The ancient practice of Yoga is gaining popularity all over the world as a way to reduce stress, improve health and attain greater spiritual harmony. Yoga teachers are in demand more than ever as more people take up the practice. The philosophical tradition that combines body movement with breath and meditation exercises is now a multibillion-dollar industry. For many, it has become a lifestyle. This is true especially for those who choose to teach it, sometimes leaving lucrative careers to do so.
Teaching yoga is a not easy. Starting a yoga business, as with any other business, is full of potential pitfalls, as well as rewards. If you are trying to start a yoga studio of your own, there are certain steps you should follow. Most importantly, the success or failure of the business is up to you. Maintaining a structure to your activities is key. This is what we are here to help you with.
From starting your business to running and expanding it, we offer a set of guidelines of what to do to get your business off the ground. It will be tough and require research and dedication, but it can be done.
Starting Your Yoga Business
Before you start, ask yourself two questions. First, are you ready to start a yoga business? It is not for everyone. Study other people’s yoga businesses and determine if this is the right path for you. If you decide that it is, then ask: What kind of yoga do you want to teach (ashtanga, kundalini, vinyasa, etc.)? Once you know that, you can proceed.
The first thing you have to do when starting a business is obtain certification. This will help you make contacts and keep up with industry standards. It is also important that you seek training in yoga if you have not already done so.
The second step is to draw up a business plan. What amount of revenue do you need to break even (i.e. cover all your expenses)? Once you find that number, add some percent to it and this new figure will be your monthly target. Figure out what activities you need to do to hit this number. Create a spreadsheet of your activities, the hours per week for each and the revenue. Activities can be things like one-on-one sessions, group sessions, classes, etc.
You should then open up a business bank account and get insurance. Professional liability insurance will help you avoid lawsuits later on. It is key that you get your LinkedIn profile up to date. Include a one-page profile of all of your experiences, not just yoga-related.
Find a Location
One of the most important aspects of starting a yoga business is location. Determine your main demographic. Find out where they spend most of their time. If you cannot afford a prime downtown location, consider something cheaper. Determine whether you want to start by just giving classes at an established fitness center or if you want to open your own studio.
Track Your Activity
As you begin your venture, create a spreadsheet to track revenue and hours taught. Observing the weekly, monthly and yearly trends will be useful as you expand your business. Also, create a spreadsheet to track expenses. Develop a weekly business report to assess how well you are doing. At the end of each week make a checklist of all the activities you have done and then another checklist for what you plan to do for the next week. This will keep you on your toes.
Build a Following
People who go to yoga studios get confused if they are offered too many things at once. Find your yoga niche. What are you good at teaching? What do you enjoy teaching? Whether you work at a gym or have your own studio, it is important that people identify you with your technique. By being professional and consistent, you can build a loyal following. To keep track of them, create an email list. This is extremely important because it helps you keep in constant contact with your clients.
These days, all businesses need an online presence. You want people to find your services as they search Google or local websites. Start building a social media presence. Get on Facebook and Twitter. Release videos on YouTube. Use your media presence and flyers to announce special offers (e.g. free classes).
Think of Expansion
Once your operation is up and running, providing a consistent revenue stream, start thinking about expanding your business.
Track leads. Always track leads for new business opportunities. Offer yoga classes for children, or the elderly. Offer outdoors sessions, or take your clients to exotic locations. Discounts are especially appealing. Social media and digital marketing are great ways to reach out to more people with these offers. You can also try visiting social places, like the mall or your local gym. This will help get word-of-mouth started.
Tailor your service. To help you stand out from the crowd, start creating your own classes. Offer more private lessons. Host workshops, special series and retreats. You can even begin creating your own yoga products (e.g. books or DVDs). All this will help set your studio or service apart from the competition, keeping your clients engaged. In turn, they will tell their friends who will tell their friends, etc. When you have a unique brand, people will naturally gravitate toward you.
Now is the Time
Earning a living as a yoga teacher is a daunting task. There are huge hurdles to overcome. But once you get in the rhythm of things, you will find yourself wondering why did not start sooner. There is no greater joy for an entrepreneur than seeing their ideas come to fruition. So long as you do you research and stick to a plan, you will be able to live your dream. Keep your eyes and ears open for new opportunities. When you face challenges, breathe and stay balanced. Every business has them. Use this opportunity to learn personal growth. Extend that lesson to your clients. Most importantly, have fun. Start small and grow your business along with your students.