Your Money and Business Questions Finally Answered

Alright my friends. The day is finally here. I am going to answer some of your questions about the nuts and bolts of running a business and dealing with money as a yoga teacher.

First, I think it must be acknowledged that money can be a challenging topic for our community. As teachers, we have often had our own deep healing experience with yoga, and it is an integral part of our spiritual practice. Because of this, charging money for teaching yoga can feel confusing. Much of what we see in the bottom line driven culture that is running through Corporate America is not at all aligned with our values of taking good care of each other and our planet. I know that creating a plan to grow one’s practice as a sustainable business can remind us of what we may despise about SuperCapitalism.

So really open your ears, and hear me when I say this:: Your students will benefit from your financial stability.  You will be able to help more students, on a deeper level, when you do not have to run yourself ragged just to pay your rent. {Tweet it!}

You are an educated professional whom (I’m assuming) has put a lot of time and money into your own continuing education. You work hard to be present and engaged with your students on a daily basis. You deserve to have a comfortable place to live, plenty of healthy food, health insurance, and the ability to provide those things for your family. Your students will benefit more from your teaching when you are able to take regular continuing education classes as well as vacations.


Sit with that. Give it time to weave its way into your heart.

In the meantime, Q and As from our community::

1. Do I request credit card information before we meet and keep a 24 hour cancellation policy? Or would that throw people off because they are weary about giving out that information at first?
2. Do I request payment at the beginning of our sessions or after? How/when/where is the best way to receive payment?

I think it is best to keep the teaching space and money space separate. I feel most comfortable when all the administrative business {payment and scheduling} is taken care of via email. Partly because then there is a time stamped record of exactly what took place. This is especially important for scheduling and canceled sessions. To that end, I invoice clients once a month for their previous sessions, and take check and credit card as payment. I can do that now because I know all my clients very well, and trust that they will pay me. As a newer teacher it might be good to have people buy packages of five and ten sessions ahead of time, and keep careful track of what session they are on.

For a first session I would make sure they know about the 24 hour cancellation policy, and then talk about how and when you would like to receive payment after they have had their first session. Depending on how busy you are, it might be a good policy to offer the first session for free, as a chance for people to try you out. Students might be more open to trying one free session then committing to a big package without ever working with you. {Then you can WOW them in the first session!} Once you have less time on your hands, you won’t be able to offer free sessions anymore.

3. How do you deal with vacations/life changes? Is it okay and how do you tell your clients that you’ll be going out of town for a couple weeks?

Of course it is okay {and good!} to take a break from teaching and it would be good to tell your clients about it as far ahead of time as you can. However, I will say this: Many people think that one of the perks of teaching private clients is that you can have a very flexible schedule and take time off whenever you would like. That may be true, but if you want to build a thriving, sustainable practice, it is not true for the first several {at least four or five} years. One of the most important things you can do for your business is show up consistently for your clients. That may mean taking vacations when most of them are away as well.

4. Do you ever offer something like a 6 month package?

I haven’t done that, but I think you should give it a try and see how it works for you! Health coaches often offer time centered packages and I think it works quite well for them. Talk to a graduate of Institute for Integrative Nutrition and see what they recommend.

5. How do you deal with your rate when a client refers you to someone?

I usually offer them the same rate, unless my schedule is very full or has a waiting list, and I have decided to raise my rate for new clients. I would even tell the client that is recommending you that you are raising your rate for new clients.

6. Do you think free/donation based yoga classes drive down the value people place on yoga instruction?

I certainly think there is a place for free or donation based yoga classes. I know that we all aspire to have these practices be available to all beings everywhere, and we wouldn’t want yoga to be something only the financially wealthy can afford. That said, if we also aspire for yoga teaching to be a career path that is respected and allows for sustainable income there must be some boundaries around free and donation based classes. I think this is actually a big and important topic, and it deserves it’s own blog post. Coming soon 😉

What other questions do you have around the topics of business and money?? I think this could be a regular segment. Ask away dear friends!

4 Responses to “Your Money and Business Questions Finally Answered”

  1. Mary

    What do you do when the client states that your fee for a
    private class is too much even though it is well below the going rate for the area?

    • Francesca Cervero

      Hmm. There are several directions I could take this. I will just give a simple answer here. If you are newer to the teaching path, and you have time on your hands, it may be appropriate to negotiate a rate they can afford. If you are quite busy, and have several clients that can afford to pay the going rate, you are by no means obliged to see someone for a greatly discounted rate. If you choose to do so intentionally as seva, you must make sure you are able to take care of yourself financially as well. Is that helpful Mary?


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