Communities come in all shapes and sizes. That’s more apparent than ever right now, from the neighbors buying groceries for seniors to the FaceTime happy hours and digital book clubs popping up everywhere. And then there’s the community-building dark horse: Zoom.

If you’ve ever worked in corporate America, you’ve likely encountered Zoom, which many big companies use for conference calls or presentations. But recently Zoom has become one of the best ways to communicate with friends, family, and clients from afar. Fitness studios, creative consultants, and even therapists have started using Zoom (or other platforms like it) to do business from a distance. 

Today, we’re breaking down the ways service-based businesses can use the platform to stay connected — and even make some extra income — while in-person sessions are out of the question. 

In this article:

How to Get Set Up on Zoom 

Before we dive into how to hack Zoom to your heart’s content, let’s go over Zoom’s account options quickly. The two most common accounts are: 

Zoom Basic (Free) 

This version lets you have unlimited 1:1 meetings and lets you host up to 100 participants in group video conferences for up to 40 minutes. This is great for most use cases. The main exception is for those fitness instructors or yoga teachers who want to offer standard hour-long (or longer) classes. For that, you’ll want to go Pro.

Zoom Pro ($14.99 per month) 

There are a couple of arguments for going Pro. There’s no 40-minute limit, so you’ll be able to host longer sessions, and you can also record your sessions to share later (more on that below). 

If you’re going to be sharing the account with other members of your team (let’s say you’re a yoga studio owner and want to give access to your instructors), Pro also offers user management. 

How to Help Clients Get Set Up on Zoom (Or Join Someone Else’s Zoom Conference Yourself)

Getting into a Zoom class, meeting, or consultation is super simple. (Seriously, how often is that the case?)

After you create a Zoom meeting, you can click “Copy Invitation”, and you’ll see something like this:

Kit Warchol is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: SLC x LA Happy Hour
Time: Mar 24, 2020 04:30 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/543492962

Meeting ID: 543 492 962

You can share the full invitation via text or email, or you can just grab the Zoom meeting URL and add it to your email marketing. Once clients click it, Zoom will walk them through logging in.

Using Zoom with Schedulicity

While Schedulicity doesn’t have a true Zoom integration (we didn’t see this quarantine coming, either), businesses have been combining our scheduling features with Zoom to offer online classes or sessions. We’re outlining what we’ve found to be the best option below.

Great news, too: You can still use Schedulicity Pay (or our Payment plugin for Stripe or Square) to charge clients for classes just like you would for an in-person class or session.

Here are the technicals:

Use the Email Class Roster or Email Client Feature

In this scenario, you’d use the built-in email class roster or email client feature leading up to each class or appointment. Doing this opens your default email program (i.e. Gmail, Yahoo, etc), and makes it easy to deliver a unique Zoom link for each and every class or appointment — thus protecting against clients getting tempted to jump in on something they haven’t paid for!

You can include a reminder in the custom message for email notifications, so clients are sure to know that the class/appt. is online and that they should keep an eye out for the email with the link coming soon!

If you’re curious about other ways to use Schedulicity to take your business online, we wrote a Support article about it that breaks down all the details. And now that we’ve covered the technicals, let’s talk about ways you can use Zoom based on your industry.

How to Use Zoom for Fitness Classes 

Let Clients Know You’re Going Online

Once you’re all set up with your Zoom account and have figured out which classes you’re going to offer and when, we’d recommend sending an email to your client list letting them know that you’re now offering online classes. Don’t forget to include instructions on how they can sign up for each one going forward! (If you’re a Schedulicity business, see our notes under “Using Zoom with Schedulicity” in the last section to get that set up).

Set Up Your At-Home Studio Space

Before you teach your class, set up a space and test your camera and mic to make sure everyone can see and hear you as you’re demonstrating moves. Since 1:1s on Zoom are included, we highly recommend asking a friend or colleague to run a test with you to make sure everything looks great before you start your classes. 

Plan No-Equipment Options 

Just like you plan adjustments for clients with injuries, you should assume that not everyone will have the same types of equipment at home. Plan your sessions accordingly. If clients can use soup cans instead of free weights, tell them! You may also need to think of ways to incorporate more bodyweight exercises than you normally do.

Even if you normally teach classes that require all the equipment (we’re looking at you, spin instructors and Pilates reformer studios), you can still offer at-home classes. Maybe it’s just a stretch and movement session for spin addicts or an ab-focused HIIT version of mat Pilates. Don’t be afraid to adapt. Your clients will appreciate the opportunity to work out with you even if it’s not “the usual” workout.

Offer Equipment for Rent or Sale (or Send Links to Buy Online)

We’ve seen some spin studios get very creative with their unused equipment. If you live in a city where people can still travel (within reason), considering launching a rental program where people can pay a security deposit (you can set this up through Schedulicity Pay) to pick up a bike, free weights, etc. and use them until the social distancing restrictions are lifted.

You can also sell lower-priced items (like resistance bands). And you can even offer to drop off deliveries in your downtime, so people can stress less about leaving the house.

Last but not least, Amazon Prime is still functioning. Send clients links to optional workout equipment that they can order two-day delivery or easily find at their neighborhood Target. 

Send a Spotify Playlist

Make it fun. If you’re offering a free class, you can set up a Spotify playlist, and send the link to everyone who attends either in the same email as their Zoom link or just share it in the chat area of Zoom at the start of class. Then tell everyone to hit play at the same time you do. It’s a fun, extra touch that we’re loving in our own Zoom classes. (The reason we say free is that there are some restrictions on using Spotify playlists when you’re receiving payment.)

You can also just set up some Spotify playlists for clients who miss hearing your tunes and want to listen to them while they’re dancing around the house.

Give Corrections

As you’re teaching, give students corrections just like you always have. That’s one of the best things about Zoom — you can see when someone drops their butt during plank. 

If You’re Using Zoom Pro, Share the Replay 

We all have a lot of time on our hands. Consider sending a replay to attendees, so they can revisit class between sessions. If you’re tech-savvy, you can also get creative with selling these videos for a few dollars on your site to people who couldn’t attend. 

Don’t Forget About Zoom 1:1s 

Between classes, you can offer private lessons on Zoom! Because why not? 

Set Up Packages, Too 

People really want to support you right now. Consider offering packages that include access to, say, five Zoom classes plus an in-person class when this is all over. It’s a good way to make some extra money upfront when you need it. 

How to Use Zoom as a Stylist, Barber, Esthetician, or Massage Therapist

Offer “Self-Maintenance” Classes 

It might be a while before we all can get a haircut or facial. What are some instructional classes you can offer to help people figure out DIY solutions at home?

Can you walk people through how to fix their manicures? Or maybe through an emergency bang trim? If you’re a massage therapist, you could teach some simple self-massage techniques to clients that they can use in times of stress. We’ve bet you got something to offer if you get creative.

1:1 Consultations

Book 30-minute sessions with clients to talk through the problems they’re experiencing with their hair, skin, nails, whatever your specialty is. While you can’t fix their dry skin or damaged hair for them right now, you can build custom recommendations for them and answer their pressing questions. If you’re living in an area where travel is still allowed, you can even sell them products (conveniently hands-free and online through Schedulicity Pay), then offer to drop them off on their doorsteps after your consultations. 

Throw a Self-Care Workshop or Self-Care Happy Hour

We’re all feeling more isolated right now than we’ve ever felt, and you’re in the business of making people feel better. Plan a special self-care workshop or even just an informal self-care hang with your regular clients so they can “meet” each other and bond from afar. These can be free (your way of giving back to the community) or you can offer them at a cost — go with your gut!