To fully realize your potential, you want to look at the whole picture of what you want to create with your practice and develop yourself accordingly. This may seem like a lot of work, but the beauty of all this is that people will ultimately practice with you because they love you. So really, what we're up to is helping you fully develop who you are, looking specifically at your business side so you can fully express yourself.
6) Know How to Promote Yourself
Marketing yourself can be challenging. If you ask most yoga teachers if they enjoy promoting their work, you'll find most would rather get hit by a train (OK, maybe note that bad, but pretty close). One of the reasons individuals get into teaching yoga in the first place is to be more authentic, and sometimes marketing yourself can seem like the farthest thing from that.
Start by first asking yourself this question- what do YOU think about when you hear the word 'marketing?' Don't take this question lightly, as it's really important to know what your beliefs are about marketing yourself because they will dictate your behavior. You MUST have a positive association the act of promoting your work in order to feel good about doing it. Make sure you start with this "inner work" on your relationship with marketing before you try to hoist a new solution and get more students.
From there, you must develop an understanding of how to talk about who you are and what you do in a way that resonates with your students. Listen to your community for what they say they want and speak in that language. You need to go deeper with your language regarding what practicing yoga will do for your students based on what they want.
Secondly, once you have a firm handle on how to talk about who you are and what you do, one of the best ways to promote yourself is to give back. Have a community aspect of your marketing. Give back to your community and it will come back to you in spades. Get creative with this and have fun!
7) It's About Lifestyle
Was there some aspect of a "lifestyle shift" that attracted you to become a yoga teacher? Keep in mind that you're not the only one who is into yoga for the lifestyle….your students are too! The more you help your students realize their lifestyle goals, the more they will help you realize yours. The explosion of the yoga industry is part of a bigger wellness trend going on around us, as any people are turning to yoga for their larger lifestyle goals.
These trends mean good things for your yoga business. Since your student demographics are likely looking to yoga as more than just what's offered in class, this opens you up to offering a wider array of services and products. The better you know your niche, the better you'll know what kind of supplementary products and/or services would be right for them.
8) Cyber Your Yoga
Making your yoga convenient will be key in building your business. Two parts of making your yoga "convenient" is being easy to: (1) Find out about you and (2) Practice with you. The internet can help out with both of these.
Finding Out About You
While it's important to stay true to the old lineages of yoga that your practice is based in, it's also important to embrace new age technology to grow your business. Have a website can mean the difference between people knowing you exist, or not. Without a website, beyond your students (hopefully) talking about you, you could well be the best kept secret in town. A website can make it much easier for you to grow a following with things like a mailing list to keep in touch, in addition to helping add an extra bit of professionalism that can help you stand out from the growing crowd of teachers.
Practice With You
With the growth of the yoga industry, we're also starting to see yoga moving out of the studio and onto the web….literally. That's right-yoga classes online. Whether it's through a pre-recorded series or through live video streaming, for some yoga goers, on certain occasions, this is a very attractive option to be able to practice in the comfort of their own space, at their own time, without having to outlay the cost of private instruction. This can serve as a great option to being able to afford your own "studio space!"
9) Know Your Therapy
Part of unlocking your business potential as a yoga teacher is embracing the yoga path in all aspect of your practice, business and life. This is all part and parcel of "getting real," as we discussed in the last set of tips. Yoga consumers often share common values, like personal health and wellbeing, in addition to health and wellbeing of the planet. While not "essential," greening your yoga can really help you stand out. Depending on your niche, it could be part of that "final decision" that has students choosing to practice with you over others because they value what you value.
While you might not choose to offer energy saving devices as part of your business, the more you can reflect your environmental consciousness into your practice, the more your students will be able to resonate with you.
10) Get Your Yoga MBA
Much as you'd be hard pressed to find a studio where you can teach yoga if you're not certified, you will find it equally as tough to run a yoga business without the specific knowledge of how to do so. The challenge many teachers encounter is they go through yoga teacher training programs, get out into the real world, and realize they don't know how to make a living off of their skills or passion for yoga. The reason for this is there is a big difference between being a yoga teacher and being the person who runs the yoga business. As an independent yoga teacher, you need to know how to wear both hats.
It is important that you identify what aspects of your business in yoga you need to hone up on in order to realize your fullest potential. From learning more about how to fill your classes, manage your finances, market yourself or build your web presence to just simply learning the business basics, there's always room for you to grow as the person who runs your yoga business (just as there's always room for you to grow as a yoga teacher).
To do so, identify what would make the most difference for you to learn and then invest the time, energy and money to master it. Surround yourself with people and resources that can help you learn what you want so you can realize better results.
The more you can develop the business side of yourself, on the shoulders of a strong practice, the more you will be set up to realize your greatest desires and be of service to others.
Be who you are, and enjoy the journey. Namaste.
A special thanks to Stephanie Tait, Business Director for the Yoga School of Business, for her contributions to this blog post!