To most yogis, marketing can sound like a four-letter-word. I know, because I used to feel this way too. I’ve had many conversations over a tea or glass of wine with other yogis with the same problem. We teach yoga because we LOVE it, and not to make money, but we still have to pay the bills like everyone else. I didn’t want to push my classes on people, or sound like I was trying to ‘sell’ myself. It felt very un-yogic. However, I now know, that is total bullshit.
You are not helping yourself, or your students by playing small.
You love yoga, and most likely it has made a huge positive impact on your life. So much so, that you felt compelled to dive deeper and take a teacher training so you could share these benefits with others. You practiced, you cried, you grew, and you emerged on the other side ready to teach. But now what?
Whether you are aware of it or not, if you accept (or plan to accept) money for teaching yoga, you are a soloentreprenuer and you run your own business. If this is a shock, don’t worry it was for me too. But now that you know your in business, here is why you must learn to love marketing. Marketing enables you to reach the people who need you. Plain and simple.
“As you know, I believe that if you have a product or service you believe in — one that truly helps others — it’s your responsibility to do everything you can to market and sell in the most effective way possible. Because if you don’t, you’re stealing from those who need you most.” – Marie Forleo
So get your business pants on, and put yourself out there. Yes, it can be scary, and yes it WILL feel uncomfortable but as long as you approach everything you do with honesty and authenticity you will have a business that you are proud of. Here are 5 ways to get started, and best of all — they’re FREE.
1. Create a facebook page – set up a separate facebook page for your yoga teaching business (because it IS a business). This is where you can update your students on changes in your class schedule, or free events/classes that you are offering. It’s totally free, and all you need is a couple of pics to get started. You can invite your friends from your personal page, and voila your students now have a way to connect with you outside of class. You can get really creative and hold contests, or Q&A sessions. The sky is the limit.
2. Create a blog – this takes a bit more time and effort than creating a facebook page, but it can be a great opportunity to share your voice with the world on a bigger scale. You are a passionate human, so I know you will have a lot to say. You can write articles, post videos etc. This is a space where you can be really creative, and connect with people on a more personal level. If you have a unique talent or area of expertise, try combining this with yoga to help your blog stand out. ie. You could write about yoga for kids, or athletes etc. Just make sure you are really keen on what you choose to write about. Don’t just pick something because you think it will be popular. This is about YOUR unique voice. Find out what that is, and share it. Your tribe will find you. There are heaps of free blogging platforms, like wordpress or blogger to get you started.
3. Create an email list – Collect email addresses from your students and create a database of people who want to hear from you. When I hold workshops or teach free classes, I always ask people to write down their email if they want to hear from me. You can also have people sign up with their email on your blog or facebook page by using a service like mailchimp or aweber Haveing a list of people to email about your upcoming events, new blog posts etc is a really valuable way to connect with your students. Don’ get discouraged by all the technology here, when I first started I manually entered each email into an excel spread sheet, and sent each email by hand. Not the easiest way to get things done, but hey it still worked.
4. Teach some free classes – If you are just starting out, or you want to spread the word about an upcoming event you are hosting, consider teaching a free yoga class to build some buzz. You can host your own class outdoors, or arrange with a studio you teach at. People love free yoga, and I always get a great turn out when I do these. Earlier this month I taught a free class at Balmoral Beach in Mosman with Lululemon. It was a really cold evening, and we still got around 35 people. At the end of class I told everyone about my new website and handed out cards.
5. Talk to people about what you do – I know you love yoga, otherwise you wouldn’t be teaching it. However, when you meet someone at a party, or out and about, let them know what you do. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy “I’m a yoga teacher” will work nicely. Once you get used to saying it, it will feel a lot easier. Some of my best clients have come from word of mouth referrals. It’s free and you are getting your services into the hands of people who could really benefit from your work.
– Bonus Tip –
Get some business cards: Ok, this technically isn’t free, so that is why its included as a special bonus. If you go onto vistaprint.com you can get about 200 business cards for 50 bucks. It’s a really small expense, and you can claim it as a business expense on your taxes. Having business cards are great because when you tell people you have a blog, or a facebook page they are likely to have trouble remembering the url, or forget about it all together. If you give them a card when you talk about it, they will have a pretty visual reminder to check out your site. Just keep it really simple. I already had a logo, but you could use the templates vistaprint provides. . Remember to include all your contact info (I keep my phone number private) like email, facebook page or blog URL.
Now go ahead, and implement one of these techniques NOW. The world needs what you have. Tell me about it in the comments below.
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