Following last week’s Content Kitchen video How Do I Grow My Yoga Business? we promised to delve deeper in this follow-up post. In the video Guy offers three ways to start growing your yoga business without losing your soul:
- think like an entrepreneur
- embrace technology
- drop the jargon
So let’s dive in!
1. How do you think like an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurs are not just business owners but are creative and dynamic forces often turning their passion into a thriving and sustainable business.
If you’re a yoga teacher then you should treat your students like customers. Besides inspiring them in your yoga classes, your job is to delight them outside the yoga studio. Start to think about your customer life cycle. Do you offer your customers a clear path of development they can follow? For example, if you offer pregnancy yoga at your studio, can you develop post-natal classes to encourage your new mothers back into your regular schedule?
Know when to give something away or charge for it. Delighting your customers means surprising them in a good way. From free content in the form of instructional videos or a free class or workshop, delight is hard to forget.
Start thinking about how you can package your yoga services for your customers. What do beginners need, what do your more experienced customers need? This will help make it clear how they can progress with you.
Be innovative. What do you have that no-one else offers or that makes you unique? What can you use to your advantage: what is unique about your skills, city or network of contacts that you can use to stand out and reach more people? For example, you’re a yoga teacher who is also an artist, so your classes tap into and promote creativity and you offer retreats that blend landscape painting and yoga classes.
Standing apart from the generic yoga teacher crowd is about finding your own interesting angle or niche. That doesn’t mean you have to come up with some crazy new idea, it’s simply about letting people know who you are and what your unique perspective on the practice is.
Running a business on your own is very hard. Who can you partner with? Get a mentor or coach, join an online community and get inspired!
2. How do you embrace technology as a yoga business?
The first step is to get organised!
The most successful entrepreneurs know that their time is valuable. It’s often easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of admin and organisation that running a yoga business can generate. Manage your time using cloud-based email, calendars and documents. Create task lists and review them. Here at Wildheart we use an organisational tool called Trello, because it’s so satisfying dragging items into to-do, doing and done!
Take time to regularly reflect on what’s urgent versus what’s important. Urgent stuff is always knocking loudly on your door but checking off important tasks is what helps you grow your business. It’s easy to get confused between the two. You need to take time out regularly to keep track of these two streams of tasks. A business coach or mentor can help with this.
Technology is very good at repetitive tasks – much better than humans. But it takes time to set up. If you find yourself repeating tasks more than 3 – 5 times over a period of time then you should question whether you can use technology to make your life easier.
If you want to come across as professional you need a proper email address – Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail accounts are for amateurs.
Use boiler-plate responses – do you get the same questions over and over again by email from new customers? Create templates that you can copy and paste from and be sure to have an FAQs page on your website.
You must be able to quickly add and update pages on your own website, whether that’s using a simple blog template from WordPress or a more complex design that involves programming code. Get some online training in the areas you feel most lost. Make sure your website is current. If you run any online courses, a teaser or taster video helps showcase your most recent activity.
Good quality blogging is essential for the SEO (search engine optimisation) of your website, which means greater visibility and reputability for your yoga business. Writing blog posts that are useful and that will be shared on social networks is important, but also using good links from popular, well-respected sites can help too. Make sure you don’t link to irrelevant sites as Google doesn’t like this! One way of making sure you have fresh content on your website is to partner with other teachers who like writing and feature regular ‘guest’ blog posts.
You want to keep your students up to date with all your activities, so you should send a weekly or monthly newsletter. Including a blog post in your newsletter is very effective in terms of engaging with your students, as this is something they will look out for and share with their network.
As we explained in How to nurture your community by segmenting your email list, by inviting your subscribers to join groups relevant to their interests you can target your emails more specifically. But don’t give people more than 3 or 5 things to opt-in to. Every segment you create needs to be regularly maintained, so make sure you keep your list up-to-date and only send relevant content to each segment.
Be very careful about how much time you spend on Facebook and other social media channels. They are designed to be engaging and fun, not to make you money. Beware of trends and fads. A good rule of thumb is: can you generate revenue from what you’re about to do on social media? Selfies and yoga challenges are fun for other yogis but quickly turn into yesterday’s newsfeed.
Creating posts and other content that people will want to return to is the key. One way you can do this is by posting in other relevant groups. Rather than just posting a link to your website (which will be deleted if not appropriate), become part of the community. Making meaningful contributions to discussions where people are asking for advice and help can ensure your name (and website) pop up on a regular basis. This will help to grow your reputation and is a good way to attract more credibility either as a teacher or provider of online courses.
Think about your potential students or customers. The kinds of images you present say a lot about the kind of teacher or yoga professional you are. Handstands on glorious beaches are fun but this could alienate a whole group of people who might not resonate with that idea. Headshots and more generic images are preferable. Check out our Creating images for your website post for more detailed guidance on this.
It takes a lot of effort to get good at delivering video content. You need to commit in order to make it work, and we’re talking 12 – 24 months. There’s also a lot of technology in video, as most professional content is produced using SLR digital cameras, professional lighting and, most importantly, a good microphone. However, your trusty iPhone is the perfect starter camera, and a relatively decent microphone is affordable. See our planning your video blog post for more guidance on this. If you’re really camera shy, start with blog writing instead. Or perhaps try recording a podcast, there are plenty of great apps to get you started.
3. Drop the jargon
Yoga is an eclectic blend of Eastern philosophy and Western movement practices. However, for beginner students in particular, ‘yoga jargon’ – long words in Sanskrit or over anatomical terminology – is a turn off.
Use plain English and simple terms where possible. Speak in a language your students (and potential students) can relate to and understand. If you’re a teacher or studio owner, make sure your class descriptions are straightforward – a ‘deep Kali-inspired Vinyasa Flow’ means absolutely nothing to most people, but ‘a more challenging flowing style of yoga which connects breath and postures together’ tells it like it is.
We all suffer from the ‘curse of knowledge’ when running our own business. But resist the temptation to show how much you know and let your expertise shine through your teaching instead.
We hope this article has inspired you to start growing your yoga business by thinking like an entrepreneur, making the most of technology and dropping the jargon. If you need help to start growing your yoga business without losing your soul, why not check out our new Yoga Businesses page – we’ve designed packages just for you!