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In order for yoga teachers and wellness professionals to continue doing their work, they must make an income.
I would like to start this article with a question for yoga teachers and movement educators:
Were the money, finances and pricing aspects of your profession addressed in your yoga/fitness training?
In my case, for the most part it was not. In fact, during more than 2,000 hours of yoga and fitness training, in which I invested a fortune, there was very little learning on this topic which was vital for me to be able to recover the investment made.
I know, I know… Many fellow colleagues will think that, as yoga teachers, we should not be materialistic or we should avoid being attached to make a good living by transmitting the teachings of this spiritual practice. I personally think this is a great fallacy and it is a way to self-sabotage. If you think about it, independent yoga teachers and wellness professionals are often like a small fish. We are trying to thrive (or often survive) in a shark´s ocean like that is a multi-billion dollar industry: The wellness, yoga and fitness industries.
There was a common trait in most of the yoga and fitness trainings that I took and even those that I taught (with only a few exceptions). Something was assumed about future yoga and fitness teachers:
We would use our knowledge and skills solely and exclusively by teaching classes in yoga studios, centers and gyms.
This seemed to be the most common way that we were supposed to generate income from yoga and personal training as new teachers. That’s why, when I decided to start working as an independent yoga and movement educator, I had to learn a lot about business.
When I started to sell my services as an independent wellness professional, beyond the popular (and often poorly paid) classes in studios, I realized that I needed to learn to think as an entrepreneur. This was totally necessary to fulfill my dream and professional goals, which was to make yoga my way of living.
Thankfully, I found mentors in the yoga and fitness industries (and beyond) who helped me to think like a boss. People like Jenn Hall, Shannon Crow, Lawrence Biscontini, Amanda McKinney, Peter Twist, Amy Ippoliti, Steph Crowder and Bedros Keuilian amongst so many others.
As mentioned, it’s not surprising that industries like yoga, fitness, or wellness generate billions of dollars annually. Meanwhile, independent yoga teachers can be the ones with the biggest financial difficulties.
2020: New reality.
The situation in 2020 is even trickier for independent and small wellness business owners. Since March 2020, many gyms and yoga studios had to close their doors due COVID-19 regulations. Some won’t be able to open their doors again due to the lack of income for several months. In addition, professionals in the wellness world have been forced (some for the first time and without prior knowledge) to move their services online. This has skyrocketed the supply of yoga and fitness instructors offering online services. These online classes are often for free or at very low cost.
For the record, I have nothing against those yoga teachers/fitness professionals who give free classes online.
Those who have a big following might be able to get some income from affiliates in YouTube or Instagram, and that is a success. Besides, each one of us is free to do what we think is necessary for our business. As a professional in the yoga and movement world, I often offer free content for my audience and followers. My intention is to educate my audience on the value of my services and to reach new people.
However, one thing is clear: If we want to make a living doing what we love the most in the long term, we must get paid for our services.
Independent wellness professionals like yoga teachers and personal trainers are small business owners. We are entrepreneurs and thus, we need to send our marketing message out to the world if we want to sell our services. One important thing that I learned is that a business has two main objectives and that both are essential and equally important. These two objectives are complementary (like yin and yang).
Objective # 1: Your business aims to help other people:
This is something that yoga teachers are generally good at. Perhaps it is because we have experienced the myriad benefits of maintaining consistent practice. Or perhaps, because we are committed to applying the philosophy of yoga to our daily life in the form of service (Seva).
Objective # 2: Your business aims to generate income:
This, on the other hand, is something that can sometimes become a bit more difficult or even uncomfortable topic. Sometimes we might have unresolved issues with money. After all, most yoga teachers are unenlightened and subject to the human condition (despite our own denial).
Remember this: It is possible to live well doing what you are most passionate about (in this case, helping other improve the quality of their lives with your yoga or movement classes). You need to learn how to do it and this is when your entrepreneurial skills come into play. Make use of them so that you will be able to thrive as an independent business owner.
If you need support, I am here to help you.
Did you like this article? You might want to check out my Sangha-Mastermind.
Author: Manuel Molina de la Torre (Manu).
Founder & CEO at With Manu.
Hi, I am Manu,
I have been working in the yoga, wellness and fitness industries since 2008. I teach in Spanish, English and Italian. One of the things that I am most passionate about is helping yoga teachers like you generating more income by doing your work more efficiently and professionally. Would you like to learn about all those aspects of entrepreneurship and business that you were never taught in your yoga training and that are necessary for professional success? I am here to help you.