Why Most New Yoga Teachers Struggle to Fill Classes: The 3 Biggest Mistakes I See Yoga Teachers Make
Making a living from teaching yoga (and I mean a decent living – not pin money) takes more than doing your 200 hour training and trying to set up a few classes.
The saying “Build it and they will come” is NOT generally true!
Over the last 4 years that I have been a yoga teacher, I’ve seen 3 mistakes other yoga teachers make time and time again. These mistakes not only mean the teacher doesn’t get enough students to their classes, they also mean he or she gets disheartened, feels they are a failure and they just don’t have what it takes – and they fold the class and give up.
And that’s a shame.
Because, with just a few tweaks in terms of what they do – they could transform that outcome to something FAR more successful and rewarding!
What are the 3 biggest mistakes you can make as a yoga teacher?
Mistake 1: You promote yoga!
That might sound a little strange. You’re teaching yoga for heavens sake! Of course that’s what you promote!
So what I see the average yoga teacher do is they put the emphasis on all their marketing or communication on the style of yoga they teach – such as Iyengar, Bikram, Kundalini or Jivamukti – the list goes on!! And it makes me smile because here’s what I’ve learned:
Your average yoga student, looking for a class near you has absolutely NO clue what the difference is between the styles!
And the truth is they don’t really care either!
The truth is I get confused between what the difference is between all these styles never mind the students!!
Your students really don't care, okay? They don't really care who the heck you are. They're not particularly bothered who you trained with or even if you're qualified and registered!
In the 4 plus years I’ve been teaching I've never had a single student who's ever asked about my qualifications! They don't care. They are attracted to me because of my message, and they come see if I’m the right fit for them.
So, if students don't want yoga, what is it they DO want?
They want what they think yoga will DO for them. They want what it will GIVE them. There's a sub-plot to that. They want to feel a certain way when they come to your classes. They want an experience. They want something that makes them feel good.
So your job is to understand what it is that draws people to Ashtanga; or Hatha; or whatever you teach. Your job is to know your personality – and what you’re passionate about – and seek like-minded students who will feel an instant connection to you!!
Get under the skin of what your students are really hoping yoga will do for them – and promote that instead!
Of course you can say it’s yoga – but don’t labour that. Emphasise instead the core benefits your students will experience when they come to you.
Mistake 2: You think you have to have a beautiful website up and running and get fliers and posters printed and social media posts out there.
Seriously, I have seen yoga teachers “faff about” as I call it for ages doing this!! They spend weeks (or longer!) trying to get this “perfect” website up! They may even pay a lot of money on a web designer to do it for them.
A website is helpful – of course it is; and I’d definitely get one sorted once you’re up and running. But the truth is, you could get classes up and running without a website. You could test your market easily with far quicker and cheaper advertising pillars.
And if you don’t have a target audience to hone your message to, if you’re trying to attract anyone and everyone – even the most perfect looking website or neat looking social media posts are likely to flop – because when you try to attract everyone – you speak to no-one!
Far more important you know exactly who you’re trying to attract first. Craft your “message” so it “speaks” directly to those people. I call it working out your “niche.”
Before you set up ANY advertising at all – seriously – sort out your niche!
(Check out more information on this here: The truth about teaching yoga: you need to stand out)
Mistake 3: You find a hall or other space and start advertising.
Now you think I’m completely off my head! Of course you need to have a hall! Of course you need to advertise. How the heck are you supposed to get anyone to your classes if you don’t?
Well just hold your horses.
Because filling your classes successfully and consistently requires 7 steps in place – and you really need to do those steps in that order!! Finding a hall and advertising is number 6 on that list! So if you’re jumping right in with that first – stop it!!!
There are actually 5 steps you need to take BEFORE finding a hall and advertising your classes!
And if you haven’t done those first 5 steps – you’ve just made filling your classes a whole lot harder – if not impossible.
Those steps are:
1) Getting your mind-set right.
2) Finding your niche
3) Creating your ideal student avatar
4) Pricing your classes for success.
5) Planning a successful launch.
6) Finding your hall and advertising your classes.
7) Becoming a professional business yoga.
Without these 7 steps it’s like trying to run before you can walk. And it leads to disappointment and a sense of failure – all of which you could avoid.
Have you been making any of these 3 mistakes?
Don’t beat yourself up – you don’t know what you don’t know! But now you DO know! So what can you do differently? What might you need to learn?
In this website and on our Facebook group there’s lots more to help you with this so use this as an opportunity to tweak what you’re doing – so you see better results.
Good luck! Let me know how you get on!
Actions you can take: