Yoga Business Journey Encompasses Time, an Injury,
a Pandemic, and a Whole Array of Resources
After the birth of her youngest son in the early 2000s, Michaella Kaszuba closed her massage/polarity therapy business. But with his graduation from high school came an opportunity to consider the birth of another business. Kaszuba said she was drawn to yoga to continue learning about the mind-body connection, and decided that it was the direction she would go. And a journey toward her new Laramie, Wyoming yoga studio, Serendipity Space, began.
“My hope was that it would be a tool to help individuals on their personal journey of self-awareness,” says Kaszuba. “Yoga is the next step in helping people understand who they are.”
Kaszuba saw a need for a niche within that field, and wanted to bring yoga to a non-traditional demographic with a small studio, built around the idea of more one-on-one teaching to students often in need of more modifications. She completed her yoga training in May of 2019, but was not in a financial position to pay for the supplies needed for her niche studio.
“I wanted to have props available so I could accommodate students of varying abilities,” says Kaszuba. “I am an older yoga teacher who has had both knees replaced. I wanted to work with older students that needed information on how to achieve the benefits of yoga poses without doing harm to their bodies.”
And so she reached out to the Wyoming Women’s Business Center (WWBC) for assistance. She was able to work with Johnathan Howdeshell, Business Counselor at the WWBC, to research and create a business plan to see if her business idea was viable.
“I enjoyed the process because I had owned businesses before but never worked through the process of a business plan,” says Kaszuba. “I learned about projections, marketing, and finances. At the conclusion of writing a business plan I was aware that I needed a start-up loan for supplies for my meditation and yoga studio.”
“Michaella had a clear vision of what her business would look like, and knew what she wanted to do,” says Howdeshell. “She didn’t know exactly how to get it done, so we gave her the steps and she executed it precisely. It was easy to give her guidance because she took the advice and implemented her plan successfully.”
Kaszuba was also able to participate in the WWBC’s Micro-Loan Program to fund the supplies and props she needed in her business. She says that working with the WWBC gave her the big picture of how to think through her business and plan.
“The WWBC really helped me break it down and look at the pieces I needed to have in place to start,” she says. “The process helped me have clear expectations rather than taking a financial risk that would have put my family in a position we didn’t want to be in.”
Kaszuba then had everything she needed to start, and planned to open Serendipity Space in January of 2020. But a ski injury a month before paused her opening until spring. And then when the pandemic hit, she was forced to push it back again.
She is currently on hold to start in-person classes, and is building virtual class options. The pivot to working in a virtual space for the foreseeable future created an urgent need for an online presence to move forward. She applied and was accepted into the WWBC’s COVID-19 Support Program in the summer of 2020, with free website and photography/videography projects, both to be delivered this fall by Laramie vendors.
“With a new website, I can hopefully use my space to do online meditations and online classes from my studio,” says Kaszuba. “There are pluses and minuses to being virtual in that we don’t get that one-on-one interaction, but people can still take advantage of it from anywhere. I hope to eventually open in-person because this is a very small, personal studio and business.”
In the end, years, an injury, and now a pandemic won’t keep Serendipity Space from beginning to teach the yoga that has inspired her. Kaszuba was able to pivot and make it all come to fruition with the help of business counseling, a micro loan and now website and photography/videography projects. Along with a whole lot of determination and resilience.