Can you believe it is July already? Summer is in full gear in the Western Hemisphere and I hope it’s off to a good start for ya! It’s been a busy time of the year for me especially last month where I celebrated the entrance into my 20th year of biz with Next Generation Yoga.
As you can imagine, there have been many highs and lows, ups and downs, slow times, fast ones and everything in between. This blog post is dedicated to all that I have learned along the way. No matter where you are on your path, just starting up or ten years in, I hope my learnings inspire and support you.
Here are 20 lessons I learned in my 20 years in biz:
- Get support. I never could have done my business without the help of mentors and business coaches. Having someone on my team to hold me accountable and cut down my learning curve is always wildly valuable and is why today I am committed to giving back and serving as a business mentor to Kids Yoga entrepreneurs.
- Even though I am in business for myself, I don’t have to do business by myself. Creating community and working with others on projects and products has always helped my success rate including things like co-writing my 1st book, team fundraising over $100,000 for Africa Yoga Project, co-developing NGY Teacher Trainings, the TBoKY and NGY Teacher communities, and of course partnership in NGY Lesson Plan Club to name just a few. Having multiple minds and email lists is always better than just one.
- It takes time. The saying Rome wasn’t built in a day is forever true in my business mind. While I have accomplished a lot in my career, (i.e. studios, products, curriculum, licensing, trainings, retreats, etc.) it never could have happened in a short amount of time. I have learned that everything always takes longer than I think – I believe the saying is to add 30% more time than you think it will take to do.
- Spend money. Yep, an entrepreneurs least favorite words, but it’s true and I have found that I need to spend money in order to make money. A Kids Yoga biz has start-up costs, whether it is studio expenses, purchasing of props, or hiring a coach. It also has expenses along the way like building a new website, paying taxes, or hiring professionals to help do biz better. I have found there is no way to avoid this and it’s best to not resist it.
- Always learn. Since I do not have degrees in business, marketing or finance, I find it very helpful to learn from some of the great leaders in business by reading books, listening to podcasts, subscribing to newsletters and following them on social media. I never assume that I know it all and I am never done learning. There are so many, but some of my favorites along the way have been, the books: The E-Myth by Michael Gerber and Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill. Also, anything by Tim Ferris, Racheal Cook’s Get Fired Up & Focused Challenge and of course everything with Michael Port.
- Market authentically. While I used to be confused, frustrated and resistant to marketing, I have learned that it is really nothing more than expressing who I am in a natural way and letting people know that I am here to help them. Everyone has a problem that they need fixing. For Kids Yoga peeps, oftentimes the problem is that kids need more movement, focus, strength and flexibility. Finding fun, creative and authentic ways to let parents and schools know that I exist and am passionately available to help their children is how I authentically market to my audience. No matter whom I am marketing to, I always do so from a heart-centered place as that is who I am.
- Believe in myself. Along my path, and even still today, there were tons of people who didn’t think what I was doing would work. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “Kids don’t need Yoga.” Or, “How can you make a living teaching Yoga?” The nay-sayers exist everywhere, and while I sometimes I almost got swayed, I now know that nobody can tell me who I am, and who I am not, what I am capable of and what I can’t possibly achieve. Only I can make my dreams come true.
- Do more online. This is something I have learned about more recently as the online space has become more accessible. And while I still have a lot to build, I find that offering ebooks, videos, courses and curriculum to people who live on the other side of the world helps to get NGY and The Biz of Kids Yoga products out there. Why not have a greater reach and touch the lives of more across the seas? Yes, I know it can be scary and intimidating to figure out all the backend business, it is for me too – and, that’s why I always get help in this department!
- Have a niche. When I first started NGY, Yoga was not nearly as popular as it is now and back then, Kids Yoga was a niche whereas today it is a market. That being said, I learned early on about the concept that not everyone is my best customer. That I need to know specifically who are my perfect people, what are their “problems” that I can solve, where do they hang out and why do they need my offerings. Learning everything about my specific population that I am best suited to serve has been extremely helpful for my marketing and filling my docket!
- While at times it wasn’t always clear which direction I was steering my business, I find that having a clear vision and specific goals help set me on the right path. Knowing what I want to accomplish by visioning ahead, 3-6 months at a time, has been most impactful. I also love visioning 1-year out especially at the beginning of the new year. Writing down goals and placing them in a space where I can see them often is helpful for staying focused and avoiding the shiny objects.
- Leverage and scale. Doing my business with others is not only fun but financially rewarding. Since I have yet to figure out how to be in multiple places at once J, I recognize the importance of bringing others on board to help with the teachings and expansion of the biz. Whether it is sub-contracting Kids Yoga Teachers into schools, selling licenses for grads to become NGY Teachers or bringing more NGY Trainers on board to lead courses, scaling the business has become a great source of growth.
- Be consistent. Whether it’s marketing, finances, team meetings or any other aspect of my biz, I find it highly valuable to be consistent. Sending out regular newsletters, balancing the books and meeting with my team helps to keep the business moving forward and solid in its current form.
- Have accountability. My word is my integrity and I do what I say I will do. And since it can often be tempting to bow out of a commitment or I can forget, I love to ask my colleagues, co-workers and coaches to hold me accountable.
- Design business around lifestyle. I truly believe in living life by design not default which is why I have developed a business and lifestyle where I have location independence and time freedom. The mere fact that I can live and work from anywhere in the world is still surreal to me but something I would never change for the world!
- In addition to always having a private coach on my team, I also love teaming up with other like-minded peeps to explore, uncover and inquire about business topics. Whether in person or online, I have found being in a Mastermind group is one of the greatest ways to give and receive business support. It’s also why I lead a Mastermind group for Kids Yoga entrepreneurs.
- Make money while I sleep. Best part of waking up, (not really but I couldn’t resist the saying), is when I check my email and see that an order has come in. Whether it is a digital product or a teacher training course, it’s pure magic to make money while I sleep.
- Manage my time on Social Media. It’s easy to fall into the black hole of scrolling to no end on Facebook and Instagram. I notice, however, that when I endlessly scroll my energy drops. That I can do the compare and despair thing in my head. That I feel like other people are more ahead of me in biz and that I “should” be doing more. Really what I should be doing is getting off Social Media. Now-a-days I give myself short bits and breaks to scroll and aim to limit my time in the vortex.
- Self-care. I truly could not do my biz without taking care of myself, first. I have a consistent morning practice, get massages and mani/pedi’s monthly, take walks regularly and know how to communicate healthy boundaries with my friends, family, clients and colleagues. Self-care is an area of my life that is my highest value and I prioritize it in order to do my business, best.
- Value my worth on what really matters. There was a time in my business where I valued my worth based on how successful I was in biz, aka how much money I made or what was in the bank. But after being in biz for so many years, I now get that it’s not about that and more about who I have impacted and how much freedom I have. Reframing my worth has been one of the greatest life lessons in biz!
- Have balance. I often say that as a Yoga entrepreneur, every day is a work day and every day is the weekend. That being true, I find it highly important to balance out my work with personal time, friendships, self-care, vacations and “do-nothing” days. Having my own business, I recognize there is always work to be done and I could sit and work for hours straight. It is up to me to put the timer on, take a break and balance with resourcing activities. No boss will tell me to go home and leave the office.
So there you have it – 20 lesson’s I have learned from my 20 years in biz! I hope this list has inspired you. If yes, I would love to know which ones resonated the most? Leave a comment or send me an email and do share, it’s good for biz!
In support of you,