Believe in yourself: Lessons in starting a business from Yoga instructor Samantha Bernice

Turning your hobby into your livelihood is a dream for so many people, but Samantha Bernice has actually made it happen. Samantha’s business grew from her passion for yoga and meditation but she quickly realised she needed to develop business and financial acumen to earn a living and support her family. We talked to Samantha about her experience of setting up and running her yoga business Sam B Yoga, and asked her what she’s learned along the way.

Sam B Yoga Logo

How did your business start?

I was working as a primary school teacher but struggling to juggle work with looking after my 3 children. Although I started doing yoga in my 20s, I had got out of the habit of regular practice. A friend came back from India and got a class going which made me start practicing again. One day, after a lovely relaxing Savasana (a yoga pose which involves lying still) I felt all this tension melt away and I realised what I wanted to do.

What did you do next?

I have a degree in psychology and am a qualified teacher so I initially started running baby yoga classes and some classes for toddlers at a local children’s centre.

One day I got approached by a school that asked me to start running some yoga sessions for children as part of the curriculum. I didn’t know it then but that was a big turning point for me. Headteachers tend to talk to each other, so I started getting referrals and, because I love what I do and this shines through, more and more schools asked me for help.

Making your hobby pay isn’t easy, how have you managed to secure a living?

I had a goal that I wanted to be able to charge £60 per hour for my classes and make a good living to support my family. I meditated a lot and adopted mantras which helped me believe it was possible.

I do firmly believe that what you focus on will be what you manifest.

I was working part-time in the early days, balancing work with looking after my children but now I’ve got contracts in place with a number of schools which is amazing.

My income has grown which is fantastic and I’ve also had to start getting other yoga teachers to help me deliver some of the sessions. Also, I’m getting involved in lots of other exciting projects with other yogis, so there’s lots more to come!

One day I got approached by a school that asked me to start running some yoga sessions for children as part of the curriculum. I didn’t know it then but that was a big turning point for me. Headteachers tend to talk to each other, so I started getting referrals and, because I love what I do and this shines through, more and more schools asked me for help.

How did you manage the financial side of things?

I didn’t, at first! I’m a single mum with 3 children to support so I had to learn business skills rather quickly! I remember sitting with my dad and telling him I’d earned £11,000 through my yoga classes and he told me that I hadn’t got £11,000 to spend. It took a while for me to understand what he meant, that I had some expenses and taxes to look at too! I had a lot to learn but he was very patient with me.

As the business grew and I started earning more, I moved on to manage everything on a spreadsheet but then got referred to Clever Accounts through my brother, who also uses the service.

What difference have Clever Accounts made?

I only have to keep my accounts up-to-date, everything else such as my tax is worked out and taken care of, it’s very simple. I have a named accountant at Clever (Matthew Horsman) Matt is a qualified accountant and one of our service team's senior accountants. He joined Clever Accounts back in 2016, and now leads our 'Accountants-Training Team'.
(Owe yes.. he's also a really nice chap!)
, who is always available when I call. He helped me put together the paperwork I needed when I was applying for a mortgage, I’ve got him to thank for helping me live in my lovely home!

Have you ever looked back?

We experienced a family tragedy a few years ago which reinforced to me the importance of self-care. I love yoga and meditation and want other people to feel the benefits too. When I see a small child relax at the end of a yoga session, see all their tension melt away, I know it’s completely worth it!

Find out more about Samantha by visiting her website SamBYoga.com.

Posted by Editorial