In order to be an accredited teacher training program with Yoga Alliance, you must have a portion of the training dedicated to business. As a business graduate turned yoga teacher, I was super excited for this portion of my teacher training.
We sat down to talk business on one of the last afternoons of my training, and I opened my notebook to a fresh new page and was sitting up straight with my pen in hand, eager to learn.
The business lesson was approximately 30 minutes and we talked about the importance of getting insurance, and creating a yoga teacher specific resume. The lesson wrapped up and I sat there speechless.
Is that all? I thought to myself.
There was no way that I could be a successful yoga teacher without knowing more about the business side of yoga. Because, at the end of the day, I might be really good at teaching, but how was I going to market myself, get a job as a teacher, and create a liveable income in an industry that is completely over saturated without the basic business tools?
When I returned home from my yoga teacher training (YTT), I sat down and took everything I had learned from my undergrad degree in business and applied it to everything I knew about the yoga industry.
Here are the business lessons that I didn’t learn in YTT that I believe to be essential to be successful as a yoga teacher:
1.You are your own brand
Stepping into the yoga world as a new yoga teacher can be really difficult and really intimidating. Because of this, most of us new yoga teachers seek whatever teaching gigs we can get. We say “yes” to every opportunity available to us, and at first we should. We should only do this until we begin to find our own style of teaching, our own voice, and ultimately, our own brand.
What does it mean to be your own brand?
It means that you have your own preferred style of teaching, the cues that you find the most effective for your students, and a way that you hold space in the room that is different from other teachers. You are your own unique teacher.
Each yoga studio also has it’s own brand, and so you seek to teach at studios that your brand is aligned with. It is often thought that as yoga teachers we must align ourselves with that yoga studio, but I like to think of it as 2 brands meeting in a mutual space and engaging in a mutually beneficial exchange. You see, that studio owner needs teachers as much as you need a job.
When you take a job at a studio that is asking you to teach in a way that isn’t your style or true to what you believe as a yoga teacher, you are compromising yourself for the sake of a job. You are most likely teaching in an unauthentic way, and your students will feel it. It changes the dynamic in the room, it changes the experience, and it changes the energy.
So, how do you know when you’ve determined your own brand and it’s time to start saying “no”?
Once you’ve been teaching consistently for a couple months, or maybe even a year or so, you will have moments where you no longer desire to teach simply for the sake of the experience or the money. You will notice yourself feeling resistant to teaching certain classes or at certain studios.
This is when you will know that you have found your brand, and you will recognize that your brand doesn’t fit the brand of that opportunity. At this point, it is time to start saying “no” to the things that do not fit your brand and seek out new opportunities that do fit your brand.
2. Have a presence online
But I’m a yoga teacher. I got into this industry so that I didn’t have to spend all day at a computer.
Trust me, I did too. But in today’s modern world everyone is online, and if you want to be discovered as a yoga teacher, you need to be too.There are a lot of different platforms that can be used to establish your online presence, and by no means do you have to do them all. The top 3 platforms that I would recommend that you consider having a presence on are as follows:
Something as simple as a Facebook Page with some photos and your yoga schedule can be hugely effective to grow your business. You can gain followers easily here, post upcoming workshops or events that you are teaching, and schedule posts ahead of time for ease and efficiency.
Instagram is quite popular in the yoga world, and one thing that I love about Instagram is that you can gain followers from all over the world. Instagram is also a photo sharing platform, so with each post, you can include a cool photo that keeps people engaged and interested.
It sounds scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Something as simple as a landing page with a blurb about yourself, your teaching schedule and your contact information can be hugely beneficial so that your students can follow you wherever your are.
3. You are an entrepreneur, not an employee
You became a yoga teacher so that you had the freedom to work for yourself and not someone else. You are not an employee of a studio or multiple studios, you are a yogi entrepreneur who chooses the studios that you work at.
It is easy to slip into the mindset that, as yoga teachers, we work for other people, and although that may be true in some regards, we work for ourselves at the end of the day. This gives you the power to choose where you work, when you work, who you work for, and how often you work.
The other part of yogi entrepreneurship that you should consider is that the students you teach are your students. It’s easy to think of them as the students of the yoga studio you teach at, but they come to your classes. They show up for you.
What does this mean for you as an a yogi entrepreneur?
It means that these are the people who you can capitalize on when you decide to run workshops, retreats and offer private sessions. They are the people who vibe with your brand, and who will pay for you to teach them.
So when you decide to expand your teachings, you have a group of people who know and love you and who want to support you!
To truly be successful in the over saturated yoga industry, it is important to determine what your brand is and to seek out the places that have a similar brand to yours, to create a presence online, and to switch your mindset from employee to entrepreneur.
This guest post was written my Amanda Kingsmith at M.B.Om Yoga. For questions related to these business tips, please visit www.mbomyoga.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.