The BOLD Show | Episode 11 | Teaching Online Classes
Yoga instructor Sadie Nardini has built her business on teaching classes online, even while she's sleeping. In this episode of the MINDBODY BOLD Show, Sadie shares her tips with host Mike Arce about Facebook ad strategy and how you can make money by taking your classes online.
(Mike) Today, I’m here with Sadie Nardini, the founder of Yoga Shred, and Ultimate Yoga app. She has over 100,000 subscribers on YouTube, 86,000 followers on Instagram, and today we’re going to be talking about how to make six figures teaching online classes while you sleep. She’s the founder of the bestselling 21 Day Yoga Shred and DailyOm, and one of the most financially abundant MINDBODY practitioners online.
Growing a small business isn’t easy, and to be successful we know three things for sure: You have to work hard. You have to be bold. And you must constantly learn. We’re gathering some of the best minds in the business world to share their ideas and strategies with you so you can grow your business easier, be more profitable, and have a lot more fun being a business owner. We are on a mission to connect the world of wellness and this is The MINDBODY BOLD Show.
(Mike) What’s up, everybody! I’m Mike Arce and welcome to another episode of The BOLD Show. Sadie, are you ready to be bold?
(Sadie) I am. Are you ready to rock, Mike?
(Mike) Man, I can’t wait. I’ve been waiting for this interview all day. So, let’s get it started. Are you ready? So, 100,000 subscribers on YouTube. That doesn’t just happen.
(Sadie) I think it’s way bigger than that now.
(Mike) Yeah, I think it was at 107,000, and that is way bigger. To get 7,000 subscribers is not easy. How did you do that? When did it start? How many videos did you create?
(Sadie) I started out when there were no other yoga people, or wellness people, doing anything online, which seems archaic. Like when was that, 1935? But, I did, I started a while ago. And I thought, no one’s coming to my classes in New York City. It’s a huge city. Nobody knows me. So, I see that there are people, and kids jumping off roofs onto trampolines and things, and why not yoga? Why not stick some yoga stuff on there? So, I turned my lamp over in my Brooklyn apartment. I shoved my couch into my kitchen, and I did these horribly lit videos. My head was cut off, and I don’t even know.
And I made an impact on this medium. And people started following me and coming to my workshops and to my classes, because of this crazy thing called YouTube.
(Mike) And the videos are better now. I’ve seen them now. You’ve got some way better camera work.
So, before we dive into a ton of strategy on how people can start doing this. This is something a lot of fitness professionals are wanting to do, create some great income that can be generated from outside your five-mile radius, right?
(Mike) So, how did you get into yoga in the first place? When did that start?
(Sadie) Well, I got into yoga reluctantly. I didn’t even know I was going to be doing yoga my entire life. I was a musician first. And it never really crossed my mind, but one day, I was 13, and in Iowa, in a pool, and a grown man cannonballed and jumped on my head in a swimming pool and broke my spine in three places. My neck in two and my mid-spine in one. So, I was partially paralyzed for two years. The doctors did not know what to do. And they said, either you are going to heal, or you won’t. So, I would invest in a wheelchair in case you need that for the rest of your life. They didn’t think I would walk again, properly. One doctor said, “You’ll never run again, Sadie.”
(Mike) Are you running?
(Sadie) I’m running, I’m handstanding, all over the world. I’m rock and roll hands. I can do anything. And because my mom found this dusty old yoga book on the shelf. It was called Richard Haldeman’s 28-day Yoga Program. Like, horrible fashion. The woman is in a unitard, a flesh-colored unitard on the front.
(Mike) Isn’t that horrible. I have a couple of unitards.
(Sadie) I do now. I love unitards. The alignment is questionable, but what it had for me was breathing techniques and gentle yoga. So, unlike what people think—because nowadays I’m about the Yoga Shred and HIIT yoga, and power stuff—but I did not start out like that.
(Mike) So, you got into yoga. Now you started believing in it because it started helping you with your life. And you were able to start doing the things that you were afraid that you weren’t ever going to be able to do again. But, why did you start doing it online versus just start a studio where you can have people come to you and go from there?
(Sadie) You know, I did both. And I think the real reason I stopped owning studios in New York City and anywhere and started teaching more online is because I am super lazy. I mean I am. I like to drink Pinot Grigio, and eat fries, and work out for 20 minutes a day and no more, and have a life, and friends.
(Mike) It’s a good life.
(Sadie) And when I owned a studio, I found that I was just shackled to that place and everyone needed me to be there in order for it to thrive. And I couldn’t ever really leave, and it made me feel pretty stifled. So, in my opinion, only people who are passionate studio owners, and that’s what you want to do, should go that route. Otherwise, online yoga is an awesome way that I’ve found to teach millions of people. I think I reach 6 million people a month, now, online, all told. And I am teaching millions of people now, and I do have real relationships with them. A lot of people question, is it a cold medium? Can you really know people online?
Absolutely. And when I do show up in person, they come see me, sometimes six years later, after I’ve been in their living rooms with them. And I feel them, and they feel me, and that’s a family.
(Mike) So, how many videos have you created since you started your first video?
(Mike) Like more than 500?
(Sadie) Probably, more like 1,000. If you count the mini moments and workouts, too. Definitely more than 1,000.
(Mike) So, let’s get down to the stuff that everyone wants to know. How do you make money by showing people how to do yoga online?
(Sadie) Yeah, because there is so much competition for yoga. There are tons of yoga teachers, so how could you make money? This is what stops most people from doing it.
I like to dream immensely because I think dreaming tiny is already taken.
(Mike) It’s actually very crowded in that world.
(Sadie) Yes, it’s crowded. I guess I’ll just teach classes like everyone. It’s fine if that’s what you love to do, and I do, too. But, I don’t want anyone to have to only show up physically in order to be able to receive abundance in all forms from what they give out. So, for me, moving online was an amazing practice of opening myself up to freedom.
(Mike) So, first of all, who am I if I’m your target customer? Who is the perfect demographic?
(Sadie) You are not my target customer, because you are a guy.
(Mike) I know I’m not, but if I was? If I was?
(Sadie) You are not.
Knowing my target demographic, which are women between the ages of 35 and 60. But, I have a lot of younger women, too. And just people who want to get fit and be empowered. I seek out those people who want to be strong and fit at any age, but also want to be real, and have the before-mentioned fries. So, there is a huge middle ground—not polar people that are into fitness, cut, and squats, every second of the day.
(Mike) And kale sandwiches. And kale chips. No one really likes kale chips!
(Sadie) No one likes kale chips, let’s be honest.
Or, really dark chocolate. Like the really dark chocolate. No one likes it. It tastes like dust. Moving forward, my target demographic is not the polar ones. The ones that are really into classical yoga, leave me alone, I’m in my studio. Or, people that are super into muscular fitness and really need to look perfect and need to spend their whole lives in the gym. I’m for this huge middle ground, of a person who wants to eat a little healthier, but what they love. Wants to work out, but have a life. And wants to get something done in 20 minutes that you could go out and spend two hours doing, but why?
(Mike) OK, so now you know how to get in front of those people, because from what you said you have cracked the Facebook advertising code. So, let’s talk about that. Facebook is an amazing tool because you can say, I only want to show my stuff to women between 35 and 46, that live here, here, here, that like this, or watch this. So, you can get really specific. You use Facebook ads to really get in front of these people for the first time, right?
(Mike) So, let’s say I’m a 40-year-old woman. And everything else fits—whatever that is. So, I’m on Facebook, checking out what my family is doing, checking out what my ex-boyfriend’s doing, and all of a sudden, here you are. What kind of thing do I see? Is it an image ad, is it a video ad? What do I see?
(Sadie) You might see one or both of those things. But what you will see is simplicity. And this is where I think a lot of people make a mistake with marketing. They try to describe everything they are doing in one ad, and the text gets really long. If I see a text that’s even more than two lines long, I’m not going to read it. It’s too much. I’m already involved in my Facebook, in my friend’s dog going to the hospital, or the cute kiddie video. I’m not going to go, “Oh, let me read that whole thing.”
(Mike) So, let’s say I see your ad. It’s just a couple of sentences. What’s an example of what you might say?
(Sadie) I might have a cool photo, that’s not me. Because if people see me, and they see HIIT plus yoga, and they see, “let’s workout together 20 minutes a day.” And they see the mohawk—the tendency is to think it’s going to be too intense, or I’m some crazy lady that’s just here to ruin your day. And that’s been proven by market testing.
(Mike) So you put somebody that fits the demographic?
(Sadie) Yes, I put somebody that fits the demographic and something that is visually arresting. For me, actually, a little more stylish, rather than, “roar” fitness. I want something that looks artistic. Like a black and white photo of a woman doing something beautiful and it’s just really kind of contrasty and awesome. Or that in color. Sometimes she’s naked, but it’s not inappropriate. It looks really beautiful, and you can’t tell, it’s nice. And people will look at it, not because it is shocking, but because it’s kind of beautiful and it represents this empowerment and this gorgeousness and this lushishness that I like to promote. And then, they click on the links. So, I can get people to click.
(Mike) So, the picture is great. But what do I think I am getting? What does it say?
(Sadie) It will say, “This new yoga is amazing.”
(Mike) Cool. So, then I click on it, and then do I go to a landing page?
(Sadie) Yes, you go to a landing page that is short and sweet as well.
(Mike) So, for everybody listening and watching—a landing page is basically like a one-page website that you would create with the sole objective of getting somebody from the ad to a little bit more of a detailed version of what that ad was saying. And then, getting them sold to give you their information in order to get them to the next step in your funnel. Is that correct?
(Sadie) Yes. What I found works really well, and this is for me. Because funneling works really well for so many people. I know that you teach that and you are an expert in that.
I don’t know that much about technology, and this is what I do, and it’s been really successful for me.
They go to the landing page. And the landing page says, “Hi, welcome. We have a tribe of thousands of people doing this. It’s really cool. It’s simple. It will give you more results in less time. And then, I give a little sample of it, which is really important. Because you want to try it on before you buy it. But if you get too much, then why buy it? And at the end it says, get this course now, and it goes right to the sales.
(Mike) And guys, just so you know, there’s more than one way to get in shape. There’s more than one way to make money. So, you chose not to use funnels, but what did you do last month? What were your sales?
(Sadie) One course alone sold $148,000.
(Mike) In one month.
(Mike) In one month.
And in advertising, how much did you have to spend in order to make that?
(Sadie) About $9,000.
(Mike) Is that a good return on investment or what? People invest in houses just to be able to get a 10-15% return, and you are just crushing that. The point here is that you just really knew how to take this thing, yoga, and be able to get in front of the right people, and in a unique way, you learned the digital game, and found a way to make money off of it without you having to go into a studio, and work on your own terms.
(Sadie) Yes, it’s freedom. It’s freedom from stress. And freedom to be able to have your time back, more money back, so that you can help the world and yourself with that.
(Mike) So, let’s say that I sign up. What am I paying? And what am I getting?
(Sadie) You can pay $10, $25, or $40 for the same 21-day course, where I lead you through it. Now, we do it on a sliding scale because I really always want to allow people to offer people what they can, instead of one set price. And it seems to encourage people, because of that generosity, which I did not expect, to pay more. I rarely get a $10 donation. It’s usually one of the other two.
(Mike) So, do you upsell into bigger programs? Because that’s a lot of sales to get to $148,000. So, you just made a lot of sales.
(Sadie) Yeah, it’s a lot. Yes, because I make it accessible. And here’s the thing. I think everything I do is accessible. In my opinion, people are really tired of complexity. Our lives are busy enough. I mean, we have so much going on, and keeping it simple. Like, here’s a thing you can have, simply put. Click on it. Here is what it is. You can do it on your own time—21 days in a row is a challenge—or you can do it in 5 years if you want. And you will have it forever to come back to. It’s a great resource for you—10 bucks, 20, 40 bucks.
(Mike) Give people hope, right. When you first started—alright, I’m going to make my first ad. Did you crush it? Did you get $148,000 on a $9,000 return?
(Sadie) No, no, it was so bad.
(Mike) So, I just want people to not feel bad when it doesn’t work. Tell me how long it took for you to start making a return and what the failures were like in the beginning.
(Sadie) OK, so the failures, in the beginning, were spectacular. Like, if this was a holiday, the failure if it were a holiday would be like the Fourth of July. Because the failures were like fireworks. So, I thought in order to Facebook market you had to, basically, go get in front of every single possible person and audience. So, I would choose yoga—do not ever choose yoga. Because there are all sorts of types of yoga. So, I’m in front of now, 6-12 million people, or 30 million people now, like restorative yoga or this teacher.
(Mike) So you choose a specific type of yoga?
(Sadie) I choose a specific type of yoga. I look for moms at home—like Facebook pages for at-home moms. Or high-intensity interval training moms, or fit moms. Because they are at home, more or less, and they need to do something at home. They want to get fit at home. So, this is stay-at-home moms, and it’s yoga, it’s power yoga. It’s people’s pages that I feel that I’m like—that their audience might like something else, too. So, I hope we can share as teachers. I hope you use this information and choose my page on Facebook to market to because we should all learn from different people. I start pulling from people who are kind of like me. And I think it’s been really successful. But at first, I was very clunky, like yoga, Crossfit, because I had Yoga Shred, and it’s kind of like the marriage of both, but based on yoga poses—it’s awesome!
(Mike) What I want to know is, did it take weeks or months or longer for you to finally get into a rhythm where you could say, hey, it’s working now.
(Sadie) It took me a good year. Because I’m stubborn, and I thought I knew how to do everything.
(Mike) Did you almost quit?
(Sadie) Oh yeah. I hated Facebook ads. I was like, this doesn’t work. It’s the same as a lot of other stuff and I don’t understand it. I’m not technically savvy. I got very doubtful and frustrated. But then I found YouTube tutorials. You can Google anything—even yoga—that you want to learn and somebody that’s doing it better than you are will teach you how to do it, and you can use those tools to totally transcend. Once I started actually studying what I needed to learn, it was a month. And I turned it all around in one month.
(Mike) So, when you upload all of these videos on YouTube, do you just hit the upload button, get the file in there, and you are done? Or do you do things to make sure it’s optimized, and there’s things done on the outside—the description, and all that—to make sure it reaches as many people as possible?
(Sadie) Well, I used to not do any of the things I’m about to describe to you. And now I do them all. And this is all about choosing what works for you and making yourself to do it every time. Because if people like anything at all in a relationship, it is consistency. You don’t want someone who’s there for you one day, and not there for you. Those are the people we drunk dial and text inappropriately. We don’t want to do that anymore. We need consistent relationships, including with our own social media and our own marketing.
So what I do now, is my YouTube page has revolutionized—I put thumbnails, nice icons that I design in Canva.com.
(Mike) I saw that. If you guys get a chance, check out her YouTube channel, because all of your thumbnails are very nicely designed. And if you guys don’t know what thumbnails are, it’s like the preview, so when you look at the right column, you see those little square ads. And you kind of have an idea of what this video is going to be about, so you click on it. But, like anything else, if it’s more drawing, your eye will go to it. And so, you probably use the same technique you use on Facebook on the thumbnails, right?
(Sadie) Yes. Simplicity. And take everything through, and throughline. Like, all my Yoga Shred videos look the same as the thumbnail. Their titles are different. All my anatomy tutorials look the same. They are different designs, but they look the same. My Yoga for Beginners; Yoga for Weightloss. Whatever it is, that all looks the same. And I am not a designer! But, I’m not paying $20 grand for someone to do it for me.
(Mike) What do you use to design?
(Mike) I was hoping you’d say that.
(Sadie) Canva makes it so easy. You can be a brilliant designer right now. And they have all the thumbnails for you. And all you do is, instead of letting them choose your thumbnail from the video still. Mine are like—none of them are cute.
(Mike) My nickname with Sam is Mr. Screenshot. Because he takes so many screenshots. There are no good screenshots of me. Like, right now, there’s nothing good happening here.
(Sadie) You can’t get anything. If you stopped the camera at any point it would just be ridiculous.
So, when it says add custom thumbnail down at the bottom of your YouTube video, instead of letting them choose, go to Canva, get the YouTube thumbnail icon, design one yourself. Just choose it. It’s fun and it’s easy. And download it. That’s what I upload to YouTube. And my descriptions are the same, if you go onto my YouTube channel. They are like, hey, you like this, check this out. Here’s an online course you might like. Here’s a description of the video, and keep in touch on my socials. It’s the same.
(Mike) So, now that you’ve mastered this, do you by any chance teach others how to do it, whether it’s for yoga or something else?
(Sadie) I just did my first presentation on it here at the MINDBODY BOLD Conference. And it went gangbusters. People were really happy about it. We had a q&a session that continued on at the pool for another hour. But, I am going to make an online course about how to make an online course and market it simply and effectively without messing with all the other confusing stuff. Then you can branch out later if you want. It’s nice to know exactly where to start and what works. And I want and welcome the competition. Because I don’t think there is competition for your own path. It’s you getting in or out of your own path. So, welcome to the tribe. Let’s all do this together.
(Mike) So, let’s say somebody’s watching or listening goes, whenever she comes out with that course, I want it. How do they follow you? Is there a social media platform that you go, oh yeah, as soon as I’m launching it, I’m putting it here. Where should they follow you?
(Mike) Oh, just go to the website.
(Sadie) Yes, go to the website and you can stay in touch. And I post about all of the new courses I have coming up on my Facebook page. It’s still my central hub, and that is Facebook.com/SadieYoga
(Mike) So, you’ve essentially learned, not only how to do yoga, teach yoga, and create amazing videos—because they are not the way you used to do them with the head cut off—but you’ve also learned how to run digital ads. Where you can spend $9,000 and make $148,000, which is insane, right?
So, say someone is watching and they say, man, I want to taste what it’s like. Maybe I like it, right.
If they had to go back to you when you first started, what did you do in order to start learning these things? How can they start to get their feet wet?
(Sadie) So, I’m a really DIY (do it yourself) kind of girl, myself. So, I like Facebook. I find that the market has disposable income. Everybody knows it’s the biggest selling platform so far. In fact, it encompasses all of the other ones, pretty much. So, I decided to focus on that platform. And then I dove into the wild and crazy world of YouTube and other Googling tutorials.
(Mike) So you just watched a lot of YouTube tutorials on Facebook ads, creating ads.
(Sadie) And new ads were the thing because you can’t rely on your existing audience. It will deplete them. And plus, most people don’t have big audiences.
(Mike) Well, the most successful entrepreneurs say that if you can’t push a button and get more leads, then your business is going to be tough to scale.
(Sadie) Yes. And it’s not about creating 25 courses. For me, it’s about creating one great course that you love. Use your iPhone, use a friend if you have to. Just make sure the lighting is natural and good; the sound is good—there aren’t any air conditioners—and you are in frame. And get something that adds value. Because if you add value, the money will naturally follow. The follows will naturally follow. And then, get out there to the 7 billion people in this world and tell them where this one course is. Instead of making 700 courses and trying to get 3 people to each one. So, focus in. Learn about Facebook ads best practices. And I haven’t found anyone else who has distilled them the way that I do, that is very accessible for the beginner or the intermediate person trying to understand all of this and call out and extract what works. Yes, I’m making the course, but right now, look at Facebook advertising. Don’t go too broad and make the image very simple and attractive. The text is one or two lines. And put it out to the right people. Post it for $5 a day. You don’t have to spend $9,000. You’ll start getting a nice return.
(Mike) Once you know what works, you can spend a little more.
(Sadie) Yes. Once you learn what works if you got 50 clicks at $5 a day for a week. Now I’m going to boost it $150.
(Mike) It doesn’t work that way.
(Sadie) It does not work. It will freak out the algorithms. I even had the Facebook people tell me that, you probably know that.
(Mike) Well, what happens is, there are tiers. You have all these people, say like 5 or 6% really fit that demographic, but once you exhaust that and you spend more, you start diving into people that are a little less fitting for that demographic. They are close, but they are not there. And that drives up your cost per lead.
(Sadie) Yes. It’s like any relationship. You have to pay attention to it, and see what’s working and what’s not working. And go back into those ads and dial down and see what’s going on. And just like your friendships or relationships, just delete the stuff that’s not working and the people that who are not interested—bye bye. And start to gain the ones you are. And you will understand yourself better through that process. And there’s an app for that. Facebook’s ad app.
(Mike) It’s pretty cool. We use it, too.
Well, I’ve got to say, Sadie, I’m very impressed. And obviously, there is a big reason why you were asked to speak on the big stage here, and have all the followers you have. And I have no doubt you are going to have a line for your course because what you are doing is pretty incredible. So, I appreciate you sharing what you’ve learned. I know you have paid with failure. And you’ve paid with money, and you’ve paid with time and energy. And you are giving it away with time and energy. That says a lot.
Thank you very much. And for all those who were listening and watching, thank you guys very much and we will see you next week. Namaste.
Thank you so much for joining us today. If you like this episode, then subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher, and to our YouTube channel to never miss an episode. You can get all the links by going to BOLDSHOW.com. Thanks, and see you next time.
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