Yoga Teachers: Time to Gain Independence!
One of the most baffling questions for most yoga teachers is whether they should work under a studio or do their own thing. Here’s your answer - do your own thing!
This may sound a little challenging since being an independent yoga teacher also means marketing yourself, planning out, holding sessions, keeping track of your participants, booking spaces, collecting payments - nope, breathe! It is actually much simpler.
If you are already working under a studio, it may seem daunting to try to recreate the 360-degree space that yoga studios offer, but with the change in technology, it is not as challenging as it may sound.
Let us answer some common questions for you.
How do I start my journey of becoming an independent yoga teacher?
- Create a social media presence
In a time where social media has such a strong and powerful impact in people’s lives, it may turn out to be highly beneficial to use this platform to market yourself. Be engaging on social media and create an open space for your followers to reach out to you.
- List your offerings on your social media platforms
Don’t just use social media for interaction - also post about what you do and who you are. Your social media followers should be able to look at your profile and know what you do.
- Design and distribute your business cards (in-person and online)
Business cards are important! Design these business cards to stand out, and carry them everywhere you go. You may meet potential clients in a restaurant, at a social event or even when you are going out for a walk.
You can also distribute these business cards virtually through LinkedIn. Every time you connect with people on LinkedIn, let them know about you and contact you by creating a digital version of your business cards to send to your LinkedIn contacts.
Where do I find my yoga clients?
- Through Community Engagement
Start within your own neighbourhood. Let your neighbours know about your sessions by hosting some sessions in your neighbourhood park. Give away some flyers in the neighbourhood to spread the word. During your sessions, make offers to your neighbours about potential discounts if they bring a friend, or offer referral discounts.
- Social media platforms
Social media connects millions of people around the world, and it is important to target the right ones to increase your reach. People are often looking for results, rather than the offerings. Whenever you host a session, with consent, take some images for your social media.
Additionally, take testimonials of your clients to market the results of your sessions on social media. While Instagram and Facebook are ideal for such posts, do not limit yourself to any two platforms.
- Yoga Apps
There are apps and websites available that help you grow your business. Specifically, for independent yoga instructors looking for clients, there is Bloxo - this app connects Yoga teachers to participants that may be looking for classes. You can share your activities on this app that the people around the region can join (or if it is offered online, people all around the world can join your activity).
Where do I host my yoga sessions?
The world is going virtual. COVD-19 has changed how things had been operating in the past, and people are adapting to the ‘new normal’. Adapting as a yoga instructor to grow your business during these times requires a prominent online presence. There are multiple virtual platforms to host your activities like Zoom, Facebook, Instagram,Skype, Google Hangouts, and even TikTok! There are lots of options. Let your clients take your classes online!
- Public parks
Public parks are great to increase the clients from the area. Hosting regular activities in a public space attracts people from the neighbourhood, and the word spreads faster. These are often free for hosting activities, so why not?
- Private Space
You can book a private space in a nearby gym, studio or park. Some private spaces have their own members as well, which can be resourceful in client expansion. Some private spaces also help with advertising of your session on their platform.
Where do I collect payments for my yoga classes?
- Cash Payments (Not recommended)
You can collect cash payments from your clients as they come to your workout session, but this is not the most recommended method. Firstly, if a client forgets to bring their payment then it can be awkward to ask them to pay you. Secondly, it is difficult to keep track of who paid and who did not. Third, with the onset of COVID-19, you should avoid any cash payments.
- Interac E-Transfer Payment Method
You can ask your clients to interac the money directly to your bank account for them to register to your activity. This is a safer method of payment collection compared to cash payment collection. While this eases the collection of payment, it is still difficult to keep a record of all the payments. Since this method does not allow automatic refund for cancellation, it can get difficult to track the amount owed to non-attendees and to process refunds.
- Through Private Space or Facility
If you book a private space, some of these spaces provide you with the option that they would charge your clients for you and you would get paid your portion. While this could be a good method for payment collection, this restricts your independence.The fee taken by these spaces can be high, and they might not share the data of clients. They may register these clients under their space.
- Other Safer Options
There are apps that allow you to collect safe payment from your clients as they join your yoga class. These help keep a record of everyone who has paid and joined, and also give you additional data about the client that can help you maintain a client database. One of such apps is Bloxo. Alternatively, you could use Venmo or Square Cash, for small payment collection.
How do I maintain client loyalty?
- Offer Loyalty Benefits
Tying down your clients to your services is one of the most important aspects of being an independent yoga teacher. You can offer them benefits such as a free session for every five sessions, or a yearly membership discount, or a reduction in joining fee after a certain period of time.
- Keep in Touch
Engaging with your clients can help in forming a strong relationship with the clients. Connect and converse with your clients even after the sessions to provide them with a compassionate, ‘personal touch’. Remember that yoga is a personal journey for most people and having a teacher that connects with them would be more preferable for these people.
- Stay Consistent
Make sure to be consistent with your sessions. Many clients are looking for a yoga routine, with options in different timings. Understand the time and day that most clients prefer and regularly host sessions for that duration.
- Distinguish Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced
As a yoga teacher, you are helping your clients through a path and you want to make sure that they feel comfortable in this path. Therefore, they should have the option to choose the level of their session and progress accordingly. When clients feel like they do not belong to a particular class, they would want to opt out. To retain clients, give them options and help the beginners to reach the advanced level.