Yoga

In Yo Face Friday

TGIF Yogini Tribe!

I’m trying a little something new here. It’s called In Yo Face Friday. This is where I get spiritually provocative. It’s about inspiration. It’s about growth. It’s about putting yourself in the hot seat so you can spiritually evolve.

Get out of the yoga ghetto. Pull your spiritually pretentious head outta your ass + get fucking real about your growth as a human being.  <~~~ Tweet that shit!

I’ve been known to say “I’m not a member of your Woo-Woo crew”. It’s not that I don’t believe in the new age evolution – I totally do.  I’m an Usui reiki master, I was an active member of a Spiritualist Church, I was ordained a Wiccan High Priestess out of sheer curiosity, I make Vision Boards yearly and I have my own astrologer for fucks sake.  Any straight laced Christian would call me an abomination and presume I’m the leader of the woo-woo’s.

But I feel uncomfortable in that Woo-Woo box.

Woo-Woo feels too nice. It’s too fluffy. It’s sugary sweet. Frankly, F-bombs and Angel Card Readers don’t go hand in hand.  And Fuck.  I am really tired of editing myself to fit in or be something I’m not. I’m not trying to fit in anymore. I’m trying to grow.

Here’s the deal.

Growth is FUCKING hard. Evolution is dirty and painful. You have to get into it before you grow out of it.  

So here I am. Working on growth +  attempting to fit out.  On Friday’s, I’m getting your face. Because I want someone to get in my face. I need to answer the uncomfortable questions and no one’s asking.  So I’m asking. Step up to the plate, bitches, I’ll be your spiritual provocateur. Not because I am any more spiritually evolved than you, I’m not.  We’re in this together. We need to collectively rise from the muck until we reach the surface and bloom in the sun.

My first topic is Self awareness and Karma, both of whom are bitches.  How self aware are you?

Karma

Ya dig?  Share in the comments below.

Business, Social Media, Yoga

Teasers…I Got A Whole Buncha Stuff Up My Sleeve.

Since last week I posted about to do lists, I”ll share my monster one with you today…

Wake Up Kick Ass

Done, Done and Done.  I am sure you did the same thing today, right?

So, I’ve been dropping teasers about ‘Darshana Communications’ and ‘The Darshana Collective‘ for a while and I realize that I’ve been a little bit cryptic. So let me take a moment to explain.  ‘Darshana‘ is a Sanskrit term meaning “sight” (in the sense of an instance of seeing or beholding; from the root drishti “to see”), vision, apparition, or glimpse. A ‘Collective‘ is the formation of a whole, individual characteristics taken together. As many of you know from this blog, I am a whole lot of things – attorney, yogini, serial entrepreneur, social media + communications junkie and business + brand strategist. The Darshana Collective rolls it all into one; Creative Communication, Righteous Strategy + Business Moxie for Women with Vision.

I am still hashing out the services, but they will include 1:1 Coaching (Jam Sessions, Branding + Strategy Intensives), Tailored Legal Services, and a few killer packages that I’m going to try to keep under wraps until everything is close to perf.

There are a few programs already in the works I can tip you off to:

  • The Corporate Yogini – Corporate Proposals for Yoga & Wellness Practitioners. This package includes a 15 minute Skype session to review your services and proposal needs. A branded proposal template that you can use over and over simply by tweaking a few sections. Custom pricing for your services and geographic area. And marketplace research and citations substantiating credibility, benefits and RIO. Send out your corporate proposals and put the Affordable Care Act to work for you!
  • Yogini Superstar Business Strategy Toolbox  The SBS Toolbox is  for newly trained yoginis as well as seasoned practitioners who are looking to make the part time to full time transition.  It contains everything You Need to Skyrocket Your Yoga Business. Easy Peasy.
  • Social Media Rehab for Yogini Superstars – If you’re scared or clueless about social media and marketing yourself on line,  this one is for you!  Learn to effectively + authentically harness the power of social media to build your brand and fill your classes every single time.
  • Yoga Business E-Course (Online YogaMBA) – We’ll dig into starting and running your business (mission, vision and values), yoga business models, key legal agreements, financial planning, branding + social media, packages + Pricing and student and client retention.

I also have a few freebies that will be coming your way including Yogini On a Mission – 5 Steps to Create Your Kick-Ass Mission Statement. I hope to put the finishing touches on this one while I’m out in Last Vegas doing the ‘I’m-a-very-important-lawyer’ thing next week.

Make sure you join The Darshana Collective to receive real time updates on the launch of the website and programming roll out.  I am really excited to be offering a fresh perspective on the whole yoga business strategy thang.

xox
Terra

TDCeyesm

Business, Yoga

5 Ways to bring in Additional Income as a Yoga Teacher

I stole this image from http://recoveringyogi.com/
I stole this image from http://recoveringyogi.com/

Making a living as a yoga teacher isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. It’s hard work and contrary to popular belief, it’s not just getting all bendy + flexy in the yoga room + looking awesome in your sassy Onzies – you have to actually get off your asana and hustle.  This means planning, marketing, saving, organizing and seeking alternative methods of income. Every self employed person should currently be drafting their plan for 2014. How am I going to pay my bills? What is it going to take to get to the next level?  How am I going to make enough more money teaching yoga?

5 ways to boost your teaching income 

Privates. Seems like a no brainer, right? WRONG. I can’t tell you how many teachers I meet that just don’t offer or don’t market private yoga sessions. If you secure 2-3 private clients per week, you will practically double (if not more than double) your teaching income.  Newly certified teachers can comfortably charge $50-$75 per session while seasoned vets can command up to $200 per session.  Make sure you work with the studio managers where you teach – be straight up with them about wanting to build your private practice. They may help you by contributing space + marketing  (for a small piece of the pie – don’t forget to negotiate).  DO NOT get all sneaky about it. This is a sure fire way to loose a great gig!

Niche Workshops. Remember a week or so I talked about Awesome Sauce?  Well this falls right in line with that.  Yoga is big, fat and diverse. Find one specific aspect of it that turns you on and dig in full force. Then spread your knowledge like herpes… ok gross… just contact studios and let them know you have some Awesome Sauce to dish.  When I finished my first 200hr training, I was also big into hooping. I birthed my first tiny biz, Karma Hoops Yoga from $0 to $18,000 in revenue within 5 months. 1/3 of that came from the hoops I was making, 1/3 came from teaching and the other 1/3 came from workshops. One specific workshop in fact  – Chakra Hoop Meditation.  It was a funky class that started with a little vinyasa flow and moved into some intense (yet meditative) hooping + chanting.  People couldn’t get enough of it.  It was different. It was colorful + playful. It was Yoga and hooping and chanting.  And because it was unique, I had the ability to take the workshop to lots of spaces outside of my home studio. My friend Jess rocks her Awesome Sauce out with Yoga + Hiking. It’s her dash of personality. She’s more than just asana.  I promise, there’s more to YOU than Just asana.  So, what is it?    Figure that shit and marry it to your yoga.  Then go workshop it up!

Don’t forget to charge what you’re worth! Offer peanuts and you’ll attract monkeys!

Writing. If you’re good at it and you like it, check Virtual Vocations on the regular. They have weekly updates on paid for blogging opportunities. Blogging ain’t easy. Ask any crafty blogger on Pintrest. It actually takes a shit load of time and effort.  That being said it’s a GREAT way to get exposure, which will lead to additional income. All the big editorial sites take submissions (.01% of them pay for submissions). Get writing and share your words. Their readers will be so wowed + turned on by your thoughtful, spunky jive they will click through to your site.   WOOHOOO you just got more traffic on your website/blog!!

Which leads me to suggestion number 4….

Products. You need to have a little bit of a sales bug for this one. But lets be honest – students gobble up what yoga teachers dish out and are always looking for more. So you have a couple of options here. Option 1 : create your own yoga product once and turn it into passive income on your site (ie Class Download, Guided Meditation etc.)  Option 2. design the hippest, catchiest tee shirt, mug, panties whatever and to sell them on your through  Zazzle and Cafe Press. Option 3:  create a webstore and become an Amazon Affiliate and peddle stuff you love that can be purchased on Amazon.   You could also monetize your site with blogsvertise, depending on how you feel about advertising on your little chunk of the internet.

Do it Everywhere.  Step out of the little zen studio box you’re livin in. Yoga isn’t just taught in a studio or your local membership gym.  Get outside of your average box. You’re not the average yoga teacher, YOU have superstar potential!  Just think about the places you could teach; schools, hospitals, nursing homes, retirement communities, schools, kiddo play places, dance schools, parks, beaches, country clubs! Everything in life is an option, if you make it. DO NOT FORGET about the man. Corporate Yoga will be the way of the future.  Wellness program is currently mandated by the Affordable Care Act (given the right side crazies don’t blow the whole fucking thing up).  Yoga is wellness and corporate yoga is the opportunity for further abundance.  So get your shit together, start drafting a proposal and sent it out!

Make a plan for 2014 so you can continue to do what you love and love what you do.

Need help with a corporate yoga proposal? I got your back.  We can jam this out. Just send me a message!

Empowerment, Inspiration, Yoga

Lessons in Life, Business and Yoga

There’s something I’ve been meaning to open up about on here (and in life). Not only to get it out of my own system and release the energy, but because I know there are other people that have been there.  Acknowledging this is like trying to roll a bowling ball up a hill with your tongue.

So. Fucking. Hard.

The last weekend in August, I took a road trip to P-town, MA with my former housemate for the bachelorette party of our other housemate. It was so much fun and such a celebration of love + friendship.  In a drunken profession of heterosexual love I confessed to her that somewhere along the way, I had lost myself, but it was ok, I was coming back to life again.  (I realized this quite some time ago,  but she was the very first person I admitted it to, out loud).   Her only response was… “well I’m glad you’re back, it’s about fucking time, I missed you.”  Then there were tears -big, fat, juicy, drunk tears.

People that have known me for years know that I am a little mouthy, a little bossy and a little sassy. I’m fiercely loyal, ridiculously stubborn and 9 times out of 10 my volume is dialed up as far as it will go [in public].  For the past few years the ‘me volume‘ has been buffered. I transformed into something that wasn’t authentically me. How did it happen? How did I get there?

The Bhagavad Gita says do another’s dharma to your detriment. I experienced this first hand.  I chose to follow the dharma of another.  In the process I lost my voice. The essence of what was truly me; type-a, over-achiever, energizer, volume on high, f bombs and all.

When I was asked to join Live. Breathe. Grow., I was over the moon excited about it.  While my heath + yoga coaching practice was blossoming, I was lonely and totally tired of chugging along on my own. (Lesson Number 1: always have a support system in place – you need a support posse that has your back). The excitement of launching a new company was infectious. I was drunk on the innovation of new ideas and the creativity of designing business organization.  I couldn’t help but to fall in love with the ideas of what could be and I didn’t think twice about sending out an e-blast to 2000 subscribers telling them I was closing up shop.

I walked into the partnership in love and friendship (Lesson Number 2: never take your legal thinking cap off and always enter into partnership agreements).  I didn’t have the start up financial investment to be an equal partner, but we were friends so ‘on paper’ it was 50/50. Subconsciously, the unequal footing tamed my opinion. It was always her company, I was just jumping on board. I deferred at all times to her opinion. I quieted my voice. It was her dream, I was just along for the ride. In failing to be truly open, I became more like my business partner and a little less like myself. I dialed my volume down.  Instead of fighting for the sparkle and spotlight (something as an only child I have done all my life) I was content to walk in another’s shadow. I felt less like me. I was embarrassed to have effervescent opinions which lead me to feel dreadfully inadequate. The irony was, I was selling t-shirts that inspired and empowered women to:

Stand in your personal power and strength. Honor your voice, that source of intuitive wisdom that shines like a beacon on light inside you. Have the courage to decide how to live your own life. Go inside to find your guide, then harness your energy to shine your light outward. Be confident in who you are and tell the world I AM ME. Live. Breathe. Grow. …into who you are meant to be.

The LBG Manifesto is gorgeous. It’s soft and supportive. It wraps its arms around you and lifts you up with compassion. It’s purely Nancy and perfect for her company.

It’s not purely Terra. Purely Terra is loufulld.
Determined.
Audacious.
Gold Sparkled.
Fierce.
Visionary.
She doesn’t coddle you, she tells you to walk it off [wings. talk. hustle!]. If there’s a theme song in the background, it probably came from Yo MTV Raps. She doesn’t need to be reminded of her personal power, because she’s already fucking there. Or at least she was before she gave up her own path to do another’s dharma.  

When Nancy told me she didn’t want to do it anymore, that she wanted to let it all go and turn LBG into a blog, I was devastated.  I told her I would take over, work on buying her out and continue down the path we had forged together. And I tried. But nothing, and I mean nothing worked out. The Universe tossed out red flag after red flag and I kept ignoring them, volleying back ideas to keep her on board and to keep LBG alive. (Lesson Number 3: Ignoring the Universe is a really fucking bad idea).  I was heartbroken and frustrated. Tired of trying to balance two people on a unicycle, I finally gave up and walked away.

I immediately threw myself into a Masters to PhD. program that I wasn’t jumping up and down about. I needed to fill time and space. I was totally and utterly lost.  I had completely forgotten what I was like to be me outside of LBG. In following another’s dharma I lost my own identity.  If I wasn’t one of the owners of LBG, what was I?  Without LBG I had no fucking clue.  A lawyer? A yoga teacher? Life Coach? Health Coach? Entrepreneur? [LBG Terra would never say fuck in a blog].

I didn’t have the answers. I retreated. I severed ties and let go of my network. I broke up with Yoga, the one thing used to bring me me clarity and peace.  I struggled. I cried daily. I flew into fits of rage and bitterness.  My once open and vibrant personality became dim and introverted. Finally, with guidance I learned to surrender. The only thing that brought me back was letting go. Letting go of the business, letting go of the partnership, letting go of the networks, letting go of the  friendship. (Lesson Number 4: Sometimes you have to surrender and let go to move forward).

Eventually a few friends coaxed me back into my yoga practice. I found a studio that didn’t know me as a teacher or that I was associated with LBG (Let me tell you, that was NOT easy, I had to wait until a new studio opened up). And in yoga, I found myself (yet again). I’ve put my own shoes on (they’re gold Sparkle Toms). And most importantly, I’ve tapped back into that thing that makes me, me. For the first time in over a year, I actually feel alive, confident, and happy —all at the same time.  It’s amazing how once you let go, clarity is instantaneous.

Nancy decided not to turn Live. Breathe. Grow. into a blog and it continues to grow.  I still feel awkward when people ask – my voice is there, but my heart is still raw.  Mostly I just say we were heading in two different directions. She continues on her path, and I’ve hopped back on mine.

Doing another’s dharma was to my detriment – I lost friendships, time, two businesses, a vibrant teaching practice and the most detrimental – my voice.  Through it all I gained clarity and now I know my true dharma, to help yoginis, energy workers, peace makers and earth keepers live abundant lives.

I can’t wait for The Darshana Collective to launch.
It’s coming soon….

The Darshana Collective
The Darshana Collective
Business, Yoga

Finding Your Awesome-Sauce

This morning I was catching up on my  Huff Post reading from last week’s vacation. Huff Post is my morning candy. I eat it up with my coffee after breakfast and before I blow dry my hair. This morning I smirked when I read the title : Yoga: The New Career Path for Corporate Execs. The exodus of yet another stressed out corporate drone making a run for the bliss.  The whole article felt like “been there, done that” to me, but I am sure it was insightful to those embarking on their first training or teaching gig.

One thing that irked me in the article was how they kept referring to the teaching of yoga as a pseudo business. Specifically that teaching yoga full time was “like running your own independent business.”

No Shit. Really?

This is exactly why many teachers struggle- they treat their yoga [business] as a cute little thing they do instead of the actual business it is.  If you’re teaching yoga full time, guess what? You are running your own independent business. In order to be successful, you need to do more than simply prepare for your 5pm advanced flow class. You have to market, network and plan.  We all got in it for the love of yoga, but we need to manage it like the business it is.

You have to take your yoga business seriously, manifest while getting off your ass, and figure out your awesome-sauce.  <~~~ Tweet it!

That’s right AWESOME SAUCE.

What I refer to awesome-sauce, in the stuffy business world is called your Unique Selling Pproposition (USP).  It’s your mojo. It’s what makes you different + unique.  It’s not simply your energy as a human being or your voice as a teacher. It’s tangible. Well, not that you can pick it up, but you sure as hell can write it down.

It’s the statement that explains how your yoga [business] is different than every other yoga teacher or studio. It tells your students and Potential Raving Fans how you can help them and what makes you special. It’s in the sauce. Your Awesome Sauce essentially tells them why they should take your advanced flow class instead of the power II class around the corner. It takes thoughtful creativity to come up with the recipe to your Awesome Sauce, but it’s the biggest decision you’ll ever make for your business.

Why You Need Awesome Sauce 

Put simply, you’re not the only yoga teacher (or studio) on the block.  We’re not as unique as we were in 1997. We’re almost a dime a dozen- what bored housewife isn’t embarking on her 200hr training?  You need to stand out. You want your students to think of YOU when they desperately need that little sliver of bliss and just 10 more minutes of savasana. If you create a delicious recipe for your Awesome Sauce, it will stick in their memory and put you above any other class they could squeeze in.

The Ingredients 

There are three things that make Awesome Sauce:

  1. We got Needs!! It must address the needs of your potential students. You gotta have that little some some they can’t live without, that solves their problems, or makes their lives easier. Yep, yoga.
  2. It’s memorable. It has to stick in people’s minds so that you’re the one they think of when they need yoga.
  3. Emotional Connection. Awesome Sauce speaks to the fears, worries, desires, and frustrations of your students.

Awesome Sauce is especially essential in a crowded market. And let me tell ya, this yoga thing isn’t getting any less popular. If you’re up against a large number of competitors studios + teachers, you need an especially tastey Awesome Sauce to cut through the noise. On the other hand, even if your business is the only game in town, you still need Awesome Sauce that speaks to and connects with your students. You want to change them from passive students, to raving fans.  It’s not only about battling the competition, but also establishing your brand in the minds of your customers.

Pack away your nuts, little squirrel! 

Failing to plan is a plan for failure! Amazingly, a majority of those who start their own businesses (even outside the yoga world) fail to create a unique selling proposition. Of those who don’t, almost 100% fail. (I just made that statistic up, but you catch my drift). Here’s the deal: Awesome Sauce doesn’t guarantee success. You gotta put your money where your mouth is and deliver on the promise.

The Creative Process

Your Awesome Sauce won’t just appear out of thin air. Sorry, it takes time, thought and creativity. Silver lining? It’s not hard to come up with the right message if you follow certain steps. Pay attention to your market, check out your competitors, what’s their Awesome Sauce? Differentiate and define yours. Analyze your teaching methods, style and voice.  Figure out why you’re connected to yoga. What has it done for you? If you can pin point that, the benefit you’re delivering to your students is obvious. We’re not talking any (or all) benefits from taking yoga, but the ones they’ll get from taking your yoga class. Let me repeat for clarity: Not just any yoga class, your yoga class. Those benefits keep students coming back for more. It’s the key ingredient to your Awesome Sauce.  If you put in the time and refine as necessary, you will create the Awesome Sauce that will skyrocket your yoga business.

Branding, Business, Yoga

Branding: Getting Authentic with Just One Word

I usually update my blog on Mondays or Tuesdays.  There’s no hidden social media secret to this choice,  I just like to let my words marinate over the week. It gives me 6 days to think about the comments posted and how to address them in the next post if I need to.

Last week Two weeks ago I chit chatted about Yoga or a New Coach Bag.  I also said I would follow up the post next week talking about conversion and how to create a sales culture without feeling like a total slime ball.  Then I went and posted something else two days later and Monday was a holiday and blah blah blah. Long story short, my blog schedule is totally jacked!  I have been derailed!!

So rather than whine over my own undoing on Wednesday I sat down on my lunch break and thought about yoga + sales culture. Yoga + Business and Yoga + Profit.  I have a lot to say about all of it, and unless you’re new around here, you know I’m not usually at a loss for words.  But sales. Fuck. I just can’t stutter it out right now.

Wanna know why?  Because it all starts with branding.  I can’t talk about sales culture until I talk about branding {and mission + vision + values and all the other big picture creative dreaming things that make me jizz}.

Your Brand *ahem* right.

It ALL comes back to branding… And I haven’t blogged about branding at all!!  The irony of all of this is that I am currently in the middle of the visual branding for my new gig, The Darshana Collective. Going through this process has created light bulb explosions of insight.

And I definitely want to talk to you guys about it – but it’s going to take a while for me to collect my thoughts, reflect on them and then process them back out to you. It’ will be juicy though, I promise.

So.

Before we talk conversion (as I promised nearly two weeks ago and so woefully let you down)  I want to start digging into branding.   Not your logo, not your color palette, your BRANDING. Whether you want to or not, you have a brand. It’s experienced through the eyes and mind of your students, members and clients. Your brand is more than your logo and color palette. It’s the sum of all your parts. The great stuff, the ugly pieces and the juicy bits. It’s the personality of your biz and that personality is what attracts people to you.

If you can tap into your personality, you will build your brand.  Try to come up with one adjective for your business, and then begin to build your brand from there.  Make sure everything you do to brand your business relates back to that word – your logo, your copy, your voice, your mission. Everything. The more it relates back to your one word, the more authentic your brand will be.

Lets play make believe and put this little idea into practice.

You on a yoga studio. You’re totally type A. You’re determined. You’re confident. You’re bold and you’re ready to change the world yesterday. Your chosen word is fierce.  At your studio, you have two types of ideal students.  The first are men. They’re coming to yoga because even though their CrossFit training has them ripped their quads are in knots, the IT band is ready to pop and they’re looking for just a little bit of peace.  The second are women. They’re feeling a little lost a little run down. They come to your studio to practice yoga because they want to feel empowered, confident and bold. They want the prowess of their youth.

It wouldn’t be in line with your brand (personality) to develop a logo based upon a water lily, utilizing a color palette of soft greens, pinks and yellows. A word like fierce deserves a powerful logo – a tiger in bold colors.  Your messaging should be powerful, bold and determined.  It should reflect your personality and speak to your PRFs!

Your brand a reflection of YOU, make it authentic. <~~~ TWEET IT!

Just start with authenticity.  Let go of the fake.  Who are you? What do you do? Who do you do it for? Why do you do it? What do you want people to know about you? What are the key messages you want people to know about your biz?  Let go of trying to advertise and be something you’re not.  Dig in to what makes you + your studio tick.

Figure out your one word.

Business, Yoga

A new Coach Bag or Yoga?

Last month I read an eye opening post about marketing strategy + psychology on Psychotactics.com. As soon as I read the opening paragraph I immediately thought “hmmm interesting, I should tweet this shit out.” I never did – it’s their fault, they didn’t add a share link to their post. Seriously? Who writes professional articles about marketing + advertising and doesn’t add a share link to the page?  WTF.   Anyway. The article flips the idea of competition on its head.  Once you wrap your brain around the concept its logic is so very obvious you’re wondering why you didn’t come up with it yourself.

Cliffs Notes version: the article redefines the narrow application of your competition. The example they use in the article is a ‘kitchen designer’s’ perceived competition is other kitchen designers, when in actuality, their real competition could be a car salesman.

(Photo courtesy of http://themonarchhouse.com)

Get it? No? Ok, let me explain by bringing it into our yoga world. I am wordy, so this may take a while, bear with me…

Your biggest competition isn’t the yoga studio opening up 5 miles away, its the Coach Store.  It’s the Gap. It’s  Antropologie, Ann Taylor, Home Depot and those god damned emails from Joss & Main. It’s what ever that potential student is spending their money on instead of your classes and your studio.

While we all think everyone should practice yoga and it should be available to the masses, the dirty little secret is that it’s expensive.  Those that can afford it (I’m not talking uber rich 1%ers, I’m talking average middle class people with mortgages and student loans) do so because they have made yoga a priority in their life. Their priority is your benefit.  I know at first pass, that sounds uncomfortable, but YOU were put on this planet to share your gift of yoga. You can’t do that if you’re stressed out over your bottom line and paying your bills. 

The students that ritually purchase 10 class packs or annual memberships at a yoga studio are your bread + butter.  Keep doing what you’re doing in class to retain these students, you don’t need to market to them, you need to keep them happy. The new students, Groupon users and the student that pops in once every month or so? They’re different. These are the ones you have to convince to go to yoga (regularly) instead of buying a new Coach bag.  This is why your biggest competition is not the studio 3 miles away or even be the other local teacher offering killer privates at stupidly cheap rates.

Your biggest competition is  whatever else that potential student is spending their money on.

The challenge is to shift your marketing and sales pitch to persuade students to go to yoga instead of  buying that Coach bag.  This is a no-brainer because it’s not risky.  You won’t lose any loyal students by testing this theory out. They already know what’s in your awesomesauce,  they’re drinking the kool-aid and they want more. This shift will only impact the  PRFs (Potential Raving Fans). Now don’t assume switching up a flyer or interacting with your Facebook fans a little differently is going to be enough, you need to follow through to seal the deal. A successful follow up will convert Groupon purchasers into Raving Fans who will come to class instead of going shopping. WIN WIN.

An amazing side effect to this shift in marketing is the energy associated with your prosperity.   Shifting your ideas about what your competition is in reality will allow you to release competition, insecurity and even jealousy. Letting go of this kind of negative competition makes room for effortless prosperity and abundance. This naturally builds community. When you stop hating on the new studio that opened up down the street, you can work together.  Maybe you can plan a kick ass event, bring in your favorite “guru” or yoga celebrity that you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford on your own?  We’re so much more powerful when we’re united.

Next week I’ll talk about conversion and creating a sales culture in your studio without feeling totally gross.

Business, Health, Yoga

Affordable Health Care + Yoga?!

Yoga studio owners and full time teachers have a number of things in common.  We’ve made our passion our profession and  in essence, we’re yoga evangelists – We will talk to whoever, whenever about how much we love yoga and how it absolutely will change your life. We’ve usually experienced some sort of emotional and/or physical breakthrough or transformation as a result of our asana practice.  We take our yoga off the mat and its teachings are an integral part of our spirituality. And most importantly, (for this post) using creativity to make ends meet is a way of life.

Today, I am not going to pontificate about the countless ways yoga has transformed my life so you too can nod in agreement and experience. For a moment, I am going to take my Yoga Evangelist hat off and slide on my attorney-business woman cap.  For those of you that didn’t realize, in addition to being a yoga evangelist, I am also an attorney with over 10 years experience business transactions and contract negotiations in healthcare, pharmaceutical drug development and academic research. Sounds impressive, right?  Well, honestly, it isn’t…but I do know a bit about healthcare policy and more specifically – the Affordable Care Act (“ACA” otherwise known as Obama Care).

I will not  go through a litany of reasons why the ACA is awesome sauce or why it sucks balls. It’s up to you to make your own determination. I am however going to tip you off on something beneficial for yoga studios and teachers; the Workplace Wellness ProgramThe ACA creates new incentives to promote employer wellness programs and encourage employers to take more opportunities to support healthier workplaces. It literally opens the preventative care door for yoga in the workplace.   Naysayers may cite the metrics, and standards for the reward as problematic, but as yoginis, we know that a consistent yoga + meditation practice can have specific and measurable results.  You and I both know that yoga reduces the number of “PC Load Letter” or “TPS Reports” meltdowns. Mesaurable health targets aside, yoga wellness programs typically provide a 5/1 ROI. That means that for every $1 spent on yoga programming, the return on investment is $5. For companies that are self-insured, it could mean a reduction of more than $200 per employee for health care costs.

According to a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Health Foundation, about 41 percent of U.S. companies with 200 or more workers offer some type of wellness program, and only 10 percent of smaller firms offer them. That means that 59% of BIG companies in your area and 90% of smaller companies are your potential students/clients.  This is more than making ends meet, this is potential abundance.  This is offering your gift of yoga to stressed out people that need it most.  This could change your bottom line and it will definitely change the life of the worker that nervously walks into their first yoga class with you.

Between now and January 2014, you should be busting your tight yoga booty to develop your corporate yoga offerings.  And I don’t mean thinking about it and maybe jotting down some numbers on a pink post it. I mean writing a professional corporate proposal (PDF) that can be submitted via email or hand delivered to an HR department.  Every yoga studio should have an “in studio” corporate yoga package ready to go.  Every yoga teacher should develop their own “on site” corporate proposal for “in house” or “on site” yoga.  This needs to be an essential part of your offerings.  Find a wellness buddy in your community, a nutritionist, a health coach, someone you can partner up with and start developing your corporate package. Make sure they’re polished by October and ready to be sent by November!

Next week I’ll give you 5 tips on what to include in your corporate yoga package that will have corporate offices begging you to teach at their office.  I’ll also   include some sizzling tips from a corporate wellness superstar!!

You’re here to change the world through yoga. I am here to help you do it with abundance.

Have questions? Need Help? Want to pick my grey matter? Email me. 🙂

Business, Social Media, Yoga

WTF to do after you finish your RYT.

Most registered yoga schools offer a sliver of information on the business of yoga. But between liability, insurance, employment Yoga Alliance registration, marketing, social media, blogging, business cards and websites things can get busy and confusing fast. Here are 7 things you should do as soon as you finish your 200hr teacher training (if not before).

Yoga Journal Benefits Plus Program

Pay attention to the dirty details! I know, you just want to spread the yoga love but here’s the reality: we live in a litigious society.  If you screw up and someone is injured in your class,  kiss your assets good-bye.  Most yoga studios (if they’re smart!) have liability insurance, but as an independent contractor, you’re probably not covered. If you want to get into corporate yoga, businesses are going to require you carry it and may even request to be added as an additional insured to your policy. Yoga insurance is easy to get, and it’s cheap.  There’s no excuse. Get insured.

Save a life. Get AED/CPR Certified. Some Teacher Training programs offer this in their curriculum, but most do not. It is your responsibility to get this training Any reputable place will require you to have this certification (if they do not – RED FLAG ALERT!!!). It’s inexpensive and you could save a life. Call your local hospital or EMS to find out when the next class is.

Sign up for Yoga Alliance and start tracking your hours. You earned the hours, don’t forget about the technicalities, SIGN UP! (You also get all sorts of mad discounts  with your membership from places like Gaiam, Be Present and Hugger Mugger!) After you sign up, start tracking your hours, ritually. When I first joined YA, nothing was online and everything had to be updated manually. You had to keep track of your teaching hours as well as your continuing education hours on your own and submit them once a year. Welcome to the land of Excel spreadsheets!! Thankfully these days everything can be updated online. It seriously makes life so much easier. So now that it’s easy peasy, don’t forget to do it!  Set a reminder in your Ical, google cal or whatever scheduling tool you use and do it weekly! Recreating your year of learning and teaching sucks, believe me I speak from experience!!

It’s all about style, baby! I am not talking yoga style, I am talking personal style -if you’re trained in Jivamukti, you’re not going to be teaching a Bikram class. Yet every Jivamukti teacher has a different style or teaching voice. Some teachers wow you with their humor, some tantalize with spirituality and some engage through stern direction. Which are you?  If you’ve always been the funny chick and try to turn into a “strict” yoga teacher you’re destined for failure. Your students will see right through you and you’ll struggle to connect with them. Connection is essential to filling your classes! Stay in touch with your personality. Cultivate your authenticity and don’t try to mimic another popular teacher’s style.

Create an online strategy for promoting your classes
Create an online strategy for promoting your classes

Be a social butterfly. Go to other local studios, gyms and community centers, introduce yourself and sign up as a sub. Even better, offer a free class at your local community center or place of worship. Get active in your local yoga community.  If your local community isn’t very active, be the catalyst for this change!  Start a local meet up- chit chat about anatomy or the sutras or whatever it is that gets you juicy and turns you on about yoga.  This Kula will become your family and it’s not just the three dimensional connections you make in real life, it’s online too.  Start joining different yoga networking sites. Check out Find Yoga Studios (tell is founder, Lisa I said hi!) and join The Yoga Recipe, download some classes, learn from seasoned superstars and maybe even upload some classes of your own!  And while we’re talking about the online world… If you don’t like social media, get over it. Right now.   If you haven’t done so already, make sure you create a Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, Instagram and Pintrest account. Start following people you admire including teachers, activists, organizations, whatever floats your boat.  Follow Darshana Communications  on Facebook, Twitter and Pintrest. Give a shout out and I’ll shout you back. If you scratch me here I’ll scratch you there – Shimmy shimmy cocoa-pop.

You’re a professional! Nothing says I’m a pro like a business card, eh? I jest, but they are important. You can get free ones from Vista Print. If you really want to up your game, check out Moo. They’re a little more hip and you’ll definitely have more design options!

Go Deeper. Start thinking about the next workshop or training you want to attend. Make a top 10 teacher list – who do you want to learn from and what do you want to learn?  Your 200hr just ended, but your training just began. Continue to take lots of classes in various styles from lots of different teachers. Each time you step on your mat, treat it as if it were the first time. Be open to new lessons. Every one and every thing can be a version of your guru, so long as you listen from within.

This winter Darshana Communications will be launching the Yogini Superstar Business Strategy Toolbox!  Everything you need to know to Skyrocket your Yoga Business. Tool box includes  legal consent forms, a personalized bio and tagline, a 1:1 Jam session with me (where you get to pick my brain for a full hour), a 5 pack of class outlines (including class theme, pranayama, asana, meditation and playlist) and so much more! It’s seriously chocked full of everything you need to get rolling as a yoga teacher. Easy Peasy. If you’re still confused, a little lost after reading this list and can’t possibly wait for the YSBS launch, don’t fret!! I am totally here to help you. Shoot me an email and we’ll set up a 15 minute jam session via skype or the phone.

It’s free baby!

     

    Branding, Business, Yoga

    Yogini Stylin + Geeky Virgo Post-it Notes

    Today I was wasting precious morning moments on Facebook.  (Yes, it’s a time sucker, but it’s also an integral part of growing your business, and this social media junkie loves it).  I  am a member of a ton of Facebook Groups (probably too many) but I am pretty active in a couple of yoga ones. Some I use for networking + marketing, some I use for masterminding + collaboration and some I use for learning + continued education.  Today in one of my Yoga Mastermind groups a fellow yogini asked:

    What about you sets you apart from other yogis? What do you do/not do, think/not, or feel/not that is less than typical? Anything? ((Here’s a lighthearted one from me, just to provide an example: I do very few -if any at all- sun salutes in my personal practice.))

    It really got me thinking – what about me makes me different?

    So I made a little list in my head. (Ok. I lied. I actually wrote out the on pen + post it. I am a Virgo and we do this a lot, lists + organization is a turn on.  We’re weird, but you couldn’t live without us. You’re lucky I didn’t color code the post-it!)

    Virgos dig lists + post-its
    Virgos dig lists + post-its
    • I don’t look like most yoga teachers.
    • Most of my yoga is practiced off the mat.
    • I  am influenced by many but don’t subscribe to any one guru’s philosophy.
    • I am influenced by many but don’t practice any one style (ie Bikram, Ashtanga, Kripalu, Jivamukti) I’ve developed,  practice and teach my own style, Darshana Yoga.
    • Music and intuition are integral to my style of asana practice at home and in studio.
    • I am a little silly, a little organized, and usually more sassy than fluffy.
    • I am touchy-feely. You will receive multiple hands-on adjustments, massage and pressure points in my class (if you don’t object).
    • I teach classes to evoke emotion and hopefully transformation. You’re not coming to church when you attend my classes, but you’re definitely getting more than just a little exercise, breathing and stretching.

    Then I responded:

    As far as my studio teaching is concerned, I don’t look like your average teacher.  I am known for my very non-yogic, quirky play lists (ie: Tribe Called Quest followed by Tony Bennett), tailoring my classes to musical themes (ie: all song about sunshine in a solstice class, all songs with the word “heart” in a valentines day class etc.) and mixing Yin style of sinking into postures with Soul Sweat . It’s really all about connecting the breath + movement with the music whether it’s upbeat or mellow – to create transformation of some kind for me. I spend a LOT of time on play lists. If the music changes, I may just have you SINK into virabhadrasana ii for 10 even 20 counts. And nope. I am not a trained dancer.

     How the heck did I develop my style of teaching? Why do students try my classes? And why do they come back? It all boils down to one thing, personality.  I bring my authentic personality to everything I do whether it’s teaching yoga, negotiating a contract or running a business. Who you are is essential to your success. We can certainly ‘fake it until we make it’ but we cant pretend to be someone we’re not.  Developing your voice as a teacher is the essence of what attracts students to your class.

    (knowing WTF you’re doing and keeping students safe is also a bonus)

    If you’re a new teacher or even a seasoned teacher that is struggling with class numbers, take a look at how you live your life and interact with people (friends + family) off the mat. Is it drastically different than how you teach (and speak) on the mat?  Why? How can you take your yoga off the mat and what can you do to infuse your on the mat with your off the mat personality? Your students want to be guided in an authentic way. They will see straight through you if you rely on the personality or words of someone else (or even your own favorite teacher).

    Find your Inner-Superstar
    Find your Inner-Superstar

    Developing the signature style of your voice isn’t quite as easy as it seems. Teaching metaphors are an art form.  Developing them takes practice.  I’ve heard a few teachers of a certain style of yoga use  “puff your kidneys” and “blossom your buttocks.”  Seriously. I snorted typing that last one, do you think I could personally get away with using it in class? NEVER. I’d end up in a fit of laughter or go off on a 5 minute tangent about my flowering asshole. (We all know I secretly have the sense of humor of a 14 year old boy). Totes not cool.

    The point is, that language wouldn’t be authentic to me. I didn’t come up with the metaphor. I can’t really relate to puffing my kidneys (they filter, they don’t breathe!) and I would never use the word buttocks.  Yeah Dave wouldn’t have the following he does if he didnt gush about how much he loves chocolate + wine and every so often craves a Parliament Light after a few cocktails. Can you imagine Snatam Kaur talking about wanting a smoke ever in this lifetime, let alone after a few cocktails?  Preposterous! Think about, connect with and develop your own yoga script. Use imagery, descriptive words and music that you’re comfortable with.

    Just be you.