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7 Online Yoga Teaching Monetization Methods

Who could ever have guessed at the beginning of 2020 that the way we teach and take yoga would forever be changed? Online yoga teaching is now the new normal.

While the concept of online yoga has been around for several years (take, for example, YA Classes by YogiApproved!), using the internet to deliver yoga classes has suddenly come into a whole new light for us yoga instructors.

Whereas previously it might have bounced around our heads as a future goal or a side project, now many of us are looking toward online teaching to supplement (if not entirely replace) our way of earning income and sharing our love of yoga with the world.

It may be tempting to believe that due to so many studio closures, our teaching options are now limited.

In fact, however, the explosion of interest in online yoga actually opens up whole new ways of working that may be even more aligned with your values, vibe, and lifestyle than you ever dreamed possible.

But all online yoga teaching is not equal. In order to monetize your hard work, you have to choose how you’re going to teach online.
 

Here Are 7 Business Models to Monetize Your Online Yoga Teaching:

1. Livestreaming

Livestreaming is as close as it comes to the “real thing” for your online yoga teaching from a traditional yoga class sense.

Classes or workshops are scheduled at specific times, students pay a fee to attend class, and then they are delivered in real time via a streaming platform such as Zoom or Namastream.

Pros:

  • Allows students to interact in real-time with you
  • Familiar model for students – they’re already used to paying per class
  • Since they occur at scheduled times, a sense of urgency to register is built in

Cons:

  • More prone to technology difficulties
  • Ties you down to a schedule
  • Can scale for number of people but not for time

 

2. On-Demand Class Library or Programs

On-demand classes differ from livestreaming in that they are pre-recorded, and students can access them anytime they want.

Typically, they pay a one-time fee for a program bundle of classes around a certain theme which may contain supplementary materials such as program guides, checklists or calendars, journal prompts, guided meditations, etc.

Pros:

  • Can re-do or edit if technology doesn’t cooperate
  • Ability to niche down to specific audiences or goals within program design
  • Leverages passive income – do the work once and continue selling after

Cons:

  • Typically involves more start-up costs
  • Risk of doing the work with no guaranteed sales
  • Harder to convey a sense of urgency if it’s available all the time

 
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3. Affiliate Marketing for Aligned Products or Services

Although not getting paid to teach per se, some instructors build up an online following by offering free workouts on YouTube or other platforms.

With a dedicated following, they can then partner with their favorite yoga-aligned brands to promote that brand’s products or services in exchange for a percentage of each sale.

Pros:

  • Little technology required outside of social media
  • No start-up costs
  • Little additional effort to promote products – can often weave into classes

Cons:

  • Not directly monetizing through teaching
  • Varying revenue percentages depending on what products you promote
  • Need to space out promotions so as not to alienate audience

4. Influencer Sponsorships

Slightly different from affiliate marketers, influencers also partner with aligned brands to promote that brand’s product or service.

The difference is that with influencer sponsorships, a brand agrees to pay a flat rate up front based on certain deliverables such as social media posts, blog posts, etc.

Pros:

  • Guaranteed income per negotiated project
  • Little technology required outside of social media
  • Little to no start-up costs

Cons:

  • Not directly monetizing through teaching
  • Typically requires 10,000+ followers for brands to consider sponsorship
  • Compensation rates can feel low considering the amount of work needed to build a large following (expect $10 to $20 per post for every 1,000 subscribers)

 
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5. Activewear Repping

Though sometimes this model can fall into the category of affiliate marketing, it’s broad enough to deserve mentioning by itself. After all, everyone who works out wears fitness apparel!

Various methods of being compensated to rep activewear include affiliate marketing, ambassadorship (which often trades products for mentioning on social media), or multi-level marketing with different brands.

Pros:

  • Often includes a deep discount on your own purchases
  • Easy to “soft sell” product in your regular yoga posts or yoga videos
  • Can monetize even with a small audience

Cons:

  • Not directly monetizing through teaching

6. Private Yoga Coaching

Just like you’d offer private sessions in person, there’s no reason you can’t do the same virtually in your online yoga teaching business.

Have your client turn their camera on for dedicated assistance with form, private customization of their experience unique to their goals, and the ultimate in personalized yoga.

Pros:

  • Can charge a premium rate for one-on-one work
  • Potential for recurring revenue through discounted long-term packages
  • Feels the most personal

Cons:

  • May have a harder time selling a premium rate with the abundance of free and low-cost workouts available online
  • Ties you down to a schedule

7. Membership Site

For the most predictable income, a membership site may be the way to go. Clients pay a recurring monthly rate – typically on auto-draft – to have access to a library of yoga content that gets updated regularly. (Psst . . . this is the model that YA Classes uses!)

Pros:

  • Recurring revenue
  • Once you know your growth rate and attrition rate you can predict future income
  • Can foster more of a sense of community through ongoing interaction with members

Cons:

  • You’re committed to same amount of work in future for one member or 1,000
  • As membership models are usually low-cost, you need a large volume of members to leverage any significant income
  • Ongoing content creation ties you somewhat to a schedule

 

How Do You Choose Which Online Yoga Teaching Monetization Method to Use?

While this list of online yoga teaching models is by no means exhaustive, they represent several ways that yoga instructors can make an income online.

So how do you choose which one to try? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I value more – personal interaction or freedom over my schedule?
  • What is my risk tolerance for doing work with no guaranteed income?
  • Do I have a large social media following and/or email list already, or am I starting from scratch?
  • Am I comfortable talking about and promoting physical products?
  • Are there areas of expertise I could go deeper with through a yoga course or program?
  • How much time am I willing to invest?

The answers to these questions will help narrow down the best options for you to start with.

Keep in mind too that you’re not tied to just one revenue stream. In fact, most successful entrepreneurs will eventually have several ways of monetizing around a central theme.

On the other hand, you want to focus your initial efforts on a narrow set of goals so as not to get overwhelmed or burned out.
 

The Takeaway on Online Yoga Teaching Monetization Methods

The beauty of teaching yoga online is that you get to adapt and change as you go, honing in on that perfect mix of business models that allows you the flexibility to work in ways that best suit you.

Not a morning person? No more 5am wake-up calls if that’s not your thing!

Are you motivated by the concept of helping more people overall? Get excited that the internet opens up your studio base to students from literally around the world.

Prefer to just chill and offer your yoga as your gift to the world, while picking up an occasional few bucks when people ask you where you got your yoga pants? That works too!

Yoga has been around for over 5,000 years, and it’s not going away anytime soon. Think of the internet as an evolution in the way we deliver this ancient wisdom to the world, one airwave at a time.

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