Business, Inspiration

Ready, Set, Goal

I can tell it’s almost Thanksgiving, because my Facebook feed is filled with “Day 18 – I am grateful for purple monkeys and kombucha.” [It’s awesome to see people actively expressing gratitude, but how about everyday instead of just 30 days in November? Join the Spreading Gratitude group on Facebook and practice daily!]  The onslaught of Facebook gratitude is a clear indication that Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years are right around the corner; the season of guilt and resolutions.  I have one thing to say about that….screw guilt + resolutions!!

Last week I participated in Amber McCue’s 2014 Planathon.  For those of you who have never heard of Amber, she’s a guru of business organization + operations as well as the Founder & CEO of Nice Ops.   Amber is adorable enough to want to put over your knee and bass ass enough to make you listen.  She’s got jaw dropping organization skillz that will make any Virgo dizzy with admiration [and you guys know I don’t use the “g” word lightly].   Under Amber’s guidance,  I planned my ass off for 2014 and it was totally empowering. On the first day I had a mini-light bulb moment:

In order to plan for success, you need to clearly define your goals.  <~~~ Tweet it. 

Every single business needs a business plan and a marketing plan, but if you don’t have a goal, what’s the point? How are you going to know if you’re making progress? Results need to be measurable, right?  Life + business become more meaningful, fulfilling and you’ll become more successful if you clearly articulate your goals.  So, for the next few weeks, screw guilt + resolutions we’re going to empower ourselves with goal setting.  Every Monday and Wednesday for the next 5 weeks I’ll be layin down everything you need to know about goal setting in business and life.

Get ready. We start on Wednesday.

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.

Business, Yoga

Snark, Pooping Unicorns + Getting Off Your Ass

Recovering Yogi

This morning I read an article on Recovering Yogi , 5 ways to make $#!^loads of money with yoga. If you’re not familiar with RY, it’s a community blog whose mission “is to provide a forum for those who are bored with vacuous yoga culture and trite “spiritual” talk.”. I read RY sporadically, mainly because I have friends that contribute.

Generally speaking theirs is not a mission that resonates with me. Yes, I am sassy. Yes I have a sense of humor. Yes, I am brutally honest. I teach yoga and I’m a Reiki master, but I’m not fluffy or a member of your woowoo crew. (Sure, I may lurk, but that’s merely for perspective).  Yes, I believe in the Law of Attraction.  Yet at the same time, I also believe in getting off your lazy ass. I believe magical Unicorn poop is rainbow sparkly, but it still smells like poop.  Lord knows I have felt disenfranchised and bitter about yoga and the yoga industry. We broke up for a full year.  But right now, we’re in our make up phase, and I am in love again.

If RY were prime time, it would be my Seinfeld. I want to find it simply amusing and nothing else, but meh. nope. It’ always leaves me feeling like a wave just took me down at the beach. Sand anyone?  For those of you that do not know me personally, I am not a Seinfeld fan (the horror!). I know, I know. I have heard it all.  I just don’t jive with that kind of humor. I find their brand of sarcasm to be just too mean. I am very obviously NOT a New Yorker.

I read RY for perspective.  When I read the article today, I went through my standard evolution of emotion. Amused>Sad>Annoyed.  Amused because, well the plausibility of a Tantric Yoga studio as a front for a prostitution ring is laughable.   Sad because of defeatist attitude, which rolled into totally annoyed.  If you’re bored and disgruntled, get off your ass and do something about it.  Don’t just bitch.  Advocacy isn’t a spectator sport. The change you want isn’t inevitable, you have to make it happen. Be a mover + shaker. Set an example. Get off your ass or STFU.

Here’s the deal. Yoga is not what it was in the 1970s, get over it.  Studios are like Starbucks. 15 million Americans practice yoga.  It’s a 27 billion dollar industry and spending on its products has risen 87% over the past 5 years.  EIGHTY-SEVEN FREAKING PERCENT.  People are making money with yoga.  Yes, some are selling out. Yes, some arrogantly believe that 26 postures can be patented. There will be douche bag outliers in every industry.  It doesn’t mean the entire industry, or people making money within the industry are a bunch of douche bags.  You don’t have to be penniless to be authentic.

It’s ok to want to make money as a yoga teacher.  It’s ok for a studio to be profitable and there are ethical ways to do it.  You have to work hard and you need a certain amount of business moxie. The point is, it can be done.  You don’t have to compromise your morals, sell your soul, open a brothel or file a patent.  The yoga game has changed. It’s out there for the masses. It’s no longer a big, fat, juicy secret. It’s Billy Breathless.  Feel the ebb and flow, adapt.  Find the balance between business and passion.  If you can’t or refuse to do these things,  STFU and continue to be bitter (and penniless).

That that’s pretty much how I feel about that.