It’s no big secret in the yoga industry that teaching group classes at your local yoga studio or gym is NOT the way to make big money.
So how do you earn lots of cash teaching yoga, then?
By teaching private classes and by teaching yoga online.
Private instruction is all around a better experience for both you and your students. It allows you to pocket the cash that you earned, gives you the space to provide better instruction, and lets you really personalize the yoga poses and sequence for your students.
But jumping into the abyss of private yoga instruction can seem scary. Without the security of a yoga studio finding students for you and filling your yoga classes, it can be downright FREAKY trying to do it on your own.
Don’t worry, though. It’s not that hard to do. It’s one of the major things I teach my students in my 300-hour advanced yoga teacher training and I’m happy to share the process with you here.
Here is my breakdown on how to find PAYING students for private yoga sessions so that you can finally have the yoga business you always wanted.
How To Find Private Clients For Your Yoga Business
1. Find your why (and find your people )
Before you start marketing your personalized yoga lessons to the public, first ask yourself why do YOU practice yoga?
Getting clarity about what brings you to your mat each day will give you insight into what will bring your ideal client to your private lessons.
And the better you understand your clients, the better yoga instruction you can give.
Because being a private yoga instructor isn’t like being a drill sergeant, where you stand at the front of the class and bark out yoga poses. As an instructor, private or otherwise, you have the opportunity to totally create your student’s yoga experience. The easiest way to do that is to experience it for yourself.
If you started practicing yoga for your chronic pain, then maybe teaching yin yoga to students would be a meaningful fit for you. Or if meditation absolutely changed your life, then try being a private instructor for meditation.
You know the benefits of yoga. Teach them, first, then you will find the right fit of students.
2. Get your yoga career in order
One of the best things about having a corporate job is that the corporate world handles all the corporate things for you.
All you gotta do is show up and shuffle papers.
When you’re teaching private yoga classes, however, you are both the corporation AND the employee. At first, it might not seem like a big deal, but trust me, the earlier you get your yoga career organized, the easier it’ll be in the long run.
This means creating a plan for tackling logistical things like income and expense tracking, getting liability insurance, buying props to create a mobile yoga studio sanctuary that you can set up anywhere, learning how to create invoices and accepting payments, and possibly even creating your own yoga business website.
And the more organized and prepared you are to manage yourself like a business, the more organized and prepared you are for taking on new clients.
You’re basically a freelancer now, so it’s time to act like it. Luckily, we are living in a gig economy right now so there are plenty of tools to make this easy for you.
These are some of my favorite freelancer tools for teaching private yoga classes:
- Quickbooks has super affordable software that can sync with your bank or preferred payment platform and then automatically sort all of your expenses.
- Both Quickbooks and PayPal have invoice templates that you can use to bill your clients.
- Calendly is a free scheduling platform that automatically syncs with your calendar and the user’s time zone, making it especially easy to schedule a private yoga class if you want to teach yoga online
- Zoom is one of the best video conferencing tools currently on the market and makes it especially easy to lead online yoga classes (even for group yoga)
- Wix and Squarespace are platforms for building customized websites with their drag-and-drop web builders, making it easy even for the technologically challenged
3. Make new friends and network
If this part still feels scary or uncomfortable, remember your why and change your perspective: marketing as a freelancer is really just making new friends!
Before you head out and start asking all the yogis you know if they want a private yoga class, get clear about who your ideal client is. The truth is that they are probably
- non-traditional, in that they aren’t the ones to turn up to public classes. Corporate yoga, yoga for athletes, or children’s yoga all count as non-traditional
- your standard yoga studio devotee. As long as there isn’t a non-compete clause at the yoga studio where you teach, you can respectfully and gracefully make it known that you offer private yoga instruction for those interested.
Think about where your ideal client will be hanging out and then get creative about how you will meet them. Here are a few solid ideas to get you started:
- Do a one-hour session trade with other wellness workers that will have contact with your ideal client (personal trainers, acupuncturists, etc.) to make referral buddies.
- Provide free corporate classes at businesses where your ideal client works.
- Offer a couple of free trial classes in exchange for testimonials for your website. Then incentivize with a discounted first session, referral bonuses, package rates, and semi-private (small groups of people who know each other) class rates.
Make a plan, chunk it down, stick to it, and have fun!
4. Offer quality private sessions for natural word-of-mouth marketing
Word-of-mouth marketing is THE best marketing tactic and it’s absolutely free. Loyal clients will book private instruction with you more often than new clients, so make sure that they are totally happy with their experience.
Not only that, but also people are 50 times more likely to purchase something if it was recommended to them by a friend. So you want your existing clients to brag about how amazing their private instructor is so that you can get new clients without even trying.
Take advantage of the opportunity to really get to know your client and find out their specific concerns and needs and study up in advance. Instead of leading your same generic 60-minute group vinyasa flow class for one, show up ready to deliver the type of attention and care your client can ONLY receive through private yoga sessions.
This ensures that not only does your client truly benefit from their yoga practice, but it also increases the likelihood that they (or their friends) will schedule another class with you.
5. Charge fairly for your private yoga lessons
Pricing is super important when it comes to finding new clients. First, you want to charge what your time is actually worth.
That doesn’t mean that you should charge $200 for a 30-minute session, but do recognize the value in setting fair prices for your classes.
The national average is roughly $60-80 for a one hour private session, but in cities like New York and Los Angeles you might earn more.
Some common prices for private classes are:
- $30 for a 30-minute session with up to three people, $10 for each additional student
- $30 flat-rate per session, $5 for each additional student
- $50 for a 60-minute session, slightly more if it’s a group yoga class
- $65 flat-rate for private sessions, with mileage fees
- $75 flat-rate per session, for either private lessons or group classes
- $75 baseline per 60-minute private session, $15 for each additional student
6. Hustle, baby
The reason we often don’t succeed? Because we give ourselves room to quit!
So do the opposite and COMMIT yourself 100% to being a private yoga teacher. Visualize it, write a contract to yourself, use a mantra (I AM a stellar private yoga instructor), whatever you need to do to make up your mind to BE a private yoga instructor.
When people ask you what you do, stop saying meekly, “Well….I sometimes teach yoga, when I can, but I also do other stuff, but I’m trying to teach yoga privately.” Start saying confidently, “I offer private, tailor-made, in-home yoga sessions to help each unique client feel better in their body and their mind.” (Then drop the mic and sashay away LOL!)
Are private yoga lessons worth it?
Definitely. Not only does private yoga instruction bring home more income for the same amount of time as group yoga lessons, but you also have a greater chance to make a positive impact in your student’s life…
…which is why most of us became certified yoga instructors in the first place!
You get to put all of your yoga and meditation training to good use and take your teaching to the next level since you have the opportunity to teach more than just typical yoga postures. You also have the opportunity to incorporate meditation practice, yin yoga, breathing techniques, or yoga nidra into your private sessions. You’ll finally get to put to use everything you learned in your yoga teacher training!
So for those of you who want to do more than teach yoga poses for flexibility and for those who are considering becoming a yoga therapist, this will give you a taste of the incredible potential of working one-on-one.