After 9 months of chaos and uncertainty it has been amazing to be nominated through Impact Magazine as on of their 2021 Canada’s Top Fitness Instructors.
This award nomination has provided me with a great opportunity of reflection during the pandemic and the steps I’ve taken to keep my Kardia community together and keep my business alive and because find these ideas was challenging, as many business had never been through such a thing, I felt it appropriate to jot down some of the actions we’ve taken in hopes to support other small business in similar situation.
Here’s our Kardia COVID Story:
We closed our doors on March 16th and I took my love of movement and experience with video content and all classes online March 17th. Without skipping a beat we started offering free Facebook Live and Instagram Live classes – offering 2-3 classes a day. I knew I needed to keep our community connected, and keeping in touch with our members to support their physical and mental health became my number one priority.
After one week of social media classes I established our Zoom platform and we added fee for services classes back in addition to our free classes – we continue to offer free classes 9 months later. I was very aware of the reality of our clients losing their jobs and their need for movement and connection – even if online and so I did everything possible to help them feel connected and seen, even if they couldn’t pay.
I created multiple community scavenger hunts, labeling key monuments and locations around the downtown core with specific exercises which people could do on their own, and I set up a “photo booth” outside the studio, so people could stop by on a weekend and get their photo taken from a distance and then I merged the photos together into a video for them to see we are all together even when apart.
I also offer free social “workshops” weekly through Zoom. We’ve had many cooking demos, goal setting sessions, virtual wine tastings – simply free opportunities for people to see each other and hang out together while apart.
After 7 months of operating in this Fee For Service Zoom and Free Social Media class model I added an On-Demand service to support clients who might not have the hours of our classes and offered this and a reduced cost to make it more accessible.
Over the past 9 months I’ve kept us flexible to the government changes and have had a hard focus on community and connection, providing our community with many ways to stay connected, either for free, or fee for service.
While I look forward to the pandemic being over, this force to online has allowed me to reconnect with clients from around the world who had moved away (Italy, Tokyo, San Fran, Vancouver, Calgary, Florida), and it’s forced me to establish an on-demand streaming site that I had always dreamed of, but never had the time or real need to do. While things might look very different to 9 months ago, my community has never been stronger.