Husband and Wife Pilates Team

 

Episode 31:

Like any relationship, a business partnership with your spouse brings unique opportunities and challenges to overcome together.

Today on The Pilates Exchange, Hannah’s husband and business partner, Christian Teutscher, joins us to talk about what it’s like to work with your partner in your business and teach with them full-time, 24 hours a day!

We share tips for building a good working relationship and the tools we use to put love first in stressful situations.

We also discuss what makes working with your partner so incredibly rewarding, what the downsides can be, the importance of clear boundaries, and much more! For exclusive insight into this dynamic husband and wife Pilates team, tune in today!

 

Key Points From This Episode:

 

  • The “intense and unusual” circumstances in which Hannah and Christian first met.
  • How complaining without looking for a solution can make a stressful situation worse.
  • Why open communication is key when you spend so much time with someone.
  • Insight into how Hannah and Christian’s business is set up.
  • The importance of setting clear boundaries between private and professional.
  • The value of kind words, having separate hobbies, and taking “vacations” from your phone.
  • Reasons that working with your partner can be extremely rewarding!

EPISODE 31

 

HT: Different companies work in different ways but in this particular company, you are in the same room, basically, the entire day with each other. Like, there were very few times where the rehearsals separated out. We were just all together eight hours a day.”

 

[INTRODUCTION]

 

[0:00:21.8] HT: Welcome. Stick around if you want to learn about the art and philosophy of beautiful movement mixed with evidence-based exercise science. We’ll be having tough and inspiring conversations with other coaches, experts, artists, and athletes. Our goal is to challenge myths, explore concepts, and engage in healthy debate as we dive deep with intrigue and curiosity. 

 

I’m your host, Hannah Teutscher. I’ve been teaching dance, Pilates, and Yoga for over two decades, and what I’ve learned is that movement can be the joy that integrates us all together. When we can trust and express ourselves through our bodies, we are unlimited in our ability to change ourselves and our communities for the better. 

 

We, as movement teachers and coaches, have the power to help people experience this for themselves. Okay everyone, let’s dive in. Exchanging ideas and changing people’s lives, one session at a time. This is The Pilates Exchange.

 

[INTERVIEW]

 

[0:01:18.2] HT: Welcome back. Today, we’re going to be talking with Christian, about what it’s like to work with your partner in your business and teach with them full-time, 24 hours a day. Oh my gosh, it’s pretty intense.

 

[0:01:33.0] CT: That’s a really good question. Let’s see if we’re going to make it through this podcast.

 

[0:01:39.9] HT: Let’s see. So, because we have in the past gotten a few questions about what it’s like to work together so intensely and if we have any tips on making it a good working relationship.

 

[0:01:51.4] CT: I mean, I don’t have any tips right now. We just maybe should start from the beginning, where do we start with getting to know each other and the work environment we had, so people get a little bit more on our background.

 

[0:02:05.8] HT: Oh, the love story.

 

[0:02:07.1] CT: No, it’s not about the love story, just how we met.

 

[0:02:10.9] HT: Okay.

 

[0:02:11.0] CT: You’re going to put some fancy music on now?

 

[0:02:13.5] HT: No. All right, so, way back when, I auditioned for a theatre that you were already dancing on.

 

[0:02:20.9] CT: That’s correct. I got to meet you, or I met you the first time in 2010. You did audition in 2010 and I started working in the theatre 2008, so I was there already two years, and then, the first thing was, when I saw you, what I remember now, I was just like, “What is this lady, an American. She’s like, so vibrant and full of energy and she’s just talking too much.” I was just totally, totally not interested.

 

Maybe also, at this time, I was also a little bit finding my way in the company, in the theatre and looking for something I didn’t know. So, I was also a little bit not looking for anyone or is not interested in seeing, dating anyone. So, maybe that was also one thing.

 

[0:03:02.5] HT: I don’t think I remember that first audition but you know, when you’re auditioning for something, it’s pretty intense, like, there’s a lot of things going on and a lot of first impressions. So, I don’t really have a memory then but, when I got the job and then started the next season, I definitely remember going into the studio and meeting you for the first time.

 

[0:03:21.5] CT: Do you remember then?

 

[0:03:22.4] HT: Yeah.

 

[0:03:23.4] CT: I don’t remember that.

 

[0:03:24.4] HT: Yeah. No, it’s all right. It’s okay but it was shortly after when we had our –

 

[0:03:29.6] CT: Yeah, because you chose the spot and we were standing next to each other.

 

[0:03:34.8] HT: I know.

 

[0:03:35.2] CT: This is where it all it started. We were training. So, maybe we have to explain that, in the ballet world, most of the time, you’re starting with a classical training at the bar the first couple of minutes, half an hour to one hour, then you put the bars to the side and you go to the centre. So, we were standing right next to each other, and Hannah, she chose this spot, I didn’t invite her. She’s standing right next to me. So, maybe this is where it started, I don’t know.

 

[0:04:01.9] HT: Well, what can I say? I’m a go-getter, I know what I want. Well, we did – actually, that’s true. We started taking – so, we were dancing in the same company and we were taking class right next to each other. So, there was like, 20 – I don’t know how many dancers, 20?

 

[0:04:20.8] CT: Yeah, something – yeah, around 20.

 

[0:04:24.4] HT: 20 dancers, 20 full-time dancers plus a few guests, I think at that point. 

 

[0:04:29.0] CT: Yeah.

 

[0:04:28.9] HT: So, maybe in the room, at most would be like 25 dancers, with the guests included. So, you have to imagine, already from the beginning of our meeting and the beginning of our relationship, it was a very intense and unusual work situation because, in a dance company, you are what? Different companies work in different ways but in this particular company, you are in the same room basically the entire day with each other. 

 

Like, there was very few times where the rehearsals separated out. We were just all together, eight hours a day.

 

[0:05:04.5] CT: Eight hours, yeah, and in an environment where you just kind of – it’s hard to work. I don’t want to sound like it’s so difficult but it is difficult moving every day, doing the same choreography with the same people in the room. It’s tough, I mean, you have to kind of –

 

[0:05:22.2] HT: You have to be very mentally resilient.

 

[0:05:24.1] CT: Yeah, you have to be resilient but it’s also that also comes like, choosing the job and already being a professional dancer, you know already what this is all about but it’s just showing up every day, being consistent and just maybe forget about the past yesterday and then you just focus on what’s right now and tomorrow. So now, when you look back, it always feels like, “Ah, it’s easy, I did it.” 

 

You know, always when you think back when you look back, “Oh yeah, been there, done that, I can do it again.” But I wouldn’t go back to the time if someone would ask me.

 

[0:05:56.7] HT: I agree with you. I think that was really – when you’re in it, and not doing the hard things, sometimes I don’t feel as hard as they are when you look back. but during that time, I remember, so our schedule during the day was pretty intense. You had ballet class and then you had your rehearsals all day, depending on what the performance schedule looked like, maybe you leave theatre for a little bit, go back, take a nap, eat some food, go back to the theatre. 

 

You have a warmup again, put on some makeup, hair, costume, like that’s all a big thing. Then, the performance, which is usually, I don’t know, anywhere between 90 minutes and two hours, then you have to take a shower and go back home. You get home, probably then again, 10:00.

 

[0:06:43.6] CT: 10:30.

 

[0:06:44.2] HT: If you’re lucky. 11:00 got to get yourself ready for bed and do the whole thing again and we worked six days a week at that point.

 

[0:06:51.8] CT: Yeah, before you’re in bed, like, let’s say, you take a shower and take your makeup, take everything off and stuff and go home and then it’s just, before you calm down, before you are ready to sleep, it’s like, midnight.

 

[0:07:02.8] HT: Yeah.

 

[0:07:03.3] CT: 11:30, and then, next day, 10:00, you have to be there again.

 

[0:07:08.7] HT: I guess, why we’re telling you this is that we have already worked in a super intense situation but we started to put some guardrails in at the beginning of our relationship. Like, after work when we were walking back to our apartment, we had like a limited time period we were allowed to complain to each other.

 

[0:07:26.3] CT: Basically, we agreed, the both of us, we agreed to it that we’re just going to complain for the way home and at home, we don’t complain anything anymore because Hannah always tells me, “You are only allowed to complain if you have a solution. Other than that, you’re not allowed to complain.”

 

[0:07:47.0] HT: I sound so strict but no, I think it’s a good – 

 

[0:07:48.0] CT: Yeah, this is the – this is what I have on my back written as my tattoo. No, that’s not true.

 

[0:07:53.2] HT: No, that’s not true. No. I think it is a good practice because when in intense situations, like you could get really caught up in thinking about only the hard things and when we’re just talking about the hard things or the things that make us angry or uncomfortable and all that and we’re not looking for a solution out of it or how to make the situation better, how to maybe alter the response or the feeling of it or changing the situation, then all it does is like, feeds into, sort of a negative environment and pessimism and I think that’s when you already have an intense situation, those doesn’t help.

 

[0:08:35.0] CT: Yeah, I mean, but also, in this time, I think you also learned from yourself and from your partner how much are you willing to adapt or what you say? You have to adapt in a way and then you can see as your future partner because at this time we didn’t know how long we were going to stay together because everything was relatively new.

 

So like, how much can you adapt, how much can you ask, how much can you give, what are you able to do? I think then finding the right level of communicating after all the stress in the stressful situations and then just finding together, staying together, and working through some things, it’s probably – shows if it’s the right partner or not. 

 

I’m just – I wanted to sidetrack because I’m going to come back to this and because I got to like – a picture or like – and I have a person, an older man who is training with me in the studio and he’s like, over 70 years old and he told me the story how he met his wife and he said, basically, he was like, travelling around here and there, and doing the stuff. He planned a camping trip by himself and then they met and she was like, “Why don’t I join you?” And he was like, “Okay.” And then after three days, they were going in the woods there and doing their camping and tents and stuff then he realized, “Yeah, they could work.” Because they could find the way being with each other and stuff like that. 

 

And I think it is also coming back to dance, to the ballet studio situation that it is an intense situation. If you can go through then, that we’re talking about before, is that you can do kind of anything in life. 

 

[SPONSOR MESSAGE]

 

[0:10:11.9] HT: When I started teaching, I felt underprepared and overwhelmed. I needed to learn how to plan my training so that it made sense but I wasn’t sure what was working and what wasn’t. So many teacher training programs leave out the actual art and business of teaching. This is why we created Train the Trainers. 

 

Train the Trainers is designed to give you the tools you need to create a powerful learning environment for your students. Gain access to the vault of our collected knowledge, where you can learn everything we have to teach you, whether you’re a freelance teacher or a studio owner. 

 

Get constructive feedback on your teaching with actionable tools you can apply immediately. We can’t wait to be part of your teaching journey and to help you grow in your business. Welcome to Train the Trainers. 

 

[INTERVIEW CONTINUED]

 

[0:11:01.0] HT: So, when – and something that we talk about a lot with our clients now just because they ask all the time, when they come in the first time like, “Oh, you guys are married and you’re working together. How does that work out?” And it’s kind of really – we find it a really funny conversation because it works out so well for us, you know?

 

[0:11:19.6] CT: Yeah, because we just did it from the beginning. There was no other way, it’s just there’s so many other people, couples out there, we don’t want to talk about this honestly but they can’t work together. They’re just happy that they do their things in home but they can’t do any hobbies, any other stuff, but they stay together. And there’s some people, they stayed there 24/7. So, just to give you a little insight, which is spending the entire day together, we go together in the morning, going together to work. 

 

[0:11:45.3] HT: Yeah. 

 

[0:11:46.3] CT: We’re staying around, maybe it was sometimes you go one hour there over there but that’s most of the time, let’s say 24/7, we just – 

 

[0:11:53.2] HT: Yeah, for those of you that don’t know what our set-up is, we have indoor – we have a physical brick-and-mortar. So, we have three studio rooms here that we teach classes. We also have a team of teachers that works with us as well, so we are teaching classes in tandem. We have workshops together, teacher trainings, and all sorts of things there and then of course, we have our online stuff. 

 

So, sometimes we’re teaching together, sometimes we’re alone, one person is demonstrating, the other person is taking the class, or whatever that may be but I think all of it boils down to having a clear schedule and trying to also leave space for one another because we do have so much time together. Another important thing maybe is that I’m the official owner and you were working for me. 

 

That’s what the official set-up is and if I am as a – I am going to put air quotations here – but “as a boss” if I’m not – I need to also be clear with the boundaries of what I’m allowed to say and ask for and you know, the same thing for Christian. Like we have to be clear with when are we working and what is private and keep that very separate, so even in the studio. 

 

[0:13:12.7] CT: Yeah, it is true. It’s just I think this is probably also something where we can do a little bit more, now is private time, now is working time because everything is so like, how do you call it? Intertwined what is because if you find a job you like, it’s fun for you. You just don’t mind sitting in the afternoon at home or most days, I mean, when we walk with our doggie and we just have a conversation about, “Oh, I saw this one.” 

 

“What about this? What about this?” And so we’re just using most of the time why we’re walking and going somewhere to exchange information about the business or this worked, this did not work, and especially in the pandemic time where just the both of us, we were just so flexible and so fast, moving things around and putting everything online and stuff. If you would have had, for example, so many other people, friends, and teachers and stuff, that’s difficult. 

 

But I think that also is one of the positive things that you’re in the same household, so you can also do things faster if you want to do changes for the studio for example, like the pandemic. 

 

[0:14:16.6] HT: Because we’re both so passionate about movement and about what we’re doing and about the business that, like you said, it’s very hard to draw lines like, “Okay, this is business and this is private” because we’re both excited about what we’re doing. I would say that is probably the biggest downfall that we have is hard to shut off of what’s a business thing, where does social media go in there, where does all – you know what I mean? 

 

[0:14:42.7] CT: And then I’m coming back to when work is fun. For example, for me doing all the social media stuff. Sometimes, it’s a little bit not so easy to find your motivation but for me, that’s fun. I wouldn’t count this one as work. I wonder, you know, maybe one week or an entire month we’re just going to have a book and we write down, “Okay, working from 10 to whatever and this is work and then that in private.” 

 

Just to see how many hours of work we’re actually putting together, just as an example. It will be cool but I mean, anyway, I think everyone can – all the discord goes out to all the home office people or the remote working people, then it’s just hard to stop at one point, you know? It’s just you continue because you’re already at home. 

 

[0:15:24.9] HT: Yeah, some tools or things that we always have to keep on remembering of is always to use kind words. So, even when things are hard and stressful in the studio and there are definitely those moments in business that are very stressful, we use kind words with each other. 

 

[0:15:45.3] CT: I would also say finding a hobby you don’t do together so you can do, for example, for example, I like road biking. So now, when the spring or summer is coming up I would like to go two times a week. So, it is just my time to relax, my time to be with myself. I think that would also help because if you do hobbies together and everything, you’re already working and doing it 24/7. So, I think that would probably help and yeah, and then also scheduling out – 

 

[0:16:17.8] HT: Vacations. 

 

[0:16:19.4] CT: Vacations from there, like where you say, “Okay, we leave the phones.” We just look at the phones for an hour after dinner or before dinner or whatever stuff. That is also I think really important if you happen to work as a husband and wife team. 

 

[0:16:36.7] HT: A partner team. 

 

[0:16:38.8] CT: A partner team, it doesn’t have to be married for that, that should – 

 

[0:16:42.1] HT: Having trust that, so if there is clear expectations that’s always I think really important within a partner business is having a clear expectation of who is doing what and trusting the person is going to get that done. No one likes to be micromanaged, so that’s no fun but if you can have, like any good working relationship, if you have those expectations, “This is on the list, this is going to get done.” And that remains a reliable part, that’s important too. 

 

[0:17:15.4] CT: I think also what now comes to my head is if you – how do you call it? Divide and conquer. So, if you have to battle like one big thing then you just, “Okay, you do this one while I’m doing this one.” You’re answering the emails, I’m just going to have a look if this and this and whatever,” just you know what I mean.

 

[0:17:36.3] HT: Yeah. 

 

[0:17:37.0] CT: So, it’s just that you don’t have to do the same things together all the time like work-related, so you’re just also do two separate things at the same time. 

 

[0:17:47.3] HT: Absolutely. 

 

[0:17:48.1] CT: To get the workload done. 

 

[0:17:50.0] HT: Overall, I would say it is extremely rewarding because you get to build – 

 

[0:17:55.9] CT: Is it? 

 

[0:17:57.4] HT: Well, it’s our baby, you know? Like this is where we’re pouring our love and attention into growing and this is also our future. So, watching the energy that we put into it together, give us returns, that’s amazing and – 

 

[0:18:17.3] CT: And yeah, definitely that – I mean, because there is also some people that work together and not for their own business, for other people or for a different business but in our case, I would say, all the energy you put in, all the extra time you spend, it definitely will pay back, maybe not immediately but in a couple of years or months. So, it’s just – what is that word I heard the other day, the phrase, the best thing you can do in life is to show up.

 

[0:18:44.3] HT: Yeah. 

 

[0:18:45.0] CT: So, every day. I think that’s really, really important just to continue.

 

[0:18:48.4] HT: Continue to show up for yourself, for each other and also for the business.

 

[0:18:54.1] CT: Yeah, of course, definitely. This is quite motivating, I think.

 

[0:18:59.8] HT: I agree. Chris, do you have any last words of advice for what it’s like?

 

[0:19:06.1] CT: I think I poured everything already out. Do you have anything you would like to know about our life? Just contact us and absolutely, no problem, and then maybe it’s going to be one episode of many, many, talking about life.

 

[0:19:22.0] HT: Whatever you want to know.

 

[0:19:23.3] CT: Working or whatever together. Yeah, that’s it from my side.

 

[0:19:25.9] HT: Yeah, I think that’s it for mine as well and I agree with Chris, if you have any specific questions about the structure of what we do or how we make it work, then please, reach out. If not, then have a wonderful rest of your day and happy teaching and I will see you next week.

 

[0:19:44.9] CT: Thanks for listening.

 

[0:19:46.3] HT: Bye.

 

[0:19:46.8] CT: Bye-bye. 

 

[END OF INTERVIEW]

 

[0:19:48.2] HT: Thank you so much for joining us today. I hope you enjoyed the conversation. A great cost-free way of supporting us and the podcast would be to give us a five-star rating. You could also look down into the show notes and grab anyone of the free resources for teachers. I hope to see you next week on The Pilates Exchange. Happy teaching everyone. 

 

[END]

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