One thing you don’t learn while becoming a certified senior fitness instructor: How to choose proper clip art.
The first flyer that I created to promote my senior exercise class was a failure. I used a stock image of smiling, happy, silver-haired men and women of all races. I posted my flyer on bulletin boards at both of the senior apartments where I planned to teach.
The stock photo was indistinguishable from the half-dozen other flyers promoting the Avon lady, life insurance and healthcare providers. In one building, my flyers kept disappearing from the elevator. Very mysterious.
Exactly zero seniors attended my first exercise class.
I worked in the corporate world. I understand that success takes time and patience. But when you can’t even entice one senior citizen – in a building full of them – to show up in the community room for a FREE exercise class? Man, that’s a low feeling.
The Powers of Ten
Fortunately, there are two good books on this topic. Now, neither one of these books is, per se, dedicated to increasing BIS (Butts in Seats) at your senior exercise class. But I gleaned this important wisdom from both authors: If you want to be successful in your field, you gotta work very hard.
According to Malcolm Gladwell’s famous book, Outliers, it takes 10,000 hours of work to become elite in one’s professional field. That’s about 27 years. In The 10X Rule, Grant Cardone encourages readers to amplify their efforts tenfold to achieve true success.
Also, I found this pithy advice in chapter 6 of Cardone’s book to be oddly motivating: “Don’t Be a Little B*tch.”
Bring it on
I took my flyer game up a notch. Screw the boring stock images. I replaced them with bold, colorful clipart. Now, anyone walking past the message board was sure to notice the bright yellow smiley face, hammering out bicep curls while warding off sweat with his sporty red headband. Take that, Avon lady.
I posted my flyers on every floor. I put one in the laundry room, at eye level above the washing machines. I stuck a few in the magazine rack next to the TV in the common room. I even developed a theory on why my flyers were disappearing from the elevators: I suspected a rouge pushpin thief. My counterplan: Scotch tape.
It’s been just over a month since I started teaching. A small, dedicated group of regulars attends each class. Several students use a cane or a walker. Many are coping with medical and physical limitations. No one whines.
I’ve seen improvements in some students’ strength and mobility over the past month. It’s an incredibly rewarding feeling. Sometimes a student will approach me and ask for help with a specific exercise or activity. Whenever that happens, I’m motivated to increase my own knowledge so I can be as helpful as possible.
So far, the attendees are all women. A few men have expressed interest; sometimes they stop by to chat or to check out the ladies.
With 2017 fast approaching, I’m planning a “New Year’s Resolution” marketing campaign to boost class enrollment among men and women. Now, I just need to find some really colorful clipart.