Leaving the Corporate World to Find Meaning through Yoga
Salina is a proud yoga instructor, founder of Kukoon Yoga, and mother to three young children. When she is not chasing her kids up and down the street, she is connecting with other women on their journey into motherhood through pre and postnatal yoga.
Q: How did you get started as a Yoga Instructor?
I started out in a marketing role working for a big corporate firm before I had children. I really didn’t like the idea of making more money for people who already had so much money. When I got pregnant the first time, that was when I knew I needed a change. I decided to be a stay at home mom for a while, but I always had in the back of my mind that maybe I could be a yoga instructor. My husband was very supportive on this journey with me and encouraged me to go and get my training. I loved it from the very beginning! I had to get used to leaving my then one-year-old as I went off to do the training. There were some tears (usually mine), but I still knew this was what I wanted to do.
Q: How do you structure your day?
There’s been times when I’ve had my kids in daycare a few days a week to give me some time to dedicate to this full time. Then a lot of days I am still working around naps and late into the evenings.
Q: What has been the most difficult?
Juggling home and work is always a balance. My kids are really good at guilting me! My oldest will sometimes ask if teaching yoga is more important than spending time with them (even though I am home with them EVERY OTHER day.) But I see the value in leaving and giving them space and giving me the space I need.
I also don’t want my kids to see me on my phone all the time. They don’t understand that I am working and not just playing games. I am working hard for them not to see me do this.
My husband is also a freelancer and that often makes it hard as he doesn’t have a set schedule either. We have had to invest in good babysitters to really make this work together. Once I realized that getting a sitter for the kids every now and again wasn’t the end of the world I felt much better about managing the workload.
Q: What has surprised you the most about running your own business?
Yoga became my other baby. I love sitting down on the couch and updating my website, or posting tips and tricks on social media. I never thought I would enjoy this work so much. I look forward to writing new blog articles and seeing the response that I get. I love connecting with new people online and offline. Right now it feels like I am connecting with and helping as many women as I can for the time I have available to work. My next steps are to take this business online so that I can reach more women.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced since starting out on your own?
Finding space has been my biggest challenge. I didn’t start this business to make money, however I do need to cover my costs. I’ve gotten creative over the years, especially when I was just starting out. I once taught at a small restaurant and they loved the idea that during certain hours of the day when the restaurant was closed that there would be a yoga class going on! I’ve partnered and worked with a lot of local fitness studios and gyms to find the right balance between a professional space and keeping costs low for my students.
Q: Where do most of your clients come from?
As a local business I get most of my clients from social media exposure and through good SEO. Word of mouth is of course a big one as well.
It becomes harder to reach moms once their baby arrives. Everyone takes care of themselves when they are pregnant, but we need to learn to take good care of ourselves after the baby is born.
Q: Are you using any unique tools to help you manage your business?
I recently invested in Mind-Body software to better help me respond to email, manage the schedule and offer more payment options. Now when people sign up for new classes or programs it automates the emails that are sent, activates waitlists and offers in-studio card processing. It has been a huge learning curve to roll it out, and it’s not cheap, but I am hoping that it will free up some of my time to work on other elements of my business, and create a faster and better response to clients.
Q: What’s the best part about running your own business?
I love being local! I love connecting with the moms and seeing them with their babies around our community. Many of the moms we teach have become friends after meeting in class. Being part of the community and collaborating with other local businesses has been great to network and really support others in Port Moody.
Q: What’s the one piece of advice you would give to someone starting out?
You have to find your niche. I tried to be more general before and it didn’t gain traction the same way that it did when I started to specialize in prenatal and postnatal yoga and now kids yoga.
Having kids teaches us that things are always changing — we can apply this to our business. There will always be ups and downs. Just when you have it figured it out, something will happen! If you can manage the wild ride of raising kids, you can manage your own business.
Hayley Lowe Amarshi is a children’s book illustrator and mom to one darling little girl, Elsinoor. She and her husband…medium.com
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