Real Work, Real Life

Pilates Instructor

February 07, 2024 Episode 47
Real Work, Real Life
Pilates Instructor
Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to Real Work, Real Life where I talk to real people about what they do for work and what that means for their lives. Today I’m talking with Beth Sandlin, a Pilates Instructor, and the founder of Trifecta Pilates. After years of working as an in person instructor, Beth started Trifecta to expand the reach and accessibility of Pilates, offering teacher training and online Pilates workouts (long before that became so normalized during the pandemic) available through membership, an app, and YouTube and trauma informed. We talk a lot about the ins and outs of a career in movement as well as the challenges and joys of starting a small business while still working full time, and even get into the details on different income streams, and so much more.

If you enjoyed this episode, you might also like my interview with Jenna J, a personal trainer, which you can find here: 

https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/personal-trainer/id1673653251?i=1000641161798

You can find out more about Beth here: 

  1. Website: https://trifectapilates.com
  2. Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/trifectapilates
  3. YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/trifectapilates

If you like the show, please rate and review on iTunes and Spotify  (linked below) and please share with a friend! You can also follow the podcast on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Tiktok. And if you’d like to be interviewed here, or there is a particular job you’d like to learn about, please reach out at realworkreallife@gmail.com.

iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/real-work-real-life/id1673653251
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/1Cp0w2BjOtS8NWfj0NhmIg?si=ece5b6ad45274b73

Transcripts are now available here: www.realworkreallife.com 

Beth Pilates Instructor

[00:00:00] Welcome to real work, real life, where I talk to real people about what they do for work and what that means for their lives. Today. I'm talking with Beth. A Pilates instructor and the founder of trifecta Pilates. After years of working at an in-person instructor, Beth started trifecta to expand the reach and accessibility of bodies. Offering teacher training and online Pilates workouts long before that became so normalized during the pandemic 

available through membership and app and YouTube. We talk a lot about the ins and outs of a career in movement, as well as the challenges and joys of starting a small business while still working full time. And we even get into the details on different income streams and so much more. If you enjoyed this episode, you might also like my interview with Jenna J a personal trainer. I'll link that in the show notes, in case you missed it. And all the ways that you can find best work will be linked in the show notes as well on our website and social media. 

So let's get into it. 

Emily: Thank [00:01:00] you so much for being here, Beth.

Beth: Thanks so much for having me on. I'm thrilled to be here.

Emily: So what do you do for work?

Beth: I'm a Pilates teacher and I've been doing this for over 20 years now. And when you teach Pilates, we work with people who just really want a good workout or maybe they've just come out of physical therapy and they need kind of that extension from physical therapy to bridge back in to regular workouts, pre and postnatal.

There's a lot of variety in how we can teach Pilates.

Emily: Oh yeah, that's so interesting. So what interested you about it initially? How did you get into this work?

Beth: I got into it in college and I just Walked into a Pilates class. It wasn't called Pilates, side note, it was back when there was a lawsuit. So a lot of people who were teaching Pilates could not actually use the word Pilates. So I actually had no idea I was going into a Pilates class. And I really enjoyed it, so I enrolled in another Pilates class, another one.

At the time, I was really concerned that the degree I was going for, which was health education, my goal was to [00:02:00] be a health educator within a school setting that that field is actually really small. And my college advisor said, Well, if you really want to be a health educator, then you should also get like your degree in science like science background was like, I do not want to be a science teacher.

No, no, no, no, no.

Emily: Oh,

Beth: And so then I started like looking at other options. And my mentor for Pilates said we're opening up a Pilates teacher training program. There's going to be one here on campus. Would you be interested in this? And so we talked about where I was going to move and what my goals were. And that led me down the path.

For Pilates certification.

Emily: fascinating. So did you complete your undergraduate degree or did you move on? Yeah. You're like, Oh yeah, I did. 

Beth: Definitely completed that undergraduate degree, and it served me well because we covered everything from, like, health belief models, which are really helpful. Like when people are kind of on the fence, should they try Pilates or should they not? I'm just understanding where people are in their [00:03:00] readiness to even move with Pilates or any other type of workout.

Emily: yeah. Oh, that makes a lot of sense. So thinking about getting certified to teach Pilates, what did the certification look like for that?

Beth: So mine was an intensive and there was. Different types with the intensive. We were together for about three weeks and it was pretty much every day, Monday through Friday, and it was a lot crammed into a short period of time. But I also knew that since I had been taking Pilates for a year and a half at that point in time, and it was more academic in nature, we had to learn the exercises and learn variations and understand yeah.

The springs. It was a little bit different than just going to a Pilates studio and always having a Pilates teacher do that for you. And I also had my education courses in anatomy and physiology that I could excel in that accelerated time frame. After the three week time frame, then there was observation and student teaching, which is really typical for [00:04:00] any Pilates teacher training program to make sure that you're not only learning the skills but then Applying them.

And honestly, the observation was my favorite part because I didn't have to worry about moving with Pilates or teaching it. I just got to see how a Pilates teacher teaches how people are responding kind of the not miscommunication, but the misunderstanding sometimes, which was really helpful because that happens, especially when we first start teaching Pilates.

And as we continue, because we work with people and there's miscommunication, misunderstanding. And then about six months later is when I submitted all my documentation and was approved as, yes, you have earned your certificate of completion.

Emily: Great. Yeah. Okay. Do you recall about how much it costs or do you know how much it might cost today?

Beth: I think my teacher training program was maybe 2, 500 and it was for a comprehensive program. So for people who maybe aren't familiar [00:05:00] with Pilates, comprehensive means that I'm able to teach not only Matt Pilates, which is my specialty at this point in time and has been since 2012, But on the apparatus, the reformer, the Cadillac, the wounded chair, and now there's different certifications where someone can have a comprehensive, they can focus just on the reformer or just on teaching Pilates math.

So about 2, 500 for the comprehensive, that price, because that was Over 20 years ago has increased a little bit. So if someone's looking at more one of the niche, like reformer or math, and that price point is going to go down a little bit because there's not going to be as many hours required to complete the teacher training program.

Emily: Yeah. It's interesting. Those sort of certifications for a long term career. It doesn't seem like much, but if you're just. Putting your toe in the water and deciding it, it is an investment to get started. Certainly. So it's interesting to think about that level of investment. So you [00:06:00] started working as a teacher at an existing school.

It sounded like,

Beth: So once I was certified, well, I want to offer a little clarification here. This is one of the most challenging things is that. Currently, I'm a nationally certified Pilates teacher, and when someone completes a Pilates teacher training program, they earn a certificate of completion, which is a little bit different than a nationally certified Pilates teacher.

So that means I've had to go on and take an additional test to earn that certification. So this is a common question I get from people who are inquiring about the Pilates MAT Teacher Training Program that I currently coordinate is, will I be certified to teach Pilates? And we have to get into the weeds here because there is that delineation.

It's very similar to yoga that They're not quite certified to teach. So, I am a nationally certified Pilates teacher. When someone leaves their, or completes their [00:07:00] teacher training program, and they've checked all the boxes, the hours, and the experiential, and they've taken all their tests out, they earn a certificate of completion, which for the vast majority of places that people want to apply to work at.

is what they need. Most will not require that additional exam. 

where it started was honestly, because there are Pilates teacher training programs that don't help people. Be a competent Pilates teacher or confident Pilates teacher, and especially, I would say, since online, there's more and more programs like when I was teaching, there was no such thing as on online back in 2003, 2004, like the internet was a baby.

Emily: Right. 

Beth: baby baby. So it was only in person and it really did limit, you know, who we could take Pilates from. Well, online is amazing and what we saw was a rise of teacher training programs where there was no personal experience. You know, [00:08:00] maybe they didn't even know who Joseph Pilates was, who created the work, didn't even understand like the traditional math sequence.

And there was a real disconnect that from people who have taken more time for their teacher training program and to prepare for it and these quick, sometimes even a weekend certifications, which is not what we want. There's a difference. And so that's where that came from. As far as do people actually complete the NCPT, it's kind of back and forth.

Some people really believe in it. Others are like, it's just a piece of paper. But what I appreciate about it is there are benchmarks, like if someone were to take that weekend certification or the earner certificate of completion, that they would not be qualified to sit for that exam. That they're saying Pilates, my teacher training program or comprehensive training.

This is the minimum hours. This is the curriculum that needs to be included and needs to be done with a [00:09:00] person who has been teaching Pilates for X amount of years. And that's the aspect that I think really helps people set them up for success is knowing. Which training programs to invest in and I've had a lot of people go through my teacher training program who it is their second Pilates my teacher training program because their first one they left and they're like, I don't feel qualified to teach and honestly, it's just it's disheartening because even though it was maybe faster and more inexpensive in the long run, it takes more time.

It is more of an expense. And so it's really if people are interested, you know, do the research. A blended program is really nice if people can't always go to a place in person, or maybe the core content is video lessons, and then they're still getting some personal connection with their Pilates teacher.

Emily: Okay. Yep. That makes a lot of sense. So it kind of provide some legitimacy standardization. If you really want to be sure that you're either [00:10:00] taking bodies from someone that's really trained in the core history of, the training, or if you want to become a bloody teacher, that would be kind of your, your go to path forward is, taking the actual exam and completing that level.

Great. Okay. So to kind of understand your history as you know, an employee, entrepreneur, whatever that looked like, could you kind of talk us through a little bit through what that path looked like for you?

Beth: Sure, when I, Earned my certificate of completion. I was working with both of the teacher trainers in the program. They knew I would be moving from California, where I completed the training to Denver and they wanted to open up a training in Denver. And they said, would you be interested? I said, no way.

Like I want to just be a Pilates teacher right now. I have still so much more to learn. So my trajectory was never, I'm going to open up a business right away. I knew I just wanted to focus on teaching Pilates and refine that skill more, take continuing education, work with different [00:11:00] clients. And I worked those first few years in particular in a lot of different environments, Pilates studios, rec centers, university classes, gyms.

I mean, I was all over the Denver metro area I really liked it because what I realized is that. People who come to a Pilates studio are sometimes different than, you know, a little bit further away. I'm teaching in a rec center, and I really like bringing Pilates to more people and bringing it outside of the Pilates studio.

So I did that for about seven years. Over the time, I really refined my schedule so it worked for me, because at the beginning, I was kind of hopping across town, but I realized, okay, that's not really the best use of my time, it's not really sustainable, and so I had my core Pilates studio I worked at, I would go for a class on the university campus twice a week, and the pay in general It depends where you work, but that university class [00:12:00] pay was a little bit higher because I was like a considered a specialty teacher.

And so it made sense. And it was only like traffic, I gave myself 15 minutes to get there. And it was also like a nice break in my day. And then the way home, I would still for many years work at a recreation center. So I kind of looked what made sense. I wasn't ping ponging back and forth through the day, but instead like kind of a circle back home.

Emily: yeah.

Beth: When we're just getting started, we do have to think about, okay, I just need the experience. And maybe this isn't what I want my schedule to be in six months time, or even, you know, less than that. But I'm wanting to get some practical real world experience. And also, I think, Any job that we work with, you know, we have the idea of what it's going to be.

And then we get in there and it's like, Oh, well, it's actually much different, I really enjoy it. Or this isn't quite the most beneficial fit for me and my vision of teaching.

Emily: Yeah. Oh, my gosh. Yeah. I [00:13:00] mean, that, that idea, that whole point about you have an idea of what it's going to be and then the reality. I think that's true in so many different jobs. And it's interesting that you had these sort of, you know, several different ways of envisioning what your work would be like.

So this is sort of super detailed, but were you like a 1099 employee all these places, or were you like, like a W2 employee all these places?

Beth: And this is good because this is exactly what I go through people with, like, as they're transitioning out of the training program is places you're going to be an employee and that's really convenient. My home Pilates studio, I was considered an independent contractor, so I opened up an LLC so I could, you know, be the independent contractor and get the benefits of having the LLC.

At the university, I was considered an employee, so it really depends upon where a Pilates teacher's going to be working. And also if you live in the United States, what state you live in. Like for instance, I was at a Pilates Method Alliance conference, and.[00:14:00] I moved away from California over 20 years ago, and I was told that they now have a law in place that Pilates studios have to have employees and not independent contractors.

And one of the reasons why is because it's very blurry sometimes and employee independent contractor. Where it's no, you have to teach this class. And that's not really what an independent contractor is. 

Right? 

 At all. So I wouldn't be surprised if over the years, perhaps that may be more than an initiative and more states were rather than this.

Like kind of an independent contractor, but really you're an employee that it's just going to be no, you're an employee if you work at a bloody studio. But, you know, I could be completely off base here as well.

Emily: Yeah. And I mean, I think different people would view that differently as well. Like some people I think like being an independent contractor because you can sort of, you have a little bit more. flexibility and probably ability to work more or work a little bit less, but the [00:15:00] stability and knowing that your taxes are being withheld for you and those, the maybe potential for benefits, I'm not sure what that might look like at some places is certainly greater as a W2 employee.

So I guess it kind of depends on what, what stage you're in and what you're really looking for, but it's interesting to know that sort of both are possible and also to pay attention to where you are and what sorts of jobs you're looking for.

Beth: Exactly. And so a lot of gyms that I worked at actually did have, once you are at the 30 or 32 hours a week, you would be considered working full time and can get benefits for most people who I know who are Pilates teachers who met that threshold. They also combine that with another certification that they had like spinning or personal training.

So many times it was kind of a combination, which was really helpful for them and their clientele and they can get really creative with different programs and classes. So I remember [00:16:00] a colleague of mine, she was in spin instructor and she did a specialty like month and a half series where it was going to do spin first and then we're going to come and do Pilates.

And that was, 

I think a really fresh way to think about how we're teaching.

 So, okay. So you did that for seven years. Do you want to talk about kind of what you're doing now? What's your, what's your full employment looks like now?

Beth: Yes. There is a bridge between what I'm doing now and that first seven years, which we'll just talk about very briefly. I had this itch. I think like a lot of people do, what else can I do? Should I coordinate a program, open up my own bloody studio and an opportunity arose to coordinate a mind, body fitness program on the university campus.

So I transferred to that. That next year they offered me a role of health education and outreach coordinator. So that's where that health education degree comes

in. 

Emily: you go.

Beth: I eventually used it more fully. And at the same time, I still continued to teach Pilates classes, both drop in classes and academically at the university.

And then I [00:17:00] was there for about seven years. There's like a seven year theme for whatever reason. I got this itch again to bring Pilates to more people. And they realized. Okay, I think I want to open up my Pilates studio. That was the traditional lineage for Pilates teachers. You're an employee, you open up your studio then.

But something always held me back and I realized what it was when I was coming home from work in Denver. We have a light rail system and so I was coming off the light rail and it's lightly raining. A mom runs past me carrying one child holding the other child's hand and she's trying to catch the bus.

And it was this just, epiphany that she would never be able to come to the Pilates studio even if I open it right here because she is so busy and I thought I can't even go to a Pilates studio right now either because I'm working 40 hours a week an hour commute there and home and I'm working out at home.

And then it was just this, all my gears in my head click, but as soon as I had children, [00:18:00] I prioritized working at home. Even when I taught in the Pilates studio, I would go teach Pilates, come home and work out because it just made more sense. So for me, that was my shifting point rather than a Pilates studio.

Why don't I do what has worked for me. And that has been. Moving at home. And since 2012, when I made that shift to the university have been focusing on Matt Pilates, and they really focused on different elements of Matt. So it's not just the traditional work, but brought in some work that we tend to do more in the Pilates studio and the equipment.

Just how can we do that with our Matt classes? And that's when I Opened up trifecta Pilates. I started on YouTube and kind of hustled for a few years, working full time and YouTube and realized, yeah, this isn't great. I'm staying up to like three o'clock in the morning. This is not helpful for my health.

I'm ready now to go into entrepreneurship. Just. In a much different vision than [00:19:00] I had thought I would be when I first started my career.

Emily: Wow. Yeah. I, I, from talking to a lot of entrepreneurs, that time where you're doing both is a very common experience. And also it is hard. Oh my gosh. I think it's, it's hard, but it's also, it's also probably just as hard to take the leap and have nothing, you know, not have a full time job at the same time.

But, so now are you still seeing people in person or are you all kind of all in on trifecta? Yeah. Awesome.

Beth: I'm all in on trifecta pilates and have been teaching online and virtually since before the pandemic. Just this month actually, so in a few weeks time, I'm going to be teaching my first in person class. In a very long time and actually a former colleague got reached to me and said, Hey, I have, we're trying to get this program going.

He works for public schools here and they're trying to do more wellness activities. And I thought about it and [00:20:00] I'm like, I'm going to give this a go. My husband's like, really? What you're doing now? Yes. But the mission of trifecta Pilates is to bring Pilates to more people. And for the past few years, it has been, the focus has been on.

Online This is in my community. The pay is incredibly great. And what's really nice is it's going to be through since it is for teachers. It's going to be through right before their summer break. So if they don't enjoy it, if it doesn't work for me, well, I gave it a go for a few months, but I'm really feeling like this isn't in alignment for me.

And this is something I tell all of the people who I train, who are going through the Pilates mat teacher training program is even if you want to work virtually, Please start in person first. I am only a great teacher virtually because I have learned so much from the private clients who have had and the small group classes and the large group classes and working in different environments.

You know, you say, how do you know my shoulders are up to my ears? It's [00:21:00] because I've seen that in clients over the years with that exercise time and time again. So now I can see it without actually having to see someone, but without that in person experience. I wouldn't be the teacher I am today. So I'm really happy to kind of reinvigorate that in person experience of it's a shared learning I feel we have as Pilates teachers.

People are coming to us, but we learn so much from the people who we work with as well.

Emily: Oh, 100%. Yeah, that's fascinating. And boy, I mean, kind of talk about good timing to be totally up and running online when the pandemic hit and everyone, you know, by necessity and desire where we're forced to be. Working out remotely. That's wonderful. So can you kind of talk about what pay is like for Pilates instructors?

Maybe, you know, I'd be interested to know what you earned today, but also what might as someone starting out just as an instructor, kind of doing what you did before sort of hustling and finding several roles, what might they look like for, for [00:22:00] pay generally?

Beth: Yeah. This is specific sometimes to the region someone works in. So like, New York, compared to Kansas, is most likely gonna be a little bit different there if they're working in a Pilates studio compared to a gym, if they're teaching privately, if they are teaching group classes. So I'll give some generals of when I began. Typically Pilates teachers are going to be making on average, more than a group fitness teacher because our training is more specialized, . It takes longer to complete. Talked about that already. And the cost is just a lot more. So our pay is increased because of that. Even going into like the rec centers that I worked in, I was probably double compared to a group fitness teacher, if not more.

So back in 2004, it was a little bit over 30 an hour for my drop in classes at the rec center.

Emily: Yeah.

Beth: That now is for the most part up a little bit. Again, it depends upon where someone's working. In a Pilates [00:23:00] studio, if they're teaching privately, it depends upon the Costs of the session. So for instance, when I first began again, this was back in the day.

I was started off at making 35 an hour to teach privately and that increased over time. And this is something that Pilates teachers sometimes say is like, I need to make more money I need to talk to the studio owner and I'm all for it. Have conversations. And at the same time, there's the overhead sometimes that we're not thinking about as an employee or independent contractor of the space, 

you know, the. 

The maintenance of the equipment and all of those elements. And so there is a cap. And this is something I talked with the former studio owner who I worked with a lot. She's like, I wish I can pay you more. And she actually paid incredibly high. But I just can't like,

I need the doors open there.

There really is. So I would say a benchmark would be [00:24:00] around. Low would be 30 an hour. Now. Hi. If you go and teach a specialty class, it could be 120 or more. It depends upon the program. Now, recreation centers, which are near and dear to my heart because I just love bringing Pilates to where people typically aren't most likely aren't going to be teaching.

We're not going to be able to make like 120 at the recreation center. It's going to be a little bit lower. I worked with a recreation coordinator and she loves working with recreation. She goes, but what I can do for people is rather than coming to teach one class.

Emily: hmm.

Beth: that they teach can be a little bit different or if they do have a dual certification or many bloody teachers and other group fitness teachers have more than one that I can stack their classes for them.

So they're not just coming to teach one class. They're coming to teach multiple classes or they do get to teach, you know, privately if that's an option. At this point, what I make is just so much different [00:25:00] because I'm a business now and there's the virtual element as well. And so I think the most disheartening thing for me is people don't give themselves time to get to there, you know, at the beginning it was.

Yeah, I wanted to make money and I felt like I really needed to just get more experience. It wasn't like how much you're going to pay me. It's, I want to feel really good in what I'm teaching. And so that experience, and as I got more experience, my pay would increase over time. And one aspect that I think is overlooked sometimes is the flexibility that we have and the autonomy that we can have when we are in a role like this teaching Pilates, you know, as long as.

I can find someone to cover my class if I am teaching in a studio or rec center, like I can take time off. When I had young kids, my schedule really shifted and changed and I wasn't Really tied in to being, working full [00:26:00] time. I remember working at the university. Someone had just had their second child and she wanted to cut down, I think, two, three or four days a week.

And they told her, no, you need to either be here full time or not at all.

Emily: such a common, 

Beth: broke

Emily: that is one thing I wish we talked a little bit more about is that a lot of sort of salary jobs. Going part time is not a thing, it's not really an option, especially without significantly derailing your career and your possibilities in the place where you are. I think maybe we might be coming around to that a little bit more as a country and economy, but that is something to kind of think about in the different paths you pursue that.

There are some paths where it's pretty much going to be full time for the entire time that you're in that field until you retire,

Beth: exactly. And I can only. Be optimistic that as more people are asking, you know, and they really look, well, she was amazing. I mean, absolutely amazing. [00:27:00] And we lost her and rather than maybe, okay, well, yeah, let's try three days a week and we're going to bring in someone else for those two days a week. And then when it makes sense, you know, go back up because for me now that my kids are older, it's make sense to turn up the dial on how much I am working again compared to where they were young.

So that was really beneficial. Now let's talk about maybe one of the negative aspects being independent contractor or, you know, I go in and I'm teaching a class. I don't teach that class. Typically, we're not making any money, like there's 

no paid time off, Right. 

And so that's a struggle that a lot of Lottie's teachers have.

Which is one reason why I like what I do, because at this point I should say I like what I do, because I'm able to take time off and not have, well, I'm just not working, and so when we went on a three week vacation over summer, I just, in the past, haven't had any income coming in, and that was Really 

challenging. Now I don't have 

to manage [00:28:00] that. 

Emily: but you won't be making money.

Beth: Exactly. Exactly. 

Emily: So I was kind of just thinking just to give people a salary idea. So like, let's say you're starting working out and you're making, it's 45 an hour reasonable potential for per class today. Do you think?

Beth: It is. And again, it depends location where you're working, how they have it structured. For instance, I know some amazing Pilates studio owners who they have it structured as an incentive program. So the more full of Pilates teacher's schedule is then their pay rate goes up. And that's really common as well.

And Like personal training. There's some studios who if you're teaching a group class will be this is your minimum rate. And if your class gets really full, then your rate's going to go up. I actually know of a friend of mine who has a yoga studio who does that. And so the fuller someone's classes are the more that they make because they're bringing in more people and they can see over time that they're retaining.

So [00:29:00] I think that's. So I think that's really helpful, and there's a few things. It goes into not only how we're teaching, but the connection that we're making with people, right? You can be an amazing technical teacher, but people are coming to us at the end of the day. They want to feel seen and heard. And so that sometimes it's left to the wayside when we're going through a teacher training program, which is what I really like to encourage is, especially if you're teaching in real time, whether virtually or in person.

Thanks so much. Like foster that positive engagement, get to know people's names. And that's going to help people to come back, understand like where they are in their practice. So they feel motivated to keep coming back even on days when maybe they're feeling, I don't know if I should go there. They know that it's going to be a supportive and encouraging environment for them.

Emily: Oh, a hundred percent. Yeah. I mean, a relationship with your teacher, I think can get so many people to keep going. So I know this is getting really tactical, but just to give people. An idea. So just doing a little back of the napkin [00:30:00] math, Pilates teacher who is an independent contractor, it's going to vary so much by region.

If they were working pretty much full time with a few weeks off a year, that could be like 60, a year. Is that a fair 

Beth: It is, and you will still hear people say, I'm struggling, I can't make this work, and my schedule is not full. And I think part of that is just the learning curve when we're just getting started out. And. Because in teacher training programs, we focus so much on the exercises and teaching and there's not business side of it that people that we need to explore and that's something I didn't explore in my early career either.

And 

I really struggled

Emily: Yeah. 

Beth: for a really long time. And so. What's nice now is there are more opportunities, whether it's within a teacher training program, maybe they cover business a little bit, or continuing education afterwards, to [00:31:00] learn that skill, because if the only skill that we are doing is continuing education, we're understanding like prolapse, for instance, or knee replacement, or the latest research on core activation, whatever it may be, we're going to continue excelling in that amazing, and at the same time, that may not Help us with the business side of it that we want to focus on.

So there, there is that, especially if we are an independent contractor.

Emily: Oh, I'm sure. So when you struck out on your own, you know, have you since been able to replace the salary that you were making when you were teaching in person?

Beth: Yes. Actually above and beyond. So I transitioned out of the seven year itch that I had initially transitioned out of that. Cause it was like, I need just something a little bit more. I was struggling with that I want to take more time off with my family, but I won't make any money. And I just wanted to do something a little bit different as well.

So when I made the transition into, okay, I was at a vegan restaurant with my [00:32:00] husband. I'm vegan. He's not, but he entertained me for that night. And I said, you know, Kev, I really want to teach online and I don't want to continue working at the university. He just had no idea and as much as he tried to be supportive, he was really concerned because I was bringing in a substantial amount of money, working full time, I had paid time off, sick time, all of that, but the commute was getting worse and I wanted to be there more for my kids.

So, 

Emily: a long commute.

Beth: it really is. It really is. And, and so, We just sat with that for a little bit and I said, but I'm not quitting like tomorrow. I gave myself two years. And not only did I replace my salary or money I was making as a Pilates teacher, I matched and exceeded what I was making full time. 

And that's really, For me, everyone's different.

I know a lot of entrepreneurs who are like, I'm just quitting my job and starting entrepreneurship. I'm like, no, that doesn't [00:33:00] feel good for me. I, we would have to have had to make major lifestyle changes that I was. Quite honest, unwilling to make and so yeah, it was a hustle. It was a struggle. What am I going to do?

But it was the right, right path for me for more security.

Emily: Yeah. I would be curious, like, what are the income streams sort of, where is the majority of the income coming from? Cause I, I feel like when I talk to people that are entrepreneurs, there's often sources of income that I never even would have.

Expected or thought of.

Beth: I will share this because really what I left something out with my vegan store with my husband and that was I'm going to make money on YouTube. Oh my gosh.

Emily: Hey, you know, 

Beth: Now, 

Emily: seemed more novel.

Beth: like now I am getting revenue from YouTube. My revenue from YouTube is still wouldn't be enough to like make it. So I want to be clear with that, but yes, there are some people who teach on YouTube and they can probably make [00:34:00] it.

And I was also really concerned a few years and people were, were saying stories of, you know, people's YouTube channels were taken away from them. And I thought, Oh, if I just build on this platform is something happens, it is gone, like nothing on there is mine. They can remove my channel for whatever reason that they want.

They haven't yet, knock on wood, and they won't.

So my revenue is going up from YouTube, which is amazing. For many years, I was not making any money there. It was a lot of time, a lot of hustle for nothing in return. So that really is the long game. I have the trifecta Pilates membership and app, and I open that because people were asking me on YouTube, like wanting more support that I could give them than just on YouTube, whether it's live classes or like Q and a sessions.

more programs, different diverse classes, because if we look at the exchange, okay, I want longer length classes. Well, that's going to take me longer to plan, longer to film, longer to edit, [00:35:00] longer to put out there. And if I put it on YouTube still, I was not making any money and I need to eat. I need to stay in my warm home.

It was just really cold here in Colorado and you got to be turned on. So I started the membership and app basically from people asking me and also because I knew I needed more revenue in. Another part of the business is a professional development where I teach a trauma informed Pilates approach course to current Pilates teachers.

That stemmed from my time on the university campus. And honestly, when I was teaching on university, it really opened up my eyes to conversations and my eyes, ears, and just learning to conversations that we were not having, especially at the time in the field of Pilates. And that was the key for me, which made me.

more confident Pilates teacher, all the other training that I had done up to that point. It has like helpful tools and fun new exercises, but nothing empowered me like learning about a trauma informed care [00:36:00] framework. And I waited for years for someone to open a specific. Course up for Pilates teachers.

There was or ones for yoga, mental health care professionals. We were doing this training on the university, kept waiting and waiting. And in the meantime, I just kept reading and researching and taking courses that weren't Pilates specific. And there became a point where it's like, I know too much. And now I need to teach it because it is so valuable.

So there's that stream. And my third main revenue stream at this point is the Pilates mat teacher training program. And again, it just aligns with my vision of bringing Pilates to more people. And even though I started as a comprehensive teacher, We're never going to bring Pilates to more people if we just focus on the larger pieces of equipment.

It's just, it is what it is. And from my real world experience, I didn't start in a Pilates studio. I started at a university. Once I started teaching in the Pilates studio and I had kids, I focused on my home practice. Like it is so beneficial [00:37:00] to Really think about where we're going to be teaching Pilates.

And I've been having calls this particular week with people who are interested in the next cohort. And someone mentioned, you know, I used to take yoga with someone and she was teaching yoga at a senior center. So I'm kind of interested in teaching Pilates in the senior center. It's like, that's it. 

Like, that's how she's bringing Pilates to more people. That's her vision. I love it. 

So all 

those like four main elements, I would say

Emily: that's great. Yeah. And I, I think it's so nice that you're getting to sort of work in these different areas of a focus for your own business. And it does sound like having this clear vision of why you're doing this, it makes it really helpful to guide your business. It's probably a good insight for any small business owner,

Beth: it really is. And I'll just add on when I was first starting people like, but you are focusing on too many different things. You know, you have the membership and then you have the professional development and I understand that. Because it is much different for a [00:38:00] lot of online entrepreneurs, we're told focus just on one thing, very specific, very niche.

And it's like, 

ah, 

like this may take me longer, like kind of building up these two, but that's really what a Pilates studio is. So often it's teaching people Pilates, it's teaching other teachers, it's offering workshops. And so it's just. My version is online and did some elements, you know, build a little bit slower because of that somewhat divided focus.

Yes. And I was also okay with that.

Emily: Yeah. Yeah. So, you've mentioned quite a few things that you like about your work, but is there anything you would add that you like about the work that you do, especially if you think people might find it surprising?

Beth: I know this people find surprising and this may just be my experience, but I had a client when I was working full time in the studio and she would always wear socks. I do not encourage people to wear socks. Maybe this non slippy ones that they have now. And she goes, you don't mind people's feet as like, [00:39:00] No,

it's part of the body. Like, 

I'm fine. Like, please just make sure your feet are clean before coming in, but there's a lot of little receptors in the feet. Like I want you to feel where your feet are, especially not in shoes, but even in socks, there's been studies done that it like lessens the proprioception 

that people feel. 

So I definitely don't mind that. That's just a little side

note. Um, But what I didn't realize when I got into Pilates and didn't really appreciate until I stuck with it longer is that Pilates is so much more than a good workout and so much more than rehabilitation. And this is something that people who I work with email me at least once a week, how it has benefited their life beyond.

An amazing workout. And a lot of people experience this in particular with the pandemic, because all of a sudden they realized they weren't turning to the mat for just another good workout. It was a place to unwind and de stress. It [00:40:00] opened up their movement repertoire. Somewhat. And so we really work from the framework of yes, it can be a really challenging workout can be really restorative.

What is the balance that each individual person needs? And we like to have fun and take time off to because what we're doing with workouts is really to support the life that we love to, to, to lead for me. That's hiking and having energy to be a volleyball tournaments at the stage of my life or extended, extended, extended periods of time.

But in the past it was doing groundies with my kids when they were younger and for other people it's kayaking or, you know, exploring new areas and really feeling like. They feel good in their body and about their body.

Emily: Yeah. Oh, that's beautiful. I, I can see that being kind of a, it's nice to sort of bring people that full improvement to their life, not just the, the [00:41:00] specific workout aspect. So on the other hand, is there anything that is tough about it, especially if it's maybe something you didn't anticipate about this general line of work?

Beth: and it goes back into something I said that in the very beginning, we are working with people.

Emily: Right.

Beth: And sometimes in that teacher training environment, so many times when we do our initial teacher like teaching, going through that experiential of teaching people. We're teaching other people who already know Pilates.

Right. And they're also very motivated to get into the nitty gritty and learn. And some people who come to us are like that and others aren't. And it was through an experience I had that wasn't positive for myself or the client where she felt like I was pushing her because I am very vocal and like, you can do this.

And she, she was doing amazing and beautiful work. And it was too intense for her. And it goes back to me not [00:42:00] understanding what she needed and that key, which I talked about, the trauma informed piece really helped me adjust my levels now more so in tune in to not only what is beneficial for someone's body, but for their being, and that's really what it's about.

So that element and it turned into something positive because. I learned from it. She was, she gave me grace enough to let me know in that moment. It was too much because I've known a lot of people. Oh my gosh. I'm so happy she did because when I was researching, should I start this trauma informed Pilates approach course or not?

A colleague of mine was actually trying Pilates for the first time. And she was telling me her stories of where she went. She tried four different studios before she landed on one. Because of that interpersonal communication. So you see, it goes back to they were focusing on making sure her technique was right, but that's not what she needed her first session.

She needed to feel good about what she was doing and [00:43:00] empowered. And so those were those other studios, they missed the opportunity to have her as a client because they were so focused on like, no, it has to be perfect form. And so I've shifted to let's have this be a positive movement experience. And over time, we're going to adjust.

And adapt. So there's that element of we just work with real people like you do in any job. And that that interpersonal skill is really important. And there's more of a vulnerability, I would say, when people are in a movement session, whether it's a group class, or especially privately because we're looking at how, you know, they can maybe move more optimally and feel better.

Sometimes people feel uncomfortable in their body, or they had a past negative experience with someone, which is really common, unfortunately, in movement. And so I would say just Let's focus on what does that person need, which isn't always refining how they do an exercise

Emily: Yeah, I a lot more of work is about [00:44:00] understanding people than I ever expected. Understanding why people react the way they do, understanding what people's motivations and fears are. I didn't really anticipate that even, and I think in any line of work, it's certainly different when it's a. client relationship, but even just in an office, really understanding the people you work with and the people you report to and the people that report to you, it, it can really make a big difference between joyful, successful working life and pure misery.

Beth: 100%. And I think one of the benefits of where we are with any light with most lines of work, I don't know about any, but most lines of work is there's so much more of an email exchange. And especially for my business now, because online, and sometimes people don't understand their tone, especially when they're emailing like, how can you not understand your tone? So it's just Like nice. Take a step back. What are those policies and procedures we can follow? How can we lead with kindness rather than react and [00:45:00] escalate the situation? And that piece is something that I, for Pilates teachers in particular, is unexpected as well. Like when a client doesn't maybe react to our cancellation policy as they We thought that they would and we have to get in and talk about that a little bit more or how sometimes we have to be a little bit more flexible with our policy depending upon individual circumstances.

Emily: Yeah, yeah. So this is the last question I have for you, and then I want to leave time at the end so you can tell people where to find you, but what is one piece of advice generally about work that you would give your younger self?

Beth: But it doesn't have to be perfect. And that's what so often we're taught in Pilates. We're trying to get like perfect with the exercises. We're supporting people. And look to what the class is telling us. What are the people telling us? What is the energy in the room telling us? And this is something once.

I [00:46:00] left the Pilates studio at the university. I just understood more because there's more dynamics there that you can see the rhythm, you know, beginning of the semester, everyone's excited from teachers to faculty and staff. Students, there's a little bit of like nerves, of course, they get into their rhythm and they're feeling good.

And then midterms come and it gets a little bit more stressful. You know, I live in Denver, so snow weather, people aren't coming to class or they're lower on energy or something happens in the community and they need something a little bit more nourishing. And so once I allowed myself to follow the rhythm of the environment that I was teaching in, the people who I was working with, The classes just became more enjoyable and there was more variety and we let go of, this is always a workout.

It's always about perfecting the exercises and my attendance of people coming back to the classes increased because of that. And I felt better. So it's ditch the perfection. [00:47:00] Focus on the energy and the people that you're working with, and that leads to maybe new opportunities that we didn't even know existed.

I

Emily: Ah, I love that. That's great advice. Thank you so much for being here, Beth. Where can people find you?

Beth: would love for people to connect with me and join me on the map for a session. You can find me trifectapilates, trifectapilates. com on YouTube, on Instagram. Thank you so much for having me on. I hope it was really valuable for people who are not only Pilates teachers, but maybe interested in the profession or a movement career.

Emily: Ah, I love that. Thank you so much, Beth. 

Thanks for joining me. If you liked the show, please rate and review on iTunes and Spotify. And please share with a friend. You can also follow the podcast on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, or [00:48:00] ticktock. And if you'd like to be interviewed here or there's a particular job you'd like to learn about, please reach out@realworkreallifeatgmail.com.