How to Get Paid (Doing Work That Doesn’t Pay Well)

Namaste, Jen! In the interests of my long-term health, doing what I love, and creating an extra income stream / side-career, I’m starting yoga teacher training. The course is $3000 (Level 1, to get registered, more for Level 2). The common path will be to teach at gyms or yoga studios, paid by the hour. Surely there must be a better (more fun, in demand, and higher income producing) path. Perhaps: dedicated classes for certain groups or ailments, yoga retreats…? Any enjoyable and Bullish ideas?

Great question!

It’s true that yoga teachers do not, in general, make a lot of money, in large part because so many people have “followed their passion” — and an awful lot of people have the same passions.

Dedicated classes are a great idea. Yoga for tennis players, yoga for fibromyalgia, yoga for Republicans…. Just kidding on that last one. Sort of. I mean, there are people who have money and who would like to do yoga, but they don’t want to do it in a sweaty public space with a bunch of twentysomething hippies. (Not that that’s a fair characterization of people who do yoga, but I’m sure there are people who think that’s what yoga is like.)

So, yoga for executives? (The transcendental meditation people opened a center right off Wall Street called the Center for Leadership Performance. You’d never know that something called the Center for Leadership Performance” is David Lynch-affiliated.)

People like to be invited to something, and to feel welcomed, and not to feel stupid. Someone who’s older and has money is not used to feeling like a beginner, or feeling incompetent. Such a person does not want to go to their first yoga class at age 40 and be bested by people who look like their interns.

If you decide to work with people one-on-one (a great way to have basically zero overhead), don’t just put up a website where you say “Private sessions, $100/hr.” Make packages.

As in, “6 Weeks to Calm” and “12 Week Strengthen and Tone.” Describe the benefits and the skills the person will gain. Let them check out online, and then you give them a call. A lot of people who want a high-end private service don’t want to call you and work out exactly what it is they want: they want you to prescribe them something. They want you to make promises. They don’t want to feel dumb explaining what they want in an area in which they are not experts.

Also, if you develop a package or program, try to turn it into products as well: a Udemy class, a DVD (older, richer people still buy those!), an e-book, an audio series people can listen to on headphones while they practice. Etc.

Good luck!