Are you a yoga teacher or experienced healer? Or are you seeking to become one?
Do you love to teach and serve and continue to do it whether you make money or not, but you know you are draining yourself out and know that it's not sustainable?
Do you keep taking one more class thinking the reason you aren't earning a living is because you don't have the right piece of paper, the right organization to support you?
Are you looking for that teaching community that gets you and will help you making a living? (hat tip: it's not the Yoga Alliance.)
Do you dream of someone who will mentor you to become your true self and not a copy of them?
Your message is important
Each of us has an important message to bring to this planet
The reason you crave a small business isn't because you want to earn money; it's because you are have an important message to share.
In order to deliver that message, you must create an environment that allows you to truly serve your students.
You need to be in control of your environment in order to creatively process your message.
You need to be able to structure your day so you can practice asana, sit in meditation, go for walks in nature — in short, to be in a place of non-busyness in order to receive your important message.
You must learn to communicate your important message
You must write and practice being on video or making audio recordings in order to practice communicating your message clearly in a way that your students need to hear it
You need to be able to teach teach teach so you can get better at teaching.
You need to be able to travel to the students that need to connect to you, by leading workshops and retreats.
You need to be able to continue your studies with whomever can help you to explore your own unique experience and express it to the people who need to hear it.
This is why you dream of owning your own business
Not for the money.
For the love.
To serve deeply.
In order to do this work, you must be a small business owner, or you have to play smaller. You cannot have a side job and deeply serve your students.
Why you aren't making enough money to teach full time
The money is not the issue.
Money doesn't drive you.
You are driven by a deep need to serve.
The reason you haven't made a success of your business is that you aren't connecting to the students that you need to serve.
Once you do that, you will be motivated to figure out all the legal stuff, the accounting stuff, the boring bits that turn you off — out of love for your students
Your students are looking for you, and you aren't showing up for them.
You must figure out how to connect to them, for your own health and happiness and for theirs.
The first step isn't a business plan
Forget what the nice lady at the Small Business Association told you. You don't need a business plan yet.
The first step in creating a business that will help you to serve your students is to figure out who you are meant to teach.
Once you meet them, you will begin to figure out how to communicate to them — not to nameless faces out there you imagine seeking you out some fuzzy time in the future — to real people, the people here right now you are meant to serve.
Create a business of love. It's legal!
When you find your students, your job is simply to listen to them tell you want they need from you. Then to create that to the best of your ability.
That's the business plan: To do whatever it takes to serve your students out of love and devotion for them.
Who are your students? It's time to find out.
Who do I serve?
- I serve long time yoga teachers and other healers who have gone on a unique journey to become extraordinary at what they do, but aren't sure how to explain to people what they do, and who haven't figured out how to make a sustainable living as a teacher.
- I serve yoga teachers who want to learn how to use technology like web pages, Facebook, and BookMe pages to connect to students who are seeking to work with them. I love working with people with very basic skills but can work with people of all levels of experience with computers.
- I serve new yoga teachers and healers who want to become excellent teachers by teaching you the skills that learning professionals know and how you can apply them to your teaching.
- I serve anyone who wants to create an e-learning course or write an informative book.
- I love to teach Loving Kindness Meditation and seated meditation and can work with people of all levels of meditation experience.
- I enjoy teaching about the chakras and can help you to understand them in your own body.
Who don't I serve?
- I'm not very interested in Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, and other popular spiritual writers. If you are seeking more knowledge about these teachings, I am not a good person for you.
- I don't know much about social media other than Facebook, but can refer you to someone who does.
- Currently I do not teach live asana (yoga postures) online as I do not have a stable internet connection in my teaching space, but I have high quality recorded asana I can organize to meet your needs.
What's my background?
Me, Suzanne Dulin. I
created Sadhana out of love for you.
This is my dharma (path).
I was you.
I was in love with yoga from the moment I started it.
1989: Discovering Yoga
I started practicing when I was in college, nearly 30 years ago.
I knew I was destined to be a major, influential teacher and from the beginning I was serious about my studies.
I was a young adult hanging out with a bunch of aging hippies who'd discovered yoga during the big craze in the 70's. The first workshop I attended, right after I'd received my degree in Philosophy from Tulane, every single person beside me was wearing Birkenstocks.
My teachers were still doing it even though it wasn't in vogue anymore, because they were devoted to it. Every single one of my teachers had studied yoga for at least 15 years.
1992: Post College Yoga Studies
One of my first teachers was John Schumacher, one of the leading Iyengar teachers in America — he now owns four studios, but when I was studying with him, he'd just opened the doors on the first location and was training his own teaching staff.
I thought that's what being a yoga teacher meant, to be devoted to your practice, to be mentored by a great teacher.
I still think that.
1998: Yoga Teacher
In 1997, I gave birth to my daughter. I practiced yoga all throughout my pregnancy and as soon as I could return to my practice, I completed my first teacher training program (in the Iyengar/Anusara traditions).
When my daughter was 1, I began teaching a class a week at a community college, which I did on the side of my full time work as a technical writer in the high tech industry.
I was unhappy with my first teacher training experience; it didn't prepare me to teach as I dreamed of teaching.
Yoga on the Internet: Erich Schiffmann's Discussion Board Moderator
Seeking more information, I turned to the Internet. Fortunately, the tech writing gig I had at the time gave me access to a fast connection to the Internet and a lot of free time to explore.
There wasn't a lot of good information on the web back then. Everything blinked. But there was this one site with the most amazing book on it, the book of the man who became one of my main mentors, Erich Schiffmann.
There was a discussion board on the site. And who was on it? Erich Schiffmann, every freakin' day. He was in California, I was in Maryland, but every day I could learn something new from him. Every day he shared his teachings out of love and passion for his work.
Soon, I took over the discussion board and, using my tech skills in service to yoga, I turned it into the largest and running discussion board related to yoga. There were over 200,000 posts on that message board. I was the moderator there for over 15 years.
By moderating that community, I helped to promote Erich's teachings to the world, and soon his workshops were starting more and more to consist of people from the discussion board.
I saw how Erich grew a tribe (with my help) that supported him to do his work - just by sharing his love and knowledge. He wasn't "marketing," He wasn't "promoting," He was teaching.
To be honest, I was resentful that I was doing so much to support his business and my own business was, well, non-existent.
Just like Erich, I spent hours every day talking to yogis all over the world about my passion, yoga. But unlike him, I wasn't supporting myself doing what I loved.
A lot of other yogis were unhappy with their yoga teacher training, too. It also turned out that everyone was struggling with the issue of making a living at it.
I dreamed of a life of teaching like my mentor Erich Schiffmann had, traveling the world teaching workshops, constantly working to communicate my message better, seeking out whatever medium of communication, whatever tools helped me to do that. He shared a lot about that, but still I didn't understand how to make a living as a teacher.
The way Erich talked about his life, doors just magically opened when it was time — another teacher resigned and he was given his first teaching gig, at Jiddu Krishnamurti's Brockwood school. Someone asked him to be in a video with Ali MacGraw and it turned out to be one of the top selling yoga videos of all time. He wrote an amazing book and it went into over 11 printings and was translated into multiple languages. Great stuff just happened to Erich.
So I thought: That's how you make a living at it. You become extraordinary and doors open.
So I continued to study, but still only one person ever hosted me to teach a workshop (and that was one of the best experiences of my life, completely magical and affirming of my dream). Other than that, I didn't get asked to travel to teach.
No one else on our discussion board was making money either: not the chiropractor who shared so generously about her knowledge of anatomy, not the man who'd been practicing pranayama (breath practices) for 25 years as his exclusive practice, not the guy who'd traveled all over India studying with masters very few have had the pleasure of knowing.
2000: Founding Member, the Wilmington Yoga Center (cooperative)
When my daughter was 3, my (now ex) husband, my daughter and I moved to Wilmington, NC. I pretended to myself my husband made enough money that I could be fully supported by him and devote myself to teaching. (Reality: we were deeply in debt).
A group of 9 teachers in Wilmington came together to start a yoga school. One of the teachers had found a ballet school with hours that worked well for us and negotiated a per class lease of $10. All the teachers threw $20 in a hat, we printed up a schedule, we agreed on prices, came up with a name, then we stuck a banner out on the fence in front of the school announcing the grand opening of The Wilmington Yoga Center.
It was a big success and a kind of perfect teaching situation for me. I had low overhead and an easy way to advertise that didn't feel sleazy (stacks of schedules at the local food coop were our big advertising investment).
I taught full time, 5 - 7 classes a week. Some other teachers would say that was too much for them, but for me, it was like a high. The more I taught, the more I loved it.
2005: Heading of Foreclosure/Return to my Day Job
True fact: I barely made enough to pay for groceries.
The coop split up after a couple of years and the other major teachers all went off and started their own businesses, but none of them had the money and the job security that I was used to from my years of work in the high tech field: health insurance, 401k, enough money to cover emergencies.
I felt like that was wrong. I thought our work should truly support us, not force us to compromise all the other happiness in our lives.
When my daughter was 8 years old, I had to sell the beautiful house that I owned, because it had gone into foreclosure. I could no longer hide from the massive debt we were using to finance an unsustainable dream of a lifestyle where I stayed home with my daughter and taught yoga.
At that point, I had scaled back my teaching practice and returned to high paying tech work, creating websites for yoga teachers late at night while my daughter slept.
2006: Long Island Technical Writer/Instructional Designer
I moved to Long Island, left my first husband for the martial artist I'd dated when I was just starting out in yoga during college, and I returned to the high tech industry.
I kept thinking about teaching, but something told me my path was not there right now.
I didn't really understand but I'd been trained to trust my intuition, so I did.
Eight years later, resigned that my career was in the tech industry and yoga just my expensive hobby, I began studying for my Masters in Engineering Management, so I could start getting management positions.
I was by then a professional instructional designer, creating online training for sales people who sell bar code scanning equipment to big companies.
2017: Suzanne Dulin, MEng — Masters in Engineering Management
I walked in the door on my first day of class and there were all these people who had successfully started up businesses talking about how they were living their dream life, doing what they loved, organizing their lives the way they wanted to, making money.
I hated those guys. I knew that it was not possible to be successful owning a business doing what you love.
Then they really took me out at the knees.
My first exercise in grad school was: What's your calling?
But I was in school to learn engineering, not yoga.
Long story short, I was mentored for two years through that program to start up a real business, a sustainable business, a business that truly supports me to do what I love: Sadhana.
Suddenly,I realized why I had to stop teaching for 8 years: to bring all of my technical and business skills in service to the yoga and healing arts community.
Now I could see:
- Why I'd written over 25 informative books and honed my writing chops
- Why I'd designed more than 12 e-learning courses
- Why I'd had to go to school to learn how to grow a startup company successfully
- Why I worked for a major search engine company and learned how they work from the inside out.
- Why I'd been put in the path of professional educators so I could learn what they know about designing credentialing programs and assessing learning
- Why I'd gotten to spend so much time with groups working to create new products
- Why I'd been forced against my will to learn marketing and sales things like branding and pricing and "the unboxing experience"
- Why I'd been trained by patent attorneys on the patent application process
- Why I'd for some mysterious reason had as my direct manager the head of a startup company that was going through a major buyout - with the company founders walking away millionaires
- Why I'd been at yet another amazing startup where the owners had created the most loving and fun space for their employees - with a loading dock turned into a garage for their antique car collection, robots that roamed the warehouse floor, and employees who wanted to be nowhere else after Hurricane Sandy than with each other in our safe space.
- Why I'd been present at the meeting where the owner announced he'd sold that company and everyone, including him, seemed heartbroken. (He didn't realize he'd built his company out of love; he'd bought into the idea that it was only about money, only too late.)
I had to do it to serve you to create your own business out of love.
Am I supposed to serve YOU? Are you MY student?
Book a free discovery call now:
- To find out how you can start figuring out who you serve.
- To hone the craft of communicating with your students using video, audio, or through writing.
- To learn how to connect to your students using Facebook and web pages.
- To learn how to get started setting up a business that allows you to leave your day job in order to devote your life to serving your students.