Inspiration

In Yo Face Friday

This post rides on the coat tails of my goal setting series, when really it should have come first.  You can’t achieve anything without dreaming of it first.  Yous MUST dare to dream.  Dreaming is where it all begins.  The idea, the dream, the what if? The problem with adults is that we forget to dare to dream. We simply get caught up on doing.  We NEED big fat juicy dreams.

Dream Believe Achieve

What are your big fat juicy dreams? I’ll tell you mine, if you tell me yours.  Tell me in the comments below  or head over to Facebook.

xox

Terra

Yoga

Awesome Sauce – Step 1

I don’t know if you guys noticed, but in last week’s blog post  I left you with 4 steps to take to define your own Awesome Sauce. I left that little nugget in the last paragraph of the post.  If you missed it, don’t worry, I’m about to dig deep, step by step.

Step 1: Understand Your Target Market

In order to create a winning USP, otherwise known as delectable Awesome Sauce, you need to understand the people in your target market at an individual level….as actual human beings with feelings, emotions and opinions.  This means not as a mass of demographic statistics, but as actual human beings. Your USP needs to appeal to their needs and desires, as well as their frustrations, worries, problems, and pain points. When you connect in this way, you create an emotional bond. The first step is getting to know these individuals.

Study Demographics

Start by looking at demographics. Find out your target customers’ age, gender, occupation, education level, and income. Try to be as specific as possible. Although you may have a good idea about your target market’s demographics, don’t leave it up to guesswork. When creating a demographic profile, rely on hard data wherever possible.

Observe Your Market

Gather data about your market both online and offline. Online, you can use social media sites, forums, reviews and blogs. Find out where your customers hang out online and spend time there. Offline data gathering methods include surveys and focus groups.

In addition to looking for demographic information, also look for psychological data. How do people in your market feel about themselves and the products they buy? Try to understand what makes them tick.

Engage Your Market in Conversation

Get into conversations with your target market to learn more about them. A common offline market research method is to conduct surveys. Surveys work well but they’re one-sided. A better approach is to get a dialogue going. You can do this through social media sites like Facebook, online forums, or your blog. Engage people in conversation related to your product or just come right out and ask them how they feel about it.

Take Good Notes

When conducting market research, it’s important to take good notes. Record all of the data you gather and organize it so that it’s easy to analyze. Separate data into categories, such as demographics and psychology. Look for data that’s consistent from one person to another.

Try to find ways to quantify your results. When it comes to market research, objective data is the most important. Subjective data, such as someone’s feelings about your product, should be used to support the objective data.

Draw a Picture

Take all of the consistent trends you find and create a picture of your ideal customer. Identify their demographic information, their opinions, their buying habits, and all the other data you’ve gathered. Once you’ve done this, it’s much easier to create a unique selling proposition. You now have a good idea of what your customers want and need in the products they buy. You can write your USP so that it speaks directly to those wants and needs.

You can even look at the physical picture you’ve drawn as you’re doing your writing, so that it sounds as realistic and personal as possible.

An Edge on the Competition

Armed with all of this information about your target market, you’ll have an edge over the competition. It’ll be easy to see what mistakes they are making and how they are not delivering. You and your company can then fill in the gaps and give your market exactly what they want.

Inspiration, Yoga

Own It.

Yup, the hiatus is over. It’s time for In Yo Face Friday.

Today I want to talk about owning it. Owning who you are and what you do with every ounce of your being.  Stop shying away from your perceived flaws.  For a long time, the yogini in me was ashamed of the lawyer in me.  I couldn’t reconcile the two aspects of my personality. The type-a, analytical, demanding side of me always seemed to be at conflict with the gentle, soft, energy healer in me.   Before my yoga training, the legal side hardened me. I felt as if my compassion and empathy were weaknesses. The opposite was true after my yoga training. For some reason yoga quieted my voice. I didn’t fit perfectly into the yoga teacher box, so my personality shrank. Only recently have I come to realize these juxtapositions are exactly my gifts to the world.

Own it

Never quiet your voice. Own it.

Business, Yoga

8 Tips for Studio-Teacher Retention + Loyalty

This blog goes out to all of my studio owners out there.  If you want the best studio in your area, you have to attract, fill and retain teaching talent. Pretty simple, right? Not always.  Most teachers pay their bills by packing their schedule with classes taught at any number of studios.  While I don’t think that’s the best way to build a sustainable business as a yoga teacher, that’s for another blog post entirely.  For a studio to be off the charts successful, hell even if your goal is just to operate out of the red,  loyalty is essential for your success. I’m not talking about the loyalty of your students, right now I am talking about the loyalty of your teaching staff.

Let me take a moment here, take it back to my law school days and set up a little hypothetical:  

I stole and edited this image from http://musicorspaceshuttle.com/tag/indie-rock/
I stole and edited this image from http://musicorspaceshuttle.com/tag/indie-rock/

You’re the owner of Rockin Yoga Studio and you just hired Candace to teach a Vinyasa class. You didn’t give her the best time slot, but she’s new and of course she needs to prove herself to get the killer class times, right?  You decide to pay her a flat rate and a per head bonus for every additional student over a certain number, let’s say 10.   You verbally agree to the terms of “employment”, add Candace to the schedule and website.  Candace also teaches at Yoga Studio B and Yoga Studio C, both about 5 miles away in different directions.  You have no idea what the other studios pay Candace.  Candace is socially active in your town and very friendly. She can be seen chatting up strangers at the local health foods, store, juice bar and even Target.  You have no idea what Candace gets paid to teach at Studio B and Studio C.  You DO know that if she’s chatting up potential yoga students, you want them coming to your Rockin Yoga Studio.

How are you going to ensure that Candace is loyal to your Rockin Yoga Studio and not Studio B or Studio C?  You could make her sign a non-compete clause stating she won’t teach within a 20 mile radius of your Rockin Yoga Studio, but that’s not very yogic is it? You definitely don’t want to be known as the Rockin Yoga Studio owner asshole, right?  Remember, we need to come from a place of abundance, not scarcity.  {if you feel that a non-compete employment clause is the way to go for you, you best sweeten the deal by offering a banging salary, health insurance and retirement 401k options}.

This may sound like a bunch of business mumbo-jumbo, but DO NOT FORGET, you are in fact running a business! It’s essential to focus on hiring strategies, employee development and career succession and planning…even in yoga studios.  Most studios are not well prepared to fill vacancies in leaders of their teaching staff. Many can barely find last minute subs! By employing consistent, studio-wide “talent management programs” at all levels studios can develop effective teachers and ROI (that’s return on investment for the business acronym challenged). So here 8 tips to build studio-teacher retention and loyalty:

Live Your Brand.  This tip is my #1 go to for every question about the business of yoga. for a studio to flourish you need to determine your studio style, tap into your awesome sauce and ensure your studio is living its brand. Make sure the teachers you hire are aware of your studio personality (brand) and will meet its expectations. Do not forget to clearly articulate what your expectations are. If your studio is known for post class tea time, let your teachers know you expect them to mingle with the students after class for at least 20 minutes.  Set expectations so your teachers understand and can live your brand.

Identify the Gaps Will Rockin Yoga Studio be headed into the red if you pull your hamstring and can’t teach for a month or if your star teacher decides to up and move to Taos?  If so, that’s a big red flag.  You need to determine the studio’s current and future leadership needs. Compare those requirements with the current staff. Identify current teacher(s) that may be at risk as well as current teacher(s) that could step up to the plate in times of needs. How is your teaching pipeline, do you have a robust sub list?

Identify Your Teaching Talent It is important to gauge your teacher’s talent beyond the teaching audition to get the job. While you can probably decipher teacher popularity by running your class metrics through MindBody Online, you should also get regular feedback from your students and other staff members. Using this feedback you can develop the talent of your teachers.  By implementing competency modules for your teachers you can identify teaching potential as well as fill deficiencies. You can also implement a mentoring program by teaming up seasoned teachers with the less experienced. Competency modules and mentoring programs can also be used as a performance review, which is essential ensure teachers are keeping your students safe and developing their profession.

Develop Skills Roadmaps – once you have identified your high-potential teachers, develop a skills road map for your future superstar teachers. People learn and develop new skills inside and outside the studio. To support informal learning, you should consider activities such as coaching, rotational assignments, shadowing/mentorships and project (Seva) leaderships. At the core, the very definition of learning should reflect today’s non-traditional learning approaches and incorporate social networking tools into the process.

Staff Development Program To build loyalty and retention, it is essential for studios to give back to their teachers. The majority of studio owners give little thought to staff development and education.  Studio owners tend to be essentially non-linear in their thinking and business planning -they know they have to hire teachers and staff (usually as independent contractors, not full employees) and they see this as an expenditure or cost to their bottom line, when in actuality, their teachers and staff if developed properly are their greatest asset. The ROI on staff development is easily quantifiable.  It includes retention, morale, efficiency, competency and customer satisfaction. (could literally talk for hours about staff development and return on investment, so I’ll save the deeper insight for another blog post).

Career Development  – This is tied directly to the Staff Development Program. Career planning may not be something the average yoga teacher  or studio owner thinks about. We tend to live in the moment and possibly plan our next class, next workshop or next retreat. Thinking about it as a career is a switch that needs to be flipped. In a traditional business setting, research shows that companies that support career planning for their employees earn business benefits in both retention and engagement.  If your studio doesn’t provide employees with career planning, someone else will.  Self-service career planning will help motivate and retain talent by empowering them to generate a view with a career plan.

Develop Retention + Rewards Programs – If there’s one thing every yoga teacher has in common, it’s our insatiable desire to learn more about everything yoga. Every single teacher out there wants to continue to learn and develop their skills, and they’ll move mountains to be able to afford to do so. – offer trainings, workshop scholarships etc. linking pay to performance can be a strong employee motivator (paying per student) , however goal  alignment may hep potential leaders stay focused on what is important for the studio. Recognize excellence in performance with a retention program., base the upside of any bonus potential on the success of both the company and the student.

Create Community – Your studio doesn’t simply serve your students.  If there’s one thing you need to remember, it’s that your studio is also a kula for your teachers and staff. As with any relationship, familial or otherwise, you need to foster its connection. Schedule regular staff meetings.  Implement quarterly staff events and trainings. Give your teachers a reason to be loyal to your Rockin Yoga Studio.

YHC Yoga Teachers Family '10.
YHC Yoga Teachers Family ’10.

You will notice that each of the above tips on building studio-teacher retention + loyalty all build from one another. One grows from the next and each are important. If Candace knew your Rockin Yoga Studio was there to foster her skills as a teacher, was interested in her career development and had her back like a family member don’t you think she’d be pimpin out your Rockin Yoga Studio in Whole Foods instead of Studio B or C?

Do you use any of these strategies for teacher retention? Do they work for you?  I’d love to hear from you!

Empowerment, Inspiration, Spirituality

In Yo Face Friday

You guys want to help me with the tumble weeds around here?  It’s the end of February and it has been almost two months since my last post. I broke the cardinal rule of blogging- you actually have to blog. Now let me take some time to provide you with the excuses.

1. Holidays.
2. Frustration.
3. Overwhelm.
4. Excuses suck.

Here’s what really happened….the holidays came and priorities were inadvertently shuffled. Food. Family. Stress. Then I got frustrated over not having time for myself, my husband and my business on top of the 9-5 schlep and my volunteer work.  So I broke cardinal rule #2 – working in my business instead of working on my business. I decided everything needed to be done all at once and I was the best person to do it. Shit with my web designer hit the fan (see how the website isn’t launched yet?) and I started moving horizontally instead of vertically.

Enter overwhelm.

When overwhelm hits and you’re already frustrated everything comes to a grinding halt. Why? Because all of a sudden your brain is torn between the ‘woulda, coulda shoulda’ land of the past and the ‘what if’ land of the future.  The moment you enter the scary dark corners of the past and /or the future the most important thing disappears. The present. 

The most important thing you can do in life; for your self, your business, your practice your friends, your family, your community, for everyone you encounter is STAY PRESENT.

My inaction over the past month and a half was a sweet reminder of how important the present is.  Time to get back on the wagon, ya heard?

#beherenow
#beherenow
Business

Stick With It!!

How to Stick to Your Goals and Stay Motivated

Have you ever been working your way toward a goal that you really wanted to achieve, only to suddenly lose your way? How does that happen?

When you’re working toward a goal, it’s not enough to simply want it. Even if it’s the attainment of your life’s dream, you have to keep yourself constantly motivated or else you won’t stick with it. Here are some tips on how to stay on course and make it happen.

Keep Your Momentum

An object at rest stays at rest. That’s what Isaac Newton discovered and it’s just as true about human beings as it is with physical objects. It’s easy to give up a goal when you take too long of a break from it. The momentum you need to keep going comes from taking action toward your goal daily.

Faltering Confidence

If you have a big goal, the fear of failure might be lurking somewhere in the back of your mind. This can cause problems with your confidence that can result in you falling out of step and giving up. The best way to keep your confidence up is to remember your past successes and achievements. Write these down and keep them handy in case you need them

Consider the Evidence

In just the same way, it helps keep you moving when you can see how much progress you’re making. Keep track of your progress and every time you feel like giving up, look at the evidence. If you’re losing weight, keep records of how much you’ve lost. If you’re saving money, look at the growing pile of cash.

Make It Positive

Positivity is a much better motivator than negativity. If your goal is to get out of your current job, quit smoking, or break your bad habits, try to put a positive spin on it. For example, instead of saying you’ll quit smoking, make your goal to become a non-smoker or to make healthier lifestyle choices. Negative motivators can help, but it’s much better to make the main overall goal a positive one.

Get Around Obstacles

There are always going to be roadblocks along the way and these obstacles can stop you dead in your tracks. It’s easy to let them. But an obstacle is really nothing more than a challenge. What it requires is a change of strategy and that’s all. When you get stuck and feel that you can’t move forward, review your goal and the process you’ve created for getting there. Brainstorm some small changes that you can try out.

Learn from Mistakes

When you mess up and make a mistake (or you’re weak and let yourself slip), don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, separate yourself from the situation and look at it objectively. Why did the mistake happen? Where did it come from? Look closely at it and use it as a learning experience.

Ask for Help

Lots of people try to do everything themselves and avoid asking for help even when they need it. It’s incredibly hard to achieve a goal without any support whatsoever. When you first get started, identify some people who can help you. When you have tough times, turn to them.

Don’t forget as you work your way to the attainment of your goals that you need rewards. It’s not enough to always anticipate the big day when the goal is reached. Schedule rewards for yourself after you complete your tasks or reach your sub-goals. Rewards are the best motivators. Besides, you deserve them.

In the words of my favorite mentor, Marie Forleoeverything is figureoutableset a goal

Inspiration, Spirituality

In Yo Face Friday

Today’s inspiration is pretty simple. We all have things to give. It’s in our essence to give back. It’s up to us to make this world a better place. Give your time. Give your talent. Give your gifts.  Give your compassion. Give your love. Give your hope. Spread the word. You were born to give.

Born to Give

Business

Get Out Of Your Own Way

What’s Stopping You from Setting Goals?

Do you have a goal that you want to achieve but something is standing in the way? I have lots of goals..and let me be honest here, 9 times out of 10 the biggest thing standing in my way is ME.  If you’ve found that you’re the biggest thing in your way, here are some questions to ask yourself.

Are You Afraid?

Often, it’s fear that’s stopping you from getting started. In order to reach your goal and make a big change in your life, you need to get out of your comfort zone. You may also be afraid of failure. Surprisingly, many people are afraid to succeed and attain their goals. The way to handle fear is to plan well, stop negative self-talk, and focus on your past achievements rather than what could happen in the future.

Do You Really Want It?

When you answer this question honestly, it can be an eye-opener. You may discover that you’re not ready yet to make the change. Sometimes we like the idea of attaining our goal better than the reality. The best way to find out if this is the case is to realistically consider all that you’ll have to do to achieve your goal. Listen to the stories of others who have done it and ask yourself if it’s worth it to you.

Is It Somebody Else’s Goal?

Is the goal actually your own or is it someone else’s? It’s very common for us to internalize the things others want for us. The other person may be a family member, a romantic partner, or people at work. When the goal isn’t really yours to begin with, it’s much easier to buckle under pressure when things get tough. Ask yourself if it’s what you really want or what they really want.

Are You Too Busy?

Do you really have the time to fit this goal into your life right now? Attaining any worthwhile goal takes a considerable amount of time. Many of us are ‘time poor’ and just don’t have room for it. You can learn how to manage your time better and shift your schedule around, but sometimes even that doesn’t help. Set a realistic timeframe for your goal and figure out what you’ll need to do each day in order to achieve it.

How to Get Started

Probably the biggest thing that stops people from starting on their goals is that they don’t know where to start. Goal planning is a skill just like any other and most of us aren’t good at it.

Start by clarifying what you want and then set a timeframe for when you want to achieve it. Next, break your big goal into small sub-goals and make a list for each of the actions you need to take to achieve them. Organize your goal setting but leave some room for flexibility too because things change along the way.

Cowgirl up

Need to play a little catch up?

Failure Sucks, Dude
Creating Time Frames + Being flexible in Goal Setting
Dream + Hustle
Keep it Real: Goal Planning and Taking Action
Learning to Love Metrics
The Dirty Details.
Lets Go, Smarty Pants.
Ready Set Goal!
Resolutions Suck, Goal Setting is Awesome!

Business, Inspiration

Failure Sucks, Dude

4 Surefire Ways to Fail at Reaching Your Goals

Napoleon Hill said, ‘A goal is a dream with a deadline.’ Are you great at dreaming but not so good at attaining your goals? I could dream up business ideas and strategy for days. I literally have 100s of URLs and journals filled with the next amazing thing. It took me a long time to figure out how to tap into that talent and transfer it into a service. Once I did, the Darshana Collective was born, the company is flourishing and I am finally getting paid for something I am naturally good at – creative, organizational, business strategy for yoginis.  I failed a bunch of times before I got it right. The reason I got it right this time? I set strategic goals. Once I got strategic about it, the walls came down and everything fell into place.

If you’re stuck dreaming, and not doing, something is holding you back. Here are four of the most common reasons why people fail to reach their goals.

1. The Reason Gets Away from You

It takes a long time to reach your goals. During that time, it’s easy to stray from the real reason why you ever wanted to achieve it in the first place. In fact, you may very well forget it entirely.

How do you keep from doing this? A great way is to write this reason down. Ask yourself why you want to make this change and answer it as honestly as possible. Take that piece of paper and keep it with you constantly. Tuck it in your wallet. Look at it every time you have to bust out your ATM card to pay for something. Reminders are key!!

You may also find your motivation to reach the goal waning, especially when you encounter challenges along the way. Keeping a written statement of why you want to achieve your goal keeps that initial excitement with you to push you forward.

2. Too Much on Your Plate

The expression ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ applies to goal planning as well as many other things in life. If you try to take on too many things at once, you’ll be spending your energy all over the place. You won’t have the focus that you need to reach even one, and you’ll most likely burn out quickly. Be laser focused in your passion.

But what can you do if you’re an ambitious person with lots on your plate? The solution is to make a huge list of goals and just pick one. Work on one until you get comfortable with it and start seeing results. Then, you can add the next goal to your already busy schedule.

3. Choking on Negativity

Often, we fall short of what we want because we focus too much on negatives. You think about what you don’t want or where you don’t want to be, instead of visualizing yourself in a good place in the future.  If you’re not sure visualization is powerful, check out my friend Lana Shlafer. She’s a master at manifestation and visualization techniques.  I am not one for pudding, but the proof is there.

If your goal is to get more private clients, stop thinking about the ones you don’t have right now. Sure, it may be a good motivator to get you job hunting; but the negative thinking it’s causing you can stand in your way. Instead, focus on the wonderful new job you’re going to get.

4. Kill the Fear

Many of us fail to make progress on our goals because of fear, which is perfectly natural. If you’ve got a big goal you’re working toward, there’s a good chance it’s something you’ve never done before, and that can be terrifying.

When you’re afraid, it’s usually because you doubt your abilities. But with proper planning, this isn’t an issue at all. If you break your goals down into sub-goals and daily actions that will get you closer to them, it just becomes a matter of logistics. A good plan with concrete steps helps you overcome fear.

5. Take Action Today

Ultimately the main reason we fail at goals is that we fail to take action. This could be because of the fear mentioned above or for other reasons, but it’s essential to do something each day that gets you closer to your goals. This helps you understand your own abilities and skills better, and it gives you more confidence when you see yourself getting closer to getting what you want.

Kill the fear

Need to play a little catch up?

Creating Time Frames + Being flexible in Goal Setting
Dream + Hustle
Keep it Real: Goal Planning and Taking Action
Learning to Love Metrics
The Dirty Details.
Lets Go, Smarty Pants.
Ready Set Goal!
Resolutions Suck, Goal Setting is Awesome!

Empowerment, Inspiration, Spirituality

In Yo Face Friday

Sometimes it’s really scary going inside. There’s cobwebs, old memories and pain buried deep within us.  Everything you need, your power, your spirit your inspiration, your intuition.  It’s all inside you. You just have to dig deep.  If you have a pile of shit to dig through, grab a shovel. If you need help, reach for it…but go there. You’re a warrior. Fight + release the demons.  Go inside. Go deep.

Dig deep

you had the power all along, my dear.