When you work in any industry, it’s helpful to distinguish yourself. This will help people recognize you, will help you create a bond with clients for your services and will help generate new business. This can be done through your presence on social media, by creating a brand that describes your services, your business skills and, of course, your teaching style.
Here are some ideas:
1. Leave the studio nicer than how you found it: When you get to the studio, especially if you do check in, clean the desk and leave it organized for the next person. Before you leave your class, turn up the lights and adjust the room temperature so it’s appropriate for the next group. Organize the props so they’re neat for the next class. Remove wet blocks and mats so new students have fresh ones. If there are any notes from the class that need to be passed to the manager, email them right away so they can take action.
2. Answer all emails promptly, especially those for substitute requests: As soon as you see a request, try to respond right away. Respond even if you can’t do it, so the requesting teacher knows you’re not an option. Also, responding to emails within 12 hours of receipt (if not sooner) will help distinguish you in general, not just in the yoga industry. People will remember you’re dependable and use you more often as a contact. Even if you don’t have an answer, respond right away to acknowledge you received it.
3. Have a resume, not just a “blurb” and keep your Linked In Profile up to date: Have a resume at the ready to send that is a professional outline of your business and yoga experience. Use it as an introduction via email to a new contact or business opportunity or when asking to be added to the substitute list at a studio. Make sure it outlines at the top the style of yoga you teach, your certifications and Yoga Alliance standing, if any. Make sure your LinkedIn Profile is up to date with both professional and yoga experience as well. Include partners and employers with whom you’ve done business.
4. Practice less, assist more: The more you can stay off your yoga mat and use instructions that are relevant (versus a script you generally use), the more of an impact you’ll make on your class. Along with your verbal instruction and staying off your yoga mat, use assisting as well as a technique to reinforce alignment.
5. Focus on 4 primary actions per pose (using short phrases): The less you say, the more of an impact you’ll have. Most of us are used to being overloaded with information in general and in many yoga classes, it’s no different. Think of four things you can instruct and starting from the foundation of the pose, work your way up the body. Also, use short phrases, such as “Press your feet flat, center your hips and reach up!”
6. Always find a way to help when asked by a colleague: Anytime you get an email or call from a colleague, whether you know them or not, go out of your way to help them. They may want help in getting on the list of substitute teachers at one of your teaching locations or they might want to ask you about a corporate gig you have and how you landed the deal. Share as much as you can, be specific, tell them what’s worked and what has not and follow up right away.
7. Create a contract to describe the work you’ll do: Any time you independently contract with a location to teach (this relates primarily to non-studio locations), write up an agreement. Include your rate, the dates you’ll teach, the method of payment to you by the client, all your contact information, a copy of your insurance certificate and a description of the services you’ll be providing.
8. Donate your time: Look for organizations where you can donate some teaching time. This could be a non-profit for children, such as the Boys and Girls Club or the Big Brothers Big Sisters Association, a local shelter or support group for women. Donating your time not only feels good, it exposes you to possible new clients and people within the organization that may be an influence on you in other ways regarding new business.
9. More silence: Along with using essential language while teaching, speak less. If you use music, think about using it with discretion rather than using it for the whole class (unless, of course, your class is on the schedule as “with music”). Your students will appreciate the peace and quiet and it’ll be a stark contrast to what they experience all day. Their nervous systems will love it!
10. Be yourself: The last suggestion to distinguish yourself is the most important one: Be yourself! You are unique. You have a unique way of expressing yourself, of carrying yourself and you have a unique look and style. Be comfortable in your skin, be courageous in expressing yourself and embrace your individuality. Let yourself shine through in your teaching and you’ll be remembered by your students.