3 Financial Questions All Yoga Teachers Should Be Able To Answer If They Are To Survive
Let me start this post with an observation.
I’ve found money is a bit of a tricky subject for most yoga teachers. I’ve mentioned this in other posts, but you may not have read them! So I’ll mention it again!
Many yoga teachers I come across come from a place of caring and giving and wanting to help and put others first. They perceive money as something a little distasteful to discuss, and often seem to feel uncomfortable or awkward either asking for or talking about money. Pricing of classes can often be an issue, and the whole topic of whether we should offer free classes causes much debate in yoga teacher groups. (See my take on the issue of free classes in this post “Yoga Teacher Marketing: Do Free Yoga Classes Work?”)
Another thing I’ve observed is how many teachers, who might be extremely savvy when it comes to their own housekeeping finances, are almost naïve when it comes to running their yoga “business.”
The bottom line is if you’re earning any income at all from your yoga teaching, you either have a job (even if it’s part time) or a business (if you’re holding your own classes).
That’s the way the tax man sees it anyhow!
And if that’s the case – you need to handle this income with the same care and attention you hopefully give your own finances. (After all, our relationship with money usually shows itself one way or another. That’s why we call it a “relationship.” Like any relationship, if you ignore it, if you don’t know, or care what it’s doing, then it’s likely to turn around and bite you on the bum at some point or leave you high and dry! (Neither scenario is pretty!).
How you handle the financial side of your yoga teaching – be it business or self-employed freelance yoga teacher - you really need to be able to answer the following 3 questions:
- What income did you generate from your yoga teaching last month?
- What profit did you actually make once you had deducted any and all of your costs?
- Do you think you have a handle on the money side of your yoga teaching?
If you don't know the answer to questions 1 and 2, even if you have time to go away and check your records – then you need to read on!
If you're thinking "what records?" – you need to read on!
And if you answered "No" to question 3, then over the next 3 weeks I am going to post the 3 biggest financial mistakes I see too many yoga teachers make – and I hope you make a note to be sure to read these posts and see if you’re making any of those mistakes, and then do something to rectify the situation!
The bottom line is knowing the truth about what your yoga finances are really does matter.
Now, if you’re teaching yoga with NO aspiration to generate some income to help you survive yourself from it – then that’s fine. Go ahead. Presumably you have some other means of surviving and paying your bills and this is your “paying it forward” activity. And presumably you’re staying the right side of the law when it comes to declaring any income you make to the tax man. (Although, if you’re not keeping adequate records, you may end up paying him more than you need to, losing out on allowances you could claim!).
However, if it’s your conscious choice that this is a vocation and you have no desire to earn any income from your yoga teaching– absolutely go ahead.
But, if you were hoping this newfound skill and passion for which you have likely invested thousands in training, and given up a lot of your time and energy - if you were hoping this would help you transition to a new career which could sustain you AND your students, then you REALLY DO need to get a grip on the math!
Actions you can take:
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