Changing Your Yoga Studio without Burning Bridges
There’s a moment in every yoga teacher’s career when a decision needs to be made…do I stay or do I go?
You’ve been teaching at a studio since you became a yoga teacher but now, you’re SO ready for a change. Maybe you’re craving different studio vibes, maybe you’re breaking out on to your own, maybe you’re not getting on with your boss. Whatever the case, the act of switching your classes over from one studio or gym to another is tricky – how do you change up the location of your classes and convince your students to follow you?
This can be challenging as your students might like your classes but they may not be willing to follow you for reasons that include proximity to their work or home, price of the classes, vibe of the studio space, or simply the effort of moving to a different yoga environment. To help you navigate a studio switch, here are my top three tips for maintaining student retention, if you choose to make the move.
1) Offer your current students a deal at the new space you’re asking them to move to. Now, I know what you’re thinking – you don’t have the power to do this as you’re not the studio owner (unless you are). What so many yoga teachers don’t realize is that studio owners LOVE it when their teachers take the initiative and come up with ways to increase class sizes on their own. This helps take the burden off the studio owners’ backs! So, don’t ever be afraid to ask for permission to cut a student a deal, or even offer a welcoming gift like a yoga mat or some other studio swag like a water bottle.
2) Develop a personal relationship with your students so that they feel more like friends than clients. By creating a closer relationship with them they’ll feel more loyal to you and therefore more likely to follow you if you switch studios. this is what building a tribe is all about! To build a deeper rapport with your students, try genuinely asking how they’re doing and then listening to their answer. So, for example, if they tell you they’re feeling down because their sister is sick, you can then ask them about the health of their sister the next time they’re in class. Get to know them and really listen! This might seem like common sense but many yoga teachers don’t want to invest the effort required to build these relationships. That’s a HUGE mistake.
3) Get a website. Now many of you probably already have one but in case you don’t, now is the time. A website (preferably with your name in the URL) can help your students find you. This way, students who haven’t been to class in a while will know where to look for you when they realize you’re no longer teaching where you used to be! Be sure to list the classes you teach on your website (and their location) and update it whenever your schedule changes. If you’re stubborn and refuse to develop a website, then at least be sure to have a Facebook page dedicated to your yoga classes (and keep it up to date!).
Whether you make the decision to switch studios or not, may your classes always be full, your students be happy, and your career fulfilling!
Not sure if you should be leaving your yoga studio? It might be time to get clear on your yoga teaching goals and figure out how to manifest your path forward. The Yoga Teacher Prep Business Academy guides you through determining your purpose as a teacher right through to building a fulfilling and balanced yoga teaching career with integrity.