What's your Side Project: Yoga Instructor

Author: Ariel Thelander

Ariel ThelanderAriel Thelander

Editor's note: ESTEEM students are by nature an enterprising bunch, and it's not uncommon for them to come into the program with a "side hustle", or to pick one up while here. In this post, Ariel Thelander '21 writes about hers:


I’ve been practicing yoga since 2014, my sophomore year of college. I’ve always been a science person, so the hippy-dippy woo-woo side of yoga was not the most attractive, but then I realized that the simple act of doing a yoga flow improved so many people’s lives. I wanted to be a part of that. So I took some classes and got certified to teach.

I’ve been teaching yoga part time since February 2019, before I even considered attending Notre Dame or knew that ESTEEM existed. I initially taught at a big chain studio back home, and branched out from there. As soon as I found out about going to Indiana I thought about how I might continue teaching, as it's a fun, enriching activity for me. 

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My chain studio didn’t have locations in Indiana, so I couldn’t transfer. I didn’t know anyone yet, so I couldn’t work off word of mouth. Instead, I would have to actively market myself for the first time. I had almost no idea how to get started, so as one does in the 21st century, I googled it.

I realized I would need to not only find customers, but also: insure myself; set up an intake form; make a website, logo, and business email; choose a tax entity; and decide what kind of classes I would offer. This took a lot of prep time, most of it involving more googling and asking friends who taught yoga full time about their experience and how they manage all these things. I also had to reflect on what I wanted my brand to be, what kind of classes I was interested in teaching, and how to bring my personality to my business.

During this preparation period classes started, so I had less time to spend on developing my side hustle. Using the skills we worked on in class, I was able to be a little more effective at putting together my own business. I settled on offering contract lessons to individuals or groups of friends/family, so I wouldn’t need to coordinate times for multiple separate clients. I decided I could work remotely or in-person, depending on the client’s preferences and any possible new COVID developments. I decided not to rent studio space, but work with the client at their preferred location, such as their home, a park, or online.

Finally, in the last week of summer session, I published my website. Now I’m on my way, trying to connect with potential clients, schedule them, and plan classes. I’m sure I’ll have many more roadblocks to overcome in the next few months, but that’s part of being self-employed. I’m looking forward to the challenge!

If you’d like to learn more or schedule with me, please send an email!