Conversation with Inga Bentley
Feeling like things just aren’t working in your business? Or worried about what others might be thinking about your yoga business?
You’re not alone. My student Inga Bentley navigated all of these thoughts and more during this past year and she finally let go of what wasn’t serving her.
For her, this meant closing down her studio space and pivoting her business during the pandemic. Now her business is thriving because she truly stepped into who she is as a business owner and yoga teacher. She’s making more money than she was before but more importantly, she’s incredibly happy.
Get your heart and your notepad ready, my friend! Inspiration’s coming your way!
Stop doing these two things right now in your yoga business
These two mindset blocks might be keeping you from having success in your yoga business.
1. "Shoulding" yourself
Do you feel like you “should” be doing certain things in your business? What is it that you really want to do?
"I opened a studio and it was profitable right since the beginning. But even though it was profitable, and even though it was successful, it wasn't fulfilling me, and it wasn't make me happy." - Inga Bentley
Profitability is great, but there's also this other component: Something can be working very well, and be profitable, and still not be the thing that you want to do.
"I thought - why am I forcing something that isn't working when I can potentially be doing something different and pivot?" - Inga Bentley
If what you're doing is profitable but not fulfilling, then it's worth taking another look and really considering if you want to continue doing what you're doing. Remember: Letting go makes space for better things. If something isn't serving you (for any reason), letting it go can make space for new, better things in your life.
2. Worrying about what other people think
Are you constantly thinking about what others think about your decisions instead of asking yourself "Is this what I really want?"
If we are all honest about the emotions that we navigate as a business owner, decisions can sometimes come down to: 'What are other people going to think of that?' 'What are other people going to think if it doesn't work?' 'What are other people going to think if it's silly?'
"Everyone is looking at you going 'What the heck are you thinking? Why would you do this? It's not going to work for you. It's never going to be what you want it to be.' And you're thinking - Were they all right? Am I failure? Am I stupid for starting something and then not continuing it for the rest of my life?" - Inga Bentley
Sometimes it's easier said than done to say "Don't worry about what other people think." "Don't worry about the people that unsubscribe or block you." It can be really hard. It can really get into your mind and hinder you from making decisions that will be the best decision for your yoga business.
"I've had people block me, and I just don't care anymore because I'm going to be me and if you don't like it, that's okay. While yoga is for everyone, my style of teaching is not. Me as a person, I'm not for everyone. That's a hard pill to swallow." - Inga Bentley
**This was also a podcast episode (episode #111). Use the player below if you'd prefer to listen to this message.
How to make decisions in your yoga business
These tips will help you make the tough decisions and let go of what's not serving you.
Take a vacation!
Step away for whatever amount of time you can manage (whether that's an hour, a day, a weekend, or more) to get some perspective. You have to give yourself some space to see where you want to go, what you want to do, and take an honest look if you're doing the things you need to do to get to that point.
It can be really hard to step away from your yoga business. You might need to plan really far ahead in advance so you can take care of things. I truly believe that you can figure it out, no matter the situation.
"Take a vacation. Get out of whatever rut you're in. Take a weekend. People understand. Shut off your laptop, shut off your phone, and let your brain shut off for a little bit when it comes to your business, when it comes to sequencing, when it comes to yoga." - Inga Bentley
Be honest with yourself
Be realistic and honest with yourself about what you want in your yoga business. Are you being influenced by other people's opinions or what you think you "should" want?
"Really give yourself the space to think about what you want. And if what you're doing isn't going to get you what you want, then it's not worth it." - Inga Bentley
Ask for help and find a community
Find people you can connect with that aren't necessarily directly tied to your business. It can be other business owners or other yoga teachers that you can have a true discussion with.
Inga found her community in Thrive, my online membership for yoga teachers.
"The bonus of Thrive is that we're all connected and we're all wanting to grow together, but we're in a space that we can be free to talk about our business openly. It's great to have people who will give you honest feedback. You need people who are going to challenge your thought process." - Inga Bentley
Being a part of a community can give you different ways of looking at things and help you see your blind spots, too. Find that support. Whether it's Thrive or a different community, find the support system you need to be vulnerable and ask these questions as a business owner.
How to authentically market your yoga business
Stack your habits!
"Habit stacking" is a concept made famous by James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits. It's basically the concept of pairing a new action with a habit you already have, for example, doing 20 pushups after you brush your teeth. Since brushing your teeth is already an established habit, then it's easier to make the squats stick as a new habit if they are "stacked" with the teeth brushing.
Natasha Samuel from Shine with Natasha takes this a step further and teaches how to do it in regards to marketing. For example, when you walk your dog, you post something on your feed before you go. When you have coffee in the morning, you snap a quick pic for your stories. This helps you get into the habit of making it a part of your daily routine and it will also help you increase your engagement.
Share what’s on your mind
What's really going on in your life right now? Talk about it!
You can connect whatever it is to yoga - or not! People want to know what's going on with you behind the scenes. You'll never run out of inspiration this way because it's real. You are sharing genuine experiences first hand.
"If you're sharing things that you're genuinely interested in, your tone changes, your demeanor changes, people know you're excited. If they're not interested, that's okay!" - Inga Bentley
Create real connections with people
Establish real, genuine connections because that's what people are craving!
Make social media fun. Use stickers. Ask questions. Make sure you're responding to everyone Then your audience gets in the habit of engaging with your content, so when you do have an offer - they pay attention!
"I don't even think of it as marketing, but it is." - Inga Bentley
We're not in the business of convincing people to join our offerings. We're in the business of helping people. Show up as you and be your real authentic self, whether you're cleaning, eating, practicing yoga, or whatever you're doing in that moment. Stop trying to convince people. Just invite them!
"It's not about how many followers you have. I have less than 1200 and I've sold out 3 retreats. All you need to do is be yourself and make real, meaningful connections with people, and the marketing and everything else will do the rest." - Inga Bentley
Your next step
Your next step is to find a way to disconnect from your business for one day or just one hour and think about what you really want to do.
It might be helpful to start with the reverse. Ask yourself: What am I not doing because I'm worried about what other people will think?
Take some time to reflect on what makes you happy or what you haven’t allowed yourself to do. From there, take action to step into who you really want to be as a business owner and show that in your marketing. I promise your audience, your true audience, will love it!
Until next time, give yourself permission to be truly you in your business and grace along the way.
"It's not about how many followers you have. All you need to do is be yourself and make real, meaningful connections with people, and the marketing and everything else will do the rest."
Inga Bentley is a senior yoga teacher, owner of Washington Heights Yoga and Our City Yoga located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. With an engineering background, Inga focuses on working individually with students and groups to create an understanding of how the body works anatomically. Each class is rooted in alignment based stability, mobility and flexibility leaving students feeling pain free.
Inga incorporates an educational component into each session to help students remap their movement patterns to create sustainable functional movement throughout every stage of their lives. Each class is jam packed and small in size to give you the individual attention needed to improve posture, reduce injury, and leave you feeling refreshed for every challenge life throws at them.
Website - https://www.whyogamke.com/
Retreats - https://www.whyogamke.com/retreats
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/ingabentleyyoga/
Looking for support and guidance in your yoga business?
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