How to Teach Less & Earn More

Part #3 of 7- Double Your Yoga Income

by Lucas Rockwood

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When I first started teaching, I explained to my friend, Chris, how my finances worked. “If I want to earn more, I just teach more—it’s so simple!”

I started teaching before I even had a certificate, and I was making about $30/hour. I was 25 at the time, and that was more than I’d made on an hourly basis in my entire life.

But there’s just one huge problem. You cannot teach 40 hours per week.

Most people struggle when they teach more than 25 hours per week, so the great challenge facing all teachers is that no matter how high your “per class” or “per hour” rate is, you’re always limited by your own energy.

For me, it got really bad…

In an attempt to increase my income, at one point, I was teaching over 21 classes per week. I would walk out of one studio and into another with four back-to-back classes. Between my personal practice and teaching schedule, sometimes 10 days would go by without having a meaningful conversation with anyone (except my yoga mat).

I had so many classes, I really couldn’t keep track. Just before starting my Sun Salutes, I’d whisper to the student in the first row, “What’s the name of this class?” and more than once, I messed up the sequences and timetables, teaching a 60-minute class when it was meant to be 90.

And you know what?

The more I taught, the worse my classes became. At 25, I was a better teacher than at 26 because I had more time to prepare and plan. By 27, I was so burnt out, I’d walk into the room and just go through the motions. Yoga teachers don’t like to talk about this publicly, but privately, we all struggle.

Burnout is a job hazard that you must take seriously.

And the road forward? The way out? It’s the most counter-intuitive thing you could imagine. The way to make yoga teaching a career (and not just a job) involves teaching less and earning more.

Sounds impossible, I know… but think about it for a moment.

The most influential yoga teachers in the world, are they on the schedule three times per day? The most financially successful teachers in the world, are they running from studio to studio to make ends meet?

If you look at the line graph of a successful yoga teaching career, your “teaching hours” will peak around year two or three, and from there, that peak will steadily decline. As you add more and more value (this is key), you teach less and less. As you teach less and less, your teaching gets uber-potent and ultra-high demand.

As demand increases so do your rates. And before you know it, you’ll be teaching a fraction of what you used to and making twice as much money. Hard to believe, but it’s true.

Let’s get you started.

You need to free up some time right now to work on your business, not in your business. To do this, I need you to think back to all your yoga-related gigs last year. Which were the best paying gigs? Which did you enjoy the most (conveniently, they are often the same). Now for the tough question: What can you do to triple or quadruple the number of high paying gigs you have in the next 30 days? Write it down… take action!

SIDE NOTE: Realistic Expectations

I want to make an important disclaimer: Working less is not about a “four-hour work week” or getting rich by filming YouTube videos. Teaching less does not always mean working less, it simply means changing your focus.

Check out part 4 of this 7-part series: Why Plastic Surgeons Make 2x General Practitioners