By: Molly Toohey, Yoga Teacher & Holistic Career Coach
The path to fulfillment has historically led to marriage and family for generations. Although this is a highly valuable and beautiful path, more and more women are choosing their careers in addition to family life.
It’s not ingrained in our culture and society what next steps to take after a yoga teacher training. This is awesome because the possibility for potential is limitless! This is also not a topic that you can turn to anyone for advice on, because of the way business has changed and continues to change so rapidly. Often mistakenly grouped into the business of wellness, the business of teaching yoga is hands down the most rewarding yet nuanced job out there.
There are some regularly circulated articles about this topic that argue that developing your career as a yogi means, first getting certified, then actually teaching, then creating a signature program or class, and then learning how to market it.
This is true and certainly necessary. This last bit though, the marketing part, gets awkward for even the most outgoing teacher. How does a traditionally trained yoga instructor incorporate marketing into his or her business?
At first glance, it may seem easy to put the practice of yoga into business. But with a closer look, you might find that running your own business in yoga takes the management of the below moving parts to keep it consistent.
1.-Compartmentalize. Know that there are multiple aspects of being a solo entrepreneur in the yoga space. Separate the business aspect from the yoga aspect and work backwards. Simplify and outsource which aspects of business that are not your strengths. For instance, I knew I needed to hire a photographer to streamline the image of my brand. I still take my own pictures and stay creative with photography for my brand, but without my brand photoshoot, I’d have been working extra hard to make my business look a certain way.
Brand/ business – what the business looks like, the face of the business and how the teacher is received by their students.
Market– how to market events, or who you are as a teacher (in a new town or to those who don’t know you)
Teaching of yoga – the actual accumulation of knowledge and distribution in the form of classes, teaching workshops, creating content for your brand. Here, you’ll also want to consider the mindset it takes to keep yourself active by using nutrition, rest and consistent sadhana.
2. Know what type of teacher you are based on what you already know from teaching your students. Research what people want to learn in yoga class from their teacher and then teach to that. Know who you are teaching and get curious about your ideal student’s top three struggles in yoga. Address and solve their biggest problem in a digestible way when you teach. This is important because when you know who your audience is, and you know their top three struggles, you’ll be able to connect with them effectively. #teaching #brand
3. Use creative lead generation – Speak your truth on social media. Social media is a tool, which connects you to others based on what you say, and what you believe in. Social media is a tool to help you continue to figure out how your message lands. It’s more than likely that your work and business will evolve as you grow. Keep speaking from your authentic voice! Keep telling your story! Your ideal student wants to learn from you!
The best online tools to use are the ones you know and are likely to use already. If you like the way Facebook works, use it as a means to talk about your craft. When you teach public or private classes, talk about it on social media. The media you choose is dependent on where you already want to hang out and post. If you love connecting on a certain platform, continue to use that one, based on your interests and talents.
Ask clients to review you on Yelp. Set up your business Yelp page prior to requesting this type of review. There is a short wait period in the time your business is approved and processed on Yelp. Another tip about Yelp: people who review you have to be active on Yelp, or the algorithm will not trust the reviewer. Ask if the client is active on Yelp, or if they could simply review at least three other businesses as well as yours. If not, obviously it’s okay, but just as a heads up, this is how the app works.
Consider how you’ll write your posts ahead of time. When you know your niche, you’ll be able to get these posts together quickly. Don’t overthink it. Some posts may be short snippets of what you’re about and how your expertise fits into your day.
4. Be consistent. Focus on your main student’s topics of interest, issues and realities, not your own. The more you focus on the needs of your students, the more relevant content you’ll create. Your students want to hear what you’re up to. Be creative, consistency is key for helping your students keep you at the top of mind.
If consistency is an issue for you, just utilize the Facebook schedule button! When you go to post on your business Facebook page, there’s an option to either post, or schedule. Plan your posts ahead of time and use the schedule option to stay consistent.
There is also a great scheduling tool for Instagram called Planoly. Planoly can also post your Instagram posts to your linked Facebook page. I use the free version of Planoly, which is versatile enough for planning and scheduling posts. Planoly has versatile design functions and is a great tool.
5. Work for people you want to work for. You’re essentially interviewing them. This is big. Figure out where you want to build a relationship with students. Note that if you disagree with the owner on a normal basis, that might not be the best fit for you.
When you know something is true, and take a risk, it can be a bit scary. If there’s resistance around this concept for you, check in: what bigger purpose are you serving? What does your hard work mean to you? How does your vision fit in with what’s happening globally?
When you take your awareness wider than yourself, it’s a bit easier to understand your vision. What you’re doing is part of something bigger than you, for the greater good and for humanity. What is it about your style of teaching that is truly helping others? Is it your presence, your style of teaching, your music or the combination of all three? Is it how much you care about your student’s experience?
As yoga teachers, it can get awkward to “market” yourself. When you look from a broader perspective, it becomes less consuming to carry out this role, because you’ll be focused on something much bigger than yourself.
As a teacher, you’re essentially teaching others how to manage their anger and hatred. You’re showing them how to be more self-aware and compassionate.
When you acknowledge your impact in this way, even if no one seems or acts inspired, you are inspiring them.
Check back in with that and lean into the potential of multiple possibilities.
Be the creator of your circumstances and know that you’ve done everything to the best of your ability, and that you’ve shown up in integrity and alignment with your highest good.
Your classes will evolve. If you take the time to deeply explore all the ways yoga has helped you, you’ll have enough teaching material for a lifetime.
About the Author:
Molly Toohey a certified 500-hour vinyasa yoga instructor and has been teaching since 2008. As a Holistic Career Coach, she helps newly certified yoga instructors establish their voice as a teacher and monetize their yoga business.
Find more information about Molly and her services go to her website: www.mollytoohey.com