Tips from the experts to help you grow the yoga business of your dreams
Yes, I do have a business plan. It helps focus my mind on what I am doing and why I am doing it. I used to travel from class to class in different locations, for example, without factoring in my full costs: travel time, planning, petrol. It was a bit of a shock to me when I first started looking at how little I would earn from teaching classes alone (after costs) but it focused my mind on the direction I wanted to go in. It's easy to see why teachers are going online... it makes good financial sense.
Top marketing tips
I've wasted a lot of money boosting posts on Facebook! Ultimately, I do believe word-of-mouth works best for my business, so I have made good relationships with a physio, acupuncturist and massage therapist locally who refer clients to me. Picture your perfect client, whoever that may be. Think about who you want to work with: men, women, children, everyone. Analyse your perfect client: their age, lifestyle, and state of mind. Once you can picture the client you want to work with, you can effectively start planning and marketing to that person.
I'm good at advising other people on how to use social media but useless at following my own advice. I'm either on it obsessively every day, or off it for months! My recommendation would be a couple of scheduled posts every week, so you don't have to think about it. Always post useful content directed towards your ideal client, not just a picture of you looking cool in a warrior pose (we've all done it!). These days, most social media platforms just want short videos which offer something of value to the viewer. Do some social media training, it can be really helpful.
After years of running a studio, I started working for the NHS in their physiotherapy department. I was responsible for working one-to-one with patients who had sports injuries or medical conditions. It's really satisfying seeing someone with long-term debilitating back pain suddenly realise that breathing well can reduce their pain. The only issue with NHS appointments is you have a 20-minute slot to try and help someone improve their health. I now see private clients on a one-to-one basis where I have the time to give them what they need. I also work with a football team, golfers and runners, working on injury prevention through yoga.
Who do you admire?
Sarah Ramsden, whose course I've recently attended; she's a total inspiration. Her knowledge of biomechanics and how the functional human body and yoga interact is, for me, what yoga is all about. Ultimately, yoga is just moving and breathing and she cuts through the frilly stuff. She has achieved so much in terms of raising the profile of yoga in the field of sports.
What's the secret to making a living teaching yoga?
It is possible to make a living from yoga teaching but you have to be creative and learn how to diversify. I couldn't make a living just from classes without crashing and burning. I also live in a rural community where there isn't footfall. Seeking out corporate work, offering workshops, and working one-to-one with some live classes and online is a good balance and stops me from getting bored. I'm not saying I'm there yet as I've only been a full-time teacher for the last year but I am on the right path.
I have a gym at home and at my age, I believe strength training is essential. I make time for gym sessions, usually in the evening. I have to walk the dog, so that is a kind of self-care as well, as it makes you go outside in the fresh air. I also practice Animal Flow which is all about getting the most out of your body. I have to be honest, my own yoga practice does often take a back seat, but I try and fit in some form of meditation every day.