Get the first and second in this series here:
Part 1 – Clients, payments and expenses
Part 2 – making clients feel welcome, social media and media
Every entrepreneur I’ve ever known got into business because they loved doing something, whether it’s copywriting, graphic design, teaching, or dance. As a yoga teacher you probably feel the same way, but just like every entrepreneur, it doesn’t mean you want to be stuck teaching every single day for the rest of your life.
You have a life to live, places to see, people to spend time with, and you want the freedom that comes from building a successful yoga studio. Not to feel trapped in the mire of daily admin, updated schedules, and cleaning stinky yoga mats for the rest of your days.
It’s time to leverage
If you own or rent your own space, then you know that it’s often a fixed monthly cost, even if you’re not teaching a class every minute of the day. Subletting that space to other teachers or bringing in other practitioners to teach classes is a great way to leverage your space and time.
Usually this begins with an agreement that stipulates how clients pay (to you or the visiting teacher?) and how that income is split. Does the teacher get a fixed amount per class, per student, hourly? These details will depend on your costs, average class size, and other factors so be clear on how money is collected and distributed.
You may also want to cover situations like clients with membership, free class passes, or discounts that you offer via Groupon or other sites. If those impact how much you pay the teacher, be sure to spell that out in the agreement.
I’ll admit, it’s hard to let go of control, especially when you’ve built up a business that runs exactly how you want it to and now there’s someone new in your space.
So take those systems you’ve been building for how clients sign up, cleaning, social media and teach them to your new teacher. This is how you share “here’s how we do things” with concrete examples, written policies and a reference manual for those with short memories.
As you bring on teacher, you might find some things that are slipping and that’s okay; it’ essential for you to teach the system and clarify what you want.
That might mean that your policies change. No biggie. It could mean that you remind someone to follow the guidelines you’ve set out. It has to be done.
None of these practices will make you a corporate bully or hack who falls right back into the trap of big business – what it does is create a consistent experience for your clients and give you peace of mind that things are running exactly the way you want them to.
Time to run away
Every entrepreneur has the fantasy of running away from home, going to the beach, and watching bank accounts grow instead of dwindle. As a service provider, you might believe that you’ll never be able to maintain your income or grow your business unless you’re teaching yoga every day of the week.
You, my friend, would be wrong.
If you truly want to create the freedom to travel, take a vacation, recover from illness or be with a family member in need, enjoy holidays off or even retire someday, then you need to build leverage into your business. That might mean building up your teachers so you can refocus on marketing in between your classes. Or getting your studio into the media more to elevate your brand so you can sell private packages.
No matter how you choose to grow your practice, you’ll want to ensure that you’re not the one doing everything from sweeping the floors to closing the books at month’s end. Sure, it’s scary. Sure, you could “save money” by doing it all yourself. But what you may sacrifice in cash flow short term will pay itself back time and again as your business grows.
Creating a thriving yoga studio doesn’t mean you never teach again or that you show up in a suit and spend all day in meetings. But it does mean you have the flexibility to take clients on a yoga retreat into nature, enjoy a sabbatical, or physically recover after a surgery without your income dwindling down to nothing. AND, it’s good for your clients too – they have more variety to choose from, additional times, teachers who are energized and excited to teach and can continue to grow their own yoga habit even when you’re out of town.
It may feel like these days are a long time off, but start slow with a weekend away while your capable teachers lead classes and grow from there.
This is the power of systems, not just for the yogapreneurs out there but for every entrepreneur who craves freedom but feels chained to her business.