I was a lawyer making a six-figure income when I decided I to quit and become a yoga instructor. I called my parents and said, “Mom and Dad, thank you for the education but I hate my job. I want to teach yoga.”
I think their pants nearly fell off. Not because they didn’t want me to be happy, but because they wanted me to have a career that was sustainable financially. They didn’t want me to worry about paying for groceries or car payments, or miss out on vacations. You know, all those things yoga teachers don’t have enough money for.
But I had been practicing yoga for several years and loved it so much. I knew it was a change I needed to make.
Are you shocked that I would give up a high-paying career to become a yoga instructor?
Here’s the deal. I didn’t give up anything. You CAN be a yoga instructor and have a comfortable, successful life. (Yes, even spiritual people are entitled to make money.) You just need to stop selling yourself short. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Drop the “starving artist" mentality.
Some yoga instructors think that making money is sacrilegious. They’re supposed to be so blissed out by their work that they are above money. Meanwhile they're living this meager lifestyle, renting little apartments decorated with tapestries and crystals. How does the electric company respond when you tell them you can’t pay your bill because you’re a yoga instructor and don’t feel right asking for money?
Trust me, when I was first starting out, I struggled to pay the rent. And it made no sense to me! Why can lawyers bill up to $650 an hour for their services — and they have no problem asking for it — but because I’m a yoga instructor, I can’t ask for top dollar? What makes their service so much more important than mine?!
2. Take charge and be willing to branch out.
If you want to achieve financial success in the yoga industry, you have to stop seeing yourself as just a yoga instructor and start seeing yourself as a business owner. You already invest in your business by attending expensive workshops and retreats; you buy supplies, and invest in marketing.
You also have to think outside the box with your revenue streams. I conducted teacher training workshops, added a line of essential oils in my studio, and started doing one-on-one nutrition counseling. I turned my love for yoga into an entrepreneurial business.
In my early years transitioning from lawyer to health coach, I even managed the Mind and Body Department at a health club, in addition to my teaching hours. If you believe in yourself, stop limiting yourself to the classes you teach in the studios where you are one of many instructors and open yourself up to endless possibilities.
3. Recognize that you're worth it.
People come into your studio completely stressed out by their lives and they want relief. You are a great instructor, with a following of regular students, they know that you will fix them and they will pay you any amount for it. Isn’t that what you’re there for? They’ll gladly pay a doctor and pharmacist for an anti-depressant prescription ... why not pay you instead? Raise your rates and let them pay you to make them feel better!
Look, the alternative wellness industry is booming. People are more stressed out than ever and the medical industry isn’t giving them the support they need. People are spending LOTS of money to feel better.
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You became a yoga instructor because you have a passion for it and you want to help people. It wasn’t about the money at all, but you deserve to be just as financially successful as any lawyer or doctor and you CAN be. You deserve to have an abundant life. So quit starving and start thriving!