Interview with Lisa Taylor of Evolution Power Yoga
Deep personal inquiry and self-awareness have shaped the leadership skills of Lisa Taylor, owner and operator of Evolution Power Yoga studios in Pennsylvania. Lisa’s journey to self-discovery and community connection were so heavily influenced by the practice of Yoga she opened her studios “not as a business plan and an intention to run several studios but more for my own survival.” Led by instinct and a dedication to the process of growth through careful and caring observation, her studios have survived and thrived in tandem with her personal and professional evolution.
What are some of the ways Evolution has changed over the years?
Before the pandemic, we had four locations in south-central Pennsylvania. When the pandemic hit, our more remote studio immediately closed… and we were able to start shifting and pivoting in the way that the times called for. Our style of yoga also evolved over the years. It began as something that was just a physical style of yoga: really hot in the room, people sweating, having a great workout. That’s an easy entry point for a lot of people. But as I changed and what I needed in my growth changed, I found different styles of yoga and ultimately landed on the Baptiste style. That is what we teach today because it nurtured and fulfilled not only what I needed for myself, but how I was able to lead others.
How do you decide when and how to grow your business?
I’m always looking at the next step right in front of me, asking myself: what is it time for right now? What’s possible right now? And if that step is easy enough, I take it! If there’s a lot of resistance, I pause, look around and ask: am I forcing something that really doesn’t want to be? I’ve learned over the years that if it doesn’t feel right [it likely] it doesn’t harmonize with the rest of the business.
What have you learned about Evolution during the Pandemic?
The yoga industry has different segments even inside of itself: the fitness-focused segment – that sort of individual came back as fast as they could, knowing that that was an aspect of their life that they could no longer live without. On the other side of the spectrum is the wellness-focused customer. While we do deliver a great physical workout, people come to our classes because it makes them better people and helps them handle challenges better. What we’re discovering in the recovery is that more wellness-minded individuals seem to be assessing the pandemic and recovery with more caution. We’ve had to become sensitive to [that] and discover ways to address our very cautious, wellness customer.
How have you, as a leader, shifted during the Pandemic?
When I find myself feeling discouraged like the world is on my shoulders, I get with my team, and I name what it is I’m worried or afraid of. I find that it frees me from having to carry it by myself… It brings our team shoulder to shoulder and has us get creative… What’s the step right now? And the step right now maybe, for example, to get people excited about a retreat that may come a year from now. The ability to catch myself from ruminating and shift to something more productive.
You’ve made some changes to your sales process recently. Why is that?
While we have been in survival mode during the pandemic, we realized that we were just focused on churning out our classes and not teaching our clients how to become members of our community. We were missing this key piece, so we reevaluated our sales process to nurture each client segment differently – leads, new students, those transitioning to long-term clients, and [established] long-term clients… We implemented newsletters, blogs, and FitGrid messages from our instructors – anything that continually feeds our clients and educates them on their practice and how to be a member of our community. We continue to systemize our processes, look for holes, and hone the messaging and positioning… The hardcore, sales, aggressive tone doesn’t work for our business, but we can still have a clear sales process that is authentic to us, makes our clients feel seen, and builds a relationship with them.
Lisa Taylor is also the creator of Evolution Learning Institute, a transformative and accessible yoga teacher training curriculum that will influence your personal life, relationships, aspirations and career. https://evolutionpoweryoga.com/evolution-learning-institute/