Echo is the founder of Yoga Kawa, a Toronto-based yoga company with an adorable twist. Yoga Kawa specializes in puppy yoga as away to improve both physical and mental health.
Tell us a little bit about your business
I created Yoga Kawa to inspire, educate and motivate others towards a healthy and fit lifestyle – physically, mentally and emotionally. Since most of us spend more time at work and home, to achieve this mission Yoga Kawa focuses on creating engaging on-site health and wellness programs in corporate offices, condos and yoga studios, and connecting high-quality fitness & wellness instructors to our customers.
Even though I have been teaching yoga for close to 9 years and dreaming about starting my own business for more than 4 years, Yoga Kawa is only 1 year old! What propelled me to finally start was the number of regular students urging me to create training and certification programs that they can enroll in, learn from my style and philosophy and become quality yoga teachers. After some planning, Yoga Kawa was created to be the company that not only certifies and trains teachers on teaching yoga but also offers them class placement opportunities. The latter is not a focus for many yoga schools out there, therefore, I want Yoga Kawa to be the school where newly graduated teachers won’t feel too concerned with not having classes to share their passion and elevate their skills.
With that vision in mind, I have been acquiring more customers for corporate and condo yoga where I can connect them with teachers that I personally trained or qualified and whom I am confident of their teaching style and effectiveness. At the same time, I launched puppy yoga to expand our love and kindness for our four-legged friends and to share this practice of compassion to teachers and students.
Was there something that made you want to become an entrepreneur?
The satisfaction of calling something your own was a great motivator to become an entrepreneur. After riding through the ups & downs of entrepreneurship in the 1st year, it has further validated my belief that entrepreneurship is one of the best platforms for self-improvement. In building Yoga Kawa, I have this wonderful opportunity to leverage my business degree and work experience and combine my passion for yoga and meditation.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to somebody starting a new business?
Can I give two? These two pieces of advice are for those who are serious about their business and would invest in its growth. I strongly advise everyone to invest in and work with proven experts who have integrity and have past work to show. There were a few times that poor quality work from my vendors that came back to haunt me. It’s easier to win new clients than to convert existing customers who already feel you do poor work. So, make sure you work with experts.
The second piece of advice is to automate your business process with the help of technology – software and apps.
Not only do you make it easier for your customer to work with you but it shows your customers that your business is keeping up with the modern world, the digital age. We definitely don’t want to go overboard with all the fancy bells and whistles but the right implementation can help you reduce business cost, increase your productivity and help you track and store data for legal and tax purposes. Some of the apps I love include Wave, Typeform, Salesforce and Wellness Living.
What do you love most about your business?
I love everything about my business, it is such a challenge and holds so many promises. The most rewarding part is always the people for me – the experts I work with, the students I train, and the customers who believe in our mission.
Do you have struggles as an entrepreneur? What keeps you up at night?
Both struggles and promising events keep me up at night and it’s always about finding more time – to either solve current challenges or to jump on more opportunities! The areas that I don’t have the time to become an expert or stay abreast to industry trends and changes would be bookkeeping, tax, accounting, and legal.
What has surprised you since starting your own business?
Fortunately, everything has been planned for – even the downs in this fun journey. Truthfully, I didn’t expect to make any profit in the first year, but we made our first profit in the 3rd month!
Where do you see yourself taking Yoga Kawa next?
I dream about Yoga Kawa inspiring, motivating and educating people around the world! So I definitely want to take the business internationally, but first, let’s expand in Canada first, coast to coast.
Outside of work, what are some of your hobbies, interests or pastimes?
Besides my pursuit in yoga, I also enjoy travelling, scuba diving, surfing, Latin dancing and playing board games.
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