Selecting a Pilates Studio

You’re either new to teaching, you’re moving to a new city, or it’s time for a change, and you’re facing the big decision of either opening your own studio or finding an environment where you can teach. This article focuses on the latter: how to select the ideal environment in which you can thrive as a movement professional. Below are some helpful points to consider in your selection.

There will be various factors unique to you and the city you live in that you’ll need to consider, and this can help you get the process started. – Kate Strozak,

First consider the type of environment that would appeal to you most. Here are some of the typical options:

  • Corporate options: this entails working for a studio that is housed within a larger complex such as a gym, social club, hospital, or university. The benefits of these environments are that you’ll likely have support from an HR department, consistency with expectations, and you likely won’t have to concern yourself with your own extensive marketing. Protocol will have been established and there will be processes in place to support you in your work environment. Some instructors dislike this option because it might feel restrictive in terms of established processes and procedures, and you’ll have to adopt their specific corporate culture.
  • Small business: this option involves working for an independently owned business, and the sizes can vary. Some of the perks include joining a business that has a unique culture where processes and systems are evolving over time. Some instructors thrive in this environment as it may be more conducive to flexibility, creating your own unique identity, and being able to run your own business within a business. On the other hand, working in a small business might entail inconsistencies in terms of rules and expectations.
  • Franchises: these are an interesting mix between how I describe corporations versus independently-owned businesses. Franchises are typically owned by somebody local who has subscribed to the franchise model. You benefit from the consistency and procedures in place, but you will need to subscribe to the larger franchise culture, which permeates each independently-owned franchise. Franchises might feel as though you belong to a large community, which can be a satisfying experience for somebody.

 Second, consider the type of clientele you would like to work with. 

  • If you are passionate about working with a clientele with a specific condition or situation, you could either find an environment with an existing reputation for that specialty or you can find an environment that would support you in specializing. 
  • If research is of particular interest to you, it would be helpful to find a university or hospital-based environment that has existing resources to support you in your endeavors.
  • For sports performance-based specialization, see if you can collaborate with professionals already equipped and servicing this population. Some professional sports teams are building out Pilates studios within their training centers.
  • For the general public, you have a wide spectrum of options, and you’ll likely select your environment based on a multitude of other factors, including some listed below.

 Lastly, these are some miscellaneous recommendations to ensure that you’re being selective with your decision.

  • Spend time in the prospective environment at various times of the day and on a variety of days. Notice how coworkers interact with each other and with clients, and notice the clientele that come into the space. Does it seem like a supportive, collaborative, and positive environment?
  • If possible, talk with some instructors who have been working there to get their perspectives. What are their favorite attributes about the environment? What are their greatest frustrations? How long have they worked there? 
  • Is your goal to progress to a management position? This is a nice thought to consider early on, and it might be something you could begin with or work towards over time.
  • Do the requirements for the position seem rigorous? If you’re looking for a place to work that is focused on high quality and caliber, they likely have more stringent requirements for instructors coming on board. Continuing education benefits are more than just a bonus; they can indicate that an organization is willing to invest in their employees/contractors and that education and development are highly prioritized.

Ask the person you’ll be reporting to how they support you in building your clientele. It is helpful to know these expectations from the get-go. Do they expect you to market yourself and attract your own clientele? Are they marketing you and generating leads for you? Do they already have classes and clients established for you?

 This process can be challenging and lengthy. Everybody responds to changes differently, and considering that we spend so much time and energy on working, it certainly is a big decision to make. Above all else, be selective and go with your gut. Try to find an environment that will be conducive to your personal and professional growth and evolution.

You can find Kate on instagram at @katestrozak

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