I'm Leslie Logan. I'm here to talk to you. Studio owners about setting expectations for your teachers and those tough conversations.
Setting expectations for your teachers and handling tough conversations are essential to owning a studio. It will make your life so much easier if you set them. When you have renters or employees. The same rules apply.
What do you expect from them? Do you have a contract that states these expectations when they come into your studio on Day One? Do they understand what it is that you need from them as a teacher, as a renter? When are things due? Who handles what? How are the clients taken from the email to the first session to payment? Anything that you need done in your studio to make your business run smoother needs to be articulated in a manner that these teachers understand so that they can do it for you.
If you just hand the keys to the studio and expect common sense to make everything happen, I can assure you it won't always happen every single time and you're going to be going crazy wondering how you're doing all these things. I'm making all these decisions and you just don't have the help, but you do. They're there for you. They just need to be guided. So whether they rent or they work for you have set expectations about what you expect from them in their day to day work so that you can share what they can expect from you and what can they expect from you.
Are you going to give them clients? Are you going to schedule the clients?
Maybe you have a studio manager. Who does that work for you? Are you doing the followups or taking the payments? Do you have a maintenance crew that comes in or is everybody pitching in and cleaning up what it is that you offer at your studio? Either as a studio owner and their boss or as a place where they rent space. Give them that information because those are all things that highlight why they should work for you or why they should rent from you.
But if everyone's very clear on what you expect from them and what they can expect from you, it makes it easier to move around the room. Right. It may seem like you have all these rules, but the truth is that people know where the boundaries are. Then they have freedom within those to be themselves and to be the best teachers that they can be and it allows you, the studio owner to do what you love to do. Just run your studio in a way that allows you to teach and not be this teacher, oh, I wish they would do that. If they didn't know that was expected of them and you haven't held them accountable, how do they know?
Having systems in place as a studio owner is essential to having a really awesome life as a studio owner. Anything that you do more than once should have a system for it. I know that sounds overwhelming, but the truth is is why reinvent the wheel every time you do it. Have set expectations and guidelines on when rent is due or when payroll is, if you are doing payroll, have a system to make sure that payroll is done the right way so that you're paying your teachers exactly for the sessions that they taught. You don't have to go back in the end and add more money later.
You want it to be as easily manageable as possible so that everyone can go and teach clients because the reality is that's all any of us want to do is teach [inaudible]. If you are someone who accepts rent, have a system in place that makes sure that they're paying the correct rent and that you're not over or under charging because it's money and it's what keeps your business alive. So you want to be sure that you have an organized fashion to make this happen. It can be pen and paper or it can be online scheduling system, whatever it is, keep it consistent and have a system in place. Make sure that your teachers, whether they're employees or renters are fully UN, they fully understand exactly what it is that you have in place so that there's no questions in the end and there's no going back and wondering anything. Other systems that you should have in place are how our clients brought into the studio, who is welcoming them, who is getting their paperwork taken care of? Where does this paperwork go when it's done? Who is doing the followup?
If these teachers work for you, do they do it or do you have a studio manager or do you do it? If they're renting space, there has to be a system in place that allows you to know that everyone signed on the dotted line. All the information that you need, like by ability forms. You may not be doing the followup and probably shouldn't since they're renting from you, but there should be a system in place that allows you to know who's entering your studio. When did they enter and do you have all the paperwork on hand? And again, if you have this set up from day one, when they come into your studio, it makes things a whole lot easier. So have a system in place for that.
Next thing you should have a system in place for, it's just regular marketing, cleaning the studio up. How is a studio gonna run on a day to day basis and who's doing it? So think of all the different things that you do on a regular basis that you repeat. And then actually write down how you do it and then you already have a system in place and then just let all the people know who are involved with it, how it goes. You're the studio owner, so you really get to decide how this goes and I highly recommend that you keep the authority in that whether you have renters or you're the boss, you decide how it goes and everyone has to follow those rules, but you have to make them in the first place
when you want a studio. Part of owning a studio is finding staff or finding renters.
You might be wondering, how the heck do I do this? Well, they don't grow on trees, so don't go plant one. It's not gonna happen. But you can certainly become open space for teachers to find you on your website. You could have a simple link that allows teachers to apply to work at your studio. The other thing that you can do, and I highly recommend that you do, takes a little bit more leg work on you, is network with all the teacher training programs in your area. Start with the one you went through because they know you and then do a Google search who is out there in the area that is giving out instructors like who's birthday and then you should know who these people are and then let them know that you exist and what kind of environment you provide. What do you have to offer?
Why would someone want to work in your space or rent in your space? You're not begging for instructors, so don't do that, but you do have something special about your studio that will make them want to work for you. So let them know what that is. The other thing you can do is get online and get into some groups and start talking with other Pilati studio owners and teacher trainers all over the world. Go to plays conventions, go to the PMA, go to anything where Polis instructors and studio owners are and let them know who you are. I can't tell you how many emails I get even on Facebook or Instagram where someone says, I'm moving to the area. Do you know place I can teach?
I live in La and I have people asking if I know anyone in San Diego looking for instructors. The more you are out there networking with other studio owners, the more you're going to find staff. Sure you can put online on craigslist and simply hired what you're looking for, but the truth is you'll find a lot more employees or renters through word of mouth, just like you found your clients.
When you hire a teacher or you onboard a pilates instructor who's renting space at your studio. Going back to having those systems in place is really essential to making it a smooth transition for everyone in your studio. You included, but also as discussed, since they don't grow on trees, you don't want to lose a great teacher just because their onboarding wasn't top notch. Right? You want them to feel that they're being welcomed into your space, that even if they're renting, this is a space for them to be friends with all the other instructors here that everyone works together. Even if they're doing their own thing, have a system that tells them exactly on day one, this is how you do this. This is where these things go. Here's so and so over here. She's amazing.
You can talk with them. The more they have connected with other people in the studio, the longer they'll stay while they're building their business. If everyone again is on the same page on how to do exactly what they're expected to do, then everyone's business will grow and you're more than likely to keep a teacher, but if their onboarding system is really out of there and unorganized and just not exactly how they feel it should go and they feel really uncomfortable entering the space, they won't last as long and then you're already going back to square one trying to hire a teacher again. Take note of how you would like to be onboarded in your studio and what you would like to know if you are coming into your space for the first time and the first week, have a set plan that every single teacher goes through so that everyone has the same experience and then they can all talk about their experiences together when they go get coffee and make eye contact and meet new clients. All right, let's talk about tough conversations.
They're not not going to happen. You're going to have to deal with them plain and simple, but you can eliminate a lot of them by being super organized, super clear and holding instructors accountable. If they were told what's expected of them and you have a meeting with them about how they're not meeting those expectations, the conversation is really simple, but if you have an expectation and then you kind of let it go and you kind of do it and sometimes you or you avoid it, it starts to fester and guess what? It bleeds out into the whole studio end. Even if they're all renters and you're like, this is just a renter. It's okay.
It does change the environment and on a subconscious level, people don't want to be there and they can feel it and your business will suffer. You can keep tough conversations from happening by, again, onboarding teachers in a way that allows them to know what the rules are and then as much as you don't want to do it, you have to hold them accountable. But you already do this with your clients, so it's not anything new. It's just that these are teachers and you wish that they were following the rules, but sometimes they just have to be reminded. The other thing you have to do is just be honest. That's all anybody ever wants from anyone, so don't avoid the conversation or dance around the problem.
If the teacher is saying to you, I need more clients, be honest with them about why they don't have them. Are you not giving them more clients because they don't retain them? Are you not giving more clients because you don't have any of them to give? What could they do to build their business? Tell them that's what they're asking. They just are voicing it in a complaint, but you can actually take that as an opportunity to teach them more about how they can grow their business.
If a teacher is coming to you because they want to make more money, they want to raise, they have reasons for this. Be honest about why they're not getting one or how could they get one? Do they need to bring in more business? Do they need to retain more clients? Do they need to get further education? How much experience do they need? I recommend when you onboard an instructor, you let them know what the process is, what's their journey like at your studio?
What are opportunities for them? Do you have a levels of teachers and how they get paid? How do they get to the next level? If you tell them this in the beginning, you have two options that you'll see come from them. They'll either go all out to be that next level teacher or they'll really enjoy where they are and they'll grow at a regular pace. This is good information for you to know because you know, oh, I can rely on this instructor, I can give them more clients. They want it.
Or this person is really trying to grow at their own pace and that's okay too. You don't need to have everyone all outgoing for it. But again, if you are really clear in the beginning about they make of how they can make more money in the future, you can eliminate this tough conversation already. If it comes up, you can remind them, this is what you need to do to make more money and this is what I'm prepared to offer you. It is your business and you are in business for a reason and you can only pay them so much without them doing their share too. So it's a win win for both people to have this conversation early and be really clear about how and when they can make more money.
Sometimes you have to say goodbye to a teacher.
They may be going off to do their own new thing or you may need them to go off and do their own new things. And that's okay. Not everyone can stick around and not everyone is someone you want to stick around. Let's talk about people who work for you in rent space and you want them to leave first. If you take your time on hiring someone, interviewing or renter to come in and make sure that you understand who they are, whom they're for and what they need and what they're bringing to a studio, you really take your time in that you can really vet a teacher, so it actually means you won't be saying goodbye to that many people, but if someone comes on and you're like, Whoa, this is not working out, there is a sane hire, slow fire fast for a reason.
If you keep a teacher around who is not brain, what you are expecting to the studio, they're disrupting the PA, the space and the place and how everyone is working. Take them aside, have those tough conversations and do what you need to do to get them out of there. There are rules and laws and all those things, so make sure you follow them. However, you don't have to keep them around until hopefully and pray that they leave on their own. Let them go. This is your space and you have to have the authority. And if you keep that authority and you get rid of anyone who's disrupting that, then you will really show the other teachers and renters in the studio how much you care about your studio. And though are there teaching? If a teacher decides that they are ready to start their own thing or they're moving somewhere, you know, be excited for them. You also did this and it's not easy to say goodbye to a great teacher.
It's, it stinks really. But it's better for everyone if you celebrate the win for them and let them go on their own and then help them get out as quickly as possible so that you can continue to run your studio, fill the void where they left it and everyone can continue to grow. But it doesn't make any sense to be negative or wish them any ill will on their next space. Because the truth is they might get a client that they can't take on and they're going to bring them back to you because you're their friend. And it really is nice to have other studio owners that you can connect with, network with, bounce ideas off with.
So let them grow and enjoy. Enjoy that with them. Some teachers may come to you ready to say goodbye and it's actually an opportunity to have an open conversation about what they're looking for and what they need. And if you've done your research on what other studios are offering as far as pay and rent, you can actually have an open conversation with them and not be fearful of them leaving and make a quick decision that benefits them more than it benefits you just because you don't want them to leave. Sometimes people are just going to go and you have to let them, but if you can take the time to negotiate and offer them an option that benefits both of you, then you won't have to say goodbye and it could just be this really great open conversation that you both just needed to have. If someone's renting space and they're thinking of leaving because your rent is maybe too high or they're not making as much money or they don't know how to raise their rates, it's a really good way for you to say, look, this is the rent that I charge, but you've been teaching this many years, so how about we help you raise your rates so that you make more money?
Or you know, you consistently always teach 13 sessions a week, but if you can bump that up to 15 or 20 this could be your rent, right? So then you don't lose the teacher. They're incentivized to actually teach more in your space. And maybe they were teaching part time somewhere else and now they can just teach only in your spot. It's a really good way to not only not say goodbye, but to actually give them a space where they can be open and honest with what they're struggling with. And again, you can't as a studio owner, invite them to grow if it doesn't work, doesn't work. But the nice thing is you have the conversation and you know that your rates are exactly where they need to be and they know that they're getting paid exactly what they could be paid, but everyone wins because everyone got to get it off their chest.