In this new series, we feature inspiring women who have A Bit on the Side and aren’t afraid to admit it! This week we’re featuring Yoga with Jen
Tell us about yourself
I’m nearly 35 years old and originally from Germany. I moved to the UK in 2005 for a 6 – 12-month contract and have felt (and still feel) so much at home here that I’ve never left. I completed my Business Degree in 2015, which I was doing on the side at the time.
I had a few different jobs before I found something that I really love doing, teaching yoga. I’m just about to move to Sussex to enjoy the countryside and start working on and establishing my yoga business more.
Tell us about your day job and your bit on the side (and do you keep it a secret?!)
My main job I’m a project manager for a recruitment software company. On the side, I teach yoga on weekends and on some evenings. I also host workshops, day retreats and yoga events such as Yoga Brunches. I kept teaching yoga a secret from my employers in the beginning but after I completed my yoga teacher training, I didn’t keep it a secret anymore. I even started teaching yoga during lunch times to my colleagues.
How did your bit on the side come about?
I was thinking of doing my yoga teacher training for a while and in 2016 decided that I’m gonna sign up for it. It was one of those lightbulb moments. I started the 1-year course in May 2016 and graduated in May 2017. I have been teaching nearly every week since I graduated and have run events and workshops and even taught at the Brighton Yoga Festival.
What’s the best part of having a bit on the side?
I get to run my own business. It’s a big learning curve but I love being my own boss. I get to meet some incredible people and get to be part of their yoga journey. Sharing the love of yoga and the effects it can have in someone’s life is what it’s important to me. Every person is different and every body is different, in all of my classes I ask the students to listen to their body and finding what feels good, rather than getting themselves into the shape of the pose.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
Time is my biggest challenge. With working 45 hours some weeks, I don’t have the time I’d like to invest in my yoga business. It’s a very fine line of investing time in my business and taking some time out for myself. Taking time out for yourself is important so that you don’t burn yourself out.
What’s your advice for others looking for a bit on the side?
Follow your heart and just do it. I was contemplating for quite a while and now I wish I would have done it earlier. Yes, there will be things you don’t know, but there are so many affordable online resources these days. You can learn just about anything and everything online.
Your head will get in the way with doubts at some point or a lot of times. I still have doubts, but I listen to my gut feeling and if it doesn’t work I adapt. When running your own business, being flexible is one of the most important things. In the beginning, I had to figure out what class times and days would work best for me and my students, so last year my schedule has changed quite a lot. I took some calculated risks to see if that class/workshop would work for me or not. If you can, take some calculated risks for your business, you will learn a lot from it. Just make sure that you can ‘afford’ lose it. In my case, I just lost the hire of the venues but I learnt a lot of things on the way.
What are your hopes for the next 12 months?
I’m hoping to grow my yoga business and go part-time in my ‘day job’.
I’m currently organising events, day retreats and workshops for the summer and autumn. I’ve added more Sussex classes to my schedule. One of my goals for the next 12 months is to host a residential Yoga retreat, maybe in Sussex, maybe somewhere abroad.
In June I’m going to launch my online yoga membership site which will enable me to share the healing power of yoga with more people. It also enables students that can’t come to my classes to still practice with me in the comfort of their own home.
If you’d like to feature in A Bit on the Side, get in touch!