Let’s address the elephant in the room, okay? I get it – it’s a sticky feeling, an uncomfortable one. The word “money” seems to contradict all the yogi feels and pure vibes that we’ve worked so hard to find.
Scarcity is a topic that hits close to home for me. But whether or not abundance stays “on trend” in the yoga world: it’s a subject we need to talk about more.
Especially if we want the quality of yoga teaching to stay high. Especially if we want to be able to keep doing what we love, and be able to help others fall in love with it too.
I’m the first to raise my hand, because I’ve always had a tricky relationship with money. I grew up in a pretty low-income home – we had the basics, we had food and education, but we didn’t have much else.
As social workers, my parents are the kind of humans who would give the shirt off their backs if it helped someone. And I admired their generosity so much.
So not unexpectedly, we grew up learning that anything extra that we had wasn’t ours to keep. That all we ever should be asking for was just enough to “make do” – and any extra should be redistributed.
I’ve noticed this same thread woven into yoga teachers and wellness experts. We learn about seva (selfless service), about aparigraha (non-attachment and non-greed). We speak about loving-kindness. We dedicate our lives to healing the world.
And we build into our subconscious the idea that if we charging too much, or if we have “more than enough” – then we’re doing the world a disservice.
Compound that with the fact that we’ve grouped ourselves in with the “starving artists” category – the group of people who apparently should love what they do so much they shouldn’t charge for it.
It’s almost a badge of honour to “not be doing it for the money.” It’s this internal story that we’ve somehow all grown to believe: that if we think about our income, then surely we’ve lost our love for the trade. That art should be free, and healing should be a gift.
It’s a minefield, hey?
And it doesn’t stop there. This “worthiness” battle isn’t just in our heads, either. Unfortunately – like many high level service industries – the wage for a yoga teacher is SHOCKING. It’s on par with jobs like nail technicians, after-school nannies, and baristas. It’s an industry that hasn’t really changed with inflation – many studios are still paying teachers what they paid 3, 5, and even 10 (!!) years ago.
Thing is, yoga teaching is a skill, and unless you’re born into a trust fund, even becoming a yoga teacher is expensive. There’s the initial 3-5K course costs. Probably another 3-5 in courses and continued learning – you need to be practicing what you preach, right?
You definitely need to pay for insurance and licences, and probably equipment too. You also have to be not just a good communicator, but an excellent one. You need the smarts to have passed your anatomy exams, and the social skills to create client relationships. In 2022, you also need to be pretty tech savvy – think zoom calls, invoice reminders, tax returns. Oh, and marketing skills: a website, a social media channel, maybe a paid video gateway.
I could go on. But my point it: the fact that your hourly market value is the same as someone who paints your nails or makes your coffee – of course that external “proof” will reinforce the fact that we should be settling for just enough.
The problem is that “just enough” won’t heal the world. It’s taken me a long time to realise that I’m less impactful if I’m broke. That my efforts don’t go as far if I’m exhausted and wrung dry. And that whether I like it or not, all these beautiful goals won’t be reached if I’m spending all my time grinding through 40 classes a week.
Alright. We’ve talked about the elephant. He looks pretty, but he’s got to go.
But how tho?
How the hell can we raise our market value if the world seems to be saying that’s what we’re worth? I’d like to say I’m going to contact every yoga studio and persuade them to double (or triple) their teacher rates. But they’ve got costs of their own going on. Trust me, studios are not having an easy ride of it either.
So let’s do what humans do best. Let’s get our thinking caps on. Let’s find another way.
This is one of those moments where I wish I could go back and tell my younger self a thing or two. But since life is about paying it forward, not back, here’s what I’ve learnt about how to not just survive, but actually thrive in the yoga marketplace.
In the Yoga Boss Mentorship, I go into detail with the “Magic Eight” – basically the 8 income streams I’ve that I’ve found success with – and seen countless others be successful in as well.
But let me be so clear: I don’t think you should focus with them all.
We have this idea that more channels = more income. And that’s true in theory – but the reality is that our focus, our energy and our time is limited. And if we try to dilute our attention to starting too many things at once, we usually don’t see as much growth as going ALL IN one one thing.
This is my mantra that I live by, and that I teach to all my yoga teachers:
DILUTED FOCUS = DILUTED RESULTS
My recommendation is that you choose ONE OFFER that you feel you can scale. If you’re already teaching 1:1s and they’re bringing you joy, how can you grow that? Can you re-package your 1:1 offer so it includes other resources you have, including more accountability and more valuable tools? And then can you go all in on marketing it, increasing your visibility so you get more leads, and also increasing your rates?
Or if you have a membership: how can you leverage it more? Maybe your product is stellar, but you’re not getting the word out enough. Can you collaborate with other creators and access their audiences? Can you start building a stronger library of free resources on your Instagram, Blog, or Youtube channel? Can you offer a VIP version of that membership which includes more access to you?
If you don’t know where to start, hit me up. The Yoga Boss Mentorship doors open soon, and I walk you through growing a freedom based wellness business in REAL TIME. Or if you already have a business but you feel plateaued and are ready to invest in scaling it – let’s jump on a call and we’ll put together a bespoke strategy to get you to the next level.
Please know: there is so much opportunity out there. The world needs your skills and gifts more than you know – and yes, you can be rewarded for it. But you have to be willing to start, and then stick to it long enough to start to reap the rewards.
Here’s to a new era of abundant, overflowing yoga teachers who give from a place of fullness, not struggle. May you know how much you’re worth. And may you always add tax.