How to Build a Client Base as a Yoga Teacher

The most important asset for any yoga teacher is his or her students. In fact, many yoga teachers get paid based on the number of students in class.

For as long as there have been yoga studios, there has been debates on who is responsible for bringing in the students. Some studios dedicate a hefty budget to marketing their offerings while other studios rely on teachers to bring in new students and keep them around.

Regardless of whether or not you’re expected to build your class sizes as part of your employment agreement or contract, maintaining a steady stream of regular students and building your client base as a yoga teacher only benefits you in the long run and is an essential skill for yoga teachers who wish to pursue teaching yoga on a more full-time basis.

Here are five ways to build your client base as a yoga teacher, no matter how long you have (or haven’t) been teaching.

1. Invite Your Friends and Family

So often we forget that the people who most want to support us are the people we already know. Even if you know that your parents and best friend from high school have no interest in yoga, invite them anyway. You may be surprised. The worst your friends and family can say is no. Even if they do say no, extend the invitation every once in a while. Your friends and family may never come to your yoga class but someday one of their co-workers or friends will ask about yoga and they’ll know who to send them to. If your friends and family don’t know what you’re up to, they can’t help you.

2. Get Involved

Find ways to get involved in the communities where you teach. Offer to spend some time at the
front desk checking in students for a few extra hours a week. Hang out at the studio instead of
at the coffee shop in between gigs so that you can chat with people coming out of class. Make a
name for yourself as a reliable sub and sub as often as you can. The more you are seen in the
yoga studio you teach at, the more students and fellow teachers will get to know you, come to
your class and recommend you to others.

3. Get to Know Your Students’ Names

This piece of advice can’t be overstated. When you get to know your students’ names your students feel closer to you. When your students feel closer to you, they’re more likely to come back to your classes. Beyond getting to know their names, make sure you also get to know a little bit about your regulars. Ask them about their vacations if you know they’ve just been on a trip or strike up a conversation before or after class.

4. Stay Consistent

As boring as it is, consistency really is the key to success. Keep showing up week after week. Try not to sub out your class too frequently. Stay with the same time slot for at least a year. If you’re not consistently showing up to teach your students, your students won’t feel like its important to consistently show up for your class.

5. See and Be Seen

It’s just as important to get out from behind the studio walls and into the surrounding community. In addition to getting involved at the studio(s) where you teach, find ways to get involved in the community outside of the yoga studio. This is where you’ll find new students! Invite your co-workers, your fellow churchgoers, book club members, other volunteers on community service projects you’re a part of, or even moms in the mom’s groups you join. See if the studio you work for will give you free class cards to give out to incentivize new students.

These are just a few ideas for how to get started building a solid client base for your yoga classes. Don’t be shy! Remember, the worst someone can tell you is no. Don’t give up and good luck!

Ashley Zuberi trains and mentors yoga teachers to create thriving independent yoga teaching careers. As a full-time yoga teacher with a former professional career in marketing for yoga companies and experience developing and leading teacher trainings across the US, Ashley uniquely understands how to blend the spirit of yoga with the realities of business. She is the founder of Inhale Thrive, an education company dedicated to providing high-quality, affordable continuing education for yoga teachers. She writes extensively about yoga philosophy and the business of yoga at inhalethrive.com and is currently working on her first book — a modern, thematic interpretation and teaching guide of the Yoga Sutra. Ashley is a mama, military spouse, Ohio native, and has lived in 6 states in the past 6 years.

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