Part I: Story of a Reluctant Entrepreneur
I remember sitting at my friend Lahna’s kitchen table working on math problems in 2005 thinking, “I’d much rather be working in a yoga studio right now, but yeah right, that’s not a job”.
Cut to 2018. I have somehow found that job. Kinda.
Maybe my story really begins when I walked up to my mentor and friend, Lisa P., and said “I just want you to know I’m going to own a yoga studio one day.” Or maybe when I found myself working for a software startup trying to serve the yogis. Or maybe when I put in the work to write a business plan and convince a bank to give me a loan with zero personal collateral, all while working full-time saving my nickels and dimes. Or maybe when I was willing to take some personal risk to make it happen.
What do I wish I had known? What could I have done better at the beginning?
- Budget. Pay close attention to expenses right away – retail inventory, studio supplies. Spend money where it counts, with marketing, investing in your future, graphic designers, and management staff. There are always certain expenses that seem to take infinite cash. Don’t overspend unnecessarily.
- Staff. Rip that bandaid off right away. Don’t be afraid to end relationships. How you cultivate existing and new ones is what matters.
- Get the Right Partners. Rip those bigger bandaids off too. Up front. Have enough money set aside so that’s ok. Don’t accept any partner relationship that really doesn’t make sense to your bottom line. It’s not personal! I was so overwhelmed I avoided some of these things.
- Lease. I wish I would have negotiated the rent down or the purchase price if the landlord wouldn’t give on the rent, for the first 1-2 years at least. Although the space is reasonable in SLO compared commercially, that doesn’t mean it works for my business potential and I can’t know that until I’m in it. Even with all the books and P&Ls shared with me, I didn’t really know what it took until I was doing it or what the market was like until I was working it in this way.
- Savings. If we should have 6 months to a year of savings as individuals, we should have that as businesses. That means I should have had $100-$200k set aside for hard times. I had NOWHERE near that and regret that some of my tribe could tell I was stressed financially. Sorry about that, guys.
I’m hoping to make this post part of a series on my experience owning and operating a yoga studio in SLO, CA from 2011-2016. We shall see how it unfolds. Next time, I’ll be writing on What I Did Right and would do again! Let me know if you have any thing you’d like to hear more about!