Guest post by Yoga Teacher Alexa Nehter. Note from Brook: Alexa is a business coaching client from northern New South Wales who’s recently returned from touring Europe, in between leading retreats in Fiji and, shortly, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. This is part two of an earlier guest blog article. Over to Alexa …
Have you ever asked yourself: How can I be a true yogi and an entrepreneur at the same time? How can I run a business if I’ve always been an employee? What is effective marketing and how can I get noticed without selling my soul?
Lesson 4: Your support crew: you have legions behind you
I was trained as a science teacher and so I found it hard initially to admit that I didn’t know something or couldn’t figure it out myself. Teachers should know it all, right?
Here’s what I used to do:
I’d spend hours, days, weekends and plenty of money trying to build my own website. I built a pretty awful one. At one point, I thought: ‘okay that’s it!’ Instead of spending hours and days learning and studying, doing all this techie stuff myself, I reached out and asked for help. This has boosted my business beyond measure!
I now have a web designer and coder who are always there for me when I realise that I’m wasting my time trying to figure stuff out.
I also didn’t know how to create a realistic revenue plan so I hired a coach to teach me and to direct me to the right resources.
Not being an English native speaker I was insecure about how to write an amazing ‘About page’. I wrote it in the end with help from a copywriter who tweaked the weak parts that didn’t properly express who I really am.
My first E-Book was put together by an expert. I didn’t do the design work and saved many days, as well as my nerves, by passing this job to a reliable VA.
When delegating tasks outside of my expertise, I stopped procrastinating and started focusing on what I’m really good at: designing and teaching yoga courses and classes and absorbing every single piece of information so I can bring my students the best possible, high quality yoga experience and education.
So if you are tempted to everything yourself, think again. Another great way to find cheap help is doing exchanges with friends: you design my site, I teach you private yoga lessons. It’s that simple.
Lesson 5: Have a realistic plan and know your ideas and strengths
Talking to business coaches, marketing mavericks and expert writers helped me be accountable and formulate realistic and healthy business decisions that are aligned with my beliefs, goals and visions.
Let’s be honest: You really can’t transform into a professional yogi without getting expert entrepreneurial wisdom and guidance. You can try it yourself, but if there is someone out there who has gone down the path before you, learned many lessons on the way, why not accelerate your growth with their help?
I worked with wonderful people like Julie Parker, Rachael McDonald and Brook McCarthy. All these ladies have valuable information that I needed. Sometimes I realised that I already have the answer and just needed a gentle push into the right direction.
Lesson 6: The yoga of money
Organising my finances has been huge! As a high school teacher, I got paid, I saved, I spent, which is pretty much that’s how I lived. If you’re thinking, well that’s easy, then you’re well ahead of where I was. For me it didn’t come easy.
You need to set financial goals for your business, as small as they might be to start with.
First hurdle: I didn’t know how to set a financial goal. For me, goal setting has been: “mmmm, if I don’t reach that goal, I will feel like a loser, so I better not set it at all.”
Well, I learned something new. Instead of goal setting and instead of seeing goals as a punishment, I learned to see it as a frame which feels expansive, not limiting.
Get a book-keeping system. Adjust the process so as to make it easier. And relax!
Lesson 7: Take a real break, get perspective, and fly
I reached a point where I had to stop. I went away travelling for two months. This was a risk, but totally necessary for what was to come.
Apart from sharing the odd picture over Instagram, I didn’t spend much time in front of a computer or phone screen at all. Instead I read real paper books, wrote post cards, talked for hours with friends while sitting on a wooden bench after a long day’s surf.
I completely reset my energy levels and during this time away I was able to look at my life from a new perspective. It confirmed even more that I am on the right path.
Don’t neglect giving yourself the time you need to totally recharge physically, emotionally, spiritually – you won’t regret it my love.
Lesson 8: Let go and jump in (with security net)
I left my comfortable yoga teaching job for the past two years at the local YMCA, which was incredibly hard as I loved my students and it was a great opportunity to teach to a big crowd. Nevertheless, I had to ensure that I would be able to grow in the direction I now increasingly inhabit.
I needed the flexibility to be the independent teacher, leader and business woman I yearned to be. I wanted the freedom to offer retreats, and international workshops, so that my European, American and Australian friends could get some Alexa yoga as well. I had to cut the ropes of my security net, which was scary, yet liberating.
Lesson 9: Make more connections and share yoga on a bigger platform
In the past years, I reached out more and more into the world outside my yoga classes and workshops.
In 2012 I locally organised the World Yoga Challenge which was a huge task, but also a great success. In 2014, I supported the first Wanderlust Festival in Sydney, got involved with Off the Mat, into the World and spoke at my first big conference for the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in front of more than 800 people.
I also said yes to the wider world of yoga and taught my first class at a yoga festival in Byron Bay. I was so nervous to show what kind of teacher I was. What if someone didn’t like me and thought I was a complete flop? But, by doing so, I realised how much I have to give and how much I love being amongst the crowds, sprinkling my yoga fairy dust around the world.
In 2015 I will be teaching at the Wanderlust Festival 2015. Sometimes it seems crazy to me that I have achieved this in such a short time. But this is what I want and what I’m working for, dedicating myself to being a yoga professional.
I’m not saying you have to teach at a yoga festival or travel the world like me. Saying yes to bigger involvement can be anything that includes more than just your students who attend your classes. You could be joining a local fundraiser or collaborating with a health or sports club.
It may be frightening, but trust me, the more you familiarise yourself with this thought, the more comfortable you get with it. Consider getting involved in events to connect you with new crowds and amazing teaching opportunities, not to mention life-changing, memorable experiences. See it as an adventure – your adventure. If you want to see the world, you have to embark to new shores. Whatever lesson appears on the way, you will figure it out. So set sail now. Don’t wait until you are ready. You were born ready. We are all on the same journey, called learning. This is your life, live it with free rein!
PS: did you miss part 1 of this article? Check it out.
German-born and raised Alexa Nehter is a science and sports educator turned yoga teacher, surfer and author. In her teachings Alexa weaves together her experiences and knowledge of yoga, human biology and physiology, surfing and mindfulness meditation. She inspires people around the world with her relatable and encouraging approach to yoga and mindful, soul-fuelled living. Alexa facilitates retreats, courses and workshops to inspire true ownership of yoga and life that is optimistic, curious and courageous.