You have probably heard it plenty of times already: this year has changed our lives for good. And the reality seems to be that there will be no “going back” to normality, instead we find ourselves in a new reality, adapting to and embracing all the changes around us rather than clinging on to past ways. There is no doubt that the yoga and fitness industry has been put to the test, but we should all be proud to have seen such a proactive and quick response in the face of difficulty.
What may have once been something that was resisted by yoga and fitness teachers and students alike, online classes have now become part of our everyday routines.
And once we opened our eyes to the benefits, rather than the drawbacks, of our online offerings we came to realise that we are no longer bound by time or space. We can now reach out to people far and wide, unrestricted by geographical location. Following our calling to help others, we’ve opened our doors to everyone during these difficult times, even exploring free and donation based offerings.
As yoga teachers and fitness instructors, online classes provide us with a stream of income and steadiness when face to face classes are no longer an option. So as we move towards a new year and hopefully to a fresh start, we should think about other ways of diversifying our offering to make our business more sustainable in the long term. As times remain uncertain and what we once thought would be a temporary halt to face to face offerings appears to be a long-term change, it feels more rife than ever to focus our attention on our growth and expansion online.
Overall, diversifying your teaching experience and doing things that are out of your comfort zone are extremely beneficial to your growth and evolution as a yoga instructor. Teaching in different settings challenges your teaching capabilities and encourages you to explore new ways to upskill and grow your client base.
So let’s get straight to, ever heard of corporate classes? We bet you have and have probably felt too overwhelmed to even think about starting to teach one. The thought of corporate classes has probably led to a flurry of questions: Where do you even begin? Who do you reach out to? How do you organise your offering? What do you charge?
Let’s explore further.
First of all, why focus on corporate classes? Just as the yoga and fitness industry has changed beyond belief in recent months, the corporate landscape has too. And as a result of these changes, new opportunities have opened up for online corporate classes and wellness programs.
To name a few of the more obvious changes in the corporate landscape:
- More people than ever before are working from home. People don’t go to offices as much, which may be great on some level (think commute hours saved) but this inevitably has some downsides too in terms of people’s wellbeing and need for social connection. No more coffee breaks, less interactions with colleagues, and longer hours spent on screens instead of talking to real people. The need for a sense of community and connection is stronger than ever. And if people can’t meet in real life, then the need for connection can also be satisfied with some group activities online.
- Companies don’t have to spend big budgets on planning Christmas parties, buying office supplies or paying for their employees’ coffees but they continue to want to show appreciation for their employees and give them added benefits to their employment. So what’s the perfect alternative? Investing in corporate wellness programs obviously.
- employees don’t work from home these days, instead they live at work. Countless hours are spent in back to back meetings and their bodies are feeling it. Postural issues are rising, stress levels are increasing and it’s only a matter of time before people burn out. Read between the lines to find your opportunity here.
Your brain is probably starting to come up with a few ideas, but here are a few more good reasons why teaching corporate classes online is definitely worth dipping into.
As a yoga teacher, building your corporate client base is a really good way to create a stable business with a steady income. Corporate yoga classes are often the best-paid of all yoga teaching jobs, and most clients will book you weekly over a long period of time. This is really important. New yoga teachers often find themselves working for very little money and with unreliable streams of income that seem to fluctuate with the weather.
Establishing strong relationships with clients that respect your work, and will pay appropriately for it, will mean that you can be more picky about your teaching schedule and reduce the chance of your own burn out. Furthermore, teaching corporate clients is actually very fun! You get to spend some time each week working with the same students, tailoring the classes to their needs and expectations, while watching them progress and evolve. It’s pretty rewarding.
Where do I start?
Okay, so now that we’ve convinced you that teaching corporate classes is a great idea, how can you start doing this?
First of all, it’s important to spend some self inquiring time and to research what’s already out there. When we say self inquiry, we mean that you should ask yourself the most important question: what do you expect from teaching corporate classes? Ask yourself how to get from point A to point B depending on your ultimate goal. And then go from there.
We suggest you be very honest with yourself in terms of how much you would like to charge your clients, who you want to teach to and how much time you can realistically dedicate to them (please consider that these are clients that you need to nurture, so planning ahead, being organised and punctual is of essence). Once this is very clear, start to put together an offer that you’d be proud to share with your network.
Share your pitch with friends and family, former colleagues, your LinkedIn and Facebook channels. Anyone who works for a company could use some wellness and fitness in their lives. Make sure to include some referrals from other students or studios if you can.
It takes time to build corporate yoga teaching work. If you’ve worked in corporate roles before, get in touch and tell them that you’re teaching yoga and that you’d love to offer a class to their team. Remember that you don’t necessarily have to go straight to huge companies, even smaller entities are often interested in providing health benefits such as yoga classes to their employees.
The next step would be reaching out to a few companies close to where you live. Do some research beforehand to determine who you should talk to. If in doubt, ask for their Human Resource Manager. Ask them if they’d like to try a yoga class with you. Teach them once for free and if they like it, talk to them about doing regular classes with you once or twice a week.
And don’t get discouraged if they’re not interested. No doesn’t mean “no”; it simply means they don’t “know” enough to say yes right now. Move on to another company, and follow up with this one again in 3-6 months.
How can Kuula help you?
And if this sounds too obvious to you, don’t worry, we have some aces up our sleeves. At Kuula, we offer the possibility of organising your corporate wellness programs.
There are several way you could do this and here are some of them:
- Create monthly passes on Kuula including a set amount of online classes and promote them in your offer. The possibility of purchasing recurring subscriptions for companies just makes it so much easier rather than paying for every individual class.
- Partner up with like minded teachers who complement your style (think of a Yin teacher should you teach Power Yoga or perhaps explore different options like fitness and meditation combined) and create a package for your corporate clients.
- Sign up to our corporate wellness program: whenever we receive requests from corporate clients looking for a variety of fitness and wellness classes, we will include your classes to the mix, in order to get you more visibility without much effort on your behalf.
Please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our corporate wellness initiatives.
What else is there to know about teaching online corporate classes?
First of all, make sure your insurance covers you for online teaching as well as teaching in corporate settings. You may also want to create a Scope of Work (SOW) with the company you are teaching for to make sure everything is written on paper and you trace your income.
Teaching to corporate clients is very different from what you may have been used to when teaching in yoga studios, gyms or to your occasional online clients. Keep in mind that it’s a benefit that employers are offering their teams, meaning there’s still a professional relationship there that may not look as friendly or open as you’d think. A lot of corporate clients will prefer switching off their cameras and not be seen by their colleagues as it may create some awkwardness. So work with what you know and be respectful of these boundaries. Most times, they won’t know what they actually want so it’s important to have this conversation about expectations with them before classes start, so everyone is on the same page.
Get to know your students in a discrete but efficient way, perhaps asking them to fill out a questionnaire before you begin teaching or referring to their HR person for more information.
Be prepared to offer modifications to poses and give more verbal cues than otherwise, as the levels will be completely different, especially in the beginning.
Another important point to note, especially if you teach yoga, is that corporate environments are strictly ‘religion-free’, so if you intend to use Sanskrit in your classes, make sure you do it gradually and explain how it fits into your teaching, as it may be perceived as a religious bias. Perhaps you can incorporate philosophical lessons making them relevant to the people in front of you using simpler concepts and words that resonate.
And don’t forget – timing is of essence when your corporate yoga students have taken time out of their busy day to do yoga with you. Every minute counts. Finishing on time is even more important, as often people are racing back to their desks to finish a mountain of tasks. Think about the length of the classes you offer, 30 to 45 minute classes although shorter than normal are still “real yoga”. Remind your students of this and the fact that each student is doing the very best they can. Hold the space for them, make it a nonjudgmental, supportive environment and they will keep coming back for more.
Teaching corporate yoga can be a lot of fun! You’re helping busy employees to de-stress, boost productivity and increase energy, while learning new things yourself!