PSC: Hi Chelsea. Can you give us a little b.g. info about your two studios, i.e. when did they open? How big are they? Equipment, etc?
Chelsea: I am the proud owner of Body Be Well Pilates in Red Hook & Catskill, NY, located in the beautiful Hudson Valley. I opened my 1st 600 sq. foot studio on July 1st of 2009 with just one reformer. Soon after I became so busy that I was working 7 days a week with ridiculous hours and literally living at the studio. I then added 3 more reformers so I could add some group classes a year later, however the craziness didn’t get any better. In the period of under 5 years I expanded my 600 sq. foot Red Hook studio to a now 2000 sq. foot studio and opened my second location in Catskill on October 1st of 2012 that is 900 sq. feet. Total between both studios I now have 10 reformers, 2 cadillacs, 2 ladder barrels, 12 springboards, 7 chairs, 12 employees and a partridge in a pear tree! Phew!
PSC: How do you find the time to balance your life with owning and operating 2 studios? Do you have help? what was the time frame in between opening them?
Chelsea: With owning two studios (or any business) it is sometimes very difficult to find the “me time”. Just because we are all doing something as fabulously healthy as teaching exercise and fitness, it doesn’t mean that our body will stay fit and fabulous all by itself. It’s one thing to take class and train as a client, but quite different to be teaching! As a victim of burnout, it was very difficult for me to understand that I had to do less in order to keep doing more. While I was talking up the values of balance to my clients, I wasn’t following my own advice. It took me a very longtime to overcome the dissatisfaction that had become my life and the only way that I have been able to have these two studios is because of my amazing, hard working and knowledgeable team. I went from a team of 1 to a team of 12 in just 5 years. My rockstars (thats what I call them) bring something different and amazing to the studios and we all help each other out. Nobody likes a grumpy teacher and it has taken me a long time to realize and create a healthy work-life balance. Making myself and my team a priority has enabled me to generate energy, enthusiasm and passion for what I do again
PSC: When you initially began your journey of becoming a PSC MT, you were teaching more than 40 hours per week. Are you still teaching that amount of hours? If not, what has changed?
Chelsea: When I opened my studio in 2009 I was working between 50-80 hours a week, which is not at all practical or a healthy thing to do. Today I am teaching between 15-30 hours a week because this is all I can handle. I found my limit, which is the hardest, but probably the most important thing you can do to avoid teacher burnout. We all want more money and if we cut back on clients we automatically think we will loose money. However, in the long run, I am actually making more money, have more energy and have greater joy in your career again. I know that after my 5th client in a row, I have very little energy left! I want to give to my 6th client as much energy as I gave ones that came before, but realistically it’s not going to happen. I now plan breaks to eat and to re-energize, take a quick 15-20 minute walk or eat something nutritious (most people get lunch breaks, you know) and this way I don’t feel like snapping that 6th or 7th client in half like a twig!
PSC: Can you tell us some of the advantages of being not just a training studio, but also an educational center? How has that benefited your business?
Chelsea: Where do I start? This is how I was able to expand and grow my team. In upstate NY there were not that many teachers and if I did find someone to interview they had gone through a “weekend warrior” program and/or I didn’t feel comfortable hiring them due to their lack of training and/or knowledge. Being an educational center has not only increased my revenue, but also increased the level of teachers, my team, and has really offered many new full-time and part-time healthy jobs in the area. We are also able to offer more to the community as far as selection and times of classes, different and more options to our clients and also not have to cancel or close when a teacher gets sick or needs a break.
PSC: What are some of your favorite marketing tips that you would like to share with our MT’s? How far out do market your program?
Chelsea: My next program actually isn’t until the fall of 2015, however all the information is up already on the website and I have already contacted some people who were interested last time. I think being consistent and personal with people is best. Placing paper ads has not gotten me anything, however talking to people one on one has really worked.
PSC: Finally, we love to hear about graduates, or current students’ stories. Can you share with us one of your favorites? It can be about someone who was worried about their final exam, or someone who had to overcome health issues, etc. just any favorite story you may have.
Chelsea: I am trying not to be bias because everyone that has gone through the program with me has been a rockstar and absolutely amazing, however my favorite story is actually my mom’s! When I opened in 2009 she started taking my mat classes because she felt sorry for me because there were only 1 or 2 bodies at first. She came to support me, not for the Pilates. Shorty after she noticed that her back pain was gone and she no longer had to go to the chiropractor twice a week and was soon down to once a month and then only every few months. In addition her clothes were becoming too BIG (poor thing) and she had so much more energy that she also started to walk more throughout the week. Fast forward a few years she is now down over 60 pounds and is a Pilates Teacher herself at my studios!
Thanks for participating and being such a great example of what a PSC Master Trainer should be, Chelsea! Your tireless efforts are very inspirational to us and the other PSC MT’s.
For more information about the PSC Master Trainer program, click here.