Yes. It's money I want to talk about. I know, I know.... I've perhaps already upset some people by just these first two lines - and so be it! We need to talk about it!
Now - I can only tell you my own story because I know it well, but I've talked to many a consultant/therapist/reiki healer/massage therapist/aroma therapist/dream worker and I believe I've seen a pattern that I want to put into words! So, here goes.......
Being a yoga teacher and therapist I am so lucky as to work with my passion. I've done yoga for many years, I've seen and felt the effects of yoga on my own body, and at some point I wanted to know more about this subject. Naaaa, I didn't really wanted to teach - I just wanted to go deeper into my own practice and know even more. (read about my way into teaching here; https://www.yogahjerte.org/post/2017/09/09/how-i-tried-to-not-become-a-yoga-instructor )
But I soon understood that I could help people with my knowledge and my ideas, and I realized that I could make this passion of mine into a living - and so here I am; certified yoga teacher and independant therapist with over 5 years experience from working with all sorts of problems, themes and illnesses, having seen the effects and the changes in people when they "do what they're told!"
And I know I'm good at what I do!
Yes, I've got these friends who always tell me about their bad back, or complain about headaches and pains in their teeth - and they look at me and await an answer...... every time I see them. EVERY time I see them they ask about the same and then I ask if they've done the exercises I mentioned, they can't seem remember, or they've been too busy.
I get a little tired then!
Yes - I would like to help my friends, and no, I don't always expect money for it, because they are my friends and I do worry about them...... but when they continuously expect me to give them free consultations and therapy and they don't do the work themselves, I feel taken advantage of.
If you are a friend of a yoga teacher, a consultant or a healer then you would surely KNOW how much and how hard your friend has worked so he/she could share his/her passion with others? You just know how many evenings with online classes, entire weekends with courses, tests, written assignments and practical hands-on tests and exams they have gone though? And maybe on top of being a father/mother/busy working lawyer, too?
And (here it comes!) how much money he/she has spent? On material, books, access to courses, travel, hotels, tickets, tests, certificates.......? And to that add all the time he/she has used! I’m sure you as a friend just KNOW that when he/she asks for a price for services rendered it is valid!! That it is worth it!
I have friends who unfortunately have a tendency to think "Oh, but I'm your friend! I'll get it a bit cheaper then, won't I?" And I just think (and have dared to say it, too) "No! As my friend you of all people should know how much I've put into this and how much I'm worth!"
Last week I was contacted by a client who wanted to have a private class. I told her how much a private class would be, and she replied "Well, I'll just ask my friends if they still wanna do it!", basically if they thought it was too pricy for them.
I felt as if I had excuse and justify my prices. As if I had to plead with them to acknowledge that the classes I do is worth it (scary part is that I almost did that!) They never returned to make an appointment.
And why is it it's so difficult for us to put a worth on what we do? My own perspective is that as I moved quite slowly into the yoga world, I was just happy to be sharing my knowhow with someone that listened.
I didn't really wanted to become a teacher, let alone a yoga one!! But alas, here I am - not only doing group classes, doing one-on-one classes, using yoga as a therapeutic tool to help heal your body, activating the Nadi points to deepen the effects emotionally and physically - but also doing deep dream meditation and conversational therapy.
When I list it up like this I myself I get a deeper understanding and I become more sure in myself; yes, I am a very skilled yoga therapist! The reviews I get - both from peoples bodies and from them in words - are good, and I do make a difference in peoples lives!!
Any form of intense one-on-one instruction does not come cheap: driving instructors charge for their experience and qualifications, take that a step further and ask a truck or bus driving instructor how much time and money they have invested in their qualifications. Now imagine a flying instructor who has probably spent six-figures obtaining his qualifications and experience - now, would you expect him to work for free?
Why do you think I do?
When you buy a new iPhone you pay ridiculous amounts of money. New shoes are expensive when you want something worthwhile. A coffee a day bought in Starbucks costs from 75€ a month...... perspective, people!!
When you see a massage therapist, an osteopath or a physiotherapist you pay somewhere between 80-100€, and do so gladly because you are happy with the product you get out of it.
.... so what's so different about paying for a private yoga class? A session with a therapist or healer? In the end it must make you happy about the result! Are you happy? Yes - good, it's worth it! Not so much? Find someone else you can see!
In these post-pandemic times you might argue that the money is smaller..... yes, they are. Also for the independent yoga teacher or the studios who couldn't open and as a result lost a lot of business. If you haven't got the money, my suggestion would be that you barter; are you a consultant yourself - or are you a passionate knitter - then use that as a method to pay!
"I would like a yoga therapy session with you, but I haven't got a lot of money. Would you be willing to let me pay with my services as a webdesigner?" Or a manicurist? Or with an elaborate cake for your wedding? Or a yoga pillow? The possibilities are endless!! Just think a little differently!
But please - don't make me feel smaller by questioning if I'm worth the price, and thereby doubting my skill set, my job and my abilities.
I'm worth it!