Yoga Business

Organizing Your Yoga Workshop or Event

As yoga teachers and entrepreneurs, we are continuously looking for ways to expand our offerings, reach new students and provide more value to our current ones. Once you’re comfortable teaching studio and group classes, organizing a yoga workshop is the next natural step.

In theory, it’s easy enough to put together a workshop on a topic that you’re passionate about. In reality it takes a lot of time and work to turn an idea into a successful workshop.

In this article, we’ll talk through the steps to take your yoga workshop from idea all the way to success.

Exploring Workshop Ideas

This is one of the most important steps in creating a successful workshop. Much of your success will depend on choosing a topic that you are both knowledgeable and passionate about, but it’s also essential to consider what your students are interested in.

Start with a brainstorming session: sit down and write a list of at least 10 different workshop ideas. Then go through and narrow these down to 3-5 solid ideas that you can execute well.

Once you have your list of 3-5 workshop ideas, it’s time to find out what your students are looking for. There are a few different ways you can do this:

  • Talk to your students before or after class and ask them if they’d be interested in taking a yoga workshop with you. Ask them what they are struggling with in their practice, and what they would like to learn more about. Don’t put your own ideas forth right away, but rather be genuinely curious and you’ll find out very quickly what your students are looking for.
  • Poll your email list (if you have one). Unless you’re using an actual survey software, you’ll want to ask the same kind of questions as in point 1. Make sure to encourage your students to engage with you and give you feedback.
  • Poll your online community. You may choose to do this on your Facebook page, but be aware that on Facebook only 2% of your fans will see your post unless you promote it.  A great alternative is YogaTrail Messenger which is designed specifically to allow you to have real conversations with your students.

Your poll should be short and sweet, asking your students what they are interested in, when is a good day for them, and what time of day they would ideally like to attend your workshop.

Here is an example of a survey you could use to poll your audience:

  1. What type of yoga workshop are you most interested in? (Give them your 3-5 ideas, but leave space to add in any additional ideas).  
  2. When would you be most interested in attending a workshop?
  3. What time of day would be best for you?

Once you have received feedback from your yoga community, come back to your 3-5 ideas and make a decision about what would be the best fit based on the responses you’ve received. Again, you are looking to settle on an idea that you can confidently teach and that your students are interested in attending.  

Start Planning

Now that you’ve settled on your topic, it is time to flesh things out and get specific about what you’ll be offering. At this point, it is important to avoid the mistake of wanting to attract everybody. Consider who your workshop is geared towards, and ask yourself if the workshop is really appropriate for all levels.

If you are trying to make your workshop “all levels” to attract more students, you may be diluting your content, causing the workshop to be less attractive to your intended students. Get clear on who you want to attend your workshop and make sure that everything is geared towards that person (price, location, date, time, content, design, etc.).

Once you have a clear picture of what your workshop is, you’re almost ready to hit the town and find a studio to host you. But before you start pitching studios on your workshop idea it’s important to settle on a few more details, including how many students you are comfortable leading and how long the workshop will last.

Pricing Your Yoga Workshop

At this stage you will also need to determine how much to charge for your workshop. A few questions to ask yourself are: how much money do you expect, or want to make from your event? How much do you think your expertise is worth? Don’t sell yourself short! Your yoga workshop can cost as little as $15 per student, to well over $100. If you’re just beginning, $30 is a good starting point. Yoga studios will often have a policy such as splitting the gross revenue 80% to the teacher and 20% to the studio, or even 60/40. Each studio is different, and sometimes this fee is negotiable, so be sure to ask. If you decide on a community space or a special venue, the price will be driven by the cost of the venue, plus any additional insurance or licenses that your local government might require. In either case, it’s time to perform this simple calculation: multiply the number of students by the event price, minus the costs, and arrive at your potential earnings. Decide on a range that you’re comfortable with based on minimum and maximum attendance.

Taking Payments

Now that you know how much to charge, how will you take payment? Taking payment online so that people can easily book ahead is essential in order to maximise attendance. Some studios will be able to arrange this, but if not you should take advantage of YogaTrail Payments tools, which let you take bookings for your workshops directly, set your number of available spots, offer early bird discounts etc. You might want to give your students the option to pay in cash or by cheque, but discourage this by charging a higher rate ‘at the door’ than for ‘pay ahead’.

Refunds and Cancellations

Once you have some people signed up, inevitably someone will want to cancel. Worse yet, they may want to cancel at the last minute. That can become a problem, so let your attendees know how you will handle cancellations and refunds before they sign up. Yoga studios have a policy in place, and you should too. It’s unrealistic to say “No Cancellations, No Refunds”, but you also need to help your attendees feel committed. Here’s a good policy: more than 2 weeks out: 100% refund, less than 2 weeks: 50%, and less than 1 week: 25%. People generally will only commit to something as long as they know how they can get out of it! Let them know beforehand, and there won’t be any awkward moments.

Pitching Your Workshop & Finding a Venue

The next step is to find a space to host your yoga workshop, but before you start sending out emails to all your local studios, you need to create a strong pitch for your workshop.

Why?

Because yoga studios and studio owners get a lot of emails and they most likely already host workshops with their core teaching staff; so, it’s important that your pitch sells them on why they should host your workshop.

If you already have regular teaching gigs at a few different yoga studios, pitching your idea to the studio owner will be much easier, although you should still have a strong pitch for your workshop.

When it comes to creating your pitch, brainstorm what your students will get out of the workshop and why this is unique compared to the average studio class. Consider what benefits this workshop offers and what students will walk away with, as well as who your audience is.

Before you send your pitch, you should also have an idea of a date range for when you would like to run your workshop (always give yourself enough time for marketing!), price, and a time during the day that you would ideally like to run your workshop.

Once you are clear on what will be incorporated in your pitch, sit down and begin crafting your ideas. Don’t rush this process, and be prepared to do a few different drafts before you land on something that you’re happy with.

A few things to consider when putting together your pitch:

  • Proper grammar and sentence structure
  • Proofreading for spelling errors and legibility
  • Being specific, concise and to the point
  • Keeping your pitch brief, without overlooking important details

After you have crafted a solid pitch, send it to 1-3 studios and wait a few days to hear back. If you don’t hear back, consider following up via email and phone, or just stop by and discuss it in person with the studio manager. Sometimes having a face-to-face conversation can make all the difference in the world!

In most cases, you will be able to find a yoga studio that is a good fit for you, but there may be circumstances where a studio isn’t the best place for your workshop. In this case, you could also consider offering your workshop in a community space, such as a gymnasium or a community center, or in a less conventional venue, like a corporate office space.

If you choose to host your workshop outside of the traditional yoga studio space, it will be less about pitching your idea to them and more about finding and booking the space, and placing a deposit. An email or phone inquiry will be your first step to find out about pricing and availability.

When it comes to choosing a great space to host your workshop, always come back to your audience. Where are they are in the community? Where will they feel comfortable attending a workshop at that venue? And is the space you are choosing a reasonable distance from where they are located?

Once you have a venue that can host your workshop, you need to firmly settle on the date, time and price. Although you have offered up suggestions for this in your pitch, there may be some back and forth between yourself and the studio to settle on a date that is not too far in advance, but far enough in advance to market the program and get people excited. Six to eight weeks is a great time frame for your typical offering.

Here is a checklist of what to include in your pitch:

  • Introduce yourself and directly state that you are interested in offering a workshop
  • Provide an outline of the workshop that you would like to offer, including who your target market is, a date range that you would like to offer your workshop, and your preferred price
  • Attach your yoga teacher resume for additional credibility
  • Offer a time to connect either in person or on the phone to talk more about your workshop
  • Proofread and spell check your pitch, considering how your pitch would make you feel if you were a studio owner
  • Send it! 🙂

Organizing Your Yoga Workshop or Event

Marketing Your Yoga Workshop

Your workshop is scheduled and now it’s time to do some marketing! As mentioned in the last section, it’s important to give yourself some time — about 6-8 weeks is recommended.

Your marketing efforts may vary depending on where you are hosting your workshop. If you’re using a studio, some of the marketing will be done for you, but it is important to clarify just how much they will do. Alternatively, if you are hosting at a ‘non-studio venue’, you will be responsible for the entirety of your marketing. This will require a lot more effort on your part, and it’s a good idea to make use of both online and offline channels to maximise your chances of getting plenty of attendees!

Online Marketing

One of the best tools at your disposal for promoting your workshop is YogaTrail Event Promotions. Asides from making a beautiful event page, setting up your packages, taking online payments, and announcing your event to your existing students, YogaTrail also allows you to reach motivated yogis in your area through featured newsletter placements. It’s a great way to get the word out and to get your attendance up!

In addition, it’s a good idea to create a Facebook event and invite your connections. If you have the budget, you can also boost your event using Facebook Ads. You should share your event on your personal Facebook page as well as your business Facebook page.

You will also want to post your workshop on Instagram, and share something about it every couple of weeks to your followers. Don’t forget to send out an email to your mailing list, personally inviting them to attend your workshop.

If you have your own website, consider adding a workshops section to reach an additional chunk of your audience.

The key here is to get people talking about your workshop online and keeping it on their radar.

Offline Marketing

It’s always good to supplement your online marketing with some offline efforts that engage your local community. This can include creating a poster that you can put up at your local studio and around your neighborhood. Your local grocery store, community center, health food cafe, or coffee shop are all perfect places to put a poster up!

Offline marketing also includes word of mouth, so make sure that you are announcing your workshop at the end of each of your studio classes and telling people where they can go to register. Much of your workshop registrations will come from students who have already practiced with you so don’t be shy about sharing your workshop with them. Encourage them to ask any questions they may have, and to invite their friends! Sometimes people feel nervous about signing up for workshops, so do everything in your power to make them feel comfortable and safe about attending.  

Your marketing can go beyond just getting the word out. Think about talking to some local and online retailers for some free merchandise. It won’t cost you anything, and all you have to do is ask. You could easily put together a cool package to give away to a ‘lucky attendee’!

There are a lot of different ways that you can market your workshop, and one of the key ways to determine what will work best for you is determining where your audience is. Are they online? Are they already coming to your classes? What social media platforms are they using? Where do they shop for groceries or get coffee?

Once you know who your audience is and where you can find them on- or offline, you can choose 2-3 specific ways to market your workshop, and set up your marketing to target them directly.

Finally, it is important to be strategic. You want to talk about your workshop frequently, as well as share it on social media, but you don’t want to be in people’s faces about it. People don’t respond positively to feeling pressured, so it’s important to strike a balance between too much marketing and not enough (mentioning it once a class, and posting once a week is plenty in the build up to the event).

As you get closer to your workshop, check in with the studio and see how you are doing for registration numbers. If your registrations are lower than you anticipated, be prepared to do a last minute push for registrations online and offline, and this is where you can talk and post a bit more about the event, creating a sense of urgency.

Facilitating Your Workshop

Your workshop is well on its way to success now, but there is one last very important piece to the puzzle: facilitating a great workshop.

You’ve done all the legwork and now it’s time for you to deliver. This step is very important, and should not be rushed, as this is your time to create a ton of value for your students and run a successful workshop.

Obviously at this point, you are clear on what it is that you will be offering your students, but it’s time to hone in on what you will teach in the workshop. This means sitting down and writing out how you are going to delegate your time, what poses you will teach, how you will teach them, and how you will transition between the different sections of your workshop. If this is your first time teaching this workshop, it’s important that once you have a rough outline of what your workshop will look like, you practice teaching it.

Go through the steps of pinpointing what you will teach and then practice teaching a few times until you feel confident.

Checklist for the day of the workshop:

  • Be ready for extra people to show up.
  • Have extra mats for those who are new, or may have forgotten theirs, and have a few props available for newbies.
  • Really help those who are new to feel welcome and comfortable, as they will likely come back for more.
  • Having a handout of the information you are providing is an added value. This doesn’t need to be a textbook: highlights, important points, and extra resources (such as books, DVDs and websites) are a good place to start.

Gathering Feedback

Feedback is important to help you improve, so at the end of the workshop, either collect email addresses or ask students to fill out a short feedback form. If you chose the former, make sure that you take action on sending out a short email with specific questions, a short feedback form or survey almost immediately. The longer you wait to collect feedback, the less likely people will actually give it to you.

A fun way to incorporate feedback into your workshop is to leave a bit of time at the end of the workshop. You can provide refreshments (juice or tea) and give students the time to mingle and get to know each other. This is also a great opportunity for them to chat with you about the workshop, ask questions, give feedback, and learn about your regular classes. This can be a valuable way for the students to form connections, as well as for you to build your community and increase your class base.

Another great way to gather feedback is to ask the students to leave you a review on your YogaTrail profile. You can also ask them to follow you on YogaTrail to stay up to date with your latest offerings and news!

Before you end your workshop, let your students know about any other workshops or classes you are teaching. Don’t be too modest about promoting yourself! People have come to see you, and they’ve given up their free time to spend it with you, which means this is your opportunity to connect with them and let them know about all of your other offerings.

Once you have feedback from your workshop, you can fine tune, change, and tweak your workshop to make it even better next time.  

Congrats! Now you know how to take your idea and turn it into a successful workshop.

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Amanda Kingsmith

Amanda Kingsmith is the host of the M.B.Om podcast, as well as The World Wanderers podcast. She is a yoga teacher, traveler, and a lover of tea who is passionate about helping yoga teachers discover careers they love, while making a sustainable living.
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