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!

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.

Health, Yoga

IMperfect(ions)

IMperfect(ion)

One of my greatest challenges as a yoga instructor is my personal practice. Sounds silly. When I was teaching, I taught 5 yoga classes a week. You would think a personal practice should be a piece of cake, right? Wrong. oh so very wrong. One of the biggest reasons I scaled-back on teaching was the decline of my personal practice. The busier my teaching schedule got the less “time” I left for my own personal practice. Teaching yoga is not a personal practice. It is a gift you give to another person, but it is not a gift you give to yourself.

Right now, I am transiting from full time yoga instructor and Fempreneuer to a 9-5er with two (growing) small businesses and a personal yoga practice.

Personal. Yoga. Practice.

I have taken a long time to think about my personal asana practice.  In a recent blog post by my friend, Lana said “Labeling the way I feel at this current moment is more of a question-I’m questioning myself. Introspection. Svadhyaya perhaps.  It’s possible I’m just in a “winter” of my life-a dip-there’s highs, lows.”  Her blog post resonated deeply with me. After teaching so many classes for so long, I am ready to go within.  I chose to scale back my teaching because my asana practice, and yogic education (which should be never ending) seemed stagnant.

Svadhyaya Practice on the balcony in the sunshine.

So, while I am not longer teaching I have consciously made the choice to dive head first back into my yoga practice. My yoga and asana practice has become more personal. I haven’t felt a connection to community classes in a while, so I stopped going. This has been challenging since my social life tends to revolve around yoga studios but it’s what I personally need right now. And lets face it, until the new salary kicks in, I can no longer afford to pay $18-$25 for a drop in class.

Each morning as Stella sleeps, I spend time in meditation and light asana on my sunny balcony. With all the changes I am facing, it’s time for me to look within. For me, self-reflection always comes on the mat. One thing that keeps coming us is IMperfect(tion).

In many ways I struggle as a yoga teacher and a wellness coach over my lack of perfection. It’s the Virgo in me to want to fit in to the perfect healthy yogini mold. I want my belly to be flat, my arms and legs long and lean and I want not to reach for the salty and sweet snacks when emotions run high. But I am human and not always perfect. Even though my clients are successful and my students deepen their practice, inside, sometimes I felt like a failure. Which was not easy for the Virgo in me to accept. Virgos are perfectionists.

The perfectionist in me also struggles on the mat. In almost each yoga class I have taught, I reminded my students “this is your time on your mat. Let go of judgement. Dive into yourself and love your practice.” Coming back into my personal practice is helping me, yet again let go of my IMperfect(ions).