November 18, 2013

The 60-Hour Yoga Work Week.

Maybe you’ve heard of the “4 Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferriss.

In the world of a yoga teacher, four hours won’t buy you a Kombucha, let alone pay the bills.

I often hear of yoga teachers teaching as many as 20 classes a week—to those teachers I say, work smarter.

The old cliché, “work smarter, not harder” does not apply. If we, as yoga teachers, are searching for financial freedom, we have to work smarter and harder, but maybe not on what we might expect.

In order to achieve a sustainable wage, we need to teach classes that allow us to maximize our earning potential.

Right out of training, we may not have much of a choice but to work at gyms or studios that pay a flat fee. That’s okay, we all need to teach where there are bodies. If we can connect with our students, when we move to a studio with more opportunity, they will follow.

What do you mean a studio with more opportunity?

I mean a studio that pays a commission per student. If that seems terrifying, hold the phone.

If we are going to make a living as yoga teachers, we must be confident in our ability to attract students to our classes and to retain them.

Not through manipulation, but through our dashing personalities, mad skills and passion for the practice.

In a perfect world, we teach no more than 10 classes a week. Preferably less—who can maintain their own practice when they are always guiding a practice? Let’s say we’re teaching 10, 75-minute classes. If we’re talking about the 60-hour work week, what are we going to do with the remaining 47.5 hours?

Here are some ideas:

1) Marketing

The digital world is our most cost-effective marketing solution, but it’s going to be a time investment beyond our wildest dreams. I personally spend 25 hours a week creating and disseminating content for my blog.

Our digital marketing options are expansive. We’ve got websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email marketing, paid search, podcasts, videos and social ads to choose from.

The digital marketing space is not optional for most yoga teachers. It’s a cost-effective tool that allows you to reach the types of people who are going to dig your unique vibe.

Outside of digital marketing there is advertising, public relations, collateral (flyers, business cards, etc.) and more. However, due to the cost of these marketing methods, they don’t come highly recommended. If there is a specific event that we’re trying to draw more attention to, a marketing pro always comes in handy to help spend marketing dollars wisely.

Don’t know much about marketing?

We are in the fortunate position to be able to trade yoga skills for marketing skills.

However, we must try to take on our own development: the closer we are to our message, the more it’s going to reflect exactly who we are. There are hundreds of marketing webinairs available for cheap if not for free.

2) Get out there and learn something new.

Community Involvement.

If no one knows us, no one is going to come to our classes. We’ve got to put ourselves out there. Stretchy pants, at a local chamber of commerce networking event, will be the easiest conversation starter we have ever experienced.Community involvement doesn’t have to be all buttoned up and corporate. Stay abreast of the festivals and other events that are going on in town, and if it’s appropriate to offer a free yoga class during the event, go for it. Take every opportunity to get involved with new yogis and connect.

Home Practice.

We must take time for ourselves—drawing inspiration from our own practice. When we move through our home practice, it can be an expression of creativity. It’s an opportunity to create sequences that reflect our style and personality. All of this translates beautifully into our classes.

Studio Practice.

This goes back to community involvement. When people see us on the mat, especially at the studios where we teach, they can see our dedication to the practice. It’s an opportunity to talk with yogis who are already in the market for yoga, so why not invite them to a class?

However, we must mind our manners when we’re marketing ourselves within studio walls. It’s in poor taste to invite students to a class at a studio other than the one that we are currently in—we can tell people that we teach yoga and we can tell them where to find us, but it’s not cool to go recruiting at other studios.

3) Planning.

Planning sequencing, planning content for digital marketing efforts, planning new workshop ideas, planning events. Planning things that aren’t even set in stone, because the more ideas that we can work through, the less likely it is that we’ll ever find ourselves twiddling our thumbs, instead of inspiring people to get their asana on with us.

Success won’t come over night. We may need to teach 15 or 18 classes a week as we work towards a teaching/business balance.

Be patient. Be loving. Be everything that we ask our students to be.

If we work hard, it will come.

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Assistant Editor: Bronwyn Peachtree/Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

{Photo: Tiffany Assman}

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