If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been teaching for a bit and started to think…this is tougher than I thought! I mean, how am I supposed to actually support myself doing this?? I feel like something’s missing…

Well, that something is most likely…

The business-side!

[CUE THE CRINGE]

Did you just make a face as though you just sucked on a lemon? 

Or maybe your belly did a backflip? 

You’re not alone! 

Business totally wasn’t my thing in the beginning either!

Between wanting to bury my head in the sand and not think about it, to not seeing the value in it…let’s just say it’s been a loooong journey to get to where I am today! 

And that’s why I’d LOVE for you to benefit from my struggles and make your journey to becoming a successful yoga business owner shorter than mine was!

I’m excited to tackle this important topic head-on because it daunts most if not ALL yoga teachers at some point in their journey. 

We’ll explore what to think about before starting a yoga business, what a yoga business plan is, why you need one, how to make one, types of yoga businesses, and some common FAQs.

The more you are cringing, the more I encourage you to dive right in! So EXHALE and let’s go!

What To Think About Before Starting A Yoga Business

First, let’s get on the same page in terms of what we mean by “yoga business”. Some examples of yoga businesses are:

  • Yoga studio owner
  • Co-op yoga space owner/partner
  • Online yoga teacher
  • Private yoga teacher
  • Yoga retreat leader
  • Workshop leader
  • Yoga and wellness coach
  • Contract yoga teacher (corporate yoga, yoga at schools, events, health clubs, pop-ups, festivals, etc.)
  • Specialty yoga teacher (kids, disabled populations, elderly, veterans, disenfranchised populations)
  • Yoga teacher training leader
  • Continuing yoga education provider
  • Yoga podcasting
  • Yoga writing
  • New teacher mentoring
  • Yoga school owner
  • Selling yoga products

And really, whatever ideas you can dream up! 

If more than one of these sparks your interest, that’s great! I often recommend building a yoga business with multiple revenue streams.

Now, onto what you’ll want to consider before building your yoga business. Some questions to ask yourself are:

What is your risk tolerance? 

Do you have a day job that can support you as you transition into being a new business owner? If so, read why I suggest holding onto that gem! Are you the sole breadwinner with a newborn baby and a partner out of work? Or maybe you’re single with few financial responsibilities and a large amount in savings so you can handle more risk?

using spreadsheets for filing taxes as an independent contractor

Are you ready to say goodbye to some free time? 

If you already have no wiggle room in your schedule for things like self-care, you might want to question the timing or scale of your vision.

Are you ready to change your relationship with yoga? 

Turning a passion or side-hustle into your bread-and-butter will change your relationship with it. Are you ready to leave the dewy-eyed honeymoon phase with yoga and enter into a committed marriage with it through sickness (hopefully less of this haha) and health?

Are you down to level up your yoga practice? 

Having a yoga business means your personal practice needs to be on point! Having a dedicated personal practice while staying up-to-date on the latest developments and trends in the yoga world will support you in your entrepreneurial journey as well as keep you on your A-game so you can better serve your clients.

Are you ready to face your fears and work on your money mindset? 

Being a successful business owner takes a bit more than the law of attraction and magical thinking. It requires getting down into the muck of your limiting beliefs in addition to learning the nitty-gritty of running a company.

What Is A Yoga Business Plan?

Before we dive into what a yoga business plan is specifically, let’s start with “Business 101” and talk about what a business plan is at all!

A business plan is defined as a document that describes a company’s core objectives, business activities, and how it plans to achieve its goals. 

The exact layout will depend on its intended use and audience (whether it’s just for you or to seek funding from potential investors for example), but basically, it’s a road map! 

In order to get to where we want to go, we have to know where we’re going and have at least a rough idea of how to get there, right?

That’s why behind most successful companies is a business plan—it’s KEY in turning dreams into reality.

yoga teacher

While a yoga business plan is generally the same as any other business plan, there is one noteworthy difference…the typical yogi mindset! Often the main thing in the way of a successful yoga business is the yogi behind it! 

Yoga teachers are known to have this idea that yoga and business aren’t compatible and that yoga business is bad and un-yogic because it’s “selling a spiritual practice” blah, blah, and aaaall the baggage this mindset brings with it. So keep in mind two things:

  1. Be aware of what comes up for you as you write your business plan. What inner fears, objections, and past traumas get stirred up? These reactions could present future obstacles to your success so note them and use your own yogic tools to work through them or enlist help (see #2).
  2. Your business plan might need to include spending some resources on this mindset work in the form of hiring a business mentor or coach. I personally coach each student in my Yoga Business + Entrepreneurship Teacher Training on their business plan. Talking it through with your peers and a professional is invaluable! 

Why Do You Need A Yoga Business Plan?

At least part of you is currently thinking, that sounds nice and all, Brett, but I know that I PERSONALLY don’t need this for what I want to do.

Not so fast my friend! Because I recommend that EVERY yoga teacher who wants to earn a living in the yoga industry begin with some basic business planning. Here’s why:

It shifts your mindset 

As a yogi, you know it’s pretty literally all in your head because your mindset links your internal beliefs to your external actions. So if you want to believe and act as if you run a company, then a business plan will spark the perspective shift that will have a ripple effect on everything else!

It helps you know if you ACTUALLY want what you think you want 

Writing a business plan asks you to get really real with what you want. Crunch the numbers, do the market research, go through paperwork, etc. You might get part of the way through this due diligence and realize…this isn’t what I want! 

Maybe the time commitment, up-front investment, potential revenue, etc. aren’t actually what you thought. Well…great! What better time to discover that than BEFORE pouring tons of time, energy, and money into it. This teaches you more about what you really want so you can pivot to a more aligned direction that you can feel better about committing to.

It helps you focus and make decisions 

Having a clear roadmap makes decisions about time and money management, choosing aligned partnerships, marketing, and more, way easier. #worthit

It helps you attract money and partners

Having a business plan ready to go will help you greatly in your quest for funding or partners if that’s something your yoga company needs.

It gives you confidence

Having a clear vision in your mind (and on paper) and an idea of how to get there will help give you the clarity and courage you need to get you over those bumps along the entrepreneur road. 

It increases your likelihood of success

While doing your market research, SWOT analysis, and marketing plan might make you groan upfront, your future badass business self will absolutely thank you for it! These will help you avoid potential pitfalls and up your chances of creating a thriving business.

Expect your yoga business planning to:

  • Scare you. You’re going to avoid it, but once you get started, it’ll be easier than you thought.
  • Anchor you into reality. Ideas are great. Realities are better. A business plan will help you take the real-world steps towards building your own dream business while providing you a practical reference to guide you along the way.
  • Motivate, inspire, and embolden you. Often, all it takes to ignite us into action is getting clear on the vision and the path. 

How To Create A Yoga Business Plan: Step-By-Step (With My Template Worksheet)

I’m stoked to show you that creating your own yoga business plan is much simpler and less scary than it seems! Let’s walk through it.

1. Executive Summary

Think of your company summary as the Cliffs Notes of your business. Make it shiny and polished so that others could take a quick peek and know what your business is all about. It’s helpful to start here because it gets your wheels turning on the rest of the plan elements. Once you complete the rest of the sections, you can revise the summary as needed. 

Some things to include are:

  • Your business name
  • Your mission (A few sentences on why your business exists, who it serves, and how it does that)
  • Your vision (The ultimate dream of where you see your business going)
  • Your “Unique Selling Proposition” or USP (What makes your business different from your competition?)
  • Goals and plans (A brief sketch)
  • Your team and organization (Could be business partners or a support team like social media marketers, coaches, accountants, even babysitters, and your home team!

2. Market & Customer Analysis

It’s great to tackle this section early on as it helps inform the other business plan categories. The market analysis piece includes an industry description (trends, growth rate, etc.), analysis of competitors, how you will stand out, and research on what your target market wants and needs. 

If this part is boggling you, a fun way to get to know your customers is to just have conversations with your people! What do they need and want in their lives? The customer analysis further includes the demographic of your target market, size of the audience, and their purchase potential. 

3. Products & Services

For many yoga instructors, this is the fun part because it’s all about what we share and how we serve people! Write a full description of what exactly you offer and the prices.

4. Funding & Financial Summary

For yoga people, this is usually one of the cringiest elements of the plan, and so I tell you this out of love: no one gets too far in business without at least a basic financial plan. 

The full version of this section includes startup costs, ongoing and long-term investments, and financial projections. 

But here’s the good news: You can make a quick and dirty business plan just by getting real about your cash flow! How? In my 300-hour yoga teacher training, I’ve got you covered. In the course, I walk you through cash flow and profit as well as how to avoid the mistake that causes many businesses to fail in the first year (hint: it has to do with working capital). 

5. SWOT Analysis

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Doing a SWOT analysis before building your business helps you foresee and avoid potential problems and brainstorm strategies for success. See the business plan template for the full deets!

6. Sales & Marketing Plan

While you don’t have to become a social media influencer to have a successful business, you do need a marketing and sales strategy to promote your business and attract potential customers! 

To most yogis, sales and marketing are the same, but they do have some differences. Your marketing strategy gets you in front of your customer and piques their interest while your sales strategy relates to the actual selling of your products or services. 

This section includes your marketing ideas, sales strategies, associated costs, and rollout timelines. 

Yoga Business Plan Template

Woot woot! As a little reward for getting through all of this business talk so far, I’ve made you a template so that you can get started right away!

It is PACKED with helpful exercises that will guide you into clarity so that you can create a business plan that WORKS.

Because launching a business is hard…

…but it doesn’t have to be. Especially when someone who has already done it SUCCESSFULLY gives you the exact steps to doing it.

This worksheet will help you address all the details of your yoga business, both big and small.

In fact, it is SO helpful that it’s actually a part of my 300-hour yoga teacher training curriculum.

And I’m sharing it with you here, for FREE.

Because I honestly believe that everyone deserves a chance at success 🙂

Different Types Of Yoga Businesses

Now that you’re (hopefully) feeling more excited about making your own yoga business plan, I’m going to hook you up even more and share some extra considerations to keep in mind while making a plan for your specific type of yoga biz.

Online Yoga Business 

For online yoga businesses, consider and include in your plan:

A market analysis specific to online offerings

What will make you stand out online right now? Can you offer something different?

Offering platform 

How will you make your offerings? Will you invest in a course software platform or keep things simple to start? 

Drop-in or membership basis

Are your offerings drop-in or on a monthly or annual membership basis? 

yoga adjustments

Yoga Studio Business 

Some things to think about and include in your yoga studio business plan:

Location analysis

Is there a market in the area you’re looking at? Is there a lot of competition in the area? Does the location have good visibility or will it require more marketing? 

Space size & lease cost 

How many people do you want to accommodate? Can you realistically afford the rent based on the capacity, what you want to offer, and how much you want to charge?

Retail inventory

Will you also sell yoga products in your studio? If so, which values will determine what you sell?

Yoga instructor recruiting & retention

How will you find and keep quality teachers?

Community building & client retention

How will you cultivate a thriving community and keep your loyal students coming back for more?

Yoga Teacher Business 

This general category can include many offerings (many examples of how to make money as a yoga teacher are listed here). Some things to keep in mind include:

Address each offering in your plan

If you have multiple offerings, include all of them in your plan as well as separate sections on market research, SWOT analysis, etc. as needed.

Rank your offerings 

Will you focus on all of your offerings equally or emphasize some over others? 

You might assign a percentage value to each of your offerings and focus on those in the sweet spot where your passion and revenue potential overlap and those that are natural marketing funnels for others. Prioritizing will help you focus your energy, money, marketing, etc. so you don’t spread yourself too thin. 

Co-Op Yoga Business 

Some things to take into account as you write your plan for a co-op yoga business structure include:

Offering scope

How broad or narrow are the offerings? Will it be all one style like Hatha or power yoga? Or is the aim to create a space with diverse offerings? Will you open it to other related healing modalities like massage or energy work?

Business ownership

How will ownership and responsibility of the facility be shared? Whose name(s) will be on the lease?

Financial division 

What is each party financially responsible for? How is revenue shared?

Marketing responsibility

Will marketing be done jointly or individually? 

Partnership scouting and terms

How many co-op partners do you need to be sustainable? Do you already have enough? If not, how will you find these people? How long are partners committed to the space for?

FAQs About Creating Yoga Business Plans

If you were one of the “cringers” as you started this article and you’ve made it this far with questions, it’s a sign your mind is opening to the idea of running your own yoga business and making a plan for it. Congratulations! This is the most crucial step (see, it’s so easy that it’s already happening!)

How Much Does It Cost To Start A Yoga Business?

Short answer: From a couple hundred to several thousand dollars.

Long answer: It depends on your business! Obviously, opening a brick-and-mortar yoga center has a significantly larger start-up cost than a pop-up studio. Or if you want to offer online yoga classes and have a large email list your start-up costs might be limited to some management software and an online platform. 

This is where your business plan will help you! As you explore your mission and vision and get real about the potential costs, you can pivot if the financial investment isn’t aligned right now and see if there’s a way to make your business happen in a more cost-effective way. 

How Much Money Can I Make As A Yoga Instructor?

This is a big topic, my friends! So big that I suggest checking out the entire post that I’ve written about how much yoga teachers make.

As with most things, it depends on you! If you’re mainly into teaching yoga classes and want to teach a few times a week, making $31 per class brings in $6,500 annually. This could range up to around $40K per year if you teach 20 classes a week at $40 per yoga class. But if you’re willing to expand your offerings and your business knowledge, you could earn $100K and up! 

The main barrier to a high income is usually YOU, your mindset, and your willingness to put in the work!

Is Yoga A Profitable Business?

It can be! There are MORE opportunities for yoga teachers now than ever before and lots of room for you to be creative in your yoga service! Just like with anything, you can do the bare minimum and get paid accordingly or if you’re passionate about teaching yoga AND living your best life, that’s totally possible too. 

In my advanced yoga training, I walk you through two key aspects to making what you want from your yoga business (hint: the math and your thoughts). We basically map out how to earn $100k per year as a yoga instructor by figuring out how much you need to earn per student. You could sell one high-priced item or lots of lower-priced items! It’s actually simple math. 

Then we go into exactly how to do that and what you could create in order to earn that amount per student/customer. It’s the way that I grew my own profitable business as a yoga instructor so I know that you can do it too!

Why Do Yoga Studios Fail?

According to this 2018 IHRSA article, 81% of fitness studios close within the first year 😱

Maybe a yoga studio doesn’t seem like a fitness business, but for these stats yoga studios are lumped in with the health and fitness industry. If your heart is still longing to join the ranks of yoga studio owners and to provide yoga classes at your own facility, don’t throw out your dream just yet! Just do your due diligence on the yoga studio biz to inform your decision first.

Some common mistakes made by first-time yoga studio owners include:

  • Choosing friends instead of business partners
  • Not prioritizing quality yoga instructors and quality instruction
  • Not having a business strategy or vision
  • Not focusing on community building and client retention
  • Poor money management
  • Not doing market research
  • Poor leadership and organizational skills
  • Not actively attracting new students
  • Not choosing the right location

How Much Space Do You Need For A Yoga Studio?

Of course, this depends on your vision, goals, and budget. Do you dream of a small basic studio with a tight-knit community or a big booming hub? (Hint: this should be in your business plan!) 

To give you an idea, if you’re crafty, a 250-square foot space could be enough for you, up to 10 students packed in, and some props. 

How Much Space Do You Need Per Person For Yoga?

The common estimate is about 21 square feet per yoga practitioner. This is the equivalent of an average 2′ x 6′ yoga mat plus about 6 inches on all sides. That’s less than a hand width between you and your neighbor which is pretttty cozy so tweak this number as needed.

Can I Be A Yoga Teacher If I’m Not Flexible?

Short answer: Heck yes and please do!

Long answer: In fact, I dare to say if you aren’t flexible but are passionate about sharing your love for yoga…the world NEEDS you! We need more yoga instructors to shatter the common misconception that yoga is only stretching for already bendy people and mostly women. So if you don’t exactly fit that description, please get out there and show potential future yogis that pretzel-ability is not a requisite for yoga.

Can You Teach Yoga With A 200 Hour Certification?

Short answer: Absolutely!

Long answer: It’s common to not feel ready to teach the first-year after finishing your 200-hour yoga teacher training (read more about that and what to expect with a 200-hour certification). 

However, you absolutely can start teaching and earning money with a 200-hour certification as you continue to learn and dial in your personal style. It’s easy to feel like there’s always more to learn because…well…there is! News flash: that feeling doesn’t go away no matter how much you study because yoga is a rich and deep life-long study and practice. But a 200-hour training is the starting point, so don’t wait…get started!