CHERYL MACDONALD,FOUNDER OF YOGABELLIES, YOGA CLASSES FOR MENATEVERYSTAGE OF THEIR LIVES WITH 108 FRANCHISEES LOCATED ACROSS THE UK AND BEYOND.
I have been practicing yoga for seventeen years now and developed a keen interest in teaching perinatal yoga after using it throughout my own pregnancy where I reaped the benefits of it. After being made redundant from my job as a business analyst in Glasgow I realized this was my opportunity to finally follow my dreams and challenge myself to do something new.
After teaching yoga in my spare room I knew I wanted to take this practice further and went on to Dragons’ Den where my husband and I were offered £50,000 from Duncan Bannatyne for 35 percent of the company. At this stage I decided it was best for the company to go it alone and now am very proud to have over 100 franchisees teaching my classes across the world.
Whilst working as a marketing manager for a business analyst company I was still teaching yoga in the evenings which was exhausting and hard to find a good work-life balance. My redundancy was almost a blessing in disguise.
To begin with space was a real struggle as I started off in my bedroom but soon the popularity of the classes grew and I turned my living room into a studio. Realistically I knew this wasn’t going to be possible for much longer so turning the business into a franchise was an obvious path to go down both from a brand-building and logistical point-of-view.
However this is where I faced one of my biggest challenges; the business is very precious to me but it can be tricky when someone effectively owns their own business, but has to ‘play by your rules.’ People sometimes want to do their own thing with the brand or deviate from the formula, but I need to gently control that and remind people that the reason they became part of YogaBellies is because what we offer works, just the way it is.
Yoga is an international pursuit and I’m very proud to say that I now have 108 franchises across seven different countries. If you become well known as a yoga teacher, people will travel to train with you. I haven’t done any international marketing but I’ve been fortunate enough to have people find me. From a business and a yoga perspective, now that YogaBellies is established and thriving, it’s important for me to find the right people to build their own YogaBellies classes and business across the country.
I need to know that they are committed to helping other women and that they are joining our Sangha (community) for the right reasons. I work very closely with my franchisees and have regular conversations with each of them. That is a thing that is very special about YogaBellies and makes us stand out from other franchises; we are a community of women that help each other out and I support them every step of the way.
Nearly half of the women I work with were in a similar situation as me, they were made redundant from their previous jobs and wanted to find a passion that would fit around their family lives. YogaBellies suits them down to the ground; if you struggle to find childcare then you can bring your child along to a class with you, we even have teachers bringing little ones to training.
Again, if you’ve arranged a last minute meeting it’s not a problem to be accompanied by your baby as everyone in YogaBellies understands the pressure of parenting.
My plans for the future are simple: to grow the number of franchisees I have across the UK and the world and to continue our amazing work with women. Along the way we are always introducing new types of classes including AquaBumps (aqua yoga), YogaBellies (for women at any stage of life) and Birth ROCKS – our inspirational birth preparation course.
YogaBellies is not just a yoga class, it’s a personal journey for every stage of life that women face and I’ve been very lucky to attract a fantastic group of women who believe in our ethos and have made the business their own.
Women interested in becoming a YogaBellies franchisee can visit, request a prospectus pack and have a quick phone chat with our recruitment co-ordinator, Jo, who will help you figure out whether this is the perfect career for you.
Contact us today for a yoga teacher training online classes.
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I’m an inclusive, not scary, totally normal yet heavily qualified yoga instructor and founder of YogaBellies® and the Birth ROCKS Method. I’m trained in self hypnosis and meditation and what I love is helping women (ALL women) enjoy yoga without having to whisper all the time and wear fancy activewear that cost a month’s rent.
I believe Yoga is for everyone.