You know, besides already being a skilled, thoughtful and articulate dressage rider and trainer
Do you find your good-weather days full of lessons, rides and training sessions? But, your income slows during rainy and cold seasons? The barn bills sure don’t slow down in the winter, though!
There are a number of good resources online on starting a horse-related business. Here’s a thoughtful post if you’re just starting out your dressage training business!
So, I’ve pulled together some ideas from the online business world that can help you generate income on quiet days.
1. Work with clients remotely
Before working hard to get new clients, how about taking a moment to look at how else you could work with your existing clients?
Are you away from your regular dressage training clients when you travel to teach clinics or for winter show season?
If you’re comfortable with technology, or are willing to learn, you could offer video consultations (the client would upload video in advance of session.)
Or, go old school.
For example, FEI dressage rider and coach Ruth Hogan Poulsen recently added one-on-one consultations with students. She reviews their independent riding notes (in their 2019 Dressage Rider’s Journal!), to help students track progress and learn to adjust their own training plans during long periods of riding without a trainer (such as over the winter.)
And, don’t forget to just ask your loyal clients what else could help them! They may have some great ideas!
2. BUILD YOUR EMAIL LIST (and some thoughts on social media)
Staying in touch by Email
It can be as simple as a email newsletter opt-in on your website or social media bio. (Check out the form I use at the bottom of this article, or the link on my Instagram bio @_arianamarshall.)
Then, just send a short update to your subscribers once a month using an email template. Here’s an example sign-up below
Email can be a great way to get out your sales or availability announcements for equipment, horses or stalls. Other pros: the email list is already set (no “adding” people to an email group), open and click statistics, pre-formatted template, just edit and send!
My preferred email service is Mailerlite. As of April 2019, the service remains completely free up to 1,000 subscribers (and 12,000 emails) per month. And, the monthly rate above 1,000 subscribers increases in reasonable increments as your list grows.
If you are fairly tech savvy, I would suggest setting aside 1-2 hours to set up your account and a simple newsletter template. Most of the time would just be spent being sure to have the correct email account linked, fonts and logos applied in the right spots!
No time or tech love? Message me. I’ve been meaning to make a list of good virtual assistants. And, if you push me, I will 😉
Why Not Just Use Social Media?
If you’ve used Facebook or any of the social media platforms, you’ve noticed that the algorithms change and what used to reach your “friends” or “fans” does not get to them anymore… at least, not for free.
And, even if you ARE connecting on YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram, you do not “own” those lists of followers.
A Little about Social Media
You’ve probably heard that you need to do social media. But, here’s the thing. First, be able to answer WHY you’re doing it.
Connecting with fans? Great.
Networking with peers? Awesome.
Developing a following of future clients? Perfect.
If you the time for it and enjoy it, it’s a no-brainer. Just do it. But, if social media makes you miserable – but you have a business reason for it – consider out-sourcing it.
3. Create digital and physical products to sell
There’s a learning curve here to create digital and physical products, but unlike dressage training, you can be earning income 24/7 as orders come in!
And, you can use that beautiful email list to sell your products, too! 😉
The easy part truly is your unique knowledge. Just open up a notebook and start brainstorming! Ask yourself:
- Where’s your zone of genius? What makes you stand apart from other dressage trainers?
- What compliments do you most frequently get from your clients?
- Are you known for your dressage training with a particular breed, “problem” type horse or in a state/region?
- Do you love to ride, coach or choreograph musical freestyles?
Take those ideas and then think about your other skills:
- Would Marie Kondo be jealous of your barn organization?
- Do you kill it on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter (or any social media that your audience loves)?
- Do you work best with – or prefer – a particular age group (like, older adult amateurs, or young riders?)
- Any other thing about you – from having a well-trained barn dog (or three), how to keep a companion goat, or parenting small children!
Start narrowing down the list, and think about (a) who might benefit from the information – riding students? future dressage trainers? husbands or wives of horse lovers?… and (b) how that group might want to receive the information.
There’s a whole world of information on the internet about how to create digital and print products.
An example of books that I’ve created in collaboration with FEI dressage trainer Ruth Hogan-Poulsen include:
I don’t want to send you down a rabbit hole of research yet (so I’m not linking to any how-to resources yet!) Just get really clear on your unique value!
If you do want more information about building digital or print products, be sure to join my email list below.