If you follow me on social media or have had a mentoring relationship with me, you know I’m big on having a diverse revenue stream as a full time yoga teacher. You gotta have a variety of gigs, especially independent ones (more on this in a future blog post) in order to make a good and consistent living.
An exercise that I have teachers do is to break down each revenue stream by it’s % of total income and list them in order. If you look at my business, private clients are #1, then my brewery yoga classes, then corporate gigs, followed by studio classes, online class sales, and the occasional workshop.
Overall, I’m pleased with my current revenue stream mix, but there was a huge lesson I learned recently, and that had to do with my private client business. It makes up a huge part of my income and is by far the best “bang for the buck” work that I do. Most importantly, it’s extremely rewarding. That said…
It’s sometimes the most unreliable part of my business.
The truth is, most of the students I work with are older. The ones who are younger tend to have fairly significant health issues. They come to me because they cannot find a public class that will suit their individual needs or their age. They keep coming because I do good work with them. I’ve come to accept that it is part of my dharma to work with a population that feels alienated by yoga studio classes.
Because they are older, ill or injured (or sometimes all 3), they are unreliable. Whether it’s illness, surgery, or just feeling plain crappy, it’s hard for many of them to keep up a weekly private with me. Sometimes they’ll disappear for a month or two. In fact I have one student who is experiencing serious cardiac issues who needs to take a hiatus until further notice. I worked with him 2-3 times per week. I came to rely on that income. I know he’ll come back, but what do I do in the meantime?
I finally admitted to myself that I needed a few simple gigs that would bring in consistent income that I could rely on EVERY week. Then, one landed in my lap. The universe has a funny way of doing that.
I was commiserating about the yoga business with a good friend and fellow teacher. She mentioned how she was cleaning up her schedule and giving up a gig at a detox center that was too far away from her to be worth it. She didn’t even ask me if I wanted it because she assumed I didn’t. Turns out, that detox center was really close to my house and I was interested.
Now, I will say that I am really weary of the rehab world. When I first came to South FL, I spent a lot of time cold-calling rehab centers because it was a population that I really wanted to work with. I found the folks who managed these types of facilities were unreliable or hard to reach. When I did get in touch with a decision-maker, I’d rarely hear back, even after following up. One time I landed a gig, was introduced to the patients, and then I never heard from them again. I was over it and moved onto cold-calling business-categories that seemed more professional.
So, needless to say I was skeptical about working at this detox center. But, I trust my friend implicitly, and I had her set me up.
Fast forward to today, I’m now working there two times per week. Here are the main reasons why I took the gig:
- It is less than 15 minutes from my home.
- I was able to negotiate a fair rate to make it worth my time.
- It requires ZERO prep work, because you never know who will be taking your class or how they are feeling. With my complex schedule, this is a welcome break.
- I am sharpening my trauma-sensitive yoga skills.
- The classes are in the middle of day during time slots that are hard to fill because private clients usually want morning or evening sessions.
- I am working with a population that I’ve always wanted to work with for personal reasons.
- It is income that I can rely on no matter what. The detox center doesn’t get sick or have surgery. It’s always there for as long as the doors are open.
With this new income, I’m breathing a small sigh of relief. It’s helped push me to shake up my entire schedule and freshen things up.
To some of you, this might not seem like such an interesting topic, but I want to keep sharing these stories because I believe it’s important to talk openly about the business of yoga. I want you know more about my decision-making process in hopes that you are inspired to make your own decisions with more clarity and confidence.
Curious about learning more? I’ve started a yoga business coaching program and I’m really excited to share it with you. I’m currently working on getting all the information up on my website, so if you are interested, just reply to this e-mail and I’ll send you the details.
Love & Yoga