With a recent uptick in articles spreading across the yoga-sphere on the concept of ‘can you or can’t you make yoga work as a full-time career?’, it seems appropriate to bring to light some realities around our work as yoga educators, and demystify the concept that it’s impossible to create a yoga career that is sustainable, fulfilling, and frankly…pays the freakin’ bills.
First of all, it’s possible. There are yoga-preneurs doing it. They exist, and to be honest, they aren’t necessarily more talented, skilled, or unicorn-like than you. They just understand some universal truths about the yoga biz and they're willing to not conform to the rest of the elements of the yoga biz that are broken.
They’ve amped up their creative and yogic genius and they’ve invested time, money, and effort in learning more about the facets of their teaching and business. And they’ve done ten other yoga-preneur trademark things.
So, you want to be a yogipreneur? Here are some tips.
1. Don’t Quit Your Day Gig
Having a sustainable second income can mean being able to say yes to health insurance (and not at the price of teaching 8 more group classes a month), or having the monthly income flexibility to align yourself with yoga opportunities you're into—giving yourself time and space to create the foundation of your business, and take care of yourself as you step into the role of yogi CEO.
It’s also a reminder that it takes time to grow your yoga business, and not to rush into quitting your day job too soon.
2. Invest In A Business Course
You're a yoga expert, but chances are you aren't versed in marketing or trained in social media…yet. Invest in a business course and cozy up to this idea: you have a yoga business. Great cupcake makers don’t necessarily run amazing bakeries, and this is true too for yoga educators. The way the current yoga world is set up doesn’t allow yoga teachers to work as employees at most studios or other venues, and as a result, most of us are in business for ourselves.
3. Surround Yourself With Like-Minded Individuals
As ironic as it can seem, the yoga world can feel lonely especially when you are breaking rules, creating boundaries, and generally kicking ass in your yoga business. Curate a group of like-minded wellness professionals and use them as support, a sounding board, and proofreaders.
4. Never Stop Learning
Continually and consistently invest money, time, and effort into your craft and business—it will pay off. Don't get too busy to be a student, don't skimp on investing in your continued education, and don't stop learning.
5. Find Ways To Leverage Your Business
Eventually all individuals who trade dollar for hour run out of steam or hit a cap in the amount of hours they can work and the amount of money they can bring in. Diversify your offerings and work on creating more passive streams of revenue once you've hit your stride.
6. Embrace Your Niche
Every quarter, yogis in my mentorship program exclaim, “I just want to help everyone.” I get it, and I know where this beautiful concept comes from, but frankly they just can't and neither can you.
Find your sub groups of yogis to really impact and then deliver the most potent offerings you can to this distinct niche. Imagine the clarity you will gain around your business and offerings when you know exactly whom you are meant to serve.
7. Cancel All Pity Parties
I know I'm tired of yogis who are convinced that they can't make a living, quit their day job, and make more than $30 a yoga class. Cancel those pity parties and stop showing up with party favors to everyone else's in your 200-hour training.
It's true, you probably can't make a sustainable and abundant living just hopping around from studio to studio teaching group classes, so innovate, yogi CEO.
8. Creativity Is Queen
There is always room to challenge and reinvent the status quo. So do that in your teaching and business while staying true to your core message and your niche (see above). Get creative and revolutionary, and don’t fall into the ‘it’s always been done this way’ model.
9. Make Marketing Your Mainstay
When I talk to private yoga teachers, most of them are spending 80% of their time teaching group-led yoga classes (even though they're dying to work one-on-one) and they're spending virtually no time marketing. You may spend more time each week marketing than teaching if it's early in your business, and you need to keep it a priority even as you grow.
P.S. Marketing can be mindful and fun (and enjoyable – you're reading it right now!).
10. Be Really Great (But Not Perfect)
You are a genius, a yogic force of teaching and business nature, and you can be really great – but not perfect. Don't wait until you can afford the 10k website overhaul and don't hold off on 1×1 sessions until you feel 'ready'. Don't let “perfect” keep you from your dream.
Are you a yogipreneur? What tips have led, and continue to lead, you to success in teaching and business?