It was right after teacher training. My friend, fellow teacher, and studio owner handed me the contact information of someone who wanted private yoga. I immediately reached out and discovered it was a couple with kids who just wanted to do some yoga.
I thought to myself, “I got this! Sounds easy.” I gave them a price (I think I charged like $70 at the time…eek), and scheduled my very first private session.
When I showed up, I quickly realized I was in over my head. The needs of the husband and wife were COMPLETELY different. It was like teaching two different privates at the same time. Their kids were running around screaming. When they weren’t screaming, they kept on trying to join the yoga session. I felt compelled to involve them because their parents showed little interest in controlling them. They’d hang around until they got bored, which happened pretty quickly because I have no idea how to teach kids. I would go over my hour time slot because the whole situation was insane and I couldn’t get anything accomplished in 1 hour.
In short, I had no idea what I was doing. It felt like a complete sh*t show. Not only was each session chaotic, but I had grossly undercharged for my services. I also set poor boundaries in regards to the children’s roles in the yoga session and my time. For a while, I felt stuck.
After a lot of thinking, and seeking the help of some more experienced teacher friends, I decided to make some changes. I began to set better boundaries and ended each session on time. I also explained to the couple that it was natural for the children to interrupt their yoga time, but I could not cater to them. My focus was on the teaching the couple, which is what I was getting paid for. If the children wanted to join in, that was fine, but I wasn’t going to change anything about my teaching style to hold their interest. I also increased my rate to cover the extra cost I was incurring, which was basically the chaos and complexity of the whole situation.
It was scary to confront my students and make those changes. I didn’t make them all at once, but when everything was said and done, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted. Our yoga sessions became less chaotic because the parents made an extra effort to plan activities to keep the kids busy so we could concentrate. They appreciated the predictability of starting and ending the session on time. Also, they had no problem paying more after I explained to them why I needed to raise their rate. It ended up working out well for everyone and I enjoyed having them as students until I moved away a few years later.
Since those first students, I have learned so much about managing my yoga business, even beyond private yoga. I took those lessons with me when I moved down to FL 5 years ago. I slowly, but efficiently, grew my student base. It took time and work, but it was SO worth it. I now have a variety of gigs that pay much better than your typical studio gig. I LOVE what I do.
Had I not had those crazy first few years of trial and error, I would have never gotten here. Had I not had over 10 years of corporate experience under my belt, I would have been even more lost.
I want to share my experiences with you so that you can learn from my mistakes. I want you to be a confident and capable business owner. Honestly, I want you to do even better than I did.
Love & Yoga,