Unless you’ve just awoken from a deep meditative state, or come back from a soul rejuvenating 14-day retreat in the mountains, you’ve probably heard that COVID-19 is here, and it is deeply impacting our teaching community with sudden closures, social distancing, and canceled events. It’s a scary and unknown time, but it doesn't have to be the end of your yoga business.
This is the time to think outside-the-box, and take your yoga teaching online to continue fostering your community, expand your offerings, and survive the feast or famine cycle that an unexpected event like this can cause.
As many are wondering how they will ever survive this, I wanted to share 5 steps to get your yoga teaching online today.
"An online model should be accepted with open arms and seen as a challenge that you’re willing to take for the longevity of your business and the benefit of your students that need you more now than ever."
Accepting the change is the first step to bringing your yoga teaching online. If you’re still hung up on if you should convert to online, or maybe this will all blow over in a few days, technology scares you or perhaps you’re concerned that sharing the ancient practice of yoga online is somehow an illegitimate representation of the practice, you will never get online.
I know that for many navigating the online space, and learning how to convert your offerings online can seem overwhelming and daunting, but don’t let this deter you. Remember, you don’t have to keep it like this forever, and one day this too shall pass, but until then committing to convert your business to an online model should be accepted with open arms and seen as a challenge that you’re willing to take for the longevity of your business and the benefit of your students that need you more now than ever. You can take your teaching online, you just have to commit to it and take the leap.
"Right now is not the time to reinvent the wheel, or design an entirely new program or service. Keep it simple and continue to offer what you were already teaching except online."
Studios are closing, classes are canceled and all events are off until further notice. This means that you need to start teaching yoga online now - if you still want a paycheck this month.
Right now is not the time to reinvent the wheel, or design an entirely new program or service. Keep it simple and continue to offer what you were already teaching except online.
Try to keep as much normalcy for yourself and your students as possible during this time.
"The easiest and fastest ways are Facebook LIVE, Zoom video conferencing, and Patreon"
This is where the rubber meets the road. How do you actually get your yoga teaching online? First make a plan. What will you offer, when will you offer it, how will your students access the class and how much will you charge for it.
Yes, I do think that it is important that you continue to charge for your services. If you decide that you charge a slightly reduced rate because of the change to online, that’s up to you, but remember that these students are still paying for your time and you are providing a service for them and you should be compensated.
Once you have decided which classes you will offer and when, you will need to decide how to share this content with your students. The easiest and fastest ways are Facebook LIVE, Zoom video conferencing, Patreon, or emailing pre-recorded classes to students. Of all these options, Patreon is the only one that has collecting payment integrated into their software. But a simple way to collect payments for live streams, Zoom conferencing, or before you email content is to set up a PayPal or Stripe account and request payment before you provide the link to the class, or the recorded class.
Remember, you can choose if you want to share video or if you just want to do audio. Both work, and it just depends on what you’re teaching and what you think is best for your offerings.
Once you have worked out these logistics, then you’re ready to tell your students. If you’re struggling with filming, or the technology side of the software, go on YouTube and search for online tutorials on your software, these will walk you through step by step and get you going.
"I suggest having a pre-typed response or FAQ page to save yourself time and to clearly communicate with your students how online classes will work."
The minute you share with your students you will be taking your classes online you will get a lot of questions. Make sure that you have planned ahead and can clearly communicate with your students how they will take the class, what they will need for it, how much it costs, and your policy for if they can’t make the live event. I suggest having a pre-typed response or FAQ page to save yourself time and to clearly communicate with your students how online classes will work.
When you communicate with your students, make sure that you are remaining positive and sharing with your students the benefits of being able to continue their practice even if it is from home. Tell them that you hope they will give you the opportunity to continue to share your love of yoga even from this different format, and keep your language positive, optimistic, and confident during this time.
Of course we are all struggling with what is happening right now, but our students are counting on you to continue to lead them on the positive path and that begins with your language and mindset around this change.
"If you are waiting for your online teaching or offering to be perfect, you will never get it off the ground."
Finally, but perhaps one of the most important items is don’t wait for perfection. If you are waiting for your online teaching or offering to be perfect, you will never get it off the ground. We are all navigating these changes together, and your students will be understanding and compassionate that you’re doing the best you can with the situation at hand.
At first your online teaching might feel a bit clunky, or awkward but don’t give up. Each time you do it you will get better at it, and it will feel more natural.
Remember, that you don’t need fancy equipment, or a beautiful home yoga space, or an online studio before you can start. Even something as simple as placing your Laptop on your coffee table, or placing your smartphone on a stack of yoga blocks and starting a live stream will do.
If you’re recording audio, just use a set of headphones with a built in microphone and a voice memo app on your phone.
Simple setups can be extremely effective, and will get you going much faster. If you run into technology struggles, remember that Google is your best friend. There are many online tutorials that will walk you through exactly what you need - you just have to type it in the search box.
As a yoga community we are navigating this change in real time and as teachers we have the opportunity to continue to serve our students and keep our businesses afloat while we ride this wave. Making a few simple changes, and keeping our minds open to new methods of teaching might be just what your community needs.
Remember, done is better than perfect, and with some simple planning, and a bit of work on the front end you could be teaching your first online class within a day. If you’re currently thinking about expanding your online teaching, or have more time to create something new then check out this article on how to take your teaching online written earlier this year.
A note from beYogi:
As your business needs change over the next few weeks, I just wanted to make sure you knew that beYogi's yoga teacher insurance covers live streaming sessions.
We know we need to be flexible right now due to COVID-19, so here's are a few options to stay covered:
Thank you, and be safe!