What my Zumba Instructor Can Teach You About Your Biz

I admit it. I’m addicted to Zumba.

But it didn’t happen right away. For a year I flitted in and out of classes, not really clicking with it but since I kept hearing from my friends how much they loved it I kept trying it.

And then I ended up in a class with a woman named Tiger. And I was hooked.

Tiger was born to teach Zumba. Her passion and love for it are infectious plus she’s an excellent teacher (in fact she’s been honored at a statewide level she’s such a fabulous teacher.) Her classes are packed, and her teaching methods and style has influenced all the Zumba instructors at the YMCA.

But, it wasn’t always this way. In fact, she almost got fired after her very first class.

In that class, she started with 18 students. By the time the class was half over she had 9. But the time class ended it was down to 6. And the next day her boss asked Tiger to come to her office.

Her boss told her she had been flooded with complaints about Tiger.

  • Too much hips
  • Too Latino
  • Too sexy
  • Too loud

(I’m unclear what they actually thought Zumba was all about since that’s pretty much the definition of Zumba but whatever.)

Her boss told Tiger she couldn’t teach anymore unless she toned it down. So she went home and said to her husband “They won’t let me teach because they think I’m too sexy.”

Her husband answered “Oh they’re a bunch of old white women, they don’t get it.”

“I have to tone it down if I want to teach,” Tiger said.

“You don’t change a thing,” her husband said. “You teach it the way you want to. And if they don’t like it, we’ll find a place that does.”

So Tiger went back to her boss and begged to be given another chance. “Will you change?” her boss asked.

“Yes, yes, yes,” Tiger said, fingers crossed behind her back.

And of course she didn’t change a thing. Her next class she taught it exactly the way she had taught the first one. But this time she had younger students who loved it and told her boss. So her boss finally gave her a class of her own to teach. It was the smallest class the Y ever had — about 6 students. In 3 months it was up to 40.

And the rest, as they say, was history.

So there are a lot of things to take away from this story, but the one I want to talk about today is the idea of ideal clients.

As successful Tiger is as a Zumba instructor, in front of the wrong crowd (i.e. the opposite of her ideal clients) she was a complete failure. Once she found her ideal clients everything fell into place.

And that’s why knowing your ideal clients is so crucial to the success of your business, and why trying to market to everyone leads to spinning your wheels. Because not everyone is going to become your customer (it honestly doesn’t matter how good you are or how much they need what you’re selling, they just aren’t). And all you do is dilute your message when you try to talk to everyone instead of just to your ideal clients.

And even if you end up getting your non-ideal clients in your business, those are the ones who will be harder to please, who will be more likely to complain you’re just “too sexy.” And at the end of the day, ask yourself: Are those the people you really want to be serving in your business?

Because chances are you’ll probably be a lot happier if you have a business filled with clients who love how sexy you are.

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3 thoughts on “What my Zumba Instructor Can Teach You About Your Biz

  1. Kristy Schnabel

    Hi Michele! (Long time no talk to.) Thanks for this post. I’m a Zumba lover (although I’m in my winter curling season right now). I recently turned away a few clients and then contacted a former client who I really wanted to work with again. She asked, “Do You have ESP? — I was just about to contact you” We start up again in 2 weeks. I love working with my ideal clients!

  2. JoLynn Braley

    Awesome story Michele, I love it, and I love that your Zumba instructor did NOT tone down her “sexy”. Good for her, and good for you for the reminder that it’s your ideal clients you want to be marketing to, not the rest.

    Thanks!

    JoLynn Braley
    The F.A.T. Release Coach

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