Building Business & Revenue Streams

Lesson Overview

In this lesson, we consider ways to build teaching experience and create revenue streams.

Objective

Become familiar with the variety of ways to build teaching experience and create revenue streams via different teaching formats and opportunities.

Description

Describe a number of ways to build teaching experience. Name multiple possible revenue streams for yoga teachers, including options that do not rely on the model of exchanging time for money. Explore reasons that students might seek out private sessions and why they might choose to go on a yoga retreat.

Introduction

In this lesson, we consider the variety of ways to build teaching experience and create revenue streams via different teaching formats and opportunities.

Overview

  • To build your experience, consider working in non-traditional settings, volunteering, or assisting senior teachers.
  • Aside from studios and gyms, options include: donation-based classes, private sessions, and corporate or university-based classes paid for by the organization.
  • Creating ways to earn passive and residual income is a key component of an effective business.

Getting Experience

To build experience, consider the following.

  • Gym: Often, getting a job at a gym is easier than at a yoga studio.
  • Non -Traditional Location: Starting a class anywhere you have connections can help

build your experience: your workplace, climbing gym, your children’s camp or martial arts’ studio, your local co-op or yoga apparel store, an outdoor class for your neighbors, etc. See also: 10 Places to Teach Yoga Besides the Studio

  • Assist Senior Teachers: This is arguably the ideal way to learn.
  • Substitute Teach: Many teachers and studios are in need of reliable subs and as long as you remind them you’re available and follow through, this can be an excellent way to build experience and connections.
  • Volunteer: Many yoga outreach programs exist now and are doing amazing work in the world. If you aren’t yet packed full with your own classes, this is a perfect time to earn experience while giving back.

Considering Various Revenue Streams

Other Settings & Scenarios

Aside from typical class scenarios, options include:

  • Workshops
  • Series
  • Retreats
  • Conference and festival teaching
  • Teaching at a business, medical facility, preschool or other organization
  • Teacher trainings

More Ideas

Here are my five proven strategies for making money now as a yoga teacher:

  1. Offer a “Yoga Review” to clients
  2. Create a customized yoga plan
  3. Schedule an online “Live” workshop
  1. Create beautifully designed templates
  2. Small group coaching opportunity

I explain all the strategies and give you three easy ways to pitch them in the video. – Alanna Kaivalya Ph.D.

Different Formats Offer Different Opportunities

LINEAR LEARNING VS CONNECTION

Traditional courses, online or off, are linear. They’re based on a direct connection between the instructor’s content and the student’s attention. Write this down, memorize this, understand that. Traditional courses scale in a particular way. They scale even better when the instructor appears on video.

Workshops are different. Workshops are about the cohort. The other students. The people you meet, the people you learn from and the people you teach. Workshops involve work, not the compliance inherent in testing and certification… It’s very difficult to run workshops at scale in the real world. The physics of interaction make it awkward. But it turns out that online, a workshop is a powerful way to learn.

A course can be quite effective. Students get a ton of actionable insights… but a course can’t possibly provide the magic of a workshop. And workshops are the future of online learning. That’s because in a workshop, you are able to connect, and connection is at the heart of the economy we live in now. Connection means finding the others. Embracing peer support, giving more than you get, engaging with ideas and with other people. Connection is part of the process of growth. Connecting with possibility, with change and with the generosity of new ideas and new approaches.

Seth Godin

Passive Income

  • Creating ways to earn passive and residual income is a key component of an effective business. In yoga teaching, this is accomplished through video courses and other online options.
  • In the article quoted below, the author notes that maximizing active income is, of course, a smart practice but creating passive income is even better. Best of all, she explains, is residual income.

MODELS OTHER THAN EXCHANGING TIME FOR MONEY

Cultivating outside income is the very smartest thing you can do as a yoga teacher. Exchanging time for money (how we make money teaching yoga) is the absolute worst business model out there. You can only teach so many classes and charge so much. And if you get injured, you are in serious trouble. Developing outside income will create financial security and stability. – Laura Erdman-Luntz

Privates

A goal for experienced teachers may be to teach private sessions. This requires knowing why students would search out private sessions and for which types you are a good fit.

Empathizing with why people seek out private yoga can help point you to which types of students are your best fit and who you will refer out. Darren Main offers the following list of reasons in The Yogi Entrepreneur:

  • Injuries and Medical Conditions
  • To Refine and Deepen Practice
  • Dislike Group Settings
  • Discuss Issues
  • Developing a Yogic Lifestyle
  • Scheduling Conflicts
  • Money is No Object

For support around teaching Privates, see Art of Teaching.

See Also

  • Why the Business of Yoga is More Complex Than You Think – Amy Ippoliti notes that various different types of teaching require different skills and different business models. As you consider your strengths, weaknesses and interests related to these opportunities, you can then set plans to improve skills and consider new avenues.

More Considerations

SETTING UP ONLINE SCHEDULING

There are a ton of scheduling options to choose from and each of the top software programs have their own focus and set of features… Most online schedulers have free trials available and sales teams that will even give you a guided tour if you ask. Start by making a list of things you know you want to be able to do. Some examples:

  • Accept payments
  • Sell memberships
  • Sell physical products
  • Book classes
  • Book appointments
  • Register people for workshops
  • Register people for event series (ie. teacher trainings)
  • Manage staff and payroll
  • Coordinate different people’s availability
  • Send automated email reminders
  • Send automated text reminders

– How to use your website to offer online scheduling to your students

SUCCESS AS A BYPRODUCT OF PRACTICE

Nothing could be more disingenuous than convincing people that creating a mentality of abundance, or a cadre of social media profiles, leads to prosperity in the yoga profession… Despite honest efforts to distill and make it more practical, the dark art of making money has always been elusive… Everyone I know who is managing to make their way in the yoga profession is doing so not because they have mastered an abundance mentality that is allowing them to manifest their dreams. Almost always, being a yoga professional was not the original intent. They started out just wanting to practice and find themselves… Being effective in business does require smart strategy, and teachers are wise to seek the counsel of others. But successful careers in yoga are a byproduct of practice more than an attainable goal. – J. Brown

RECRUITING & TEACHING NEW STUDENTS

Why compete for the same yoga students when you can teach the billions of people who have yet to try yoga? Yes…there are 7 billion people on the planet. And how many of those actually do yoga? Not a whole lot! Those people are waiting to try yoga and waiting for you to teach them. Doctors are recommending yoga to their patients for relief from back pain and stress. Athletes and the elderly are waiting for someone to introduce them to yoga safely. If you want to succeed, both newer and veteran teachers alike must constantly nurture a steady flow of brand new students…

Having a beginner series provides an entry point for a brand new student to come into your world. – Amy Ippoliti, Prana

Resources for Teaching Online

  • Shoulder You Offer a Membership or Online Course? – Namastream article
  • Why teaching yoga online is an incredible and feasible business model for yoga teachers

– Digital Yoga Academy 30 min video

  • 4 Teaching Principles for Creating a Successful Online Course – Elephant Journal article with considerations for creating online courses
  • The Wellness Entrepreneur’s Ultimate Guide to Growing a Business Online – WeTravel free PDF
  • Namastream.com – Offers complete tools and support to take classes online
  • How to Set Up a Yoga YouTube Channel – YogaClassPlan article

Planning Retreats

The following article is brief, pointing out a few bottom-line priorities when organizing a retreat that apply to many planned experiences beyond a class. It doesn’t teach how to make this happen but highlights key results necessary for success.

PLANNING RETREATS & OTHER EXPERIENCES

People who book retreats are looking for more than just an expanded yoga timetable, or an organized set of activities. They are looking for an experience. Not only that, you can bet your bottom dollar that relaxation and a ‘letting go’ of everyday life are among their top goals when they arrive. The logistics, administration, and all communication connected with your event are therefore crucial. We can’t emphasize this enough. The experience needs to be totally painless for your guests – from the moment they confirm their booking to the point you wave them off into the sunset. – yoginomics

A KEY TO RETREAT SUCCESS: QUIET TIME

It is in moments of silence — not activity — that we develop character. – Bobby Powers

***

During a retreat it is the quiet times that our clients take in all that they have been learning and experiencing. It is in these moments that their transformation is realized. So how do you support a well rounded experience for your clients? Easy peasy lemon squeezy, you leave space and time for your clients during every day for this to happen. Yes, it can be that simple! Avoid overfilling days with content and/or activities. Let your clients wander freely, take naps, have those precious moments of time to absorb all that you have been pouring into them. This also allows time for you to rest and or prepare for the next portion of your retreat. – Michelle Bourdeau

See Also

  • How to Plan a Yoga Retreat – article by Teachasana
  • The 7 Pillars of Designing a Successful Yoga Retreat – 40-minute webinar by yoginomics
  • My Best Retreat Advice: Start Small, But Dream Big – article by Rock Your Yoga Retreat
  • The Challenges of Organizing a Yoga Retreat (And How You Can Overcome Them) – article by DoYouYoga
  • 7 Retreat Destination Categories To Choose From – 45 min interview by Rock Your Yoga Retreat
  • The Missing Link to Sold Out Retreats – article by Rock Your Yoga Retreat
  • For Retreat Leaders – blog by WeTravel
  • How to Create a Marketing Plan for Your Yoga Retreat – worksheet by Rock Your Yoga Retreat
  • Personal Coaching Could Be Just What You Need to Launch an Incredible Retreat – free 15-min coaching call sign-up with Michelle Bourdeau of Destination Success

For Experienced Teachers

HOW THE “SUPERSTARS” MAKE A LOT OF MONEY

A handful of instructors have reached superstar status, truly living the dream and raking in the cash. In fact, Ava Taylor—owner of the first ever yoga talent agency, YAMA Talent—says she has clients who make roughly $400,000 a year. (Nope, that’s not a typo.) According to Taylor, live appearances make up the biggest bucket of revenue. These can be educational (like giving a conference lecture on anatomy or philosophy) or entertaining (such as teaching at a big festival). Ever wonder how much those instructors at Wanderlust are making? “Someone who is successful in the live event space can make between $5,000 and $10,000 a weekend,” Taylor reveals. That said, these types of events aren’t happening all the time—Taylor’s high-end clients can usually only depend on them once a month…

“All my clients who are making $400,000 [a year], it took them 10 or 15 years to get there,” the agent notes. “They did their time teaching to half-full rooms or making $4 a class.” – Emily Laurence

Revenue sources for “superstars” include:

  • Live Appearances: Education
  • Live Appearances: Teaching and Entertainment
  • Books
  • Endorsements
  • Teacher trainings
  • Creating content for online classes
  • Merchandise