by Jenny Flynn.
This is the first of a series of 3 blog articles I’m running over the next 2 weeks on the business of yoga. What I’ll be exploring will apply as much to yoga teachers, as it would to mindfulness or ayurvedic practitioners, or indeed, anyone with a deep passion for the nature of their business!
Aren’t branding-yoga and self-promotion at odds with yoga philosophy?
How do I align the business world with the heart of yoga?
How do I stand out from all the other teachers out there? What's all this competition anyway?!
How do I feel confident about sharing my offerings in the world and online?
How do I stay grounded in the heart of what I do?
I share the benefit of my experience based on 10 years working as a designer for digital agencies, and more recently running my own company, Unfold Digital. I’ve been a yoga and meditation student for 15 years and yoga teacher for the last 3. I’ve spent much of the last few years mulling over these two sides of my life and trying to find more and more unification between them. Do you know what? There’s a lot more than you’d think that brings these two seeming incongruous worlds together.
The Heart of the Matter
So I’m going to cut to the chase, and ask: “what’s your core offering?”. Because, if you have a clear vision that comes from a place of good intention and inspiration; everything else will be shaped and driven by this. The Panchamaya (5 layers) model illustrates this beautifully. If you aren’t familiar with this, imagine an onion skin, and on the outside is the physical (gross) body, and moving in through the layers you move through more increasingly subtle qualities of energy and mind, down to the causal layer. Whatever is at the heart of the onion, contributes to the outer shape, the same is true of ourselves; and if we think of working more inline with our deeper qualities, the same can be true of our business.
- Sit quietly, with your eyes closed. Take a handful of breaths and allow your mind to settle.
- Turn your thoughts to what it is that you do or would like to do. If have more than one job, you may like to focus on one at a time.
- Ask yourself: Why do I do this?
- Don’t spend too long, and opening your eyes for a moment, write the answer down.
- Close your eyes and repeat this simple exercise twice more, each time think of moving deeper into the heart of the answer.
- You can also imagine your thought as a stone being dropped into a well, and falling deeper each time.
You might notice a natural turning from more gross to subtle intentions. For example over the course of the last few years of trying to align disparate parts of my life, I’m now sitting with the idea of “growth through community”. For me this really ties together everything I do, whether it’s teaching dynamic yoga to climbers, 1-2-1 chair yoga sessions or helping to develop a clients brand online. If I’m ever not sure about a new direction, I can check back to that place of inspiration to see if it fits. And the real beauty is that it doesn’t have to be static. Like you, it evolves!
Discovering your Niche
From this seed intention grows ideas about how you can bring this to life, supported by your skills and resources available. At the grosser level, the body of your business begins to take shape. The combination of your passion, skills and resources helps reveal your niche. Your niche, provides you with a clear focus to the rest of your branding and promotion.
Your niche, powered by your core offering, is unique. If it comes from a place of good intention and a desire to help, it will resonate with others. The next step is to define who they are, where they hang out and how to communicate with them. Of course, if you do notice other teachers offering a similar service, perhaps you can turn this into another resource and find a way of working/promoting together. It can be a lonely world being self-employed, but it doesn’t have to be 🙂
Over the next two weeks, I’ll look at how to define and target your audience, and how to communicate with them. To make sure you don’t miss out, please sign up to the CMI mailing list.
If you’d like to take this further, sign up for the ‘Branding You & Social Media’ event I’m running in London in July. Alternatively you can find out more about my professional services and how to work with me at Unfold Digital.
What’s your story? I’d love to hear your thoughts, experience or issues you have found with branding and promotion. Please leave your comments below…