Life is known for its surprises and December was no exception. That month I treated myself to the Kundalini Yoga Winter Solstice Sadhana in Florida for lots of yoga, meditation, and healthy eating before the cookie trays and gravy boats of Christmas. Florida started with lots of sunshine and good yoga then turned into a tornado zone. Mid way through the week I abandoned my flooded tent for a cozy warm hotel room, hot bath, movies on TV, and take-out Chinese food.
Even though it wasn’t what I expected it was what I needed. I released a lot of guilty feelings for taking care of myself.
You see, I did feel a little bad for not getting work done, then for not being at camp during the tornado warnings, but when I returned to camp the next day I was rested and ready to go. All around me people were yawning, coughing and sniffling from all the rain. They were so happy I had energy to give the kids in the Youth Camp. They immediately transferred me from crafts to a whole day with the 3-4 year olds.
With the sun shining again and our mindful supervision, the kids played all day and I’m happy to report it ended very well for all.
Plus when I got home I had more energy for my family and now for work.
I know there will be more to write about this experience later, for now you can follow my Instagram feed for videos and pics from that trip.
Creating a Business Vision and Intention
Now that 2019 is here I’m back to planning for the year ahead. If you’ve ever wondered what mindful planning looks like, I’ll tell you my process now.
Visioning is part of my meditative practice. Consciously choosing a direction is my practice, just like choosing a yoga practice, I choose a life practice! Setting my vision means I don’t get pulled in different directions by what other people are doing ending up in a rut, trying to keep up, or forgetting what I was intending to do.
I’ve written about goal setting on my blog in 2018, offered a free visioning workbook in 2017, and shared a story about setting intentions here. Reviewing, planning, and intention setting is my ritual at the new year. It is a ritual that contributes to my business growth.
Here’s something you may not know about my early planning experiences.
My Ambitious First Business Plan
When I first started teaching yoga I thought kids yoga would be a side gig for me. I wrote my first business plan in 1999, which was to teach yoga classes and provide students with healthy meals. It was a yoga and meal service for people who wanted to be healthy. There was not much about kids yoga in it at all. I had no clue that my side hustle would become my main focus.
Sometimes when you are starting a business you don’t know what parts will take off. However, that ambitious first business plan was part of the process that brought me to where I am now.
It also taught me an important lesson: your vision must grow and change with your experience!
As I learned that shopping, prepping, cooking, packaging meals, doing dishes, delivering food was not for me, I noticed my energy for kids yoga growing. I made the decision to pivot in a new direction.
Before I started offering Teacher Training, my niche was teaching children in daycare centres, after school programs, and community centres. I didn’t like teaching private clients. I didn’t like teaching in yoga studios. My niche was going where the kids already were, getting hired by those places, and staying there for as many years as they would have me. I taught in one school for 18 years!
The niche of kids yoga eventually grew into kids yoga teacher training.
A Niche Helps You Stop Chasing Shiny Objects
Now let’s fast forward to my process in the present day. With a focus on training new kids yoga teachers lately I’ve been getting emails asking for online training. The technology is there for this to be possible.
But the timing is not right and its not sitting right with me. This time of taking stock of what I offer lets me clearly see if I can start anything new.
Review and Revise Your Past Goals
My first step to my new year planning is looking back on my plans for the previous year. Here’s what I wanted to do in 2018:
- Re-Write 95 Hour and offer Kids Yoga Teacher Training: updating my Kids Yoga Teacher Training was a long-overdue task and like most projects, it took much longer than I planned! I’m happy to say it is completed and I love the new training! So this part can be checked off and will open up time for other goals like getting a regular newsletter and blog going again.
- Promote Ambassador: My goal of 12 new Ambassador Fast-Track Trainer Program fell short, but I did get to 5. Helping experienced yoga teachers run their own 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training is still very exciting to me and will definitely stay on my goal list. I’d love to see qualified kids yoga teachers make their teen program a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training. That would really get teens committed to their practice! If you’re curious about this, take a look here.
- Leadership in Training: Another work in process is bringing new trainers into the Young Yoga Masters kids yoga teacher training. It is slowly moving forward and I’m learning more about what I need to know. For instance I know that unlike the Ambassador Fast-Track, I will only draw trainers from graduates of the 95 Hour Training. Again, definitely something I want to continue to focus on.
It’s clear from reviewing my past year that my plate is already quite full!
I’ve made a choice not to do any new projects, so no online courses, no books, or no shiny new projects that cross my path. In fact, I’ve started naming these (often out loud) as “shiny object” to help me stay focused.
A Niche Helps You Find the Right Client
Contemplating my niche is helping me see that there are niches within niches. For instance you may think that begin a Kids Yoga Teacher trainer is a niche. However after doing this for over 10 years now, I see the niches within kids yoga teacher training.
I am drawn to work with those who want to earn the full 95 Hour kids yoga training rather than those who want to take one weekend course and be done with their training. I enjoy seeing people progress through all the elements of the full training. I prefer the longer term relationships with students where I get to know people and find out why they want to teach kids yoga and the best ways to support them. I feel so proud when I give someone their 95 Hour Certificate because I’ve seen the commitment and sacrifices it took them to get to the full training.
I’m not exactly sure how, but I will be focusing more on supporting those getting the complete 95 Hour Certification.
A Niche Helps You Find Peace of Mind
Finally, if I didn’t take time to ponder my niche, I would not have hopped on that plane to Florida in December. Why? Because I would have been drawn to start some new project, spreading myself thin and putting my own practice on the back burner (again).
Knowing I have a plan and a focus is comforting for me. It gives me peace of mind that I wouldn’t get if I was trying to do everything. This year my planning routine led me to create my own custom calendar through Vistaprint.
I use the calendar to track my bookings and the top to track my ideas and other important ideas.
Here’s a picture:
Do You Know Your Kids Yoga Niche Yet?
The more I vision, the more I’m drawn to explore the importance of a niche to explore you are going to do, and also what you are NOT going to do.
Narrowing down your niche may seem counter intuitive when you first start off because it may feel like you are turning people away. You want to do it all to get your business going as fast as possible. When you first start out you may not know what your niche will become. At least it was that way for me.
Plus if you are reading this blog, you probably feel like you have a niche: Kids Yoga.
But consider the time when you could call yourself a yoga teacher, now you need to clarify that you’re a Hatha Teacher, Kundalini Teacher, or a Restorative Teacher.
The same clarification needs to happen in kids yoga.
- Do you specialize in a certain age group?
- Do you teach playful classes or more serious and meditative classes?
- Do you work with sports teams, children on the autism spectrum, classroom yoga, or preschool yoga?
- Do you do private classes, schools, or yoga studios?
Whatever you choose, look for what you love to do, because when you choose it as your niche, you’ll be doing it a lot as you become an expert.
The more you are an expert, the more you will be sought after.
That specialization will be good for the kids, for your business, and for your peace of mind too!
Can you Explain your Niche?
How would you identify your niche to a new client?
Leave a comment with your “elevator pitch” of your niche. Then read others to comment on and offer feedback.
How clear the niche is coming across to you?
I will also read each comment and offer feedback!
Toronto Weekend Certifications
Fall 2019-Spring 2020
Location: Dovercourt House, Toronto Canada
- Sat. – Sun. Sept 28-29, 2019 – Yoga Literacy (16 Hour Certificate)
- Sat. – Sun. Oct. 26-27, 2019 – Family Yoga (4 Hours), Teaching Yoga to Kids (School Age) (8 Hours), Chakras for Children (4 Hours)
- Sat. – Sun. Nov. 16-17, 2019 – Themes and Dreams (16 Hour Certificate)
- Sat – Sun. April 25-26, 2020 – Inclusive Yoga (16 Hour Certificate)
- Sat. – Sun. May 23-24, 2020 – Mindfulness for Children (16 Hour Certificate)
- Sat. – Sun. June 6-7, 2020 – Level 2 Mastermind: Curriculum Design and Business Planning (16 Hour Certificate)
Join the Newsletter to get reminders of new dates announced and early registration deadlines.