Are you considering starting a studio but have some fears about taking on the risk overhead? Or maybe you are considering shifting your studio business model to lower your overhead expenses? 

Owning a studio is a fantastic way to create community space around health and wellness, develop a team to grow your mission, and invest in your business. But overhead vulnerability is also very real. And having a studio space does require taking on financial risk. But the financial risk can be mitigated if you choose your model carefully and align it with your goals. 

There are many ways to limit your financial risk when if you want to start your first studio or if you want to change your current studio model to mitigate your overhead risk while you continue to grow your business. 

I have had at least four different models for my movement therapy practice and coaching practice over the last fifteen years. Now, just a disclaimer, a big studio model was never in alignment for me. My goal with all of my studio models was to create a collaborative space where I could grow my practice, support, and learn from others and minimize my overhead risk while maximizing my resources and profit. So all of the models I suggest are aimed more towards the solopreneur or collaborative space model, but they could also be useful for larger studios.  

So here are the top four models I love for creating and growing a studio without a lot of overhead risk.

1. Renting a space and subletting to other complementary practitioners- In this model, you will have at least one or more other practitioners who want to come on board and make a commitment to sharing the space with you. My first space in Minneapolis was specifically a rental space. I was the one with the name on the lease, but I had several Gyrotonic Instructors, a Pilates Instructor and a Reiki Practitioner helping to pay the rent and creating a community. The benefits of this model are that you can easily cover most of the rent each month, and you get to have a leadership role in creating the look and feel of the space and the community. 

2. Subletting from another Complementary Practitioner or Colleague- In this situation, the roles reverse. Rather than you holding the lease, you are the subletter. Subletting decreases your financial risk and space responsibility, and you get to benefit from the resources of the studio you are renting from and focus on your teaching. The downside of this is, although you have less financial risk, you may often pay more because you can’t offset your fees by renting to others. And in the end, it is not your space, so you have less freedom to create the kind of environment that you like.

3. Bringing your equipment to another studio and getting paid as a contractor- This model is one of my favorites. For years, I had my Gyrotonic Equipment within a physical therapy clinic. I operated as a contractor, but the PT clinic paid me more in exchange for bringing my equipment and adding value to the physical therapy business. The benefits of this were that I had a direct referral source and niche working with their clients. I got to learn a ton of working in an integrative medical care setting, and I was able to benefit from the branding, marketing, and resources in their space. The cons were that I had to fit within their brand and didn’t have a lot of choice about how I wanted my space to look and feel.  

4. The home studio- This may seem like the most straightforward option with the least financial risk, but it also has a lot of drawbacks. It is challenging to market your business and take on new clients because of the vulnerability of brining people you do not know into your home. Also, sometimes it is challenging to create the best experience for the client, depending on how conducive your home life is to creating a studio environment. Also, sometimes the work/home life can get blurred and make it challenging to separate work and home life. I see this model work best with people who have established client bases that they can comfortably bring to their home. And then grow with a slow trickle of referrals from trusted sources. 

So how do you know which model is the right one for you? Which model you choose will depend on your business and income goals, your niche, your comfort with risk, AND your personality. But in the end, whatever you chose, your model can always be changed. In my fifteen years of business, I have changed my studio location and model 5 times, and each evolution has helped me to grow and evolve my business in new ways.

So which one appeals to you the most? Are you looking to start a studio or transition your current one to a new model?

If you want to chat about what your top opportunities are for your new or evolving studio business, schedule a strategy session below!

All the best,

Dawn