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January 26, 2015

How to Avoid Feast or Famine Cycle in (Yoga) Business. {Winter Edition}

Mt Whitney yoga snow
For yoga teachers, or mindful entrepreneurs of any kind, annual planning may not be high on the “fun list.”

We, conscious entrepreneurs, love going with the flow. The problem with this, though, is that it leads to a predictable cycle of feast or famine.

What if we could go with the flow and avoid this seasonal cycle in our business?

In the yoga and Ayurveda traditions, each season comes with changes to our practice and the ways that we nourish our bodies. Likewise, in business, each season brings different needs, different problems to solve, different desires.

For conscious entrepreneurs, aligning  business plans and services with the seasons offers a mindful alternative to annual planning. Using the seasons as a planning tool allows us to craft timely offers for our students while also balancing the inner and outer energy of the business.

By bringing creativity into our business in this way, we do more purpose-driven work that is also more profitable. Imagining our dream client’s needs through the rise and fall of the seasons—and how we can help—allows us to deepen the connection to the students we most love to serve.

Summer is a time of action, connection and creation. Winter is a time of hibernation and restoration. Structuring our business activity around the subtle shifts that occur with each season allows us to avoid the feast or famine cycle that we see so often in the conscious business world. By shifting our focus slightly each season, we broaden our capacity to connect to our community. We may choose to focus on leading courses, destination retreats and workshops in the spring and summer whilst emphasizing our one-on-one work, mindfulness and wellness retreats for the fall and winter.

Let’s begin by looking at winter, the time for planning, hibernation and rejuvenation.

Inward directed time is crucial in winter which is why we need to create solid financial ease during the other seasons. Planning with an eye for the rise and fall in income allows us to be responsive, rather than reactive, in all our efforts.

Want to lead a retreat next fall? Begin preparing in February and March and all will be well. Wait until the summer and it’s probably too late.

Winter is when we set the stage for success (and more profit) in our business all year long. Although conscious entrepreneurs can get a little weird about money, money is still the energy that fuels our purpose-driven work in the world. Being in a helping and healing profession is often associated with generosity and philanthropy. However, it’s crucial to realize that we give so much of ourselves in our work that eventually, if there is not an appropriate balance with what we are receiving, we can grow resentful and will burn out.

Thus in winter, we also plant seeds of intention, preparing for spring’s new growth. We need to be reflective about our direction and how we will shape our year. Winter is also the time to re-assess our profit plan and abundance inventory.

Yes, it is okay as a yogi or healer to want prosperity and to have a strategy on how to accomplish that.

Winter is also the season for storing and restoring our vital energy. That is why it is essential to create financial ease during the other seasons so we have the time to turn inward during this one.

Winter is a time for introspection and retreat. Not only does this mean that we create time for this ourselves, but we may offer similar treats to our community: self-care retreats, destination retreats over the holidays, seasonal healthy cooking classes, natural wellness workshops or wellness coaching packages.

For studio owners and brick-and-mortar businesses, winter affords an excellent opportunity for gift certificates and retail to support resolutions, goals and good intentions—access to healthy goal supports like fancy fitness wear, supplements and wellness packages will motivate people to shake off the winter blues.

Finally, winter is a time for conserving energy. Sometimes that means letting go of things that drain our energy—even if they are initially profitable, eventually they will sap our vitality and drain the joy from our business. Winter is an excellent time to let go of offerings, services, classes or other obligations that no longer align with our “big vision.”

Happy Winter Planning!

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Author: Kellie Adkins

Apprentice Editor: Yaisa Nio / Editor: Travis May

Photo: Flickr / Pierce Martin

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