197: How to Keep Your Studio Open with Nicole Blackwood

In the middle of all the COVID-19 pandemic closures, one group of people in the yoga teacher community has been particularly affected – studio owners. On top of figuring out how to transition to virtual classes and serve their yoga students online, they also have to deal with the challenges that come with having a physical space. Nicole Blackwood is a yoga teacher and studio owner of Embody Yoga & Wellness, who has managed to keep her studio open this year despite the pandemic, and this episode is a replay of the live interview on how she managed to do it.

Nicole began teaching yoga in 2014, with a deep desire to teach yoga classes to those who felt like the practice may be out of their reach. Eventually, she opened her own boutique yoga studio in St. John’s, Canada, to create a space that provides options for all bodies, and that allows people to experience the benefits of yoga regardless of age, physical condition, or experience level. Nicole focuses on offering a warm and intimate refuge for her students to focus on their wellbeing. Her studio offers a variety of yoga classes and her speciality is yoga to support fertility.

In this interview, Nicole really opens up about how she has managed to overcome the challenges of keeping her yoga studio open through the pandemic. She shares the story of how she realized she might need to close her yoga studio, and how setting a goal of the number of yoga students needed to stay open helped her reach her target. Nicole also talks about her marketing efforts in attracting students, and how she has been managing her studio now that in-person classes are allowed but with certain restrictions in place.

If you have been toying with the idea of closing your studio, or even dropping one of your yoga classes, this episode is sure to be an inspiration for you.

Key Takeaways:

[6:58] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode – Nicole Blackwood.

[8:45] Where did Nicole’s yoga journey begin?

[11:59] How did Nicole decide to open a yoga studio?

[15:18] When COVID hit, Nicole pivoted to move her studio online. However, she was eventually faced with the decision of whether to close the studio. Nicole shares more about that experience.

[18:37] What did the realization that she might have to close her yoga studio feel like to Nicole?

“It wasn’t until [Shannon] made me try and visualize what it would be like if I didn’t have a studio, did I realize how much I didn’t want to lose this space.” ~ Nicole Blackwood

[20:48] What were some of the numbers that Nicole looked that to make the decision about closing her yoga studio?

“I had to really realize – how many students do I need to be able to pay myself and break-even as a studio?” ~ Nicole Blackwood

[24:25] Nicole shares more about the business model for her studio, and how she arrived at the number of 124 students to break even.

[27:17] How did Nicole manage to attract 124 students to register? She reveals her marketing strategy to hit her goal in time for her deadline.

[34:26] Nicole had been emailing her mailing list once a month prior to this latest launch, but she had to drastically increase the number of times she emailed them to hit her numbers. Why did she feel so resistant to sending more emails?

“When you send an email, generally you see sales if there’s a call to action that relates to sales.” ~ Shannon

[37:44] How has Nicole set up her yoga classes to take into consideration online and in-person classes?

[41:08] When will Nicole start marketing again for the sessions which start in the new year?

[43:19] What would Nicole do differently for the next round of sessions?

[44:20] Nicole shares more about some of her niche offerings.

[49:41] Nicole has some final thoughts around what it’s like to run your own business.

[53:33] Where does Nicole store her videos?

[55:55] Shannon shares some of her key takeaways from this interview with Nicole.

“It really makes a difference when we keep that connection going with our email list.” ~ Shannon


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