A Q&A with a Birmingham, UK based yoga teacher with several strings to her bow.

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

I’m Zoe, I’m owner and founder of Aloha & Coffee. I’m a yoga teacher, lifestyle and travel blogger based in Birmingham, UK!

When did you qualify and where do you teach?

I qualified in Jan 2017 and teach classes and 1 to 1s all around Birmingham.

What’s your business & when did you start it?  

My business Aloha & Coffee was born 3.5 years ago when I was a personal trainer and nutritional advisor but I changed the direction about 18 months ago. I was playing around with where to take my business and started blogging about yoga and wellbeing, not thinking I had anything inspirational or different to share.  

I started sharing some of my flows and recipes before I decided this was what I wanted to do as a career and it all escalated from there. People started asking for my advice and input and I realised I did have something worth talking about! It’s evolved over the past 12 months to become so much more!

What always surprises people about you?

I’m a mom of 4!

What business focused resources would you recommend and why?

I read an amazing book by Celest Pereira called The Yoga Mentor when I was newly trained. I think with any training you come out with your qualification and think you’ll jump straight into your newfound vocation straight away.  My yoga teacher training didn’t prepare me enough for the business side of yoga.  It glossed over the endless doors you knock on, the emails, the telephone calls and the effort you have to put into finding those first classes.

This book has some valuable tips for starting your career.  The best tip was to get onto every cover list in the local area.  I sent countless emails, made phone calls and visited studios in person and soon enough I was on the cover lists and gaining experience teaching.  Offering free assistance to experienced teachers is also an amazing way to gain experience and show the studio or teacher what you can do.

What business advice has really helped you?

Have an end goal but don’t make it the be all and end all.  So the end goal may be you want to own your own studio so break this down into manageable bite sized chunks.  Step 1 after you qualify could be getting yourself on the cover list of every local studio.  Step 2 could be asking your favourite teachers if you can shadow them and assist in workshops and so on, building your experience is the best tool you can possibly have and be prepared to work for free in the beginning.  I don’t mean teaching classes in studios for free necessarily but offering your help for assists and workshops. You may not get paid in a monetary term but you will be earning skills to set you well on your way!

What do you know now that you wished you had known when you started teaching yoga / your business?

Authenticity is key!  Don’t try to be someone you’re not, you don’t have to use a ‘yoga voice’ to teach.  Your personality can shine through and it makes you you and people will come back to you for that very reason!

What are you most excited about now?

I was approached by a new app called Yogassential, which is designed to connect yoga teachers to private students. I loved the concept and the way it benefits us as teachers and became their Chief Yogi for Birmingham. I love that I can pick and choose my hours around my other commitments and the way it is so flexible. Free workshops for teachers are held bi-monthly by a senior yoga teacher concentrating on different themes and I’ve found them really beneficial for adding to my skills.  I’ve picked up new clients as a result of the app that my individual marketing may not have reached so it’s really a win win situation for teachers.

Zoe (far right) with Yogassential founders Raquelle & Jessica (middle)

Where can we find you?

Online at Aloha & Coffee and my social profiles Instagram @_zoewoodward_, Twitter @alohaandcoffee and Facebook @alohaandcoffee.

I currently teach 2 public classes in Aldridge and Wylde Green (details on www.alohaandcoffee.com) or you can book me for private or corporate lessons via the @yogassential app.