I was invited to speak with my Sage Yoga School cohorts about how to create a successful online yoga business. I agreed to this right away, and instantly fear and self-doubt came to play. What makes me successful? Don’t they know that yoga isn’t my primary source of income? Who am I to offer this material? Then I asked myself: What does success mean to me? Is it the dollar sign? I bet you know the answer…
Success to me is about my quality of life. It’s what drew me to practicing yoga in the first place. At first it started as merely a curiosity as an elective credit at the University of Oregon my freshman year in 2005. Fast forward 10 years later, I remember reading through my college journal just before I started my 200hr YTT (Yoga Teacher Training) in 2015. I was extremely sad at the time and wrote all kinds of depressing things. I missed home. I hated the dorms. I missed my boyfriend. I didn’t see the value in my efforts and trying so hard to succeed in college. No one cared if I showed up to class. I didn’t have many friends. I felt unnoticed, unseen, and depressed. The list goes on. But reading through all the sadness in my journal, the one thing that stood out to me was, “The only thing that is helping me is yoga”… I then knew in that moment, years later, that I was on the right track.
Not only has yoga improved my quality of life, it has helped so many people I know; family, friends, retreat participants, Dutch Bros employees and franchisees. That’s success to me: improving the quality of my life and helping others to improve the quality of theirs.
At BZen Wellness we help leaders learn radical self-care through yoga, PEMF Therapy, energy work, coaching and retreats.
If you would like to watch/listen to my talk with the Sage Yoga School, click here.
Here are my top tips on creating a successful yoga business from dream to reality:
1. It has been a 5 year journey since my 200hr YTT, so firstly, PATIENCE. This is a lifetime practice and therefore a lifetime job and career if you choose to step into it. This is about long-term gratification, not short-term, and quality of life. Anytime you are creating something, plan for it to take longer than expected. Especially with technology. And don’t start everything at once. It can feel really overwhelming.
2. Start teaching immediately after finishing your YTT (Yoga Teacher Training). This is vital. You’ve heard the saying, if you don’t use it, you lose it. This is so true. FIND YOUR VOICE. Don’t let the fear of public speaking take you over. Step into the arena and be truthful. It’s okay to tell people that you are a new teacher—they will give you grace if you don’t pretend that you know it all. People are receptive to authenticity.
3. Share your story. Create a platform for people to see your work, honesty, and heart. People want to know why you do it in the first place. What did you heal through the process? I don’t resonate with the super strict, vegan, meditation every day at 4am, rigid type. I like to be wild, connect to other human beings, make mistakes, twerk, and go to festivals. We can still do that, practice, and teach yoga.
4. Invest in yourself- hire a coach, keep investing in your continuing education—the 200hr only scratches the surface, so dive deeper into the material. Keep a beginner’s mind and remain the student, always. That includes giving yourself time to practice.
5. You don’t need thousands of dollars for a quality, clear website. Squarespace & WordPress are user friendly and you can develop your own. There are plenty of online tutorials. Where can people find your classes? Talk about it.
6. Network—use your resources and talk to people that you already know. Meet new people, make connections and create relationships. This is a relationship business. Practice at the different studios in your area and get to know people who are also doing the work. Show up. Most everyone who comes on our retreats are people we already know. Our web designer used to be a DB employee of ours (she now lives in Ohio and we do everything virtually). I connected with Trova Trip from our lawyer who helped us sell our DB business and create BZenWellness. I invite you to take some time to consider your current relationships— are they supporting your current growth?
7. Take action. People you are close to will ask you for things. Use those things as a way to pave your way. I wouldn’t have created a separate Instagram if someone didn’t give me the hint/ask me to do so. I wouldn’t have hosted my first retreat if my friend didn’t invite me to join her. It’s up to us to take action on those invitations and hints from others. These are messages from the universe and a great way to track your life (check out The Lion Tracker’s Guide to Life).
8. It doesn’t hurt to ask I have been told no, many times. I have also not received a response. That’s okay, because I know my worth. It’s important for all of us in the business for you to charge for your services (Covid-19 is currently a slight exception), but how are we all supposed to make money and have people value us if we are all doing it for free? People won’t just throw their money around—you have to ask them. Create a pricing sheet for your offerings so that you know right off the bat what you’re charging. Our Energy Work, PEMF, private & group yoga sessions and coaching all have a set price that we are able to reference anytime.
9. Be consistent – when we created the website, we needed a reason for people to check-in with what we are doing. That’s why we have a blog. We create a new blog post every other week, and we have a mailing list that we send a newsletter to every Tuesday. Each blog and newsletter has a CTA (call to action), “check out our blog post for more information” “reply to this email” “comment, reply or share this post” etc. People need to be given some direction, and the message needs to be clear.
10. Have an opt-in- why would people want to receive our emails? Why should they subscribe? Our opt-in—4 free yoga videos by Brit that you’ll receive right to your inbox.
11. Talk directly to the people—look at the dot on the computer/phone—not at your face. People want to feel like you’re looking at them on the other side of the screen.
12. Get professional photos taken of yourself. I have had so many photographers take amazing photos of me for free and have also spent good money for quality images. Reach out to your network and I’m sure you know some people who can help.
13. Get insured and seek legal council especially if you are creating your own LLC or studio space. We are working with real human-beings, so this coverage is essential.
I reached out to a few mentors and cohorts of mine and asked for their input on this topic:
Caryn Gillen, @caryngillen (business life coach extraordinaire): “The people aren’t going to force all the practitioners to charge more. We have to ask. It’s the thinking, the belief that it’s not possible is holding the whole industry back. It’s what’s possible for us. What do we want it to look like? What are we committed to creating for ourselves and our own business? What is sustainable? What is your belief system around money?”
Robbie Myers (300hr YTT cohort), @whatsyourwaffle: Says to “Maintain the Lighthouse. You don’t know the impact of self-care until you’re doing it. Practicing self-care is what I also call ‘Grounding’. If my lighthouse is unable to function properly, I’m unable to guide my life with discernable direction. Therefore, it’s of the highest importance for me to learn how I need to individually Ground. No matter how weird, how strange, or out of my comfort zone it is, knowing how to ground is knowing how to thrive.” “Self-care is the lighthouse to your practice” -Marisa Radha Weppner
Benjamin Wilkinson (Common Bond Yoga and Wellness Founder) – @commonbondyoga “Don’t change your message online. Keep your same message that you shared in the classroom.” Join Common Bond’s Patreon here!
Freedom Ciavarello (My friend and leader in DoTerra) @freedomciavarello- “Be authentic, clean and clear in the online sphere. Teach authentically. Only teach what you practice and never feel like you have to teach something that you don’t practice in order to appear worthy, professional, etc. Teach in your authenticity. We magnify when we are in our authenticity.” Use code GODDESS for 22% off anything on her site including her moonbeam meditation offerings!
Elena Brower (author, yoga teacher, mama & DoTerra leader) @elenabrower – “Make sure you have a few other revenue streams! Be fully immersed, study, practice & make sure you have plenty personal news to report as you teach. Take seriously the business aspects, ask for what you’re worth, never settle for less. Make sure that you are doing some service, but be sure to ask what you’re worth so that you can be philanthropic, so that you can give what you feel like giving in any circumstance. Don’t hesitate to find a mentor. Someone you can talk to monthly, quarterly so that you can ask questions. Collect your questions and run ideas past them.”
From our fearless leader at the Sage Yoga School Marisa Radha Weppner @marisaradhaweppner “Networking and having a mindset of collaboration versus competition and reaching out to those that are doing similar things to you or that you’re inspired by and making a connection and a friendship and a relationship vs. feeling afraid or like there’s not enough to go around. It’s more of an abundance mindset ‘let’s do this together’ vs. scarcity ‘there’s not enough to go around and I have to fight for mine and I have to take from you’. Eliminating that limiting mindset. Follow your heart and follow your energy—what helps you to feel charged and excited? Notice what lifts you up vs. what feels dense, dead or heavy. There’s a nuance there where there can sometimes be a trigger/fear that it’s bringing up particularly when we’re dealing with playing bigger and inner critic/past traumas that want to be healed. So sometimes the energy of a trigger getting activated is a great opportunity to lean into something particularly when it’s related to a limiting belief or an old story or pattern that’s holding us back. What ties into that, is stepping out of your comfort zone. Many of us, particularly women who are such givers and healers, we sell ourselves short and might not know how to receive and stand tall or own our power and our worth. It’s a step by step learning to do that through practice and time and healing work and maybe getting a good coach that can help you with that and believing in yourself and having your crew around you that believes in you, too!” She is now booking clients for life coaching if you are seeking further guidance!
I hope this inspires you to keep on the path. Follow your passions and the subtle signs from the universe. Life is beautiful. Enjoy the journey!
Many thanks to all who contributed to this blog post, and to my beloved family, friends and teachers—I love you!
Please let me know if you have anything else you’d like to add here, or any additional input.