How To Make Money As A Yoga Teacher

The Four Most Valuable Qualities Of A Six Figure Yogipreneur

Nov 19, 2018 · 8 min read
Emily coaches yoga teachers so they can not just survive but thrive as full time Yogipreneurs

Most full time yoga teachers do not make a lot of money.

Many of the yoga teachers who come to me for help can barely pay their rent.

Still, every year, thousands of graduates of yoga teacher training programs are eagerly quitting their full time positions for a life of working in bare feet and leggings, and more importantly, a purposeful life spent spreading the joy of yoga.

As a business of yoga coach, teachers from all traditions come to me after they have spent a few years or even a decade trying and mostly failing to make enough money to make ends meet.

I began offering this service because I am amongst the small minority of yoga teachers in the world who have successfully accomplished earning an entirely self employed six figure salary, with unlimited possibility for scaling.

I feel it is my duty to serve yoga teachers by educating and empowering them to do the same.

True service can only happen when we are fully resourced and available to serve.

Most teachers understand this within the context of showing up to teach prepared, rested, fed, and grounded.

Showing up to teach when you are struggling to pay your bills is no different.

If we are living in financial scarcity and sacrificing our desire for financial abundance, this energy of lack transfers to our students, in the same way that showing up to teach exhausted and hungover from a night of partying would.

Making great money as a yoga teacher is not just for you — it’s a service to the people you teach.

Here are the four most important qualities to develop in yourself if you want to make great money as a yoga teacher.


1) Embrace Entrepreneurship

Unless you are truly content with earning a small, fixed amount of money annually (which I doubt you are since you are reading this article), working as an employee of studios, gyms, and community centers simply cannot be relied upon alone for a complete work model or an abundant income.

There are far more yoga teachers than there are teaching slots and you will have to compete for a chance to earn a low hourly wage.

Teachers who put all of their eggs in the basket of the group class model all eventually find themselves with the same problem — utterly exhausted from traveling all over town teaching dozens of low paid group classes per week, and resenting the very work that they pursued because it was their passion and purpose.

The solution? Entrepreneurship.

If you want to earn an abundant income as a yoga teacher, you must embrace entrepreneurship.

You must rise to the occasion of thinking outside the box of employment. You must learn to create your own offerings, market them, and sell them — whether this be group classes, private classes, online courses, corporate programs, or retreats.

You must become what I lovingly call all of my coaching clients — a “Yogipreneur”!

Embracing entrepreneurship means evolving beyond a lifelong mindset that says “I need others to hire and pay me in order to make money.”

It means igniting your creativity and dreaming up unique signature offerings in service to what people need.

Above all, embracing entrepreneurship means being willing to leave your comfort zone and take risks in order to grow an abundantly meaningful and impactful yoga business.

I personally embraced entrepreneurship by phasing out most of my group classes over time and shifting focus to building my private instruction business, Private Yoga Brooklyn, and later my coaching practice, Abundant Yogi Coaching.

With these two businesses combined, last month I celebrated my first $13K month.

2) Work Backwards From Your Goal

In all of my coaching programs, I tell yoga teachers to “work backwards from the amount of money you would love to make.”

The mistake I see too many yoga teachers making is that they are working forwards towards a vague income goal, unsure of how exactly they are going to get there.

They keep piling up more and more teaching into their schedule, thinking it is going to help them reach the point at which they will finally be earning “enough” income.

They eventually find themselves with their schedule overbooked with low paid work that still does not add up to a truly nourishing income.

Yogipreneurs must have a clear plan of the business model they would love to have and the amount of money it would bring in. Once you have a plan, you can start working backwards from it to create it.

Here are two examples of very simple yoga business blueprints:

  1. Ten private client sessions per week at the rate of $150 = $1500 per week = $6000 per month, = $72,000 (revenue) minus 4 weeks vacation time = $66,000 annually before taxes
  2. Sell five private yoga packages per month at the rate of $2,000 = $100K revenue; plus sell twenty spots at two retreats per year, $1500 per ticket = $60K revenue; plus sell ten online courses per month at $500 = $60K revenue= $240K revenue annually before taxes

Working backwards from either of these plans can look different for everyone, as there is more than one approach.

It may include steps such as building an e-mail list, going out into your community to promote your services, advertising on social media, or developing an online course.

The important thing is to have clear model and money goal, then determine what actionable steps you need to take to get there.

3) Fall In Love With Marketing

Falling in love with marketing changed everything for me.

Once you have a clear business model and are ready to start working backwards from it to create it, you will need to use marketing to get people signed up for your offerings and start seeing the money flowing in.

A common mistake that yoga teachers make is investing all of their money into honing their craft. They are always saving their pennies for their next yoga teacher training, believing that by becoming a better teacher they will magically start making more money. Wise yoga teachers invest time and money into becoming a master of marketing.

There is a myth in the yoga world that if you just keep studying, practicing, and teaching, you will eventually grow a massive following and people will be lining up to become your private clients and attend your retreats. I used to believe this was the only way.

This does work for some teachers, but it is not how I personally created my own fully self employed six figure yoga teacher salary, just a few years into my career. And it’s certainly not the fastest way to financial abundance.

Becoming a better teacher cannot be relied upon to magically make you more money.

Studios will not pay you more (or at least not much more) for having more hours of training. Private clients will not know how to find you if you don’t have effective marketing in place that makes you visible to them. People won’t sign up for your retreats if you don’t make it easy for them to learn about them and sign up.

“Marketing” simply means “how you get customers.” So staying stuck in a mindset of disliking marketing will definitely keep you stuck not making enough money as a yoga teacher.

One of the keys to my success was falling in love with marketing and studying it with the same passion that I study yoga. I studied marketing courses and learned from coaches and mentors.

The best thing about marketing is that it’s actually a way to be of deeper service to others. If you don’t market your yoga offerings well, people won’t learn about them, and they’ll miss the opportunity to practice with you.

By falling in love with marketing and becoming a master of it, you become empowered with the tools to open the door for more clients to find you, practice with you, and become transformed by the healing powers of yoga.

4) Challenge Your Mindset

Embracing entrepreneurship, working backwards from a solid business model, and mastering marketing are all key to making great money as a yoga teacher.

Even more important than all three of these items combined is the mindset and attitude with which one approaches making money.

I have coached dozens of yoga teachers on their business and finances and the thing I observe that slows them down and gets in their way the most is a mindset of lack and a belief that it is not possible for yoga teachers to make lots of money.

We create our reality with our thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes. In my life I have experienced this to be especially true when it comes to money.

Everything changed when I shifted my mindset and attitude away from one that said “It’s impossible to make a lot of money as a yoga teacher so why should I bother trying,” into one that said “It’s entirely possible for me to make as much money as I would like to as a yoga teacher, and I believe in myself to accomplish it”.

I was then no longer playing the victim game, blaming the world for my circumstances.

I realized that it was entirely my responsibility to create the life I wanted to have, and that I needed to believe in myself to do it.

You, too, can make as much money as you would like to as a yoga teacher.

There are endless possibilities of ways to do it and you are infinitely capable of doing anything you dream of doing.

Emily offers business of yoga coaching in Brooklyn, NY and globally through her online institute

Do you need more help with growing an abundant yoga business?

  • Request to join Emily’s free Facebook group, Mastering The Biz Of Private Yoga.
  • Sign up below to receive Emily’s free e-course, 5 Steps Toward Your Next Private Yoga Client.
  • Learn more about business coaching for private yoga teachers at AbundantYogiCoach.com
All photos in this article are by Stephanie Cowan, The Blonde With The Smile

Emily Sussell is a Brooklyn-based private yoga teacher, business of yoga coach, and entrepreneur.

She teaches private yoga clients locally in Brooklyn and coaches yoga teachers globally through her online programs.

Emily has been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, and Time Out.

Emily Sussell

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Private Yoga Teacher & Business of Yoga Coach

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