For over a thousand years, yoga has been celebrated as one of the globe’s most effective methods of spiritual release. Yoga promotes both physical and mental strength, offers a great workout and helps practitioners get in tune with their bodies. Bearing all that in mind, it’s little wonder yoga is so popular.
More than one in 10 Americans regularly do yoga. Meanwhile, around 44 percent of adults have reportedly considered giving yoga classes a try — and an estimated 80 million Americans say they’ll likely take yoga up at some point in the next twelve months. Overall, the country’s yoga industry is worth around $16 billion per year, and offers plenty of fantastic opportunities for aspiring small business owners.
Kick starting a successful yoga business may be a bit more complicated than mastering the Crow Pose. It takes a lot of research and dedication in order to find your place in the industry. But so long as you’re willing to put in a bit of work, there’s no reason you can’t succeed.
Starting Your Own Yoga Business
To help you get started building your new yoga business, here are a few crucial tips:
First thing’s first: if you want to start your own yoga business, you’ll need to get fully certified from a Yoga Alliance affiliated institution. The Yoga Alliance is the organization that oversees industry standards across the country — and although it’s not technically mandatory for a yoga instructor or school to get certified by the group, it will go a long way in helping your new business to establish some brand trust.
By completing training with a Registered Yoga School, you’ll not only gain an internationally-recognized credential, but you’ll also gain access to the body’s marketing tools, workshops and advocacy alerts. You can either obtain an individual or institutional certification from the Yoga Alliance — depending upon what type of yoga business you’d like to run.
Get a Plan
After you’ve obtained certification, it’s time to think about the type of business you’re going to start. You might want to run classes out of multiple studios as an independent contractor, work with clients one-on-one or even start your very own yoga studio. All of the above could be done on either a part-time or full-time basis. But once you’ve decided, the type of yoga business you’re going to build will be the cornerstone of your business plan.
As with any business plan, you’re going to need to work out fairly detailed cash projections based on the type of business you are starting, area demographics and the resources you will need to deploy in order to manage your business effectively. If you are attempting to launch your own yoga studio, you’ll inherently be forced to take quite a few overheads into the equation, and will most likely need to apply for a loan or funding.
It is usually worth checking out The U.S. Small Business Administration website, which offers a free service to help out with business plans and loan advice.
Get the Right Location
It doesn’t matter whether you’re attempting to run a few part-time classes or open the country’s biggest yoga studio. Either way, you should give location a whole lot of thought. You should always start by conducting market research to better understand your ideal client base. Get an idea for which demographics will account for the bulk of your footfall, and then figure out where a high concentration of those people are regularly found. It’s worth bearing in mind that accessibility and convenience are important to regular yogis, and so you should try to find somewhere readily accessible by car, public transport and by foot.
Studio costs are generally dominated by area rental rates or real estate prices — so if you’re on a tight budget, a bustling downtown location might be hard to snag. Likewise, larger, more established gyms may charge independent yoga instructors more in order to use their premises to conduct classes. In order to minimize overhead and maximize profits, do your research and be prepared to compromise on one or two aspects of your wish list.
If you want to build a successful yoga business, you will need to get insurance. Even if you’re simply instructing the odd class or clients on a freelance basis, it is advisable you obtain professional liability insurance. This will protect you in case any of your clients develop muscle, joint or back injuries as a result of your class and blame you.
You’ll also want to have professional liability insurance if you are planning to start up your own yoga studio. Yet in addition, you must also obtain general liability insurance, property and contents insurance. If you are taking on staff, you must ensure your policies cover trained staff — and depending upon your insurance provider, each employee may need to fill certain requirements. When in doubt, you should always shop around before committing to a policy, and you should always seek legal advice to ensure you’ve covered all your bases.
Once you’ve gotten insured, certified and fully funded, it’s time to think about building your clientele. As with all small businesses, social media and digital marketing are crucial to the survival of any aspiring yoga business. It’s important to seek out and engage with would-be clients online. That being said, you definitely shouldn’t take old-fashioned marketing methods for granted.
One of the best places to pick up business will be to catch people in coffee shops, at the gym or in other athletic settings. Hand out fliers, offer start up discounts and never forget that word-of-mouth is your best friend. Get creative, know your audience and reach out to aspiring yoga practitioners wherever possible.
So long as you’re willing to put in a bit of work, there’s no reason you can’t succeed as a yoga instructor or studio owner. But don’t forget that no two businesses are alike, and you very well may run into a few unforeseen challenges along the way. When you hit those challenges, just remember to practice what you preach, and try your best to stay spiritually balanced.