleague Laura in a much bigger town specialising in Aerial Fitness – Antigravity, Pole and Hoop.  Here’s some things I’ve learnt along the way, I hope it’s useful for you if you are contemplating opening up a studio or gym. Please do message me if you want any further advice

    1: Do realise you have to make sacrific
    2: Do love what you LOVE
    3: Do speak to as many people as possible to find out what people want
    4:Do run charity events – they bring people together, creates a community spirit and great for getting in the press

    5:Do work out what your USP (unique selling point) is – you probably know your avatar i.e. who your target market audience is, but what is SPECIAL about YOU? For example, my gym was the only place that offered Antigravity Fitness in Shropshire, now there is a place in Shrewsbury that runs it too – and I own that 😉

    6: Do put a business plan together, I have a draft copy of one that won me an investment, please contact me if you’d like a copy of the outline plan

    7:Do remember when you are wishing you could just have a moments break that you could be stuck in a job working for somebody else, working to their rules – this is me, the admin tasks are big sometimes BUT I no longer work in a college where I’d leave the house at 7.30am and back at 6.30pm.  I now get to take and pick up my kids from school, I get to work on my terms, I get to train for ME!

    8: Do accept help – hard for control freaks like me who want to own their own places but sometimes we need help. It may be simple like having somebody grab the kids for me if my heads stuck in the laptop, or it might be that somebody offers to watch the gym for us.

    9:Do accept you can’t please everybody with your timetable – be willing to change things.

    10: Do enjoy every second you possibly can – it’s hugely satisfying, fun and personally has given me a huge amount of freedom despite being a very big commitment.

    Now for the Don’ts

    Don’t think it’s going to be easy

    Don’t just set up because you fancied it – RESEARCH!  Look for competitors – other gyms, classes.  Population of your town – age group too. We have a secondary and primary school in our town which means we have a lot of families just like us – they are our target market with what we offer

    Don’t be lazy!  You have to be strong, motivated and want it to work and want to work hard

    Don’t be put off by some potential facilities – think outside the box.

    Studios can be made out of all sorts of places.
    We have a large and small version of the same thing – concrete floor, industrial unit.

    You make the studio what it needs to be.

    We started in an old sheep barn with a Bull in the corner!
    Don’t forget everything that needs to be sought…

    Change of use permission from the council

    If you are erecting a mezzanine like we did – building regulations
    Buildings and contents insurance

    Companies insurance to cover Public Liability & personal liability for employees

    Music Licenses – PRS and PPL

    Fire risk assessment / alarm system

    Don’t do it alone – bring in freelancers to support teaching, it gives the clients variety and you some breathing space

    Don’t forget to treat your clients – bring in presenters.

    They vary in price but
    I have had Ceri Hannan, Lincoln Bryden,
    Jo Dandridge and of course the lovely Rachel Holmes at my studios and very soon we have Kelly Reed-Banks coming to lead the Fitness Pilates Qualification in Shrewsbury.

    Presenters bring in motivation, something special and it’s great for your members to get involved.

    If you are a presenter – get in touch, I’m always open for others to come and visit us in sunny Shropshire.
    Don’t forget to keep training – keep up to date with qualifications…but be careful not to fall into the ‘following the trend’ trap.

    The classes that have failed the most at
    my place are Brands like Bokwa and Fitsteps – they work for a short while then people get bored.

    I’m now doing a monthly rotation of different classes to spice it up a bit.

    My Aerobics and Step on the other hand have been going for 13yrs in the same town and growing even more now we have the gym – stick to your roots!

    Do certs and qualifications that educate and give you skills that you can then use to suit you and what you like and what your clients’ needs are and preferably ones that don’t require a license fee to keep teaching – these costs really add up.

    On a timetable of 50 classes I now pay one license fee to Antigravity Fitness.

    Don’t be afraid to diversify – I sell Xenca nutrition products, I run Kick Start Fat Loss nutrition.

    We built a small enclosed box within the gym area and made it into the Beauty Box – we have a beautician who specialises in tans, eyebrows/lashes and makeup who rents the room.

    We sell hoodies and vest tops with a small mark up. We sell coconut oil.

    We could probably do A LOT more, but all in good time.


    FINALLY…. don’t think about it all too much – you might scare yourself out of it.  If you are certain it will work, if you are motivated for it to work and you will drive yourself forwards to consistently make it work, then go for it!


    Danni x
    tweet me @basecamp_danni
    find me on facebook:
    instagram: dannicevans


    How I am putting my online
    fitness business together with Jill Huskisson

    There are only so many hours in a day!  Right?  And there’s only one of you!  Right?
    So how do you pursue your dream of working in the health and fitness industry, change loads of peoples’ lives for the better, earn an income and run your home and look after your kids AND stay sane?

    You go online!

    Well this is my belief and what I am so proud to say is finally happening for me.

    How have I done it?

    A lot of hard work, determination, head-banging, studying stuff I am clueless about, getting to meet my heroes, jumping off of the deep end, brainstorming, binning ideas, brainstorming again and just keep on keeping on.

    Here are my top 6 Tips on how I started my online business!

    1 – Get on Social media and get SOCIAL!  The clue is in the title.
    Social Media is about connecting with people, interacting and joining in groups.  And the best thing about it is that the playground rules are gone.  Everyone is welcome.  You don’t need to ask permission to join in and play.  ??You can connect with the ‘IN’ crowd in your chosen field, watch what they’re doing, learn from the best and implement what they’re doing in your own business.

    2 – Just say YES!

    Write articles/blogs for people.  I can remember sat on my sofa and delirious with sleep deprivation after having my baby, Linc!

    Scrolling through FB (as you do) and a request popped up on the newsfeed asking for articles for a new newsletter.

    At this time I was basically a ‘jobbing’ PT.  I didn’t have a business to speak of but I had a strong feeling about where I needed to be heading.  So without thinking too much (another clue right there!  Don’t out-think yourself from DOING) I pinged off a message asking if I could contribute.
    I got a YES!  And I got my first article posted
    in a now well-known Apprentices then ‘new’ online newsletter.
    3 – Get used to feeling uncomfortable.

    Even typing that doesn’t feel comfortable.  We all naturally gravitate to our comfort zones.  But if you want to have a presence online or even just in life you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.  Get out there.  Don’t shy away from what you have to offer or be scared to let your light shine.  An example from my life is I will be speaking at the WIFERisingStar conference this September.
    I am scared out of my mind!  But I’m doing it.

    4 – You don’t know it all

    You cannot know everything from the get-go.  You are learning on the hop.  Especially with Facebook constantly changing their rules and then the latest social media app pops up – do we jump ship and go for that or do we stay put.

    I LOVE Social Media.  But I’m most at home on Facebook and Instagram.  So find your online home.  Where do you feel most natural and then work with that.  Each and every social media platform has its own way for you to promote your business and find your ideal customers.

    5 – You really don’t know it all

    But there are plenty of people out there that do!  Or at least know the thing you are struggling with.  Come on!  We’re health and fitness professionals, not web designers or accountants or cleaners….so outsource outsource outsource!  If there is a job that is really sticking for you then outsource it.

    Find a website designer, get yourself on Fiverr (yes, $5 will get you a logo designed, a powerpoint presentation spruced up, a flyer/leaflet looking awesome, you name it there’s someone on Fiverr who can do it),

    Peopleperhour are amazing too, and I’m kidding you not but one of the best investments I’ve made was getting a cleaner!  I can’t do it all.  I just can’t.  And if I want my business to be more than just a hobby then I need to let go of time consuming jobs and FOCUS.

    6 – You actually know nothing…

    Get yourself a mentor or join a course that teaches you more about how to leverage your skills and build your online presence.
    For me the turning point came when I became one of the first members of Rachel’s
    Fitness Business Academy.

    Being part of this internship and having access to Rachel and that wealth of knowledge was beyond amazing.  It opened my eyes to all the possibilities.

    It’s not a magic pill.

    You have to do the work.

    You have to commit and put the hours in.

    But you want it.

    You want it more than anything ever.

    So every day you learn.

    You implement what you are being taught.

    You step out of your comfort zone.

    You grow in confidence.

    You start to swim in waters so infested
    with big and bigger sharks that all you can
    do is paddle furiously and even more
    furiously to stop yourself from being
    eaten by insecurity and fear.

    But day by day the sharks don’t
    seem so scary, your ideas don’t
    seem so unachievable and you
    start to believe you can actually do it.

    And then you DO!

    You find your WHY!

    You find what it is you want to do and you just go for it.

    So that’s how I came to launch with my partner Jack.

    We’re becoming THE voice for couples, partnerships, people who want to train together, manage their meals together and just generally be AWESOME together.

    Find us on Facebook –

    A lot of watching, learning, jumping off the deep end, and a letting go of fear – the fear of failure and actually the fear of success is allowing this to happen.

    Jill Huskisson

    Helen Barness – KSFL Franchisee for Grays

    Although I have let my studio go, this is what I think are my do’s and don’ts.


    1    Thoroughly work out your finances so that you know what the studio will cost you to run each month, not just from utility bills, also cleaners, servicing of building, etc, and hiring other staff and include what your costs would be!

    2    Know what your big why is for taking on a studio.

    3    Research the demographics of your area – is your target market nearby or near enough to capture them.

    4    Research your competition – who else is out there, where they are and why people might use them instead of you.

    5    Make sure your building/premises is fully health and safety compliant, that everything is serviced properly before you move in so you are not left liable for future issues – so you want to see boiler certificates, energy certificates, electric installation certificates, etc.and that you have all the necessary insurances in place.

    6    Start to recruit for other staff straight away if you are by yourself as it is really difficult to come by good, reliable people that fit in to your studio environment. \

    7    Make it clear to customers in group exercise sessions that new instructors will be coming on board as you cannot teach all the classes, even though you might be at the start so that it makes the transition easier when it has to happen.

    8    Ideally go into a studio venture with someone else, not just financially but someone who will get involved with the running of the studio.

    9    Network like crazy to get yourself known and regarded as the ‘expert’ in your field – the go to person.

    10    See if you can take out a short term lease because things can change and you may, hopefully not, find that running a studio is not what you thought it might be.


    1    Cut yourself off from what you were doing previously completely eg. if you are working in a leisure centre doing classes, gradually move away if possible so you still have some connection with them or continue to do maybe one class so people can know where you are not to try to steal clients but so that they can let other people know too.

    2    Think you can you teach all the classes, market and network and be able to give your all to family life too. Something has to give!

    3    Expect people to come walking through the door if you are not in a prominent position for people to see you – get banners out there, signs to show people where you are.

    4    Don’t go for expensive newspaper advertising straight away use social media as much as possible.

    5    Don’t try to teach all styles of fitness yourself, get other people in who specialise in different things, otherwise you will become jack of all trades and master of none and burnt out.

    6    Don’t expect everyone to work as hard as you do. Even when you have thoroughly vetted staff, it is not their business it is yours and they will just not have the incentive to be as good as you at their job, unless you have some sort of incentivised reward scheme.

    7    Don’t underestimate having sufficient car parking.

    8    Don’t be upset if people leave you, for whatever reason – you have to get used to that.

    9    Don’t miss an opportunity to get testimonials so people know what your clients are achieving.

    10    Don’t give up on you and your skill. You’ve gone to a lot of trouble to get where you are now and if you find things change don’t beat yourself up, just go with the flow within financial reason!

    Hope this helps

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