We are interconnected as never before thanks to the internet. Such an age makes it easily possible for people to reach others far beyond their doorsteps and to source a livelihood that is no longer restricted to the needs and wants of their local neighbourhoods. For those with a dream to launch a successful yoga business from home, one that can connect with many clients from across the globe, there has never been a better time.
The benefits of running a home-grown yoga business cannot be understated. For one thing, operating from home gives you a safe testing ground when starting out and greatly minimises the financial risks. What’s more, you don’t need to worry about travelling back-and-forth to a studio, or affording the high-rent costs usually involved in doing so. With your freed up time and saved money, you can use your energy to create a business that is better aligned to your personality, feeds your passion and provides a healthier work-life balance.
And word to the wise, a home-grown business doesn’t mean that you have to stay at home either. For business owners adapted to the online market home can be anywhere their feet take them. The lifestyle of a digital nomad is certainly possible for those seeking it.
For those of you ready to make the dream a reality, read on to find out more!
Commit to the Necessary Evil: Make a Business Plan
You might not want to hear it, and we wish we could tell you otherwise, but there’s simply no way around it. Yes, we all know yoga is usually associated with ‘going with the flow’ but it’s important to emphasise some timeless wisdom here:
those who fail to prepare are those who prepare to fail.
And, just as the practise of yoga itself requires discipline, focus, intention, and following an informed set of sequences, so too do the first steps of any business.
The business plan acts as our map. Without it, we have no sense of direction. With it, we are clear on our mission and strategy, and better able to plot our goals and what we need to do in order to achieve them.
Think of the business plan as the friendly framework that helps us to identify who we are, where we’re going, and evaluate the progress we make along the way.
An effective business plan should include:
A Mission Statement:
A mission statement succinctly communicates the main objectives of your business. This statement can be used to tell others who you are and what you’re all about with no ambiguity as to your intentions.
It’s as much of a compass for yourself as it is for others.
A Business Concept:
A Business Concept acts as an overview of the services and products you intend to offer. Some questions you might ask in formulating your concept are: are you running your business alone or with others?
Are you strictly a yoga teacher or do you also speak as an authority in the industry through blogging or social media platforms? Will you sell yoga products online? What overall image do you draw of the business – for instance, are you centred around healing and calming the nervous system or on boosting the system with high-energy, strength-building exercises?
A Marketing Strategy:
A Marketing Strategy asks you to define your target customer base and consider the channels of communication you’ll employ to speak to them directly (email, social media, advertising, word-of-mouth etc.) as well as asking you to research the existing market to determine what sets your yoga business apart from the rest.
How can you emphasise those qualities in a marketing campaign so that you stand out? What incentives can you offer to reel in customers and keep them hooked?
A Financial Plan:
A Financial Plan outlines how much money you need to get started, your intended pricing structure, your projected profit margin, and the costs involved in running the business.
Getting certified is a no-brainer. It’s how you create an air of trust in your prospective clients. A certificate tells clients that you are a serious, bonafide teacher; that you know your cat-cows from your downward-dogs, and have been through all the necessary hoops to teach others professionally.
Ensure you get your certificate from an established authority. Yoga Alliance is one reputable example of a globally recognised organisation you might use. Additionally, it’s a fantastic authority to use when looking for teacher training worldwide.
If it’s affordable and available to you, consider that if your aim is to teach a specific style of yoga – such as vinyasa flow – you might enrol in some of the leading training programs associated with the style. Such as, in this example, the Rishikesh Vinyasa Yoga School.
Choose your Specialty
There are many different types of yoga to choose from – the dynamic fluidity of Vinyasa, the restorative effects of a slowed-down Yin or the physically demanding discipline of Ashtanga, to name but a few – and it is up to you to choose which style best suits you.
You should choose a style you’re well-trained in and that speaks to your personality. Ideally, it should be the style you follow in your own private practice, one you feel has truly benefitted you in your own life. If you’re choosing a style based on what you think will reap the largest financial reward, it can actually take you further away from making any worthwhile income.
There’s no point in promising ‘lessons for Kundalini awakenings’ if you aren’t experienced with Kundalini practise and know little of its actual effects. Be sincere and be true. The yoga style you choose is one you’ll continue to follow and refine as your business grows, so it only makes sense to choose one you hold some genuine connection with.
Understand that ‘You’ are a Brand
The leaders in any industry didn’t accidentally end up at the top: they placed themselves there through incredible branding. Branding is essentially concerned with the image of a business’s overall identity and how that image is represented within the marketplace.
Your brand should articulate your values, your vision and mission. The name of your business, its logo, graphics, taglines and slogans, should coordinate with one another and clearly communicate all that you do, the services you offer and the general character and ethos of your company.
Having defined your target customers, your brand can be use to cut through the market and speak directly to both your existing and potential customer base. Bear in mind that effective branding requires precision and creativity and changes over time to match a company’s evolution.
Starting out, you’ll need to decide upon a name that captures your identity, is easy to remember, simple to pronounce, catchy, and highlights your primary speciality or service. This name will appear everywhere from your website to social media to search engine results, so take some good time to think about it.
For example, if the service you provide does specialise in Kundalini, it’s worth including Kundalini as a keyword. Likewise, consider including your personal name – this adds a nice, intimate and humanising touch – as well as the location of your business; especially if you’re interested in attracting local customers.
Curate a Strong Online Presence
Begin with creating a website, and consider using a professional website builder to make your life easier. A website is essential to making you appear professional, in connecting to people online, and growing your pool of clients.
Ensure you boost your likelihood of appearing in search results by incorporating S.E.O techniques such as isolating keywords and phrases that people are searching for and using them around your website. Taking time to learn some S.E.O tricks is one of the best things you can do in order to generate more clients at a low-cost.
A website provides a space for you to clearly tell your story, your schedule, the classes you offer and of course, exhibit the rave reviews of your existing clients! It’s an effective means at boosting your visibility amongst the competition and gives you the option to include a blog (or vlog if you’re so inclined) and links to your social media.
A webpage also grants you the opportunity to have people subscribe to a mailing list, where you can offer newsletters and information on upcoming courses, as well as exclusive deals to new or existing subscribers.
Additionally, through using tools like data analytics, you can gain a greater insight into your target customer base – such as which online platforms they are most likely to source their content from – and to adapt your marketing strategy accordingly.
Never Underestimate the Old-School
There’s a lot to learn in the online world but with all new-fangled marketing techniques aside, it’s always good to remind ourselves of some old-school wisdom: that the most reliable way to generate hype around your business is in consistently providing the most outstanding service you can.
Everything is staked on your reputation and being able to attract many customers is worth nothing if you cannot keep them.
After all, loyal customers are returning customers, and what they tell others about you is ultimately the deciding factor as to whether your business thrives or merely survives. Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth, especially now, in the online age, where we are all so easily connected.
Making it Happen
You have all the necessary tools for starting your yoga business at home. On your journey, with due experience, patience and perseverance, you’ll learn to refine your own style when it comes to making a living from a home-grown yoga business designed to fit around your life and not the other way round.
But, one last thing before you go! With all the talk of the online world, we can easily overlook the value of forging solid connections within your immediate neighborhood.
Whether through working with local schools or community centres, negotiating deals or organising free introductory classes, do not hesitate to make yourself known amongst your local community.
And don’t be afraid to ask for help or call in favours where you can either! People are more willing to help out new businesses than you might think. With all that being said, we wish you the best of luck with your upcoming adventure and may you enjoy every step along the way!