You’ve got your Yoga Teacher Training Certification….now what? Maybe you’re teaching yoga at an amazing yoga studio, but not making the revenue you’d hoped. Maybe you’re working five days a week at a hot yoga studio and the pay is okay, but you want to stop sweating!
I find most new yoga teachers I coach want to teach yoga online. They want to live location-free. They don’t want to be dependent on studio owners.
They want to stand out from the crowd. Teach their ideal students. Craft their own method. And have instant brand recognition.
How do you get more people interested in you and your classes? Maybe you’re thinking you need to be more “general” and cater to all types of people? NO! Don’t do that. Read this first.
How to STAND OUT from Other Yoga Teachers: Step-by-Step
In This Article I’m Going To:
- Hone your mindset and retrain your brain to think that it’s safe to stand out in a crowd
- Explain what a “niche” is and why you should care
- Help you create “a student avatar,” and how doing this is a time-saving trick that can inspire all your content creation
- Prove to you that, YES, you truly need a niche (as some of my beloved Yoga Teacher Training students like to fight me on this)
Let’s get started.
Mindset is Everything
Trying to stand out in the yoga industry can seem like a daunting task. There are thousands of yoga teachers and yoga studios in the world and you might think, “how do I have anything different or unique to offer?” Let me lovingly shout at you through the screen right now: YOU HAVE A UNIQUE VOICE AND SPECIAL GIFT TO GIVE!!
And I’m not just saying that to make you feel better. The ancient wisdom of yoga believes this to be true, even if you don’t always feel that way.
Conquering this “imposter syndrome” is a mindset battle. You must believe in yourself. Your direct experience is what makes you uniquely qualified to help others.
If you feel like you don’t know enough, or aren’t trained enough, or aren’t “expert” enough, you aren’t alone. Imposter syndrome is really common amongst new yoga teachers. This is why I have a FULL MODULE just on mindset in my 300 hr training. Changing your mindset is going to be the biggest turning point in your yoga business.
Don’t Be Generic
It can be scary to be yourself as a new yoga teacher, especially when taking your yoga business online. Anyone could comment, spam or troll you. But here’s the thing…
Successful yoga teachers aren’t afraid to stand out.
They’re not afraid to bring their true selves into their teaching and turn that into a BRAND. They’re willing to take a stance, be authentic and create a unique voice to appeal to their soulmate students and clients.
Here’s the harsh truth that no one ever tells you about creating a unique voice:
Not everyone is going to like it.
You will lose people.
Since most yoga teachers are the sweetest people on the planet, they want to be liked by everyone. I get it! I want to be liked by everyone too! Alienating someone seems like the worst thing in the world.
But, you must, MUST, create a unique voice and style to set you apart from all the other yoga teachers out there. One of my favorite sayings from one of my BIG mentors is “don’t be a vanilla cupcake.”
Think about it:
Would you rather be this sweet, well-liked yoga teacher everyone basically kinda likes, but they can’t really put a finger on who you are and what you stand for. They see your name on the next class schedule and their mind is drawing a blank.
Be the kind of active yoga teacher, who has 50% raving lunatic fans and 50% people who just don’t vibe with your style. But when people see your name on the schedule, they know exactly what they’re in for, to the extent that they can describe the experience to a friend.
Instead of being generic and trying to please everyone, I want you to find the true tribe of people who love you and will move mountains to be in the presence of your specific offering.
But how do you find that unique voice and make it into a brand? By finding your ideal yoga niche first!
So What is a Yoga Niche?
Your yoga niche is the unique or specialized market within the overall yoga or wellness industry that you are catering to. Beyond the style of yoga you are best suited to teach (like chair yoga, kids yoga or ashtanga yoga, for example) — it’s that for a very specific type of person.
In order to gain instant brand recognition online you must (counter-intuitively) narrow your focus. This is going to be the most important part of your marketing strategy.
Example niches in the yoga space are:
- prenatal yoga for moms expecting multiples (like, twins or triplets)
- yin for stressed out female executives
- yoga for women with fibromyalgia
- yoga for veterans with chronic pain
- yoga for long COVID
Beyond a yoga style, this is YOUR unique audience. Without a specific audience in mind, standing out in the crowded yoga space is impossible.
Pro Tip: You will not figure out your niche overnight. It can take months or years of experimentation. The good news? You can pivot and change your niche at any time. The more you think of this like an interesting game, instead of an immediate problem you need to solve, the better. I choose to approach this as a spiritual practice. I ask, Who can I best serve? Who needs what I have to offer the most?
Most of us are teaching yoga because we want to be in service to others. Without a target audience, you can’t impact people in a highly beneficial way.
Why You Need a Niche
When you teach yoga in a studio, sure, you need to have broad appeal. Anyone could walk through the door and into your new classes. As a new teacher, in person, it feels like you have to cater to everyone. But the moment you want to have a personal brand online, then you need to narrow yourself down. If narrowing your scope of focus feels terrifying, think about this: The internet is intent based.
For example, what brought you to yoga? Did you just Google “yoga near me”? Maybe it was your first pregnancy so you looked up “prenatal yoga” or perhaps you received a diagnosis and searched for “yoga for osteoporosis”?
Do you see? Most of the time, the person on the other end of the keyboard is using the internet with the intent of solving a problem.
When someone googles “yoga for migraines PMS” and your video shows up for that exact term, they know that you’re the exact teacher for them. Hormone balancing and women’s health issues, such as “yoga for getting pregnant” or more specifically, “yoga for getting pregnant IVF” would all be potential search queries your ideal student might search for.
Pro Tip: Even as a studio owner, you want to have somewhat of a niche. Something as simple as knowing how your location affects WHO wants your classes and HOW you market. For instance: If your studio is in downtown San Francisco, full of urban professionals, then you are going to market and cater your classes a lot differently than if your studio is in the suburbs and frequented mostly by moms.
Benefits of creating a niche:
- Focus: your niche will guide you on what content to create to help people find your yoga business. Be very specific about who you are attracting. If you don’t have a specific recipient in mind at the end of your email copy or social post, you won’t be able to speak in the way that attracts your ideal new students. I like to imagine one friend, one woman, who is my ideal student, as I write all my copy.
- Create a Marketing Plan: you can reverse engineer your marketing strategy based on your niche. Let’s say your niche is to market towards “stay at home moms with kids under 5.” Then you are probably going to want to market to places like mommy and me groups or daycares rather than, say, a bar or trendy café. Make sure to download my complete yoga business plan in my other post here.
- Serve more: you’ll actually be able to help someone solve a problem or walk through a transformative experience with your specialty classes. It’s a misconception that a “full time teacher” is the one with the biggest student base. It’s actually the one who can solve the biggest problem for their students. This enables you to…
- Charge more: your classes become more valuable as you have something unique to offer and are known for leading a specific demographic of person from Point A to Point B.
How Do You Find Your Yoga Niche?
Create an avatar!!
In my 300-hour online teacher training, which is also a business mastermind, we call your “niche” your “avatar.” This is 1 person you are committed to serving. I even help you write a profile of what this person does, shops for, or types into google.
Your avatar is your ideal client in human form. I suggest basing them off of a real student or client you’ve helped.
To figure this out for yourself, narrow down your teaching interests. Cross check how this coincides with your ideal students’ wants and needs.
Categories to Consider for your Yoga Niche
- Demographic: How old are they? What is their gender? Are they working?
- Yoga Style: Vinyasa or yin? Which does your ideal client prefer?
- What problems are you especially well-suited to solve or help with: Back pain, knee problems, chronic condition or fear about giving birth?
This list just gives you a basic idea to start narrowing things down. If you are having too much trouble thinking of a fictional person, start with a real person you know that is close to your avatar.
Next, narrow down your ideal client and create an “avatar” by asking these questions:
- What are her hobbies?
- Why would she practice yoga?
- Is she lonely?
- How does she talk to themselves?
- Who does she follow on YouTube or Instagram?
- What is she interested in?
- What does she google at night?
- What are her fears?
- Can you offer a solution to this fear?
From there let’s think about what your ideal client’s pain points might be. What is bothering her in their life so much that she is ready to invest in change? A good way to do this is to think about what your pain points have been in the past, or what brought you to your personal practice.
Take a moment and really journal on this. There can be all different kinds of pain points in different ages and stages of life. Here are some examples:
- Lack of time
- Inability to travel / leave house
- Inability to prioritize self care / put herself first
- Living with chronic pain
- Craving weight loss
Now that you’ve narrowed this down some, how can you bring these things together so your niche and avatar are clear? Perhaps you want to teach yin yoga to women in their 20s living with PCOS to help them regulate their hormones and begin their fertility journey? Or maybe you want to cater to single mothers in their 30s who feel like they have no tribe and just started practicing yoga?
YTT 300 students, please review all the avatar training videos with my walk through exercises at the end of Module 3 – “avatar design”.
Get clear on how your yoga business is going to help them with their pain points? Obviously your solution to this is going to be yoga, but the transformation you are selling must cater to the specific needs or pain point of your avatar.
Meet your students where they are.
Your marketing is going to be about the transformational journey you’re going to take them on. NOT about yoga (which is the means of how you’ll arrive there).
For example, if you’ve niched down and want to help people with insomnia, someone who just can’t sleep through the night, all of your marketing is going to be selling them that you can help them sleep through the night.
Yeah, you’re going to be giving them yoga nidra, but they don’t care about that part – yet. They only care that they’ll be able to sleep. Therefore, all of your emails and marketing efforts will center around that.
Keep in mind: If your avatars problems can apply to everyone, then you aren’t getting specific enough!!
I suggest you INTERVIEW your avatar… this will help you get you more specific. In fact, this is how my student Arielle went from $0 to $5k a month (steps on how to make your first 5K as a yoga teacher). She actively co-created with her audience and knew her niche to a T. You can watch her full story in the blog post linked above.
Pro tip: You are not alone. You can use whatever students you are serving right now to guide you to your niche. Interview them or if you already have a large audience, send surveys!
Even if you only have 100 followers right now, start putting up those question boxes and narrowing down the scope of your audience. People are HAPPY to tell you what they are looking for. Let’s say you don’t even have that many people on social media. That’s okay!! If you don’t have an audience yet take someone you know out to coffee and interview them. You may be surprised by what you find.
Creating Your Stand Out Yoga Branding
Once you’ve got your yoga niche, or avatar(they are the same exact thing), you get to work on branding.
Branding is not just a logo, your brand is a promise of an experience. And this will change and evolve over time, just like your avatars. There is no wrong, just keep evolving and being true to yourself.
A good brand answers these three questions:
- Who am I?
- What do I stand for?
- What am I an expert at?
Using archetypes is a great way to figure out branding. Archetypes are something we intuitively understand and immediately create emotion and feeling. Brands are about emotion and connection, so knowing your archetype will help you discern how you connect with people intuitively. I have a whole archetypes section in my 300 hr yoga teacher training where you even take a proprietary quiz to understand your specific archetype.
From here you can look into how to draw traffic to your website (this article should help). I know this sounds like a lot of work, but this is YOUR BUSINESS, and if you want it to shine and make more money, you have to put in the work.
The Biggest Tip To Stand Out
LET GO of the idea that everyone needs to like you. Especially as you venture into social media and teaching on YouTube.
The reality is that no matter how amazing you are, this is an impossible goal.
Shift the paradigm and view criticism or negative comments as a GOOD thing. It signals that your authenticity ignites a strong reaction. AKA at least you’re not the vanilla cupcake yoga teacher.
The worst for me was when the studio owner of the trendiest studio I’ve ever taught at called my cell phone after taking my class one day and told me she didn’t like it. She thought I talked too much and too loud, and named one other person who seconded her opinion.
Yet she followed this comment up with, “but you must be doing something right, because I also get dozens of emails from people about how much they die-hard love your class.”
The studio owner was the type of person who really liked a lot of silence when she does yoga – AKA a terrible fit for my particular brand of teaching as I go into a lot of detail about everything.
I love honing my voice, so I incorporated some parts of her feedback. But I didn’t change anything about my overall style. Long-term, she ended up giving me even more spots on the schedule. She understood that people had a strong reaction to my authenticity, and agreed that this was a 100% positive thing.
As long as you are being authentic and true to yourself then it doesn’t matter what anyone else says, your tribe will find you.
You just need to be YOU.
Start thinking about where you can let your personality shine.
Note: this isn’t about oversharing with your students or talking about your personal life. This is about adding your unique flavor to a class. For example, one actual teacher where I live is originally from South Carolina. She super plays up her Southern accent when teaching and it totally works with her playful, casual style.
I’m obsessed with ballet so I bring some dance terminology into the classroom as a way to inspire people to move gracefully.
Teaching classes to your ideal yoga niche is great, but you still want students excited to take those classes. You do that by bringing your authentic self into your teaching more and more; this is what the right students for you will be attracted to.
If you don’t let yourself stand out, the people who will love you the most will never find you.
Now that you know:
- To start with mindset
- What a niche/avatar is
- How to create that niche and…
- Bring it into your brand
This will set the foundation for everything in your business. Without this you can’t move forward. So, glue your butt to the chair, take out your notepad, and make it happen!! And if you need someone to hold you accountable check out the best yoga business coaches or sign up for my 300-hr yoga teacher training where you’ll get mentoring, accountability, and all the tools you need to get your business off the ground.
Sneak Peak into My 300-Hour YTT - FREE Videos, Info Session, Bonuses!
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