So you have done the kazillion hours of Teacher Training, the relentless study and many years of practice—congratulations!
Now, you are certified. And If opening a studio is in your future there are 10 things you might want to consider:
1) It is a business: Don’t give it away. Although Yoga is a spiritual endeavor, giving free classes is the quickest way to ruin. And while that is a noble gesture, free will not pay the bills. This is a large reality and unless you have the funds to teach for free, you will end up closing faster than you opened.
2) It is a business: Friends, family and entitlement. Discount? Perhaps, but respectfully, if someone feels that they are entitled to receive freebees, handle them with care. They are the souls who can and will suck you dry if you allow it to happen.
3) It is a business: While flow is a wonderful quality…you need a plan—a real Business Plan—and you must be brutally honest about your capabilities to maintain your plan. Forecasting up to five years is a good place to start.
If you don’t know about, or know how, to create one, research it! There is an abundance of information online. No excuses. It will be a guide for you as you travel through being a small business owner. (The wise will tell you it is imperative.)
4) It is a business: Money out—there are multiple costs associated with a successful studio—taxes, overhead, advertising and marketing, payroll (yourself included), and general miscellaneous expenses. This is the one place that is hard for the “Yogi” mind. Keep up on your books and wrap your head around costs and analysis. I understand there is nothing more “corporate” than accounting, but do it… please do it. A few minutes of savvy bookkeeping will save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run.
5) It is a business: Stay out of the “Guru Syndrome.” Taking on drama will deplete you. Keep business and personal issues separated. It is not your job to fix, counsel or repair the broken anything. It is your job and duty to teach and give love, not advice. There is big difference.
6) It is a business: Be prepared to sink every penny, every waking moment and all your energy into honing in on, perfecting, and enhancing your classes. (Absorbing the needs of the class and schedules.) There will be ups and downs—this is life, but be pro-active about it. Use committed action (your own practice) and patience. It will serve you well and in the end, form a solid ground for inner success that extends outward.
7) It is a Business: Community evolvement is a brilliant way to get “known.” Word of mouth via helping the community is good for the soul, good for what ails you and good for all relationships…period. Paying it forward works. It is the karmic wheel, do unto others, etc., that is a basis for manifestation. Energy in, energy out. Action creates action. Satisfaction and peace is in the gift of community outreach.
8) It is a Business: Keep your speeches and personal opinions short and sweet. Not everyone will align with your ideas. It is important to know who you are teaching, (remember Yoga has crossed over) and I will leave it at that.
9) It is a Business: When you are ready to hire, do your homework. Follow up on referrals, past work experiences and personally attend the prospects class. Make sure their agenda is in alliance with yours and that they understand they are working for the studio (for you) and it isn’t a competition.
10) It is a Business: Take expansion slowly. If you have grown quickly, be wary, be careful, Be. There is the huge temptation to run to a bigger studio, hire new instructors, expand—but this is a very tricky space to be in. Make sure you don’t get in too deep. Again, run the numbers. Time and money. Your time and money is on the line. Expanding too fast, like anything will hurt and can take you down fast.
There is nothing more rewarding than sharing our gifts, our knowledge and our practice with others. Just don’t lose sight of your Yogi Spirit. And while business and Yoga is hard to meld because of what may look like conflicting principles, with a good logical heart and mind success will find you. It is very possible—anything is. Don’t let sensibility go down the rabbit hole. Stay centered, stay rooted. It may surprise you how many very, very successful Business Men and Women practice daily.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Travis May
Photo: YouTube Still