Hanging Out Your Shingle

These are just some business basics, folks. However, some are “elusively obvious,” so some things on this list are worth having a second look at.

1. Start teaching ATM as soon as you are authorized to do so. The people who come to your classes will refer others to you, and this will become the foundation of your FI practice after you graduate. You can teach ATM lessons to individuals as well as groups.

2. People are making a decision about where to spend their time and money. Your professional image is important. Factors contributing to your personal image include:

  • how easy are you to reach? A working telephone number, with voice mail; an email address; a simple website (more on this in a future post) are the basics. Your competition is the yoga class, the Pilates studio, and any number of practitioners in other modalities. What do they do to be reachable? Position yourself favorably. Don’t put yourself at a disadvantage by being impossible to find or reach.
  • have a simple business card. Templates are available via the FGNA website (link in sidebar), or you can follow other sources. I like VistaPrint — you can get 250 business cards for free and just pay the postage. Sweet!
  • appearances matter. Make sure your teaching space is clean and orderly. Regularly launder towels and other supports. Dress “comfortably professional.” Personal hygiene should be impeccable.

3. Get out there and meet people! Each community has a variety of networking groups. Attend a few and find at least one that you like. Increasingly, you can get “out there” even without leaving home, if you sign up for at least one online social networking site, like Facebook or Linked In. We practitioners make the mistake of only talking amongst ourselves. We need to see other people. A future post will discuss how to act when you’re networking.

4. Stop talking so much! That’s right — hush now! Everyone is worried about how to talk about the Method and explain it to people. I have news for you: your prospective students don’t want an explanation or a lecture. They want to know 1) are you someone they will enjoy spending time with? and 2) can you do something to help them? The key is to be interested in the people you meet, and LISTEN to them. Spend 80% of any interaction listening, and only 20% talking. Your new friend will find you fascinating and engaging, and want to know more about you. THEN, and only then, is it time to tell a little bit about how your work is relevant to them. You have to be sincerely interested in them as human beings, whether or not they ever darken your door. Take time to build an actual relationship with the person. Take it slow, and things will grow quickly!

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