If you are going to take a yoga teacher training and dive into the business side of yoga by offering privates or teaching in a studio, then you have to be ready to market and sell yourself as a yoga teacher. I know this may sound like an odd concept, but here in the West where for the most part you only stand out if you market yourself, if you want to become a successful yoga teacher, you will need to embrace this concept. This also means if you have any shyness or insecurities about yourself you will need to take the time to transform these issues.
For most yoga teachers, the idea of having to “sell yourself” can seem pretty weird or even cheesy. I mean, you are a person and a yoga teacher so why should you be selling yourself? The answer to that is simple: Because you want people to believe in you as a teacher and for people to trust you with their health. In short, selling yourself as a yoga teacher is really another way of saying that you need to gain peoples trust.
If you have ever been in sales or know anyone who has, they will confirm that the biggest hurdle in sells is to gain peoples trust. If you look at any big yoga teacher out there, they have all sold themselves in one way (note: selling yourself does not have to mean selling out) When you think of any of your favorite yoga teachers, think to yourself why you admire them so much and I can almost guarantee you that how they speak and teach rings true for you so they have gained your trust. And the way they gained your trust was by selling themselves to you. It was so subtle you didn’t even know it was happening!
In the East where yoga was born, students sought out teachers for them to become their gurus. Having a guru in India is very common and is not as taboo as it sounds. All guru means is “teacher” and students would hear about teachers being profound and they would seek them out. In India, the guru did not have to sell himself because his disciples did all the talking for them. But here in the West where having a guru is quite odd and “business” is the way we handle our transactions in life, if you want to make it as a well known yoga teacher, you will need to do some selling.
The reason why so many of us (especially in the “do-good” movement) don’t like the idea of selling is because we grew up around cheesy car salesmens and other tricksters always scamming people for money. We have had one too many bad experiences with pushy sales people trying to sale us something we don’t want and then we got a really poor taste in our mouth about selling. This same scenario is very similar to how most of us associated money with being bad because we saw other people with money being jerks. This was covered in a recent article Making Money As A Yoga Teacher.
It’s unfortunate that there have been so many businesses and people that have used poor tactics to market their business. It’s given marketing a bad name. Remember, all marketing is just communication. What makes some marketing cheesy or “bad” is “how” people have chosen to communicate their product or service with the world. Marketing is not a bad word. A lot of yoga teachers I speak with don’t like marketing because they think its some grotesque corporate thing and that yoga is a deeper and meaningful essence that should not be marketed. I always turn it around to these yoga teachers and ask, “Have you ever shared with someone something you cherish? Have you every told someone about an idea you really believe in? That’s marketing!” What makes marketing cheesy for most of us is “how” the message is delivered.
Well, the first thing you need to do is redefine your definition of “selling” You see, what most people don’t realize is that we are all selling ourselves every day just by being who we are. But some of us do it better then others because those people are conscious of the fact that they are selling themselves and don’t see this as negative. These are the people our society would see as outgoing, charming, charismatic, and so forth; while the people who are not aware of this are the shy and insecure people. For some reason in their early childhood, they established a belief that tells them that being confident or sure of themselves is bad.
So if you are one of those people who have a hard time “selling” yourself, the first thing you need to do is redefine the term “selling” into one that is not associated with a negative belief. Most of us see selling as some cheesy car salesmen so we run from the idea of having to sell anything. But in reality, marketing and selling yourself as a yoga teacher just means truly believing in your capabilities and not feeling bad because you are putting yourself out there. Just because you are confident about yourself does not mean you are putting others down or saying you are better then anyone. All you are doing is acknowledging your own value and letting others know about it. The trick is to do it in a way you feel good about.
If you are having any insecurities or doubts about marketing yourself, the first questions you need to ask yourself is this:
As a coach when I go through this practice with people, the answers tend to fall in these categories:
There are many variances of the above reasons, but they fall into those as the main category. Lets go through each one by one:
1. I am afraid of failing
Failing is something you experience when you don’t try or do your best. As long as you did your best, you did not fail.
This belief has to be the number one reason people do not try in life and the irony is that all successful people became successful through trial and error.
2. I am afraid I am not good enough
You will NEVER be perfect. You just have to jump in and keep pushing and learn as you go. The great ones are never afraid of making mistakes and know this is part of the process.
3. Something happened in the past that did not work out
When this happened you chose a negative belief about the experience instead of choosing to find the positive. I guarantee you that if you chose to use that experience in a positive way and find a way to grow from it, you won’t experience it as something negative.
So as you start your path of becoming a yoga teacher, just remember that:
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