Job Dreams: Yoga Entrepreneur
As part of our Job Dreams series, we speak to professionals from different careers and share their advice with you. Last month, we learned what it's like to be a comedian. And this month we met Kelly who told us what it’s like to be a yoga entrepreneur - or yogi-preneur!
What do you do?
I’m a teacher at heart. It was always my purpose to teach. After 15 years working in corporate marketing, I finally closed that door to find my true purpose in life – to teach and to inspire others to thrive.
In 2015, I trained to become a yoga teacher and within months, I quit my well-paid job as a marketing director to pursue my dream of having my own business. Good Yoga Life was born and by 2020, I’d sold out 25 retreats from Ibiza to Bali and captured media attention from Grazia, Time Out and Yoga Magazine. Living the tropical, coconut-drinking life on my own terms and creating a community I could call my own had become a reality.
But it wasn’t the same story for my yoga teacher friends who were bouncing from studio to studio, with packed-out weekly schedules, no time for their own practice and still struggling to pay the bills. It was inevitable that my love of marketing and yoga would come together, and so, in 2017, I finally launched Digital Yoga Academy, which has since become the leading online business school for yoga teachers worldwide. I’ve grown a community of over 20,000 yoga teachers and have taught thousands of teachers inside my courses and programs how to grow their communities and thrive online.
I’ve created a range of business and marketing educational resources from self-paced online courses that teachers can enrol in at any time, to a six-month group coaching programme that teaches how to create and launch an online yoga course.
Can you tell us what your day-to-day is like?
Each day starts with a powerful morning routine that helps me to raise my vibration so that I can show up for my community, my team and my students, ready to educate and inspire. This routine includes yoga, meditation and a high impact activity – currently surfing, but sometimes boxing or running! It’s important for me to set the tone for the day and to bring my energy to the table.
I check in with my team through Slack, which is an online teamworking tool and provide any guidance and direction for the tasks they’re working on. We’re a small but growing team, and as the CEO of my business, I’m the visionary, which means I’m responsible for setting financial and growth goals and planning ahead to ensure that the programmes and promotions we’re launching are aligned with our goals.
My day will be broken into back-end activities - like planning a launch for a new programme, writing copy, recording training videos and creating content - and front end activities - like Instagram Lives, doing podcasts, hosting Q&A’s and private Zoom sessions for my clients - and I’ll also batch these activities where possible.
What do you love most about your job?
Seeing the results and success that my students are having as a result of my courses! Marylene who has tripled her community and built a six-figure business during lockdown, Caroline who made $21k from her first course launch, Dagmar who made $14k, Claire $6k from her first launch, and Meegan who now has consistent $5k months from her new membership. But it’s not just about financial success. It’s also seeing their personal growth; from cultivating their mindset to tackling the fears that stop them from fully showing up online. Seeing their transformation into confident business owners, motivates and lights me up.
I’ve worked extremely hard to build my business and it’s my community and my students that drive me to show up every day, even on the bad days (we all have them!) Having a purpose and being fully connected to your why, is what will keep you going when the going gets tough, which as a business owner and entrepreneur is enviable. It’s not an easy journey (everyone would be doing it if it was) but it’s an extremely rewarding journey.
Of course, living life on my own terms, with financial security and being location independent are added perks but it takes some time – and grit - to get there.
What do you find most challenging?
The most challenging part to date has been letting go of control. I had a belief that to make good money I had to work really hard and work myself into the ground. This led to burnout on multiple occasions. It held me back from growing my team and accepting and receiving support.
What did you see yourself doing when you were a kid?
I actually wanted to be a racing car driver! Not so crazy when you think about it. I love being in the driver’s seat and I live my life in the fast lane ☺
What challenges did you face in reaching where you are today?
Well firstly, I spent 15 years climbing the leadership ladder in a marketing career that left me feeling unbalanced, burnt out and living for the weekend. I hustled to exhaustion, driven by my need for approval and validation and my belief that I had to work harder and achieve more to truly succeed. As I embarked on my journey as an entrepreneur, it became clear that unlocking my mindset for success, upgrading my belief systems and finding alignment and validation within myself were the magic ingredients to truly realising my potential in the world.
This is about doing the inner work. You have to challenge yourself in new ways and dismantle the beliefs that hold you back – like thinking I had to do everything myself which stopped me from receiving support from a team. Having this self-awareness is crucial for your growth and using tools such as yoga and meditation helps to clear the mental chatter that can slow you down.
Doing this work has brought me a whole new level of confidence and fulfilment and it’s allowed me to scale my business to multiple six-figures and accept support from a rock star team.
If you weren’t working in this field, what do you think you’d be?
A racing car driver…
Where do you see yourself going next?
Taking more of a back seat. Bringing coaches and mentors into my programmes so that I really can embody the role of the CEO, whilst my team and the systems that we’ve built continue to grow our community and fill our programmes.
This will free my time to work on helping women to heal from their pain. I want to develop my role as a healer for women who want to transform their lives and thrive in the world. I’m about to start a training journey in subtle energy healing and breathwork, which is a great passion of mine, as I know the transformational impact these modalities have had on my own life. I want to share this with others. I see myself setting up a similar business model to deliver online programs under my own personal brand. This feels like the next transition and chapter in living my purpose as a teacher. Watch this space!
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you first left school?
Society teaches us that the 9-5 is the norm and when I left university, my goal was to climb the corporate ladder – which I did but I was left unfulfilled. It’s not the only option and what I’m now seeing online are twenty-somethings following their passions and becoming entrepreneurs and leaders of their own lives. More of that is needed in the world! If you have a vision for your future and it’s not the path your parents took, know that it’s okay to walk your own path and create your own journey to happiness and success.
What advice would you give to someone interested in joining your industry?
Get online and build relationships. Your business depends on it! Business is about relationships and that requires your people to know, like and trust you. The ‘know’ factor is about you being visible, showing up and getting exposure. The ‘like’ part is about showing up as you, being authentic and sharing your story so that people connect with you and vibe off you. And ‘trust’ is about showing that you create results in your own life and for your clients. Focus on building relationships first (over money) and I promise you that success will follow.
What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve been given?
Treat your business like a laboratory. Don’t be afraid to make a mess, try new things and make mistakes because that’s how you learn. That’s been a key piece of advice that has continued to encourage me to share and test new offerings with my community without fearing failure.
What quote do you live by?
What got you here, won’t get you there. Keep learning, keep growing, keep thriving. You’ve got this!