Build Your Yoga Business with Substance and Soul

Many of us yogis are also creative business owners. This savvy business article was shared by our friend Brooke Roberts at Yoga Travel Tree who is launching her Soulful Business Bootcamp this October 2014. Thanks for the insights Brooke!

DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH SUBSTANCE IN YOUR BUSINESS?

When growing your business on or offline, the biggest mistake I see many entrepreneurs make is that they get lost in the weeds of “style.” They want a perfect logo, a complex and fancy website, business cards, professional headshots, and the like.

Don’t get me wrong. All of these things are important in the overall big picture of your company and brand. These things will help you craft your brand and the persona you want your company to take on in the world. It’s important, yes. But many people start with the “pretty stuff” and fail to develop the “important stuff.”

When you’re first starting out (or really any time in your business), you need to focus on the core, the substance of your business.  You can have the most beautiful website in the world, but if you don’t have the content and substance to attract your ideal audience and clients, you’ll just be another pretty logo and have a hobby instead of a thriving company.

KNOW THYSELF, KNOW THY AUDIENCE

Before you can begin generating and creating amazing content, you first have to know who you are and what you stand for as a company, brand, and person. What do you stand for? What are your values? What is your ultimate vision and mission for your company and life? What type of people do you want in your community (and as clients)? What is your “why”…and it has to be more than to make money.

Once you’ve done some soul-searching and major mind mapping of these questions, you can then start brainstorming content, products, offerings, and services that fit within the overall vision and voice of your company.

Substance overstyle

MASTER YOUR CRAFT

Once you know your secret sauce, your mojo, mission, and motivation for your business, you have to then start singing for your supper. This means you need to demonstrate in multiple ways why you are an expert in your field. Why should people listen to you and your company? You have to have some real experience and knowledge about what you’re putting out into the world.

If you’re a yoga teacher, you need to show that you have experience teaching and advanced training. If you’re doing wellness coaching, you need to show that you’ve earned certifications or degrees in the subject, have testimonials from happy clients, and can show that you are continually learning to grow your own expertise.

And if you’re new and trying to launch, you need dedicate yourself fully to mastering your expertise AND gaining valuable experience. If you want to teach workshops all about restorative yoga, be sure you’ve done some workshops on that topic yourself, gotten advanced training in that specialty, or taught numerous hours of classes in the style. Establishing street cred takes more than just reading up on a subject or getting your basic certification. Experience will say volumes about your credibility.

SHARE THE JOURNEY

If you’re just starting out, trying to convince people that you know your stuff and that they should listen to what you have to say (and invest their money in your company!) can be very challenging. After all, we are all weary of the new “big” thing. It takes a lot of courage to be “the first” to buy in to anything.

This is where you have to be creative and hustle even harder to start showing your credibility.

However, being new can often be one of the most amazing marketing strategies of all. Why? Because you can take people on the journey with you! If you’re starting your yoga teaching career, for example, document the process and show people the amazing side…and the hard, challenging elements too. People love to follow a journey (think about the success of reality TV). Take people on the ride with you. Use your novice status as leverage for growing your audience.

Of course, this requires an incredible amount of humility. Your ego will get in the way of really showing the trials and tribulations of the process. However, your community will grow just because they’ll respect your candor and openness…and feel invested in your journey.

And while you’re sharing the journey…you’ll also be establishing considerable credibility and expertise in your field. You’ll be able to say “Many people say to do X, Y, Z…and I’ve tried that. Here’s the truth. Here’s what worked for me.”

Want some examples? Here you go. Buffer is a traditional start-up in Silicon Valley that has a complete transparency mission for their company. Yes, they offer a great social media tech service, but they also take people along for the ride. They share salaries, why they make certain strategic decisions, what worked, what failed, and more. And people love them for it.

A completely different example is @GetFitYogaGirl on Instagram. No, she’s not a company per se, but she has cultivated a great brand, following, and expertise in yoga. Over the past year and half, she’s documented her yoga journey from a complete newbie to a really advanced asana practitioner. And now she’s poised to launch a company of her own with an incredible following and brand that respects and trusts her.

ESTABLISH CREDIBILITY

Regardless of whether you’re the new kid on the block (“Hangin’ Tough” → NKOTB shout-out!) or you’ve been at this for years, you have to start strategically sharing your mission, vision, and expertise beyond your own audience.

For every post you write for your own site, you need to write two for other sites. This is where the true hustle comes in…and where most people fail. If you aren’t willing to do the outreach, make the calls, and share your passion with the world, how can you expect other people to share your message for you?

Put together excellent content and start connecting with other companies and websites in your vertical and related verticals and pitching guest articles and posts. The best way to grow your audience and client base is to get in front of other companies’ audiences.

Also, consider some strategic partnerships with other people at or near your level. When you can join forces with another company or brand, it will help reinforce your credibility. In these situations, often 1+1=3.

Just remember that you won’t win over potential clients with a pretty display. You must have legitimate substance first…then start forming the style and pretty branding behind it. Your future clients will be more motivated by your “Why”…and the rest should all be a nicecompliment to that.

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Brooke Roberts is the Founder and CEO of YogaTravelTree.com, a wellness travel company specializing in insightful resources and articles, experiential yoga adventure retreats around the world, practical and powerful yoga teacher trainings, and soulful business coaching. She’s spent the better part of her career as a travel company executive traveling around the world helping design, manage, and promote meaningful travel experiences. Hailing from Kansas and Colorado, you can find her nomadically exploring the US with her pup named Barnaby. Learn more at  Yoga Travel Tree and follow along on Brooke’s entrepreneurial journey at www.TheNewDorothy.com and on Twitter and Instagram.

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