This will be a brief overview, based on some conversations I have been having with newer teachers. Expect some more in-depth material here on these topics soon!
Teaching yoga presents a beautiful blend of opportunities in terms of meaningful, creative, independent, service-oriented work over the length of a well-crafted career.
The tricky part is that as a self-employed individual in a largely unstructured field, there is often not a roadmap to success and the fulfillment of your dreams. We look around at well-known teachers and the array of services, events and products they offer and wonder how to go about getting to that point in our own lives.
Sometimes it can seem like they just have some magical gift or that the universe just dropped success and abundance into their laps because they are special —and perhaps by comparison, we are not…
Well, I think some teachers are just fortunate in terms maybe of their charisma, looks, timing and message, but I am going to share some key nuts and bolts methods that you may not know about yet, as well as some step-by-step, realistic ways to think about growing your business that I hope will demystify this topic and level the playing field!
Teaching Privates vs. Public Classes
Yea, I know —you get it; my number one tip to all new and/or struggling teachers is that you build up a well-functioning private yoga business. The FREE ebook I offer here at YTGS (when you join the email list) and my Keys To Freedom course are both designed to support that process for you.
The fact is, you simply cannot rely on public classes to pay your bills right out of the gate. But with a private yoga business in place as your foundation, you can take a realistic amount of time to grow your public class student base and gradually make the move toward better class times on the schedule where you work.
As you know, you are probably going to start on the sub list, or teaching at less opportune times at first. This is part of paying your dues and developing your craft —but it doesn’t pay much. The smart synthesis here might be something like 5 to 10 private hours per week and 6 to 12 hours of public classes at 2 or 3 different yoga studios or gyms.
2. Building Your List & Teaching Workshops
Part of establishing your private yoga business is having something in place that I call the “simple marketing loop.” This strategically combines 2 or 3 good photos, a business card and a very basic website to support positioning yourself as a private yoga teacher that serves a particular community and type of student that you enjoy working with and can really serve well.
One aspect of this website is your “email capture widget.” This is that little window you see on people’s websites that invites visitors to join the email list —usually with some kind of free gift offered as an incentive. This is how your prospective private students are going to make contact with you, and it is also how you gather their emails in order to share any future offerings with them down the line.
It will be easy for you now to also add a page to that website that lists your public classes.
Once you have some public classes it is imperative you also grow your email list via that exposure to new people. Bring pen and paper with you every time you teach, and get comfortable inviting students to join your email list at the end of class. if they enjoyed your class, they will want to stay in touch with you —and this is an important opportunity for both them and you.
One or two emails each time you teach will add up quicker than you think over time…
You can now also let these public class students know that you offer privates and what sorts of reasons they might have for coming in to see you.
This is also going to massively support your next step, which is dreaming up a workshop with a particular topic that you are excited to share and that you feel will benefit and pique the interest of your students. take your time brainstorming this, discussing with friends and colleagues, and mapping out what this 2 or 3 hour experience will comprise.
I usually recommend that new teachers have at least one year experience, and around 100 emails on their list as a starting point for promoting this new workshop.
Here’s the good news you may not yet realize: when you create and teach a workshop, the standard contract at a yoga studio inverts in your favor, as compared to regular classes. You are bringing value, a unique offering and your own creative vision to the table. Not only is the workshop longer and at a higher price point, but your percentage should go up to between 50% and 70%, depending on studio policy and what you are able to negotiate.
A successful first-time 2 to 3 hour workshop should have roughly 10 participants and be priced between 2 and 3 times what a 90 minute class costs. Remember, you are building trust and credibility in your community, and it takes time —but as with public classes, once word of mouth spreads that you offered a great workshop, your attendance will grow.
Take the steps I have described and this will mark a benchmark in your progress as a teacher.
3. Teaching Retreats
This is next on your career path, and it builds on the work so far. I recommend having at least 2 years of teaching under your belt, and around 200 emails on your list before you offer your first retreat.
You may not be there yet, but just as with your first workshop, you can start dreaming up and sketching out what you retreat experience is going to be…
I recommend starting with a two-night weekend event somewhere nearby and relatively inexpensive. 10 to 20 participants is a big success for your first time. This will give you a starting point from which to grow further.
I hope this quick overview is helpful in terms of your yoga career blueprint —please let me know your thoughts, what you found useful, and any questions you may have in the comments section below!
** Are You READY to build your 1-on-1 private business providing your services as a yoga teacher or massage therapist?!
My 3-week online video course Keys To Freedom is NOW OPEN for Registration and runs February 20 to March 13, 2017!