By guest author Keeley Mitchell, Zi Living
Welcome back for another discussion from The Business Side of the Mat.
In this article I wanted to delve a little deeper into the idea of committing to your business. When I speak of commitment, I am not referring to your commitment to your clients and students. I know that you are committed where that is concerned. I am referring to your commitment to running your business and growing it.
It’s about truly making the commitment that you will treat your business as a business and owning the idea that you can sustain yourself by teaching yoga.
I know such ideas may take some time for you to wrap your mind around, but they are worthy of consideration. I understand the difficulty of moving from hobby mode of thinking to business mode of thinking because it wasn’t too long ago that I needed to take the same steps.
You see, I fell into my consulting just as many of you fell into teaching yoga.
As I became more and more immersed into the yoga and wellness community, I got to know different yoga instructors and studio owners. Often, after they learned I was an attorney, they would throw me a legal question here and there. I was always open and willing to help.
I never allowed people to pay me and those who demanded otherwise, I usually traded my services for free yoga classes.
In some instances, I charged amounts like $25 – well below the going market rate for legal services.
I was a huge supporter of the yoga community and I wanted to see the positivity of yoga spread to more people. I saw that as my true compensation for helping yogis with their businesses.
So many times I was told that I should help the yoga community as a career – become a lawyer to the yogis. I would laugh it off because that sounded like a dream career. And dream careers did not happen to me. It also sounded wrong to benefit from good deeds.
Then I had a meltdown at my awful corporate job.
I was sitting at my desk with tears streaming down my face. I kept saying I deserved to find a fulfilling career that made me happy.
I started thinking about what made me happy. And everything led back to helping yoga businesses thrive.
While the wheels in my head started to turn, I still felt uneasy about charging for my services. I wasn’t talking about providing services to large international businesses that had money to burn. My clientele would be individuals and small businesses with limited funds.
However, as I started researching further into this dream career of mine, I realized not only were my services needed, but they were also welcomed. The more yogis I spoke to the more it was reaffirmed that I should go after my dream job. And now, here I am, providing valuable services to the yoga community.
I say all of this to remind you that your services are needed and welcomed. Committing to running your business as a business ensures your longevity as a yoga instructor or studio owner. The longer you are around, the longer you will be able to really help people. And isn’t that what it is all about?
So what does it mean to commit to your business? To truly commit?
Below is a list I came up with based on my own experiences and the experiences of many of the yogis I have helped.
1. Show up.
They say showing up is half the battle. Starting a business takes a lot of work, and you need to be willing to show up and do the work. You need to also openly accept that this is the path you want to take.
When people ask you what you do, you need to proudly say you provide yoga services. Not that you work at ABC Company and teach yoga on the side. No. You need to stand tall and proudly say that you teach yoga. Tell everyone that you meet about your services. Word of mouth is some of the best marketing.
2. Value your work.
Allow yourself to be paid a fair price because if you don’t value your services, then no one else will. There is nothing wrong with asking to be paid a fair price for your services. Remember, your services add value to other people’s lives. You will not turn off potential students. Actually, you will see your students will be happy to pay you.
3. Name your business.
Whether you use your birth name or a made up name, come up with a name. You want your current and potential students to be able to differeniate your services from another business. And once you come up with a name, start using it immediately. The sooner you start using your business name, the sooner your business will feel like a reality.
4. Consistency is a must.
Set a schedule of when you will provide classes and stick to it. Part of building a business relies on you providing services in a consistent manner. Your students need to be able to count on when they can take your classes. If your schedule keeps changing, then your business will quickly become a thing of the past because your students will become frustrated at your inconsistency.
5. Embrace you.
I mean that sincerely. Embrace every aspect of you. Embrace your strengths as well as your weaknesses. Embrace your uniqueness. Don’t try to be somebody. Don’t try to please everyone. Just be you.
Studies have proven that most people buy from those businesses that they trust and like. People are aware that they can go down the street and pretty much get the same services or products from another business. However, they continually return to one business because they like the people that own it and/or work there.
Business is about relationships. Build genuine relationships and you will have students that enjoy your services, and you will have students you enjoy teaching.
6. Forgive yourself.
Lastly, learn how to forgive yourself. You will make mistakes. You will probably make many of them. But take each mistake as an opportunity to learn and delve deeper into your business. Just as perfection does not exist on the mat, there is no perfection in business.
Whereas you may excel at Eagle Pose, someone else’s strength may be Dancer’s Pose. In other words, what works for you may not necessarily work for someone else, and vice versa. Therefore, don’t compare yourself to what others are doing, and then criticize yourself. Such behavior will get your business nowhere.
Hopefully, if you were on the fence about taking your yoga teaching to the next level, you have been pushed onto the side of committing to building your business. If you truly commit to it, I can’t imagine that you would ever regret going for it.
Remember, you are needed. Your services are needed. And just as I learned, you deserve to have the career of your dreams.
Stay tuned for more articles on The Business Side of the Yoga Mat. And if you have any specific questions you’d like answered about the business of yoga, please send me an email and I may answer your question in a future article.
About Keeley Mitchell:
As the founder of Zi Living, the premier consulting firm specializing in yoga and wellness, Keeley Mitchell drew upon her diverse experience as a corporate real estate attorney, career advisor, and budding yogi to create a platform for yoga and wellness practitioners to successfully develop their business ideas from conception to fruition without compromising their principles.