Conversation with Alison McLean
Have you ever thought “they don’t like me” or “there must be something wrong with this” when only one person signed up for your offering?
If so, you’re in good company because we all do this! And you’re about to hear a fantastic conversation about this happening in real life.
My guest Alison McLean is a yoga teacher, physical therapist and now a business coach for wellness entrepreneurs and she has such a powerful success story she’s sharing today.
While Alison has had sold out workshops many times in her career, she recently had an experience - just a month ago - where only one person signed up for an offering of hers.
Talk about a blow to confidence!
That’s the thing with running your own business, you’re going to see success with something one day but you might try the same thing 2 months later and see a “failure”.
Alison shares how she navigated this, what she called disappointment in herself at first, to shifting the experience to be a science experiment.
That’s right - instead of making the situation mean something like “they don’t like me” or “there must be something wrong with the offering” she looked at the data to see what she could change and make better.
Spoiler alert - she changed the marketing messaging and it worked immediately!
I love this story for many reasons, but the main one is because Alison didn’t give up on something just because of one experience that was less successful than others. She kept going, tweaked things, and was successful in the end. Plus, she gained even more tools on how to navigate this when it comes up again…because it will.
I really enjoyed this conversation with Alison and I know you will too because she speaks your language! She connects every bit of this to her yoga practice and looking inward to really understand ourselves.
Today’s message will inspire and educate you, so get ready!
**This was also a podcast episode (episode #142). Use the player below if you'd prefer to listen to this message.
Alison's disappointing results
Alison recently had a launch that didn't go as she had hoped. She had been teaching for awhile and she taught webinars regularly where 40-60 people would register.
However, in this particular webinar, she had just one single person register. She wanted to sit there and and stew in a negative pity party.
"I was making it mean that no one liked me, no one liked what I was offering, all the things where we layer shame, judgement, and criticism on ourselves." - Alison McLean
Luckily, Alison was able to slow down, do a bit of self-study, and look at the data to see what else was going on. She tweaked some messaging, graphics, and email copy, and was able to shift her results and immediately had new people register for her webinar.
It was a huge confirmation and reminder to Alison to keep going forward!
Look at yoga marketing like a science experiment
"The data that's coming in in terms of numbers is just data. It's like a science experiment. You don't have to make it mean that you're a bad yoga teacher, that something's wrong with you, that you're not going to succeed in business. It doesn't mean any of that. It just means that we are grouping things together and creating our own story of it." - Alison McLean
When it comes to things not going how we want them to, we often create a story that’s not real and focus on “something is wrong with me."
The good news is that every yoga teacher has tools to handle moments like this that not every business owner has. Recognize the story you're telling yourself. How can you capture those thoughts and shift them? How can you look at this differently?
How to shift the "story" and look at it like a science experiment:
When things aren't going as planned, try exploring the following steps and then dissect the data and what you can change.
"Numbers don't lie, but feelings do." - Amanda McKinney
1. Slow down. We often start to hustle and do more when we need to slow down and take a pause. Breathe. Lengthen your exhale.
"For me it's slowing down. If I get into scarcity mindset, or fear or doubt, then I'll get into a sympathetic scarcity mindset and I'll start to hustle." - Alison McLean 2. Journal. You can ask yourself specific questions or themes to explore. Ideas: Safety, confidence, sufficiency, certainty. Ask yourself: “What’s the other perspective?” and “what do I currently believe about myself?” Get what's in your head onto paper.
3. Affirmations. Instead of using an outside affirmation or mantra that you read somewhere, make sure you pick something that resonates with you. Make sure it's relevant to your experiences and your beliefs.
"For me personally, when I'm trying to switch feelings or a belief system it's helpful for me to be the outside observer. What's the other perspective, and what do I already currently believe about myself?" - Alison McLean
4. Seal it in. Seal it all in with breath work or a short meditation, whatever practice works for you.
Remember: Slowing down is still taking action!
"If we just take 3-5 minutes to pause and then get right back into it, it can make whatever you're doing so much more impactful." - Alison McLean
Are you uncomfortable being visible?
I've noticed that a lot of yoga teachers aren't comfortable being visible when it comes to their marketing, whether it's on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or email. A lot of times that fear of visibility is stopping you from marketing your yoga business.
Alison started off this way, and now she's moved past the discomfort and even hosts her own podcast.
"Fear, I see you and I acknowledge your presence. But you are going to sit there in the passenger seat of my car, and I am the driver of my car." - Alison McLean When we're doing something uncomfortable, there is going to be a sympathetic response. When we're stepping outside of our comfort zone and into the growth edge, so it's entirely normal. However, it doesn't have to completely hijack us.
"We can feel the discomfort and feel the fear and still get up and do the hard thing." - Alison McLean
Sometimes we need to see the opportunity actually presented in front of us before we can SEE the opportunity. So don't be afraid to tell your students about it. There are people out there that want to work with you. Don't assume that they don't want to hear about the next step.
"It turns out that fear in my own head was the thing that was holding me back, and not anything else." - Alison McLean
Navigating less than ideal results
It can be really painful when you don't get the results you hoped for, and there's no surefire way of avoiding it because it happens to all of us at some point.
But you can look at these situations as a learning experiment and use it a way to grow and learn. You can focus on who does show up and provide a great experience.
Get information from the people that DO show up and allow that to help shape your offering and your marketing.
"These two people want to hear what I have to say, and I'm going to teach to them as if 20 people were in the room. If I help these two people, it makes it all worth it." - Alison McLean
Remember that this will happen throughout your business...you don’t outgrow this.
Discerning between your intuition and fear
"It's so important to discern between the time to choose a different program or offer, or change your niche, or are you just going through failure and you don't want to go through discomfort to get to the other side." - Amanda McKinney
For example, if you specialize in helping clients with weight management, and one of your clients said "my intuition is telling me to eat donuts every day," you would want to help your client discern that having a donut every day might not be the best decision for their blood sugar levels.
So consider: Are you gravitating towards changing your direction because you truly think it's the right path, or are you just avoiding something or moving towards what's easier?
Are you really following your intuition, or are you just trying to avoid discomfort in some way?
Focus on one yoga offering at a time
I really encourage you to stick with one offering for awhile. You can run it numerous times, tweak things and make it better, because you learn new things every time.
If/when it doesn't work, we tend to want to throw it out and try something new. It often feels easier to do something new than to refine something you already have. No one wants to hear this, but if you can just stick with it, I promise you will learn and make progress over time!
Ask yourself: “Do I have full belief in this offering?” Notice if you're in full belief of what you're going to teach or what you're offering. What are all the ways you do believe? And if you can't bring that belief into your body right now, then how have you created success in the past?
When you're feeling insecure about the amount of people signing up, or a perceived failure of any kind, this is the time to dig deeper into the belief that you've established instead of trying to create something completely new.
Say you're hiking and you see a trail with four different paths you could take. Constantly changing your offering is like taking a couple of steps down one path, thinking the sun is too bright and turning around, and then taking a few steps down a different path and turning back because of some other reason (and so on) instead of picking a trail and staying the course until you get to the end.
Resilience in life and in your yoga business
"I apply the word 'resilience' to my business, my life, and my health. No one gets through life having every day being rainbows, sparkles, daisies, and unicorns." - Alison McLean
Life and business can throw us curveballs - whether it's something happening with your family, an unexpected diagnosis, something surprising happening in your business.
Resilience is the ability to sit with the less the discomfort instead of resisting or avoiding it, being there with it and acknowledging it, working through it and coming through on the other side.
The journey through life and business requires courage, believing in yourself, and honoring your truth. That's resilience.
Your next step
I hope you felt the compassion that Alison shared through her story, but also her tough love, too.
It’s so easy to want to start something new when something you’re working on currently isn’t working. Seriously, this happens to me on a regular basis. But I promise, and Alison promises and every other business coach promises one thing — if you choose a focus (even if it’s just for a season) and believe in that offering, you will see progress if you stay the course.
Think about Alison’s trail example because I just loved that! You’re standing at the trailhead and there are four paths in front of you.
Choose one path and commit to it.
Knowing that you can go down all four paths eventually if you want, but if you start and complete one you will be more confident that you can navigate all the tough stuff on any path.
So that’s your next step: Choose a path, my friend.
Whether it’s choosing an offering like Alison did with a workshop.
Or it’s choosing to commit to marketing consistently.
Or it's choosing to finish a project you’ve started.
Choose a path and commit to completing that path because you can do it.
Until next time, give yourself permission to choose a path and grace along the way.
"The data that's coming in in terms of numbers is just data. It's like a science experiment. You don't have to make it mean that you're a bad yoga teacher, that something's wrong with you, that you're not going to succeed in business. It doesn't mean any of that."
- Alison McLean
The Wellness Practitioner’s Business Coach
Physical Therapist, Yoga Therapist, Massage Therapist & Coach
For the last couple of decades I have helped hundreds of students overcome injury, pain and achieve their health goals. I had a successful and profitable physical therapy and wellness clinic while leading classes, workshops and yoga trainings.
Then I was diagnosed with Lynch syndrome, a genetic mutation that puts me at high risk for several different types of cancer. Only a couple months later following my first cancer screen I was diagnosed with rectal cancer.
This caused me to reevaluate not only the sustainability of my own business, but the whole wellness industry.
I now have a passion to help other Wellness Practitioners grow their businesses sustainably, with profit, while still caring for their own health and enjoying life in the process.
Website - https://igniteurwellness.com