Since the first COVID-19 lockdown began, Yoga with Kassandra, a popular YouTube channel, has gained over a million new subscribers, a 200 percent growth.
It may be tempting to call Ottawa yogi Kassandra Reinhardt a pandemic success story, as some of the million-plus followers found her by reading countless articles about her virtual studio in countless fit-during-the-pandemic stories in magazines like Self, Women’s Health, and Pop Sugar.
And she is. But that’s not the whole story, as its success is actually based on seven years of hard work teaching yin and vinyasa yoga poses. She started her virtual yoga business in 2014 and jokes that she was “a bit ahead of the curve” when it came to making the pivot, but that nothing came easily – or overnight.
“The first three or four years were very painful,” remembers Reinhardt. “Audience building was very slow and gradual, especially in the first three or four years, and I had no experience of filming or editing or social media online marketing or anything like that.”
Reinhardt hadn’t expected a career as a social media entrepreneur. Even when she posted her first video in 2014, she didn’t know she wanted to start a business. The main reason she opened a virtual studio was because she was struggling to find a job.
“I taught a few public classes somewhere in a studio, community center, or gym, mostly,” she says. “I had maybe a class or two a week, but as a new teacher it’s difficult to get hired in the bigger studios in town. It’s a very competitive field. “
Reinhardt continues: “It sounds a bit naive, but I thought it would be a really good thing to go to YouTube to add to my résumé because it would be a way to stand out from other lecturers who are applying for the same thing . ”Positions. I didn’t even know that people make money online. “
Spoiler alert: she never got a job in any of the big studios. Instead, realizing that a YouTube channel could be a career path in its own right, she worked evenings and weekends (she got a job in the city of Ottawa to pay the bills) to expand her audience and reach. Meanwhile, she has taught herself from the ground up how to film, edit, and market herself on social media. Today she has over 600 videos on her channel.
After learning all of these skills, Reinhardt slowly built her business which involves a lot more than just filming a course and putting it online. She spends most of her work day at her desk, doing administrative tasks, building communities on various social media platforms and designing branded items such as books, apps, magazines and even affirmation candles.
“I also have online courses and programs, and I do online certifications and run retreats and workshops around the world,” she says. “I definitely believe in not putting all your eggs in one basket, especially the YouTube basket, because ultimately I don’t control this platform.”
Even before COVID-19, Reinhardt was considered a successful YouTuber with half a million followers. Part of their success is likely due to their clear vision and mission statement, where their main goal is to make yoga more accessible. That is why she offers, for example, 10-minute courses that are popular with beginners and people who combine work and family.
“This almost completely removes the barriers to entry,” she says. “It gives people access who don’t have the money to pay for a studio course, get a babysitter, or take the time to commute back and forth when they live in a remote area. Access to fitness studios and yoga studios comes with many privileges, and this is really suitable for everyone. “
And since the pandemic, “everyone” has had what was new to them, as their following were mostly women before.
“And not just men,” she says. “I’ve definitely seen a lot more people who have never done yoga before. It seemed like everyone was getting a little desperate to do something that would help them feel a little better and give them a little peace of mind. ”(Both Yin and Vinyasa are defended as stress killers.)
Reinhardt now has another new population group in his sights, namely the Canadians. Although one might think that she would be popular in her own country, most of the press that presented her was American. She admits that a lot of people don’t even know she is Canadian, despite trying to incorporate it into their content as often as possible.
“I really want to be a good representative for Canada, and I love having Canadians doing my classes and following me on social media,” she says. “And I’ve seen that percentage go up slowly, it’s really exciting and encouraging.”
Even if the pandemic ends, Yoga with Kassandra’s audience is likely to continue to grow, both in Canada and elsewhere. After all, stress and anxiety will certainly be with us in the After Times too. And YouTube success has a kind of snowball effect, because, as Reinhardt emphasizes, as soon as a channel becomes popular, the platform recommends it more often.
Or as she puts it: “The great thing about YouTube is that the bigger you get, the bigger you get.”