Sometimes, the best lessons come from the worst mistakes. For Sharli Kiner, that was opening up a second yoga studio with a spa.
The owner of Limber Tree Yoga Studio, located in Billings, Montana, pursued the spa even after her partnership fell through. From the start, she saw signs of it not working, but she gave it a full year and everything she had. “It was just not who I am,” said Kiner. “I had a terrible year financially, emotionally. When you’re pushing against something you’re not meant to do, it just takes all the joy away.”
She said it was the right decision to close the spa studio, and Kiner was thankful she had kept her first location open. “We’ve closed the spa and come back to our roots, and it feels better than ever,” she said.
Closing the spa allowed Kiner to start her own teacher-training program, which she said was one of the best things she could have done. More than that, she has learned that sometimes you simply must move forward and make a decision, even if it’s difficult. “What’s the worse that can happen? It’s not life or death, and they can’t take away your birthday if it doesn’t work out,” she explained.
With that in mind, Kiner shared several lessons she has learned over the 4.5 years she’s owned Limber Tree Studio:
- It’s way harder to own and run a yoga studio than Kiner thought.
- You will attach to people — students and teachers alike — who you will have to let go if they decide to move on.
- Remain committed to the studio through the thick and thin.
- Have a good scheduling system because it’s worth every penny.
- It’s necessary to have an accountant who is reliable, consistent and long term.
- Have an outlet other than yoga, because if that was your way to find peace before, it might be harder to do after you own a studio and teach so many classes. Kiner said for her, nature is that outlet.
Overall, one of the biggest lessons Kiner learned was to create an exit plan. When she ended the spa, she had to get out of a three-year lease and pay various fines. She advised asking how you’d like to see things end so if it comes to that, it’s not a shock.
“What’s the goal and the time frame for how long we’d like to see things go?” she said. “If it goes further and longer, great. But what is an exit strategy? That’s shocking to hear for people who are just getting started, but it’s definitely a reality and practical.”
Although Kiner has learned many difficult lessons, she encouraged other studio owners to not be afraid. “Sometimes you just have to jump in and see how it goes and learn that way. It’s not always about the books,” said Kiner. “It’s about the experience — even the hard experiences.”