Saturday, March 23, 2013

W12.06 Case Studies: Karen Loving in Culpeper, Virginia USA. Part One


Karen wrote a total of 211 words on these 6 steps - that’s not a lot of thinking. So I have to make a lot up because I don’t really know what she is doing, and I suspect that Karen is feeling much the same. Karen is basically content, so to-day’s blog is not really about Karen. Therefore, I have quoted everything that Karen wrote in italics at the start, then let my own furtive imagination lose as an exercise to demonstrate the kind of thinking you need to put into these 12 steps to pull out any meaningful possibilities. Enjoy.

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Step 7 – Write Your Story
I am blogging about every 10 days, and love doing that!

Read her blogs – it seems to be not working properly when I visited, so I can not comment.

Step 8 – Invent a Back-End Business
Back end business??  Maybe my reading group?

Karen has a reading group and it is free. That is not a back-end business. A back-end business is all about leveraging the students you have to produce more revenue, without any of the marketing and acquisitions costs that go with your front-end business. Karen wrote her piece long before I blogged about back-end businesses, so I am guessing she has an updated idea now. I hope she shares it with us in her Guest Blog next Sunday week.

One niche that Karen did not mention in Step 2 was her yoga inclinations…

I also teach two yoga classes per week, that I have been doing for 10+ years, I have a following here, and same women for 10+ years, my yoga is mostly about movement with consciousness, not at all aggressive or demanding except to be conscious! OH, new venture..

Yes, a new venture. Whenever I read “10+ years” that a student has been attending, I know something great is going on! A huge potential exists to build a stronger back end to bring increased revenue. It’s my guess that “Alexander Yoga” done in groups is the antidote Karen was looking for when she submitted in her 12 Answers a need to get 10~12 weekly lessons “consistently.” The way you do that is have “consistently” 24+ requests for lessons a week, and only accept 14 of them. When Karen is willing to do that, her problem will be over. She can also now charge Premium prices for her Private Lessons . She positions them as an Upgrade: a value-added VIP custom service. Say $185 each.

With a strong back-end, it is then possible to implement a members’ referral system for generating a consistent stream of new members into the front end. New Alexander Technique students could also be enrolled from increased Alexander-Yoga classes in multiple locations. In a small community you build a niche by going to their background barbeques.

Multiply Locations = Step 3: Karen could situate sessions in her own studio; or at multiple locations using rental facilities at pre-established learning centers.

Step 9 – Undoing The Stories That Bind You
What is frustrating me is that everyone doesn't love AT like I do, I know its not for everyone, but I have never understood why not??

I have no idea what Karen is dealing with personally because she talks about other people, not her Self. My guess is that she does not associate her inner conflicts with the financial status of her practise, something I am familiar with.

Or she is just not ready to share so publically?

And that’s the issue you need to re-consider. To connect, people need to feel your own vulnerability. It bonds them to you - it’s honest and empathetic, even if it is selective. You know when I get the most responses to my blog? On the days I personally share how I arrived at my personal insights.

Your sharing is selective, because you only relate to the problems that you already know your niched students are experiencing. When they hear from you what is already going on in their own brain, they are on the way to being hooked. So - make a searching inventory, be prepared to expose, start collecting stories that communicate. That’s one function of this step in building your business.

Step 10 – Launch Your Marketing & Sales Funnel
I am attracting clients usually by referrals, over the years I have tried other marketing ideas, and the AmSAT website directs folks to me and referrals from current or past clients, I get some students from my yoga classes to come privately, and I hope the reading group will also feed me some private clients.

So that covers one aspect of the Alexander Technique niche, which Karen is basically following. I am guessing again, but the inference from Karen seems to be a “separation” of the yoga and Alexander Technique components of her skill set. I don’t mean in her head - I am sure there is plenty of confluence there - but in her Product, in her marketing and sales. If Karen is going to niche in a small community to a broad swath of the population, “Alexander Yoga” works. Karen should focus her energy to beefing up that side of her practise - that is how she can achieve consistency, which she already knows (in her Yoga) but seems to have forgotten (in her Alexander). Connect them in your marketing and sales - totally!!!

Step 11 – Become a Authority/Celebrity
My personality is totally optimistic I believe anybody can do anything they want to if they do it; I have been told I am a avid cheerleader for the other person, I love people, and I love my work, I can't see not doing it ever. I work for Hospice and have for many years, so service of healing is my purpose, and I am grateful.

I am writing this on a flight home from Los Angeles, so I can’t check her website to see if this clear statement about who she is appears there. My guess would be not, and this goes back to my comments in Step 8. Authority and Celebrity involve some measure of consciously designed self-disclosure.

Karen is obviously loved by her students - and you can be too. There is no need to let a false sense of humility (which is self-hate in a hidden form) stop you from letting people get who you are. Karen has done that beautifully in her sentences above. In a small community, your success will ultimately depend not on the technique you are teaching, but the grace with which you impart it. The aches and pains that Karen wants to solve are usually long gone after a year or so or lessons - what then? You, the teacher, become the community the person stays attracted to.

Step 12 – Find Partners, Make Deals
I am a violist/fiddle player (started 4 years ago), and have taught at several music camps, this summer for Lorrin Maazel's Castleton Festival (close by), and worked with the opera performers and some musicians...love working with them and would like that to be a niche also!!

Fascinating. In the last sentences of her report, a new niche appears! Well, there’s a choice to make or there’s not. To change Karen has to change, and the direction I suggest is her Yoga practise - niche Alexander more transparently there. Seek out more locations (students) in the local area. Teach 7 multiple located groups weekly = make that the first aim. Blog exclusively and extensively to your current students (who have friends at other locations) and launch that way.

As cash flow improves, re-design and SEO the website towards Alexander-Yoga. Become the Yoga person in the area - by teaching them Alexander Technique. There is no separation there. All of Alexander's discoveries can be delivered in an Alexander yoga class. This is the BodyChance activity model.

Or not.

TOMORROW: Victoria Stanham writes her reply to my Case Study of last week.

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CAVEAT: Remember what Alexander said: “They will see it as getting in and out of a chair the right way. It is nothing of the kind.” Is this case-study about the “right way” for Karen Loving to go ahead? It is nothing of the kind. It’s intended to demonstrate a way of thinking, not a set of proscriptions, even when they read as proscriptions! My true intention with these case studies is to provoke you into finding another way to understand the same ideas.

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