The Cold, Hard Truth: Why You Aren’t Making Money Teaching Online (And How to Fix It)


After talking to over a thousand yoga teachers and other wellness professionals, we’ve heard some common excuses about why it’s so hard to make money online…

Although we have compassion for this fear and frustration, it’s time to speak the cold, hard truth. We know why you aren’t making money online.

Officially, this is our first tough love blog post. By the end of this post, we want you to firmly and fully believe that you can make (significant) money online.

Here’s what happens in a typical day in our business... A teacher contacts us to learn all about teaching online. She’s seeing more and more of her friends and colleagues teaching or training virtually and she wants to know what’s involved with getting started. Someone on our team tells her about the Namastream platform or our Inner Circle accelerator business training + community. She gets excited and tells us all about the program she’s been dying to create, but you know what happens?

More often than not, this teacher never launches her online program. We call this failure to launch. This happens about 80% of the time. After a few years in this business, we’re fed up with this playing small, ‘I’m not enough’, ‘I don’t know how to do it’ bulls**t. Yes, that’s right. We call bulls**t.

We want to teach you how to succeed. To be one of the 20% who actually thrives as an online teacher.

We’ve heard these 7 excuses way too often. Which one has been stopping you?

#1 “I can’t do what everyone else is doing.”

We are bombarded online and on social media with thousands of  images of other people’s always-positive, always-perfect lives.

The comparing game is a dangerous one and can paralyze you from taking action in your own life. Seeing what others are achieving can send you into the ‘I’m not enough’ negative spiral where you start to believe you can’t do anything. You don’t know enough, you’re not techie enough, you’re not smart enough, you’re not whatever enough.

Stop it. Of course, you’re enough. Be kind to yourself. You’re exactly, perfectly enough.

Create and build what you have always wanted to. What others are doing, have done, or are about to do is none of your business. You’ve got your own important work to do.  

Eyes on your own page, my friend. Eyes on your own page.

#2 There’s so much free stuff out there...who’s going to pay for mine?

True. There is a lot of free stuff on YouTube. And, everyday, there’s more and more content being uploaded. 

If someone wanted to learn {insert ANY subject here}, they could learn it FOR FREE on the Internet. It probably exists somewhere. But, here’s what you’re forgetting… How do they know what to choose? We have an excessive and overwhelming amount of content and information available to us and, as human beings, we crave order in the chaos. We buy things on Amazon because they have high reviews. We order the tank top that our favorite blogger wore in her Friday Favorites post last week. In this digital age, we need to be told what to do by someone we trust. Curation is king.

Here’s the best part. Your existing students and clients have a relationship with YOU. Not the stranger on YouTube they’ve never met or the woman teaching via the sketchy embedded video on an outdated website. These current students will be your first wave of customers online.

They want you because they know and trust you. You’ve had your hands on their back. You’ve had direct contact. They crave courses that are taught by you, not by strangers.

Just because someone’s done it before shouldn’t be an excuse you use to not take action. Remember, it’s never been done by you.

Students or clients asking for access to your classes online is a big, bright green validation light that telling you that there’s an opportunity to sell your content on the Internet. Pedal to the metal, friend.

#3 Not embracing your inner salesperson.

After getting excited about the potential of teaching and making money online, some teachers stall and stumble over the fact that they are going to have to actually sell themselves.

(BTW - we hate to break it to you, but if you are a teacher or a coach, you’re already in sales and marketing.)We understand that you don’t want to be seen as sales-y. Neither do we. But you can absolutely sell in a comfortable, true-to-yourself, authentic way. You’re in charge of that. You can be as aggressive or as gentle as you like. It’s your business, your voice, and your choice.

Let’s flip this mindset around. Think about a time when you bought an online course or product that made you oh-so-happy. You were excited about it because it’s exactly what you needed. You didn’t have any problem handing money over for it, right? And you probably told a friend or two or shouted it from the rooftop of Instagram.

Did you see the seller or author or creator as sales-y or sleazy? When you picked up Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, did you curse Liz for having the audacity to charge you money for that book?

So why not be the one creating and selling perfect offerings that clients can’t wait to get their hands on?  Why not be the one making someone’s day or really impacting the way someone lives? Why not have students anxiously waiting for your next program or package?

And why not accept money for that?

If you are good at what you do, and we know you are, you have every right to ask for fair payment. You’re absolutely worth it.

Wearing the sales hat comes with some pretty sweet benefits. Like cold, hard money in the bank. And freedom to build a business on your own terms.

#4  I won’t be able to figure it out.

If you fully step into the roll as a teacher/online entrepreneur you’ll need to figure out how to master some new skills. You can do hard things. It’s worth repeating. You can do hard things.

If you stop every time something gets hard, you’ll never make it. Ever. Persistence is the secret to your success. Stick-to-it-ness serves you well.

To be clear, we’re not saying you need to figure everything out by yourself. Being persistent doesn’t mean working solo. It often includes asking for help when you are stuck.

Reaching out for help when you need it is crucial to success. There should not be hours and days of hair pulling, tearful frustration over not understanding something. There are people who know how to solve your problem and are willing to help. Just ask. And then? Pay it forward.

#5  I’m not techie enough!

While it’s true that you do need to have some technical skill, you also need to have fabulous content to sell. You need both sides. For someone to have both technical skill and content at the outset is rare, like impossibly rare.

When we hear you say ‘I’m not very technical’, we shout YES! because this most likely means that you’ve excelled in other areas like studying a wellness discipline and now wanting to teach it.

We have both successfully coached high achieving software entrepreneurs in the past, and we can confidently say that those clients who did the best were the people who possessed strong communication skills, empathy, and could address the mindset issues that would have otherwise held them back. They were able to figure out the technical side WAY easier than those that had great technical skills, but poor people skills.

The technical aspect can be learned. We think it’s so much easier to have the content nailed and learn the technical stuff as you go. Waaaaay easier.

Worst case is that you hire someone to do a few of the tech things you find challenging. No big deal.

Now go and read Excuse #4 (above) again. Figuring out tech is all about being persistent (and positive).

#6  Always telling old stories.

You grew up poor. You never had money. You’ve always just gotten by. You don’t want to have too much or be seen as ungrateful or greedy. Money has never come easily. You’re happy to just pay your bills. Money is so tight. You’ll never be able to afford ‘that’. Nothing ever works out for you. She has everything. Some people are just born lucky. And on and on.

Guess what? We all have these stories. No two are exactly the same, but we ALL have them. Although you may be telling the truth, telling old stories will keep you stuck in that story. The antidote? Create a new story.

If you’re not where you want to be financially, then please don’t wallow in it. Step up and out of it and envision the money situation that you do want. One where money comes easily and effortlessly. Yes, you can make this a reality.

Determine exactly how much money you want to make and how you want your life and business to look. Write your new story. Focus on this vision and not on your current situation.

I just had fifteen sales today. Money is abundant. Clients are coming to me. I want my sales to double every month. My bank account is growing. I am traveling to Paris this year because I have the money to make that happen. I’m going to finally be able to send the kids to that school and buy my mom a new car.

Speak it. Write it. Imagine it. Take massive action and watch it unfold before you.

#7 I don’t really believe yoga teachers (or health coaches or spiritual teachers or personal trainers or ______ ) can make money.

The wellness industry constantly wrestles with the topic of money. All the teachers we talk to have the same kinds of dreams.

Dreams like moving to Bali, running retreats all over the world, spending more time with their kids or a ‘knock some walls down’ kind of kitchen reno. Really, we all want the same things.

We all want money and the freedom and security and choices that comes with it.

We may not discuss wanting more money, but we all think about it. Regardless of how spiritual or grounded or ‘who can I serve’ focussed we are, we think about how nice it would be to have some more money.

We are not immune to this. Jennifer wants to buy her family a home in the San Juan Islands and I want to buy a quarter section of land in the Foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Jennifer wants to help fund her climate justice non-profit and travel to Switzerland next year to visit her BFF (who just had a new baby girl!) and I want to have a big reno on my house to add an extra bedroom.

And we have both picked out gorgeous one-of-a-kind Jamie Joseph rings that we plan on buying together when we reach a certain revenue goal.

There. We said it out loud. We want to buy things. And support causes. Things we love and causes we believe in. Things that make us happy. Things that will give our families and ourselves wonderful experiences and secure futures.

We have a short time on this planet in our physical bodies and we want to enjoy every minute of it. And that, I’m not afraid to tell you, will be a whole lot easier if we have some money to work with.

Money won’t make you happy, but you can certainly do more, and have a bigger impact if you are financially sound.

Your dreams and desires are probably only slightly different from ours.

But you’re a teacher. Or a coach. Or a healer. And history has taught us that teachers and coaches and healers typically don’t make very much money. Whether you are an elementary school teacher or a yoga teacher or a English as a second language teacher… none of those are ‘I own a second home in Hawaii’ and ‘Would you like to drive my BMW’ kind of salaries.

And this is especially true in health and wellness. You are healers and gentle souls and you are guided to do this work. And it’s important work. But any conversation around money is not in alignment with your work. It’s greedy and ego-driven and it’s certainly not what you’ve been taught to focus on.

Our society undervalues teachers and makes you think you have to choose between teaching for very little money or opting for a less-fulfilling career with a higher salary.

It feels all wrong and utterly unfair and f*ck*d up.

But wait.

The Internet has come along. The game has just shifted to the teacher’s advantage.

You want to teach?

You want to impact others and change lives?

You want to influence, motivate, and inspire?

The Internet is your avenue to do all of that. (Basically for free.)

You want to make some money from your teaching?

You want to buy Jamie Joseph rings or mastermind with us at a retreat center in Friday Harbor?

The Internet is your ticket.

There is no reason you should continue to play small when it comes to making money with your teaching.

Again, it’s bul*sh*t that teachers, trainers, and coaches can’t make a lot of money. It’s not right and it’s not true.

There is something changing in the teaching and coaching landscape. We’ve witnessed the very beginning of a wave of students and clients demanding and expecting their teachers to be accessible online. Again, advantage goes to the teacher. Especially those of you who choose to be early to this new game.

It’s your turn to make some money. It’s your turn to jump on this wave and make the income you desire.

You chose to be a teacher. So teach. And decide to make a living doing it on your own terms.

If you found this post helpful, check out our free on-demand masterclass: Become an Online Teacher.


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