written by
Team Propel

Client Base Building 101

Teach 2 min read

Years ago there was a wide gap between people who worked for public pools or swim schools, and people who worked for themselves. Then waitlists grew into the tens of thousands and instructors started running lucrative side hustles teaching their own private lessons. If you’ve ever wondered how to convert swimmers who adore you into a thriving client base, we’ve put together these tips to help guide you through that process.

Teach your butt off

As with all things in life, you only get what you put in. And you shouldn’t expect more, until you do more. So spend your energy where it counts, focusing on teaching with high energy and doing whatever it takes to help your swimmers achieve results. Trust me – people will begin to notice you.

Create your personal brand

Public perception is everything when you’re teaching swimming lessons. So it should come as no surprise that the parents sitting in the bleachers can either be your harshest critics or your biggest fans.

Your brand is what other people say about you when you're not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos, Founder & CEO of Amazon

If you put yourself in the parents’ shoes, what would they say about your teaching style? Are you someone who uses the same stale drills as everyone else. Or are you the “fun teacher” who always knows how to make the kids laugh? Establishing your personal brand is a great way to stand out and attract attention from parents who might later ask if you teach privately.

Demonstrate principled knowledge

When giving feedback to parents and swimmers, don’t forget to explain the true fundamentals. All too often, instructors use rules of thumb such as kicking with straight legs, rather than taking the time to properly communicate what is actually important – kicking from the hips. By showing clients that you understand the fundamentals AND can clearly articulate them to both parents and swimmers, you’ll establish yourself as an expert.

Before people will begin paying you for the value of your expertise, you need to demonstrate that your expertise is valuable.

Be ready to seize the opportunity

If your favourite student’s parents approached you and offered to pay $75/hr for private lessons, would you be prepared to say yes? Most instructors rarely give it a thought and then find themselves unable to take advantage of their luck.

Do you have a pool in mind where you can take clients to teach them? Do you have the appropriate certifications, licenses, or insurance? If the answers to these questions are no, then consider signing up with Propel. Our platform provides everything you need to start teaching your own private lessons including access to local pools, insurance, and a dedicated booking page – all without any expenses out-of-pocket.

Even if you don’t yet have the required year of teaching experience, you can always sign up in advance and start utilizing the tips above to build your client base. That way as soon as you’re ready to start your own private lesson side hustle, you’ll have clients from day one.


Not Yet a Propel Swimming Instructor?

Are you ready to start working and earning like a professional swimming instructor? Sign up today and start teaching for yourself.