When participants graduate from Purple Lotus Yoga 200-hour yoga teacher training, the next batch of questions I get is about setting themselves up as a business.

There’s a lot of information to share so I’ve divided it up over three blog posts. This first one answers the bold questions below. Parts 2 and 3 go more in-depth with setting everything up, and you can find the links to the others at the bottom of each post.

****I recommend reading through the 3-part post series before committing to anything.****

What are the next steps? How do I decide on a name? Do I need a website?

I’ve been a #yogabizbabe since 2001, and in the early stages, it was equally easy and hard. Easy, because there weren’t a lot of choices. Hard, because those limited choices often came with a steep learning curve.

Fast forward to today and I still find running a business to be equal parts easy and hard. There are so many options that make owning and running a yoga business easier and more economical. But sometimes the sheer amount of choices can be overwhelming. I’ve gotten stuck in analysis-paralysis plenty of times because my poor brain couldn’t keep up. Or I’d make a decision then a shiny object would appear and I’d have to check it out first before I committed.

There have been so many times I wish someone would have taken me by the hand and told me: do this first. Then this. Finally this. At least as I was getting started.

So guess what? That’s exactly what I’m doing.

Over the years, I have done a ton of research as well as trial and error. But more choices flood the market than I can reasonably keep up with anymore. I’m sharing what works for me. If it works for you too, YAY. If it doesn’t, I totally understand. Like teaching yoga, we each have to find our own voice and style.

Ready? Come along fellow DIY-ers.

Blog or Website and what’s the difference?

If you’ve done any preliminary researching you may have come across the term blog or blogging in relation to websites. Technically a blog IS a website, and it’s hard to have a blog without a website, but you can have a website without a blog.

A website can contain basic information like who you are, what and where you teach. A “blog website” contains the basic information but it also has a feature where you post articles and/or changing content (called blog posts) in a particular spot.

Purple Lotus Yoga is considered a “blog website” because I post regular ::snort:: okay, semi-regular, articles for visitors. Blog posts can be categorized making it easier for clients to find out more about a particular subject. You do NOT have to be a professional writer to post blog articles.

Perhaps starting out you only want basic information and may at some point add a blog later. No problem. Most platforms (including the ones I’ll talk about) come with a blog option. But let’s table the website lesson for just a few minutes because we have a few other points to cover first.

Decide on a name

Do I use my name? Or do I come up with a separate business name? WHEW. Talk about the two most frequently asked questions when it comes a creating a new small business. And I wish I had a simple answer.

If all you are ever going to do is yoga than a business name with yoga in it might be the way you want to go. But if you see yourself expanding and offering other services (massage, clothing, speaking, writing, etc.) than using your name for your business might be the better option.

****Name-name or business-name: Don’t let this analysis-paralysis keep you from moving forward. Pick one and keep going.****

1. For your name-name, make sure it’s available (see #5 below). If it’s hard to pronounce, spell, or remember you might consider a biz name.

2. If you’re thinking about a business name, keep it short, relevant, professional, and research that it’s not being used in a different way by another business.

3. When checking website availability go for the .com version. It’s the standard for businesses, even if you’re using a name-name.

4. If you plan to use social media, do a quick check to see if the name you’re thinking about is available on the platforms you plan to use.

5. A Google search of your name options will save you time and headaches. Trust me. You can also use NameCheckr to search for websites and social media profiles.

6. When you find a name-name or business-name available don’t purchase it yet. You’re going to do that when you set up hosting.

****You don’t need any kind of license to secure a domain name or start a website. But if you want to get a business checking account, you’ll need at least a DBA (Doing Business As) from your local county offices.****

****It’s a great idea to consult a professional accountant when choosing a DBA, LLC, etc. and making sure you’re covered for tax purposes too. Even if you’re only ever a one-person business, you’re still a business.****

Do you need a website?

Maybe not as soon as you graduate a YTT, but there will come a time when you want to have a website to send potential clients too. And if you have a website, it makes it easier for potential clients to find you. Approximately 50% of my in-person training participants come from a Google search. If I didn’t have a website, I’d lose out on the opportunity to work with those individuals.

****You don’t need a website first. You need to teach first, start earning income. Putting together a website is NOT an income producing activity, nor is it a “build it and they will come” proposition. Work on your website on the side or in tandem with those tasks that bring in revenue for you.****

I feel like I’ve done it all when it comes to websites. In the early days, when websites could only be designed by coding professionals, I had one of those. And the only way I could afford it was a friend’s husband who was learning and asked if he could design mine for practice. The two biggest cons of this option was it costly and any tiny change I wanted to make had to go through the designer.

The next version was to have a designer put it all together, but then have a user-friendly back end where I could go in and make tiny changes as necessary. Much more conducive to my control-freakish ways.

A couple of years later, options came available where non-designers could create their own websites and that’s the bandwagon I jumped on. The first of these I tried was Weebly, a drag and drop platform. They have a free version which I used while I was getting the hang of it. After a while I upgraded to the pro version (reasonably priced with great features I found myself using more and more).

Another similar option to Weebly is Squarespace. I have never personally used Squarespace, but I’ve heard many positive reviews for it. Pure Synergy uses Squarespace for her website needs and loves it. The con for Squarespace is it has a monthly fee ($12-18/month) associated with it, but tons of features you can use “out of the box” with minimal learning curve. With Weebly and Squarespace you don’t have to worry about hosting.

wordpress

WordPress is an open source software used by a third of the web, from personal blogs to big businesses. It’s the option I’ve used for the last several years.

WordPress is self-hosted, which means I have to secure a domain name and get it hosted on a separate server site. The cons with WordPress are it’s a few more steps to set up, and the learning curve is a bit longer. Not only do you have to learn how WordPress works, but depending on which theme you choose, you will have to figure out how that works too.

WordPress is the underlying structure of the website. A theme helps to make the content pretty and organized. You need both in order to start a website.

The pro is WordPress itself is free and comes with free themes. You can also find reasonably priced themes (which is what I did for Purple Lotus Yoga). Other than the yearly hosting fee, you don’t have any other costs associated with running a WordPress site.

(Don’t worry, I’m gonna walk you through all of it in the next posts.)

hosting

Now that you have your name-name or business-name selected (but NOT purchased), you’re ready to set up hosting.

I’ve only ever used two hosting sites: Bluehost and SiteGround. I liked Bluehost and used them for several years. I only had an occasional issue with my site being down, but I did observe where larger blogs/websites ran into more frequent problems.

Then three years ago SiteGround was recommended to me and I switched. I love them and I’ve never had ANY issues. They have great speed, they’re secure, and their support is AWESOME. The con with SiteGround is they’re based in the UK so sometimes I get lost in the currency exchange, but they’re pricing is comparable with other hosting companies including Bluehost.

****SiteGround is the first product I’ve ever wanted to sign up for as an affiliate. So please note, if you choose to go with SiteGround and use the link I’ve provided, I’ll receive a commission for referring you.****

When you decide to self-host, this will be your largest expense. The more years you choose, the longer you’ll be able to keep your initial discount. Unlike other hosting providers, even if you only sign up for one year at SiteGround, you still receive the same discount, but the savings can add up if you’re able to purchase multiple years of hosting.

I understand if you’re starting out, it may be feasible for you to select only one year to begin. It’s what I did. Plus I wanted to make sure it was something I’d still be doing in a year.

If you already have a domain and different hosting, SiteGround will move your site for you for free. No hassle. That’s what I did for Purple Lotus Yoga.

Parts 2, 3, and more!

PHEW! That’s a lot of information. In Part 2, I walk you through the steps of setting up your hosting through SiteGround and install WordPress, and in Part 3, I show you a few themes and how to install one.