A viable alternative for yoga teachers to own their own business, enabling them to set their own hours and days to work — as well as what they charge students — is to use their vehicle as a "mobile studio". I started Serenity Yoga seven years ago, teaching primarily at private, 55+ residential communities. Additionally, in a community outreach effort, I have taught at a mortuary, beauty salon and have rented space in six different locations during the past three years.
One of your first considerations is the size of your car if you wish to start a mobile business. I use a mid-sized SUV. These are the basic props I carry on a daily basis:
- 40 blankets (five stacks of eight blankets strapped) - two per student
- 20 blocks
- Straps and eye pillows for purchase
- Two mobile carts which fold for easy in/out
- Basket with iPod, class files, etc.
You will need to file for a Fictitious Business License to record the name of your business, obtain a city business license and liability insurance before you start. You should have business cards, fliers if needed, a website and as many social media contacts as you feel comfortable using.
You set the amount you wish to charge students, giving discounts as you choose. You need to consider the market, the length of the class, and average charges in the local area. You can work as much or as little as suits your life style. Even at the senior communities, I am considered an Independent Contractor and handle all my own fees, collections, etc.
There is an initial outlay of money for props if you choose to use them. Rent can vary from a fixed amount per class per month to a percentage of what you earned. Remember, if you are paying a fixed rent, this amount comes directly off your gross income. Currently, the two senior communities where I teach 80% of my classes do not charge for the use of their facilities. This, of course, means more profit for you.
Things to Look for When Choosing a Rental Space
- Adequate parking and lighting
- Safe neighborhood, especially if you will be teaching at night
- Adequate heating/air conditioning
- Adequate floor and wall space
- Adequate restroom facilities and an agreement on who cleans and provides the supplies
- An agreement up front regarding who cleans and clears the space to be used for classes
You will be responsible for all your own bookkeeping, i.e., attendance, payments, credits, etc., unless you choose to have professional help. Sometimes a combination of the two is a great solution. Paperwork can take much longer than you may think.
I love being an independent business person who can make my own decisions about when, what and how I teach yoga. Students can be very fickle, coming and going as they please, but teaching is so rewarding when you hear the stories about how students have improved, both physically, emotionally and spiritually. You must be creative, open minded, flexible and patient and your yoga business will reap intangible rewards that mean so much and make it so worthwhile as a profession and a personal journey.
Carin obtained her 200 hour RYT from Yoga Alliance in October, 2007 when she was 62 years old and hasn't looked back. She teaches ten classes per week and considers teaching yoga, especially seniors and beginners, her "dream job".