I read an article a couple of weeks ago by a local yoga instructor that basically said most yoga instructors would teach for free if they could – they only charge money for their classes because they have to survive. I laughed a little bit, even though I understood where she was coming from. It would be really nice if we could all exist happily doing whatever our hearts enjoyed and didn’t have to worry about things like mortgages, sales tax, or groceries. However, the reality is, we aren’t a socialist state (yet) so you are going to have to earn some money to pay your bills and buy your stuff. If you are like me at all, then you want to make the greatest amount of money in the shortest amount of time so that you can spend the other waking hours of your day enjoying the other parts of your life that make you happy too.
First off, let’s ask, is it really possible to make $100 per class that I teach? Actually, yes, it is. Just ask Billy Blanks. He’ll laugh at you because he makes thousands per class. Do you have to be Billy Blanks to command that kind of money? No. Do you have to put some effort and thinking into doing it? Yes, but it can be done, so let’s roll up our sleeves and come up with a game plan.
The first question you need to ask yourself is, “Who will pay me $100 for an hour of my time?” There may be a gym out there willing to pay you that kind of hourly rate, but you have to be the lifeblood of their organization. If your classes are busting at the seams and new people are coming in droves to join the club because of you then, yes. See your boss for a raise because you deserve one. The highest I’ve seen a club pay one single instructor, though, was $50 for one class, so if you have your sights set on bigger numbers, you’ll need to think bigger. Note: There are pros to remaining an emloyee of the gym, e.g. someone else does your accounting, you don’t need your own liability insurance, and it is easier to get a sub if you need to leave town or have an emergency.
Who else will pay me $100 an hour? Try thinking like a personal trainer. If you are highly skilled and have excellent tutoring skills, you could offer private lessons in whatever you do best. With privates, you charge whatever you want and keep the entire amount. However, if you are using the club’s fitness room or their equipment for this endeavor, you may be charged rent or required to abide by their payment rules for personal trainers. Still, if you market yourself right, you can command high dollars for your valuable time. If not $100, still more than the $18 you are charging now.
Let’s extend the idea of one-on-one instruction to the increasingly-popular, small-group “exclusive” classes. Similar to private lessons, you market yourselves to individuals who pay to take your “class”. These exclusives focus on a topic that isn’t readily addressed in general fitness classes. By charging a group of five people $20 each to be in your class, you earn $100 for the hour — genius! But what would make a person want to pay $20 for a fitness class? Again, think a little bit like a personal trainer. They want advice specific to a need or a want they have. You could provide a 6 week running clinic for new runners in the early spring. You could offer functional training workouts to prepare members for ski season. You could hold a “Bikini Boot Camp” in the pre-summer months. If you are an expert in a field, you could offer highly-advanced classes for the members who like what you offer and want to get better than the general levels can offer. Or, you could offer a series of classes geared toward individuals with any special need or goal. Have I got your mind churning yet?
So now that you have the idea that you are potentially worth more than $20 per class, I want you also to think bigger than that. Are you worth $200 an hour? $2,000 an hour? You are only limited by your beliefs about your self worth. Steve Pavlina, who I quote a lot in this blog, had a great post a while back about this: http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/11/how-to-earn-10000-in-one-hour/
The possibilities don’t end there, but this post will. Get out your brainstorming pen and your notebook and go to town. I know that you have enormous potential and I am excited to hear what ideas you come up with!!!