Skip to main content
Customer Retention

Staying Motivated During COVID-19: A Guide for Gym Owners

If you own a fitness or yoga studio, it’s tough right now. You're not alone! Online classes may help, but you need to keep going until your gym reopens.

May 7, 2020

Let’s be honest. If you own a fitness or yoga studio, it’s tough right now.

You’re probably cooped up under a stay-at-home order, and your business (which you’ve carved out through lots of sweat, tears, late nights and early mornings) has been shut down and labeled “non-essential.”

You’re drinking more coffee in the morning to get going. You’re still showering daily…most days 😬.

But it’s tough to stay motivated to get in front of the camera, smile, and have that uplifting message ready for the students on the other end.

Maybe you’ve been lucky enough to get a little financial relief through a government loan. You’ve retained your most loyal customers through your Punchpass live, online classes via Zoom. And you’re thrilled that you can keep those classes alive and generating downloads and revenue in perpetuity through our new content library (woo hoo)!

But whether you’ve got 30 students attending online classes or three, you know that you can’t keep paying the bills this way forever.

You may have considered plans for re-opening your studio. You’ve shopped for industrial strength cleaning products, masks and gloves. You’re calculating floor space and making drawings of 6ft x 6ft boxes. And you’re wondering if it’s responsible to think about leading in person sessions or classes again. Perhaps the liability and responsibility for having someone get sick through your community weighs on you. And how do you get your teachers to come in early and stay late to clean. Do you want to become the full-time janitor?

What if we reopen too soon, out of desperation to feel normal and keep our membership and our businesses from completely collapsing… but then this pandemic gets worse, as many public health experts are predicting?

These are tough questions. We are right there with you thinking this through & trying to support you, our extraordinary customers, and your special communities.

We don’t have all the answers right now. No one does.

In the meantime, let’s continue to support each other by sharing our authentic experience. Words won’t solve this issue, but we’ll offer a few anyway in hopes that they might help you help you get up tomorrow morning with some hope in your heart:

You Are Not Alone.

At Punchpass, we’re thrilled to have heard from many of you whose online classes have expanded your businesses and helped you thrive during these challenging times.

But we also know there are a lot of you who are struggling. And we think it’s important to share those stories too.

Here’s what one customer, the owner of a small yoga studio, recently told us:

“I’m not sure if our studio can make it only teaching online classes.

We have a very small group of very dedicated students attending at the moment, and for those students, what we’re doing is extremely valuable (which makes it very hard to quit – anything that supports mental health at the moment is SO important). But there just aren’t enough people signing up to cover our costs.

“We know that our pool of potential students is limited to our current student base, so when we’ve done all of the advertising, discounted our rates and let people know how easy it is but people still aren’t showing up… you do have to wonder what happens next.”

If this story sounds like you, know that you are not alone.

It’s Okay To Start Small.

Even if you record just one class, and you have to dig deep to do it, go for it anyway. Here are three reasons why:

  • If you ever don’t feel like teaching, your students will still have access to your recorded class. Using your online content library, your students can take your class as many times as they want, as many days as they want, from wherever they are in the world. Record and post at least five classes, and you don’t have to teach live anymore, if you’re feeling fatigued.
  • You can take your own class. Hearing your own voice might be the last thing you want to do, but trust us, you will realize what an amazing teacher and motivator you are, and it just might keep you going for another day.
  • You get paid without having to teach. If you set up your content library to be attached to your memberships and class passes, your students will have access to all the same online classes. But if you’re burned out, you don’t have to keep teaching. Or you can reduce the number of virtual classes you’re doing each week.

Give it time.

Online businesses can take up to a year to build.

If you’re not seeing the attendance numbers you want, please know that it’s not a failure. The most successful online fitness personalities took years and thousands of dollars to build their followings.

So cut yourself some slack and be patient. Your online class library might turn into a valuable business asset for years to come.

Don’t take the numbers personally.

There’s a TON of free fitness classes out there, and that’s tough to compete with.

Everyone is stressed.

We’re eating more (have you heard of the COVID 19 (lbs)?), and sleeping less.

People are stuck without childcare.

There’s lots of reasons why they aren’t showing up for your online class. Have empathy and avoid getting frustrated you’re your customers. For those two people who did show up, you might have been their lifeline that day.

As Steven Mack, owner of Simple Solutions Fitness told us:

“My advice to other studio owners would be to listen and be prepared to respond thoughtfully. It’s important to remember that we exist to help and serve, and you cannot underestimate the impact of a negative impression.

We often remember how people make us feel, and we’re all stressed…so a bit of empathy will go a long way.

Each of us is trying our best. It may come out differently, but people still have goals and they still care about reaching them. They just may need to take a break for now.”

So if times are tough right now, keep the faith. Take it easy on yourself. We don’t know exactly what is waiting for us at the end of the tunnel, but we are starting to see the light. 💛