Written By Tricia Whitlock
Five years ago the idea of Traveling Pilates Instructors was born, mostly on a whim.
“Wouldn’t it be great to combine my love of travel with my passion for teaching Pilates?”
I’m still amazed by how large this group has become, as well as how we continue to grow along the tendrils of a shared dream.
Together we are explorers, wanderers, and passionate humans with strong visions and a fierce desire to experience this life to the fullest.
Little did I know, I was on a collision course with Hannah and PJ McMullen, who had a similar vision to create a better way to find jobs in the Pilates and yoga industries. I had no idea that our partnership would result in the merging of our 2 brainchildren into PlankeApp. The app connects studios who are offering seasonal, substitute, and permanent jobs with instructors who are looking for teaching or training opportunities.
As Hannah, PJ and I began working together, I learned, grew, and fumbled a bit. Building a tech company was something I had never done, and I’ve learned what it means to work side-by-side with two ambitious, straightforward, and incredibly smart people who are propelled forward by the visionary goal of elevating our industry using technology.
Along the way, I also discovered many things about our industry - through my own experience as a studio owner, observation of the relationships created in the TPI group and on PlankeApp, and in personal connection with some of you (what a joy that has been!).
As things have unfolded, my focus has landed on the following question:
“HOW CAN WE UNITE THE PILATES INDUSTRY?”
It’s a question I mull over daily, discuss with friends, and journal about.
In truth, I feel relatively new to Pilates, having completed my certification in 2016. Yet those years have been chock full of learning experiences, both as a studio owner and as an instructor of human bodies, and it feels like a lifetime ago that I picked up that training manual.
Having come from the corporate world, I see some stark differences between working as a freelance fitness instructor (which it seems most instructors are doing) vs. working for a company that provides more structure and consistency, both in income and benefits.
It takes a special level of grit to do a job that mostly provides no benefits, no way to save for retirement, and no real consistency in income.
Similarly, it takes a massive amount of courage to run a business that requires constant attention, assumption of multiple roles, and vulnerability to the whims of teachers, students, and unforeseeable events.
How can we create a more level playing field for both of these roles?
This is a large and overwhelming question and there is no single solution, no shiny red button beckoning, no easy fix or clear road.
However, I know that what we have created with PlankeApp is the start of this yellow brick road that we must follow to elevate and unite the Pilates industry. Using technology, we can change the landscape from a rough and uncertain terrain to more even, fertile ground. I believe that others will join in this journey to improve the aforementioned challenges, and in doing so, we will argue less about semantics and focus more on lifting each other up, setting aside our differences of opinion regarding style and technique, and recognizing instead the common ground which lies at the HEART of what we do - the desire to serve, to help, and to love our fellow humans to the best of our ability.
From my heart to yours - if you still haven't tried it, download PlankeApp today (for iOS or android) . We need you on the yellow brick road with us in order to move past this place where we seem to be stuck.
Let’s band together and take our industry to the next level TODAY!