I have always been a person who has built my career around my passions, purpose and life mission.
Like many of you who have cultivated a heart-centered business, I started my yoga studio almost 6 years ago hoping to bring healing and transformation to my community while I made a living doing what I love. I have seen many yoga studios come and go in the last 6 years and have watched friends start out with such great idealism and passion to share what transformed them, and yet ultimately become burned out or disenchanted with the business of yoga.
Here is the problem with being a yoga entrepreneur (see if you recognize yourself or anyone you know in these stories):
Yogi Jane teaches 3-5 classes per day, 6-7 days per week driving all over the metroplex to serve her clients in studios, schools, private homes, sometimes in a corporate gig. Yogi Jane at the end of the week is tired and nursing a shoulder injury from too many vinyasas. Yogi Jane is also broke, barely making her rent, and can't even afford to see a doctor because she doesn't have health insurance. She has abs of steel but can’t even enjoy them, because frankly her yoga pants are always on, and she has no time for a social life.
Meanwhile, Yoga Studio Owner Dan sweats bullets each month as he calculates how many monthly clients he has with subscriptions. He decides to do the dance of death and offer a Groupon, scared that he won’t be able to attract new clients through all his FB marketing efforts. He puts together a 30 day yoga challenge and looks forward to the new year when all at once everyone will join, only to fall off in membership by March. He decides to offer yet another teacher training even though he knows not everyone should be teaching yoga, but he decides he will use the phrase “deepen your practice” to prevent a possible local glut of certified yoga instructors in the area, which will ultimately only devalue the price of a yoga class in the long run. It is supply and demand after all.
Yoga is a booming 16.8 billion dollar industry up from 10 billion just three years ago and yet the studio failure rate is around 80% in the first year, due in part to the high costs of renting or buying studio space. At the same time the price of yoga classes is being driven down by the industry being flooded by new teachers (largely due to the fact that studios make it based on their yoga teacher trainings) and so it is an industry that starts to dilute itself and eventually could disintegrate in the very spinal column that holds it up—the classic yoga studio. Instructors and studio owners aren't making the money, it of course goes to big corporations like Lululemon.
Can we think outside of the strip mall box? What if we could bring the idea of a "sharing economy" to the yoga business arena where frankly most teachers and studio owners struggle to earn a living? What if we expanded this idea to share space with other wellpreneurs (Licensed Counselors, Reiki Masters, Massage Therapists, Yoga Therapists, Sound Healers, etc) so that we could lock arms as successful business owners without breaking our individual bank accounts trying to get up and running?
Shared and co-working spaces are all the rage now. In fact we are full on into this sharing economy. Here are some examples of how people are sharing space and resources to make our economy work better for the little man/woman:
Coworking spaces like WeWork
Co-living spaces (these are huge in places like Bali where people work from their computers)
Peer to peer lending
The crux of the problem for small business wellpreneurs in DFW is the expense of their workspaces.
I began my yoga studio on a profit sharing model. The studio kept half and the teacher kept half of everything that walked in the door. My thought was that this would encourage teachers to build their classes, however, if they had no skin in the game (no investment), building their class size was not a priority. I began to think, "How could I help yoga instructors just make the investment in their business so that they could reap the benefits of their hustle?" So last summer, I launched a new business model. Health and wellness professionals began to simply rent space from me on a subscription basis. I simplified a way for them to schedule clients, get classes on my website, teach classes, offer Reiki or Massage sessions, offer counseling or therapy to their clients, or even offer workshops or events for the monthly cost of a gym membership.
I have a limited number of subscriptions, giving my partners 5 hours or more of studio time per month which can be used to teach yoga classes, private sessions, and other health and wellness modalities. They can even take classes here if they like. They have access to my Sacred Space (which if you have been here is an intentionally loving, nurturing and energetically healing space) as well as all the yoga equipment, a lounge area, kitchenette, restroom and other amenities (we even have a loft bedroom now that can be rented overnight). This was designed to be affordable for both the starry-eyed entrepreneurs just starting out or those who already know what they are doing and just need a great space to do it.
So how can we truly create Sacred Space? I believe Sacred Space is not just about a special ambiance and intention in a physical environment but that it becomes Sacred when you don’t have to compromise your heart, your vision, your serenity, your well-being or the well-being of others to share your practice and do what you love.
Who can start a business for $150 a month?
Nobody, but in this sharing economy we can pool resources and efforts to help one another be successful—my studio is truly an experiment in "community over competition" (thanks to Brooklyn Calloway for giving me that jewel of an insight). For around the price of a gym membership you can start your own business at Sacred Space and keep the profits. If you are this kind of heart entrepreneur, here are some numbers to consider:
On my Studio Subscription you can rent the whole studio for $30 and hour. If you’re a very well paid yoga instructor of many years, area studios will at most pay you $50 an hour. In a shared wellness workspace like Sacred Space, even charging your clients with modest fees and having a modest turnout of clients (like 5-15 people) you could net $50-$250 for your hour-long class or client meeting. This model truly benefits those who hustle. It rewards those who have a following much better than classic studio business models.
The challenge for you is to think outside of the box. If you are a Wellpreneur needing a space to bring your gifts and your clients, come see me (life coaches, Licensed Professional Counselors, massage therapists, Reiki masters, Nutritionists, Ayurveda Practitioners, Acupuncturists, Wellness Retreat Operators and many more). Also if you are a fitness or yoga instructor and would like to have the opportunity to personally benefit from your charisma and your following as a sought after instructor, come see me. Let's create a Sacred Space for our community together.