by Julie Aiello
I have spent the better part of the past year becoming a yoga teacher and entrepreneur. In the first few months of teaching and building my brand, I’ve done everything from writing newsletters to personal blog posts to getting on every new social media platform out there. I spent tons of time with my efforts scattered because I was in love with every aspect of the yoga practice and wanted to share that with everyone.
Recently, I took a step back and began to focus my attention on what I am really about and what I want to continue to be about: my strengths, my values, my brand. And how I could offer value that best reflected my brand.
Why is it critically important, especially as new yoga teachers, to create some outline of our brand?
As teachers, we often get wrapped up in the world of yoga gurus, masters, and trainings. For good reason, too – there are no shortcuts to being a guru. We have deep trust in our teachers, and as teachers ourselves, we are committed to growing in our practice and learning so that we can be better teachers.
Most yoga teachers are far from the guru state (myself included!), yet we have so much opportunity to create a deeply authentic, purposeful, and powerful brand that is reflective of our offering, our message, our story, and our values in a bigger way.
Your brand is the culmination of a few different aspects: you, as your most authentic and individual self, and your students.
Let’s break down the top 3 must have elements of your authentic and purposeful brand.
When there is trust, all else will follow. Students will come back to your classes over and over again if they trust you. You already have this. Any of your students that currently practice with you trust you.Trust and personal brands are built over the long term. The most important tactic I recommend is to be consistent in what you offer. Don’t jump around week to week. Teach a fairly similar class for at least a month. In tone, in style, in level of challenge. All of it.
Other ways to build trust:
– Keep your offerings high quality
– Create offerings with enough demand that you are not discounting. Discounting in the eyes of students can lead to their questioning the value of your offer
– While you can talk about being excited about what’s coming up in your world and promote your offerings authentically, continue to remind your students that there will always be opportunity for them to partake
– Always value their trust above a sale
2) Stand for something, and be clear about it.
If you could be known for only one thing, what would it be? If your students were to describe you to their friends, what would they say in one sentence?
Consider how new students find you, as this is likely a big contributor.Taking everything we are and all we do and summing it up in one or two sentences can be the most daunting task. But if your students can’t clearly say what they’re going to get from you and your offering, they’re less likely to remember it, come back, or tell their friends.
How can you identify more clearly what your brand is?
-Write. Jot down all that you believe you authentically are as a teacher, person, and in your brand. Write it all. You can always narrow.
-Talk to a few students you are close with. Give them a survey or have a conversation where you ask them how they would describe you. See where there are differences and where there are consistencies.
-If you’re asking your students for their help, how can you offer yours?
3) Offer value.
How are you offering value to your students? You can do this literally hundreds of ways. You can create lists of your favorite yoga books, share playlists, make short videos of yoga your students can do at work, before bed, or while traveling.
Whatever you do, make sure it’s aligned with your brand, your philosophy, and your offer. I believe all of this branding and business work to be incredibly powerful. I wouldn’t be spending much of my work on supporting yoga teachers in learning branding and business tools if I didn’t.
I recently invested a lot of time in starting a new podcast called Teach Yoga to share yoga teacher stories with new yoga teachers. I believe that this podcast will offer value to teachers both new and established (and this is also well-aligned with my own brand, as we build community and share inspiration, wisdom, and tools).