Ok, first, let me start with this: There is a time and a place for free classes. I offer them. Many studios and other independent instructors offer them. They are a great way to present a product sampling before people buy onto the big ticket items. Yes, it’s a shameless marketing ploy… but honestly, so is everything a business does on social media. Here’s where I think free classes are harmful; when they are constantly offered by internationally known names. There’s a few big ones out there (you’re likely thinking of a few of the same ones as me) who ONLY offer free classes because they make their money off the advertising on their pages. So they keep offering challenges etc for free because they can. Good for them. Am I a tad jealous? Perhaps. A bit frustrated by the ripple effect this has? Hugely. Here’s what typically happens when the general public uses these free classes. They don’t show up to a local teacher’s class. Therefore that teacher has to hustle even more in an industry that wasn’t easy to be successful in pre-2020. Now, there are days remaining in this industry feels impossible. So here’s what we can all do. If you like the free classes you are finding online… great, keep doing them! Seriously! But please. Please. Please. For each class you get free, find a local teacher and purchase a class from them. I’m not asking you to buy from me (at least not in this post!) but I guarantee the local teacher you support will smile a whole hell of a lot more when they get that sale than the international 50000+ followers account that offers free classes constantly. It’s been a hard 2 years for this industry, along with so many others. When the restaurants get shut down, we ask each other to buy local take-out. When the studios get shut down or are scarcely attended because of Covid anxiety, I ask you to support local. Find a studio and buy a prop. Find a teacher and purchase a class. Otherwise, when we dig ourselves out of this mess, your favourite local studios and teachers will have gone the way of the dinosaurs.