“Do I have much experience in digital marketing? Absolutely not!”
So says Lauren Wilkie, a London-based yoga and pilates teacher who’s built a thriving business on Strydal, after trying various platforms including Zoom.
In fact, it was a chance meeting at a yoga retreat that helped her to pivot successfully. And of course, the hard work she put in along the way…
One day in early summer, I had this moment of 'What am I going to do?'
As a certified 500-hour Yoga and Level-3 Mat Pilates teacher, with specialist training in Pregnancy Yoga, Women’s Yoga, Yin Yoga and Yoga Nidra, Lauren certainly didn’t lack teaching experience before joining Strydal.
Her teaching places special attention on understanding ourselves through movement and breath, along with helping students to adjust poses and exercises to their bodies, rather than the other way around. Her classes aim to be accessible and inclusive.
However, she’d never taught online before the 2020 pandemic lockdown. “I started teaching online in March, when everything shut down due to COVID, and I taught on Zoom for the first few months after that.
“I had met [Strydal founder] Alex and his girlfriend in the summer of 2019 on a yoga retreat where I was teaching, and we stayed in touch.
“One day in early summer, I had this moment of ‘What am I going to do?’ – I was feeling a bit concerned for the future of my teaching business. That very same day he called me and said, 'I’ve been working on a new online teaching platform, what do you think?’”
Now that I’m teaching on Strydal, everybody has their camera on, because of the privacy features: that’s been really fantastic for me and for my students
That phone call arrived at the perfect time. Lauren was beginning to feel frustrated with the extra admin of creating Zoom classes, sending out invites, and managing how many people were in her online classes.
“Plus, I was having to do extra marketing each month for a new set of classes, and getting people to sign up for each separate class. It was a lot of extra work!”
This help with the admin side of her online business was a big plus for Lauren. “I can have everything in one place: I don’t have to set up links or manage who comes to my classes, that’s the big advantage of Strydal for me.”
Lauren adds that another challenge she faced was that existing video streaming platforms lacked privacy features, like the ability to “shield” clients, so that only the teacher can see and hear them.
“Many of my students are very private people, so when I was teaching on Zoom they would disable their webcams. For me that was challenging, because I felt really disconnected from my students. A big part of what I love about teaching is the feedback and interaction that I have with the people in my classes.
“Now that I’m teaching on Strydal, everyone leaves their cameras on, because of the privacy features. That’s been really fantastic for me and for my students. I feel more connected, and it allows me to offer more personal feedback in my classes.”
She adds that on Zoom, she wasn’t able to have private conversations with students. “I don’t like to single people out for feedback – I don’t do that in my 'in-person' classes, let alone in my online classes. This privacy aspect was a challenge before, and something that I really like about Strydal.”
As one of the first people to start teaching (and earning) online with Strydal, what does Lauren say about her experiences so far?
“My students are really happy. They enjoy the privacy features, and find it easy to use. They also like the on-demand videos. In fact, I haven’t had any bad feedback from anybody.
“I think that it’s a really innovative platform: it’s been quite amazing for me to have this during the lockdown. I’m really happy with it.”
Of course, it hasn’t all been plain sailing. Lauren says that the tech side of things has been a “bit of a challenge” for her. For example, learning how to edit, compress and upload videos has taken a lot of time investment.
“I think for many people who aren’t techy, it can be a steep learning curve. It’s not really a Strydal thing, it’s learning how to film and upload and edit, and learning about the different technologies that you need.”
“I think for actually teaching online, it’s a really easy platform to use,” adds Lauren. “It’s been a good experience.”
Strydal is the solution I didn’t know I needed, and I’m excited to see how we can grow together
So now that Lauren has successfully launched her online teaching business on Strydal, what’s next for her?
“That’s something I’m looking at now. I’d like to continue to grow my membership base so I can reach more people, and I’d like to offer more in-depth courses, as opposed to only weekly classes.
“I just finished a training course on breathwork, which is quite a different modality to physical yoga, and so I want to incorporate that. I want to create a space for students where it’s not just physical yoga, there are other tools and practices as well.
Lauren’s aim for the near future is balancing her current offering with the creation of a rich online resource of accessible tools, courses, and events.
Next year, Lauren plans to invest more energy into raising her online profile so that she can reach more students and help more people better understand themselves.
“Strydal has really helped me take my business in the direction I had wanted to go for a long time. It was the solution I didn’t know I needed, and I’m excited to see how we can grow together.”