A Guide for the New Graduates of 2021 Part 2: How to Market Yourself as a Yoga Teacher
Welcome to the yoga industry! I know times are tough for the most of us, but you’re gonna love it! So, what does it take to be a yoga teacher today? These last 2 years created big changes in our field. So much so that past techniques may not apply to this decade’s yoga teacher. Technology has become indispensable for our financial survival. Nowadays, a yoga teacher needs to be a web designer, social media manager and videographer to get the ball rolling. While the professional hats we need to put on have added up, some things never change like brand building, targeting your demographic, and of course, finding your voice.
For this part of the series, we will focus on how to begin marketing yourself as a new yoga teacher. Why? How you present yourself will determine the kind of teacher you’ll become. When I was a new teacher, I thought I could teach anyone and everyone. After a hard lesson learned, I realised that– just as one cannot please the entire population, one cannot teach everyone yoga. You can’t be everyone's cup of tea. People have different needs or want different things from their yoga teachers. This means that painting a clear picture of who you are as an instructor is the imperative first step. This filters the people who will not be interested in your classes from those who do. It saves time for both parties and maintains your solid reputation. So let’s get to it newbies!
Use your talents, ask friends and family about what you bring to the table because sometimes they see things you don’t.
Branding Yourself as a Yoga Teacher
I’ve been a yoga teacher for 6 years and counting now. So many things changed. Yoga teachers have doubled in numbers. These days you can’t throw a stone without hitting a yoga teacher. This fact can be overwhelming to a newbie teacher. Starting over when the competition is so huge is frightening but here’s the secret: there will always be students for your yoga. Use your strengths. Use your talents, ask friends and family about what you bring to the table because sometimes they see things you don’t. From there, list down your findings. In my case, I was a registered nurse, I had a ballet background, I can be extremely passionate when I love something, and I was good at coming up with witty one-liners and puns. All my qualities became useful. My healthcare background helped me explain the muscles we use and why we do things a certain way. The yogis in my class made sense of the sequence and showed my credibility as a teacher. It doesn’t matter if the qualities you possess don't have anything to do with yoga, what matters is that it’s within your grasp. Get creative! See what comes out!
Targeting your demographic
These days your demographic will start with people who will take online classes. The pandemic has made it so that, for most of us, our only offering is online, while temporarily losing our ability to physically assist, hold our classes in person, and having retreats. This makes providing online content a priority. Part of branding yourself is about finding your people. What do people need at this time that will apply to you? One way to go about it is by taking inspiration from your surroundings. It is a very age-old and practical way to gain insight for potential clients. For example, most of the people around me are stuck in front of a screen for 8 hours a day. I Imagined them hunched over during an extended period of time. Based on that information, I create a 5-day series of classes they can do for a month to improve their posture. This is how you can find your demographic. You must solve a problem for a certain group of people in an easy practical way.
Designing Your Website
A website is one of those investments you cannot skip–especially not in 2021. As yoga teachers, we talk about holding your space. What does that mean? It is the place where you are in control. Which makes your website your home base; a very versatile one at that. With your website, you can present yourself, place your classes or event schedule, contact information, and most importantly create content. Content is what drives online traffic to you. Whether you write, vlog, or do online classes, this is what people will use to get a real “feel” for you as a professional. The design process is easier than you think too. With pre-made themes in sites like Wix, and Squarespace, making web-design is easier than before. Personally, I chose Wix because it was the simplest platform to integrate with others including Momoyoga 😉. Try it out!
Don’t Knock the Written Word
For me, writing was the best form of content. Even to this day, the power of words give our images and videos meaning. The photo in any Instagram or Facebook post is only as good as it’s caption. A well-written introduction attracts one to take an online class or compels a lead to hit that “follow” button. Building your writing skills is unavoidable as a yoga teacher. Plus, you don’t have to take a course to become a great writer. You just need to sit down and start typing. Use your skills every day as little as 15 minutes to as much as a couple of hours. You will improve. I know that dreaded blank page is frightening but that’s why we have “Backspace”. Just write. You can delete the ugly stuff later. Improvement comes much quicker than you can imagine.
Make a business social media account
While some people use their personal account as their business account, I advise against it. Just as you prepare for the worst you must also prepare for success. Creating a business account will help you organize your client list from the start. What if you gain many clients and their contact information gets lost in your friend’s list? It will take too much of your time to regain them. As a new professional you can’t afford that waste of your time. Create a business account for your Instagram and/or Facebook and start creating content that will drive traffic to your online classes. Next, link your Instagram pictures to your website. Most of these website builders have this feature. This provides a steady stream of mini content to offer your clients. Use stories to give your followers a peek into your day-to-day.
Keep at it
Let’s be clear, you will not see results right away. It can be frustrating. You will wonder why you got into this in the first place. It is important to remind yourself of your love for yoga during these moments. Make sequences. Practice yoga. Learn from it and about yourself to find your voice. All your ideas have the potential to become content. From there, you’ll find out what works or what doesn’t. That’s what growing a business is all about. Figuring out what motivates people to your corner of the world.
I started my career pretty late in the game. I was 35 and not nearly as flexible as my 23-year old colleagues. Starting out for me was laced with so much insecurity and self-doubt. Imagine my surprise when I found my niche in less than a year. After that, I let everything flow. I grew the business that I nurtured, made mistakes, made some changes. A business does not immediately come out as a perfect fruit. It has to be cared for, altered and sometimes restarted. Be brave new yogi! There’s a wonderful world out there for the taking. How will you start marketing yourself as a new teacher?