Updated: Jul 13, 2018

I’ve been working as an independent contractor for 9 years. I’ve never had a job where I’ve had to work in an office or wear a suit for work. I chose the path of an independent Yoga teacher since I turned 22.

Owning a business is challenging. I face obstacles here and there regardless if I’m operating a successful business or not. Here are examples of some of my obstacles: meeting financial needs, over-scheduling myself at studios with no days off, working for remote studios with a one-way commute of 1.5hrs, a declining health condition, non-existing practice, etc. Despite of the challenges I faced, I still chose to be a Yoga teacher without hesitation. I simply love my job and Yoga.

The great thing about becoming self-employed is that I am my own boss. When I face obstacles, I have a choice to change the situation. I am responsible for my own happiness and success. I walked away from studios that I thought didn’t make sense. I took time off at nights so that I can take care of my body and start practicing again. I choose happiness over suffering. I don’t tolerate discontent. Hear me say this: I am a boss lady.

Last week, I had a moment of sudden realization where I had to take strong ownership of my business. It wasn’t as graceful as I thought it would be. I had to let go of expectations of others. There were feelings of resentment and anger because I was waiting for opportunities to land in my lap. This realization was a kick in my a*s. It was my time to move forward. I made a choice to create my own materials that I would be proud of. And this blog is my first step towards my dream! (I’m so happy you are reading this! THANK YOU!)

Here are steps you can take to own your business or own your career*.

(*Disclaimer - I’m far from being a business consultant. I’m simply sharing my experience and learning.)

Take a big financial reality check.

  • How much are you making per week and per month?

  • What are your expenses?

  • How much would you like to save including saving towards your pension plan and continuing education savings, personal savings, and vacation savings? (YES - your savings are important!)

I set up a direct contribution to my pension plan every month. I save 15% of my income for taxes for the end of my financial year. I save 10% of income towards my continuing education savings. Lastly, I save $100 per month for myself. (This saving can be my backup plan or vacay $.)

If you want to reduce your classes, don’t quit right away. Analyze your financial situation first. Make sure you have a backup plan.

Time management

  • How many times per week are you teaching group classes?

  • How much time do you spend commuting?

I used to teach 16 classes per week all over the city. I spent nearly 3hrs of my day commuting from one place to another. Now I teach 9 to 12 classes a week (including privates) and my commuting time decreased to maximum of 2h when I’m teaching at multiple locations a day.

If you are traveling far, make sure to ask for back-to-back classes. If you have breaks in between classes, make sure to use the time efficiently. Bring a book, download a bunch of podcasts, go to a friendly cafe where you can sit and work for hours.

Practice, Move, and Exercise!

  • How often are you practicing?

  • Are you moving your body in different ways?

  • Are you nourishing your body with your practice?

Although I love Yoga, I don’t practice Asana everyday. (Yes - I obviously do at least one down dog a day but I don’t do a full practice) I read, I write, I teach Yoga every single day and I came to the realization that I needed some time away from Yoga.

Here are some exercises I love to do during my free time: Spinning, weight lifting, long walks on the mountain, and riding my bike.

Make sure you practice what your body needs. Take Yin or Restorative Yoga when your body is in need of recovery. You don’t need to push yourself! Teaching Yoga is a tough job! If you like practicing Yoga everyday, practice something that suits your schedule.

Dream Big and Action Plans

  • Do you have a 3 months, 1 year, 3 year and lifetime goals?

  • Do you have daily action plans?

I usually work on my vision in January and July. It helps me to reevaluate what is current and what I need to let go of. I make sure to build action plans so that my goals become more realistic. My current goal is to utilize time efficiently. One of my action plans is to carve time for creative projects. I’m sitting at my fav coffee shop to write this blog post! I’m following through with my action plan!

Find Your Inspiration / Be Mentored

  • Who inspires you?

  • What are you feeding your mind with your social media usage?

Social Media can be overwhelming. Apparently we surf social media on average for 30 min daily. Our attention span is shorter than ever. We can’t stay focused for more than 7 seconds. I used to follow many Yoga people on Instagram but it wasn’t doing much for me anymore (I started to get bored from seeing crazy shapes—another blog post for sure). Here are some people / teachers with feeds that inspire me.

Amy Ippoliti @AmyIppoliti

She is currently my teacher. She is an author and activist. She really cares about Yoga teachers’ success.

Candice Kumai @candicekumai

She is an American-Japanese chef who was the first to bring Matcha to the west. She also has a podcast called Wabi Sabi and she openly talks about her successes and struggles in the food industry.

Lee from America @leefromamerica

She is so young but so wise! She talks about her self-care routine and she also has PCOS like me. I love her attitude and dedication towards her health.

I hope this blog post is helpful in some way!

Dream big. Own your life. If I can be a boss lady, you can be too. I believe in you.