Finding Success Through Failure As A Yoga Business Owner
Conversation with Allison Rissel
“Separate yourself from the failure. Recognize what you did may have failed but YOU are not a failure.”
-- Allison Rissel
Failure is part of being a business owner but through failure, we can find success.
That’s what my guest, Allison Rissel, is sharing in this conversation. Allison is a yoga teacher, a yoga teacher training and a student of mine. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Allison for several years now and it’s been such a gift to see how her business has changed and how she has navigated so many different experiences — successes and failures.
On paper, she experienced a failure when she didn’t reach any of her goals when running an event last year. But after processing the “failure,” she was able to persevere and pull out the successes that have come through that experience.
It’s my hope that hearing Allison’s success through failure story will help you through a tough moment of your own. Let’s hear from Allison!
Mindset: Finding success after a “failure” happens
“I felt like I had put more work into this whole event than I had ever put into anything else. And it was heartbreaking.” — Allison Rissel
Allison had a big in-person yoga conference scheduled in May 2021. Because of Covid, she suddenly had to pivot and turn it into a fully virtual event instead. Allison’s specialty is in-person events, so when it became virtual, she had no idea how to pre-market it or even how to run it.
To make a long story short, she didn’t meet ANY of her goals. She didn’t meet her financial goals or her registration goals. And she was devastated.
However, after some time, Allison was able to take some steps back and look at the bigger picture. She could see all of the GOOD that happened because of the conference and how it was actually a success for her business. She made incredibly connections that allowed her to start additional events, she learned new marketing strategies that will help her in the future, and she learned Facebook ads.
“Even though I felt there was this massive failure that happened, it turned into a huge success for the future growth of my business, the future growth of me.” — Allison Rissel
I think we can all look back and identify a time where we failed. We didn’t meet our goal or we didn’t succeed in a particular thing. And even though the feelings of failure are so real when we’re in the midst of it, once we’re on the other side of all the feelings, we can look back and see why it happened and how it’s helped us in the future.
“Looking back, this was actually a super successful event.” — Allison Rissel
When we realize that it’s going to be a failure
“The week before the event, I knew. I wasn’t hitting any of my numbers. I knew this wasn’t going to hit any of my goals. I knew it was a failure. I won’t lie…I cried a lot during this process.” — Allison Rissel
One week before the event when Allison realized she wasn’t anywhere near the numbers she wanted to hit, she was ready to throw in the towel and quit everything in her business. She wanted to cancel it all. She was embarrassed because she had told her speakers and sponsors that it was going to be a huge success with lots of registrants, and instead it fell short.
“I told my husband that I just wanted to hide. I wanted to quit and never show my face again. Thankfully I didn’t do that, and thankfully my husband talked me down from the ledge!” - Allison Rissel
A lot of times we don’t necessarily have a fear of failing. We have a fear of failing in front of other people. That embarrassment is real, and it’s so hard to overcome these feelings.
Asking for support
“As soon as I asked for help, help was actually given to me. It was great.” — Allison Rissel
Allison was 100% honest with her presenters the entire time and kept them updated with the numbers. Whenever she told her presenters, all of them jumped in immediately to try to help. They sent out more emails, they did more Instagram and Facebook lives, and got more people to join! It was amazing for her to see that community support.
Whether you have a husband, a partner, a biz bestie, a parent, or a therapist, it’s so important to be able to raise your hand and say “I need support!”
How to navigate feelings of failure
“The thing that brought me the best sense of joy was the feedback from my presents and from my attendees, and the experience of the event as well. Hearing their stories about how much it helped them…that gave me the confidence that I knew what I was doing and that I was putting something together really really great.” — Allison Rissel
If any coach or any person who is teaching on marketing or running a business says they succeed all the time, they are lying! There’s no shame in admitting that you fail. I fail all the time. like to say, “Fail fast so I can learn faster” and keep moving on.
When it happens, I do a few things to deal with the feelings of discomfort and failure. First, I ask for support as mentioned above. Then I look at the data and see what I can learn. I get analytical. What are the numbers saying? If I can learn from it, I know I can do better next time.
But then it’s always people’s words that really help me move through those feelings. I know that I need to make the voices of the people that are saying “Thank you Amanda” louder than the voices that are saying otherwise.
I take positive words from my students and save them so I can remind myself later. Allison did the same with her student’s testimonials from the conference.
“When I get down on myself, I look at those testimonials. I can get in my head, so it’s really nice to come back to those and know that I’m doing the right thing. Those testimonials are huge in every part of my business.” — Allison Rissel
Take a break!
“The best thing I did was take a break. I was feeling ready for a bit of a disconnect. I just took a step back rather than trying to force through and do the next thing right away.” — Allison Rissel
Allison knew she needed to take a step back for her self-care and mental health so she took about a 3-month break. The break helped her see the lessons she learned and helped her separate herself from her failure. After the break, her burn out was over, and she felt confident, refreshed, more confident, and ready to try again.
Taking a break is challenging for me personally, but I know it’s important. And I work with a lot of yoga teachers who have talked to me about how much they benefit from taking a break. It’s powerful, so if taking a break appeals to you, go for it!
But know that once you get into the rhythm of the break, it can be hard to break that rhythm and get back to what you need to do. Give yourself a time limit.
“I gave myself a time limit for the break. I want to stress how important I think that was. I knew that after Labor Day, I needed to get back into it. If I hadn’t set that time limit for myself, it would have been much harder for me to come back.” — Allison Rissel
Quick pep talk for when you’re feeling the discomfort of failure
“Remember that it’s not about you. We are all living through difficult circumstances that are beyond our control. Sometimes tech just fails and there’s literally nothing you can do about it. Almost 99% of the time, it’s not about you. Don’t take it personally. It is not a reflection of you.” — Allison Rissel
Separate yourself from the failure. Recognize what you did may have failed but YOU are not a failure. Then give yourself a break so that you can internalize that message. Whenever you’re ready, come back.
Every single time I think of trying something new, I remind myself of the first time I tried to walk as an infant. I guarantee I fell down dozens of times before I was finally able to walk. This is a great reminder that the more we repeat a process, the more we’ll be successful at it.
“Recognize that the negative feelings may linger in your thoughts, your emotions, and your body for awhile, and you’re going to have to work through that. But you can! You’re a yoga teacher!” — Allison Rissel
Your next step
I just loved how Allison shared all the feelings she experienced through this. From embarrassed to burnt out to what she calls “business PTSD”…the feels are all there and are real! And chances are you have or are experiencing this, too.
Your next step is to remind yourself today that whatever failure you are experiencing now or are ruminating on from the past is not because you are a failure.
The experience may have failed to meet your expectations but you are not a failure.
Write it down, say it out loud, whatever you need to do to remember this, please do it. Because this makes all the difference in the world.
And I know we talked about this at the end of the interview but I would personally like to invite you to the Yoga Teacher Conf happening in April. I’m beyond honored to be one of the speakers at this event and now you know exactly why — Allison runs an event with integrity and truly wants to ensure that you learn and connect with others.
Grab your ticket before the early bird deadline of March 4th so you can save money AND if you’re open to it, come give me a hug at the event…or at least a wave or fist bump! Don’t worry, I’ll have lots of hand sanitizer too!
Go to yogateacherconf.com to get your conference ticket!
Until next time, give yourself permission to remember that you are not a failure and grace along the way.
Allison helps yoga teachers stand out and feel confident so they can create classes, workshops and events that people tell their friends about.
She is the founder of the Yoga Teacher Conf — a conference that provides affordable continuing education, community support and connection to yoga teachers around the globe. At the Yoga Teacher Conf, you will find a community of yoga teachers that will help you improve your skills and also connect you with growth opportunities. You will learn the skills you need to confidently stand out as a yoga teacher and create your own yoga business so you can help more people through yoga.
Allison is an extroverted optimist and she loves hiking, skiing, and connecting in nature with her husband, Sean.
For more stories like this, listen to the Marketing Yoga with Confidence Podcast.
About Amanda McKinney (Marketing Coach for Yoga Teachers)
Amanda McKinney is a Marketing Coach with a passion for helping yoga teachers find the tools and the confidence within themselves to build the yoga business of their dreams. She does this through her podcast: Marketing Yoga With Confidence and online offerings. All of which focuses on building confidence and community with an extra dose of encouragement every step of the way.