As a yoga teacher, there are many aspects to your business: teaching, marketing and sales activities, and the financial aspect, among others. Each component is important and in order to build a successful business, factors should be reviewed in each area.
In my work with teachers going through my Mentorship Program, we look at the metrics below as a way to evaluate how their business is doing. But more importantly, we use this information as a way to help pro-actively identify other opportunities they might want or need to pursue.
While yoga is of course a physical, mental and spiritual practice, as a teacher (especially if you are teaching as your primary source of income), it’s critical that you be objective when it comes to tracking key metrics about your business and not only look at the teaching aspect.
1. Number of classes taught per week
This is usually tracked via a spreadsheet. Every class you teach should be entered in this sheet. Suggested column headings include: date, location, rate, paid (indicate Yes/No), tax status, hours, number of students, time of class, expenses, taxable portion (if class is not taxed by studio/location).
Benefit: Allows you to easily add up your annual hours taught for any certifying body, such as Yoga Alliance. Allows you to see your weekly activity at a glance. Permits easy calculation of weekly, monthly and annual revenue earned.
2. Number of students in each class
As above, this metric is included in the spreadsheet that tracks your weekly classes.
Benefit: Allows you to evaluate each class on the basis of attendance. While this is only one aspect of an overall class, it is an important factor to consider. It allows you to identify how holidays and seasons affect your attendance, among other factors such as the time of the class. It also allows you to have an objective conversation with the studio owner, should you be concerned about the viability of the class from an attendance perspective.
3. Gross Revenue/Transaction rate per class
This is the rate you are paid for the class (before any taxes or fees are taken out).
Benefit: Allows you to easily track your weekly, monthly and annual revenue. Allows easy review of any variance in class rates per location.
4. Taxable amount per class
If the studio or location does not take out taxes, you should set aside some percentage on a weekly basis for each class you teach where taxes are not removed. You can electronically transfer this money on a weekly basis to a business savings account.
Benefit: When you need to pay or pre-pay your taxes, you will have some or all of the money (depending on how well your percentage estimate was).
5. Projected monthly revenue
This is calculated at the end of the month for the following month and involves adding up the expected revenue from upcoming classes. This dollar amount should be compared to your monthly target number (what you wish to make each month) as well as your monthly budget (the total of your monthly bills, personal spending, insurance and any other monthly expenses).
This dollar amount will not include work that is booked during the month, such as privates, classes you may cover for another teacher that are not yet known or any unexpected new business you book during the month.
Benefit: The main reason to track this is to ensure that you’ll have enough to cover your personal expenses for the month. If not, you can be proactive in looking for additional work to make up the difference. Calculating this before the month starts also allows you to see how close to your desired monthly revenue number you can get with your expected booked revenue. The closer this is, the more you’ll know that your marketing and sales efforts are paying off.
6. Actual monthly revenue
At the end of each month, add up the revenue from all the work you’ve done for which you were paid: Classes, workshops, special events, privates or any other paid work.
Benefit: Compare this to the projected revenue number and calculate the difference between what you expected to earn and what you did earn. Then, look at what factors impacted the number either way. For instance, have you been very successful lately with booking privates? Have you had a number of opportunities to cover classes? Use this information to help you determine other ways to earn income.
7. Daily target revenue
This metric is the daily revenue target you’ve determined is necessary in order for you to hit your desired annual revenue goal. For instance, if you wish to make $50,000 a year, you need to make approximately $4,166 per month. This is approximately $1,041 per week, and based on a 6-day work week, is $173.50 per day.
Benefit: This figure will help you plan for how many classes you need to teach per day in order to meet your desired annual number. This figure may also reveal that you would not physically be able to teach enough classes in order to meet your goal. This may lead to a decision to take on part-time work or to look for other teaching opportunities where you can negotiate a higher rate per class.
8. Actual daily revenue
This is the actual revenue you brought in each day. This can be tracked each day in a notebook, where, ideally, you are tracking your daily activities (like a diary or log). Each night, add up your revenue generating activities and see how close you got to your daily number.
Benefit: Having this number in mind can help you gauge how you’re doing day-to-day from a revenue perspective. It also helps highlight how much additional marketing and sales activities you need to do in order to make enough money for your personal situation. It also may highlight that you are teaching a large number of classes, but the revenue per class is not at a rate that allows you to meet your daily target.
9. Actual weekly revenue
At the end of each week, ideally in a written weekly report, you will add up the revenue you made for the week. This will allow you to eventually calculate “actual annual revenue” and see how close you are to your desired annual revenue goal.
Benefit: This figure allows for a weekly round up from a revenue review perspective. On weeks when you have been ill or traveling or classes have been canceled for other reasons, this figure will reflect that. You can use this figure to track trends for the month and year and review your revenue for the impact of things like summer and holidays.
10. Weekly personal savings amount
This is a percentage of your weekly-earned revenue that you commit to moving to a personal savings account. You decide what percentage of your weekly revenue you wish to save and either have it automatically transferred electronically, or you move it yourself online each week, via your bank’s website.
Benefit: The benefit of saving money is obvious; it protects you from variability in your earned income, should you have that and need to dip into your savings account at some point. But the most important benefit is that it acknowledges the hard work you do by literally paying you for that work completed. This is a huge boost to your self-esteem and puts you in greater control over your life from a financial perspective.
For those of us that teach yoga, it is a labor of love. We do it because we love to help people, to share the benefits of the practice and to see people flourish and grow on a whole multitude of levels. However, especially for full-time teachers, it is important to keep track of the business side of your activities to ensure you can provide for yourself and leverage the good work you do to create a solid future.