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5 Tips to Grow your Mind-Body or Yoga Business

When I had arrived as a newly married girl in Washington state, my dreams came true. I got a call to see if I would be interested in developing my own Pilates and Yoga Programs. I started asking questions…could I have staff, a studio, develop new programs? Every answer came back better than I could have imagined and I leapt into this new adventure without blinking thinking my hard work alone would bring me through.


My dear, when I hit the ground, it was like falling from a ten story building with no parachute. Everything that I thought went into my studio, wasn’t working. I was bringing in plenty of money, I had awesome clients, and I had a very happy staff, who were extremely well paid. I was working harder than I had ever worked in my life, but I was destroying my marriage, family and health and I had nothing to show for it, except the most expensive hobby known to man.


I took a deep breath one April morning, 8 months pregnant and knew I had to change.


Over the next six months, I dove deeply into what a successful business needed to look like. I was no longer concerned with what a “yoga studio” or “Pilates studio” or “mind-body center” needed to be. I’d already done all of these things and they hadn’t worked. I knew there was an answer and it would have to lie outside of the bounds of how studios had been run.


  1. The Asset Mindset Shift: My business had become a poorly paid hobby. Its liabilities (or expenses) flowed out at nearly the same rate as it’s assets (or its income} flowed in. I had to reframe my mindset of what I was doing. I was either going to continue with an expensive and stressful hobby or I was going to begin to view my business as an asset I was building that would yield a predictable return. I could no longer rely on emotion, but had to make rational decisions. I had clarity. Now I needed to understand what came next.


  1. The Holy Grail—Recurring Income: One of my first visits was to an enlightened entrepreneur. What was I missing in my business that he had in his, even though we were in very different markets? The answer was clear. I had no idea what type of income would arrive in every week, let alone next month or six months from now. I was winging it, relying on my personality and my teaching skills to get me by, but these couldn’t guarantee me gross receivables (or funds I could guarantee my business would be paid). They didn’t exist, so I would have to create a system that was founded on recurring income. And it started with my Core Client Journey.


  1. Core Client Journey: My Core Client’s Journey became the signature process every client went through in our program. It started the moment they enrolled and continued until the moment they exited the program. The stages were clearly created to encourage my clients to stay active and engaged.   As we guided them through these stages, we knew what needs would arise and we met them, often behind the scenes. Very quickly my client base grew. And, with that so did my hours, which is when I knew I needed something more.


  1. Defined Replicable Systems: Between our growth and a serious bout of the flu that sidelined me for three weeks it was clear, I needed help. But the systems that I was creating needed to be used so that my business could keep its upward trajectory. And so these systems became refined into a structure that I could teach and replicate among my new team. And, this team was amazing…they were incredible practitioners whose services sold themselves…at least they did, if we could get our new clients to class.


  1. Soulful Sales: Early on in this process, I learned that my team and I would need to sell not our services, but the results they could provide. For most of my clients, they know they needed to get healthy. The bigger problem was that they couldn’t see how my service combined with their need could bring results. And, that comes from sales, but a different kind of sales than I had ever seen. In training, we call this Soulful Sales, an education process that persuades and guides our new clients to their best results. It’s authentic, powerful and it changes lives.


I can’t wait to see what you do to turn your passion into reality! Email us at hello@lisekuecker.com and share your story, connect with us on Instagram and Facebook and sign up for the Kismet Club where we share our biggest and best ideas!

How to Start a Yoga Studio: Business 101

You’re 199 hours into your 200-hour yoga certification. Life could not be going any better. You’re immersed in doing what you love and life has become an endless cycle of sun salutations all while reading Harvard Business Reviews ideas on operating lean…wait, what? “I’m getting certified to teach yoga, I’m not here for an MBA”! So how do you take this amazing certification and an entrepreneurs drive and turn it all into a yoga studio?


This is the question I get asked over and over again. When you’ve studied as intensely as I have for a certification, you want to put this knowledge to amazing uses. Certification programs will you give you incredible technical knowledge. You know how to move the body; you could write an anatomy and physiology textbook; you’ve practiced the mindfulness aspects of yoga in ways you could have never dreamed. But, they left out how you were going to make a living doing this. Especially if that living is a studio you are going to birth.


The good news is there are simple steps to start from. When I’m looking at opening a new location there are three starting points I always begin with.


  1. Research, research, research your location. When I open a facility I start by looking for key demographic indicators that this is a good location for me. For our business, the existence of a Target or Wal-Mart, a great grocery store, strong schools and town of fifteen thousand or less indicate success. Now I can trust that Target knows what they are doing. They have teams of people researching their demographics to decide where to place a store. And, there are budgets are far bigger than mine {wink}. For a yoga studio, I would be looking for businesses that are already thriving within the natural or mind-body disciplines. Does your community support a chiropractor, a natural foods store, a Pilates studio? If so, the time may be ripe for an addition. Before you commit to a town, I always draw a sixty mile radius and look at other communities that are similar. Be sure to ask yourself if this is the best fit. You’re building a business, not just a passion and you want to start off smart even if that means a twenty minute drive.


  1. Set your Base Operating Expenses. Base Operating Expenses are those pesky expenses that are going to come every month…think rent, utilities, insurance, continuing education and payroll. Before I ever open a facility I lay out what I can afford in my BOE and still break even quickly. The fastest route to profit is through your malleable expenses. These are expenses you can negotiate and none is more important than your rent. I’ll assume you’re working with a qualified commercial realtor. While they will be working for your best interest, it’s not enough to rely on their feedback. Now is the time to climb on Loopnet and see what’s available, to call other businesses and learn what’s typical for rental rates in your market and to investigate what your business can truly support. Once you have these expenses in place you’ll know if your location and business plan can work!


  1. Team Who? Yes, m’dear you are going to need a team and it may not be the team you’re expecting. The fact of the matter is when most yoga studios start out, their owners provide most of the classes {and sales, phone answering, email returning}. This keeps the front of the studio flowing. Your most important team however is your back office. These are the people who take the weight off of you so you can actually create revenue, change lives and build a sustainable business.  So who are they? Your accountant and/or bookkeeper is there to keep your financials on track. This is a business and you want it profitable as quickly as possible. By researching and knowing the numbers that can happen.  Your housekeeper is there to provide a welcoming environment and free you create more of your business. For many studios their housekeeper is a client or new instructor. I understand it’s tempting to save this money. But how much are you losing when you clean toilets instead of building clients?  Finally, your attorney is a necessity. Unless you have a lawsuit your attorney’s work will be minimal, but lease reviews and employee contracts may require his or her input.   I always like to set project fees rather than hourly rates on these issues. It lets me know my budget from day one and that’s a lot easier on everyone. Be sure to build your back office. Your time is going to be focused elsewhere and I want to be sure you can give 100%!


I can’t wait to see what you do to turn your passion into reality! Email us at hello@lisekuecker.com and share your story, connect with us on Instagram and Facebook and sign up for the Kismet Club where we share our biggest and best ideas!

Building a Health Coaching Business While Living the 9-5 Life

{Rewind “ten-ish” years} My day started out at 5 AM and I was in the studio I taught in by 5AM. I had the luxury to leave at noon, but by 3:30 I was back again until at least 8PM when my final client left. At some point in this never ending cycle of early mornings and late nights, I looked in my mirror and realized this couldn’t go on.


Now I had great ideas. I am a family of entrepreneurs and I had already started on successful company. But, I had moved myself home to New Orleans with the idea of pursuing my passion of wellness and coaching client. Now I was doing that in the studio I worked in and every hour I added to someone else’s bottom line. I was literally working with no end in site. Even more I knew that my vision was different than what I was doing and I could see the possibility for success.


I had a small nest egg, but the idea of taking this leap into financial terrified me. Could I make it? Would I be able to pay my bills? Would the stress of these thoughts overwhelm my fledgling company before I even started?


So I made a decision. I knew that I could keep my current job and clients and begin my business slowly while still having an income to rely on. Now I’m not going to lie. This is not an easy decision. I knew long hours and many weekends of work were ahead of me. But, I understood that short-term sacrifice could yield long-term gain.


During this crazy period in which I birthed a business while working over 40 hours a week, I learned a four crucial steps to keep my sanity, while growing my new business.


  1. There is a season for everything. I like to do it all. Okay, I like to do it all and then some. But, in this season of my life I had to learn to say no to many things. This wasn’t just as simple as saying no to dinner invites. I had to say no to reading my favorite fiction writers {there were way to many business books I needed to consume}, to fear {hello meditation} and to many people’s opinions of what I was doing or should be doing. Most people will never have the audacious presence to start a company. Fortunately you are not most people. So you understand that this season, when the hustle actually does matter, is only going to last for a time. And, your life will return to normal and in fact, it’s likely going to be so much better. So you take a deep breath, you let go and you settle in to this season.


  1. When work time is limited, there can be no distractions. I have a problem with distractions. My husband teases that if he yells out the right thing I will stop anything to turn around. But, when you’re time is limited and every minute counts, distractions cannot be part of your day. During these times in my life, I made decisions to cut off cable, turn off my phone prior to work, walk out of my house and walk into a place I could focus 100% in. And, when I am on, totally focused, I am amazed at what pours of me. Give your business this gift…give it the chance to have you 100% focused on it. You’ll never regret this.


  1. Juggling two careers takes finesse. Juggling two careers is not for the feint of heart. In fact, it’s downright overwhelming. In this time in my life, I learned a schedule was the only way I could make it happen. If it wasn’t on my schedule, it didn’t exist. For a spontaneous person {aka me} this took some getting used to. But after a short period of adjustment, I came to revel in knowing what I need to accomplish each day, what I could expect at the end of week and how I could meet a deadline with no problem. Use your schedule wisely. Every moment counts and you want to book based on priorities.   And, the time will come soon enough where you can have as much freedom as you dreamed of.


  1. Small is okay. I dream big…huge…almost too much. So taking small steps seems like I’m going backwards. It’s the feeling that you know what you can do, but you’re strapped for time, money and energy. Ten plus years on, I’ll tell you that starting small is the best thing you can do. When you allow for organic growth, for your business to take its time, you’ll find yourself very naturally moving to the best of places. And, this method will force you to focus on action steps. Slowly but steadily you’ll reach where you want to go and the full time career you dreamed of!


I can’t wait to see what you do to turn your passion into reality! Email us at hello@lisekuecker.com and share your story, connect with us on Instagram and Facebook and sign up for the Kismet Club where we share our biggest and best ideas!