Chasing paper and presence.
I hate/love the saying, "do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life."
It has some truth.
I love teaching yoga but it doesn't pay all my bills. And we live small and within means. We, being Steve and me. He, a furniture-maker. Me, you know, yoga teacher (mostly).
Many people assume that because Steve is a furniture-maker (and a fucking great one at that and I'll soon take you down the story of how people thought we were crazy to start a business while I was pregnant 7 years ago) our house is full of beautiful, handcrafted, authentic pieces made by him.
It's not. There's a joke in there, "the cobbler's kids have no shoes." We have shoes, we just don't have wood.
And our house is 600sq ft. Not much wood could fit, anyway. Like I said, we live small.
And there's a reason for that.
The topics of yoga teaching pay has been coming up a lot lately, online and in-person. There are grand ideas about changing pay and such. I'm not sure what the answer is but I am listening.
A few of the ways* teachers get paid look something like this:
Flat-rate (it's closer to minimum wage than you think)
Flat-rate + incentive (meaning: base pay + bonus pay per head count)
Percentage splits (pay based on attendance, you receive a split cut)
Some teachers rent studio space and charge their own price for clients (even then, some studios take an extra cut of the percentage).
*I've left out the private client hustle, workshops, retreats, teaching teacher trainings, etc to keep this read basic.
There are many ways. It's not just yoga teachers, I have friends that are other fitness instructors, hair dresses, estheticians, various artisans/crafts peoples, etc. But I think a lot of people just don't know.
To make it simple, we don't get paid unless people show up. And, for people like me, the more people that show up to my classes, the more I am able to put in the pot at home.
So, many people in these sort of industries have their hands in other buckets to make money and provide for their family.
I have my hand in others like writing, taking photo portraits, on the rare occasion sponsored posts on Instagram (gasp!), and a special roll-out that I'll keep mum until ready.
And that's really-real.
In a whimsical, hippie-dippy world, we would all do exactly what we love and and not work a day in our lives.
Back to living small, the reason it is this way for people like us is that we don't always know what will come in month to month-ish. Money can sometimes fluctuate like a toddler's emotions on a given day.
I don't want to lose you by doing a bunch of math but this is why you might be seeing your favorite teacher bouncing all over a bunch of studios in town (if they're allowed to, meaning they've not been required to sign a non-compete clause in their contract. If ya don't know, it kinda sucks. I've heard too many horror stories), hocking yoga pants with a discount code, offering discount codes on social media (if they're lucky to have a following for such), pumping out workshops, and doing any other side-hustle to bring that paper.
Like that old saying, "the cobbler's kids have no shoes" -- maybe yoga teacher edition is: the yoga teacher has no pants?
(As an aside, it's why it's nice to get free or discounted yoga pants because your average yoga teacher probably cannot afford those $100 yoga pants on a whim anyway)
And so many teachers say, we don't teach for the money.
There's some truth.
Right now, my teaching schedule feels like I'm bursting at the seams and I don't teach that much in comparison to many teachers (I'm a 24/7 mom and this juggle is wild sometimes). I love every single class I teach but I don't have two days off in a row. And having this head cold is a fucking timely teacher for me.
I'm supposed to be adding more to my schedule when a new studio opens. And I have massive reservation about adding to my current schedule.
Because I don't know if my physical body can handle it. Really though. Teaching power vinyasa classes is a lot on the body.
Especially, in 95 to 105 degree rooms.
I aim to work smarter.
I've never made a resolution before. I've mentioned that before on January 1st.
I'm changing things up a bit.
Figuring out as I go and I've also hired help. Someone smarter than me. It's personal and it's business. The two can coexist.
Steph, aka the heart-hustler