The truth is it takes time and patience to grow your clientele. I do suggest in order to have financial peace, you maintain your other source of income when you start your studio. Because the fact of the matter is that it’s not enough to love yoga to get students through your door.
We are typically a word of mouth business, which means it takes time to build it up, but on the other hand yogis are a mostly loyal crowd. Once you’ve got them through your doors it’s not that hard to keep them interested (or at least it will be in your hands).
We have talked about some of this but it’s time to bring it all together. Here are a few tips to get students through the door:
- Use Social Media and blogs. No more ‘I don’t do computers’.
- Host free yoga-related Events. There are a lot of people out there trying to sell their candles, healthy snacks, essential oils, cleaning supplies, yoga clothes and accessories, etc. who would be willing to come and talk to your students about their area of expertise for free in exchange for promoting their products.
- Prepare and launch Workshops.
- Do covers! Amazing how many people will follow you when they realize what a good class you deliver.
- Don’t quit you other classes just yet, take your time to build your clientele and to start telling the other students (subtly) that you now have your own studio. Read my article about ‘Teaching at gyms’
- Promote Private Classes.
- Don’t underestimate your personal social life, a lot of people will be interested, always talk about what you do.
- Whenever you can, ask for testimonials. Now that we jump online to find pretty much everything, people are searching more and more for good reviews and/or testimonials. Read here about ‘The importance of testimonials’
- Remember abundance attracts abundance.
Keeping your students
Ok… this part is so much fun!
I am sure you deliver a kickass class, so besides that here are a few tips to keep your students loyal to you and your studio:
Remember your students’ names
I always thought this was undoable… All my life I have believed I could not remember faces and/or names, let alone put them together.
People like feeling important and unique, and they are! So dedicate some time to this important practice.
Starting your own business, or even if you are teaching anywhere else, it’s super important that you do, and even if you don’t believe it now, you will come to realize that it’s not so hard, you just need to set your mind to it… with practice you will become very good at it.
When you are starting it’s not so hard, because you will only have a few students.
You can download a sample of my Registration Book where my students write down their names as they walk in, we will talk about this precious book later and how important it is to keep it… Anyway, all students write down their own names… When I started I use to be the one to write them down, but soon it became an impossible task, since you start getting more than one “Anna’” so you end up having to remember surnames too, so that you don’t mix them up…Now my students write them down themselves. If I have any doubts of who’s in the yoga room I just discreetly look at the book… So that I can call them by their names when I approach them to adjust or to hand them something, or even at the end of the class just to ask how they felt…
Yoga students like to share their story
I try to recollect something that they tell me about themselves… Students really want to share; they usually need somebody outside their circle of friends and family to talk their hearts out, and if your studio is nice and cozy and inviting, they will feel safe to share with you…
It’s important that you do not offer an opinion, they only want to be heard, so if you want to interfere and talk back, make sure that it’s only with questions, not advise.
Remember, they are not your friends and I strongly suggest (I learned that hard way) that you remain their teacher, and their teacher only… not their friend.
This will allow you to be respected and honored as a teacher always.
However, try to remember the things that your students share with you, and whenever possible ask them how they are doing, making a reference to their story. Even if it’s just that they have 2 kids, ask about them… whatever they share is very important to them.
You can always make a little note on their file if necessary…
Names and stories are crucial to your students’ loyalty; make the extra effort to remember.
Create a community
Your studio can become the place and space where your students feel free to express, to be themselves, to chill and relax, to get away from hectic lives…
Encourage them to talk. Remember when I said I have a few topics I raise when we are waiting for a class to begin? Well, if you get a topic started they will get on chatting among themselves, this is the time to be quiet and let them get to know each other, get them interested in each others’ lives, or even build new friendships. I have a few students who now go out for coffee after the class, get together for a movie… It’s awesome to watch!
When you manage to build a community, your students will talk about you and your studio, and this is when the snowball happens!
Locate the ‘whisperers’
Based on Seth Godin’s book ‘The Purple Cow’, the ‘whisperers’ are the students attending your studio who are leaders, who have a lot of friends, who socialize a lot… they are the best ones who can ‘whisper’ to everyone they know about how great is your studio – it’s one of the best word-of-mouth tactics!
They are not so hard to pinpoint.
Once you do, pay special attention to them. Make sure they are happy with your classes, with your studio, with the attention they receive from you not only in their yoga, but in their lives too. They are usually huge sharers (they talk a lot about themselves) pay attention!
Treat them well (not that you don’t do this for everyone, but make them feel special).
And… sit back and let it happen!