Back in October 2014 I took the plunge into the world of being a full time yoga teacher. While I love what I do and it is my dream job in many respects it does have it's own downfalls as well - just like any other job. With more and more people heading out to complete their yoga teacher training I thought that it would be nice to share my experiences so far and any advice for those of you who might be thinking of turning yoga into a career. I don't have all the answers but here are my thoughts.
Having more time to do what I love - Yoga is what I love. I love stepping into a class and greeting students, guiding them through creative flows and celebrating mini breakthroughs of attaining yoga poses with them. I love the sense of calm people feel as they drift into savasana and working with the energy in the room as I guide my classes. By teaching full time I have time, energy and space to create those flows and dream up exciting events and yoga retreats for the JBY community! I also have time to blog and create content for my YouTube channel which I know would be flung to the wayside if I was still working my full time office job.
Being my own boss - I am such an independent person and I like doing things my way and at my own pace so that's why I love working for myself. I have no one else to answer to and I can spend time creating events just as I have them in mind. I love setting my own schedule and having the space to take holidays when I like - heading out on an adventure on just a weekend away.
Flexible working hours - Who doesn't love to be able to take time off for holidays and Christmas exactly when you want to? I love how flexible my job is. Although I do have commitments to weekly classes the rest is up to me. I can spend my afternoons working on the blog, creating content, dreaming up events and retreats OR I can sit in the sunshine and read for hours. It's my choice. I also love how when it comes to Christmas I can simply take the whole week off rather than having to fight it out with colleagues or work the day after boxing day. Side note: Why do offices open during that odd week between Christmas and New Year? That's the time for family and eating chocolate in your PJs!
Community - The thing I love the most about teaching yoga? Community. That means you reading this blog post! I love to share and yoga has helped me come out of my shell, to shine, to gain a confidence in my body which I never had before. I love chatting to people before and after class, telling silly stories from my day, sharing and connecting. The people make the yoga - I'm just there to hold the space. I love watching people grow and come out of themselves at a yoga retreat, making friends and connecting to each other, to their own bodies, space and life. This to me is yoga.
It gets lonely - I am an introvert at heart so being in my own company doesn't usually bother me but after working in an office environment for years I struggled with working at home by myself. Some days I find it hard to motivate myself and I retreat into my own little bubble where the work doesn't get done. I do miss the social aspect of working in an office working on your own can be hard.
The hours are anti social - Basically you are working when everyone else isn't - either early mornings, evenings or weekends so you need to be prepared to say goodbye to your social life. Oh and forget about eating dinner at a normal time!!
The money isn't guaranteed - Within any business where you are working for yourself there is always going to be busy periods and not so busy periods. You need to prepare yourself for this. Sometimes I can teach every day for two weeks without a day off, other times things will go really quiet. My advice? Save money where you can so you can prepare for those times when things go quiet that way you can enjoy the downtime.
No sick pay or holiday pay - When you work for yourself you don't get the same benefits as you would working for a big company. Holidays aren't paid. When you are sick and you can't work you can't earn any money. These are two of the things I miss the most from my office girl days - that and my pension benefits.
Fears for the future - Is teaching yoga sustainable? Maybe. Maybe not. Working for yourself is stressful no matter what you do for a living. I often worry about things like savings, pension, having children, being out of work, getting old, being pushed out - you get the idea. We all have these fears I guess but they are often more so when you work for yourself because there is no certainty, at the same time that's the way it is with all things in life.
I am forever grateful that I get to do what I love for a living - every single day - and I wouldn't change it for the world. However with the picture perfect Instagram lives we see from the outside I thought it would be good to get real, be personal and share my honest thoughts on the pros and cons. What are your thoughts on working for yourself? What are you struggles? Let's chat!
PS: Are you a brand new yoga teacher and looking for some guidance? I offer a yoga teacher mentoring program where I can answer all your questions, share my own experience, help you with your website and put plans into action!