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  1. #1
    Mega BHUZzer Lesedi's Avatar
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    No one showed up for class...

    So I started teaching at a studio this week (my first time teaching in this town apart from subbing). I was all excited, had my curriculum and lesson plans all ready, I get there... waiting waiting... no one showed up. Not a single student came to my class. I was in this HUGE, beautiful studio, but no students. It really sucked. I just ended up practicing on my own, but felt really crappy the whole time and not quite in the mood to dance.

    I don't know what went wrong. I put flyers up all over town, talked to people, handed out business cards, tried to get the word out, but I guess that was all ineffective. This is a really conservative town in a really conservative state, so maybe it takes a little more to get people into a class. Do you guys have any bright ideas? ...anything that's been effective for you when trying to establish yourself especially in a conservative area?

    I'm just feeling really bummed about it. I love to teach, and I was excited to start the other night, so not having students was a really big letdown. I was also kinda counting on the extra cash, but now I'm in the hole for rent money. I think I'm going to give it till the end of the month then give up... really can't afford to pay rent when I don't have any students. I don't know.


  2. #2
    Mega BHUZzer gothique's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    I'm so sorry no one showed.

    I don't have any advice, you did every thing I could think of.

    I hope students will show up for your next classes.

    (((Hugs)))


  3. #3
    Just Starting! alibelly's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    Hey - I feel your pain! Had the same experience myself!

    Ummmm......

    Before you decided to have a class did you have any requests to teach in that area? I found a nice studio in a well to do suburb and hoped to get some stay at home moms in my class but after 4 months I only had 2 ladies show up despite having an article published in the local paper and flyerising the entire neighborhood!

    Sometimes advertising something as a Limited time offer can help. Ive had people call me about classes but put it off because theres no urgency involved - they know when and where the class is and "might" go one day when they remember about it.

    Offer a fun free trial class on a specific day that people have to book for - then you can see how much interest you really have for that location.

    LUCK!


  4. #4
    Advanced BHUZzer maurazebra's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    My daughter's classes were very small the first year. I don't remember zero, but I do remember classes with one or two students. The second year better but not much. It took a while to build word-of-mouth, especially since we were not the cheapest classes around.


  5. #5
    Ultimate BHUZzer ssipes's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    I don't have any idea, but there are more of us in the same boat:
    http://www.bhuz.com/forum/business-b...ng-energy.html


  6. #6
    Advanced BHUZzer Ahmber's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    It's happened to me before as well so your not alone. I went for about three or four months with one or two of my friends or my sister coming to my classes. I've also had zero. Sucks. Maybe try to advertise an open house or a potluck? Maybe put on a impromptu show just to generate awareness of your class?


  7. #7
    Master BHUZzer shems's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    Wow, all that advertising and no one. That sucks.


  8. #8
    Ultimate BHUZzer ssipes's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    This morning I am teaching a special mini workshop at the absolute beginner level that I designed to hook in new students.

    No one pre-registered. I've had numerous calls about it, done flyers, posters, facebook ads, etc etc. The studio owner said he had quite a few calls about it as well. But this is always how it is -- lots of interest, few follow throughs.

    I would be excited if I knew that even a small handful were going to be there, but I'm depressed at the prospect that only 1 or 2 people will show up.

    As it is, I'm feeling fairly depressed.
    Last edited by ssipes; 09-11-2010 at 08:00 AM.


  9. #9
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    The best advertising is going to fall flat if potential students don't have the money to spend on what you're selling. For most students, this is a hobby, not a necessity like food or utilities, and a hobby that they take up on a lark at that. The things that are the least important to your daily survival are the first to get chopped when money gets tight, especially since the Internet can offset some of your interest if you're, well, not that interested. There are lots of free videos about how to belly dance on YouTube if you just want to dabble, and sadly, we're competing with them in the minds of potential students who are looking for something new to do as a fun, little hoot.

    I think we're also seeing a natural dip in the dance's popularity. For a while we were the "in" thing, but that doesn't last forever. Hobbies and exercise fads cycle in and out of style. At least we've had a couple of peaks. When's the last time people were rushing out to take country line dancing classes ?

    If you are patient, you can carve out a spot for yourself in your area, but times are tough all over. Don't take it personally.


  10. #10
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. anala's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    Yes, one is the loneliest number. It happens to me about once a month. Since I teach about 20 times in a month, I have come to consider it my night off. It helps my attitude.


  11. #11
    I could get used to this! quamar 's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    Quoth Torbeau -
    The best advertising is going to fall flat if potential students don't have the money to spend on what you're selling. For most students, this is a hobby, not a necessity like food or utilities, and a hobby that they take up on a lark at that.
    That is a big part of it. Our classes have gone drop in, after years of being sessions. What the community centre has done - in order to attract more people to all the dance classes and the centre, not just BD - is to offer a punch card - buy 5 lessons, get 6th free, and you can use it at any of the dance classes. Or you can just buy a one off and come in and see what the dance is "all about" ala drop in style. (this works because the community centre, being paid for by the community, technically gives us "free floor", we pay for the instructor only so the lessons can be more "affordable"). What has been proposed by the teacher is a secondary class for those who have had their interest piqued by dancing, and that one would be for the more serious students, and using the drop in as a teaser. We had a fairly good turn out the other night of newbies, but only two of us "old guard" students came back, the other ones from last semester didn't turn up (only one had any kind of excuse at all, in that she moved away). If they don't see the numbers, the classes get canceled (we already were threatened once this year to be replaced by a yoga class, sigh, which this city can't get enough of apparently) so the drop in justifies our existence anyway and keeps the wolves from the door. Hopefully people will keep coming, because I would hate to lose my class and see the instructor pack up and leave.

    You have my sympathies and my good hopes that things will pick up for you!


  12. #12
    Advanced BHUZzer Mintaka's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    Oh, Lesedi, I'm sorry no one showed up! You are not alone though. This exact same thing happened to me all the time for the first few months. Usually not a single person showed up. A few times one person showed up, which was awkward because I think they felt intimidated trying out a bellydance class for the first time and being the only one there. Once I had two people show up- half an hour late as I was walking out. It was really frustrating. I was doing the same things as you, putting up flyers everywhere, talking to people, giving out business cards. I think the thing that helped me remedy the situation was working on my website- doing SEO and placing online ads on local websites. If you don't already have it, get Google Analytics, it is really helpful to see how people find you and how they use your website so you can concentrate on what works best. I would also suggest putting payment buttons on your website. I have started having people I've never met and who have never emailed me just pay right then and there.

    Hang in there because it WILL get better.


  13. #13
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. anala's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    I also use the punch card and drop in method. The beginner classes carry the others. But drop in teaching is so hard.


  14. #14
    Mega BHUZzer Lara L's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    Ouch! you're facing 3 major hurdles at the moment- tough economic times for everyone, new studio (I know I will loose a few clients every time I change location- bites, but if you plan for it, at least you're not surprised!) and it sounds like you are trying to open a new market in your area. Normally, I'd say give it some time, most small businesses take 2-3 years to get established. Just now, I'm feeling depressed (as an established local business) at my own lack of clients... It's actually my long time, dedicated students keeping me afloat, whereas usually I am lamenting a lack of folks who want to stick with it and rely on new students to pay the rent.


  15. #15
    Ultimate BHUZzer lizajuk's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    You could try offering to do a taster class or course for a ready made social group.
    The free taster class can work as a loss leader before you ask them to commit.
    Have a look at your community. The age-make-up, the availability of transport. Who exactly are you aiming for?
    Yes there are money restricitions all over Western society so you have to make people feel intrigued,interested enough to part with any spare cash they have.
    What about performing yourself to advertise the classes? Are there festivals, fairs,charitable events you could appear at.
    I had one lady turn up at my one and only try at a daytime class but she is still with me in an evening group. It also takes years ( at least here in the UK) to build up a class of regulars of a reasonable size. Only so many folks get that interested to commit. Many move onto other interests.
    I'm employed to teach at a college and they do all the advertising and promotion and I am rely on them to get enough students ( glad to say they have again this academic year). Of course you do not make much on an hourly rate of teaching but your employers have all the hassel with tax etc I tend over the weeks to get a decent amount and holiday pay which pays for my attendence at festivals and some music and costuming etc. Consider seeing if you can find a prospective employer also as well as self employment. It's a good starting point for some before going it alone.


  16. #16
    I could get used to this! quamar 's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    Quote Originally Posted by anala View Post
    I also use the punch card and drop in method. The beginner classes carry the others. But drop in teaching is so hard.
    Yes, that is the unfortunate downside sadly, its always class #1....


  17. #17
    Master BHUZzer nasila's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    Such a bummer, isn't it? I've been there too.

    One suggestion (sorry if it's upthread, I don't have time to read thru everything till later) is to offer one free class. It gets people in the door, and once they are familiar with the studio, you, and the process, they are much more likely to return.

    Of course, I had like 40 people show up for my free class and 2 the following week. :P I think that was my fault; since some of them were my intermediate students and some were new-to-me intermediates, so even though a lot were brand newbies, I ended up going kinda fast. Catered to the wrong crowd since it was supposed to be a Beginner class.

    BUT some of those brand newbies have rolled back in now that summer is winding down.

    September is also a really hard month to start up in. Lots of people are making all kinds of adjustments right now. Hang in there...you have a build a core group. They don't just appear overnight (unless maybe it's free). ..l;,


  18. #18
    Master BHUZzer Monica's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    I am so sorry! That is a terrible feeling.

    It takes time to build up a good class, and being consistent as a teacher is crucial. Demoralizing at times, but crucial! Are you teaching out of a studio that has other classes? Can they advertise for you as well? People who already have relationships with other teachers and know the space might be your first customers.

    'Teaser' demo classes are a good idea, or perhaps a weekend affordable introductory workshop (where you can then give out a coupon or special offer to attendees for your weekly classes). Always have cards or class fliers wit you when you perform. Building up classes really does take patience and perseverance, and it can be worth it in the long run.

    Sorry that happened to you.


  19. #19
    Advanced BHUZzer maurazebra's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tourbeau View Post
    I think we're also seeing a natural dip in the dance's popularity. For a while we were the "in" thing, but that doesn't last forever. Hobbies and exercise fads cycle in and out of style. At least we've had a couple of peaks. When's the last time people were rushing out to take country line dancing classes ?

    If you are patient, you can carve out a spot for yourself in your area, but times are tough all over. Don't take it personally.
    I had some thoughts similar to this at our metro World Fest two weeks ago. Usually there are two or three belly dance/ MED groups scheduled and one flamenco group. This year, one belly dance group and three flamenco groups.


  20. #20
    Advanced BHUZzer CalgaryBibi's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    Not sure if it's too late for this, but try Twitter.

    My DH works for an institution that offers adult education--both regular and continuing ed. When they had a couple of CE classes to fill, they tweeted and filled them really quickly. He said they had better response from Twitter than from some of their more conventional methods of advertising.

    It's worth a shot, anyhow.


  21. #21
    Ultimate BHUZzer kiyaana's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    The week of Labor Day is a tough time to start a class. Lots of parents are attending back-to-school nights and in general I think we all are "getting our ducks in a row", adjusting to regular, non-vacation schedules and such. My class last Tues. was one of my smaller in numbers for the year (and it's drop-in), as was the Tues. after Memorial Day and the weeks before and after Christmas.


  22. #22
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    Preregistration.

    I won't commit to teaching a class unless I have a minimum number preregistered. I'll go with as few as 3, which isn't even breakeven, in order to keep a class going or get a new one off the ground, but trust me, the only thing worse than NO one showing up is ONE person showing up. Blergh.

    Lots of times people MEAN to come to class, but once they hit their couches, it's hard to go back out. If they've pre-committed their dollars, they'll make a stronger effort to come each week until it's a habit.

    In a down economy it takes more marketing to get things going. Newspaper calendar listings, online advertising, radio ads (trying that one next), etc. are good.

    A free demo class is a GREAT idea!

    My newest favorite is Mall Time. Our local mall lets us rent the center court area for the day for $250 and we can perform all day if we want. I've handed out HUNDREDS of brochures every time we do it.

    Advertising promotion is my biggest expense. But it's necessary. Like any small (or tiny) business, you'll spend ore than you make at first, that's just the nature of the game.


  23. #23
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    p.s. I'm really sorry this happened to you, I know how disheartening and what a letdown it is.


  24. #24
    Advanced BHUZzer LiesaB.'s Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    That is a disheartening feeling for sure. As others have said, it can take a while to build any business. September can be tricky, economy, etc all factor in. Teaching Bellydance in modern times walks the line between dance / fitness.
    Who is your target market? Is there enough of it to sustain your goals?
    Some other things come to mind for analysis:
    How many other Bellydance/Middle Eastern dance classes are in your area?
    How is their enrollment?
    How old is the longest established one?
    How much competition is there from yoga, zumba, etc. ?


  25. #25
    Advanced BHUZzer LiesaB.'s Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    Oh posting at same time as Lauren! Not copying your use of the word disheartening, honest! lol


  26. #26
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. anala's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    Many of my students love it when they are the only one who shows up. I have grown to like it, as they get this great light bulb look with a one on one. My wallet doesn't like it.


  27. #27
    Advanced BHUZzer Elibelinde's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    What Tourbeau said, I think this is mostly the economy.

    aaarrggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

    Where I teach it's down across the board - everybody is suffering. Previously full classes - the one ahead of me Thursday evenings for example - wow the teacher is awesome too and the other night he had two students. They were long term members of the club, so that means nobody new is coming in.

    I'm really worried and am trying to figure out different strategies.

    ,f::


  28. #28
    Advanced BHUZzer Elibelinde's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    Quote Originally Posted by anala View Post
    Many of my students love it when they are the only one who shows up. I have grown to like it, as they get this great light bulb look with a one on one. My wallet doesn't like it.
    Yeah! Excellent student great, empty wallet - not so great.


  29. #29
    Ultimate BHUZzer bintbeled's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    Times are tough. ..cr.:

    My retention rate for students is pretty good, but recruiting more beginners is always a challenge. So this week I offered 2 free sample classes, using the local paper's very popular "Deal of the Day" feature. Had a little banner on the front page of the paper last Saturday, a coupon inside good for one or both sample classes. I also told my students about it so they could tell their friends.

    Got a grand total of 2 phone calls about the newspaper coupon, and the only students who showed up heard about it from my current students. I was really surprised -- who wouldn't take advantage of a free class?

    On the plus side, the students who came today were a blast and want to take the classes that start next week.


  30. #30
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. anala's Avatar
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    Re: No one showed up for class...

    Yeah! Excellent student great, empty wallet - not so great.

    Yep, but one must smell the roses when and where they bloom. ;-)


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