When I began practicing yoga 12 years ago, the thought of opening a studio never entered my mind. I enrolled in a 200-hour yoga teacher training for the sole purpose of developing my practice. Six months after completing the training, I had an opportunity to sub for a yoga teacher. I agreed because, in my mind, this was temporary. However, this plan quickly changed, because I loved teaching. I think back to this time and realize just how amazing God is at putting us on His path.
“When you own your own business, you wear so many hats, especially in the beginning. For me, the hard work paid off. “
I have a dance, gymnastics and cheer background, so any type of movement class intrigues me. I discovered barre and knew right away I loved it. Barre was different than yoga but complimented yoga beautifully.
The studio concept began developing in my mind, but fear held me back. I knew owning a studio would be a lot of work, and I knew I had to be “all in” to be successful. Once I made the decision to open The Yoga Barre, I immersed myself in barre and became a certified Barre Intensity instructor.
When you own your own business, you wear so many hats, especially in the beginning. For me, the hard work paid off. We outgrew our original studio and relocated to our Cowan Road location in December 2018. Teaching is the fun part of the business, but there is so much more to the day-to-day operations. A huge lesson I have learned is that you can’t do it all by yourself.
In June 2020, a breast cancer diagnosis blindsided me. I underwent surgery on June 23, 2020, and I could not teach for six weeks. My teachers were amazing and took up my slack. Without Carrie Miller, Jennifer Clark and Lou Smith, The Yoga Barre would not have survived what proved to be the most challenging time of my life thus far.
While I recovered from surgery, doctors determined I would need chemotherapy. I was terrified. Additionally, operating the studio during COVID presented a whole other set of challenges. At the time, I did not have a studio manager because I was the studio manager. I knew my business was not adequately staffed to run without me for four months.
After much contemplating, I made the difficult decision to close the studio while I underwent treatment at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. I knew I would reopen the studio, but I also knew I must make changes. With less daily operating stress, I have become a better teacher and am more available to our truly amazing clients.
My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to work hard at developing your craft and staff your business with enough help to keep it running should it need to operate without you for a while.
Sandi Anderson is the owner/instructor at The Yoga Barre, located at 1107 Cowan Road, Suite E, Gulfport. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (228) 731-3570.