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Start a professional meditation business by following these 9 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your professional meditation business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
STEP 1: Plan your Business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How long it will take you to break even?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a professional meditation business?
The costs involved in opening a meditation business vary greatly depending on your region and the location of your studio. For instance, it's possible to run a successful business out of a 1,000 square foot studio, but the cost of opening one can vary from $30,000 to $500,000 or more depending on the region, the market, and how extensively you wish to redecorate the interior. If you have the space and are comfortable doing so, you can conduct such a business out of your own home, which drastically reduces the overhead, but it may also eliminate the convenience of a central location for your customers. Beyond the cost of the studio itself, you are really only paying for utilities (which should be $500 or less per month in a small space like this) and for any equipment you and your clients need (which should cost $500 or less as well, considering that you typically don't need anything more complex than some comfortable mats). Finally, you may wish to allot $1000-$2000 dollars for initial advertising.
What are the ongoing expenses for a professional meditation business?
The ongoing expenses are very simple for such a business: it will be whatever the monthly lease of your studio is (some meditation businesses lease for $3,000 a month, though this amount can vary both up and down) and the cost of utilities (typically less than $500, though this, too, can vary, especially by season). Beyond this, you should not need to buy or replace equipment very often, and much of your advertising will be online and, thus, very cheap, though it may be worth allotting $500 a month or so for printing flyers, business cards, and so on.
Who is the target market?
Ironically, some of your best clients will be businessmen. While this does not seem like the stereotypical clientele for meditation, recent years have seen an increase in successful businessmen (including the late Steve Jobs) embracing meditation as a way to enhance creativity and productivity. Thus, business clients will be focused on their own particular goals, making them much more likely to become frequent visitors.
How does a professional meditation business make money?
The most basic way that a meditation business makes money is to charge clients a fixed fee for sessions, with sessions typically lasting between thirty minutes and one hour. Your own studio may experiment with models such as charging higher monthly fees for unlimited sessions or charging higher fees for individual lessons.
How much can you charge customers?
Meditation sessions typically run between $10 and $30 for group sessions. As mentioned earlier, you may want to experiment with a model where you charge more for private sessions, or offer clients a discount if they sign up for multiple sessions at once. Be sure to research your competition in the area, though: you do not want to severely underprice or overprice your services relative to the area.
How much profit can a professional meditation business make?
Of course, the exact amount of profit your business can make will also vary by area, amount of customers, and price per session. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics notes that the average recreational therapist income is just below $47,000. However, Forbes notes that meditation is now a billion-dollar industry, and that more employers than ever before are helping pay for employees to take mindfulness meditation training. This means that your prospective clients will only grow as the years unfold.
How can you make your business more profitable?
If you are willing to move or to commute, establishing yourself in an area with little competition is a great way to increase profits. Don't forget that it is acceptable to raise your rates, too: as with any other business, once you have demonstrated value, customers are going to be willing to pay a bit more, and a rate increase multiplied across all of your customers will be huge. Finally, don't forget the power of giving free talks and demonstrations at places like colleges and community centers. This helps build your brand, demonstrate your value, and most importantly, to recruit customers!
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC prevents you from being personally liable if your professional meditation business is sued. There are many business structures to choose from including: Corporations, LLC's, and DBA's.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Check out the Top Business Formation Services from our friends at StartupSavant.
You should also consider using a registered agent service to help protect your privacy and stay compliant.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Find the right bank for you, read our review of the Top 5 Banks for Your Small Business
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a professional meditation business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
Certificate of Occupancy
A professional meditation business is generally run out of a studio. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.
- If you plan to lease a location:
- It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
- Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a professional meditation business.
- After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
- If you plan to purchase or build a location:
- You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
- Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your professional meditation business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.
STEP 7: Get Business Insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
How to promote & market a professional meditation business
At bare minimum, you should create a simple website and an online presence via social media. These methods are free (or of minimal cost) and are invaluable in allowing clients to discover you. There is still room for traditional marketing, however. This may include advertisements via newspaper and radio as well as flyers and business cards that you leave in places where you think people would be interested. One often-overlooked strategy is to send out postcards that employ either humor (such as suggesting meditation is a great way to deal with a hangover) or persuasion (suggesting that meditation is one more step towards that big promotion).
How to keep customers coming back
As long as you establish close and caring relationships with clients, positive word-of-mouth will do a lot to attract customers. In terms of retaining them, you have several options. A very literal way to do this is to encourage clients to sign contracts for a certain number of sessions rather than paying you for one at a time. A variation of this is to offer specials where customers effectively receive a discount for having many consecutive sessions instead of just sporadic ones. Above all, though, use conversations with clients to link their success in meditation with their personal and professional successes; if they see that you are having a positive effect on their life, they won't need any extra encouragement to keep coming!
STEP 9: Establish your Web Presence
A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.
Start A Professional Meditation Business In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
Obviously, this business is best suited for someone who has a long history of practicing meditation. If you have your own experiences as part of group meditation, it can be easier to transition those experiences as a student into being a kind of teacher for your clients. Finally, a background in business can help you both establish your business more quickly and make running its day-to-day operations even more smoothly for you.
What happens during a typical day at a professional meditation business?
Your primary daily activities will involve conducting meditation exercises with groups of clients. In-between sessions, you will likely be communicating with current and prospective clients as well as ensuring that your studio has the proper ambiance. You must also ensure that your business is aggressively advertising itself towards key demographics. It is worth noting that a successful meditation business will keep later hours in order to attend to clients who can only visit you after their work shifts have ended.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful professional meditation business?
Specialization (or at least familiarity) with a wide-range of meditation practices and styles can help you reach a more diverse clientele and also help you establish your brand more quickly. Skills in marketing can help you quickly establish yourself in the community. These marketing skills will also help you set up an ongoing social media presence with your clients. As mentioned earlier, previous experience as a client of one or more meditation centers can help you figure out what you will need to do to successfully run your own.
What is the growth potential for a professional meditation business?
The growth potential for a meditation business is quite solid. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics considers this a form of “recreational therapy,” and that field is projected to grow 12 percent in-between 2014 and 2024.
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a professional meditation business?
Don't underestimate building your brand. There may be a lot of competition in your area, so make sure that everything from your business name and logo to website and advertising help to set you apart from the competition. As alluded to earlier, it's important to have a location convenient for many clients, and that includes easy, accessible parking. Finally, really take the time to know your clients, and communicate with them regularly. The key to return business is that they see their time with you as part of a friendly relationship and not just a periodical transaction.
How and when to build a team
The nature of a meditation business is that it is usually conducted by one person. This is partly because your studio is likely to be small, and a large team would mean expanding to a larger space and taking on a correspondingly large overhead. If you simply have more clients than you can reasonably see, it is possible to take on one or two partners and simply divvy up the shifts, allowing you to expand your team before making the larger step of expanding your operations.