How I ran my first online class, a business owner's perspective

Are you considering moving your classes online due to the Coronavirus outbreak? This is one business owners experience of running their first online class.

If you are considering offering online classes to your members, one of our long-standing customers, Zoe, got in touch to share her story. Zoe runs a busy studio, Ankor Pilates, in London.

Faced with closure and clients going into self-isolation, she wanted to find a way to help her clients and keep her business running. Here's Zoe's report on her first class.

Zoe in her studio. Your studio might be emptier at the moment but your clients still need your help.

First class completed

I just ran my first online class and it went pretty well. Minor technical worries at the start as I couldn't log on to Zoom but eventually got on and had 6 of the 7 turn up.

I started the class by asking everyone how they were feeling. They were anxious, sad, and worried, as you would expect. Then I taught lots of breathing exercises, core work to feel strong and centred, and lots of standing extension and side flexion to feel brave and powerful. I ended the class by asking again how we were feeling after class, and people said calm, centred, stretched out, positive!

Very happy I've switched to online, there has obviously been a mixed response but I'm keeping my prices the same and hoping that with a full timetable running I won't lose too many clients. I highly recommend Zoom!

After class survey

After the class I'm sending out a survey to get feedback from members on their online classes, which is below. I used SurveyMonkey to create the survey which is free to use.

  1. On a scale of 1 to 5, how much did you enjoy your online class?
  2. Do you feel like online Pilates classes will benefit you during the pandemic of COVID-19? Yes/no
  3. Did you feel connected to your teacher and your local community during your class? Yes/no
  4. Is there anything we could do to improve our online service?
  5. During COVID-19 we are going to be flexible in the services we offer. Would you be interested in any of the following?
  • Mindfulness meditations
  • Shorter workouts
  • Emails with lists of exercises
  • Workouts held outside
  • Other

I've definitely been trying to incorporate things that help people feel calm, strong, grounded and brave.

Survey results so far

4.4 out of 5 for enjoyment, 100% said they felt the classes would be valuable to them during COVID-19, 100% felt connected to their teacher and community.


I found it a bit unusual teaching in that way. Obviously you can't see and correct in as much detail as you would normally, so that will take some getting used to. One thing I have enjoyed about online teaching so far is focussing more on what benefits and feelings people gain from exercise or movement. I've definitely been trying to incorporate things that help people feel calm, strong, grounded and brave. Your body is one of the only certainties in a sea of uncertainty and it can provide so much benefit to your mental health - I feel like this crisis highlights that.

Suggestions for improvement of online classes

  • muting microphones so participants noise doesn't distract others
  • good lighting
  • bright clothing if dark background
  • investing in small equipment
  • setting up mat and camera ahead of time so you can be seen in a few different positions

Zoe's classes are delivered via Zoom, and booked via TeamUp. To find out more about how to handle this in your account then please read this article.