Does marketing work? How to experience success in marketing your yoga business

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


We could look at almost any industry and we could see the same pattern. No one is born with the ability that they have in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. Olympic athletes show up and practice every single day.


We have to do the same thing when we're running a business! But it can be discouraging because we don't always see immediate results and progress.


"It was the repetitive showing up that has really made the difference." - Jessica Hensley

Starting with those baby steps is so critical.


"We're in this world where everything feels so instantaneous. We look at other people out there with thousands of followers or subscribers, and especially if you're newer to the marketplace, it can feel like - how will I ever get there? What I had to do was tune out the idea that it was the number that I was going for, and more so the meaningful connections that I'm making." - Jessica Hensley


Keep showing up and keep doing what you're doing. That's when the wins come in.


"It's not today that matters; it's what will be happening a year from now." - Jessica Hensley




Marie Kondo approach to yoga marketing

Marie Kondo is an organizational expert who is famous for using the phrase: "Does this spark joy?" as a way to decide whether or not to keep an item in your life.


This can be applied to marketing your yoga business as well. Ask yourself - does this spark joy?


"Stick with what sparks joy, whether it's the people that you're working with, or the work that you're doing to connect with them, because you'll want to do that work more, you'll put more of your heart into that work, and you'll likely see more results from it rather than trying to be all things to all people and do all the things that you think you have to do." - Jessica Hensley


We can't do it all, no matter how hard we try. Sometimes in our life we have the energy to try 17 things and see which things stick, but there's other times where it's just not feasible.


Knowing what your goal is is so important. It's not just the number of followers, it's not just the amount of subscribers, it's the connections you have. Those connections will lead to more connections over the long run.


"Forget about the people that you don't connect with. They are not meant for you." - Jessica Hensley


"Always come back to who your audience is. Let it be even one or two people that you can think about specifically. If you're talking to them, what is it that they need that you can help with?" - Jessica Hensley



It’s all about perspective

"I'm certainly nowhere near I want to be in order to make this the business I need it to be. But when I look back to where I was a year ago, and the year before that, every year has been such a significant step beyond the year previously. That's what matters. I'm going forward and I'm going the right direction." - Jessica Hensley


We all have goals that we're working towards, and that's a good thing. Working towards a goal keeps us driven, it keeps us active, and it keeps our business alive. Bot we also have to know when to take that step back.


Take a step back for perspective and look at the overall growth of your yoga business, not just what is happening right now and where you want to be.


And then go outside the box of what you feel like you “should” be doing and do what feels right for you in this season of life.


"So often, that's where the biggest wins come in. I think we get caught in a lot of ideas of what we should be doing. But it's okay to go way outside that box and do something that feels aligned with you that is also going to be beneficial to them." - Jessica Hensley


Ask yourself:

  • What am I really good at?

  • What can I give to someone?

  • What is unique about me that not everyone else will be offering?

We all have gifts that differentiate us from other yoga teachers. Let your gifts shine. This can be challenging, but lean into it and don't be afraid proclaim "This is what I'm good at."


"So many of us have that feeling that we need more training; we need more expertise. It's that imposter syndrome piece, which I struggle with all the time. I had to stop and think about how it's ridiculous to say that I'm not expert enough to talk about things that I've had years of experience with!" - Jessica Hensley


Don't be afraid to go forward with what you DO know, because it's good enough. We can get in our way with perfectionism, so let it go and take imperfect action.


You don't necessarily have to be the ultimate expert, you don't have to be the best at something, you don't have to have the most training, what makes you YOU is what matters when it comes to connecting with other people.


“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou



Your next step

Here’s your next step: Marie Kondo your marketing!


If it’s not sparking joy with you right now, stop doing it. Don’t stop marketing overall but stop whatever isn’t working for you. And start something that feels right for you. Because this is your business, not anyone else’s!


Until next time, give yourself permission to do what feels right for you and grace along the way.


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"Stick with what sparks joy, whether it's the people that you're working with, or the work that you're doing to connect with them, because you'll want to do that work more, you'll put more of your heart into that work, and you'll likely see more results from it rather than trying to be all things to all people and do all the things that you think you have to do." - Jessica Hensley







About Jessica

Jessica is a warrior on a mission. As a two-time cancer survivor, she’s seen firsthand the power that yoga has to transform our bodies, our minds, our ability to heal, and the limitless potential we have to thrive. She’s bringing LYT(TM) Yoga, an empowering functional movement practice, to fellow warriors of all walks of life – athletes, cancer warriors, and those with warrior spirits, driven to feel their best and move with intention – and tenacity – every single day. When Jessica’s not on her mat, she’s outdoors at every available moment, on a run, bike, or hike with her two boys and her pup. She lives with the awareness of how precious this life is and how fortunate we are all to be here. That spirit fuels her each day (along with green tea and 80s rap) and she’s passionate about sharing that fire with everyone she meets!

Jessica's Links

 

Looking for support and guidance in your yoga business?


In Thrive, my monthly membership for yoga teachers, you get social media and email templates, monthly Q&A calls, advanced trainings, business check-ins, a private community, and more. Thrive is a membership that can support you on every part of your yoga business journey - from the very beginning all the way to advanced challenges!


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