Do you have a passion for yoga, enjoy dancing or want to help others to get fit? Now it’s easier than ever to start your own online studio.
As your own boss, you will have more freedom and flexibility. Moreover, you will enjoy lower start-up costs compared to a traditional studio and independence from a physical location
Furthermore, there are countless software solutions available to you that make everyday work around your online studio a lot easier. FitogramPro, for example, is a studio management software that specializes in online studios and already offers all the basic features you may need for your online studio in the free version.
In this guide we have summarized all important aspects of online studios. Our goal is to support you in starting and growing your online studio as much as we can.
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Before you start your online studio, you need to prepare first. Quality research helps with planning tremendously and increases your chances of success.
During the market research, you analyze both the current supply and the existing demand. With the help of the results of your analysis, you can identify your potential customers and competitors. This will not only help you to create an attractive offer, but also to find your niche and stand out from the competition.
Choosing an online studio concept
In this step, you need to choose a concept for your online studio based on the findings of the market analysis. A clear differentiation helps you to position your online studio on the market and leads to a more effective communication with your target group.
Writing a business plan can be much easier than you think. The most important thing is to define your goals and derive a strategy based on the market research and the studio concept. In the financial planning part you should think about the start-up capital, however, the start-up costs for an online studio are comparatively low.
2. Online studio setup
Almost any room in your home can be reorganized for an online studio. There just needs to be enough light and space for your workouts. However, keep in mind that it should be separated by a door or something else to avoid unnecessary noise or interruptions.
Background and decoration
Try to keep the decoration of your online studio as minimalistic as possible, so that the attention is focused on you and the participants don’t get distracted. A few plants and small figurines will help to create a pleasant atmosphere.
You will need different equipment depending on the type of sport you want to teach. For fitness online classes you will probably need some weights, while for yoga online classes a yoga mat might be enough.
It’s important to note that your students may not always have access to the same equipment as you. Therefore, you should remember to either give a hint in the class description or suggest suitable alternatives, such as water bottles instead of dumbbells.
As you can see from our tips for a successful online studio, the technical setup is easier than you think. In fact, you can start filming with just your smartphone and invest in a camera and microphone later on. However, make sure you have a stable Internet connection right from the start, as it’s essential for the quality of your online classes.
3. Costs for an online studio
After we discussed what you need to start your online studio, let’s take a look at the start-up costs you’ll face.
The start-up costs for an online studio are usually between €750 and €4,300, assuming you start from scratch. However, if you already have the basic equipment, the start-up costs can go down to as little as €100-200.
Cost of equipment for your online studio
If you don’t have the necessary sports equipment, you will need to spend between €50 and €500, depending on the quality and the type of sport. The price of a good camera is about €500 and a headset about €200.
You don’t necessarily need new and expensive equipment. Buying second-hand items or using what is already available at home will help you to get started with a low budget.
Cost of a room
A major cost factor is the room in which you will hold your online classes. Ideally, you’ll have enough space for your online studio in a room at home. Since your rental costs won’t increase by reorganizing a room, you can save hundreds or even thousands of euros compared to a traditional studio.
Cost of software solutions
You’ll need a streaming solution, such as Zoom, to run your online studio. You may want to choose the free version or go for a package of €13.99 per month to get more features and therefore more flexibility.
Having a software to manage your online studio is also essential. Offering online bookings and payments is already an industry standard, and with FitogramPro it is very easy and free. The free version also contains plenty of features, but our premium features, like a customized studio app, are only available in our fairly priced upgrades.
On top of that, you can invest in specialized marketing and financial software. Although the cost of these rarely exceeds €30 a month, they are not a must, especially at the start, and their use can be postponed.
Other costs, such as social media advertising or legal or tax consulting, should also be considered sooner or later. However, they usually come at a later stage, when the foundations of the online studio have already been laid.
4. Income from an online studio
To cover the start-up costs for your online studio and eventually make a profit, you need a stable income. In the following, we will introduce you to possible sources of income and give you tips on how to make the most of them.
Live online classes
You can stream your online classes directly from your online studio. Your customers enjoy flexible location and schedules, while you can reach a larger audience and secure a robust income stream.
It takes just a few easy steps to create an online class in FitogramPro. After you are ready with the setup in the software, you’ll need to choose a streaming solution to stream your online classes. While the choice is yours, the majority of our customers choose Zoom – many of them because of the Zoom integration in FitogramPro.
The Zoom integration in FitogramPro
Thanks to the Zoom integration, you can link your Zoom account to your FitogramPro account and benefit from full automation.
The integration automatically creates a link in Zoom for all your live online classes. Once created, this link is automatically inserted into FitogramPro and sent to your participants 15 minutes before the class starts. All your participants have to do is click on the link and enjoy the class.
It is important to note that Zoom integration is available starting from the S package. However, It is not a requirement to be able to teach live online classes. Nevertheless, without the integration you will need to manually insert the Zoom link for each individual online class so that it is sent to your students 15 minutes before the class starts.
Video on demand
With video on demand, you can make money while you sleep. You can sell the pre-recorded classes to your customers indefinitely and generate income from them. The advantage for your customers is the ultimate flexibility – they are no longer bound to either the studio location, or the time of your class.
Other revenue streams
If you manage to establish yourself on the market, there are several possibilities to earn additional income. For example, you can earn from sponsors, collaborations, your own merchandise, and even coaching.
Online studio income projection
Your income depends heavily on the number of customers you have, as well as your prices. To calculate your approximate income per class, you can use this formula:
Income = Number of clients x Price of class
If you have different pricing models, you can calculate all models separately and add them up at the end. This way you can determine whether you can reach your financial goals with your current offer or you need to make strategic adjustments.
5. Tips for successful online classes
Even when you have a good concept for your online studio, it’s not that easy to stand out from the competition. The biggest success factor for your online studio is the quality of your online classes. We have summarized our tips for successful online classes below.
The structure of your online class
A well-thought-out structure is what separates professionals from amateurs. A recurring routine with warm-up, cool-down and logically sequenced blocks builds trust with your customers and keeps them engaged. You still need to provide variety and occasionally introduce new exercises with varying degrees of difficulty.
The interaction with customers
To be successful, you need to interact with your clients as much in your online classes as you would in a traditional studio. Feedback on workout execution, motivational words, and individual attention are especially important for building relationships and retaining customers.
You have a few ways to do this. One option is to conduct online classes in pairs. While one trainer shows the exercises, the other can guide the participants. If you’re running your online studio alone, you can simply use two screens and give instructions during the class. Don’t forget to gather feedback from your customers at the end so you can keep improving!
The music for your online class
The right music can significantly improve the customer experience. Motivational music for HIIT workouts and relaxing background music for yoga and meditation will create the right atmosphere in your online class. It’s up to you whether you play the music yourself or provide a playlist in advance.
The equipment for your customers
As mentioned above, your clients won’t always have the same equipment as you. However, this shouldn’t be a big issue if the missing equipment can be replaced with such items as books, chairs, or water bottles. Be creative and offer alternatives during the class so that your clients can easily participate in all exercises.
6. The best time for online classes
Scheduling can have a big impact on attendance – even for live online classes. According to our analysis, the most popular times during the week are between 6 and 7 pm. This shouldn’t be a surprise, since many people usually finish work around this time and do sports afterwards.
However, the picture changes on weekends, where customers mainly book classes in the morning between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. The exceptions are classes from 5 to 6 p.m. on Sundays, which are also in high demand.
So if you’re going for live online classes, you need to think carefully about when your target audience is most likely to find time in their busy schedules. A well-maintained video on demand library is recommended to provide them with additional flexibility.
7. The perfect price for online classes
If you’ve done your market research properly, you should have a good sense of what the perfect price for your online classes might be.
The most important thing in pricing is to find a reasonable price that is both fair for your customers and guarantees you enough income to cover your costs and make a profit.
Depending on your strategy, you can use different pricing models. For example, for video on demand, you can offer monthly contracts with unlimited views. For live online classes, point cards or single training sessions are more appropriate.
The quality of your online classes and the number of students per class are the key factors in determining pricing. For example, if you offer premium classes for only a few customers, it’s okay to charge a premium price for individual coaching. For mass classes, on the other hand, it is hardly possible to give feedback to all participants, which means the price should be set at a much lower level. A price between €8 and €12 for an average online class is appropriate.
8. Promoting your online classes
If your potential customers never get to hear about your online studio, then everything else doesn’t matter. That’s why it’s extremely important to promote your online classes, preferably with a strategic marketing mix.
On social media, you can reach thousands of people for free with a compelling profile and engage your subscribers through intentional interactions. Paid advertising is an additional option for new customer acquisition.
On your website you provide the most important information about your studio – location, opening hours, course calendar and prices. If you don’t have your own website yet, you can use FitogramPro’s free online booking tool. On your studio page, you can add a studio description and let your customers book and pay for your classes online.
With the help of email marketing, you can build long-term relationships with your customers. Through emails, you can keep them informed and run campaigns to bring back customers who have left.
Creative promotions can help you attract new customers as well as retain existing ones. Think of various giveaways or referral programs where you give away a certain number of online classes either for free or at a lower price.
9. Data protection for your online studio
Last but not least, you have to consider data protection for online classes. For example, if you are based in the European Union, make sure to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and your country-specific regulations.
Data protection with the streaming solution
When choosing your streaming solution, you should check whether the provider adheres to data protection guidelines and ensures certain security standards. To save yourself time and be on the safe side, it’s best to go with well-known providers based in the EU or the USA, such as Zoom or Skype.
Privacy protection of your customers
In the class description or before the class starts, provide information about the streaming solution you use and your expectations from the participants. It is recommended that they have their cameras on and mics off so that you can give them feedback without them constantly interrupting the class. In general, we wouldn’t recommend recording live online classes, since you must get permission from your customers to use their images.
License for the music
If you want to play music during your online classes to create the right atmosphere, you should choose royalty-free music. A good alternative is to share the selected playlist with the participants in advance so that they can play the music themselves at home.
As you have seen, there are so many things to consider around an online studio. While live online classes offer you some advantages compared to traditional classes, your project should be well-thought-out!
Even though an online studio can be set up quickly, you should not rush into it. We recommend that you take your time and plan thoroughly – this way you will have a better chance of becoming successful. Market research, set-up, costs and income, general tips, class times, pricing and advertising – all these play an important role for the live online classes in your online studio.
We wish you lots of fun and success with your own online studio!