In this episode, we are going to address the issue of studio owners giving their teachers too much control in what they teach in classes which creates inconsistency. A teacher can be very good at what they do and students might love them a lot, but that becomes a detriment to the business if what the teacher teaches cannot be replicated, because if by any chance they’re not around, the students they teach wouldn’t come in anymore.
As a studio owner, you can’t rely on that at all, and we are going to teach you how you can curb that, and build a consistent methodology that will keep students coming in for the long haul.
Key Points Discussed:
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This episode was released July 31, 2019
Disclaimer: The Transcript Is Auto-Generated And May Contain Spelling And Grammar Errors
00:00 Are you giving away your power to control the success of your business? Let’s talk about it.
00:05 What’s up everyone? You are listening to Yoga Entrepreneur Secrets. I am Chris Yax, and I’m John Yax. We are part of a small group of yoga entrepreneurs who are committed to making a living, doing what we love, without feeling guilty about making money, or ashamed of being successful, because we know the real value of yoga and how the world needs it now more than ever. This podcast is here to teach the strategies and tactics so we can thrive financially as yoga entrepreneurs. We are the Yaks brothers and welcome to Yoga Entrepreneur Secrets.
00:39 So what does that mean, Chris? It’s a good question. Giving up control. I don’t know, man. I just thought of it and I was just gonna go with it.
00:47 I am a control freak. I like to be in control. It’s most, most of us. Um, I’ve spent a good portion of my life learning how to release the things I can’t control and being in control of the things I can control. That’s pretty much what we’ve been such. That is such a big statement. Super profound. But this… it’s the truth. Like what, like what do I have control over and what don’t I have control over, because sure recipe of driving me completely insane is trying to control the things I actually can’t control. So let’s relate it back to… I think your point was…
01:22 Yeah, so my point is, you know, here we have like students who come in, so if you look at the… the… the majority of students coming into the studios, the majority of them are new. In fact, there’s statistics that show that like, I think it was… 80%? 80% within one year… 80% of the people that are with you now, will not be with you a year from now. Right? So you have a lot of new students coming into studios period. And that’s important to understand because what as a studio owner, like this is what I was talking about with like, are you giving up control and that’s hurting your ability to be successful? And what I mean by that is, like controlling the experience of what students receive in classes. Right? So like, my point… specifically, we had a teacher back in the day when we first started out, and we didn’t understand this, we were like, I would teach a class, John would teach a class.
02:10 In fact, I remember in the beginning and even the names of classes confused people, like we had a morning rise and shine yoga and then we had a mid-day escape and then we had like an afternoon delight or like, I forget what, let me know if that last was, we had some crazy stuff, but they’re all in the same class. It was a different time and a different name. Oh my God. We spent hours trying to fill up those names. So confusing. And we had like an inordinate amount of phone calls. Like so what’s rise and shine? Like what kind of, what am I, what am I doing? And then how is that different than the mid-day escape? And like what is this evening class? I can’t even pronounce that one’s at 6:00 AM
02:44 the others at 12 and then the last one is at 6:00 PM right. That’s the difference. Yeah, that’s it. I was just the timing. But what happens? So what was happening in that time though is that even though we call it the same class, what students were getting in that class was depending
03:00 on who taught it. True. Right. And so this is like, this is, I think one of the biggest problems with studios not being successful is that they may have like a really great teacher, they may have just struck gold and a teacher came in and they started teaching with them and they’re awesome and students love them. But what happens is whatever they teach cannot be replicated by anybody else. So the moment that teachers subs it out, that people that love that class, they’re not coming in as a studio owner. I can’t rely on that. I’m literally giving my power to a teacher to stay with me forever in the hopes that she will like continue to teach that class forever so that all the students that love her class will stay with me at the studio forever. And then all the other teachers are teaching whatever they want to.
03:46 Hopefully they’re teaching good enough to to keep a following but a lot of times are not. And so there’s no, so people come in cute. Imagine like imagine going into a restaurant and every single time you go in it’s totally different. You May and then you’re like, okay on Thursday nights that the chef, the right chef is there cooking the meal the right way, the way I like it. And so you go in Thursday and then all of a sudden one Thursday that that chef is not there and another chef is doing it in the meal that you get is totally different. Like and anything as in anything we do of any store we go to any place with like if like a lot of you that are listening to you like shopping at whole foods, if you went to shop at whole foods and every time you wanted to shop at whole foods, like every Thursday we changed all the aisles like the produce is now on the other side.
04:31 Like the fridge, the refridgerator is on this. You would stop going consistent like we need consistency. We needed, people want consistency, they need it, they need it. And with the balance of it, because now what we’re saying is we’re talking to artists here like we, we, we get it. We’re artists also. We want to be creative. We want to be, we want to have that creative spark to be able to incorporate like learn something and incorporate into our class and like do, but here’s the thing, we get way too as teachers, I’m them, I’m generalizing big, big time here, but we get way too creative at the wrong time with the wrong things. Like there’s Chris use an example yesterday I think when we were talking he said there are 88 keys on a piano. 88 keys. Like if that’s, if there’s a, if there’s not consistency in that.
05:21 Every piano you go to someone listening like a piano expert, like not everyone drawn. There’s up, there’s baby grandma, there’s a, there’s a word organize 188, please. But you guys get my point. There are 88 keys. There’s consistency and look at all the music that’s played, look at all the music that’s developed through that. People aren’t saying, well we need more keys and I need like an extra set of keys over here and I need different colors on my keys. Like it’s like you have 88 keys and there’s so much beauty coming out of a piano. Totally. So the experience we had was, it was in the very beginning like I would a class and I would teach
05:57 it slightly different than drama teacher and we were pretty much sinked up cause we would talk all the time. But we had another teacher who was like, it was random, like it was a beginning level class. Right? And all of a sudden she’s doing arm balances and the sequence is changing from class to class. And that inconsistency, like some people loved it, but they were the people that had been with us forever that have been practicing yoga for a long time. And they’re like, that’s what fed them. But remember how we started this. Like 80% of the people are new, which means they don’t need something challenging. They don’t need variability every single time they need something consistent that they can rely on to be there for them because everything else in their life is crazy. Right. There’s a saying that inconsistency breeds distrust. If I, and the very same thing that you’re talking about, if that restaurant operates that way, I’m not going like the chances that I’m even going on that Thursday because the chef may or may not be there depending on his life situation means that I’m not going to that restaurant and this is, I think one of the biggest problems with losing people is that I can’t articulate a result that they’re going to get if I can’t depend on knowing what the teacher is going to be teaching and the experience that our students are going to get.
07:09 A lot of this happens when teachers teach something and you have one, maybe two students come out of that class and say, I love when you do that. It’s so great, but the five, 10 people that hated it, that didn’t say a word and just walked by, you don’t get that input. The worst thing for teachers to do is to get input from students. Right? Like, like they, they haven’t been where you are. Right? They’re like, I get it. You can take polls in this and that’s it. But the reality is, is they don’t, the people that are, you’re getting the input from or the people that liked the one thing that you did and you’re not getting the real input from all of the people that are saying, hey, did you not like that? We really will you be honest with me and tell me the truth. And all of a sudden, like every class, has arm balances where it shouldn’t have arm balances and the new people that are trying to build a practice get their butts kicked and don’t come back. Right. So this inconsistency breeds this trust in forcing people not to come. Right. And so people drop off.
08:10 Yeah. I mean, think about like I bring it back to when I first started and like the Herculean effort that it was for me to just like walk into a yoga studio to try it. Like the odds are stacked against us because of like all the misconceptions and like weird ideas that people think that what they’re going to get in the yoga studio. Like it’s a colt and like if you teach with like we do, we teach high yoga. So like the heat is a big barrier for people. Not to mention all the Sanskrit, I gotta learn a third language or fourth language or an old language that’s dead already. Like I don’t even, I don’t, I don’t know what they’re saying. Like, there are so many hurdles to jump over just to be there and then all the sudden they get crushed by like these advanced poses or just like, I’m just looking to heal my back.
08:53 Right. I’m looking to distress and all the sudden the very thing I’m coming to like like unwind me, winds me up because I just got my ass handed to me and this like, I’m not saying it’s not going to be challenging. It’s challenging enough. That was my point when I first came in, it was challenging enough for me just to be there just to do the basic poses and what my body needed was consistency of a sequence that I knew I could then measure my progression and see myself advancing and feel myself getting more flexible and relieving pain and relieving stress. And so like the overarching point is that man, even if you have classes that you call it the same thing and on like this day on this, like this schedule is this class. If there is not a level of control that you have, knowing what’s being taught in that class, there is inconsistency and that breeds distrust and that is a reason for people not to come back.
09:50 So I can read people’s minds. So what I what I what I am because you meditate, right? What I’m thinking people are thinking right now. What I’m thinking people are thinking is that uh, well that sounds like background. It sounds like Ashtanga. It sounds like as a teacher I have to teach the exact same thing every single class that would drive me insane and I would get so bored at one not want to teach anymore. So I talked to me about that. Like what? Like what like where’s the creativity? How can I be creative as a teacher? How can I be creative as, as a teacher wanting to grow as an artist? I wasn’t going to say it, but yes, that’s an art
10:29 and I’m going to feel that cause I have like we have that desire to grow and to evolve and to expand and like it’s innate. It’s in, I think it’s woven into our, the human fabric, the fabric of our DNA until I hear the question. But what I would say is, well, like what’s your purpose? Is your purpose for your own creativity or is your purpose to help your students and start where they are and to actually show up for them in the place that they are and not for the two or three students in your class that are the advanced ones that you’re trying to entertain or entertain yourself because you’re bored of the sequence? I mean, like we’ve been teaching, uh, at our studios, like we, when teaching the same sequence, it gets adjusted a little bit here and there, but for like 15 years and there are students who have been with us for 15 years and they are coming in and they’re practicing that sequence.
11:14 Why did they come back? Because they can depend on the experience because like it’s because they’re getting a feeling from it. They’re getting a result from it that has been consistent over time and it makes them feel good at the end of the day. And I, so when I come back to with that is w I have a very clear mission about why we do what we do and that mission underneath that everything flows. Meaning, if I’m here, one of our mission is to empower people to live their best lives, period. And what that means for us is to give them a physical, mental and emotional experience that like changes how they feel about themselves. And so that every single class they leave, they feel better than when they came in. Right. And so what that is, every single class that we’re teaching, we’ve structured in a way where teachers have the ability, I mean you can’t, you can’t, you can’t extract the humanity of a class.
12:01 You can try to, like in the Bikram world, like they teach a, and I know this isn’t for every Bikram studio, but like they have a set script that they have to say, right? That takes the human spirit out of it because I can’t even vary up. Like what I’m saying, this is exactly what I say every single time, by the way, they’re hugely successful. So that’s something to look at. But my point is like the sequence is the same, but the way it’s told, the way it’s articulated, the lighting is like, it’s consistent. But like the music we control like no music with words. This is a whole nother podcast, but like there’s elements of the class that the teacher and that is in control over that gives them their freedom and creative expression. What I’m not willing to let go of and allow teachers to have the responsibility of is the ex like is the methodology and cause if they don’t have that because the methodology for the students is what gives them the feeling and the result.
13:00 I was just going to ask like what is the equivalent of the eight keys? Like if, so like, like the, cause we’re using the analogy of the piano and if there are 88 keys that are like that is the foundation and then you can create all this music. What is the equivalent to what we’re talking about? What’s the equivalent to those 88 keys? And you just said it, it’s methodology. Methodology. Yeah. The why, the way we sequence classes and so we then for what we do is we have a stability class and we have a flow class. Stability is a set sequence we teach at the same, like that sequence is the same every single time. The flow class follows the same methodology, but there’s an opportunity for teachers to be creative in the way they open up the body. But the methodology is the Ada keys.
13:39 They’re using that structure to open up the body in this very specific way to produce a very specific result for our students because that’s why we’re in business to help students experience a higher standard of living through a physical movement called Yoga. That relieves body pain through the movement and meditation that relieves stress. And then when you do that, you have a different emotional experience. Because we’re multidimensional beings and we offer this, like in our class we also teach theming, which is like what’s the, what’s the deeper message that you’re going to present today and how are you going to do that? And there are some really great ways. So like man, creativity, a bounce in those classes. Even in that stability class where it’s a set sequence, they have the ability to theme about what they want to talk about that day. They have the ability to, you know, to change the music up to create a different texture of the class.
14:28 They have the ability to say that like cue poses in ways that expand their ability as a teacher to understand and how to articulate to students so that they understand better and they have a better experience in the pose itself. Like so I would say man, the creativity is embedded in it. The creative, what happens is when we get creative in the sequencing of it and the methodology changes, we then changed the experience for students. That breeds distrust because they’re just not going to stay with it if they don’t know what they’re getting time in and time out. And I think what you said before
15:00 just nailed it on the head. As, as teachers, what is our focus? Is Our focus on the student getting the results or getting, being able to literally change people’s lives or is our focus on us being so creative that people comment on the class afterward? Right? Like if we stay focused on what’s most important, which is the students and their bodies and that and changing their lives, then success happens. Right? I mean then like the proof is in the pudding. People are getting, results are coming out saying he’s the craziest, craziest part. Cause this is, you can be s like in any discipline, in any industry, look at the masters, like the masters of the whatever the thing is. Like they didn’t like to jump around and do all these different things. Like, like, like I’m like a master at playing the guitar, like an Eric Clapton who’s just like a phenomenal guitar player.
16:02 He didn’t like do a bunch of, he didn’t want to play the guitar and the piano and this and drums and doing all, all of this and seeing an a do all of it. He said, no, I’m going to niche down. I’m going to focus on playing the guitar, doing it really well and I’m going to get so good at it that it becomes just second nature to me. And then I’ll sing really well too. And then I can play of these things. But I’m gonna I’m going to get really focused. And I think it’s the same thing with teachers. If we get so niched down and get so focused on I want to change people’s lives, I want to make a difference in what they’re doing and say this is the methodology I’m going to use to do that, then the results happen.
16:37 Yeah, totally. I mean it’s being student-focused, not teacher-focused and this is a meaning that I want to, I want to create the experience. The best of the ability that I can as a studio owner, which I know is the foundation of success, is to be able to focus on the experience that the students are getting and then to have the teachers be the conduit through which they get that experience. And as such, I need to then like get our teachers on board. Right. And this is what we’ve done over the years. This is like the cornerstone of our success, I guarantee it is that the teachers are on board with the mission. They’re on board with the methodology. They’re on board with the focus, like being student-focused and making sure that we’re teaching in a way that like, yeah, you may get bored with your sequence with a sequence, but that’s not important. Your, we’re, we’re not in business for your entertainment. We’re in business to help students. And if I go back to most of the students are new that are coming in, man, they need that consistency. It will change their lives. And if I can do that, I know we will stay in business
17:39 and that’s controlling the right things that I can have control over to create success in my students’ students’ lives and yeah,
17:47 success in my business. Yup. And it also, I have to stand
17:50 up and like be a leader in my organization, a leader in my community. That’s for another time. It’s another episode. Awesome. Well, thanks everybody for listening in and uh, we’ll see you in the next episode. Peace. Yes, thanks so much for listening to Yoga Entrepreneur Secrets. Do you have a question that you’d like us to answer raw and uncut on the podcast? If you want your questions answered, all you need to do is head over to Apple podcast, and do three simple things. One; rate and review telling us what you think of the podcast. Two; in that review, ask anything you want related to yoga, and three; if you want to shout out, leave your Instagram handle or name and that’s it. Then listen in to hear your question answered Live, raw and uncut. Join us next time on Yoga Entrepreneur Secrets Podcast. Thanks.
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