How to make passive income as a yoga teacher

If you want to enjoy your yoga career long term, you need to learn how to make a passive income as a yoga teacher. The alternative is working split shifts morning and night every day, or worse, taking on other part-time work just to make ends meet. If you are ready to make a change from what is an unsustainable work life, read on.

[Side note. Does anyone else find it ironic that burn out is so common amongst yoga teachers, when the core focus of our work is healing the nervous system?]

passive income as a yoga teacher

What is passive income?

Before we get into the “how”, let’s define what I mean when I say “passive income”.

Firstly, no income is entirely passive. Don’t believe the instagram hype that you can sit on a beach and make money. You can’t. The people who take those photos are either trying to sell you a MLM scheme or they do a lot of work at other times of day to make their money.

The passive part of “passive income” refers to you not having to always trade time for money. You can create something, do the work initially, then sell that same creation multiple times over, therefore receiving income for no extra effort. You can make passive income in a number of different ways, and some types of passive income require more ongoing effort than others.

For example; I have a number of offerings in my business that create passive income for me. All require varying levels of ongoing work. My monthly membership (Online Yoga Circle) brings in reoccurring money, but as it’s a membership I also need to add content each week to encourage my members to stick around. My stand-alone fertility yoga course however, only gets a refresh a couple of times per year. Otherwise it doesn’t need me to do any additional work (other than respond to customer emails) to earn money.

Why should you aim to create a passive income?

Your reason for creating passive income might be different to mine. For me, I want my business to operate (mostly) without me, so that I am free to schedule my week how I want. I need my business to work passively so that I can take sick days with my kids, or go on holidays without worrying about taking work with me. I want to be there for sports days and be able to drop them off and pick them up without hustling them out the door to get to work on time.

The ability to schedule your own week is a popular reason for creating passive income. Other reasons you might want to create passive income as a yoga teacher includes;

  • wanting the freedom to travel (you can travel around the world teaching yoga without worrying about where you’ll find jobs)
  • creating financial security (teaching yoga online can help create a stable income to buy a house or pay one off faster, which can be tricky as a contractor)
  • wanting to create the freedom to work on passion projects (once you start earning money passively, you are free choose work to help those you want to, rather than choosing work based on how it will pay)
passive income as a yoga teacher

How to make passive income as a yoga teacher?

There are thousands of websites out there that will tell you how to make passive income. Some might even specifically talk about teaching yoga. However, most overcomplicate the process and I think a lot of teachers get overwhelmed before they even start.

So let’s keep it simple hey?

At the heart of it, you need to create something that you can sell multiple times. We can work out the ‘how you will sell it’ and ‘how you will take payments’ and ‘what platform you will use to share it’ later. Don’t get caught up in the logistics at this stage.

Start with what you would like to offer your community. What will serve them? What problem will you help them ease with your yoga offering?

In its simplest form, this could look like recording a yoga workshop and emailing your students to ask if they would like to buy the replay. Then, every time you email your students to tell them about your current class schedule, you could tell them more about the virtual workshop and why they should sign up.

You might then build the workshop out into a series of workshops on a common topic, and sell it for a higher price as an online course. Again, I would start by simply sharing with my current students via email and social media. You might even get some friends to try it in return for feedback.

Once you’re happy with your paid offering, have some positive feedback and know how to talk about it (i.e. sell it) you can work on building passive marketing around it. I say passive, because I don’t just want you to go on instagram every week and tell people the same thing.

Social media can be a part of your strategy for sure. I love instagram with the best of them. But if you want your business marketing without you, you need to learn how to get those search gods working for you and bringing people to your website without lifting a finger.

How do I passively market my yoga offerings?

In order for your yoga business to be ‘passive’ your products need to sell themselves. Which of course, they won’t. But some clever internet automation and keyword knowledge will!

Essentially you want to create a business that moves your community through enjoying helpful free content (videos and articles), into your email list and email sequence (where you will offer more awesome yoga information), and then eventually you’ll offer them your paid products (which by this time they’ll be so ready to support because they’re already blown away by all the free value you’ve given them).

Now fair warning – this process takes time. You can’t just throw up one article or video on YouTube and expect to have enough traffic moving through your business to make hundreds of sales.

To make it easier to understand I’ve created a flowchart of this business structure below. I’ve left spaces in this template (which you can download here) so that you can jot down some ideas and start thinking about how this structure might work for your style of yoga teaching.

passive income as a yoga teacher

What tech skills do I need to run a passive income yoga business?

I’d recommend starting with ONE social platform, your own website and a place to build an email list and automated series.

One social platform

I say one social platform only because otherwise you’ll get overwhelmed and lost in social media instead of building your business. Don’t fall into that mistake. Limit your efforts to one social media only to start with. (I like instagram). You can always expand into others later once you’ve mastered this one. Use this social space to practise talking about your offerings. The more you talk about what you’re offering, the clearer you’ll become on who you serve. AND of course, every time you post is just one more opportunity for your community to start finding you.

Your own website

Having your own website (preferably a self-hosted WordPress site which will grow with you) is really important. This way, you own what you’re creating. You aren’t at the whim of another company, (like Instagram, Facebook or Youtube), who could potentially delete your account if they choose. Having a digital home for your business is also just smart. This is the place that you’ll share all of your work in one place. This way the search gods can start sending the right people your way. This is also the central place where you’ll share information about all the beautiful offerings you’re creating.

An email platform

Finally, a place to build your email list (and send regular emails to them) is something you really should start from the first class you teach. (Don’t worry if you haven’t yet though – it’s never too late to start.) Sure, you could just do this with an excel spreadsheet and a gmail account. But long-term, this isn’t a smart or automated way of doing business. Long term, this will just make your life harder.

You want to join an email marketing platform that will give you the option to give free offerings in return for their email address. You also need to be able to send an automated (IE. pre-written and automatic) series of emails to those people. Keeping in touch regularly with your community is how you build strong relationship with them. Your community needs to know, like and trust you before they will buy from you. Building genuine relationships and showing them how yoga can help them with their struggles is how you build a meaningful, and profitable, online yoga business.

Back to my point though, there are lots of email marketing companies out there. Many of them are wonderful. I personally use Active Campaign, and while you can definitely find cheaper alternatives; their automation features really can’t be beaten. (Which is exactly what you need if you want your business to do the work for you.)

passive income as a yoga teacher

How long will it take to build passive income?

While I understand your impatience, I’m also enjoying the irony. Don’t we tell our students all the time – “Breathe. Trust. All that is meant for you is coming

But in all seriousness, I understand why you are questioning whether or not it is worth spending your time to create these offerings, when you may not be paid for them for many months.

I can’t give you a fixed date in the future for when you’ll start seeing money from this method. I can tell you that it works.

These days, I only create one or two yoga classes each week. But I earn well beyond what I would teaching the standard 12+ studio yoga classes each week. Now, I get paid many times over for all the work I did years ago. It was worth all that time creating, even though back then it felt like I creating classes for crickets. You have to keep your vision of what your business will be in the forefront of your mind.

I think you should commit to following this method for at least 6 months. Too often I see people wasting time chasing shiny new marketing strategies, instead of just doing the work to build their business. If you’re regularly creating content on your website and/or YouTube for at least 6 months, you should start to see some traction and see your community growing.

How to build your passive income faster?

To help your community find you faster, it is helpful to focus your yoga classes for one core group of people. For example, if I was starting out, I would choose to focus entirely on pregnant women who want to use yoga for birth and are feeling anxious about birth, rather than trying to serve all pregnant women or even all women in general.

The more specific you can be with your offerings the easier it will be to find your community. This is true for social media (because your messaging and way you talk about your offerings will be a lot clearer) and for search (because the search gods love when you use consistent key words and they can direct the right people to you).

I know, I know. I can already hear you saying – “But I don’t want to exclude anyone?! Yoga is for all everyone.” Yes, you are right. Yoga is for everyone. But YOU aren’t and can’t be if you want to build a profitable online business. If you try and appeal to everyone, you’ll appeal to no one. Start by working with a very small targeted group and you can always expand out later. Remember all of the work you create now doesn’t go away. It will live on your website and continue to be found. So as you build your business you can expand out to others once you have established yourself clearly.

Where to from here?

So I realise I’ve just given you a boat load of information and I hope you’re not feeling too overwhelmed. Remember, keep it super simple at the start.

  1. Choose a small group of people in your community and work out how you would like to serve them.
  2. Create something you can sell multiple times (Eg. a virtual workshop, an ebook, a video class).
  3. Offer it to your community.
  4. Once you’ve got feedback you can start thinking about how you will scale this to build your business. This template will help.

Start with these three steps and do your best to not get too overwhelmed by the big picture of what your business will look like. Trust me, if I can build an online business during nap time and between classes, just by googling everything I needed to know…you can too.

Now… over to you. Who do you want to serve? What do you want to create?

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