Never say “Would Have, Should Have, Could Have”

Written by Kerry Carter.

I started my yoga practice 9 years ago after some health problems prevented me from lifting weights. What a change from the gym! I attended my first beginner Vinyasa class at a local neighborhood boutique yoga studio. I struggled with the poses and finished in a pool of sweat and exhaustion.  A beginner class? I was challenged and hooked immediately. The studio brought a new balance of body, mind, and breath I had never felt. Unfortunately, the studio went out of business 6 months into my practice.

I wandered from studio to studio around the city of Austin, TX. I experienced total 105 degree baking exhausting yoga to serene meditation studios but I was not able to find the “Zen”, that total “balance” that was created by the atmosphere of that little boutique studio.

A year later I found a tiny ad in the back of Yoga Journal for Yoga Retreats in Yosemite featuring hiking, camping and yoga. All of my favorite activities. This was my introduction to Balanced Rock.

I arrived at the campsite at McGee Creek on the Eastern side of the Sierras near Yosemite. I received a warm welcome by the staff and other attendees. The next three days were a wonderful experience of great food, genuine people, and the most breathtaking scenery for a yoga practice I have ever experienced.

The last day of our retreat was a hike to a glacier lake so clear we could see to the bottom and witness the fish jumping in the lake. After a brisk swim, I spent some time alone meditating on a rock and reflecting on this trip for what was next in my life. On the plane ride home I had the thought of opening my own yoga studio. Many reasons came to light why I could not do this, why I should not do it, but it was clear to me I had to build my own studio in order to get that “balance” back in my life.

I contacted the ex-owner of that first studio I attended and explained my vision. She had the yoga experience and I had the business model. After several failed attempts to get funding I took a big bite out of my savings to start the business. We handpicked and interviewed 10 great instructors that were aligned with the vision and 9 months later we opened FlowYoga in the same, now booming community with 32 classes heated, non-heated, and even kids’ yoga.

With little competition we were proud. We built it and so, they would come right? (so wrong!) We had to send teachers home on many occasions and I had to pour more money that I ever excepted in to keep it open.  What was wrong? I was ready to throw in the towel.

After some outside consultation and coaching we discovered we needed a strategic marketing plan. We put the plan in place, including a strong social media campaign, community campaigning, running creative new member specials and we started to fill classes! The rest was word of mouth. The testimonials and feedback from students was evidence the vision had become a reality.

After being open for 5 years my business partner had decided to move to Colorado and I decided, although bittersweet, it was time to let the studio change hands. I sold it last year however, the studio and that vision is still thriving today and growing steadily.

The walk away is to never do a “would have, could have, should have.” The experience built strong confidence, we gave something beautiful to the community, and well, life is just too short!

 

Kerry Carter, BBA, MBA, has over 25 years of management experience in the fields of Information Technology consulting. He was the founder and Co-Owner of Flowyoga, a Vinyasa yoga studio located in Austin Texas.

Kerry has held management and leadership positions with IBM, Dell, and Deloitte Consulting. His work is primarily in sales to help his clients including nonprofit organizations transform their business systems to operate more efficiently and cost effectively.

Kerry is married to Brenda. Between them they have four grown children and three grandchildren. Kerry enjoys traveling, is an avid yogi and also spends a lot of his off-time in the mountains hiking, camping, and snow skiing! Kerry has attended five retreats with Balanced Rock over the last 6 years which has led to his passion to see the growth and preservation of this wonderful organization.

He also has interests in the preservation of the planet from the environmental effects of global climate change and current on-going environmental sustainability efforts.

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