Over the years of training and working with Instructors and therapists, I have come to recognise three common types of business that people operate. You may recognise some of these traits in yourself, or in people you know. Many of us are a little bit of each.
THE ‘SUPERHERO’ BUSINESS
This is the therapist or teacher who spends all their time ‘saving’ others with no concern for their own survival. They give and give and give, both emotionally and financially. They will go out of their way to accommodate people. They undercharge or waive charges. They have no cancellation policy. They will run courses or sessions even when there are very low numbers and it makes no financial sense. They are a sucker for a sob story and feel bad charging people. This person has often been ‘saved’ by what they now practise and are evangelical about their discipline.
THE ‘PAYING HOBBY’ BUSINESS
This is the therapist or teacher who earns just enough money to cover the costs of their next training course or workshop with their favourite Yoga Guru or for that bit of equipment they’ve always wanted. They study a lot and love to go to conventions, retreats and fitness expos. In many ways what they do is an end in itself rather than a means to an end. They will block out whole weeks and cancel sessions or classes to prioritise a training course. They need a second household income as they never make any profit from what they do.
THE ‘BUSY BUT BROKE’ BUSINESS
This is the therapist or teacher who measures their success by how busy they are. They are often heard to say things like, ‘I usually work fifteen hours a day’ or ‘I can’t remember the last time I had a day off’. They say this with a level of pride. I have definitely been through the phase of ‘busy but broke’. At one time I was teaching four nights a week, working six days a week and teaching over thirty hours of classes a week plus running the business. When I first opened my studio the overheads were huge and I was paying off a big investment. If I’d ever worked out my hourly rate I think I would have cried! Fortunately for me this was short term but for many it’s not and they get stuck in that ‘busy but broke’ stage.
Which one of the above business types most resonates with you? Do you know of other people in your field operating their business in any of these ways? I hope you can see that these three ways of working are easy traps into which you can fall. It is very easy to think that because you are busy, or because you are really helping people, or because you can afford that next course, you are also successful. You may well survive with this type of business but it is unlikely you will thrive.
If you are worried your business may be heading down one of these paths then take some time out to honestly review where you are today. Ask yourself what changes you could make to your business to make it more manageable and more profitable.
In the next article I will talk about how you can Map out the lifestyle business you really want and avoid these 3 types of health and fitness business.
This is an extract from Karen Ingram's new book "Thrive Don't Just Survive" published in March 2017 by Rethink Press