Business, Yoga

5 Ways to bring in Additional Income as a Yoga Teacher

I stole this image from
I stole this image from

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!

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!