making a business of teaching yoga isn't easy. there's no doubt about that.
when you decide to make something you love your career, it's not all sunshine, butterflies, and smiles. it's stressful, challenging, time consuming, and worrisome. we wonder constantly "am i doing the right things for my business?" and "am i making the right decisions?"
and, one of the hardest things about all of this is acknowledging when things aren't going right, and making a shift.
it's easy to go into denial when what we love so very dearly -- teaching yoga and helping people live better lives -- isn't going well. "things will pick up", we say. or, "this is the slow season." but, if things have been in need of "picking up" for a long time now, perhaps the truth is that your yoga business is in trouble.
now, that doesn't mean you need to metaphorically close-up-shop and get a 9-to-5 desk job. it may just mean you have to rethink your approach and infuse more creativity into your yoga career.
in fact, your "troubled" yoga business could be the best thing that ever happened to your biz! it could be the very shot-in-the-arm, kick-in-the-butt you need to really get serious about how to make it a profitable business, not just a hobby.
if you're wondering if it's time for a change in your yoga career, check out these 3 signs your biz is in trouble (and what you can do about it!):
if this is you, it's time to rethink your income structure. if you rely too heavily on public classes, you're going to "cap out" at a certain point, since you only have so many hours in a day.
instead, think about the highest rate of return for your time -- and likely that's teaching private lessons, workshops and trainings. step outside of your comfort zone, and considering dropping your least attended classes in exchange for income-producing (and fun!) new yoga offerings like a 5 week yoga workshop for beginners, a teacher training that covers your unique area of expertise, or a yoga event filled with meditation, asana, healthy food & music!
(2) you regularly go without.
do you have health insurance? are you able to take a solid two days off most weeks in order to replenish? do you attend yoga classes and practice regularly? if you consistently "go without", it's a sign that you need to rethink your work. as much as doing work you love can build you up, overworking can totally deplete you (no matter how much you love it)!
you need to evaluate not only what serves your students, but what serves you! in this case, it may be time to give yourself a raise. if you're consistently making less than $50+ an hour, it's time to up your hourly. if you're concerned about how your current private clients will react, have a frank and honest conversation, and explain that in order to continue teaching and serving them to the best of your ability, you have to adjust some things in your business, including your hourly rate -- and, be sure to give them at least 1 month's notice before your raise your rate.
(3) it's not fun anymore!
do you enjoy teaching? or are you starting to dread it? sure, you love your students, but does the idea of showing up day after day, week after week invigorate you, or tire you out? if teaching isn't fun anymore, it doesn't necessarily mean that you should give it up, it may just mean to need to mix it up.
sit down and make a list of things that sound like pure fun -- walking your dog in the park, getting tea with friends, going out to dinner, listening to great music -- and then think about how to incorporate them into your yoga offerings! host a "yoga in the park" event and encourage students to bring their (well-behaved) pets, offer a yogi tea time after class where you discuss yoga & life, plan a "yoga girls' night out" and coordinate a healthy, vegetarian dinner with a local restaurant to follow an asana practice, or coordinate a yoga concert where students practice to live music or kirtan. (just to be clear, i'm NOT suggesting that any of these offerings be free -- you should OF COURSE figure out how to monetize them. but, how fun would it be to actually look forward to attending an awesome yoga event AND knowing you'll be making great money while doing so?!) that said, if you really think it's time for a change, consider getting a part-time job doing something you enjoy. you'll meet new people, learn new skills, make money, and you'll give yourself time to miss teaching, too :-)
in yoga and in life, there needs to be a balance between the effort and the ease. so, if your yoga business is feeling like all effort, it's time to change something. live your yoga & adjust.
what's ONE THING you can do to infuse more fun (and money!) into your yoga career? share it in the comments below!