With all the stresses and challenges of the corporate workplace, it’s no wonder more and more people are leaving behind their 9–5 jobs and starting their own yoga business. And with good reason.
People everywhere, from parents to busy professionals, are looking for ways to live healthier lifestyles and reduce stress. Many are turning to the billion dollar yoga industry.
Today, small business owners are finding success with studio instruction, private lessons, and new yoga studio locations. If you’re looking for a more fulfilling career, yoga could be just the sort of startup venture you’ve been looking for. Read on to find out the ten steps to starting your own yoga business.
- Do Your Background Research
A good business idea begins with a little background research on the industry. Talk to instructors, studio owners, and friends who teach yoga. Tell them what you’re thinking and ask their advice. Many times you’ll hear encouraging words that push you keep going — along with lessons these yogis wished they’d have known when they started out. Seek out books and online resources, as well. Rachel Cook’s Ultimate Guide is a must read.
- Seek Out Training and Certification
Next seek out a yoga training program and teacher. Most yoga instructors in the US follow a course approved by Yoga Alliance in order to get certified and listed in the Yoga Alliance Registry. For more on choosing the right training, check out this article by yoga expert Pamela Nixon.
- Create Your Business Plan
Your business plan is an important cornerstone of your business, but don’t let yourself get bogged down in too many details too soon. Start by identifying
- How you want to organize your business,
- What expenses you anticipate needing to cover, and
- How you’ll create revenue to meet your expenses and turn a profit.
Your business plan should be organic. It will need to shift and adjust as you go. Check out Constance Loizos’ guide to crafting your yoga startup’s business plan.
- Choose a Type of Yoga Business
There are a number of different ways to organize your yoga startup. Will you become a studio instructor, teach private lessons, or run a brick-and-mortar establishment? Studio instruction is the most accessible way to enter the industry while private lessons can be quite lucrative with the right clientele. A brick-and-mortar business could accommodate a number of different revenue streams and provide you with passive income if you hire your own instructors or rent out your space.
- Identify Risks and Challenges
Make note of the risks and challenges you may face on your journey to starting and running your business. Being a studio instructor can be a good way to get started, but could the low barrier to entry make it difficult to get a foothold? Will you be able to afford to a major space renovation to meet your business requirements? For instance, hot yoga requires a sophisticated ventilation system to produce the right room conditions. The more you know about risks and challenges that might come up, the better prepared you’ll be to plan for and overcome them.
- Choose a Niche
In the US, yoga is used as an umbrella term for a practice that can take thousands of different forms. Choose one type to specialize in. Your past career might offer some ideas. Suzanne Goddard was managing a daycare in addition to caring for her five children before opening her small business. She went with a franchise that specializes in peri-natal yoga, baby massage, and birth education. If you work in tech, you may look for a way to create a yoga startup focused on your tech expertise. The more specific you can be about what you offer the better.
You’re probably anticipating some networking to find students. Consider networking to meet other yoga instructors and studio owners in your area, too. A studio owner who’s gotten to know you is more likely to let you teach your first class at her studio than if you were a stranger to her.
- Attract Your First Clients
Once you have obtained your certification and set up your business, it’s time to get some paying clients. The type of yoga business you’ve decided to start can help you determine where to look. If you’re teaching private in-house lessons to busy professionals, advertise where your ideal clients can find you. If you’re starting out at an existing studio, use word-of-mouth, flyers, social networking, and face-to-face networking to get new faces to your studio classes.
- Marketing Your Yoga Business
Once you’ve got your first group of students you can begin to market yourself and your studio. Word-of-mouth referrals from your current students can be a great marketing tool. Try offering a discount for referring a friend. Flyers and newspaper ads can also help you reach a new audience. Many lifestyle fitness instructors are also having great success with newer technologies such as social media promotion and blogging. Even though you may have enough students to meet your basic needs now, keep up your self-promotion to ensure your business continues to grow as students come and go.
- Expanding Your Business
If your business is going well and you’re enjoying your new career in yoga, you might start thinking about expanding. There are a number of ways you could approach this, as well. You could go from private lessons and group instruction to opening your own studio. You could investigate opening a second location in another prime area if you already have one location. Or you could look at creating your own retail products, books, and digital or video courses.
The hardest point in any business is the beginning. The only structure you have to lean on will be the structure you create yourself. The options of what to do and how to do it can seem endless. And acquiring enough clients to keep your new studio afloat can be nerve racking. Just relax and take a deep breath. Plan your moves and take things one step at a time. With the right planning and hard work, a yoga business could offer you the life and work fulfillment you’ve been looking for.