I remember when I completed my first yoga teacher training. I couldn’t believe the stereotype that pilates and yoga teachers teach for the love with little reward. Surely, it would be easy to make money as a pilates or yoga teacher. I did the maths and thought to myself, ‘I could make a decent income from working 20 hours a week!’ Little did I know at the time that teaching 20 classes per week is not only a lot more than 20 hours of work, but that it’s almost completely unsustainable.
There are certainly people who thrive off this kind of work (probably the same personalities who love acting, public speaking and performance arts), but many of us are sensitive souls and having a full teaching schedule leaves us feeling burnt out, missing our own practice and slowly losing the enthusiasm that brought us to teach in the first place.
How can you create a sustainable teaching career without losing your love for the practice? How can you feel valued in your profession, stay challenged and motivated and receive the rewards that come with dedicating yourself to your chosen career? How can you make money as a pilates or yoga teacher?
Take what works for you from our smorgasbord of suggestions for diversifying your career as a teacher and find financial freedom outside of the traditional studio setting. We start simple with options for newbie teachers and finish with options for the more experienced.
Workshops and Masterclasses
Teaching workshops and masterclasses is a great opportunity not only to make a little extra income, but also to work on your skills as a teacher. Think about the pilates and yoga scene where you live. If you’re from a small town or rural area a beginner’s course is a great place to start. This could be run once a week for up to 3 months, or as a simple 2 to 3 hour workshop. If you’re in an area saturated with pilates and yoga, you might consider offering something a little more unique. What’s your passion? Art? Massage? Kombucha? Yoga teacher invoicing systems? The possibilities are endless!
You could approach owners of studios that you’re already teaching at, or hire a space locally. If you have a following beyond your local area or something unique to share, you could even take your workshops interstate and collaborate with studios outside of your local area. For this you’ll need a clear description of your workshop and a bio to introduce yourself to potential collaborators. Profit shares between yourself and the studio you’re working with are usually around a 30/70% split, with the studio taking care of the administrative side of things. A 2-3 hour workshop is usually around $30-$100 per person and a 6-week course (60-90 minutes per class) can be up to $150 per person.
Private and small group classes
If you love working one on one or have experience in massage or counselling, private classes will surely float your boat. These are much more in depth than a regular pilates or yoga class, and you will need to invest time and energy into understanding your clients’ unique, individual needs (as opposed to standing in front of them and teaching a standard practice). And for this reason, you can charge more for a private session. $80-$150 is the standard, going rate, and you can modify this according to how often you will be working with the client (discounts for ongoing work).
You may already have friends or students interested in working with you one on one, or perhaps you can get a little creative by collaborating with accommodation providers, wedding venues (think small group classes for hens’ weekends or wedding mornings), other healing professionals or studio owners.
Corporate classes are not only great for you to make money as a pilates or yoga teacher, but you get to bring the practice to some of the people who need it most (balancing out those stiff, desk-bound bodies). And the great news is that you can increase your rate (corporate organisations have budgets for these things!) to up to $150 per class. Source corporate clients through friends, the web or by contacting organisations directly.
Retreats can be a little hit or miss – with a plethora of competition out there. While you may not always make money as a pilates or yoga teacher running your first retreat, you will likely receive a free holiday, a bunch of new friends and a launch pad for future ventures. Check out our recent article on running your own retreat to delve in.
The World Wide Web, baby
Many of us have probably found ourselves resisting this for a while. But let’s be honest, the way we operate businesses is changing dramatically in the modern world. We’re slowly saying goodbye to paper and embracing the world of websites and social media. We’re looking up pilates and yoga teacher invoicing systems and throwing those old invoice templates out the window. It’s not as simple as putting an ad in the paper anymore. And this has its pros and cons.
Do you love being on camera? Perhaps it’s time to record a meditation or movement practice to offer through your personal website or another streaming site (they are growing rapidly in popularity).
Do you love to write and organise? You could try running an online course to share your skills and words of wisdom with others. Have a look around and see what others are doing in this area.
Finally, and a little controversial, do you have a following on social media? If so, you could consider collaborating with businesses that you are passionate about to become an influencer (if have a small but niche following you could become a micro influencer), sharing products on your personal social media in exchange for a fee.
Writing and blogging
Writing and blogging requires a lot of experience to translate into a decent income, but one of its major benefits is that it offers an opportunity to promote your business and drive traffic to your website. If you have a skill for writing or something unique to share, check out the abundance of yoga and wellbeing-related websites, blogs and print media and connect with them to introduce yourself and what you’d like to offer.
Insider tip: When you’re making a connection be clear and succinct. Editors are busy people who receive a lot of writing requests. Get straight to the point. Who are you (not your whole life story please)? What’s your pitch (a short paragraph explaining what you’d like to write about)? Why are you the best person to write the piece?
Running teacher trainings is an incredible way to make money as a pilates or yoga teacher can lead to so many beautiful connections and travel. While it’s not out of reach, it’s not to be taken lightly. You really need to either know your stuff or have connections with teachers who do. If you’re reaching for this career goal, keep a record of your studies – as there will be some red tape to consider down the track.
Work for other pilates and yoga businesses
Finally, there are so many yoga and pilates businesses out there who can benefit from your skills. Do you have a background in marketing, web design, IT or copywriting? Many yogis know very little about these things and would love to have you as part of their team. Stay connected to the community and put yourself out there. You could take on a handful of clients who you work with to create beautiful online content or design websites. This should also allow you to work remotely around your teaching schedule.