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5 More Steps to Help Yoga Teachers Earn a Living

Karen Fabian
EYRT, NASM-certified personal trainer By Karen Fabian

In my last article, “5 Steps to Help Yoga Teachers Earn a Living,” I presented five steps that you can implement to help you set your rate for teaching, determine your desired annual salary and presented a format in which to track this information and create a plan to hit your annual salary, which I call a “business dashboard.” If you missed the article, take a look because today’s article will present how to expand the business dashboard so it can guide your marketing and sales activities.

Step 1: Create a spreadsheet for each business vertical. Since you have the basics in place (from article one), you’ve identified the different “business verticals” that are part of your yoga business. I have several in mine: studio classes, children’s classes, corporate classes, privates and a few others. For each one of these business verticals, create a spreadsheet. Label it with the name of the business category to which it pertains. Create a standard header that you’ll use for every tab that identifies the name of the opportunity (business name), a contact person, contact phone and email, desired status and current status. Then start filling in current and desired business opportunities on each tab. Anytime you speak with someone about possible new gig or an existing one, the update is entered on this spreadsheet in the appropriate area.

This allows you to see all your current teaching gigs, their status from a business perspective and exactly what steps you need to take to close new business. I’ve found that while I keep all emails pertaining to business opportunities, it is critical that I have one place for all the information relating to that deal. This helps me to be both effective, timely and organized around my marketing efforts.

Step 2: Create a revenue tab. Start a running tracker down the left side by week (I consider Sunday to Sunday a work week for me). For each week, enter your earned, gross revenue. If you are not tracking this, you must! There is much to be learned by analyzing your earnings, looking for ups and downs, watching for seasonal trends and reviewing the details of both peaks and valleys. If you have a way to go back to January 1 of this year, that’s great. This will allow you to end this year with a full year of data.

Step 3: Start writing weekly report and project your revenue for the month. You thought when you left your corporate job, you’d never have to write one again. Well, guess what? If you’re not writing down what you’ve done and what you plan to do, chances are, the weeks and months will go by and things will stay the same. I write a weekly report every week and send it to my parents. It makes me feel accountable to someone and gives me a 2nd and 3rd eye to review what’s going on both for suggestions and critical feedback. If you have a professional mentor or coach, send it to them as well. This report should include action steps that track back to the open items on your business dashboard, by business opportunity.

In this report, at the end of each month, project your revenue for the upcoming month. Look at your calendar, add up every class, every booked private, projected revenue from workshops, etc. Use this number in your weekly report as the “projected revenue” for that month. Then, at the end of the month, go to your teaching spreadsheet (this is where you track actual work completed). Add up your actual revenue for the month. This number may be higher; maybe you subbed a few classes that came up mid-month. You also could have booked a few new privates. Either way, you need to start each month knowing what you will make (will you be able to cover your bills?) and then at the end, note what you did make (hopefully, you made more than expected!)

Step 4: Write down what you want to happen in your future. Label one of the tabs on your spreadsheet, “Short and Long Term Plan.” List the months (remaining) of this year and into next year. For each month, identify goals you’d like to reach. Just as I suggested in the first article, think big! If you’d like to own your own studio or write a book or create a non-profit, write that down. Start to identify the steps to get there. This tab will allow you to keep the “big picture” in mind and not get caught up in all the little things that need to happen too, in order to keep your business going.

Step 5: Identify key features of you and your business. On one tab, list the following: what makes you different, who is in your target audience, what services you offer and what are your strengths as a teacher. These are critical business features for you to have readily available in your mind, especially when it comes to the aspect of what makes you different. As you know, there are lots of us out there, as yoga teachers, and the more you can speak to, illustrate and embody your uniqueness as a teacher, the better you can find opportunities that are a match for you and at which you will excel.

One note about this piece: I have had several conversations with new teachers who feel compelled to teach in a style that is not something they enjoy but they believe that, due to these kinds of classes being popular in their local studios, something that they should strive to teach. Please know this: Teaching in a way that is outside your authentic self as a teacher simply to try to gain an audience is a recipe for disaster. While you should be tracking the attendance in every class looking for trends, you should not be changing your teaching style simply to try to increase your numbers.

Between these two articles, you should have the basic framework for creating the business infrastructure for your yoga business. It should create the basis for your marketing efforts, your sales efforts and the financial tracking you need to do every day to know if you are “on” or “off” track and by how much. If you commit to these details, your business will start to grow and you can have faith that the right steps are being taken to continue this growth in a positive direction.

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