So did Lara Estrada… but she had no idea where to begin. Relatable, right?
Lara completed her teacher training in 2009 but it wasn’t until 4 years later that she seriously began to consider turning her passion into her profession. When a realtor called to say she’d found the perfect space (right down the street from Lara’s apartment, no less!), she knew this was the right opportunity to take a chance on the business of her dreams. And so…Yoga Bliss opened in Los Angeles in 2015.
We sat down with Lara to chat about business plans, overcoming challenges and creating the life you want for yourself.
SO YOU WANT TO OPEN A YOGA STUDIO. WHERE DOES ONE START?
First, put together a very basic business plan outline to research the financial side. Consider costs for construction, equipment, retail and leasing, as well as class schedules, pricing, instructor pay structures, marketing strategy, workshops and events.
When you’re ready to make it happen, register your business name, reserve a website domain and develop studio branding. Taking care of all these things upfront eliminate unnecessary barriers to entry once you find the right space. Oh, and save all your money! You’re going to need it to put back into your business.
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES OPENING YOGA BLISS AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
The biggest challenge was making the decision to sign the lease and go through with my business plan. It was such a huge financial investment with many unknowns. I’m proud to say that I opened the studio completely on my own. That being said, I saved a lot of money, ran an IndieGoGo campaign and received a small business loan before opening. I had to take a leap of faith that the business I envisioned would thrive.
AND NOW THAT THE STUDIO IS UP AND RUNNING, HOW ARE THINGS GOING?
Now the challenge is managing my own time and personal energy – I’m busier than I have ever been! If I’m not physically at the studio, I need to respond to emails, return phone calls, plan events and update our social media. It makes me really value any time I get to spend with family, friends and loved ones…and especially time to myself!
WHAT’S THE MOST REWARDING PART OF BEING A STUDIO OWNER?
It’s amazing to watch our community grow. When I see full classes, happy yogis and connections being made, I know that all the hard work is worth it.
ANY ADVICE FOR YOGA TEACHERS THINKING ABOUT OPENING UP THEIR OWN STUDIOS?
Talking to other studio owners was the most helpful thing for me when opening Yoga Bliss. They will be your biggest source of encouragement and inspiration, as well as your greatest resource to answer questions and seek advice.
One of my favorite quotes by Paulo Coelho is “When you want something, all the Universe conspires to make it happen.” There are too many people in this world who say they want to do something and never do it. Don’t be one of those people! Believe in the power of your thoughts and actions to create the life you want!
Editor’s Note: Lara is a former full-time employee of Manduka. We miss her dearly but no one is a bigger fan of Yoga Bliss than us! Her studio is outfitted with eKO mats, yogitoes mat towels and eQua hand towels (for those extra sweaty classes). If your studio is in need of a little merch refresh, check out our studio gear.