Thinking about taking the next step in your yoga business and opening a studio? Here are some words of wisdom from Janis Bowersox, former owner of Yoga for Everybody, a Kripalu-affiliated studio in Fairfield, Connecticut, and coauthor of the guidebook So You Want to Open a Yoga Studio.
1. Take responsibility. With great success comes great responsibility. Students often come to yoga wanting something different in their lives. It’s a privilege and a responsibility to create a sacred space where human beings feel safe enough to begin to peel back the layers of protection they have built up over the years, the layers that now hold them back from an authentic life. By practicing yoga on the mat, people are able to open their hearts off the mat.
2. Be an oak and a willow. Winston Churchill said, “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” You can’t please everyone all the time. By the same token, be open to feedback. You will grow as a person from this business of yoga. You could not ask for a more conscious, loving, supportive group of human beings to hang out with than yoga teachers and students. In the end, you need to be strong, but don’t forget to bend when the wind blows.
3. Get help. In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Sam says to Frodo, “I could help a bit, I could carry it, share the load …” Invite people to help you! Hire staff sooner than you think you can. Shoot for a full-time manager, or two part-time ones.
4. Get a life coach. M. Scott Peck said, “Life is difficult. This is the great truth, one of the greatest truths … because once we see this truth, we transcend it.” Consider working with a life coach to help you transcend the difficulties; with his or her support, you will keep the vision of your thriving studio alive. You’ll move toward that reality by identifying and setting goals, and then taking steps. How long should you work with a life coach? Forever! There’s always a bigger game if you want to keep playing!
5. Network. Make friends with other business owners. Having compatriots in your field will help you get through the lows and revel in the highs. Form a mastermind group, where you meet in person or virtually and serve as each other’s board of advisors. The group can be all studio owners and managers, or people from a range of industries. When Andrew suggested to me that we write this book, it was my mastermind group (of non-yoga entrepreneurs) that challenged me to do it, and held me accountable to make it happen.
6. Have fun!
Janis Bowersox is a KYTA member, yoga business consultant, and certified life coach.