As thousands of Americans resolve to get fit in the new year, now may be a good time for fitness instructors to start mobile businesses to help clients work out in their homes or offices, says yoga teacher Karen Lindenberg.
Lindenberg, a former Microsoft program manager, founded Phyzz Yoga in 2008, offers yoga instruction in and around Seattle. “I’m of the mind-set that I can bring yoga to anyone, anywhere,” says Lindenberg. “I’ve taught in people’s homes. I teach in a classroom at the School of Medicine at [University of Washington]. I’ve taught in cafes and smoothie stores here in Seattle.”
Here are Lindenberg’s tips for starting a mobile fitness business.
- Determine your “travel radius.” Gas is expensive, and commuting between far-flung locations can eat into paid client time. Lindenberg collects a small gas surcharge for sites located more than 13 miles from downtown Seattle. “In general, if you’re in Seattle, I come to you,” she says. “We have a staff of teachers we contract with beyond that, so that helps with our coverage.”
- Carry minimal equipment. Lugging around heavy or bulky equipment takes time, so limit your gear to help streamline your transitions between spaces. Whenever possible, Lindenberg sticks to basics, such as a portable iPhone speaker for music and a few extra yoga mats for students who don’t bring their own. “If the organization has requested it, I bring … mats, blocks, and straps for the whole class,” she notes. Other types of fitness instructors might focus on exercises that use the body’s own resistance in place of weights and other equipment.
- Use music to set the mood. When Lindenberg leads a lunchtime yoga session, she doesn’t have the usual trappings of a yoga studio or meditation space to help people “zen out,” so she uses music. “I try to select music that is ambient but something that keeps people in their own space and their own experience,” she says. “You’d be surprised at how much, when you start a class, everyone is in their zone, and that plays a huge part in transforming the space around you.”
- Sell the convenience factor. When talking to potential individual clients, Lindenberg emphasizes the convenience of having a yoga instructor come to them. “A lot of people don’t have the time [to go to a yoga studio],” she explains. “It’s ideal to have a private instructor come to your home, and it’s an experience you can’t get in a studio setting.”
- Appeal to employers’ fiscal sensibility. “If you’re talking to business people, there’s something to be said about speaking the same language and appealing to their bottom line,” she explains. “Encourage them to take a more proactive approach to health and wellness for their employees. Why not keep your employees healthier so they don’t have to use their health benefits?” She also allows businesses to schedule a few classes at a time or a single session, so that they’re not locked into a long-term commitment.