Starting out on your yoga teacher journey can be challenging. As a new yoga teacher you might be wondering: do you know enough, do you have the confidence and the support to move forward in this ancient tradition, and how best can you bring your knowledge out into the world? Most importantly – can you create a business from your passion for yoga? We have a few tips to help you out on those initial steps toward success.
Find / Develop Your Niche
Let’s start with understanding, or recognizing, what you are best at and working to refine that element of your teaching or your business. Perhaps this is something you came into your Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) understanding, and perhaps it is something that shone through for you during your YTT, but more often than not, this is something that becomes clear after you have been teaching yoga for a while.
We took a deep dive into what a niche is in this article, so for now let’s just park this idea that you already have, or one day might find, a specific part of your practice that you want to dive deeper into. And then you can make your business, your expertise and your community much more specific, which (generally) enables you to focus down on the offerings you are putting out there and in turn, become known as an expert with your niche.
Set Up Your Business
Next, you need to establish your business, both online and in-person. Even if you plan to teach in studios (where their marketing team does most of the advertising for your classes), setting up some kind of contact with your regular clients is – as we all learned in COVID lockdown – absolutely crucial to being able to keep teaching if something happens. How this might look is having a website, social media and even an email marketing list to keep in touch with your loyal clients.
We wrote an article about how to conduct market research here, and how to choose a name for your yoga business here. Once you have a name, get yourself set up with social media (if that is where your potential audience are hanging out) and set up a website. Consider having business cards printed so you can hand them out, and be sure to talk to people about your new business venture.
OfferingTree is an all-in-one yoga business software, and it’s a fantastic tool to get you started online with scheduling, payment, blogging, email marketing, on-demand videos and an online store already built-in and ready to use. There are lots of platforms out there that you can also research to suit your own business, but whichever platform you choose, understand how to best optimize your SEO so that you appear in search engine results locally. This is the best way to help your business be found by anyone nearby that needs your services.
Spread the Word
Talking about your training and business dreams might sound obvious, but it really is the most important way to start building your yoga business and community. So shout it from the rooftops – tell friends, neighbours, family connections, even the mail delivery person – that you are a yoga teacher!
Open conversations, listen to people’s thoughts, opinions and expectations around yoga. You never know when a connection will come from these interactions and it also gives you the opportunity to dispel some myths, or create some positive ideas around yoga. You might find that many people have some misconceptions about required flexibility, body shape and mindset that you can talk to them about.
If you have local teachers or studios that you like to practice with, start to build a relationship with them. Follow them on Instagram or other social platforms, share their teachings and classes. In-person, speak to the instructor before or after a yoga class, or connect with the studio manager. Talk about your training, your passion and ask about working for them. The chances are that you will make a connection for a future opportunity to join their sublist.
Tip – If you do land a spot on a studio’s sublist, be reliable. Say yes to as many sub opportunities as you possibly can. The studio manager or owner pays attention to two important things – which sub is always ready to step in, and which regular instructor is letting them down the most. Know which of those you would like to be within that studio space.
Showing up for class regularly as a sub or a contracted instructor also allows you to build your own following. And many studios give free membership to instructors, meaning you can practice within the space and really get a feel for how the other instructors teach, so you can learn from the instructor and even identify something that you could add to the studio.
Build a Resume
Resumes are not just for corporate environments. Creating a yoga resume is a great way to introduce yourself to studios and give them an overview of your skills, intentions and inspirations.
A yoga resume should be a short document that includes your bio, details about your training and information on who inspires you in the world of yoga. This is an evergreen document that you should update as your learning evolves over time. Remember, if you have a niche, this can be a great place to highlight that so that if and when this studio is seeking an instructor within your speciality, you will be top of mind.
Consider a Mentorship
Mentorship is a really valuable way to find your path in yoga. If you have a teacher whose work you admire and whose teachings really resonate with you, you might approach them to ask about mentorship.
Mentorship can be a formal exchange – you pay for their support over the course of a year or two with clearly outlined expectations and goals – or it can be an informal relationship with a colleague in which you both share goals and grow and learn together.
Finding that professional community goes a long way in developing your own knowledge, confidence and skills and it can be an incredibly valuable tool in your yoga journey.
Beware the Imposter Syndrome
Feeling under-qualified to work within our chosen profession is a common phenomenon and yoga teaching is no exception. Imposter syndrome can show up in a myriad of ways but in yoga, it can sometimes be the practice of taking training after training following your initial YTT.
After a 200-hour teacher training, we understand that we have only dipped a pinkie toe in the great sea of yoga knowledge and understanding of this ancient tradition. And so, newly qualified yoga teachers will often dive into another training, and another right after that, to deepen their understanding and build confidence around their teaching.
And while trainings are a wonderful way to dig into the much bigger history of yoga, if you notice that they are becoming a way to delay your launch into teaching, this might be imposter syndrome showing up. A 200-hour yoga teacher training should release you into the world with enough knowledge to lead a class right away, and oftentimes, diving right in and teaching is the best way to ease your nerves, build experience and get yourself out there meeting your future loyal clients.
So our advice is – yes to digging into new trainings, but not at the expense (financially, emotionally and time-wise) of also getting out there to teach.
OfferingTree is the perfect online scheduling platform for yoga teachers. With scheduling, payments, Zoom integration, easy-to-use website builder, email marketing and so much more built into our standard packages (with no hidden fees) we really do work behind the scenes to take care of the tech and systems for you. Check out our brand new website here for more information.