How yoga teachers can deal with low and erratic numbers at their yoga classes: 4 tips to help you avoid the “feast-famine” cycle of income.
The business of yoga can be a little challenging at times! Do your class attendances go up and down more than a roller coaster?
Do you sometimes find you have good numbers of students one week, then the next it drops
The first thing to notice is – that’s common to just about every yoga studio/teacher out there! (And indeed, it’s a feature of many other types of business too: with seasonal influences as well as a whole host of other things conspiring to make it difficult for your students to commit to attend every single week.
Don’t take it personally! Even the most committed of students have lives which get in the way of their attending class; whether that’s going on holiday; they’re ill; work commitments leeching into their personal time or family or other circumstances meaning they can’t make your class one week – or even for a few weeks.
The problem for us, of course, is that it makes it difficult to know just how much income we will generate; it’s difficult to plan and it can feel a little uncomfortable making us anxious we will not have enough income to pay our own bills at the end of the month. Never a good place to be!
Many businesses accept this ebb and flow as part of the nature of the beast – but savvy businesses look at ways in which they can smooth out these peaks and troughs, and plan over a whole year, rather than just living from hand to mouth each month.
So what can you do to help you feel more comfortable about this natural cycle, AND still have a system which gives you almost a guaranteed “cushion” of income each month/ Is that even possible?
Yes! It is!
Here’s 4 tips to help you get a handle on this in your business:
1. Plan your income based on a whole year – rather than weekly or monthly.
Anyone who works with me on the 30 days to 30K as a yoga teacher course learns how to
get really smart with their business planning! We call it “Reverse Engineering” your business
– so you begin with the annual income you want to generate, then work back from there,
thinking about what you are actually going to have to do to bring that income in over those
next 12 months.
After paying your monthly costs, you allow yourself some income for your own salary each
month, but leave cash in the business so there’s always a “cushion” for the leaner months,
or if you want to invest in the business as it grows, or even for your own personal
2. Develop yoga memberships and programmes which commit students to a certain number of classes or period of time.
Seriously – this has been the single most important tactic I have implemented in my own
business, which totally takes away any worry about income each month. Don’t create too
many memberships – that just get confusing for students – and if there’s one thing I learned
from my career in sales way back when, it’s that a confused mind never buys! I have 4
different membership options for my students who come to my regular classes – and a
course offering which is another fixed cost they pay up front for. Between them, these
products ensure I have a minimum income I know is going to come in each month, which
will pay all my bills and me my salary too!
I can rest easy!
3. Offer flexibility
I realised early on, the old model which was often used here in the UK, of teaching school
term times was simply not a good model. Most term times are 12 weeks – and they wanted
payment up front for the full 12 weeks – with no refund/flexibility.
Now I don’t know about you – but I know few people who can look ahead and see that the
next 12 Thursdays or whatever day the class is on will all be free. And in the student’s head,
they’re weighing up if it’s worth the money when they’re going to likely miss 3 or 4 of those
That’s just NOT customer focused!
So I came up with really flexible offerings for my students – which makes it a “no-brainer”
for them to sign up with me. It just takes a bit of creative thinking! So get your creative hat
on and go create some appealing memberships with that principle in mind!
4. Develop courses and retreat days as opportunities for cash injections into your business around the leaner/quieter times.
I run 3 retreat days a year – January; April and September. Students have to book and pay in
advance for these days – so the January payment is due in December – usually a really quiet
month student numbers wise! The April retreat payment is due in March – so brings a cash
boost over the Easter period; and the September payment is due in August – when classes
dip because of school holidays!
And my short courses also bring in a hefty injection of cash up front, meaning high income
months, where I can build my cash flow for the quieter times.
It’s not rocket science – but these simple strategies can make all the difference between the feast-famine cycle and thriving.
What could you apply in YOUR yoga business?
Actions you can take:
- Check out these other articles on my blog which might be helpful around this topic:
Can you build a business on a shoestring budget
- Join our FB group; share your thoughts on this article and your own experience with class numbers or developing offerings which work to generate more stable income for you. Have a question about what others use/do? I’m sure the community will help!
You’ll also get additional tips and answers to any questions you have on any topic around building your yoga business and developing your yoga career. So do join us!