THINGS I WISH I’D KNOWN
When I set up Barreworks, over 10 years ago, I did it on a whim and during a recession. But I trusted my instinct that it could take off – and crucially that if barre had transformed my body, it could do the same for thousands of others. I have held on to that view ever since and it runs through the business on every level. Having integrity and self-belief are two things that will get you some distance towards success, but there are plenty of other things I didn’t know during the early days, that I wish someone had told me.
Here are my top 5 ’things I wish I’d known’ when I first began to run my business:
1. Take a day off
For the first 3 years of running my business, I taught 24 classes a week without a day off or a holiday. I have no idea how I sustained that for so long, but it was too long. A friend finally convinced me that even if I had to shut the Studio one day a week in order to recover, the benefits would out-weigh the losses. She was absolutely right and I wish I hadn’t waited 3 years to find out!
2. Don’t do everything yourself
You create a false sense of what your business really costs to run. In the early days, I cleaned I taught classes, I built and managed my website, I ran the accounts and wrote the contracts. I did all the DIY and printed promotional items at home. It’s a great way to make economies to start with but you can set yourself a trap if you don’t out-source anything. And if, as your business grows, you get busier and your time needs to be spent elsewhere, you need to have all the right contacts to make things happen even if you can’t do them yourself.
3. Don’t make the business about you
During those initial 3 years, I taught every class on the schedule. Clients became wedded to me. Yes it’s flattering, but you create a rod for your own back. When I began to train up and introduce Instructors, clients were initially quite reticent. I was in a vicious cycle of not being able to sustain all those teaching hours, but not being able to delegate them to someone else! It took a long time to re-set the balance.
4. Get a booking system
It astonishes me, even now, how many freelance instructors or PTs don’t have a booking system. A means of ensuring all clients understand booking and cancellation policies, paying upfront for services and a way to plan your time effectively (if you need to block out time for non-work related activity, or rest!). A good booking system will take so many problems out of your hands. And the majority will also provide you with essential data about your clients too.
5. Understand your numbers
I’m not a numbers person. And I lived in fear of my accounts for years. When I was finally forced to take control and understand the numbers that sat behind my business, it was the most liberating feeling. It gave me control over so many aspects of the business and a huge sense of achievement to really feel that I understood the inner-workings from top to bottom.
It was also incredibly reassuring to know that there were no nasty surprises waiting around the corner. When you know your numbers, you can focus on all the other fun aspects or running your own show…