How a lawyer turned her love of yoga into a business

July 17, 2019

The path to starting a side hustle

Like many entrepreneurs, Claire Zovko didn’t always know that she wanted to be a business owner until she found the right calling.

Thirteen years ago, Claire took her first yoga class, and she felt an immediate shift. Although she’d been an athlete all her life and played college basketball, practicing yoga opened up an entirely new side to Claire. She found a different kind of challenge and clarity through her practice.

Listen: Interview with Claire Zovko on the Hiscox Side Hustle to Small Business™ Podcast

“Something happened, and I don't even know what it was,” Claire explained, “but something was so intriguing about the yoga and something was so new about the yoga, and also something was very challenging about it. And by doing it, I was very challenged in a new way that I hadn't been challenged through sports ever before.”

At the time, Claire was practicing law. But her priorities started to shift when she discovered her love for yoga. Although she didn’t have intentions of becoming a yoga teacher, Claire entered into a yoga teacher training course in order to go deeper into her practice. But as soon as she finished the course, yet another shift occurred: Claire wanted to start sharing what she loved about yoga with others. 

Watch our exclusive interview with Claire about how she turned her side hustle into a small business.

Deciding to become a small business owner

Claire began teaching community yoga classes in the park and eventually started teaching at Lighthouse Yoga and Wellness (the studio that she now owns) a few days a week while practicing law. But it wasn’t until the studio was under threat of closing down did she feel the desire to own her own business. 

“There became a point when the previous owner decided that she was going to close the studio down,” Claire described, “and when I heard that, there was something inside of me viscerally that it just didn't sit right … And I said, ‘Well is that the only option, is there anything else, is there anything we can do? Does it have to close?’ And then [the previous owner] mentioned, ‘Well, we could sell it.’ And I said, ‘Okay, well how much?’ And we started talking numbers and they were doable for me, and so it made sense to go for it.”

Claire’s decision to become a business owner in a field entirely different than law is not as uncommon as you may think. In our 2019 Hiscox Side Hustle to Small Business Study ™ , we found that 30% of people who turned a side hustle into a small business did it in a totally different industry than what their full-time job was in. 

Claire’s journey is similar to that of many other entrepreneurs who turned their passion into a side hustle and ultimately a small business. For Claire, changing not only jobs but industries was totally worth it. 

community support for a local business

Over the years, Claire has traveled to India seven times to attend teacher training retreats with her mentor, Anand Mehrotra. She brings everything she learns back to the classroom to share with her students.

Claire has learned just how valuable of a role her business plays in the lives of the community as they continue to show up and support her. And the studio proves its commitment to them through its on-going Yoga in the Park series, which offers free classes every Saturday in a local park. 

Diverse experience helped start a small business

Claire doesn’t regret anything about the journey her career has taken. As she sees it, practicing law gave her a unique experience and a different way of relating to people. She sees her law career as a stepping stone to where she is now and a necessary part of her path to owning her own business. 

Learn more about Claire and turning a side hustle into a small business. Download the study, subscribe to the podcast, and get behind-the-scenes looks at entrepreneurs who’ve done it.