Hello and welcome. On today’s episode of the podcast, we are getting personal. We’re taking a deep dive into what pushed me to uplevel my business a few years ago.
Back in 2003, when I was a senior at Boston University, I was dithering between making a decision around sending my resume to Wall Street or applying to law school. And I had been doing yoga as a practitioner for a few years at this point, I was dedicated and I thought, you know, I’m just going to teach yoga for the summer while I make this bigger decision in my life.
Well, we all know how that turned out, and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt after those few months that I was meant to do this. This was my calling and I was meant to share ancient wisdom with the modern world.
If it helped me, I knew it could help other people.
So decision made. And I followed my passion ever since, and for that, I’m really thankful.
However, there were some unpredictable bumps in the road and detours which I could never have anticipated on my path, and I want to get real around these with you today, because people have this idea that they’re going to become a yoga teacher or a healer of any kind, and automatically their schedule be perfect, and they’ll make plenty of money, and they’ll live the dream. And the reality for many of you is a very, very different one. Yoga teachers work hard, many of them are struggling, and I wanted to share what my evolution has been in hopes that it inspires you today.
As a 22-year-old yoga teacher, 16 years ago, there was no shortage of work for me. Yoga was not ubiquitous like it is now. Finding a good yoga teacher was really hard. There were very few yoga teacher training programs and it was easy for me to take my passion and earn a living from it. I was busy. I did teach at many different studios at that time, so I definitely subscribed to the grind a little bit, but I always loved my work, and even though I found the studio setting a little bit limiting, I wasn’t sure how to step out of it in a big way.
I was always entrepreneurial. A few years into my journey as a yoga teacher, I began leading retreats, even in simple one day formats, and finding exciting ways to couple my business brain with teaching yoga.
Then in 2015 everything changed for me.
Fast forward a few years, I now had two kids. I had left many studios, which I didn’t feel valued me as a professional, or cared about how much experience I had. So I had taken conscious steps to step out of the pervasive lack mentality and codependent relationships I see in a lot of studio settings.
I had my own Ashtanga Yoga program at a wonderful studio that treated me very well, but I still felt pressure in my business and I knew if something didn’t change, I was going to have to quit. I couldn’t withstand that pressure anymore. To be more specific, the highs were really high and I felt like I was on top of the world- when I led a successful retreat, for example, which sold out. But the lows were completely crushing and it was really hard for me to shoulder those challenges alone. Every business fails. We know this. Every business has things that don’t sell or don’t work and they allow you the opportunity to learn and grow. But I felt really isolated. I didn’t have any other yoga teacher friends who were doing things like this and it was hard for me to feel this lonely all the time.
I couldn’t talk about my wins with anyone because I felt like they’d think I was bragging. I couldn’t discuss my failures with anyone because I felt like they would judge me and they also didn’t understand. They were still in that dollar per hour, going from studio to studio mentality. I felt lonely. I felt tired. I felt completely depleted and even though I didn’t think of myself as a business owner, even then, I tended to think of myself as a freelancer like many yoga teachers do, I knew there had to be a better way. And I was at the point where I either had to find that better way to allow my business to suit my life or I had to quit. I felt like I had nothing to lose and I knew that if I was going to give teaching yoga as a career one final go, I was going to go all in. I was going to step up my game and really see if this was doable or if it was just time to roll up my mat and quit and be a practitioner forever.
One thing I knew for sure is that I had to hire support for myself in order to try and take this business to the next level.
I had been trying myself for many years and I had accomplished some great things, to be fair, I had sold out international yoga retreats on my own. I had led successful sold-out workshops. I had led a thriving, ashtanga yoga program for four years, and yet the dips were too big to shoulder on my own. So I had a firm talk with myself and decided to hire a coach. Investing in a coach was very scary for me, and to be completely transparent with all of you, when I invested $1,500 a month in my coach back in 2016 I did so shaking, sweating.
I couldn’t believe the amount of money that I was spending. In hindsight, I didn’t tell my husband I was doing this, I wouldn’t take that path today, but I was so terrified that I just kept it a secret and decided to dive in and make this work. The amazing thing about that investment is that I showed up for that work with my coach completely, with every cell of my being. I couldn’t afford to not take that investment seriously. I had to, and because I showed up so powerfully for that work, everything changed quickly.
With her help, I was able to create some new revenue streams in my business and revisit some revenue streams which I had put on the back burner after some crushing failures. And in hindsight, those failures weren’t so crushing, but they were big hits to my pride. And guess what happened, in the first month of working with her I received all the money from my entire investment with her. All of it. Not just that first month, for the next four months I had the money, it was paid off.
And all it took was getting support to rebuild my confidence, to restructure some things in my business, and I will never forget what she said to me at our first meeting. She said, “you know, Sara, I’m on your board now. We’re co-chairs of this business. You’re not alone anymore. When you have a big decision to make I want you to come to me. When you’re scared of something I want you to come to me. Let’s move through this stuff together.”
And I felt like a huge burden had been lifted off me and allowed me to take risks with calculation, with support. It allowed me to find creative solutions to my client work. It allowed me to step out of the studio mentality altogether, not to mention achieve some goals I had been wanting to achieve for a long, long time. In that first year of working with my coach and making that investment in myself, I crushed the six-figure ceiling in my business.
And I have to remind you guys that I don’t have a million followers on Instagram at this point, I have a couple thousand maybe. I don’t travel the world every weekend teaching to sold-out, huge crowds of people and I was still able to do this. I crushed six figures. I stopped working with clients who didn’t value me and I only, and still, only work with clients who are committed and ready to show up powerfully for the work in that commitment.
I began running my business like a real professional.
I have policies, contracts. I have a team of people who support me and I’ve been able to go far beyond what I ever thought possible on my own, because the truth is it wasn’t possible for me on my own at that time. I needed to invest in support.
As years passed, I realized many of the clients I was working with who were also yoga teachers needed help in their businesses and they needed help from somebody who understood how they felt, and that’s how the revenue stream of mentoring other yoga teachers sort of found me.
I never expected to do that. I thought when I became a yoga teacher I was leaving the business world behind and the joke was on me. I use my business every single day. I’m so thankful that I have that education behind me and I’m so thankful I can use it to help others.
So I want to encourage all of you listening today to go do that one scary thing that you know is going to move you forward in your business and your life. It might cost money and that might be scary. It might be a huge time commitment that you have to make to educate yourself and grow. Just go do it. It’s so easy to find reasons not to, and I always tell people it’s a lot like quitting smoking. There’s never a morning where you wake up and think, “all right, I want to rip this bandaid off” and take a whole new perspective in my business and do this work.
But when you do, and you’re ready, and you show up powerfully everything changes. It doesn’t mean there’s no risk involved. It doesn’t mean that you won’t have to invest your resources of time, energy, and money to make that change. But change is possible. If I can change and transform my business into one that not only do I love, but allows me to thrive, so can you. That’s why I’m sharing a little bit of my history with you today.
If this podcast episode touches a nerve with you, good, it means we’re onto something worth exploring deeper, and I’m here to help you with that. Here are some action steps you can take:
One, come follow me on Instagram. I’m all about building relationships and using social media to have real conversations with real people. I also share a lot of powerful, free information over there, so come on down.
Next action step – please share this podcast. I would love it to help someone the way it’s helped you.
Lastly, please leave a review. If you love this podcast and it’s helping you in your life, I would be so thankful if you would go into iTunes or Spotify or however you listen, leave a review. Reviews are currency in the podcast world. Thank you for joining me today and remember helping others and being successful are not mutually exclusive. You can have both. And you can have both now. Have a great day. Namaste.