Making your yoga business future proof
Nothing lasts forever — except your yoga business! Fenella Lindsell shares some tried and tested tips on how to future proof your yoga venture
Today’s business environment embodies a digital approach - quickly evolving and responding to innovation. The last few years have seen rapid changes where online business and trade have become the standard practice. So, how do we build a resilient yoga business out of this?
We must be ready to adapt as the era demands and embrace the inevitable future. As the landscape of yoga teaching evolves, so must we as practitioners. It’s vital to stay ahead of the curve and embrace new practices so that we can move with the changing tides. This piece will outline the steps that leading teachers have taken to make their businesses future proof.
Utilising social media
Part of a positive future is making the most out of the present. One of the best tools we have for businesses at the moment is social media which can be used for advertising, marketing and sharing your brand’s story. The increased visibility that comes with a social media business platform allows you to share your journey with an audience of previously unimaginable size. The key benefit is that these platforms help with storytelling, creating an engaging narrative and offering people the chance to interact in real-time with your work.
For those already familiar with platforms like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, this may sound like old news. But the way to stand out is to share more than just your business services. Some yoga teachers use Instagram to advertise their classes, but there are plenty of additional things that will make your business grow. Examples include short at-home sequences, live streams and Q & A sessions. Thanks to these new avenues I have offered on social media, my business has diversified and people from all around the world have joined me on my yoga journey.
Online resources - Injuries, Class Plans and Mentoring
Those not yet accustomed to social media are still likely to have some online presence in the form of a website. Having a website is essential. The reason being is that websites and social media offer easier access to your business, with clear pathways to sign up and also engage with other content on offer. Providing web-based content opens up great opportunities for a whole catalogue of new services.
Teaching has many avenues and I have found that offering mentor sessions, class plans, injury management and more have been extremely helpful to my students and followers. For more info on mentoring, visit www.yogaforeveracademy.com/mentoring
By offering diverse and well-researched resources, my business has grown to be a knowledge hub. The fact that I have varied content ranging from educational and topical articles to short videos and injury advice encourages people to engage more frequently and for longer with my platform.
This has increased sign-ups through my website sign-up link and offered people new ways to learn and grow on their yoga journey. The increased online exposure has been great for bringing in new clients, advertising yoga retreats and receiving unique commissions for works such as the project I did with the NHS in the UK on pre-op health.
Having a Diverse Network
A broad and diverse network is essential. This makes your business adaptable and resilient because you access multiple ventures that go beyond just teaching yoga. In my thirty years of teaching, I have always reached out to other health practitioners such as masseuses, meditation experts and those who are experienced in their respective fields. In doing so, I’ve collaborated in ways that have been commercially beneficial, but also deeply educational.
During a recent urban retreat I hosted, I led two days of yoga sessions combined with a profoundly powerful gong bath for all attendees. Many people had a novel experience with the gong bath and this was complemented with a talk on acupuncture which gave the retreat a holistic and unique essence. This is just one example of collaboration among many and over the years these have broadened and diversified my network. This diverse network has made my yoga platform fun and varied, offering a multitude of ways for me to earn money and develop as a teacher.
Loyal & Returning Clients
Last, but perhaps most important are loyal clients. When I started teaching thirty years ago, yoga was still quite niche and running a yoga business was more of an unusual thing. Today, the market is saturated and people can choose from hundreds of class options and practices. This makes it hard to find returning, loyal clients. Fortunately, I have maintained a loyal group of students, many of whom I consider good friends.
I always do my best to take a genuine and considered interest in my students' lives beyond the yoga classes. This tends to be reciprocated in turn, leading to enduring friendships and, as a by-product for my business, a steady and reliable income irrespective of pandemics, competing teachers or economic instability.
If you want to build a loyal client base, the advice is simple. Care about your clients. People crave authenticity, especially in a market where so many teachers are trying to make a quick buck at your expense. By taking an engaged interest in those who come to my class, we have been able to share more than just a yoga session.
Learning about clients' health, injuries and importantly their lives outside of yoga, I have had the privilege of building a caring community of yogis. This allowed me to set up yoga retreats with people who come yearin-year-out. Moreover, loyal clients spread the word about my work in an infectiously positive tone and inadvertently do much of the marketing for me. Beyond just teaching yoga, care and sociability with my students have helped build a loyal and communal client base - making my business resilient to whatever changes the future holds.
Some points are more obvious than others but are still ignored time after time. Yes, of course, we know the internet is important and social media is a big deal, but using these things in the unique ways described will bring benefits that I have tried and tested. The key thing is to be open as times change and always put genuine care and creativity into your work - from this, everything else will follow.