HOW TO USE YOUR STORY TO GROW YOUR YOGA BUSINESS
One of the fundamental truths of running a successful yoga business, is understanding that our clients aren’t paying us for the service we provide; rather, they pay us for how we make them feel.
If you can help people feel stronger, healthier, more peaceful or confident, more in love with their life – whatever the magic fairy dust is that you sprinkle – you will create a solid base of loyal customers who keep coming back for more. This is true for ALL of us in the health, wellness, and fitness industry.
Now here’s a secret that I’ve learned from over 17 years as a yoga professional, and more than 20 years as a Career & Business Coach: when you are trying to attract new clients (otherwise known as “marketing”), it’s impossible for people to know how you will make them feel. Until they experience your awesomeness, they are simply going on faith they you can help them. So why will someone choose to work with you, versus someone else who provides the exact same service? The answer is simple. It’s your story.
It took me a while to learn this lesson myself, because I never thought of myself as having a “story” that was particularly worth sharing, and I bet MANY of you can relate to that.
But guess what? You do have a story. Maybe even multiple stories that create an extremely compelling life history. The kind of history that makes potential clients think: “She is so inspiring! I must work with her,” or “She knows exactly how I feel, she’s been there herself.” And your task, my friend, is to share your story. In fact, if you want to have an authentic, heartfelt, highly successful yoga business, I recommend not only sharing your story, but basing your entire business model on it.
Here’s how it unfolded for me:
Part of my story is that my mother died of cancer when I was 10 years old, and I myself was diagnosed with cancer in 2003. This was the inspiration for me to develop a specialty niche in therapeutic yoga for cancer survivors. This led to teaching classes at cancer centers, building a thriving private clientele, training other teachers, traveling nationally and internationally, presenting at conferences, and more. In short, my story became my brand, and a successful one at that, because I was so passionate about sharing the benefits of yoga with others who had a similar story.
Once I had clarity of purpose, it was like a laser beam of intention began to connect me with my target market. Things began to flow much more easily. I still worked very hard, to be sure, but the path was clear and filled with the right opportunities – all related to my story.
And that is what I want for you, a sense of ownership for your story, and complete faith that your story is relevant and riveting; not to everyone, of course, but to the right ones. Once you’ve captured your story, the puzzle pieces start to fall into place: you will identify your specialty niche, which then provides a focus for all your yoga business efforts, which – finally! – provides a sense of flow and success.
I have no doubt that many of you are rock solid in this department, already, so congratulations on knowing YOUR story, morning glory!
And if you need some strategic support in this area, this is a friendly reminder that this is precisely what I do as a Career & Business Coach. You can learn more about that here, or sign up for a complimentary discovery session below to see if coaching makes sense for your particular situation.
Leave a comment:
What’s YOUR story?! I’d love to know if and how you are incorporating your own life history into your business. Please share in the comments below.
Hey Laura – I’m sending this post to out Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy students as I just taught on how to clarify their story in order to connect with and talk to potential clients. This gets to the heart of why. THANK YOU for being out in the world and doing your work. Soleil*
I love that synchronicity Soleil! Thanks for the beautiful work you are doing in the world, and thanks for sharing my post
Dear Laura ,
Your post this owning was heaven sent ! I have been toying with how to formalise my work and put more structure to it. Am going to register for the coaching session.
Thank you for this !!!!
Thanks Sujaya! So glad you found this helpful, that’s terrific. I will look forward to connecting with you when you book your discovery session. It sounds like you are ready to move forward in a bigger, bolder way – hurray!
I worked for more than twenty years as a massage therapist, a career that evolved from a childhood experience of touching someone in a healing way and loving it. Then I was a passenger in an auto accident, two more, and a victim of an assault. I couldn’t sit or stand for long, much less work over a table. But I had also been an intermittent yoga student for twenty years and yoga was helping me to find my mobility again. Knowing that I could always lie on the floor in a yoga studio if I needed to, I decided to try Yoga Teacher Training, with the hope of teaching it therapeutically.
Now, four years after completing my 200-hour training, I’ve graduated from the 300-hour advanced level and competed several related certifications and workshops. I teach and practice mainly Restorative Yoga, and specializing in helping people as part of their healing from motor vehicle accidents.
My work is paced to accommodate my needs and maximize my abilities. I can support myself at a basic level, and my practice is growing. I am happy.
Simultaneously, I followed the advice of a friend with similar experience: make sure you Do whatever it is you need to do to not become bitter! All my life I had wanted to become an artist, and has stepped onto that path just before the accident. To prevent the onset of bitterness, I enrolled in the visual arts program at university (where they are mandated to provide excellent accommodations for people with disabilities). It is one thing that helps take my mind off my pain and my setbacks, and my motivation to do it is so high that somehow, I manage to get there, even on difficult days. I do enjoy being a part of this community.
Robin … I so appreciate you sharing your story and bow deeply to who you are, all you have experienced, and the way you have created, and recreated your life, as things have shifted for you. If I could used emojis here you’d be getting a zillion applause and hearts. In short, you rock.
Thanks for this, Laura. I generally feel, deep down, confident and not at all ashamed of MY STORY, but often realize that I keep it quiet because I think that if I don’t present myself as all “perfect” in the past and present, people won’t take me seriously or won’t think that they have anything to learn from me. I’m constantly reminded that the more I share with people (at appropriate times of course) the more people feel they can relate to me, and want to connect with me. Its the opposite of my tendency – the more open I am, the more accepting and wanting to connect other people are?!
Jamie I totally relate! It seems so paradoxical that the more “appropriately vulnerable” we are, the more others are drawn to us. This is an ongoing practice for me, for sure, as I am typically a pretty private person. But you of all people have SO MUCH experience to share from your heart. You gotta let that $#!€ out my dear! People want to hear it.
Hi Laura, as Soleil says, this was perfectly timed, I was on a conference call with Yoga of Recovery counselors and Shanna pointed out that she was working on her own “Durga story” as she put it. She sees how I use my own personal story to introduce and teach both Yoga and Ayurveda to help those with addictive/self-destructive behaviors. It is spontaneous, natural and authentic for me – it links me to the ancient teachings – through deep need, to save my own life – therefore people connect with it. I sent this on to my students also – thank you. I look forward to our webinar in Oct : )
om shanti, Durga
We are all looking forward to hearing the “Durga story” in October! And you totally nailed it when you wrote that it has to feel natural and authentic. Our story is not something we contrive, it’s something that is already there and we simply have to get comfy sharing it with others. Thanks so much for your comment!
YES Laura! Such a simple concept and yet so powerful. Thanks for sharing. I need to lead with my personal story too.
Yes Erika! You’ve got a GREAT story and are so good at connecting with people. Work it, sister!