You became a yoga teacher in order to spread the benefits of yoga, but these days yoga teachers need to do a LOT more than just teach.
As a fellow yoga teacher, I know all too well how time-consuming it can be to create content, market and sell yoga offerings, handle promotions, logistics, scheduling, and collect payments. Cleaning your inbox, filing invoices, writing and scheduling posts, creating graphics and newsletters can easily take most of your time, when what you really want to focus on is the thing you do best: teaching yoga.
Are you spending more time building your business than actually teaching?
When I started to time-track my own workflow I noticed that audience building tasks such as marketing and social media often took more time than skill building or revenue generating projects. Trying to do it all as a way to conserve cash or avoiding the delegation of tasks has real costs: it inhibits growth, not to mention the cost of mental clutter that has us sacrifice our personal life for our business. The answer for many established yoga teachers who aren’t ready for a full time team? Hire a VA to take on some admin responsibilities. Having said this, not all yoga teachers need a VA!
Before you hire a VA, it’s important to make sure that you are doing a good job of managing your own time while taking advantage of simple systems and automation. So how does one decide when to hire a VA? In this article, I share a 3 Step Approach to help you figure out whether or not now is the right time for you to hire a VA.
Step 1# – Review your goals and decide what tasks you’d like to delegate to a VA
Spend some time analyzing all the moving parts of your business to prepare to make best use of a VA. Are you clear on the bigger vision (ie long term goals) for your business? Have you set explicit mid-range (approx 2-3 month) goals and do you know the exact steps it will take to achieve them?
If you have a clear vision and goals, you are perfectly positioned to maximize the benefits of having help from a VA. On the other hand, you might realize that you are so busy working IN your business that you haven’t had any time for big picture thinking.
Time tracking can help you get clear on your needs & growth potential
Consider tracking your time for 1-2 weeks where you record all the tasks that you do on a regular basis. There are many time-tracking tools available for free that you can download to your smartphone. You could even keep a notebook handy and simply write down each time you switch tasks.
Time-tracking will reveal how much time you are spending on activities that are truly making an impact on your business vs admin time or busy work. When you analyze what you learn through time tracking, you may be surprised by what you learn.
Not all overwhelmed yoga entrepreneurs need VAs; what some need instead is a crash course in productivity.
For example – you may realize that you are spending 2 hours creating graphics on canva, replying to emails, scrolling through Facebook Groups which could be better spent on creating and teaching a new workshop. Or you may discover that you are spending 3 hours on Instagram just scrolling through the feed without having posted a single picture. If the latter is the case then you probably don’t need a VA but a filter bar to stop notifications from appearing on your screen.
However, if through time tracking you find that you are accomplishing an impressive amount on your own, you can likely amplify what is already working by coordinating with a VA. If you do discover that you are already making extremely efficient use of your time, it’s time to go through your task list and note any tasks that could be handed off to another person and add up how many hours per week they take up.
If you have at least 2-3 hours per week of tasks, then you might be ready to hire a VA.
Step 2# Know your budget
VA charges range across a wide spectrum from $5/hour for data entry to $100+ per hour for highly specialized services. Most yoga teachers need mid-range VA services such as email marketing, social media, and website updates and can expect to pay $20-$40 per hour. The fewer hours per week that you use the VA’s services, the more they need to charge you per hour. This is because managing, communicating, and billing each customer takes both time and mental resources.
In order to be ready to hire help, you need to either be making enough profit to justify the cost OR have a solid plan for how you are going to get there. If your business is making more money each month than you need to live on, then you are in a good position relative to many other yoga teachers. The opportunity here is to leverage the help from a VA to either grow your business more quickly OR improve your personal lifestyle while keeping your business sustainable.
In this case, look at the list of tasks you would like to outsource and determine approximately how many hours per week you could potentially offer a VA. Then as you research possible VAs, compare the package that best fits your needs to your available budget. If you can’t yet afford the number of hours you originally wanted, you may be able to start with a smaller package and then use your extra time to create the income you need for the larger package.
What if you need help but don’t yet make enough to pay someone else while still meeting your own basic needs?
If you aren’t yet profitable (i.e. you are paying yourself every penny of what your business brings in) you might need to replace a few hours of admin work with teaching (for example, one extra class per week at $100/hour could likely pay for about 12 hours per month of VA support). In this case, you are trading a few more hours of doing what you love for 4x that many hours of support. If you choose this route, it’s important to continue to build skills around productivity and develop a solid plan for becoming profitable. The good news is that with the right fit you can lean into your VA relationship to help you stay focused and on track with your goals.
Step 3# Check your mindset
As yoga practitioners, we learn to examine our thoughts and not to trust everything we think. Uncomfortable thoughts are sure to crop up whenever you consider making a major change, especially one that requires an investment. Unexamined fear based thinking can be a major road block when it comes to growing our business. In order to cultivate a healthy and productive long term relationship with your VA, it’s essential to examine fear based thought patterns and develop strategies to self-soothe.
Here are some common fear based thoughts that might prevent you from taking action to hire a VA:
- I will lose control over my business
- The VA won’t be able to do the work as well as I do
- It’s too much hassle to train someone to help me
- I don’t know how to securely share access to my inbox or social media accounts
- If someone else responds to my clients, it won’t feel as personal
- I just don’t know what it would look like to delegate tasks to a VA
Most of the fears that crop up when it comes to hiring are masking a core pattern: fear of the unknown.
When we cannot picture what a certain situation will look like, our brain tends to either freeze up or fill in the gaps with the worst possible scenarios. However, the best way to get past the fear of the unknown is to make it known and the best way to do this is to just get started.
Tell yourself – “I don’t know what this will look like but I will learn as I go.”
To overcome your fears, turn to your bigger vision.
If creating this vision is going to require help, then the sooner you learn how to bring someone else into your business the better. Let your commitment to your vision be what pushes you to take action and ask for the support that you know will lead towards your vision.
Remember that when you hire a VA you remain in control over what, when, and how much they contribute to your business. If there are certain areas of your business that you don’t feel ready to let go of yet, that is your decision. VA’s don’t have to get access to your personal emails or answer complex emails. Nor do they have to follow a structure which is incompatible to the way you work. It does take time to set standards, systems & delegate work but in end, you’ll rejoice having gained back your precious time and mental space.
When you regularly stay connected to the bigger WHY of your work, you become willing to do hard things and learn through trial and error. Your VA is not a magic solution for every problem in your business, but they CAN help you make space for the big picture thinking that is essential for long term sustainability. Ultimately, it helps to have a growth mindset based on the perspective that every mistake leads to learning and the only way forward is to take the next step.
Take your new relationship one step at a time.
Start with the items on your list that you feel really good about letting go of and add in the things that you feel more nervous about as you build your relationship with your VA. If you aren’t sure how to work with a VA, then simply be up front with them about that and you can figure it out together. If you don’t have processes and procedures in place for delegation that might be the first area of focus for your VA.
Are you ready to hire a VA?
After reading this article, what do you think? Are you fired up to hire a VA? If not, what are the missing pieces for you? Let us know in the comments below.
About the author:
Juzbi Walia is a former communications consultant and yoga teacher who supports experienced yoga teachers amplify their message through Virtual Assistant services.
A chai lover & productivity nerd, Juzbi has lived in Delhi, Dubai, and now Toronto. Book a complimentary consultation call to find out more about her services.
Follow her on Instagram at www.instagram.com/juzbiyoga