Is it dangerous to teach private clients??

Today’s blog post is inspired by an email exchange with a new teacher and friend of our community in California::

“Hi Francesca,
First, I’d like to thank you for the wealth of information you’ve offered on your blog. All of that information has already been very helpful to me in getting things together!
I just wanted to run one quick question by you. I’m starting this off all on my own, and obviously there’s a bit of nervousness/uncertainty involved with that. For some reason, my biggest concern is personal safety. As much as I try to be a trusting individual, there is still a sort of anxiety I have about being in a stranger’s home or inviting them into my home, even after interviewing or performing a background check. Is there any advice you have for protecting yourself while offering privates? Any information would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much for your time! “

My response:

I am so happy you have found my work and content helpful. It truly feels like my personal calling to inspire yoga teachers to do the inner work necessary to move forward in their professional work with clarity and confidence. I am always happy to meet friends on the path and hear how my offerings have helped them!

This is a really really great question, I am so glad you brought it up.

The concerns about personal safety are one of the main reasons I don’t recommend building a business through extensive advertising or online marketing. I built my whole private practice through referrals from current clients. Every new client I took on was a close friend or colleague of someone I was currently teaching, and they could vouch for them being good people.

Even then, there is still some risk involved for both of you. It is important to be grounded and self aware so you can listen to your intuition.  There are a few measures you can take before meeting with a new client to ensure your safety::

-Have a few email exchanges with the prospective client before you meet. If people are open to talking about their practice, and invest some time into communicating with you before meeting, that is a good sign.

-Have a chat on the phone or on Skype. You can get an even better feel for someone this way.

-Meet for the first few sessions in a neutral, public space, like a rented room at a studio.

-If you are going to their home for the first time, check out the area ahead of time to make sure the address is legit, and not too remote.

-Schedule {at least the first few} lessons when you know it will be light outside.

-Make sure someone who loves you knows the address of a new client before you go. {This sounds extreme, but it can’t hurt.}

This could also open up a conversation about student/teacher boundaries and appropriate relationships, but that is a big topic and I will save that for an upcoming blog post 🙂

I have recently taken on two clients who found me online, but that is not something I recommend to everyone. You have to feel really confident and comfortable with that idea first. It is not something I would have done early on in my teaching. Those two clients definitely went through an intense vetting process {like all the ideas listed above} before I went to see them.

If you are still feeling nervous, consider this:: It may be that what you are feeling is not actual danger, but the intense vulnerability that is inherent in a private session, {and this next part is really important} both for them AND for you. Teaching a private client is an incredibly intimate experience for you as a teacher, and especially as a new teacher, you may be feeling that quite intensely.

Sit with that, allow those feelings to exist. Get as much practice teaching under your belt as you can. Don’t rush into anything that doesn’t feel right, but don’t hold yourself {and your teachings} back because you are doing something new and scary. The world desperately needs the teachings you have to offer. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other on your path…

Sending all my love, y’all…

What do you think? Can you add in any other ideas to enhance your personal safety when you are meeting with a new private client for the first time?

2 Responses to “Is it dangerous to teach private clients??”

  1. Sarah Farnsworth

    Thank you! I am learning so much from you. Last week I watched your video of The Art and Science of Profitable Private Teaching from the 2013 Business of Yoga Conference (found on and it was amazing!

    I can really see how anxious I am. I want to get that intimacy with clients which is why I want to teach privates in the first place. But because I’m not at a comfortable level yet teaching my new group class I feel like I’ll never get there sometimes… But it’s OK. I’m new and I really feel myself getting better every day. My first class is a real challenge to me, with everyone being at least 40 years older than me and really fussy. I always worry I’m somehow going to hurt them or take them somewhere they don’t want to be — or maybe that they’ll take me somewhere I don’t want to be… But I’m beginning to attend more classes at all levels to help myself get inspired and feel more comfortable teaching seniors. I have been looking for new places to attend ever since I finished my training.

    Anyway, thanks so much Francesca! You’re helping me out a lot! 🙂


  2. Francesca Cervero

    Ah, fantastic! You are so welcome Sarah! There is so much vulnerability in taking the teachers seat, and I don’t think we talk about it enough. I think the more difficult and challenging your early teaching experiences are, the better! You will learn and grow so quickly! Sending love dear…


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