sandrayogawpg

How long does it really take to build a yoga business

31 posts in this topic

Hi there!! I've been a certified teacher, teaching part time for the past 3 years and am now starting my own yoga program and business. I've found that there isn't a lot of people online who share what the struggle REALLY looks like when it comes to starting a yoga business - so I end up comparing my beginning to other people's middles and feel like I am failing! (I know comparison isn't helpful) Id like to know how long may I go with 1-3 people showing up to a brand new class I'm promoting, how long does it take to build a following in person and online, when do you throw in the towel? Candace has some great content about these types of things but I'd love to hear other people's stories of what the beginning of a yoga business really looks like. 

YogaByCandace likes this

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That's a tricky one, and I'd say it depends on what sort of business you're building. For example, did you open your own studio? Are you teaching out of a public location like a community center or a park? Or are you contracting at an already established studio?

I started out just teaching classes on my own, renting a large space in a warehouse. It was really, really hard. I had tons of no-show classes, and eventually threw in the towel after about 6 months. I moved on to teach at a gym where I was paid a flat rate whether 0 or 20 people showed up, which was more stable income. But when I realized I really wasn't in it for the money, that I was in it for the experience, I moved to an established studio. Having someone else to promote your classes for you is a huge help. I've been there 7 months and only had one no-show class.

Now, if you're opening your own studio or trying it out solo, it's going to be really hard if you're not already tapped into the community. I'd recommend going to as many other classes as you can to connect with other yogis, mention in conversation that you have classes coming up. Maybe even get on a sub list, or on a schedule at another studio or gym so that people become familiar with your name. Ultimately you decide when to throw in the towel, but do know that it takes time to build a following. And it takes a lot of energy to advertise enough to get the word out there. Keep at it.

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Thanks for the response! I have and do currently teach out of a studio and a community centre but am branching out to start my own program so that I can really teach the style of classes I am passionate about with the message I believe in. I am not promoting my new program at my current classes because I don't want to be seen as "poaching students" so I am attempting to attract a new group of people. I'm renting a a space out of a community centre so it's not a yoga studio or somewhere that can promote my classes much either so I'm doing that myself. I'm still very early in the process... About 3 months wih a website/blog, advertising etc, and two classes in to the program and I've had 1 and 2 students in each class so it's a start! It just feels like it will be a long process - but how long?? Haha 

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Ah I see. Well, good for you for getting out there to do your own thing! It's always scary to do that - but it'll be worth it! Just keep plugging away and pass out business cards like candy. I find that when you're trying to draw in a new crowd, offering things like a free class pass to new students works well. throw a first class free sticker on your business cards and leave a stack at your local health foods store, library, coffee shop, doctors office.

Sending you all my positive thoughts and good vibes!

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I am Kind of in the same Situation as you are. I started Kids yoga this September. I was not expecting to be overrun by Kids, but when I ended up having only two Kids (now 4, but tow of them only Show up every second week), I got really discouraged (see my posting in this Forum).

The Problem really is Promotion. The People Need to know you are there and what you offer. And this may take some time. I am currently working on some Projects to attract new People (I don't want to bore you about this here though ;) ). But I guess, it could take up to half a year until word spreads. You could of course be lucky too.

I wish you all the best for your future!

nowistheknowing likes this

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Yes I read your forum post and that's one of the reasons I posted as well! If we could hear stories from others about the struggle it takes in the beginning then maybe we wouldn't feel discouraged, as we would know it's part of the process and others have experienced similar things. I find it's hard to find these types of conversations online as people often share their already successful businesses, blogs and programs without discussing what it took to get there. I'm so glad you are still pursuing your classes and not letting the discouragement deter you! Keep going! We should check in in a few months to report on our progress :) best of luck to you in spreading your yoga message and classes.

brenskip55 likes this

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I wish to send you my support for your path in teaching.

Like others say advertising is key to increasing numbers. Free to try the first class helps too. This isn’t unique to yoga. It is the same for all business.

I hope you don’t mind but I tried to look up your website to find out if you had a class that I could attend. http://www.sandradawnyogawpg.com/ I hope I found the right one. The website has a really good appearance. But the problem with people looking on the internet is the information has to be right in front of them or they will quickly lose interest. And they will be using common search words that have to be prominent on the webpage. In this case the search would likely be ‘Winnipeg yoga’ . So top, front and centre of the main webpage “Winnipeg Yoga. The first class is always free.” And then a very obvious link to more information. Now you might feel this would spoil your website, It is quite beautiful the way it is, so you could add a page with the key search words. Or better start a new website specifically for your classes. Name the website ‘Winnipeg Yoga’. And it is also important to change the webpage often so the search engines know that the website is active. Make changes at least once a week. You don’t have to change much just a phrase or even changing the font in the text will work. And a website is way better than a blog for showing up in searches. 

I’m not just making stuff up here. I built and run a rather large website I learned from the best and it really does work.

Your current webpage http://www.sandradawnyogawpg.com/classes/ has to be fixed many links don't work. Make it really easy for us to find your classes. And an explanation of what to expect at the class when we get there.

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Thanks for the great info! It sound a like you have lots of experience in websites, which I admittedly don't :). I will certainly take into account your suggestions and also fix the link on the classes page that isn't working! 

 

Thanks again!! 

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6 hours ago, Anahata said:

In this case the search would likely be ‘Winnipeg yoga’ . So top, front and centre of the main webpage “Winnipeg Yoga. The first class is always free.”

Also, make sure you include all relevant terms as plain text on the page, text in images is largely invisible to search engines. Make sure you have contextually appropriate <title> and <h1> tags on all pages. Structured data, i.e. http://schema.org/docs/schemas.html can also help.

Page ranking by search engines is also highly dependent on the number and quality of back-links.

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16 hours ago, sandrayogawpg said:

Yes I read your forum post and that's one of the reasons I posted as well! If we could hear stories from others about the struggle it takes in the beginning then maybe we wouldn't feel discouraged, as we would know it's part of the process and others have experienced similar things. I find it's hard to find these types of conversations online as people often share their already successful businesses, blogs and programs without discussing what it took to get there. I'm so glad you are still pursuing your classes and not letting the discouragement deter you! Keep going! We should check in in a few months to report on our progress :) best of luck to you in spreading your yoga message and classes.

I would really like to check in with you in a view months ;) I hope that for the both of us the Business will develop better over time.

You are right, most of the time you only read success stories, but hardly anyone talks about the rough beginnings. So, I guess the possibility to talk here about the start is really helpful for us and others.

Michellew likes this

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Hi There!

I just wanted to check back in as there was such great sharing and helpful hints with this topic, which were really appreciated! I started my second 6 week session of my own program in January and I had 6 people register for the beginner class (only 10 spots were offered in this class so 6 was great)! This was very exciting as some of the people found my website by "googling" - so my website is being seen and thanks for those website tips guys :) and some people received the flyers that I had worked my butt off door to door delivering. I guess the work is paying off and for now I am relishing in the slow build of community. Perseverance is key I suppose, and obviously really hard and good work.

Michellew, yogafire and robert like this

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That is AWESOME, so happy for you!!! 

The struggle is for sure very real. I held a yoga class in LA once with sponsors and everything, and not one person showed up. How embarrassing. I've had to cancel workshops due to no sign ups. I've had people tell me my teaching style wasn't "real yoga," people have been inappropriate towards me, I have had people blame their injuries on me, I've been told I'm too big, too small, not a "real" yogi because I meat, etc etc etc. I have lost hundreds and at one point even $1,000 on retreats where I didn't get enough sign ups to cover the cost of the venue and food. This summer I had a legit quarter life crisis - total meltdown in the middle of New York City - the result of too much stress, pressure and work. The struggle is very, very real. But I believe in what I'm doing, and I know that there is literally no limit to the business I envision for myself and things keep falling into place so I'm happy. 98% of the time I love the grind. I really think we can do anything we work towards and put our mind to, so keep workin' at it!! #wegotthis

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That is great to hear!

You came back to say thanks which says a lot about your character. I am sure you treat others and your students like that so you will do just fine. 

I have gone to a particular class near me twice. It is quite a distance so that is why only twice. The teacher is an incredibly beautiful teacher, not flashy, just a perfect job of teaching at the level of the class and she knows her stuff. The first time I went there was 8-10 people in the class. The 2nd time I went 2 people, me and another woman. I couldn't believe that a teacher like that would only have 2 people show up for her class. So everyone can have ups and downs no matter who they are. Hopefully you can keep us up to date and good luck.

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On 19/01/2016 at 2:31 AM, Anahata said:

That is great to hear!

You came back to say thanks which says a lot about your character. I am sure you treat others and your students like that so you will do just fine. 

I have gone to a particular class near me twice. It is quite a distance so that is why only twice. The teacher is an incredibly beautiful teacher, not flashy, just a perfect job of teaching at the level of the class and she knows her stuff. The first time I went there was 8-10 people in the class. The 2nd time I went 2 people, me and another woman. I couldn't believe that a teacher like that would only have 2 people show up for her class. So everyone can have ups and downs no matter who they are. Hopefully you can keep us up to date and good luck.

Sometime towards the end of last year my usual teacher had a session with only 5 or 6 attendees, compared to 20 or so typical. Last week it was so packed you could hardly move.

YogaByCandace likes this

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On 1/19/2016 at 9:43 PM, sandrayogawpg said:

Thank you @YogaByCandace for being so honest about how real the struggle is - you are definitely an inspiration. And thank you @brenskip55 and @Anahata for the kind words. 

I was curious how you're doing a few months later! I'm in the early stages of working with the owner of a pretty new (but seemingly successful so far) yoga studio near me (I practice yoga, but I don't want to be involved in this business as an instructor, my skills are more for the business/marketing side of it). So I searched this forum for yoga business threads and came across this one and saw how positive and helpful it was (so great!).

So... how's it going?? The one thing I noticed is some brand inconsistency, your website is SandraDawnYogaWPG, and so is your instagram, but your Facebook is titled after your program, Your Best Yoga, which has a good logo so I'd change your profile image on instagram to match that (maybe even your username?). Unless you'd prefer your brand to be yourself and not the program name. Because searching Your Best Yoga in Google doesn't give your website as a result, but Sandra Dawn yoga does. Just a quick thing I noticed that I figured I'd share.

My soon-to-be partner was sharing some of her early startup struggles with me, (maybe I can get her on this forum to share some insight!). But I know that her teaching is insured by beYogi and their website is really geared towards teacher training and the business aspect of teaching yoga so you might find some helpful information there about running a yoga business https://beyogi.com/teach/business/

 

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Well hello there! Great to see this thread is still active :) It's been about 6-7 months since I first started my program and I have learned a LOT!  My program is chugging along, and I actually sold out my last beginner session which was a huge success for me. I am not running regular programming over the summer but am providing outdoor classes/event to stay connected to the community until I start up again in the fall. I've found the most registrations for my program come from word of mouth, and most importantly I've been able to retain people who seem to love what I am offering and keep coming back. I'm getting a lot more play on my website and blog as of late, which is the way the internet sort of works I guess. Listing my program on Yoga FInder and Yoga Directory have also lead people to my site at least weekly. As for your note on brand inconsistency, it's honestly something I am still figuring out. I am still teaching other classes as an independent contractor and have those schedules listed on my website - thus the name of the website being mine and not the program. I have recently decided on a direction I am going to move in with my teaching, and it's going to be a bit of a niche that I want to connect in to the Your Best Yoga program and so currently I am in the process of figuring out what to do. Do I make one website with just program info and one that is my other yoga classes and my blog? That doesn't seem right... I think there must be some way to have "Your Best Yoga" be searched and linked somehow to my current site? Do I forget about listing my community classes and change my website name keeping it the same just minus that one page?? Is this just my fear and ego getting in my own way?!?! (I may need to consult a professional.... hahaha ;)) Suggestions are always welcomed! Also, I will definitely check that link out you posted. Thanks!

The number one thing I have learned that I had no grasp on when I wrote the initial post in this thread is patience! haha I really wanted to see a big boom of participants and "success" right off the bat and felt that would mean I would be successful moving forward and that was just not realistic for me. I am now relishing in the small successes that are often met with a small failure and so on and so on, but it is a process. I am so happy that over the last 6 months I have grown my participants from zero to a solid 10-12 regulars/returnee's, my website and blog have been reaching people all over the world - so cool to see that info on stats, I've been able to create and grow an email list people can subscribe to and provide a newsletter about upcoming programming (I provide feedback forms at the end of my sessions which include a space for people to let me know what kinds of classes they want to see in the future and leave me their email so I can let them know when the classes happen - it's been great), and I've gained some social media following that has helped spread my messages of "your best is enough". I've also grown as a teacher and student and feel really good about the next direction I am going to take with my yoga teaching career - hopefully that will be up and running by August! I have maintained my day job through all of this so financially I have been able to support myself without putting all the pressure on my program/teaching. I still plan on ditching this 9-5 world, just don't want to be premature about it.

So, did that answer your question?? HA! I feel like this was a bit of a cathartic post that is likely not helpful to anyone else, but it's a little slice of my journey thus far! Thanks so much for asking... although you're likely wishing you hadn't now hey?! ;) 

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Haha, no way, I'm so glad to read about your progress and thoughts. Little victories and little 'failures' have been my story, too. I think it's just how things go. (PS - they're never really failures if you learned something.) :) 

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@sandrayogawpg That's so great!! I don't wish I hadn't asked at all :) I'm glad to hear of your success and we all need a cathartic post now and then. It seems like you found some confidence and some positive growth. It's always good to learn about other people's journeys! Also, "Your best is enough" is definitely something that everyone needs to hear.

You may need to consult a professional for more specific help, but here is my response anyway! Since word of mouth is very important to your business, and because you are teaching at other places, I think keeping your Sandra Dawn website is good for your personal brand-- and having all of your scheduling there is useful. Plus having blog content there is good too. I think you could go both ways here, either making a separate website for your program (more work for you though), but there is definitely a way to have people search your program and end up on your current website. With the search phrase as "your best yoga" it might be a little more difficult, you'd have to have the SEO professionals help you there! Once your program becomes more defined and starts to grow into itself, you might want to do a separate instagram specifically for it, while also keeping a personal one and just mention the other in the bios. Facebook is a good place for your program, since your personal brand (website) can be easily found. And it seems like you have interlinking going on between all of your web and social media presences. On your blog (over on the right hand side) I would make your instagram and Facebook clickable there (since it's only at the very bottom of the page).

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This thread has been really helpful to read.  I've been working on building my own business this summer through space at a local nature center.  I believe that it could be a great space, but I'm having a really rough time getting people in to practice.  I'm on online calendars, the visitor's bureau, etc.  But I only have one or two "regulars" per class level and lots of classes with no shows.  I'm embarrassed to admit that today I had three classes scheduled, and not one single person showed.  The majority of my students (few as they are) are repeats (and not all of them are personal friends), so I think I'm doing something right.  Anyhow, I'm contemplating my next move.  My real passion is a Yoga in Schools workshop that I am just beginning to market to area schools to teach teachers how to use yoga in the classroom.  However, I don't want to to ditch teaching classes.  Just venting.    

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@Lorelei I've been there and some days am still there! Interestingly enough, I am venturing into expanding my program and offering Yoga for children and Youth with varying needs as well. I think that Yoga for Children is really starting to expand and people are really starting to see the huge value of the practice for little ones.

As for your adult classes... DON'T GIVE UP! I had sooooo many classes with no shows - especially the drop in classes. If there is any way to get people to pre-register and commit to coming beforehand, it may help some. BUT that being said, you have repeats which means that they are loving your offerings and if they each tell one person, who then also loves it and tells one other person - suddenly you have 10 people in a class.

I really love that this thread is still active and a place for people to relate, help and maybe most importantly - VENT! I really was frustrated when I first posted here and was desperately seeking others in my same position to validate that this was a difficult journey, but that it is worth it. I also loved all the tips I received after my post about my website and how to advertise. Have you added your classes to the Yoga Finder Website? I think it is international (I'm in Canada) but I actually get a few website hits a week through my listing on there, so it may be worth a shot?

Wishing you all the patience, determination, tenacity and luck in the world!!!

Sandra

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As a customer, not an instructor...I'd like to offer my perspective.

I (am lucky enough to) belong to fitness center that has machines, saunas, steam rooms, etc., as well as a four rooms that are set up for classes (yoga, Pilates, barre, cycling, bounce, etc.). It's one mile from my house (closer than any of the private studios)

For a payment of $80/month, I have unlimited access to the facility as well as any of the 100+ classes. 

Are the quality of classes on par with places like Soul Cycle, Pure Barre, the local yoga studio? Probably not.

However, when I weigh in the cost, it becomes a no brainer.

I typically take between 8 and 10 classes per month...that comes down to $8 to $10 per class (which is very inexpensive in the metro NY area). I tried Soul Cycle last year and loved it...but paying $33-35 for a 45 minute class gets old really quickly (not to mention that I was probably older than all the other rider's parents).

There are a couple of instructors who are excellent. If they were to go out on their own, I could be tempted to follow them...not sure.

So, my advice...hook up with a club (similar to the one I described) and develop a following.

Just my two cents.

 

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