Becoming a Marketing Warrior with Kelly McHugh
As the founder of two yoga businesses, Kelly McHugh is not only living her dharma by bringing a modern touch to the London yoga scene through her business Good Yoga Life, but she’s also combined her passion for marketing and yoga to help support yoga teachers live their dharma too by turning their passion and expertise into a successful yoga business.
She is a pioneer of yoga business and marketing education, founding Digital Yoga Academy - an online platform that enhances the business and marketing skills of yoga teachers worldwide. Kelly spent over 15 years working in global businesses, agencies and start-ups managing marketing teams and multi million pound budgets.
Define your style of teaching in 3 words.
Fun. Energetic. Flowing.
Good Life Yoga is How did Good Yoga Life begin?
I was still working in full time marketing (after 15 years in the industry) when I did my training and a few months after qualifying, I set up Yoga Supper Club, a monthly event that was named “best healthy alternative night out” by Grazia Magazine.
Eight months later I quit my full time job and decided to freelance to give me the time to set up my own classes and continue with the monthly events.
I knew I wanted to do something different and that people were enjoying the social mix of yoga, food and catching up with friends. I also loved that newbies to yoga were coming along so I continued to experiment with event concepts and focusing on the idea of creating a “good yoga life” – balancing yoga and all the amazing stuff that life has to offer.
I focused on this in my classes, events and branding to create a modern take on yoga and to make it more accessible…and those that resonated with this became part of my community.
That was November 2015 and a year after launching I started running my retreats abroad and continue to run these in Ibiza, Morocco, France. Next year I’ll also be heading to Portugal and Sri Lanka!
What advice would you have for new teacher’s trying to promote themselves to clients/studios ?
Get really clear on what it is you have to offer by gaining as much experience as possible.
When I first started teaching, I taught my friends and set up classes in the park so I could build my confidence and find my voice.
This is a super important step because it allows you to gain clarity on who you are as a teacher, what makes you unique and what you’re passionate about sharing.
When you know this you can start to define who your ideal students are – the types of people who would come to your class – and knowing this is key to crafting messaging that speak to the heart of those people.
It also allows you to studios to are a good fit with your personality and teaching style and for you to easily communicate to the studio that what you have to offer aligns with their values and offering too.
What makes for a successful online presence?
A successful online presence includes building a community of ideal students who are engaged with your content. It’s important to understand that you cannot please everyone, you cannot be the yoga teacher for every single person out there because everyone has different needs. And that’s ok! It’s much better to focus on your ideal students – your niche – and to create content that they are interested in AND you are passionate about sharing!
This is what we call authentic content and when you share authentic content, you start to build trust and position yourself as an expert in your community.
The other thing to consider is consistency. You must consistently show up, share and engage with your community if you want to build a successful online presence.
You’ve started two of your own yoga businesses, what would you say for anyone trying to do the same?
Firstly find some way to easily transition from full time work to teaching yoga. This might mean switching jobs or reducing your hours so you still have an income whilst setting up.
Gain as much experience as I said above and seek out opportunities to network and collaborate.
And then commit to learning new business and marketing skills because as a yoga teacher you’re a small business owner so it’s essential that you understand how to grow and sustain your business.
Use the time when you’re gaining experience to start this learning and to work on the foundations of your business:
- Build your online home – your yoga website
- Start collecting email addresses from ideal students (who visit your website)
- Create and share authentic content to build your online presence
- Be present on social media to build trust and authority (by sharing your authentic content)
Be easy on yourself and give yourself the space and time to learn. You really can get set up and flying within a year if you have a plan and commit to working on growing your yoga business every single day.
For free trainings, help, advice and online courses to grow your yoga business please head to:
Kelly will be running a half day workshop on the 29th April on Digital Marketing 101 for Yoga Teachers. Find out more here.