Last year, more than 14,700 new yoga teachers registered with Yoga Alliance, the nation’s largest registry of yoga teachers, according to The Wall Street Journal. That means the number of new teachers now exceeds the number of new students at yoga studios. If you want to be successful in this oversaturated market, you need to stand out – or risk getting lost in the vast sea of yoga teachers.
To do that, you first need to identify as an entrepreneur and develop your personal brand. That will set you apart and give you a clear direction to build your business. When teachers do not brand themselves, they either burn out, become resentful of their peers who are successful or even feel depressed because they feel a lack of self-worth.
Many yoga teachers resist branding themselves because they have an outdated belief that business is an ugly, competitive practice. A more progressive outlook on business suggests that by working on your brand, you will help more people and make a bigger impact while providing quality services.
Another misconception about having a niche brand is that you will limit yourself. But if you don’t have a focus, you will get lost in the crowd. You need a specialty for people to find you, and if it’s genuine, you can help and connect with more people than you ever imagined possible.
Developing a brand also allows you to do in-depth work with clients. My guys-only yoga classes, for example, have attracted the same core group of 10 men for over two years. Because they are so consistent and similar to one another, they have progressed quickly, which allows me to teach more intricate poses and subtle alignment techniques. When you teach your most advanced practices, it keeps you interested while also facilitating a profound shift in someone else’s life.
1. Find a specialty.
Every teacher has a specific interest. One way to find yours is to remember what yoga helped you overcome. Maybe it was anxiety, muscle weakness or a weight problem. For me – a stronger, tighter guy – yoga (eventually) helped me open my body. I had to modify poses, use props and approach the practice differently as a man, which took me years to learn. Now, I deliver that experience to my male clients in a way that takes them through that process more efficiently.
Once you are comfortable infusing your personal perspective into your classes, you’ll start to attract a particular, authentic audience. When it’s clear what you stand for, your brand becomes magnetic. Your ideal students will find you, and you fill your schedule with those who love to work with you and with whom you love to work.
2. Become an expert.
The clearer you are with your specialty, the better you can serve your students. If you are being yourself, and only speaking on topics you’re knowledgeable about, you’ll build a rapport with students. You can also create useful content outside of the classroom, whether it’s through blogs, podcasts, pictures or videos. For example, if a yoga teacher decided to focus on “yoga for rock climbers,” she might create a series of blog posts or videos on the proper yoga poses to improve range of motion while rock climbing. If she does this consistently for a couple months, and distributes it to rock climbing gyms and her climbing friends, the news will spread quickly. Eventually, she can become the go-to yoga source for rock climbers. Continue reading >>