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Running a Successful Yoga Business in Today’s Online World
If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that having an online option for your business is vital in these changing times. Learn tips for running a successful yoga business in today’s ever-changing online world.
Do you remember a time when yoga was taught in community halls and the thought of posting a picture of yourself doing a backbend online seemed unfathomable? Oh, how this industry has changed. Regardless of how you feel about it, the online world came along and shook this industry up big time. Many resisted it, but then the pandemic came along and lockdowns meant the end of teaching yoga in the way we knew.
I remember it vividly. I had returned from running a retreat in Byron Bay and had a full year of retreats and events locked in and selling well. Bali, Europe, India and back to Byron Bay. After years of building up the retreat side of my business I was living my version of ‘the dream’. And then COVID hit. In a matter of days I watched my entire livelihood disappear. No in person classes, no events, no festivals to present at and the overwhelming task of cancelling international retreats. All of it, gone. I knew at that moment that I needed to pivot and fast. Over the space of one weekend my partner (who also happens to be a yoga and meditation teacher) and I built an online studio and opened up a membership. Nowadays this is nothing new, but at the time we were one of the first small guys to do this. Almost three years later and we are still going, still growing and still impacting people's lives from around the world.
The online space has opened up a plethora of opportunities for yoga teachers to grow their businesses. Less overheads, no cap on the amount of people you can teach at one time and the potential to create evergreen content that can provide ongoing profit. The possibilities are limitless.
If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that having an online option for your business is vital in these changing times.
Showing up online can be confronting for yogis. Most yoga teacher trainings focus on alignment and philosophy, not how to run a successful business in an online world. It’s changing all the time.
Here are my top tips for running a successful yoga business in today’s ever changing online world:
1. Don’t give everything away for free. I’ve seen it time and time again. Yogis giving away everything they’ve got on YouTube or social media and then wondering why no one wants to pay for their online program or classes. Be discerning with what you offer for free, use it as a way to get yourself out there, build a student base and convert people over to your offering.
2. Invest in quality sound, camera and lighting equipment. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on hiring a videographer and creating Steven Spielberg quality yoga classes. COVID levelled the playing field in this sense. Your audience doesn't necessarily care about the production value, but they will expect to be able to see and hear you clearly. Invest in a quality mic (you can spend around $300 and get something great), lighting and HD camera (some phones can do this now) are essential. You can record in your living room with great lighting and sound and create something really authentic for your students. There’s nothing worse than bad sound and not being able to see the instructor clearly, so be mindful of this.
3. Cultivate community. One of the reasons why students love attending in person yoga classes is the sense of community they feel. This will look very different online, however it’s still possible to create a sense of connection.
4. Be Authentic. Show up as you would inside a physical yoga studio, as yourself. Building a connection online can feel like a challenge. There’s no way to feel into the room as often you can’t see who’s ‘in’ it! This is why it’s so important to show up as your authentic self. Students will resonate with you and feel like you are in their living room personally guiding them. Try not to channel your inner Jane Fonda as soon as your mic switches on and just be yourself.
5. Think outside of the box. When we first started, zoom classes were a new thing. Now most people have zoom fatigue and don’t want to join in the same way they used to. Think of ways to create unique online experiences and offerings for your students to enjoy. This will set you apart from the noise.
6. See the opportunity, not the limitations. In my experience of coaching many budding yogi-preneurs on the topic of going online…there’s a lot of resistance. Fears about selling out, not coming across as authentic and just genuinely being fearful of technology. If you feel the call to go online, shift your mindset around it. See the opportunities for growth and connection. Learn new skills. There’s a YouTube video out there to show you how to do everything from video editing to landing page set up. Remember, you don’t need to go all out. Keep it simple and do it your way.7. MVP - Minimal Viable Product. This is a business strategy used a lot in the startup world and with good reason. It essentially means to put your offering together and get it to market quickly to test how it’s received and use that feedback to continue to grow and reiterate the offering. This means you don’t need to waste time and money worrying about the finer details or blowing out your budget. Putting it out there will give you a very clear indication if it’s something worth investing further in or if you need a new strategy.
The most important thing to remember is to have fun with it! The ever changing online world means there’s plenty of opportunities to play and explore what works for you and your style.
If you are a yoga teacher looking for a global community of like-minded practitioners and further industry support, IICT is a one stop shop for your community, credibility and insurance needs. IICT provides professional membership, a global online community and access to insurance rates for your yoga practice and over 1,000 other complementary therapies. Learn more about becoming an IICT Member today or contact their friendly team here.
Article written by: Emma Maidment
About the Author:
Emma Maidment is a renowned Yoga and Meditation teacher. She writes regularly for media on all things wellness and runs an online studio, Flow States Studios. She is the host of The Flow Lane Podcast and most importantly she’s a mumma to her little boy River. You can connect with her on socials @emmamaidment_