Rasalila Studios

Rasalila Studios — Creating A Digital Member Portal in 72 Hours

When Amsterdam-based Rasalila Studios had to close their doors due to Covid-19, they challenged themselves to move to an online solution for their members...and went live 72 hours later.

3:42 – Things that make Rasalila Studios great!

6:55 – From doors closed to online studio in THREE DAYS

8:47 – Technical challenges of setting up an online studio in 72 hours

11:24 – The Member response to an online courses series

14:30 – The power and support of community

15:56 – Online course complimenting physical classes going forward

20:03 – Conscious Movement Program walkthrough

21:29 – The power of course workbooks

22:57 – Creating a touchpoint that makes a course evergreen

25:00 – When interviews get interview-bombed by wee ones!

25:58 – The “Kajabi” course platform system

27:11 – Things to do differently next time

28:36 – “Am I enough?”

29:57 – Summary

Click the “Connect” tab to browse web/social links …

Website:  www.rasa-lila.nl

Instagram:  @rasalilastudio

Facebook:  @rasalilastudio

Jason Bavington (00:03):

Hi everyone. It’s Jason from DUX — Your Local City Guide. And I’d like to welcome you to our first video blog. This is an idea that we’ve had brewing for quite some time now and it’s very exciting to be sharing with you our first of many, you know, dozens, hundreds or you know, hopefully like thousands of videos going forward. So welcome to the DUX video blog today on the call I have Willemijn from Rasalila Studios in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Hi, I’m good. I mean in this, in this time of year in our isolated quarantine kind of life that we’re currently living, it’s kind of bizarre and scary and exciting and different for everyone. It is very different. So yeah, so Willemijn is on our call today and what we’re going to do and the intention of these blogs is to share from businesses to businesses what people are doing that’s small local business owners, you know, kind of pivot their business, shift their business, try and bring in revenue, try and bring in different kinds of revenue from different kinds of revenue streams.

Jason Bavington (01:14):

Because as we know with the Covid 19 situation, everyone is struggling in a different way, more or less. Right now. You know, as of the time of filming of this call, businesses are still shut down. Retail storefronts are still shut down and a lot of businesses have basically had to put their operation on hold right now. But you know, we still have to pay the bills we still have to pay the rent. We still have to pay our staff, we have to pay our suppliers, our vendors, you know, pay for the electricity and water, you know, all these expenses. They’re still coming in. But the revenue isn’t coming in the door. And over the past few weeks here at DUX, you know, we keep checking in on our businesses that we hang out with and that we associate with and we see that there’s a lot of businesses out there who are definitely struggling.

Jason Bavington (02:00):

Some had to shut their doors already and it really, really sucks for a lot of people. But on the other side, there’s also a lot of other businesses that have discovered new ways of doing business or short term ways to bring in some revenue. Might not be a lot of revenue but it’s more than zero and we see all sorts of cool things happening with all sorts of businesses in a variety of industries and we thought, you know, this would be a great opportunity to bring all this knowledge together and all these experiences together into blogs just like this. We will post it, share it, have it accessible to everyone over the long term so everyone out there who’s struggling with their business or is doing something cool with their business can share it with everyone else and we can all collectively grow our businesses forward and grow our businesses higher.

Jason Bavington (02:51):

You know, I’ve always been a fan of the collaborative model to business development and business networking. I’m not a fan of competitive models at all. I think there’s more than enough room for all of us to share without feeling like we’re taking away or like you know, we’re giving away our business to someone else. It doesn’t really have to work that way. I think the more we collaborate and share, the more we can all lift ourselves up and get ourselves through this storm and be stronger in the end. Cause the storm will clear, you know, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And just working through that now, here’s the most important thing that we can do and helping you to other is essential, you know, as a business community. So welcome after a long little intro. So Willemijn, tell me tell everyone more about Rasalila Studios and what you guys do, and what you’re all about.

Willemijn Laan (03:42):

Well, we’re, I’m in the Netherlands and, we offer a lot of movement classes. We have a big range of different classes from dance to yoga. We have a lot of aerial arts, which is aerial yoga, aerial hoop, aerial dance for a time. We also have pole dancing. We have burlesque, we have a lot of feminine arts, which is burlesque, a part of that of our studio. So we do a lot of with the feminine energies. Yeah, it’s a crazy mix of things and very creative. Yeah.

Jason Bavington (04:28):

So, so someone who’s interested in taking one of your courses, like before Covid, how would that work? Like do they just show up at your studio or do they have to register or take out a membership? How does that normally work?

Willemijn Laan (04:39):

We have different, different options. We have weekly classes. Normally we would have like 50 to 60 classes per week where you can just drop in or buy a class pack for or sign up for a membership. We also have workshops, which is a one off thing usually, for like two or three hours, with a specific theme. We also have courses, which is like something for five weeks in a row, for example, that you come in and they buy that specific course. So it was all offline.

Jason Bavington (05:17):

You had your group of regulars who would come, like people would, it’d be a group of people who would sign up and they would do one set of classes and do they move to a different set of classes, like a different topic or different dance style or movement style?

Willemijn Laan (05:29):

Yeah, they’re always free to do whatever class they like in the week that they’re coming. They can come every day, they can come once a week and they can come on Monday this week and Wednesday next week. Just whatever suits their schedule or what kind of class they like to join that moment.

Jason Bavington (05:49):

And so you have like a variety of instructors who come in and the instructors teach the classes and…

Willemijn Laan (05:53):

Yes, so the business is mine but also my sister’s, so it’s a family business, so she that’s nice. And then she teaches some classes, I don’t teach any classes, but then we have around 20 teachers that do all the different styles.

Jason Bavington (06:13):

Yeah. So a nice, nice little business you got going there and this, this virus came along. It kinda kind of changed things for some people I’ve heard. Tell me, tell me more about like how it, how it impacted your business initially.

Willemijn Laan (06:29):

Well, we had to close our doors, which is pretty impactful. It’s funny because I think yesterday I told my sister that like, even like in the beginning of March, I didn’t realize this would happen to us. So it’s only like this short time that we’re in this totally different world that I didn’t see coming for some reason. So yeah, we shut our business down or at least closed the doors on the 15th of March we heard that we had to close our doors and then on the Thursday after we started our first online class. So we moved really, really quickly. After that was a bit crazy and iy felt like we were setting up a whole new business in three days or something.

Jason Bavington (07:19):

That’s amazing you were able to pivot that quickly. So did you have plans in the works for an online course component to Rasalila? Or was it just like an idea brewing in the back of your mind and then Covid hits and then you’re like, “Oh shoot, we have to do something,” you know,

Willemijn Laan (07:35):

as soon as possible. Well, a little bit of both. I think. We were actually working on this online membership for about six months or four or five months, something like that that we wanted to launch at the end of March, but that membership program is a totally different way of bringing classes and courses. So that was a totally different concept then bringing weekly classes to our members. So we were a little bit also into filming stuff, but not on this regular basis, like 10 classes a week or something filming and editing and uploading and downloading and this crazy different world. Just technical challenges, just very simple stuff, but that can drive you crazy if you’re not into it and you’re trying to set something up within just a few days. So, it was a big challenge.

Jason Bavington (08:41):

I can see, especially when you did it like basically in like 72 hours, which is crazy. So you know, kudos to you guys. So what sort of challenges did you experience, technical challenges you mentioned, in setting up these courses. What were some of the stumbling blocks that you found and how did you get through them?

Willemijn Laan (09:01):

It was something really simple as because the videos or the classes are an hour long. So the videos that we’re shooting are … depending on how you save them on your computer, they’re like between one and a half and three GB for videos. So that just caused for a lot of shut down. So my laptop not being able to upload them because the internet or the wifi in the studio is not that great. Just getting them to post them online, that was just the biggest challenge. And also having good sound. I did have an okay camera in front. What is it? The camera that you put on your laptop — webcam — but then the sound is not that great. And I had it for shooting close by, but if you do a movement class you would have to step back like two metres or something to have your whole body in the shot.

Willemijn Laan (10:07):

So that’s a different thing, it’s also the quality of it. And then after a while just thinking “it’s good enough, this is not our main business”. We do what we can and we do have stuff and that the content, the class itself is high quality, but maybe, you know, sound is not perfect or the video quality is not perfect. But, it’s good enough for this moment in time. But that took two weeks or something, something for me to really be like, okay, we’re doing good, actually, if you look at the timeframe and what we’re setting up right now.

Jason Bavington (10:45):

One of my favorite sayings is, 10% of something is better than a hundred percent of nothing. And you guys went from nothing to something. It might not be perfect. And might not be, you know, had you had six months to plan it out, you could figure out the best quality video, the best quality audio, the best quality lighting, the best way to upload stuff.

Willemijn Laan (11:03):

That too, but also the money. I mean I don’t want to spend money on a lot of technical stuff right now. Like a good microphone. I did actually buy a little headset thing but are we going to buy a new camera right now? No money is coming in. It’s crazy.

Jason Bavington (11:25):

So just bootstrap it like that. And at the end of the day, you did get your videos out and they are uploaded and the course is live and that’s fantastic. So congratulations to that. Thank you. So the course has been up, you’re having a promotion to raise awareness about the course. And so tell me about, you know, how have the enrolments been? The signups been? Is it what you’re expecting? Is it more or less, what’s your experience after offering online courses to your members and future members?

Willemijn Laan (11:55):

I really didn’t know what to expect because it was just totally new and all of our members were of course used to having actual classes in the studio. So I just didn’t know how people would like it or not. Of course afterwards I’m like, okay, they don’t have anywhere else to go. So that’s probably also why they actually like classes and they actually do sign up for a lot of them. So I was actually surprised. Yeah, exactly. And they want to keep moving and they want to stay strong in this period for when they go out and do our stuff again and do the real dancing in the studio or that they’re not they lost all of their flexibility, all of their strength, all of their moves. So I see a lot of them that really want to keep up their energy and strength, et cetera.

Willemijn Laan (12:50):

So that’s good to see. It was also finding a balance because we do have our members, which is very nice, and I realize even more how great it is that we have members, that we have a community that is really in love with our studio and really want to keep helping us and supporting us, but also keep doing the classes that we offer. But then there’s not that much extra money coming in. There are some people that do buy drop-in classes for the online classes. We have a good introduction prize for if you’re new. We have little class packs, but that’s not a lot of people. It’s not that there’s a lot of money extra coming in, so we did have to find a balance of how many classes can we offer, because the more classes we offered, the more costs we have as well because we do have to pay the teachers of course. So it was finding how much do we give to our students, but not too much if it’s just draining us. Right?

Jason Bavington (13:55):

Yeah, you’re still trying to serve your clients and service your members. But yeah, you still need to keep the lights on and you got to watch that bank account and you know, bank accounts …

Willemijn Laan (14:05):

Yeah we do and we still have to pay the rent and just, the regular electrics and wifi and all that.

Jason Bavington (14:16):

Balancing all these things while trying to bring in revenue, new streams of revenue. But like you said, there’s a cost to generating that revenue and you know, the studio is closed, we can’t bring in our traditional regular kind of revenue in the ways that we’re used to. So I appreciate how that’d be a big struggle that’s ongoing on how to balance that. And it sounds like your community is supporting you, which is fantastic. And that’s another thing that we’ve noticed is that out of all this, the overall sense of community has grown. This is like a great equalizer. It doesn’t matter, you know, rich, poor, big, small. It doesn’t really matter what kind of person you are really. You know, we’re all affected by the situation. And so we’ve noticed how the community is that much stronger now because everyone is in it together. People used to go to your studio, they know you’re closed, but like you said, they still support you. They still want to contribute and participate. So, so it’s great.

Willemijn Laan (15:12):

Yeah, it just shows how much you need your community as well. And I mean there’s a lot of platforms like online platforms. I don’t know if you have that in Canada, the “ClassPass”. Like with membership. Something, I don’t know. There’s probably some variety of it. I’ve been quite happy with my physique, so you know. You know you don’t have to work out. I’m just coasting right now. It’s like Uber eats but in sport fitness or sports. So having your own members and a membership revenue stream is actually, it’s the best to have. And I’m very happy that we have a big part of it.

Jason Bavington (15:56):

And now that you’ve transitioned online, at least for the short term, do you see any potential to grow your business in an online way? Because that would be something totally new because in the real world, the physical world, you have your studio and now that you have something online to offer, anyone in the world can access it. So do you see an opportunity to grow your business, basically remotely with people all around the world that can now access your course?

Willemijn Laan (16:22):

We still have to really make a plan around that. But of course we were already making this online membership, which is called the Conscious Movement Program. And there we actually are offering mini courses of the themes that we offer courses in their studio. So we bring them, we make them into mini courses for online. So every month there’s a new course. So then if you have the membership every month you’d get one or two new courses and then we add some movement classes to them as well. So it could be yoga or dance or something. So that’s already something that we’re working on and actually launched this month. But now, maybe, we are looking into maybe keeping online weekly classes, as well, to our regular schedule. I think especially in the beginning, I think when, you know maybe the rules are getting a little bit more loose and you know when we’re ready to open our doors again it will not be for the full one hundred percent. They call it here

Willemijn Laan (17:25):

the one and a half metre economy which is where, yeah, so that’s the whole thing. Probably when we do, when we are allowed to open again that we have to keep distance for one and a half metres. So also our students in the classes, that means that we have less space or less, so we can have less people in a room. So groups will be smaller. So we probably also need more space in between like when one class ends and when the other one starts. There needs to be a bigger gap so that people don’t bump into each other, et cetera. So it will be a puzzle. But it also means that we have less space for classes, like actual physical classes in the studio so maybe and maybe people are scared as well or don’t want to or did not want to come to the studio. There will probably be this transition period as well. So I think it’s nice to maybe start combining online classes with the actual physical classes and then maybe we’ll see what happens if that’s working well. I did have one request of someone who’s not living in Amsterdam like, “Oh, are you going to keep it?”

Willemijn Laan (18:44):

So are you keep offering this after this whole. Yeah like you guys could become like an international thing. We could be, exactly. And I’ll say it’s funny because my sister, yeah, I mean she’s not against all the online stuff, but she was a little bit more hesitant and “okay, are we going online now?” And it’s like, so impersonal and our studio is very much about a community, very much about connection, et cetera. So now because of this whole situation, she’s all of a sudden she’s like, “Oh yeah, I did shoot a video, I made a class from mine and then I actually liked it.” So she’s also the headmistress of Amsterdam School of Burlesque. So she’s now actually making a little course of Burlesque course, for online as well, which I would’ve loved to have earlier already. But now it’s actually happening because of this situation. So, that’s a good and funny thing that it also brings out new…

Jason Bavington (19:44):

New ideas, new creativity.

Willemijn Laan (19:47):

And also you’re getting forced into a specific direction, which maybe first you’re like “I don’t want to go there”, but then when you’re there you’re like, “Oh, this is not too bad.” I can do something. Yeah, exactly.

Jason Bavington (20:03):

Did you want to walk through the conscious movement online course? And you can just <> Conscious Movement Program. Here we go. Yes. You’re a member. I got the keys to the kingdom. Someone was very kind to me. Okay. So tell me about what we’re seeing here. When people first, they paid their, you, they signed up, they registered, and then they arrive at this screen. So tell me what’s going on here,

Willemijn Laan (20:24):

Yes. So you have the Conscious Movement Program, where we upload one or two mini courses every month and every course has a different theme. So you click on “View Product” there. You’ll see two courses there and there’s one coming this Friday, another one. So there’s “Daily Abundance” and there’s, for example, “Authenticity” already uploaded here. And then there’s one on “Magic” coming, which is really cool. So there’s an introduction to a theme and then you get different tools and practices to integrate that theme into your daily life. For example, this is the “Daily Abundance” and then there’s different themes and different practices that bring you to daily moments. And this is me!

Jason Bavington (21:14):

Let’s see if it’ll play well… So these are the videos that you filmed and then you have a description about each of the videos that we’re watching and then we can go to the next one.

Willemijn Laan (21:29):

So there’s always an introduction and then four tools or practices to get into the theme of that course. And there’s a workbook where you can journal or write things down that you are asked to do within one

Jason Bavington (21:45):

practice. So that was a great idea. So you not only have videos and some text content and it’s all organized in a very straightforward kind of way. We have these workbooks. So tell me about that idea and how did that come about to include workbooks for people?

Willemijn Laan (22:00):

It’s because they’re there to really get something into your body or into your daily habits or, it’s very nice to write things down. It just sets things within your brain in a certain way that you can remember it well or just integrate it more. So that’s why I wanted to have something, you know, you can print it out and then actually write with pen and paper, which is nice. It’s a different energy than just watching a video. It just helps with integrating the theme.
Jason Bavington (22:36):

So, yeah. That’s great. So people can print it out and write down their thoughts.

Willemijn Laan (22:40):

You can also type into it actually, just on your laptop. But I think it’s nice to. That’s fantastic. To also print it out. And just maybe keep it somewhere and you can go back to it in a year and then see, “Oh what did I do?”

Jason Bavington (22:57):

Yeah. And you can refine it. And this is the kind of thing that helps make your course evergreen also, right? Because people can do it, you know, this week, this month. And like you said, if they want to come back to it, they can just print off a new one. And so it’s a great way for you to offer some longterm value to your members for your course and it’s a great longterm touchpoint to your members also because they’ll always remember that they got this from you guys, right? They didn’t get it from anywhere else. They got it from you and your online course. So, you know, let’s see what other new online course that you guys have. Because you said you’re adding another course like at the end of this week, right?

Willemijn Laan (23:31):

Yes. On Friday. 1st of May, the course on magic will be available and then we have the online movement classes and these are, for example, it could be yoga and here we have the Conscious Sensuality, it’s like a movement meditation class, a workout class, two yoga class – three yoga classes, actually. We just keep adding one … Yeah, do you like it? The Wonder Woman workout?

Jason Bavington (23:58):

So same thing and then people can watch it.

Willemijn Laan (24:02):

People can watch it. This is actually like a regular class. So it’s an hour long, for example. You do a workout, you do a yoga class, like as if you were in the studio with them jumping and doing your jumping jacks, in you know, your living room for example. So this is our studio. You can see it here as well. And so who’s this? This is Nikki. Okay. Nikki Gold. So she will guide you through this workout. So people can watch it later? Yeah, exactly. You can just watch it over and over again. It’s more like, these are all like really movement classes, like literally moving your body and it’s Conscious Movements. Many courses are a little bit about moving your body, but mainly about inner movement as well. So that’s why it’s called the Conscious Movement Program where we move inside and out, right? So we need … so here’s my son ….

Jason Bavington (25:05):

<< Mom and son

Willemijn Laan (25:10):

discussing dinner plans….in Dutch! 🙂 >>

Jason Bavington (25:26):

So that’s one of the, you know, things that would never happen during a normal interview at a studio. No exactly! I think it’s interesting now. Everyone has kind of become more real through all of this, right? You know, everyone has family of some sort, most likely everyone has relationships and children and, you know, all this sort of stuff. And now we’re getting a glimpse into everyone’s life.

Willemijn Laan (25:49):

Like, “I’m sorry, my kids are screaming,” “Ahh, no worries.” It’s fine, it’s fine. There’s nothing we can do about it. Right?

Jason Bavington (25:58):

That’s very cool. The course is very well organized. So what sort of software have you used to set up the full thing? Is there a particular platform you use that other people might be, you know, that other people would want to use? If they’re doing this for the first time? What systems did you use to get the whole thing up?

Willemijn Laan (26:14):

For the Conscious Movement Program we use Kajabi. They offer this whole platform where you can set up a whole site as well, where people you know, have your sales page where people can sign up with their credit card and then their accout and then have all their content there. You can actually add a lot of stuff, a lot of products and courses and that. And it looks good already without already seeing the content. So that to me was this thing that I wanted that it already looks good because … that it feels like I want to come back here because it’s a monthly membership and I don’t have people be like, “Oh, I don’t know. I like the course, but it doesn’t really feel like I want to go back to it.” Right? Usability and …
Jason Bavington (27:11):

So now that you’ve had experience through these online courses, kind of like Trial By Fire, is there something you would do differently next time? Is there, you know, would you like to have it play out in a different way that other people might benefit from if they’re doing it for the first time?

Willemijn Laan (27:25):

I think mainly that I was just really worried about if it was going to be enough and if it’s fast enough or something or if there’s like enough classes every day and looking at other studios like, “Oh they’re doing 60 things they’re doing this and they’re going live and we are only doing pre-recorded” because that to us felt better at this moment. And then it took me a few weeks to realize that you have this whole range of possibilities and you can do everything or you can do nothing. And then there’s everything in between, right? And that we’re doing what we can and that it’s for, especially for this period of time, where everything is totally different and bizarre and like unreal sort of. But then it becomes, becomes real. So you accept that what we’re doing is enough and that it’s good. And then after a while you get space in your mind again to add stuff and maybe make it better but not be like … hopefully it will only be just a few months in this specific setting where the doors are actually closed. So what’s a few months, right?

Jason Bavington (28:36):

And in the long-term, hopefully it doesn’t make much difference. And I think that’s a common thing, you know, we experience it as a business and both in personal life, “Is it enough, am I enough?” You know, this thing / concept about being enough is, it’s very, very common. So we’re always questioning and wondering, you know, did I do enough and should I do it differently? Like you said, like at least you’ve done it.

Willemijn Laan (28:58):

Yeah. And within three days there was like this the whole thing. I was like, why did I think, you know, afterwards, I was like, “why did I think that was needed?’ You know why could we just do it within a week or something? Or at first, we only had to close our doors for three weeks and now it’s already, like, week seven and we’re still closed for at least the next three weeks. So it’s taking a lot longer. So I’m happy that we did it. But yeah, the panic takes over, sort of in the beginning.

Jason Bavington (29:31):

Well yeah, and that’s the thing. We’re all human and you know, this is new for everyone, but, once we’re able to take a breath then kind of come down from being, you know, basically shellshocked from this whole … basically came out of nowhere, right? No one could ever have expected it.

Willemijn Laan (29:44):

No. And having two children in the house, you know, one of them gets homeschooling. My husband has to work full time as well. So, how are we going to do this? But yeah, it takes a while.
Jason Bavington (29:57):

It’s good. So in summary, you had to close your storefront, but you created an online course. You did it in three days. That’s 72 hours, people, to get an online course up and running. You use a system called Kajabi. What we’ll do is we’ll put a link down below to that system. Sounds like it’s very turnkey. If you can pull that off in three days using this system then I think …

Willemijn Laan (30:20):

Oh, that was not in three days. So, the Conscious Movement Program was, we planned that for a while. So that was not in three days, but the online classes for our members, like as if our studio was open. That we did in three days, like have this whole schedule up for daily and weekly classes. So is that on Kajabi also? Yeah, we put them as a blog post, so because all the videos are up for 24 hours. So I put the people that sign up for that specific class, send them the link and then they can join the class for the full day. And then I take it offline again. So yeah, controlling your content that way. Yes, but with putting it up on the Kajabi website actually makes more traffic getting, you know, the people see that we also have the online program, the mentorship program. You bring them in one way. We have two different online programs right now.

Jason Bavington (31:23):

Again, I’m with Willemijn of Rasalila in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Thank you very much Willemijn. That was very fun to do the video with you. I celebrate your success that you’ve achieved so far with your online courses. And if you’re watching this video anywhere else, but on our website, head on over to DUX . city. That’s dux.city. And then click on our blog and you’ll see the Rasalila blog post there. And what we’ll do, Willemijn, we’ll post links on the blog to your website and then all of the social media connections so people can check out what you’re doing. Connect with you if they have any questions on what you’ve done and just explore how you guys have adapted, and pivoted in this new world that we’re in. So is there anything else you wanted to add before we wrap this puppy up?

Willemijn Laan (32:13):

No, I think it’s just cool that we’re not all international. That’s a cool thing too. Like you’re in Canada, I’m in Amsterdam, so in the Netherlands and now you can join our classes too!

Jason Bavington (32:25):

There you go. You know, just like a click away, just get out my credit card and we’re good. Exactly. Thanks again, Willemijn. Thanks everyone for watching our video and we’re DUX — Local City Guide and we’re here for the businesses. We’re here for the shoppers. And just keep that goodness flowing and keep sharing and supporting your local goodness everyone. Cheers.

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