Discussion #4115

Teaching Virtual Sessions

70 min - Discussion
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Description

On April 21, 2020, we held a live webinar with Maria Leone to learn about teaching private and group sessions online. She shares how she encouraged her clients to switch to virtual sessions and gives a quick demonstration on ways you can use items that people have around the house as props. She also encourages you to think outside the box and to shift your thinking about what your intention is so that you can help your clients and yourself stay grounded during this stressful time.

Links and Resources

- Maria's Virtual Class Schedule

- Smart Mike

- Ring Light

What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video

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Apr 23, 2020
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Transcript

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Hi everybody. Today my guest is Maria Leoni. Maria is owner of bodyline, a palava studio in Beverly Hills and about balanced body faculty member. She's been teaching clients for 32 years and training teachers for 21 years as a be as business owner. She's been involved in the [inaudible] trademark lawsuit, uh, the sparring of classical and contemporary and, uh, the transition for employee, for teachers from being independent contractors to employees, which was a law that went into place here, um, AB five on the 1st of January. So now she's, um, covert and the current, you know, w we don't have all the answers today we're going to share what we can. Maria is going to share her thoughts about teaching online and that's going to be our big subject today, how to teach online private group classes. So I'm really excited about this and uh, that's great for you to be here.

Can you tell us a little bit, Maria, about where you are and what's happened so far and okay. I mean, I really feel like I was way ahead of this. I mean, I was so on top of it. And literally we closed on March 16th and by March 17th I was like, we gotta, we gotta get on this online thing. Um, so we transitioned very quickly to doing things, um, online. Mmm. And we kind of made this, this, uh, you know, there was, so we transitioned very quickly to, to going online and offered, we had classes up within probably three or four days. And then in the beginning we offered things for free just to kind of work out the kinks. Um, and we've been up and operating ever since. So it's been like almost almost a month for us that we've been doing this now.

Fantastic. So where you're sitting, this would normally be reformers or equipment where you are today? Yes. So, um, my studio, we're going to give you a little tour if we have time after everybody. Some of those of you have been here? No, my studio is about 2000 square feet. And in this main room we would normally have nine reformers. Uh, we pushed a bunch of reformers out of the way so that we can have kind of a clear space to kind of make, uh, uh, more of a virtual studio and you kind of noticed that the clean background and everything and everything's curated and nicely curated. Um, so we tried to make everything as clean and as professional looking as we could. Um, so yeah, everything's kind of shoved over on the other side right now.

Cool. Um, and you're going back to what happened with your teachers, you know, you, you converted them over I believe, to employees at the beginning of the year. I did. And, and honestly there was like a little bit of pushback from the staff about that not everybody was so comfortable doing that. Didn't really understand why it was happening. Um, we had to make some adjustments and how they were being compensated as well. And um, when this all happened, thins thought, ah ha, like great. Now my staff, they're going to be able to get an employing now with the [inaudible] PPLs from them being able to buy people, like how great that I was. So on top of this January 1st and converted everybody [inaudible] um, so I'm, I'm still hoping that by making that big change, I've put my staff in a better situation, but as of right now, you know, there's, there's still, they have no money. No, none of us have any money. So, but I, you know, I still had my fingers crossed that's things are going to come through and in comparison to them being independent contractors that they're now in a better situation, but I'm not sure we'll see if that money comes through. Yeah, well fingers crossed, you know, we would, we've been chatting before that doesn't seem like very many people got the PPP and just very, really who's not in the U S this was a government program called the payroll protection program and um, you know, it was meant as intended, I think too, um, support small businesses like [inaudible] studio.

So most of your teachers are furloughed at the moment, is that right? Correct. Yeah. Um, a few of them and the ones that were really, I'm kind of on top of it and put in the work called clients. So we do have, uh, a few of them that are still have income, but mostly because I'm not only do we make contact with clients, they followed up and then they make contact with their clients and they kind of kind of made it happen. Um, some of our, um, staff is like, some of our staff have little kids at home and it makes it really challenging of course for them to be working from home. Um, so that was, that was part of it as well. But for the most part they're just furloughed. And as soon as I can have them back, I will have them back. And those of them that are, we're able to drum up work for, we're trying to do that as as best we can, but pretty much, no.

Yeah. Except for me, I'm working, but I'm not getting paid. It's awesome. As a, tell me about what you've been doing online. What, what did, what did your class schedule being here? So what we've been doing online is I'm Matt classes and I'm calling them mat classes, uh, in sort of a loose, loose way, uh, because to me they're really, uh, Palani sessions without a reformer. So certainly there's a lot of Matt that is showing up on the mat, but the, the mat work is just not conducive enough and accessible to enough clients. So, um, I really encourage everybody out there to start thinking out of the box, go back to those [inaudible] principles, reading, balance, alignment and precision whole body movement.

Take those principles and then put them on top of anything that you can do that you feel gets your needs met, met. So, um, we're doing [inaudible] two to three mat classes a day, um, but not straight traditional mat classes. And then we're also doing private sessions as well and the in a private session. And is there even a little bit more uh, lesson mat oriented or traditional mat oriented? Although everything I teach, I consider it to be [inaudible]. But if you were to see the exercises, they aren't traditional [inaudible] exercises. So that's what we've been doing.

Cool. They're going well, you know, um, we originally [inaudible] and some of you out there might kind of have the same thought process. A lot of our clients are older people. And um, originally we thought, Oh my God, it's, it's never gonna work. They're not gonna want to do it there. They're not going to have the technology skills to be able to manage doing all this. And what we found was, and, and we really did this to want to just connect to people also. So we would call our clients and we would call them on FaceTime the first time and just to talk to them and to check in and to also let them know that we put some other things down. Um, we've recorded some things and we had some resources for them online that they could go and look at just to get some movement. And once they kind of saw us on FaceTime and everybody can do FaceTime, that's the easiest. So that's what we're doing on most of our private clients.

What they were so thrilled to see us on their device. I mean, just, they were so happy. And then it was like, Hey, Hey, you know what, I like put the device down so I can see you had to tell her let's stretch a little bit. You know, that's just, you know, let's just move a little bit and we would do that. And they were like, Hey, that was great. And I was like, you know what it's like we are doing, we are doing some private sessions if that's something you would be interested in. We also said, um, we also started with 30 minute sessions. So not only that learning curve for some of the staff because um, and the culture of LA, most of Polonius is on reformers. So although I teach a lot of mat, not all of my staff teaches that much mat. And so sort of the 30 minute private kind of gave, um, the other girls who are teaching the opportunity to like broaden their skill base and get ready. Um, Polonius anytime of course, is a great place for that. Guys, you don't have to reinvent the wheel. You can go onto the lattes anytime and you can steal everything you see.

That's good. Including the stuff that I do that's good, just steal it from me and use it. Um, so we started with these little 30 minute sessions and then gradually for some of the clients we were able to build two and two an hour. Mmm. And so that's what I'm doing. So I have a nine year old client. I'm training two hours a week. Yeah. The gateways are online is probably doing a FaceTime session. Yes, yes, definitely. And just calling, just even calling them and like setting up, setting out 30, we would set out like 30 minutes and say, you know, um, we're going to spend 30 minutes, we're going to talk with them, we're going to check in. Um, Hey, do you want to move? Or you know, like, I would love to just stretch you. Like, can I spend 30 minutes with you?

Just moving you around a little bit. And once they did that and they had the human connection and able to move and all that kind of stuff and they really saw like, yeah, this is really valuable, valuable. I'm sitting on my bed all day, I'm up, I'm moving. I'm stretching. I'm reading [inaudible] balancing. Yeah, let's do this. Um, so that really made the difference I think. Um, and it was that personal phone call because we had sent out emails, um, two people and told them about online stuff. But most of our clients are like, yeah, I can't do that. I'm not, I can't do mat work. Um, and we made that first little, you know, after we reached out to them either we would do it right then I'd say, let me spend 15 minutes, you know, stretching you or we'd say, Hey, can I, do you want me to call you back sometime this week and do a little 30 minute free session? So we did start off with those private clients, just giving them 30 minutes of our time to talk about phone and framing. And then what do you have in your house? What can we use for props? Um, a few people, I brought things over to them. People, if they live close enough, I brought them a little package of a ring and a roller and free weights and stuff. Um, and so we, we kind of built it out that way.

Yeah, I've heard that from a few people that I've been, they basically rented out everything they had in that studio to their core clients. I've heard of reformers being delivered on back of a pickup truck to people's houses that happens here. But yeah, I think the key thing is to remember like, where is, where are all my pieces were? Crib. Exactly. Exactly. Um, can you talk a little bit about, I think we chatted yesterday about this, but you started off using your laptop as just, you know, that was your simple camera. Is that right?

So, yes, for, um, so FaceTime with my private clients, but then I'm just using my computer. I moved it out of my office, I brought it into the main studio and I'm in our groups. We are using zoom and we're using zoom and we have one of those cheap little, you know, circle lights behind it. The lighting is, uh, an important part of it. So the better you can be lit. Um, also, um, we are changing out this mat because like many of you, we like to wear black when we're at work. Um, but we're getting off white mat because it is really hard. There's good contrast today between my maroon and my black, but we're getting a white mat so people can see us better. So we, I just pulled my desktop, my desktop is sitting out here and, and you and I are on the phone and I have the desktop and I have a light behind and it, it, it works really pretty seamlessly, truthfully. Yeah. So today set up, um, there's with your iPhone into the camera and then you've got the, uh, habits in your ears here and hang a little tiny bit of audio problems today.

And I'm not sure if that's zoom or whether or not it's our internet connection, but, um, but that's, you know, pretty, pretty common setup that I've seen with lots of people is that same thing other than the laptop or the iPhone on a tripod and the kind of lights that we're talking about. It is a ring light. Mmm. So I kind of asked you if she can put that in the chat. Um, but we've, we've linked to that before. It's kind of a, it's pretty simple. They're still available. Last time I checked on Amazon and that sort of $50 and less, and Ben's how big and how complex you get. Not everybody has any props at home.

So could you go through a little example of how you yes. Yes. And so, um, for those of you out there, you know that not all of your clients can spend a full hour laying on their back or laying on your stomach. I know a lot of you that have clients, I've asked you this process and you're freaking out. I'm like, Oh my God, all this flection. How am I going to do all this selection? Well, you're not, you're not going to do all that flection, but you're going to be creative and you're going to find different ways to train somebody. So what we have found is the easiest, and it's sort of like my home base is working clients with a cushion, something like this. So now I usually show them like something about, you know, a little bit needy. So I have clients always have a cushion nearby and a chair nearby. Um, I'm going to sh slide in the chair that we use. So the chair that I liked for them to have is a chair with a back because this gives me, um, more than one set up. And I typically choose that I'm either going to start clients from the floor and go to a chair or go from a, from a chair and go to a floor. Um, I'm going to go through, can I go through that now, John? I'll kind of do. Okay.

So I think you can see me and I'm not headless. There we go. Um, so this is one of the, mm. So the app that I used. And so this is useful for all kinds of breathing, for side bending for your clients that you're worried about. Um, you know, having them right and being able to, okay, they can come back. Um, we do sets of squats here. Um, if they have free weights or cans, we will do, um, some simple upper body stuff. But this set up here lends itself to all kinds of things including um, simple stretches like, so coming into series, um, calming into like what I would call a climate tree, right? And doing just the stretching part of climate tree. So there's [inaudible] things that you can do just here in the seated set up.

Then also for clients that you don't want to have on your knees. So that's a big problem with mat work. Also, we take everything here from the hands and the feet. And so then we can do cat cow, we can do rotation, we can um, do a hip extension, we can do standing abduction work. Then of course we can go to our whole plank series, right? So we can do plank here. We can add things to our plank series, we can take it down to the forearms to make it a little bit more challenging.

Um, we can even take it two side plank setups, then we can turn the chair and the chair becomes a bar. And so the thing about Barbara, many of you are probably dancers like myself, right? So we have this background and we know PA's and stuff, but I mean this, I always describe it as footwork. Like now, now, now you're doing your footwork and then the chair can be here for balance situation. So particularly when you come to like a first position with the heels lifted, um, it's nice for them to have that here. I can also turn them into the chair and come into like 19 D lunges and it's super safe.

I don't have to worry about anyone falling and take it [inaudible] as well here. So this, I mean, you can get 30 minutes out of that chair. Easy, easy, 30 minutes out of the chair guys. Um, then with the kid, the coach, yeah. I usually start with it under the sacrum. And so under the sacrum it lends itself to number one, just simple stretching, but then into stabilization exercises as well. Um, for the clients that aren't going to be lifting their head and shoulders up, they can be doing single leg stretch, they can be doing, um, straight leg stretch. And then I take the cushion a little bit higher. And for the clients that it's appropriate, we do lower AB lifts and things of that nature.

So that's another whole separate setup. Third set up would be with the cushion up under the upper back. And so here we can do um, abdominal curls and oblique curls and it at this angle, it's much easier on the neck than it is working from the floor. So that's why I kind of use this ankle. So I think you guys can see that for your clients that have a hard time lifting here, right? And it is a little bit more neck flexors.

By changing that angle with a cushion, it's now a little bit more user friendly for those people. Then the cushion of course, are people that are gonna keep their head and shoulders down. It comes just to push in. Um, also for sidelining it's great. And then lastly, it becomes a prop in and of itself where you can do with the feet close, little inner thigh squeezes here. So this would be something very basic, but then if I needed to turn up the heat, we lift into reverse bridge. We do the same thing. And if I had to turn up the heat, we take the leg out, right? So it just, it lends itself. It's, it's everything you do on the reformer and everything else.

You just have to kind of extrapolate it out. This also can be used here just to get a little chest work here as well. So this is like with my older clients, uh, people that I for sure know there's no way I'm going to be doing pushups or anything like that. Um, it can work like that as well. So [inaudible] there's really a lot you can do. You just got to kind of keep those [inaudible], you know, principles in your head and do a little bit of homework. Bye.

Instagram or Polonius any time or join somebodies, um, virtual classes. And see what they're doing and then, and put, put it all together and figuring out what fits for your client. But it's very doable. Just think Pilati is without a reformer, which includes some [inaudible] mat work and then everything else, everything from the reformer that you can bring into it and you'll be fine. You're fine. Yeah. Wow. Thank you Mike. A long winded thing. That was fantastic. Yeah. If you want to take modern Maria's group classes, we're gonna put the link into the chat here and we'll also put it in the description. So sign up for one of Maria's group mat classes.

And not only that, you can come in and observe like I don't come in. You can, you know, I'll know who you are. If you don't have your camera on, I'll know you're there to observe, observe, put it on gallery mode and then you can see not only me, but you can kind of see the bodies and teaching and how they're taking the instruction and what their set up is like. Mmm. So even that can be a super useful tool just to sit and observe and be able to see everything that's going on. Yeah, you can let me know what doesn't work too. Is that open to criticism? Have you tried any other props apart from the chair and the pillar? Yeah. Um, the thing is having everybody to have them.

So just this week we started, we slated our 11 o'clock classes going to be classes with freeways. Um, and so we have requested that and enough clients now have it that we have a small group that has it. It just, it feels really crappy to me. Um, if I start using weights and somebody doesn't have them, I, I just, I just don't love it. And like a can is fine for like some older clients and shoulder work, but like for my body, like a canned is not going to be enough, you know? Um, but so we did just start doing that. I think early on we considered like, actually I did do this, I was so smart, but nothing happened the way it was supposed to. I ordered tons of bands. I just remembered, I ordered tons of bands and I ordered tons of balls.

And originally my plan was like, I thought we were going to have a little bit more notice and I thought, you know, we're going to sell these little at home packs and people will have a band and a ball. God, if they had a band and a ball and chair and cushion, that would be so easy. But you know what? None of that stuff ever arrived. Just like everything else, nothing around stuff happens, that's for sure. Yeah. So in a perfect world, you know, if you had access to it, you've add those things in. Do you have any recollection on the weights? What size? Weights? Yeah. Um, I like to have two sets of weights, um, for biceps and triceps. Something that three to five pounds, um, three pounds depending on how much apps you're doing.

And I'm not a huge fan of super high reps, like in Inbar worlds. To me, that part of bar world, uh, really kind of goes against a lot of these principles where we want to be doing quality over quantity. So you know, those big numbers they do just doesn't seem right to me. Um, so like it's like three to five and then also I'm like a two pound, two pounds, two pounds for shoulders, two to three pounds for shoulders, three to five for, for bicep. [inaudible] um, and triceps. Yeah. Cool. I told Maria this yesterday. I'm really looking forward to coming to your studio and having a class in post because you've never been here. You crap. No, I need to fix that. I'm blushing here. So I'm sorry about that. Maria.

I forgive you. I forgive you. Okie dokie. So when you're doing a, a private, uh, are you demonstrating or are you watching the person and just giving visual cues? So kind of both, both things and even kind of goes to say, so in the beginning I was like killing my body and really felt compelled to like be doing the workout. Um, with everybody as we were going through with my privates. A lot of them are hard of hearing and so they kind of really do need the visual. Um, but in general, once I had a couple of sessions under my belt, I'm with them.

They know my language, they know my cues. If I say come onto your hands and knees, hands under your shoulder and you, we're going into cat cow, they can go into cat cow. And I can say, I can just breathe, breathe with them and cue them and move them and not have to do the whole thing. Um, so I go back and forth. So even in the group sessions, I mean people that have been coming, they know hundreds, they know real up, they know single legs, they don't need me to do that with them. Right. So I might say we're going to come into really like a ball and I might, you know, say get to the edge of the mat, come to your start position and then I'll stop and I'll just cue them and I'll just watch them here because it is really great. And I've had the experience as a student as well. I mean, it's, it's so nice when you're home alone in your house and you got to teach, you're on and you, you know, and suddenly like, Hey Maria, that was great.

And I'm like, [inaudible], that's great. You know, it's like the human connection is nice. Um, and I am able to still cue and give those corrections. The one thing that I would say, because this works really beautifully, the one thing that I have noticed that's a little tricky is it's much harder for me to tell. Um, particularly w even in the one-on-ones, it's harder for me to tell when I'm, it's too much for client. I miss those signals. Like if I S when I worked together, I can sense strain. I can sense the fatigue a lot better than in this medium. So I find myself having to check in and be like, Hey, was that okay? How is that on your neck? You know, did you feel that just in your triceps?

So that's just been one thing that's been different. But you, you can't do the workout all the time. People, you got to save your bodies, you know, you just, you just can't. Um, even for like the side leg series, like the side leg series is a no brainer, right? Cause everybody can do it. Everybody feels it. It's there but everyone's thrilled. But you know, I was doing a zillion sidelight series a day. So at one point it felt kind of funny actually. I would like lay down, it's like okay, lay down, I'm getting like to add, we're lifting. And I'm like now you do. I would just literally be staying here kind of watching them and then kind of set them up and then kick the leg forward. Like, Hey that's great John. Nice straight leg.

Keep your body a little bit more like that. But then I would, I would literally have to because it just, it was too much repetitive motion. Again, repetitive motion is not our friends. I remember that people. Yeah. Save your bodies. You're doing some of your marketing on Instagram. Can you tell me about what your strategy and what you're delivering through Instagram? Yeah. Yeah. So, um, and I was watching everybody else too cause just like you all I poached too. So I was watching what everybody was doing and although I, I put out free tools for people by a YouTube and that we did connect with people personally and give them like little free 30 minute sessions.

I knew I had clients that we're willing to pay right away. So everything in our studio, once we got the glitches out, we started charging, but then I did want to have something for free. And um, so what I did on Instagram, and it's every Thursday at 12 and I plan on doing it for a while. So everybody out there you can join me. So from 12 to 1230, I'm developing new material and so it's a different kind of workout. It's actually something I am developing. [inaudible] anytime. It's something that I've always wanted to do where I'm taking all of my disciplines. Um, so many of you don't know much about me. Um, so I was a professional dancer, first [inaudible] instructor, second [inaudible] martial artist, third yoga practitioner fourth. And I don't dance anymore, but everything else I still really have is my practice.

So I'm melding all of these disciplines together and trying to create flows where, um, instead of like, Oh, now we do 10 minutes of this and now we go to 10 minutes of that, then it's all like cohesive and in one piece, so Thursdays at 12, I'm inviting people to join me for that. It is not a [inaudible] workout and it is for healthy bodies only. And so I'm kind of workshopping, like in the dance community, that's what you used to do. You would start to workshop like a PFC, you'd get bodies and start to create and you'd get feedback. So that's sort of what I'm doing, um, Thursdays at noon and it forces me to work out, you see, cause I have to show up and that I actually do have to do because I have no plan at all or very loose. So I need to feel in my body like where I'm going next. Um, so it, it's, it's a win win.

I love those win-win situations anywhere I can get multiple things done at once. I'm all in for cool. So that's Thursday 12th Instagram live. Yeah. If your Instagram handle in the, in the chat here too, we'll do that for us and also on my Instagram. You can, you can go back. You can see the 90 year old client. I mean I have the 19 year old client posted on my Instagram.

That's just pretty fabulous. I have some, any fabulous people on there. So take a look. Great. Now we're going to go to the Q and a session. We already have questions here. The first one is do your clients sign, this is from Catherine. Do you use client releases for virtual sessions with new clients?

That's a good question. Um, I do not and truthfully I hadn't even considered it. I did check my insurance policy though to make sure that my insurance policy covered me teaching virtually, which it does do. Um, we have had new clients come in for the virtual classes and the mind body doesn't prompt them. It does prompt them. Oh my fabulous studio manager, Alex hit me again. And so yes, it is set up. So they sign a waiver. Yeah. So through mind body they are signing away. Right.

I didn't even know that when they sign up for their first class, they're signing a waiver. Cool. Just so everybody knows, Maria has her fabulous studio manager, Nicki and they are in a pod together. So they have agreed that they will socialize. Yes, she is working together. Yes. We're going down together. If we go down the studio be totally closed.

Um, so that's the question about waivers. Um, other people, if you don't use MINDBODY online, we've heard of people using DocuSign that they send it out. It's really easy to sign using DocuSign. You just click it and it's done. Um, and the party's method Alliance on their website has an example of the texts that should be in an online waiver. So hopefully that helps people. Uh, how are you charging? Are you charging the same price for um, privates as you do in-person as you do online? So for privates we are charging the same. After that, that first little 30 minute freed it. Um, one thing that is different is that we are offering privates for just 30 minutes. So that takes, you know, it doesn't really take the costs down, but it you don't want to put out a lot of money. Um, that's helpful. Mmm. So privates, yes, for the classes are very different there. Um, the price point is much lower than what we would do for reformer classes.

Okay. Do you use specifically for audio and video? I think we covered this. She's using her desktop computer, which has a built in camera. And uh, today, uh, you have the air boats, the Apple. Uh, but am I getting the right phrase? Yes. In urea is AirPods I think. But in the beginning I taught without anything. I taught originally just with the mic from the laptop and I had to yell a lot, but it was okay. And then also I purchased this little thing. Let me see this. Mmm. That's something I found on Instagram. I think it's called smart Mike. Um, this works pretty well too.

So this took up my audio to a place that was better than the audio on, um, the desktop. Mmm. So a lot of people probably wouldn't have problems with the AirPods. I am able to work out and they stay in. This is a nice option. It did bring up the audio better, but this is even better than this because when I move, you know, with a Mike on, when you move your head, um, it, it's not as great. So yes.

Uh, this is from Katherine. Are you experiencing technical interference during your zoom sessions with clients? Mmm. You know, we've, we were, it's yesterday, Maria and I am zoom work perfectly and today it's not working so great. Um, it's not something that Maria controls or I control, you know, stuff happens. Mmm. We, we actually, I have had barely any problems in the, I guess maybe it has to do maybe with time of day, but, um, I teach mostly on zoom from nine to 11, and we had barely any technical problems at all. Yeah. Yeah.

In terms of how to solve these things. You know, our customer support folks, their advice is restart your device, whether it's your computer or your phone. And sometimes that fixes the issue, but it's the sort of thing that is generally outside of either Maria's or my control, you know, and um, stuff happens. What platform do you use to record your Mac classes and how would you monetize it? Um, we are doing light at the moment and our clients are asking for recorded sessions. I don't know if I would do that. Um, we have stuff on YouTube that is not monetized. Mmm. I am not, I am not videoing anything that cause I send them to Polonius anytime, frankly. Um, I know I think I would do, yeah. Yeah. I, I don't, I don't think, uh, a good for me to do. Um, I'd rather have them come and pay and be with me live or go to the free places and get a little bit. But I do have the luxury of pushing them also too.

Holidays anytime is as well. Yeah. Yeah. What we have seen when people, sometimes they have recorded the class that they've had with the client. There is that option inside zoom just to hit a button called record and you can probably see those that are watching. Up on the top left, there's an icon that says recording. Um, so you can record the video and email it to them and you can put it up on YouTube. You can take that video file and put it up on YouTube because it's a big file. And just send a private, keep the file private and just send that one client a link that's not monetizing it. But that's kind of sharing the video with people if you want to monetize, um, videos in the same way where you're saying like bodies anytime does, you know, there are some companies out there that offer like the kind of service that we, we have built ourselves over the last 10 years. Um, it's a tricky business to get into.

I'm not just saying that happy cause we do it and we don't want competitors. We have lots of competitors, but it's not the easiest thing to do. I think another web, um, uh, we, we talked to one on Friday, one Nieto, and he was talking about his own videos that he puts behind his wall. So he has a pay wall, which is subscription members of his [inaudible] studio can get behind and see all the content that he's created. It's not a trivial technological problem to do. Mmm, okay. I guess, I guess on that note, I guess if it was a really a steady client of mine, I think I would maybe allow them to video and send them, but I, I don't, I don't, wouldn't be feel great about people that I didn't really know.

Just having re making a personal recording for them and do that. So I haven't, I'm not sure if that was what she was. We have it blocked off. Oh, we have it locked off. She's saying on zoom. Yeah. No one can record us without a snout, without our permission. Who are, who are the parts of your organization that are teaching classes online? Is it just yourself or is this, it's just me and it's Nikki, my studio manager this morning we had like a bank of America issue and so we had one of our staff members join class from her home. And then when, when we had to take the bank of America phone call, we switched to her and she took over teaching just seamlessly, just like you would like if I get an emergency phone call in the studio and someone just pops in. Mmm. So, uh, we have maybe three other teachers doing some stuff from their home.

And even Nikki on our schedule, one of the evening classes, she teaches that from her home as well. So Helen's question, you're right, Helen, if, if the teacher is teaching now, that's how they're working. They can't apply for unemployment or they can't be followed. So there's, you know, I think Lee Maria has 12 employees, something like that. And so the ones that she's furloughed are the ones that are claiming or attempting to claim my employment, well, the, they can still claim unemployment, they just have to claim the income. So if they're usually making $500 or $300 a week and they just have to claim that they made $100 in that time period and their award would go down, it doesn't mean that you don't need to work at all. You're, you're just, you're award goes down based on what money you earned.

Cool. Thank you. Maria, how are your teachers handling their own private? So they're getting paid directly by their clients or are they running the clients through the studio? Uh, everything always goes through the studio. Um, especially now that they're employees and not independent contractors. Um, but I, I am paying them more money right now than I pay them when they come here because they are actually teaching from their home. And it's just a way for me to be, to give them a little bit more. It's also for me, I was trying to encourage them to, Hey, get on board, like call your clients, make it happen, connect with those people and, and for that effort I want to pay you more to do that. So the money is still, you know, we use mind body, so the sessions are still go up on mind, body onto our schedule and um, some that's what, how the payroll gets run is, is per session. Um, I hope, I hope that answers the question, but everything is run through the studio and this, they have their own private clients, which is another ball of wax that has nothing to do with me. I've never taken payment for that. But um, that's always been our relationship with the people that work for me.

Great. Yeah, I think it's the key hitting thing here is it's the employee versus the independent contractor and who I was that client as an employee, it's really clear that Maria's business owns that client and that's why it goes through her business. Um, how much do you charge, uh, for different numbers of students in class? Are you just doing group mat, um, one-on-one privates? Yeah. Yes. We haven't had the, I guess we would do a semi-private if, if that ever came around. But yeah, the, the, the groups are anywhere from three. The smallest group has been three people. And the biggest group has been 15 people and that's all done on zoom. Jamie asked IO teachers also stream, are they coming to the studio to stream or are they doing it from their own homes? They're doing it from their home except for Nikki. Nikki and I are both here, but everybody else, if they're teaching, they're doing it from their home.

As this from Patty, are you able to see your clients clearly online? Some of mine have a very limited space and there's not room for them to set up a full view of themselves for me to see them clearly. Oh they can. They can find the space. Yeah, I am. So, um, one of the things that I do is I have two setups and so the clients in a session, even when I'm teaching, I will move my device to set up a instead of B. So set up a is the higher one for chair or standing. And then so that B is when we're going to be on the floor.

And so everybody is able to, I mean, you don't need that much space, do you? Do they just need to fiddle around with moving their device. And so we might take some time, I'll be like, Hey, let's do some framing. I'm like, Hey, put your mat when you put your mat parallel to your device like mine. Then I'll be like, Hey, sit down, sit up. I'm seeing mostly your ceiling.

Can you turn on a light? And just not everybody except my mom for some reason. Literally I do not know why I could be a mother daughter thing, but I can't get my mom to frame herself as I'm still seeing her, you know, like this. Uh, but everybody else, um, I can see pretty, pretty clearly head to toe. Cool. I U D a this is about your teaching schedule. You're doing more privates. Are you doing more group classes?

How many hours are you teaching in a typical week? Uh, I'm teaching about six hours a day right now, which I guess is like how much I normally teach. Um, [inaudible] two, two to three groups and then two to three privates each day. But the difference is that usually this 11 other people here doing that. Yeah, I suppose from Helen, do you find yourself having to plan more carefully than you would for an apparatus session? No. Uh, because it's somewhat a little bit more limited. So I, uh, no, I know, well my setups and I know what props they have and we, we kind of take it from there. So I would, I would on that note, there's a little less variety than I would normally the teaching.

I mean, even I have one client that's seeing me pretty frequently because they are stuck in New Zealand and they can't leave their apartment at all. And she's like, Hey, can I work with you? Like four times a week. But she's got nothing except the chair and a cushion. And she, this had knee surgery surgery and she's had shoulder surgery and it's very trying. So, um, I think at one point I was like, Hey, let's do a little Zoomba. Like, like, this is about moving. And so, you know, like we just did a little 15 minute step to the right, you know, and had music. I was actually really fun. She's somebody that I really enjoy. So you just, you gotta think I think out of the box but, and then just kind of know like it is what it is. I can't be as creative as usual. I can't be, you know, I can't have something brand new every day cause this is the beast.

[inaudible] they are very thankful just to see you and hear you. And again, it's about connection. You know, we're not, we're not, I'm not just teaching movement to people, we're connecting to them and helping them to stay grounded. So kind of keep that in your head to the game has changed a little bit. Like we're here to keep people grounded, for them to have routine for them to have a schedule, to have something to do today. So shift your thinking a little bit, sort of about what the intention is during this time. Do you have a, this is from Angela. Do you have a maximum number of clients in your group classes?

Not yet, Angela. And the more the merrier, bring it on. When I get to that point, I will probably, no, it, um, I haven't hit that point yet. And, uh, you know, Saul chosen and I, I had a conversation about this too. Um, and we both taught and places with big groups, it's like, um, where you have 35 or 40 or 45 people like that that happens at conventions, at seminars and um, it's a different beast. I mean, I kind of feel like people are coming, they're paying 15 bucks, um, and they're getting their $15 worth. I get, it's not going to be perfect. It's broad strokes at this point. Um, but if I really felt like, Oh my God, like this is a mess, I would, I would cut it down, but I haven't hit that point that Angela, what I'm hoping to soon a question from ETA. Um, how are you having people signing up for classes and paying, uh, are you to do, are you able to do everything through mind, body, um, zoo? So, um, I do know, uh, and for those of you they have mind, body, um, they have not been super supportive through all of this. It's been all kinds of issues with mind, body and they have not been available to help us with a lot of the glitches because they are currently working on their own platform, um, to do all of this which will integrate the whole zoom and the payment taking process. Um, what we've been doing, which works fine, is people go and they sign up on mind body and they pay on mind body.

And then each morning we come in, we go to zoom, um, we cut and paste the link and we manually email everybody that has signed up. So we'd do that before each class. And then for the private sessions and all that were, which were we always do that manually is we don't integrate that. So we're just doing that here and then letting people know, Hey, you know, it's time for you to send a check kind of thing. Kind of on the same subject. There's a question here from Susan.

We started with a donation style set up. One teacher wanted to be zero to 20 and other from 10 to 35 for group classes. Do you recommend going to paid instead of donation? How would you recommend transitioning to a paint arrangement? Like packages? Yeah, see that's why I didn't start with donation. Um, and there were some people here that said, Oh, well why don't we do it, you know, donation-based um, particularly do you have teachers that are charging sorta different things?

Um, I would just set your price and say, you know, thank you very much everybody for donating to our staff. Um, we are now moving, we're now able to offer packages, put it on like an upswing right now, able to offer packages. So, uh, and our, our package price is $12. If you buy 10. Um, so I would just set your prices. I'm not sure what your clientele is. Our average clientele was spending like $60 a week here. Um, if I really felt like there was a need for me to have to go lower, um, I guess I would for someone. But then also keep in mind, I put that stuff up on Instagram on, excuse me, on YouTube. So I have little 15 minute chunks on YouTube so they could go there. They could do that again. They, you know, so I do that. Um, so I would just kind of set your price. Um, I did consider for the staff just in terms of them being able to, to have more income. Some of them have other skills, some of them can teach meditation and some of them I one teaches, she gone one teaches bar. And so if the staff themselves, Ellis had other skills that they wanted me to market to my clients, I was willing to do that. And then they would do that for donation, then that would go directly to them and into their pockets. Um, one nice thing, believe it or not, we have had a handful of people who have said to us, keep, keep my sessions on the books that may keep paying you and you, you know, I, I want, I want the trainer to get paid, which is really, really super lovely. So we have had some really nice moments like that through this.

Yeah. I think, you know, there's my suggestion, Susan, is that you could announce that, you know from Monday that you're transitioning away from the interim donation-based pricing to a fee based thing. Mmm know you still have your bills coming in and you still have all those years of training and investment in yourself. I really believe everybody's worth being paid as paid fully if you do want to contribute to. So first of all, I think you charge for your time and then if you want to donate some of your time, then maybe it's a Saturday morning class that's open to everybody that's free, but your bills are still coming in. Yes, that's a great idea. I like the idea of one class a week that's free actually. That's a great idea.

John. Um, this one's from Nancy. Do you expect to continue virtual training since people might not come back until there is a vaccine? We know that there are people that are not going to be coming back for a bit. So we've had a few clients by reformers. Um, by the way, teaching on a reform former virtually is a piece of cake. I mean, it's so simple, particularly if it's somebody that you've been training already, you know, their body. Um, we're uh, setting them up so the reformers they're buying are exactly the same as what we have. So we know exactly the spring tension and all that kind of stuff. Um, so yeah, I am anticipating, we do have a good amount of people over the age of 80.

I don't know if those people are going to come back. We have a, a smaller back room that um, we are going to hold for yeah, no more than two people I hope, but it might be have to be like certain times that there's only one person in there. Um, so hopefully we can accommodate them that way, but, but also hold that back room for us to do some ritual training from as well. So I do, I do think that it's, some of this is going to continue. Um, it has given me the opportunity to reconnect to some other clients also. Mmm. You know, like my client who's in New Zealand and train her virtually as well. So I do think it's going to continue. This is a [inaudible] my state, Georgia is opening gyms, restaurants, tattoo parlors and hair salons on Friday. I heard her to feel comfortable opening my studio so far. My online clients are okay waiting.

What do you think I should do when clients who don't understand and want to start now? So, um, you know, it's, this is a a tricky thing. So in the beginning, before I was mandated to shut down, we had 'em spread our studio and we were really adhering to the six feet rule. And we were advertising that. We were saying, you know, on Instagram like, Hey, like we're social distancing here. Like I really considered our environments to be safe. We did get some crazy. Some people were like, you're, you're killing people. We got like, we got caught a couple of emails that they're really not so nice. Um, I have been considering how I would reopen and it, it would have to be with six feet between people. Um, we would have to have less. Okay. Less congestion.

We'd have to move people around. Our numbers would have to go down. Hopefully people will be more accommodating. Like my retiree that I usually work out Mondays at nine. Hopefully he's going to be willing to come Monday at three, which usually is really quiet. Mmm. I think, uh, we will require masks in the communal areas. I don't think we'll require mass in the big studio.

We had already said all of our teaching is hands off. We had already made all our teaching to clients had to stay on one piece of equipment. So we're not doing this traveling around. So there's no props. There's going to be no rings, no balls, no. Whenever you're on your reformer, you're in one place. Once you've come into the studio. Um, we also ordered from balanced body. These vinyl covers. Does that go over the loops? Um, we are selling grip towels. We have always been a toe sock studio that has really helped us.

And then toe sock also, um, sells a grip glove. So if people come in and you have that towel on the reform armor, they have toe socks on, they have the hands on the, the grip gloves on. We have the vinyls on the loops, there's six feet distance. I feel, I feel confident that we can keep people safe. Um, that's me though. Mmm.

I was in Singapore just prior to this and everywhere in Singapore, they were checking people's temperatures before they entered. Before we shut down, I tried to get my hands on, you know, a thermometer, a no touch temperature thing. And I couldn't get my hands on that. So I have thought about that as well. Well I would feel comfortable reopening, I believe. But, but I fought, I, I've been thinking of how to approach Georgia and I thought well what if I personally did not feel comfortable reopening?

I mean of course I'm just worried about the rent. Like if the city tells me, I'm like, I'm sort of, I think I'm [inaudible] in a good situation with my rent cause the city isn't allowing me to operate. But now if the city says to me, okay, you can be open. And now I want to say to my landlord, well I aye can't pay rent cause I can't open cause I don't feel safe enough to open. I, I've, I've wondered about like, like that, like there's one thing that the city tells you to operate, but what have you, you're not able to operate. Also early on with our staff and John and I, we touched on this a little bit right immediately we said to the staff, you know, as soon as you're not comfortable being here, you don't worry, you, you don't, you don't need to be here. And by the way, please send us an email that says that you're not comfortable being here just so I had record of it. Um, and they had, you know, we had somebody who's pregnant. We have, we have some staff with preexisting conditions. Um, and so if somebody doesn't want to come back to work, they don't have to come back to work. But I don't really know. You know, I'm fresh with employees. I am, I've had employees for three months, so this is kind of, it's a big ketchup situation. Um, so that's what I would encourage you to just make it as safe as possible and compared to a gym or a spin place where people are sweating and clothes. I mean, I do really think that we can social distance, you can't have the numbers that you used to have business, we'll have to go down, but we can have business here and keep social distancing and so I will be very committed to that as best I can.

Yeah, I think it's a great question, Dali. Um, I think, you know, you have to look at it, you know, if you have a preexisting condition and you know, you should make yourself the top priority there, but all the things that Maria talked about, you know, the stress, the financial stress of, Oh, I've got to pay my rent. My landlord's not gonna defer or waive any rent. It's a, it's a tricky one, I think a lot of the world and is looking at what's going to happen in Georgia and whether or not there's going to be a big spike in coronavirus as a result of this. This is from Susan. What do you gave as your explanation of clients ask for recordings of the classes? Yeah. And when we're not providing that. But you can go to YouTube and you can, um, you can check that out there. Um, again, I have that, that there are free resources out there. Um, I guess if somebody requested a recording, I would maybe make a package. Um, I, I feel like, um, you know, you know, I come from a dance and an actor backwards. This residuals, the, the, the greatest concept ever created residuals. Um, so I think I might consider, uh, if I got requests for that, I would have to get something for that. So, um, maybe you buy a package of three privates and you get a recording and I would find a fee structure for that because they will eventually get tired of that. I'm recording.

And I would also try to make that recording like a specific to that person as I could. So it wasn't like they could hand off that work out to their best friend and whatever. Not, I mean, I guess, I don't know why I think that way, but, um, if I want to give something for free, um, I want to make sure there's something, nothing in it for me. So me putting stuff up for free on YouTube, it makes me feel really good that I've done that and that people have some resources. Me doing free on Instagram live is for me to work out this new material and also do a little bit of marketing. Right. So it's for people to know about me. I didn't need to do that because my, my, my meat and potatoes is, are my studio clients.

So I didn't need to go free on Instagram in terms of [inaudible]. Yeah, I w I, I would have to come up with a fee for that unless it was somebody that was really like really down and out and like, yes, I definitely want to do that. Like, you, you need this work. I want you to have this. And I would be gifting it to them. It would be very clear that I'm going to, I want to gift this to you. Um, I don't love the idea. I mean I'm in a little different scenario because even the people here and trust me, there are people here that are worried about going broke and they certainly are not. Um, the, the people around here have, most of them have plenty of resources.

And so particularly with my clients that would not make me comfortable. I'll try and answer some questions. Say Rhonda, your question is, can the client download a recorded zoom session themselves? Um, you, you come, somebody watching this, there's screen capture software that you possibly they could do it, but they're going to have to be technically pretty sophisticated to do that. The only person who can, uh, record it is the person who is the host who's, whose zoom account. It is a, would be that house Rhonda there. Can you talk a little bit about your setup there? How high is the laptop? Is it on a chair? What do you think is, um, so, so about two, two to three feet and then um, up a little bit higher for the standing. Um, do you want me to pull this out and try to show?

Yeah, why don't you pick up your, um, your phone here and just show the thing that might be great. Okay. Nikki. Nikki is going to do it. Nikki's going to do it. Thank you, Nikki. Okay. There's our studio by the way. [inaudible] um, you can unplug it then. Bring it all the way around.

Hmm. Keep coming. Keep coming. Yeah. So, Hey everybody, can you go this way so they can see this height? So that's the setup that Maria has there. That's for Matt. That's for when I'm on the ground. Yeah. And you can see just with a tripod. The iPhone is obviously picked up now, but it was on the tripod there. And then with the desktop, the desktop goes to this white piece of furniture over here.

So it travels from here to up to here. Cool. Thank you, Maria. Uh, this is shown as question about zoom classes, uh, in a zoom class with more than five clients. Is it better to switch off video as well as audio so the instructor cannot see them? Um, Oh no, I love seeing them. No, no, no, no. You can S um, so what we also do, no, it's great to see them. So I've had up to 15 people, but what I tell people when they join is to, um, this is a little tilted Nikki. Um, what I tell people is themselves when they had to put themselves onto your view.

And so I knew everybody. So we don't hear anybody. So on the speaker and since I'm the speaker, my image is going to be the biggest one in their frame. I'm watching them on gallery view. So I'm seeing everybody and I'm small, but then they're watching me on speaker views, so on big and they're not seeing everybody else. I think that answers your question. Yeah. When you set up a meeting, you can have everybody muted when they joined and uh, you know that that's a key thing. Just look in the settings in zoom. Uh, mute on. Join I think is the phrase that they use. Um, somebody else asked the question about how many people you can get on a screen and that is driven with zoom is you can get as many as 25, I think it is seven by seven is the most, but you have to have a really high powered computer.

So I have a fairly recent iMac that I'm using today and the most I can get is five by five on a screen. So the, the number of people you see on one view is a function of the type of computer you have. Could you, how do you promote zoom sessions to people who are not interested at all? I think we touched on that with your idea of ringing them up. Yes. And so also a lot of our clients don't, um, don't even look at emails. And so we had to really go back to old, old school marketing where we, we sat on the phone and we called people up and again, how many [inaudible] Oh yeah. So we then, if they were interested in zoom, we actually set them up.

We spent [inaudible] not me, not me, Nikki actually spent time with people, um, putting them onto zoom, but we, we, we called everybody and then, um, if we didn't get responses from people, we actually texted people too because I, I felt like we were offering things that people didn't know about. And of course they didn't sound, but not many. So now I'm doing cold calling. It's not really cold calling, but, but you know, calling on the phone has been a long, long time since I did everything like that. But that was really what was the most effective. And then again, it was that, that communication, you know, clients did kind of want to hear a voice, that point of contact. Um, and then we taught them how to use zoom. It's old school marketing is still works.

Yes, it does. Yeah. Um, somebody asked a question around zoom things, whether or not you use the password access individually, sending out a zoom link, um, you can choose various levels of security to having to put in the password. So basically you're sending them a link to click on. They can click on it in their phone or in their laptop. Um, but I, you know, you may have seen some very public cases of zoom bombing where people have come in. So yeah, set up an individual zoom meeting for each one of your classes and then manually send them out. That seems like the best way and you can add additional security with a password, but it doesn't really make that much difference when you're just sending that email to each individual person who's signed up for the class.

[inaudible] we do exactly what you said, John. Um, do you ever use music? No, I would like to use music and um, I tried it a little bit in the beginning, but you know, uh, the, the audio wasn't, wasn't good and, um, there was more issues with them being able to hear me with also music on. Um, so I haven't done that yet. Um, I, I think it's just kind of a distraction. What would I have done, which is kinda nice, is sometimes I'll have music on when they, when they come in to the space. So they put, they put up their screen and they see this and there's music playing, but then I turn the music down, um, when I teach and then it would be nice, I think at the end also. Uh, cause I end my sessions with just a little breathing. It would be nice to have a little kind of calm on there, but it hasn't worked for me. Yes. Um, I was not at that time I was not, um, the earbuds though.

I was teaching just with the Mike from the laptop or, uh, the other mic. So I, I don't know if it would be possible to do here. Yeah, I'll just share. Bloodies anytime's experience of trying to run two audio streams, somebody speaking and music through a zoo meeting. It's hard. It's hard to get the balance right between the two music sources. It's hard not to get some audio lag in it.

So if you're doing movement to the music beat and the beat is half a beat off, it's confusing. So, um, I'd love to, if somebody is really discovered at a soul that I'd love to know. [inaudible] [inaudible] uh, Sonia, how do you like your ring lights? Um, where did you get them from? [inaudible] they're awesome. Um, I got them from Instagram. I thought everything, everything I, I have um, was advertised on Instagram and everything is um, cheap. Nothing was very expensive and they make such a huge difference. They are well worth the investment. Well, well, well where you gotta like I would say, yeah, God I had it actually let me shut off the lights the second, so you guys can see. Yeah, you shut that one off.

Do you see how much darker I am and then turn it back on. Let me turn this one back on. Yeah. Wait, we also really great. It's not fat expensive. It does make you look better. Um, yes. Oh, I'm sorry. I think we're going to have to call it a, there's another 10 questions here, so I'm going to call it a day. Maria, thank you so much. We need to do this again soon.

I not to do it again. It's so, uh, it gives me great pleasure to be able to share some of my trenches experience with all of you and all of you out there. Just stay positive. Never. It's about the connection [inaudible] people and we are still able to do that. So reach out and have a go at it. It's been for me, even though maybe not financially, it's not going to be my financial saving thing, but for me personally, being able to do what I do to be able to connect to people for my own wellbeing, it's spent really saving me through this crisis. So I really encourage you, whether whether or not it's going to pay your rent, I do encourage you to reach out to people, um, and connect to them for, for your own self. Thank you so much, John, and for having me here. Expensive. Thank you. Thank you. Stay healthy for joining us.

Comments

Thank you Maria and John, this was very helpful.
thank you Maria.  Lovely to hear how you are doing.  Much Love.  Lesley Powell 
Great practical stuff. Thank you- also very helpful Q and A.
Thank you Maria and John. I’m in Australia and still trying to get home to New Hampshire so this was very helpful for me. I need to start something with my clients and technology such as what we need to be doing, quite frankly, scares me. Your video has helped me to move forward.
Hi John and Maria, this was super helpful. Thanks so much for this and thanks Pilates Anytime for your support with these Videos
Thanks.Really helpful and reassuring.
Loving these sessions. Wonderful for you to organise and share these information. I don't feel quite so isolated and like Maria I need to feel that connection with my clients.  John you have such a lovely voice to listen to!
Thank you Maria and John for the information! In terms of ring lighting, does distance matter? I need to place my laptop roughly 3 meters/9 feet from my mat for a full body shot   
Thank you Maria!
Such good information! Thank you so much. I especially liked all the ideas for using props that everyone has at home.

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