So, you’ve fallen in love with yoga and been practicing for years. You’ve gone through teacher training, multiple workshops, and have been instructing classes at every location you can find. You’ve been describing the philosophy of yoga to anyone who will listen. You’ve been taking care of your body with clean, green meals and have a regular meditation practice. Your savings account is growing due to the many classes you’ve been instructing and your simpler life style.
Does this sound like you? You may feel that opening a yoga studio is the logical next step, but there are a few things to seriously consider first.
The Increasing Popularity of Yoga
Yoga has become extremely popular in today’s society, which has advantages and disadvantages for yogis and yoga instructors. The yoga market is growing and there is an increasing percentage of the population looking for a more holistic lifestyle. However, yoga studios are popping up all over the country and competition will be a factor. Because of this, finding a suitable city location away from existing studios may be difficult. Can you offer something existing studios don’t? Consider what promotions your studio will be able to afford to increase awareness.
Who are you?
Developing a style and voice as a yoga instructor is something that takes a lot of experience and practice. Have you put in the dedication that it takes to build a strong personality and style? The best instructors and studios have clear, confident missions and create calm, peaceful environments for their students. Additionally, perhaps you have a unique concept that students will appreciate.
Making the shift from instructor to studio owner is an adjustment that you must be comfortable as a yogi. Students will also become paying customers that you depend on financially. As a new business owner, you must be prepared to deal with the financial obligations of your venture. Consider why you want to open your own studio rather than just teaching public or private classes. Many small businesses fail before they even get off the ground because they are under prepared, or they went into it for the wrong reasons.
Do You Have a Plan?
Creating a business plan is a very important step any new business owner should not skip. What are your goals? How will you accomplish these goals? Have you considered the potential problems that may arise along the way? How will your business be organized? What is the lowest amount of money you need to finance in order to create a successful business? These are very broad questions, and each should be carefully and completely researched and analyzed in order to minimize any surprises. For example, consider the location of your studio. How many competing studios are nearby? Is it easily accessible? How much space will you need? (This, of course, will depend on the type of studio you wish to open.) Will it need many costly renovations?
Consider the Costs
Though running a yoga studio may seem like a business with low overhead, there are still many expenses to consider.
- Registering your business with your local government (i.e., filing a DBA, forming an LLC, incorporating)
- Mats and props
- Interior design
- Permits and licenses
- Teacher salaries
- Computers and tech support
- Credit Card fees
These are some of the main costs of starting and running a yoga studio—but keep in mind, you may have additional expenses depending on your situation.
Words of Wisdom
One of the most important steps you should take before opening your studio is to talk to other yoga studio and small business owners. Ask them specific questions about their experiences. Ask them if they can think of anything they wish they would have considered before they started their business. They may charge you a small consultation fee, but it will be worth it.
Lucia Yess is the proud owner of a wonderful studio called Yess Yoga in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which opened in 2012. She has the following thoughts and insights about her experience opening her yoga studio:
When I was in India it became clear to me that I was willing to take a risk and open up a yoga studio. I gathered my most trusted friends and asked them tons of questions. I never assumed that I knew more than the next person and was always willing to learn from others. I read books and blogs about business and smart growth. Finally I trusted in the model that Yess Yoga was going to stick by and offer to our community, which is a loving practice that connects you with yourself, your community, and your universe. I was set on my teacher voice and aware that my community didn’t have a studio in the city yet so I trusted, gathered support and love and went for it!
Because of the increasing popularity of yoga in recent years, it may just be the perfect time to open a studio. However, extensive preparation and soul-searching is necessary. Be positive and confident in your decision, gather support from your community, and cover all of your bases.
About the Author:
Claire Anderson is a writer from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Additionally, she works as an art director on film sets, a yoga instructor, and a foster parent for animal rescue group Underdog Rescue.