Become a kids yoga teacher or run a kids yoga franchise, the pros & cons
Many of us see the word, franchising, & think of big corporations, often this is accompanied involuntarily with a negative viewpoint!
The fact is franchising is just the name for the replication of a successful business model. It’s a model of collaboration, without competition & the sharing of best practice. It’s much more of a community than you might imagine.
When I started Tatty Bumpkin, it was with a UnLtd social enterprise award for helping mothers back into the workplace. We had lots of take-up & enthusiasm. Ultimately, very few of those who trained were successful. Why?
As yoga teachers we love yoga, we love to teach, & we pride ourselves in our empathy & communication skills. Some of us have compatible skills that enable us to market & sell our yoga classes with success. From the experience I had with Tatty Bumpkin I could see that those multi-skilled teachers were a minority. It wasn’t that they couldn’t use design packages, social media software, booking systems etc it was more that their interest lay in teaching.
So after 4 years we made the difficult decision to franchise. I think many yoga teachers feel the conflict between teaching yoga & making money/ creating a business. I think that’s a natural tussle!
So, having talked to 1000s of (mainly) women about their aspirations, this is my advice on being a yoga teacher or joining an established brand as a franchisee or partner.
Being a self-employed yoga teacher can be an amazing career, and I know 5 minutes into a conversation that they are ideally suited to being their own boss. I was one of those people, after all. With 15 years franchising behind me, I can see the pros and cons of both models, and definitely, for me, franchising model has allowed me freedoms in my life that yoga teaching never could. But you make up your own mind which model is really you!!
When you are a yoga teacher, you are in charge. It’s your business to do with as you choose. With a franchise you are making the commitment to a brand. This means you need to feel as passionate about that brand and its values as you would about your own business. There is freedom to run your business as you chose, but there are certain guidelines and agreements you have to adhere to for the benefit of the brand and its community.
This is the biggest one for me. As a yoga teacher, I know I only have 12 hours in a day, additionally I have a personal limit on how many hours teaching I want to do. In creating a scaleable model, I love that a franchising has self-employed teachers. This free’s up their time and instead of having 12 hours in the day you might have 1,2,3,4 x 12 hours in the day. In the short term your profit margin will be less per class as you are paying a teacher. However, as a franchise grows, in the case of some of our franchisees, they no longer live in their areas, or even in the country, the teachers do 100% of the work. This ‘time leverage’ is the best thing about buying into a franchise. It buys you freedom. The amazing teachers who work for franchisees are in the self-employd mindset, and it works perfectly for them. The franchisee gets the work, and the teachers teach.
When you are a self-employed teacher, you don’t earn when you don’t work. So even though you thought you would be free, in fact you are tied to the job even more.
Instead of working by yourself and in competition with other yoga teachers, you are working in supportive like-minded, sharing community. Sharing the highs and lows, the things that work and those that don’t. You do pay a percentage – typically 12% of your earnings to the head office, but that is your back office and future development of your asset.
Every time a lesson plan or marketing document is created, everyone gets to benefit. There are shared groups, and crucially no one is in competition, having all got a dedicated geographical area, which is very unique in the business world. Additionally we all know yoga is non competitive, so that fits well with our core values.
A franchise is not about YOU, its about the brand and the service the franchise offers. Its instantly transferable. In this way you can create a saleable asset. Like growing a seed into a plant – all your work is invested in an entity that one day, you may decide to pass on (sell) when your life goals change. As a teacher, your asset is you, and whilst your business is growing and you are earning money its amazing, but you don’t work, you don’t get paid!
This is the major reason that people don’t consider franchising. A franchise might cost £10,000. That sounds a prohibitive amount of money. Just think, that 15years of research, development have gone into that brand. Think how much that has cost. How much would it actually cost you to get all the trainings, the materials, the class plans….In my business, there are 3 distinct yoga brands for different ages, and each one has 500 accompanying documents, not to mention the music, the illustrations – the list goes on. Most franchisees don’t make money on selling a franchise. Theres legals, trainings, websites, etc that you get – everything you need to start a business. How much would that cost if you were creating this yourself? Maybe, you’re thinking but that’s still a lot of money. Most banks lend on franchises on very preferable terms because they have a PROVEN track record. If you could pay £200 a month to earn £1500-£9k a month and that cost you £275 in loan repayments, that would be considered a cost worth bearing. Especially if you then sell your business for more than you bought it for at the end.
You can tell, I’m a convert! Of course I know that both models have their pros and cons, and you’ll know straight away which model suits you – I’d never try to persuade anyone out of being a self-employed yoga teacher, it’s a fantastic, low cost, rewarding vocation.
But, if you have already started thinking about how you might generate a more flexible income and possibly earn money when you are not even there, then just maybe this article might be the start of something new!