Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Krista Shirley, Founder of The Yoga Shala, located in Orlando, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I own a Yoga Studio in Winter Park, Florida, called The Yoga Shala. I also own Olotita and Nysa by Olotita, which are additional services and products to help support a healthy lifestyle. My customers are men and women between 19-70 years old looking to improve their health and wellness to live a life of wholeness.
Tell us about yourself
I stumbled upon Ashtanga Yoga in college, which totally transformed my life. I fell in love with the practice, its history, traditions, culture, language, and the physical challenge of the practice itself. I first fell in love with how it helps me in my daily life. Once I became a teacher, I absolutely fell in love with helping people take accountability for their own health and wellness through the vehicle of Ashtanga yoga, meditation, nutrition, and mindfulness.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Before the pandemic, I'd relocated my business to a different location and did a beautiful custom build-out. It was a big transition, even though less than 10 minutes from the old location. We relocated from Winter Park to College Park and began servicing a whole new clientele. I had to get creative and quickly pivot my business model a lot. Looking back, I'm so proud I was able to do that. In Winter Park, for example, retail sales made up over 30% of our revenue, but in College park, just 5%. I had to lower prices on memberships and do a lot of different things to be able to really serve the people in my new space.
But I'm even more proud of how I was able to pivot after the pandemic. Just before COVID, I endured my own set of medical tragedies that I was battling all through COVID. I was too proud to close my studio than when it would have made most financial sense. Post COVID, I had to really pivot again and decided to move the studio back to Winter Park, to a location that was far more affordable for me to work to rebuild my yoga studio post covid. It has proved to be the best decision, allowing me the time to slowly rebuild my client base and not have the stress of a massive overhead. For me, learning how to pivot my business has been one of my greatest achievements.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Gosh, I feel like I could speak on numerous topics here, but I have always found it hard to manage the staff at my yoga studio. Not because my staff was ever difficult but because most of my staff were also students and friends of mine. The line between what hat I wore was often blurred in the eyes of my teachers, and that sometimes made it very challenging for me both on a personal and professional level.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- NEVER STOP LEARNING ABOUT YOUR CRAFT.
- Constantly focus on maintaining a work/life balance, especially during the first year of your business.
- Every three months, look back at your goals and see how far you've come, then draft your next three months' goals and look at them daily. It will help you stay motivated and inspired as you work your tail off to make your dream come true.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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