When the Covid pandemic hit, small business owners across the country struggled to stay afloat. Find out how Caroline and her yoga and pilates business, Karma Studio pivoted in order to survive the pandemic.

My business

My passion for Yoga was sparked in 2004, during my rehabilitation following a serious ankle injury. After attending just first few yoga sessions, I found my mind was clearer, muscles lengthened and my alignment started to improve. I felt rejuvenated, relaxed and my sleeping improved too. I knew that there was more to yoga to just simply ‘stretching’.

Eager to learn more, I took a short training course. But the desire to further this knowledge led to an improvement in my health but also a career change and I began to train as a Yoga teacher.

In January 2011 I opened Karma Studios in West Wickham creating a dedicated yoga and pilates studio with the aim to bridge the gap between the big busy gym environment and dusty church halls!

It was certainly a challenge to be my own boss, being committed to that work life balance was actually quite difficult! I will admit when I first opened, I worked all the time, replying to emails day and night and it wasn’t healthy. I had to really take a step back and stop myself from taking on too much, and saying yes, to everything!

The business is ‘my baby’ and letting go is hard but I feel now (and it honestly took me quite a few years!) I now am now able to maintain a great balance and I can plan my diary out and dedicate time to each task, then in the evenings or weekend to only deal with the emergencies and will let everything else wait until the following week, giving me quality time with my two daughters Lily and Grace.

The pandemic

In January 2021 we should have celebrated being open for 10 years and instead our doors were closed. Being closed for much longer than I could have imagined was really tough. This past year has been hard for everyone and so many businesses have struggled to stay afloat. Like most people, I felt like I was on an emotional rollercoaster but knew I had to accept this was totally out of my hands. I knew I would have to pivot the business to ensue Kara Studios would survive.

For me this meant offering online yoga classes. I was nervous at first as I am not very ‘techy’ but with a quick bit of research and a make shift yoga room (our living room!) I tested out a few zoom classes with some friends. I made sure everyone could see and hear me ok and I welcomed their feedback.

Clients were really keen to give it and go and soon I was teaching my full schedule of 5 classes per week. I felt like I had some normality back in my life and I know my clients felt the same too! I’d like to say a massive thank you to all of those who dived in with me on my classes, as we all learnt together and kept moving and breathing through all the lockdowns when the studio was closed.

The positives

Finding positives in a bad situation can really help you keep going! Teaching virtually is truly quite different from teaching 10 people in the studio, who you can see move and hear them breathing, so I wanted to make more of a connection with my clients, I decided to set up a dedicated private Facebook Group. I was able to share tips, articles and videos with them, which I turn brought more conversation to the group, something we were all missing from being in the studio.

I developed my own personal website, which I felt was quite an achievement. Spending more time sharing with my clients made me want to connect with new potential clients, give more details about myself, my style of yoga and my offerings. I realised my Karma Studios website was a great front door for visitors but I needed to show them more about me, so I built a ‘Caroline Lucas Yoga’ website!

I have definitely learnt how to be more resilient with regards to running the studio and strive to not to take things personally when they are not going the way I had envisaged. These are all great positives!

Moving forward

I had some additional training courses booked which had to be rescheduled due to the lockdowns, which I am very much looking forward to attending at the end of the year. Following these I will have some new offerings for 2022 including Yoga for the Menopause.

Pre covid I was running many events outside of the studio, such as yoga weekends and yoga days. My husband is a chef and we would team up on these events so not only do people get to do yoga all day, they get to enjoy his delicious food. I would really like to get these up and running again as soon as the restrictions allow. I would also love to run a yoga holiday abroad one day, so do watch this space!

You can find out more about Karma Studios here and also Caroline’s website here at Caroline Lucas Yoga.

Do you have a business and want to learn new ways to pivot during these unsettled times then we’re here to help! We have online courses starting every month so join us and reach your full potential! Register your interest HERE