Conversation with Jessica Hensley
Feeling like marketing is taking for-ev-er? Are you wondering if it will ever pay off?
Good news...it will. I wish that everything happened quickly for you, but like anything in life, the good things often take time. But this episode will help inspire you to keep going.
I worked with Jessica Hensley one on one and she recently reached out to tell me about some wins she was experiencing. In today's conversation, we talk about her wins of paying herself, niching down, and gaining students but what I really wanted to share is this:
Marketing is about the long game and when you keep going, you will experience the wins.
So often we are looking for quick progress - myself included! - but we need to keep our eye on a different metric: overall progress. Instead of wanting something to happen immediately, it’s about looking at our overall goals and seeing what progress we’re making.
I have no doubt that you’re going to love this episode and I bet it’s one that you will listen to more than once. I’m beyond grateful for Jessica being willing to share her experience.
Let's dive in!
Recognize yourself as a business owner
When Jessica decided to leave her job and jump into teaching yoga full time, she decided to commit to at least one year of consistent marketing.
"I left my corporate job a year ago. That was huge because it was taking that leap of - I don't know where this is going, but I know it's time and I want to step forward into it." - Jessica Hensley
There were many ups and downs throughout it all, but at the end of the first year, Jessica was able to pay herself for the first time since she left her corporate job.
Profit First had a lot to do with her financial organization and success. It helped her feel like she was running a business and not just a hobby. (If you'd like to learn more about the Profit First method, check out podcast episode 73 and episode 100.)
"I don't know if I could have done it had I not followed that model. I gave myself permission to pay myself. And even if it's just a teeny tiny amount month to month, but at least I'm making that progress. And that was huge." - Jessica Hensley
Start paying yourself right away! Paying yourself will help you step into the role of business owner for your yoga business and feel confident in that role.
**This was also a podcast episode (episode #110). Use the player below if you'd prefer to listen to this message.
Stepping into a niche in your yoga business
It takes time to get comfortable with niching down. Yoga teachers truly want to help EVERYONE and so it can be scary to draw a line in the sand and declare your niche.
"I was so nervous about niching down and I kept hearing the message over and over again. I finally realized that the more I went down that path and was learning to speak to prospective students who could better relate to my own experience and I could better relate to them, then the more organically my business, my classes, my private sessions began to grow." - Jessica Hensley
Declaring a niche doesn’t mean you won’t ever work with other students, it just makes it easier to engage students in the future that are more aligned with what you are trying to do. You start to automatically attract the right people into your realm.
"This is me. This is what I do, this is who I am." - Jessica Hensley
A bonus that comes along with niching down is that marketing becomes a lot easier and more intuitive. You just need to think about your students and say - "Hey, this is how I can help you!" Marketing doesn't have to feel sleazy. It's simply about connecting with people.
"When I niched down and learned to connect with those prospective students better, the marketing became far less cringey and far more conversational." - Jessica Hensley
Marketing your yoga business is the long game!
A question I get all the time is "How long is it going to take?" "How much do I need to be marketing before it works?"
I wish I had that answer for you. I wish there was a specific moment where I could just wave a wand and it would happen in everyone's business. But what I can say is that it takes time.
Jessica is a fantastic example of this. She posted a hundred consecutive times on Instagram for her "Tenacious Tuesday" series.
"I didn't want to put up pictures of myself doing yoga. it wasn't in my wheelhouse or comfort zone to do things like that. But I wanted to post things that were inspirational or motivational for people." - Jessica Hensley
Over time, Jessica added "5 Minutes to Move" weekly on Fridays. Now she's transitioning to adding a third day which will be a "Wellness Wednesday" to reach out more to her cancer patient community.
"I decided I would show up every week, whether I have something meaningful to say or not, and l will just post. And that really built the foundation, not only for Tenacious Tuesdays, but also for that model of micro-steps." - Jessica Hensley
She applied this micro-step model to everything in her business, whether it was email marketing, or classes she was adding.
"Rather than getting overwhelmed and focus on all the things all the time, it's what can I do baby stepping my way to building gradually? I don't have a lot of time to sit and create content every week. I needed to do things that were manageable." - Jessica Hensley
Actually showing up consistently and doing those small things are where you start to see the progress.
"The average working actor goes to over 60 auditions before they actually land a role. So I started to look at everything I was doing as: even if it was a fail, it was a step closer to a win." - Jessica Hensley