Powering Forward: Sherlyn Law of Yoga Cave
For many, the pandemic has caused moments of introspection and isolation, but new business owners would be used to that -- at least, Sherlyn Law, founder of Yoga Cave was.
When the global pandemic hit our shores, many people had to change their lives and retreat to their homes as lockdowns restricted movement.
For countless entrepreneurs and employees alike, this also provided time to stop, think, analyse, and reprioritise things in life.
For Sherlyn Law of Yoga Cave, in Victoria’s Mount Waverley, this wasn’t an altogether new experience.
Key learnings from a flexible founder:
Watch your costs during setup -- bringing the Yoga Cave’s studio fit out in under budget gave the team extra leeway. Likewise, learning everything they could before getting started also saves money in the long run.
Training and development is critical for the whole team -- make sure their team is always up to speed, and their skills and knowledge are cutting edge.
Excel spreadsheets can help you manage a side hustle, but if you expect to scale your business it’s best to look at more advanced accounting and business management solutions -- Sherlyn found she reduced the time spent on doing the books from five hours a month to just two by using dedicated software
Discovering the benefits of yoga
Sherlyn, who’s now a business owner, yoga teacher, and life coach, spent over ten years climbing the corporate ladder in Australia.
This came after moving to the country to pursue a Bachelor of Commerce degree at Melbourne University.
For years, she used yoga and meditation to provide her with comfort and some much-needed downtime from her chaotic and busy lifestyle.
Over time, though, as her practise evolved and she completed yoga teaching training, she witnessed not only how much value yoga brought to her life, but to others’ as well.
This led to her starting Yoga Cave in early 2020 with her husband.
New beginnings in 2020
“We made a decision to take this business seriously, to open up Yoga Cave as a way for us to be of service to the community.”
It’s all about helping other people to improve their health.
“A big mission for us,” says Sherlyn, “is focusing on mental health as well. We want to make sure our classes are of benefit to the people around us.”
When they returned from their trip, Sherlyn gave notice at her job to focus on Yoga Cave – a studio whose name is inspired by ancient yogis who renounced their life and retreated to caves to deepen their spiritual and yoga practises.
“I told my boss I had to go because I just felt like this is my calling. It’s time for me to step away from the nine-to-five and really be of service to people and help change lives.”
She invested the time needed to learn as much as she could before opening the yoga studio.
“We had done a lot of planning in the process of setting up,” says Sherlyn.
“We examined a lot of business and financial factors to make sure this could be a sustainable venture.”
They got their premises ready on a budget, too, to cut costs.
“We put a lot of effort in to do the renovations ourselves,” says Sherlyn.
COVID-19 restrictions interrupt launch plans
Unfortunately, the team’s plans to do a big launch on 28 March 2020 with many fun events and activities were scuppered by the outbreak of COVID-19.
Sherlyn remains upbeat, though: “That didn’t quite work out, but it’s something we can potentially do later when restrictions ease off.”
Starting a new business right before COVID-19 hit was a challenge for Sherlyn as a business owner. But it also proved difficult for their yoga teachers.
Notes Sherlyn, “A lot of them know how to teach a traditional in-person class but don’t know how to run the tech side of things for virtual classes.
“Getting them online was a challenge at the start.”
To address this, the entrepreneurs invested in their team.
“We conducted training with the teachers and gave them a checklist of things they didn’t need to do and follow during that time,” says Sherlyn.
This helped, with many teachers comfortable enough to teach almost daily classes online from home during the second isolation period.
Today, happily, the teachers can come into the studio.
Sherlyn says, “Now they’re all transitioning back to the studio. We’re also running hybrid classes on-site, so we’re teaching in the studio and online.”
Using tech tools to get ahead
Sherlyn is also making use of technological aids to help her run her business effectively.
In particular, she has found MYOB products make life easier.
Says Sherlyn, “I needed something to keep track of my expenses and income, and I wanted something user-friendly. That’s when I was introduced to MYOB Essentials.”
There are multiple things Sherlyn appreciates about the software.
“I really like that it is a web-based platform that I can access any time, and it has automation and automatically reconciles with my bank transactions. It keeps things simple for me.”
Sherlyn takes advantage of the mobile capabilities of MYOB’s tech tools, too. MYOB Capture comes in handy.
Sherlyn says, “I use a lot of the entry and capture features on mobile. Whenever I purchase something, I take a picture of it, and it automatically goes into the system. I then use that to match the transaction in my accounts.”
Sherlyn also uses MYOB to track sales, especially merchandise ones.
“It helps me to invoice the customer when they purchase props. I can also keep track of who has paid me and who hasn’t, through the MYOB app.”
If she ever gets stuck using the programs, Sherlyn calls up the support team and asks questions as needed, too.
She has found that MYOB saves her considerable time each month.
“Previously, when I was doing my side hustles, I was tracking data on Excel spreadsheets, and it would take around five hours every month just to do that. Now, though, it might only take 30 minutes a week to manage invoices.”
Sherlyn acknowledges that she saves money, too. Instead of having to pay a bookkeeper, she can do most things herself. (She does have a tax accountant to look over her books every quarter, though.)
As the pandemic gets more under control and there are fewer limitations around the yoga studio’s practises, Sherlyn hopes to introduce more and more features.
“We want to make this space more alive,” she said. “The plan is that we will continue to bring in workshops and training that people may be interested in.”
Right now, the focus is on building up solid member numbers.
“At the moment, we are going to push more for memberships. We are hoping we get a regular income from this that can support our business and expand our customer base.”
To help her on her entrepreneurial journey and learn from someone who has experience in the industry, Sherlyn utilises a business mentor.
Of this coach, Sherlyn says, “She used to run two yoga studios herself, and now she’s stepping away from that to coach other businesses and other yoga teachers in how to run studios and businesses.”
This mentoring is proving invaluable.
“I find it really helpful to have someone that has done this before to guide me through the process.”
As the coming introduction of COVID vaccines means we should all be able to emerge from our lockdown “caves” more and more, Sherlyn is on hand to provide a more contemporary yoga escape for the modern world.
She notes on the Yoga Cave website that it’s possible to “experience the gifts of yoga…without giving up your life and moving to the caves” of old.
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