Tuesday, November 27, 2012

1. What does mind-body unity have to do Building an Alexander Technique Business?

What does mind-body unity have to do Building an Alexander Technique Business?

Everything. Here’s how it works…

You know from your Alexander Technique lessons or teaching, that it is easy to fixate on a part. Your back is sore, or you have pain in your wrists, so that draws your attention. You try to soften, you massage, you “think Alexander” and it just doesn’t go away. What’s wrong?

Your focus is one part, not the whole. Of course you want to consider the part - that is good - but consider it  in relation to that rest of you! That is critical. You know that when you fix your attention exclusively on “parts”, not only is it not successful, it can actually lead to more pain and suffering.

I knew this from my Alexander Technique work, so when I ran a campaign to attract belly dancers to BodyChance, why didn’t I use that insight to figure out why it was not working? I mean: I had an interview with the Editor of the only magazine in the field, I run an event that was attended by over a 100 belly dancers, I made flyers, meet people in the industry - but in over a year of working at it, only two (two!)  Bellydancers joined our public program, and one joined ProCourse - but she left after only a few months. Sigh.

What was I doing wrong?

I was sticking to a part, while not seeing the whole. The “part” I was fixated on was promotion - and in that I succeeded wildly well. Go to any Bellydancer in Tokyo today, and the likelihood they have heard of Alexander Technique is quite high. So in that - success. But why, oh why did not they come for lessons?

The answer was there to find, if I had only been thinking holistically. What are the steps of any marketing enrollment campaign? Yes, IT IS TO ENROLL. I got the marketing part right, but I failed to think through the whole process - to see it in its unity. If I had, I would have discovered a glaringly obvious, in-my-face problem that explained why they didn’t enroll…

They were spending all their money on belly-dancing!

In Japan, a secretary at an office is doing well if she is earning 200,000yen a month - that equals about $460 a week. (And that’s only if she has a full-time job, which a lot of people don’t.) Take away your rent, your travel, your fun and your belly dancing lessons and what’s left? Not much. To study at BodyChance, it costs a minimum of $37 a week. It doesn’t sound much, but a bellydance class only costs $12, so if you start Alexander Technique lessons, that’s three bellydancing lessons you can’t afford any more. When you have to choose between your passion, and something that can help your passion, what do you think the decision will be?

I see it everywhere in the Alexander Technique community. People doing wonderful “parts” of marketing - a great website, some nice blog posts, a flyer sent out to folks - but the holistic picture is simply not there. There’s no “sales funnel”, no clear concept of the path you are guiding a person along.

So what to do?

Make a list of everything you are doing to build your business, and ask your self: “What’s missing from my list?” Imagine you are the stranger you want to attract - is there a clear journey for you to travel along? Are there gabs in that journey, assumptions that are simply wrong (like - they can afford my lessons!).

Think of them, not you. What is their problem? What is their need? Had I asked those questions, I am sure I would have built a very different looking business that bellydancers could have joined. Subtly, my actual problem was not just that they were short money of money, it was also about the way I wanted them to spend it. That’s another whole conversation.  For now, what I discovered, is that bellydancing is my niche, NOT.

Ask: where are you wasting your energy chasing students who can not support building the kind of Alexander Technique business you want to build?


  1. So true Jeremy. Especially for those of us who are doing another line of work alongside. Quite hard to maintain the global vision when the "day job" crowds into our time/thinking. A good reason to associate with other Alexander teachers, I think.
    Great post, thanks!

  2. True. I think that's why I stay with the rehab/back pain crowd. They can justify their lessons cuz they are in pain. I was similar in starting lessons. I wouldn't have done it, if I didn't need too.


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