Thursday, May 2, 2019

The Goldilocks Story....Almost

Have you every thought about offering a new format at your gym? Or, what if you just got certified for a new Zumba format, then what? Maybe you are interested in getting a new gig, but how?

As all ZIN™ members know, we get licensed to teach new formats at Zumba® Convention (ZINCON) and by attending a ZIN Education Specialist (ZES) certification trainings. It’s exciting to acquire new skills and the potential of getting additional classes to teach. I have been certified in Zumba® Gold, Aqua, Toning, Step, and STRONG by Zumba®. I have attempted to teach them all with the exception of Gold, with different degrees of success.

Let’s break it down. Questions to ask yourself when attempting to teach a new format: 
  • How different is the format from what I already teach? 
  • Do I have time to practice and master a whole different format? 
  • Which audience am I going after? 
  • How will I approach the potential employer? 
  • How am I going to market the class?

First, format differences. In my experience, Zumba® and Zumba® Toning are the closest. Teaching these formats together work well for me, as I don’t have much time to practice due to my full-time job and the several classes I already teach. When I subbed Aqua, I quickly realized that teaching in an indoor pool was tough on my eyes – the chlorine irritated them. Perhaps an outdoor pool is better but I haven’t tried it. The Aqua audience was used to a different format, more relaxed and with props. Then I show up with lots of energy and Latin music – quickly realized I needed to adapt. Was I willing to compromise? As a true professional, I did; but I didn’t believe it was the right thing for me.

The different certifications. Step, I took step aerobics classes for over 10 years. Piece of cake, I thought. In reality, the format is very different to regular Zumba® and when you miss a beat really shows. Maybe I wasn’t ready? STRONG by Zumba® (SBZ). I loved the format, still do. I targeted my Zumba® students/friends that wanted to take things to the next level. This is how I sold it to the Group Ex Director; however, after a couple months I realized that the format was a shock to my regular Zumba® peeps – not the right audience.

The sweet spot. Zumba® Toning. Almost like the Goldilocks story. I had my new pitch to the Group Ex Director: “Let’s switch SBZ with Zumba® Toning. It’s a good bridge between Zumba® and Strength, and less of a shock for the Zumba® students.” Sold! I had the vision and the hook. I created a flyer and shazam, got people interested in it. Then, while brainstorming with a good ZIN peer/friend about how to increase interest after a few months teaching it, she suggested I do demos during popular Zumba® classes at the same gym. And so, I went. I got additional interest and word of mouth set in. Then there were more opportunities. While subbing for Body Conditioning, management said, ‘any format’, as it was the third call with no takers. So, I jumped in! I did a Zumba® Toning class with people that had never done Zumba® before. Wow! I started very simple, then based on their response added dance complexity. Of course, I gave them an SBZ Q4 ‘Floorplay’ segment at the end since, after all, it was expected by this type audience. And guess what, I got more Zumba® Toning converts, from a very unexpected group of people.

So, my advice, go ahead and experiment. Maybe trial-and-error is in the cards. This is how we learn what works for us and our potential/students. Don’t be afraid to branch out. Benefit from the many ZIN resources/forums/support groups and get out there to grow as an instructor and grow your business and passion!!