Navigating The Discomfort Of Marketing Your Yoga Business
Conversation with Jivana Heyman
“We need connection; not perfection.” — Jivana Heyman
Does marketing feel uncomfortable for you?
If so, you’re not alone!
My guest today is someone who has done so much for the yoga community and I’m honored to be connected with him and his organization. Jivana Heyman is a yoga teacher, author, event director, training director, and non-profit founder and director. He’s done it all and it’s all focused on his dedication to increasing access to yoga teachings.
He does this through the Accessible Yoga Association, the Accessible Yoga Conference, Accessible Yoga book and his latest book, Yoga Revolution, is scheduled to hit bookshelves in November of this year.
As an introvert, marketing didn’t come easy for Jivana, but it has become easier over time and he’s sharing the tips on how it can become easier for you too. You’re about to hear some great nuggets of wisdom.
Get ready to be inspired and ready to take action!
Failure as a practice (in yoga and in marketing)
We often fail, and that’s just a part of practicing yoga. We fail on our mat, and yet we keep going. We keep getting up every morning and practicing yoga.
So let’s apply that to marketing your yoga business. It’s easy to get nervous about marketing our business and fears of failure can hold us back. But thinking about potential failure in our business as a practice (just like our yoga practice) can help us move past the blocks.
“Failure as a practice. That, to me, is what yoga is all about.” — Jivana Heyman
We’re so hard on ourselves all the time and we can really get in our own way when it comes to marketing, whether it be for a book, a conference, or a yoga offering.
But ask yourself: What does it mean to fail, actually? What does that really mean?
“In yoga philosophy, look at the context of failure. Yoga philosophy is about understanding how our mind works and not allowing our ego to rule our life, but connecting to something that’s deeper. That’s basically what helped me get over the fear of failure.” — Jivana Heyman
Yoga marketing as an introvert
“I’m definitely an introvert, so this has been a journey for me.” — Jivana Heyman
Know that it’s okay to feel shy and uncomfortable about marketing right now. Start slow. You don’t have to go from zero to 100 immediately!
There’s a benefit in seeing where you want to go, but also in creating a path toward it and taking one small step.
“Shyness means that I am so focused on this weak ego, trying to protect it so much, that I don’t do something I want to do because I’m afraid of the outcome. So when I realize that if I can get my ego and mind in check, I can actually live more authentically and do what I really love to do!” — Jivana Heyman
In marketing, try to focus on small steps. Take one tiny step at a time. Start talking to friends about it. Listen to a podcast. Do some research about what it means to market and how to do it. You don’t have to go all in right away.
Don’t compare yourself to others.
You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. Find what works for you.
I think that’s one of the tricks our minds plays on us: seeing people who are successful and thinking ‘oh, I need to be like that!’ It’s just not true and it’s not authentic. You need to be like yourself.” — Jivana Heyman
We don’t need to think we SHOULD be doing something because someone else is doing it. Of course, this is so much easier said than done. It’s something that can easily happen to all of us.
Allow your yoga practice to help your marketing mindset.
“When we compare ourselves to other people, I use it as an opportunity to do my yoga practice and observe my mind. That means that I’m in my head, and I’m not really in my heart connecting to myself, which is the goal of my practice, the goal of my life.” — Jivana Heyman
This is a chance to pause and ask yourself:
- What can I do to come back to myself?
- What is it that I think I’ll get from outside of myself?
Yoga teaches us that happiness and peace arises from within us. When you find yourself comparing yourself to other people, take a step back, take a breath, and return to your center.
Use social media as a tool for positivity
“I see social media as another vehicle to share about yoga. Same with writing a book. It’s another vehicle to share what I love and talk about yoga.” — Jivana Heyman
We all have moments where we feel like social media is bad. But we can choose to use it in a way that feels right for us. You can share authentically about yourself in a way that’s thoughtful and gives people space to have their experience.
“Personally, I feel like social media is way too public for me to be baring my baggage. I’d rather share information and tools that actually can support people, just like I would when I go to teach a yoga class.” — Jivana Heyman
Social media is just another channel where you can teach or help someone. When you don’t know what to say, ask yourself:
How can I help someone today?
Then share that!
If you feel comfortable with it, you can talk about your challenges or struggles (after you’ve processed it). People will relate to that. The world has enough perfect social media influencers. They want to be able to connect with a real person.
If you struggle with a certain yoga pose, then that’s the pose that would be good to share on social media! People want to see what was challenging for you and how you’re working through it. We don’t need any more perfection in the world; we need to feel connected.
“We need connection; not perfection.” — Jivana Heyman
You can also share other people’s work. Give other people a platform. Support others and in turn it will support you. Collaboration over competition!
Marketing your yoga offerings
“It all comes back to using marketing as a tool to teach.” — Jivana Heyman
There are a lot of different methods to market on social media. For example, the written word is really easily translated into social media post. Videos are incredibly powerful. But find what resonates for you is the key. What are you excited about?
If you’re a good writer, write. But if you’re not a writer, take pictures or make a video. Do you journal? You can pull out some pieces to share. What’s fun and/or helpful? What would have been helpful to you 5 years ago?
Find your strength, and find a way to make it accessible to other audiences.
“Anything that’s visual needs to be represented in words as well. If you have a video, make sure it’s captioned. If you have an image, you can also have a caption. You can reach more people that way and it’s also more accessible.” — Jivana Heyman
If you’re wondering what to post, consider your current offerings. What can you teach or give away as a preview from the class you’re teaching (or the course you’re offering, the book you’re writing, and so on)? Give it away in your marketing. And then invite them to your offering.
Share what’s different about you. Share your struggles, share your interests, your specialty. That will help your students find you.
“Marketing is not trying to trick somebody; it’s about exposing your truth more so that you can find the people that will benefit from what you have to offer.” — Jivana Heyman
We don’t have to try to please everybody all the time. There will be people who won’t like you. Don’t worry about those people. You’re not the teacher for them. There are more people you WILL connect with!
“You don’t need to reach everybody. You just need to reach the people that really want to connect with you.” — Jivana Heyman
The more we show up authentically, the more that people who truly want to learn from us will come in.
Try out a project
When it comes to getting started with marketing, try a small step.
One way to take a small step is try out a project. You can actually do this with both your offerings and your marketing.
When it comes to your offerings: Instead of thinking about teaching a public class every week forever, you could teach a four-week series.
It can be more comfortable to do something like that when just starting out because it has a specific start and end date.
You can do the same in your marketing! For example, you could do a series of poses that you struggle with. It could be four posts with one post each week. You go into it knowing that you’re not going to do it forever; it’s a little project and it feels doable. This can give you an experience of trying something new and different without making a huge leap.
I recently had a conversation on the podcast with Jessica Hensley (episode 110), and her marketing small step was to pick one day of the week that she would post consistently on Instagram. Her posts were themed and called “Tenacious Tuesdays.”
She ended up doing this for over a year and it has grown her business. It became so easy for her and it helped her show up.
It can be so hard to take a big leap into anything new. Find a way forward to the goal you want. Take a small step and avoid putting yourself down for not already being there.
Accessible book writing
“First of all, not everyone has to write a book! There is this idea that says if you’re successful, you have to have a book you’ve written. But there are different forms for our work to take, and not everyone is a writer, and that’s okay.” — Jivana Heyman
The biggest misconception about writing a book is that you have to start with a fully-written book and THEN approach a publisher. Instead, editors want to see a proposal. They don’t want to see a finished book.
Steps to getting a book published
1. If you go to almost any publisher’s website, they will have submission guidelines. It’s usually an outline of questions. You can download the document and reflect on it to see if it’s something you might want to do. A lot of the questions are usually about marketing. Publishers actually really want to see that you can market the book.
2. Come up with an idea for the book and explain it in the proposal (create a table of contents and usually one or two chapter chapters). You usually need to show them other similar titles that have done well, and include a marketing plan.
3. Then you can submit the proposal and see what happens! If they like it, they’ll offer you a contract and give you a certain amount of money as an advance to go write the book.
4. After you write the book, you submit it, and then there’s usually another year of editing and marketing to get it ready. The process takes at least two years, if not longer.
“The key to a book is your perspective. We think we have to be like everyone else, but it’s the places that we’re different that can make a book intriguing and actually make it richer.” — Jivana Heyman
Your next step
Please know that we all navigate scary and uncomfortable things in business. For you, that might be posting on instagram today or sending an email to your email list.
We all have these feelings. Feelings of “what if I fail”. And I believe that it’s often not the thought of failure that might stop us, it’s the idea of failing in front of people that can stop us.
So no matter what you’re nervous about tackling today, just know that I’m in your corner cheering you on because I believe in you 100%!
Your next step is to highlight someone else’s work today. Elevate someone else’s voice.
This could be telling a friend about something you think would help them, or it could be sharing someone else’s post on Instagram. Or something completely different from this.
The goal is to share and elevate someone else today.
Until next time, give yourself permission to use our marketing tools to elevate others and grace along the way.
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.