If you don’t have faith in yourself, then who will?
Just like the saying, if you cannot love yourself then how can you ever possibly be loved? It’s all the same. We must first believe in ourselves before it is possible for others to see our potential.
I started Jessica Dewar Yoga with nothing but whatever savings I had in my bank account (which was not a lot). In fact, I wouldn’t even call it savings. The dream of opening a studio was considered silly and irresponsible by many people in my life at the time. Why would I throw away a ten-year career in an area of work I was great at, to transition into a hugely over-saturated market – yoga? A market where it seems that if you don’t have the best Instagram account or Facebook page then you’re a nobody. (Who cares about the quality of what you offer. So long as your social media depicts perfection and you have enough likes, then you must be good and the people are sure to come!) Turns out, I’m not popular on either account…
I’m shit at marketing. It’s not my area. My background is working with and helping very unwell people, not spending hours scanning through social media liking photos of kittens and another photo of tanned legs leading out into the golden sunset.
Unfortunately, it seems this is a game I need to try and learn to help spread the word about what we do. I get that it needs to be done if I want Jessica Dewar Yoga to be successful and share my beliefs of yoga for all with the wider community. The challenge then, lies in making sure I’m not feeding people the same ‘look at how wonderful my life is’ bullshit that makes everyone unhappy in their own lives. This is a whole other story. I just find it so insulting and really scary how shallow marketing ploys are to gain attention and traffic. Do I need lessons on shallowness? On how to effectively manipulate others into buying a service of mine?
Ok, getting off track as I often do… moving onto the bigger issues that have come up for me today. I think back to when I began this studio, Jessica Dewar Yoga, and the lack of support I had – from anyone (my partner aside – he supports all my crazy ideas). I opened the studio because I knew I couldn’t teach how I teach in a local studio. I’m a perfectionist (not a good thing), which means I am extremely particular about the quality of service I provide to each and every student. I knew I could not share with people an authentic view of the practice under someone else’s banner, and so Jessica Dewar Yoga evolved. Against everyone’s recommendations, with comments that I would fail and lose everything I’ve worked so hard to achieve over the years, I made the tough decision to press on. I signed the lease and took on the debts, the stress and the journey to building something from scratch. The journey to building something which actually means something to me, and it seems, means something to many others too..
Reflecting upon the past few months (and that’s all it’s been since we opened), I realize the studio has come a long way but we still have a long way to go. I opened a studio based upon a model whose survival is reliant purely on the kindness and generosity of those who want to practice with us. Why? Because I felt a deep obligation to share my experiences with all who were/are interested to learn. Coming from a life built on stress, insecurity, fear, inequality, tragedy and many more adjectives to describe pain, and having found peace within this practice, my life experience has urged me to share it with others. And this urge is strong enough that I’m prepared to risk it all to do so.
Truth be told, I have never been so financially stressed in all my life. It takes a lot of cash to run a yoga studio. The donation model itself works, but I don’t know how to grow it without injecting thousands of dollars into paid marketing like all the other studios do? I’m stuck? Whilst I’m so proud to share that over 85% of our referrals are via Word Of Mouth, this is a very slow way to grow – and if I want to keep this going, I need to work out better ways of going about it and without reverting to the promise of perfect lives to coax people in. Hmm… To be continued about how I will go about this…
If you have suggestions, feel free to email them to me! firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m open to all suggestions!
But whilst the studio is growing as awareness slowly trickles into the community, I have never been happier building this community. A community that has brought some incredible people together – teachers and students alike. Together we are proving that change is possible. That the paradigm shift to the industry, of making yoga accessible to all, is possible. That following my heart is far better than being held back by other people’s fears and insecurities. I have always believed anything is possible when we put our minds to it. And I believe in the people who are coming to our studio. That they too are excited to help build this community and support our expansion to other locations locally and beyond.
With that said, I want to thank all the people who have supported the studio to get it where it is today. The people who believe in what we are building. There will always be those who try to keep you small, and you may not have all the resources when you get started, (like funding for marketing), but if you have the right attitude and the desire to persevere – anything is possible. I have and always will believe this to be true.
Our vision for Jessica Dewar Yoga is to open a second studio this year and if you believe in what we are trying to make happen, then your feedback and suggestions as well as any donations are gratefully received.
If you would like to donate to the studio you can do so via the link below. I want to thank you in advance for your contributions. It is because of you that we are creating a kinder world, together.
Sending grateful hugs,