Part of the fun of being a small business owner is every single day is different. And as much as I am in control of my own schedule, sometimes I’m just not. Running a business forces you to learn how to literally “go with the flow.” For instance, this morning I had a private yoga client cancel which opened up time for me to blog. After this, I’ll head into Washington, DC (in the pouring rain) and teach a corporate yoga class. I love what I do. I also love that on Fridays my day is done by 1:15pm. There is no denying the amount of freedom and flexibility my business offers me.
As a full-time yoga teacher with a mobile yoga business (abellaYoga – travels to teach yoga in homes & offices) I primarily teach yoga Mon-Fri. It’s the behind the scenes stuff that many new business owners (particularly yoga teachers) may not know needs to happen to keep a steady schedule of clients. I do things like drafting contracts, writing proposals and creating promotional handouts for office yoga programs. I attend networking events, run to the bank to make deposits and often function as my own IT guru (who really should be fired; technology is an area I struggle with). Currently, I’m in the midst of working with a web designer to revamp my website as well as prepping for the City of Alexandria’s Employee Health Fair that I’ll be exhibiting at a few weeks.
As much as I love the variety each day offers, sometimes it can be challenging to keep myself on track. To keep some structure in my fluid schedule here are a few things over the years I have found helpful.
Do Your Yoga – Schedule your own yoga practice. Write it down in your calendar or on your daily “to do” list. I’m serious. If it doesn’t get booked, it won’t happen. You’ll feel better and your students will have a better experience. As I mentioned in a previous post, it’s through your own personal practice you’ll find your creative expression as a yoga teacher. No practice = no expression. It’s that simple.
Clear clutter – Clutter in our homes and offices mentally weighs us down. As soon as the mail comes each day, I go through it right away and recycle most of it or file the bills in the “to be paid” folder. The few catalogs I get, I try to flip through that evening and recycle immediately when finished. Visit dmachoice.org to stop getting junk mail and catalogs you don’t want or need. Online banking & billing is another great way to lighten your mailbox and keep your counters/desk clean.
Use a calendar – You need to find a system that works for you. Believe it or not, I use a paper calendar. I’m certain I could be more efficient by moving my scheduling system online but there is something I like about just quickly being able to open my paper calender when a client needs to make a quick change. Often iPhones/iPads/computers take a little time to pull up the calendar. I also keep a list of monthly “to do’s” that happen every month each year. For instance, I know my corporate business tax is due every September and my Yoga Alliance renewal is every May. This way I’m never surprised about money that is due or risk missing an important deadline.
Get Outside – All my yoga classes are taught inside. Most of the “behind the scenes” things I do are done inside. I find it key to get outside at least 20 minutes a day. Whether its to walk the dogs or sit outback to read an article, I make sure I get some fresh air so I can return to the indoors with a clearer perspective. Remember, nature is powerful medicine.
Again, these are just a few things I’ve discovered over the last 6+ years of running my own business. If you have other ideas, please share!