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5 Transformational Mindset Shifts to Grow Your Yoga Business

This morning a remarkable woman emailed me. She was passionate…yoga had changed her life and she had given her life back to yoga. She started as a student, but that wasn’t enough. First it was a certification, then a passion that pushed her to leave a plush corporate job. But, her hard work wasn’t bringing in an income that she could live on. What was she doing wrong?


The truth was this amazing, educated woman was on the right path. She had checked every block towards success. Her body and practice was beautiful. But, her mindset hadn’t transitioned to that of a business owner, which she now was.


I see these emails almost every day. The men and women who reach out for help are some of the most talented people I’ve met. They’re driven to be better for their students, for their family and for themselves.   They’re such amazing teachers that they haven’t been able to step out of their practitioner mindset in order to lead their business.


And, as a small business owner, you have to fluidly step between a CEO mindset and teacher mindset.    This transition takes time, but there are five key shifts that must be a part of it.


  1. You are now the CEO.   And, CEO’s have to see the big picture and be able to make rational {read non-emotional, a hard one for me} decisions. The boundaries, decisions and leadership that you set in this position will determine your success.   But you’ll have to embrace this side of your work and accept that this comes first, because…


  1. It’s not just about teaching yoga anymore. It’s about creating a sustainable business that will support your family and lifestyle. When it’s just you it can be okay to forgo little luxuries. But when you can’t pay your bills, arrange for medical care for your children or just plain old survive, things change. The passion you feel for your practice can fuel amazing things that can change your entire community…if you allow you’re clear on what your real needs as a human being are. S…


  1. Before you do anything, be clear on what your baseline required income is. This is the income your family cannot just survive on, but can begin to thrive on. The key is to be realistic. And, when you start with the big goal of what you need, it allows you to break down your business goals very differently. You won’t just set a price at random. You’ll set your prices because they fit within a carefully thought out framework.


  1. Preparation reaps great blessings. Once you have your framework of what you need to live on, it’s time to turn to setting up your business in the best possible way. And, there is nothing better to start with than your Base Operating Expenses. These expenses will be with you for the long haul, so setting them up right the first time, will save you enormous time and money. Go through each expense with a fine-tooth comb. What do you truly need when you’re starting out and what can you survive with? Start lean and gradually add as your business grows and your revenue increases. But all of these mindsets are so much easier if you…


  1. Live within your zone of genius. As you finish setting up your base operating expenses understand that your best role is within your zone of genius. What’s a zone of genius? It’s the zone where you produce income and change in the most effortless way. Is it a place where everything goes perfect? No, that’s fantasy. Consider this the place where you need to put most of your energy to allow your business to succeed. A perfect example is that as much of neat freak as you may be, your zone of genius can’t primarily be in cleaning your studio. Let that zone fall to someone who is dedicated to it, while you focus on brining in revenue that grows your studio.
3 Non Traditional Studio’s You Can Start Today With Your Yoga and Pilates Certification

You got certified…cue champagne bursts, cheering crowds and confetti everywhere. And, you were sure this certification was going to lead to big things. And, it has—lots of big classes in lots of studios with lots of travel time. The only thing that hasn’t come in “lots” is money, and you’re scared this investment isn’t going to ever be able to support you full-time.


A brick and mortar studio just doesn’t appeal to you. It’s too much right now in your life, but there has to be an alternative out there. Besides, you’re ready to make yoga or Pilates your full time job .


Then it occurs to you. Oh yes, the non-traditional studio. This is where I began my business with a “floating studio” within a multi-billion dollar technology company. My studio and its employees arrived, set up our studio and left all within a few hours each day. My brick and mortar was a large empty room and the occasional conference room for larger classes. My props were limited and creativity was key.


Our footprint was transient, only there when we had classes and students scheduled, but our business model was brilliant once I found systems that I could build this on. {On a side note…the first year without systems was not brilliant and it’s proof that these models requires the most structure}.


There are three non-traditional studios that are fabulous business models within our current industries.


  1. Private Yoga Instruction: I’ve called this the personal training model, but in reality this is yoga at it’s most traditional. Think of a student hundreds of years ago who sat before his teacher and intimately learned the art of yoga. It wasn’t until recently that group classes began to dominate the market.  Private yoga instruction can be done in-house, in-studio, at a client’s workplace or home. This will appeal to certain client types, often busy people with expendable income, who are willing to pay a premium to have all your attention. The instructors who love this often thrive on having their attention focused on one client at a time…it can be an energy relief after group classes.   Many Pilates instructors already follow this model, but for those who don’t consider it today!
  2. Floating Corporate Model: This is where my story begins. This studio is often a combination of private classes with limited props and group classes. Your studio space if non-traditional and often squeezed into empty rooms within large companies. Before work, lunchtime and after work are primary times, but the larger the corporation, the more likely you are to book clients though-out the workday. The instructors who love this often need a more traditional workday and will relish having limited overhead and higher profits from day one.
  3. In Home Studio: If we were to rewind time fifty years, nearly all studio settings took place in the home of the practitioner. For modern in-home studios this can be anything from an open loft in NYC to an above garage studio in the suburbs. The key is that your overhead is greatly reduced as is your commute. As appealing a 10 yard commute is this can often lead to a blurring of boundaries, the willingness to set appointments all over your calendar since it’s just next door and an inability to turn off work mode. The key to making an In Home Studio work, is to set your boundaries firmly today and stick with them. It’s easy to sacrifice your personal life based on convenience and just one more client, so be sure to stand firm. Instructors who love this will be highly motivated and lucky enough to have a bit of room to spare!