My Struggles in Transferring Yoga Classes Online
All of us are doing it. All of us need to survive. All over the world Yoga teachers are learning to be more tech savvy. Taking online courses on video editing, connecting with each other for the best apps or the easiest apps–this is why we chose Momoyoga as well. It has the simplest interface among all scheduling and payment platforms for yoga teachers and studios alike. The point is, the new normal involves more online activity for your business.
The point is, the new normal involves more online activity for your business.
Just like all changes, it ain’t easy–not by a long shot. I wrote an article earlier on transitioning your classes online. I wrote that virtual classes could be done with things you had on-hand. While it was doable, it wasn’t presentable. Viewers deserved better than that.
Today I will take you through all the problems that arose when I started transitioning my business online, What my priority purchases were, how to present and hold space in front of the camera, and what it’s like to market your new normal. Let’s get started.
Online Classes, program, or tutorials what to start with
There are many types of online classes. There are tutorials, which are short blurbs that showcase the strong asanas you can do. Online classes which can either be standalone or progressive, and then there’s your online program that get you to a certain point in your practice. Whatever you decide is the right thing to do. Why? Because all of these forms of online content are essentially good. They provide exposure and the possibility of payment. When you are just starting out, always have a clear definition of your presentation. Be realistic as to where you’re at as a teacher. Lastly, define your endgame. Is it to eventually do live sessions again after this crazy time, build a following, both. Like anything else, it takes time to get your bearings.
Cameras, mics, capture cards, oh my!
I think the biggest shock to my system when it came to transitioning my business online was the most obvious one. The equipment. I thought that just by having a phone and quiet space, I could get the ball rolling. I was so wrong. While there was the obvious necessary equipment like a camera or a mic, there were other tools such as the capture card or OBS, integral hardware and software to introduce your footage to the internet. They are the middlemen of your one-man-crew if you will. They need to ensure that your broadcast can come out in real-time, stop the feedback on your audio and a myriad of other problems that need solving. Then there’s storage. Where will you keep all these videos? Anyway, it turned out that creating online content needed more investment than I thought especially if you plan longer classes to shoot. Read up on hardware and software. Ask friends or consult with a videographer for your technical specifications. Spend on things that pay off so you don’t have to pay up.
Your space is just as important as you
A couple of months ago I thought I was ready to embark on my cybernetic side hustle. I had my tripod, camera and OBS including illusions of grandeur that I was a tech genius for hobbling my stuff together. As I was writing my content, I saw a video posted by a colleague. Granted, her intention was well-meant, in the sense that she wanted to spread words of comfort during the height of global confinement. The thing was, the background she presented herself in didn’t present her in the best light. Here’s the image: she had one dangling lightbulb right overhead and forgot to clean the screen on her mobile. The very rough image blurred what would have been a beautiful message. Aesthetics play a major part in your online classes. It shouldn’t– but it isn’t a perfect world and we must accept that. Before you hit the record button, please do test runs. Have a plant in the background, a cat or dog brings quite positive results as well. Just make sure that they’re quiet. My cat loves to interrupt in every way possible. The point is, you don’t have to spend top dollar on the perfect set but it has to look well-thought out. Let me put it this way, If your content is the painting, your space is the frame that presents as well as represents your image.
The biggest priority.. your script
While the stage you set for your class is crucial, your content is still paramount to your list of priorities. I know that for seasoned yoga teachers, we have built the ability to be more intuitive in our class sequencing. Unfortunately you cannot do that with online content. You can make mistakes, like fumble in your words,insertion of a huffy breath, or a grammatical error here and there but your online class has to be well-sequenced. Meaning it fulfills the synopsis you promise on the description. Most importantly, your delivery of the class needs to be clear of confusion. Your Cueing is key. Which leg goes up first, what direction do you open your hip to, which muscles to use, etc. You need to show mastery of your online class to be effective. Believe me it will save you so much time and energy on edits and re-shoots–especially the reshoots
Free and paid
Of course you want to be paid for your services. Nevertheless, part of this journey is to put on a generous face. I wrote an article on private classes recently and I talked about the beauty of a discovery class. This consists of a 15-20 minute version of your class that showcases your teaching style followed by a personal consultation. What made it work was that it was free and it presented my brand of yoga in the best light–gratis. You can translate this to your online content by having free content like short tutorials that lead to actionable steps like say, Signing up for your online course. These will serve as your ads on Facebook or instagram. Don’t worry that your viewers will only go for your free stuff. Just like in the fashion industry, there will always be a client for your style.
If you need to take a step back, do it.
Retreating from your venture is a common part of one’s professional journey. I did. During these months, I came to the understanding that online classes weren't in the cards for me these next couple of months. For one thing, I can’t commandeer my living room when I live in a studio apartment with my husband. I have an attention-seeking cat that caused many re-shoots when I did my test-run, and I still need to invest in more equipment. It is too much for me right now. However, I decided to keep at it with my short tutorials and photos via Instagram with the goal set on gaining more followers. If something isn’t in the cards right now, it doesn’t mean that you are less of a teacher or entrepreneur. It just means that it's your time to be prudent. During which, you can see how other teachers are transitioning, learn from their success, their failures, the steps they take, being on pause doesn’t mean you’re wasting your time. You’re taking it.
As of now I have chosen to step back. For one thing I can’t afford the equipment right now. My apartment situation would make it very selfish of me to conquer the biggest and only part of our living space. I had to face reality that the struggles of transition have overpowered me today. And it’s ok. I can focus on my practice while gathering snippets of content to build my following, writing for all of you, and planning for my big day. In two months we’re moving to a big place with my very own yoga room. I can take my business there when the time comes.
You don’t have to spend top dollar on the perfect set but it has to look well-thought out.
That said, let’s recap! When you decide to transition, these are some of the things you will deal with: D and D. Define and Draft your plan. Having direction in your business is the best way to save time and money. Equipment. There are more things to consider than just a camera and microphone. Read up on both hardware and software. Put effort into holding a clean and tranquil background for your students to see. Your script coupled with your delivery is still key into making a great class. This is where a planned sequence takes precedence over intuitive teaching especially if you want to create skill building classes. These days marketing your paid classes involve free content as long as you indicate actionable next steps such as signing up for your paid classes. Be patient though, it takes time to build your following. lastly, If circumstances don’t permit you to have online classes at this time, there’s no shame in postponing your move. It will give you time to regroup, maybe even concentrate on another facet of your business such as generating leads, or go into a different direction to get your teachings across. Whatever you decide is the right thing to do for your business. Remember no one knows your company more than you do.