Conversation with Manu Molina de la Torre
Does it feel uncomfortable to think about yourself as the CEO of your yoga business?
If you're like most yoga teachers I work with, the answer is YES.
The business of yoga is not something that is typically taught in yoga teacher trainings, but it's a very important part of being a yoga teacher. If you're going to teach yoga and really want to grow your student base, then you'll be a business owner.
When you're trying to grow your business, you really have to put on your "CEO hat," and you can only do that when you're comfortable with it.
Manu Molina de la Torre, my guest today, shares how he learned how to step into the role of CEO of his yoga business and to truly embrace the idea of being an entrepreneur AND a yoga teacher.
Manu is a yoga teacher, a personal trainer, and a coach. He helps other and wellness professionals to take the first actionable steps in their vision as an entrepreneur. He coaches in both English and Spanish, and also has a podcast in Spanish called Emprendedores del Yoga.
I’m honored to say that Manu is also one of my students and let me tell you - he’s a phenomenal student! I don’t know how he found my podcast, but I’m sure glad he did because he jumps right in and takes action with it.
Manu reached out to me and let me know that I was featured in one of his blog posts last year on the topic of yoga entrepreneurship. After reading through the blog post, I immediately reached out to see if we could schedule this interview because I knew it would resonate with you.
Here's a short excerpt from Manu's blog post that inspired this interview (scroll all the way down for the link to the full post):
"In order for yoga teachers and wellness professionals to continue doing their work, they must make an income.
I would like to start this article with a question for yoga teachers and movement educators: Were the money, finances and pricing aspects of your profession addressed in your yoga/fitness training?
In my case, for the most part it was not. In fact, during more than 2,000 hours of yoga and fitness training, in which I invested a fortune, there was very little learning on this topic which was vital for me to be able to recover the investment made."
In today's interview, Manu shares tips, mindset shifts, and yoga philosophy that helped him step into the role of being an entrepreneur. I know these tips will help you as well. Let's dive right in!
You Don't Need Thousands of Followers
"I had this idea that in order to thrive, in order to be a successful yoga teacher, I had to have 10,000 or 14,000 followers on Instagram." - Manu Molina de la Torre
This is our first mindset shift. You definitely don't need thousands of followers to be successful in your yoga business!
The number of media followers you have is what we call a "vanity metric." This is the number that other people can see. Sometimes we correlate "success" on instagram with that 10,000 number. But you definitely don't have to have that many followers to be successful.
"My lightbulb moment happened when I realized I could sell my courses even with a small community. It is not about the big amount of followers on a social media platform, but it's about how much value I am bringing to that small community." - Manu Molina de la Torre
For some reason, social media feels like this BIG space, and so we feel like we have to fill it with all these people. But if you think of your house, apartment, or yoga studio, and then think of filling it with a hundred people -- that's actually a massive amount of people!
You don't need those big numbers in order to be successful in your yoga business, you just need to focus on finding the right people who really need the help you are giving.
**This was also a podcast episode (episode #89). Use the player below if you'd prefer to listen to this message.
You Don't Have to be Everywhere
"When you are taking the first steps, it's much better to focus your energy." - Manu Molina de la Torre
Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat...with all of these platforms available to us, sometimes it feels like we need to be everywhere to market our yoga business!
But here's the thing: You DON'T have to be everywhere. It's actually so much harder if you try to be everywhere all at once.
Focus. Minimize. Pick one or two platforms that you feel most comfortable with, and go with it!
Think of it like this:
If you throw a handful of small rocks into the water, there are tiny little ripples everywhere.
But if you throw a boulder into the water, there's a BIG ripple effect!
Focus the energy you have on one or two channels and leave the rest behind (for now).
You Don't Need a Fancy Logo
I went into entrepreneurship thinking I needed a logo, branding, colors, and a fancy website.
Those things are important in the longterm. However, when we're first getting started, these are not the things we need to focus our energy and time on.
No one buys something solely based off of a logo at first!
If you really want to think of the design element, that can be fun, but it's usually not the way to make money. No one is going to say "Oh, that logo is so ugly, I'm not going to take that yoga teacher's class."
What they actually care about is the title of the class, the description, and how they'll feel afterwards.
You Don't Need to Appeal to Everyone
"Niching down doesn't necessarily mean you have to put yourself in a box, it means that you can use all the tools you have to serve the people you want to serve." - Manu Molina de la Torre
A lot of yoga teachers are multi-passionate and don't want to narrow down. I can't even tell you how many times I hear "Amanda, don't put me into a box!" But niching down CAN come from a place that doesn't feel constraining.
When you think about niching down, look beyond yoga style (like restorative yoga or hot yoga), an age, or a gender. Those things can influence your niche, but it doesn't have to end there.
Look at the people you work with or want to work with and notice the commonality. That commonality might not be age, might not be gender, and might not be a type of yoga.
Who are the people I am helping already? What is the common problem for those people?
Then you can create all of your content according to those answers.
Don't Forget About Your Current Students
"I thought that I needed to create my course so it would sell to so many new people. What I learned was that I can work with the people that I already know." - Manu Molina de la Torre
A lot of times, we keep trying to reach new clients and new audiences. That can be great, but sometimes we underestimate the people that are already with us, the people that are already our students, and are already reading our newsletter.
This is something we all tend to forget. There are a lot of tools and tactics on how to acquire new people: How to attract new people on your email list and new followers on social media. But the fact is, it's actually more expensive to acquire someone new than to sell something to an existing customer. And on top of that, you can also think of your current students as a way to research new offerings. They are your ideal students, and they've bought from you before. They have taken your classes. You can directly poll them or survey them about what they need.
"I feel really grateful for my students because they give me a lot of inspiration." - Manu Molina de la Torre
Ask yourself: Who are the people I am working with and how can I help those people?
3 Mindset Tips for Your Yoga Business
These three tips from Manu will help shift your mindset to think about yourself as the CEO of your yoga business.
Separate your personal finances from your business finances.
I know it can be overwhelming, but once you make that shift, it is such a game-changer. You deserve to get paid. If you want to be a successful yoga teacher, and you're going to be running retreats and teaching classes and workshops, you need to know if it's going to be sustainable for the long term. You need to be able to see what you're spending on expenses and what profit you are making. This clarity and separation between your personal and business finances can be empowering.
Don't be scared of structure.
Having a structure gives you a direction and a process. Think about a map: You know where you are and where you're going. You've got this plan. But what if there's a detour? You figure it out, maybe it takes a little extra time, but you get to the final destination because you knew where you were going. So having a plan in your yoga business then allows you to be flexible.
Yoga marketing and business skills are important.
As a yoga teacher, you have spent so much time and money on yoga education. Yoga teachers LOVE learning about their craft. This is a wonderful thing, to be passionate about what you do and want to dive deeper. But devoting a bit of your time and energy to learning business skills will go a long way.
You can also use the yoga philosophy you've learned when marketing your yoga business.
For example, when you're running a yoga business, there's a level of uncertainty. You don't know for sure how much money you'll be making or how many students you'll have from month to month.
"All of this is a perfect opportunity to practice equanimity of mind. Keep your mind calm, whether you succeed or whether you fail." - Manu Molina de la Torre
In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali identifies three observances as being vital to progress: tapas, svadhyaya, and Ishwara pranidhana. These can all be related to running your yoga business.
Tapas - The fire. The action. The self-discipline. Whatever you do each day, the way you run your business, teach your classes and connect with your clients.
Svadhyaya - Self-study. You learn about yourself through running your business and dealing with all of the ups and downs.
Ishvara Pranidhana - The practice of surrender, often translated as "offering the fruits of one's actions to the Divine.” At the end of the day, you do the best you can with your teaching and your business, but then you surrender.
Your next step
Your next step is to make these mindset shifts so that you can build the yoga business of your dreams. Let it take all the time you need, but start today with this.
You’ve already read this article, so the foundation has been laid. Now it’s time to continue to shift and implement so your business can grow with you!
Until next time give yourself permission to think like an entrepreneur and a yoga teacher and grace along the way!
"No one has things completely figured out. You're not behind. No matter who you are, there's always something more to learn or to improve."
- Manu Molina de la Torre
Manu is a yoga teacher, a personal trainer and a coach. He helps other yoga & wellness professionals to take the first actionable steps in their vision as online entrepreneurs. He coaches in English and Spanish and he has his own podcast in Spanish called Emprendedores del Yoga.
Manu's Blog Post about Yoga Philosophy and Business:
Yoga Challenge in a Box
Start with a free yoga challenge to give your audience a taste of how they can learn from you and the challenge can lead to a paid offer! And I've made it super easy for you to do this with Yoga Challenge In A Box. Everything you need to run a yoga challenge - literally, all the templates, check-lists and plans.
Email templates, social media posts, images, sign up pages, you name it, it's in there!