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March 22, 2020 | Tom Ballard

Jill Bartine turns coronavirus adversities into a new online business

What happens when you lose not one, not two, but all three sources of your income due to the coronavirus? In the case of one Knoxvillian, you turn to entrepreneurship, a tendency that runs in the family.

Jill Bartine has been a flutist with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra for 20 years as well as an instructor for aspiring flutists, but there are no performances right now, and holding one-on-one classes is not consistent with current coronavirus guidelines.

She’s also practiced yoga for 18 years and been a well-known local instructor for the past nine years, yet fitness centers where she teaches are closed, again in response to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“If you’re not there, you don’t get paid,” Bartine says.

So, what do you do with your time and also generate some income? How about starting an online site that helps people practice yoga in the safety of their own home? That’s exactly what she’s done with a new yoga-focused site launched on March 17. It’s named very simply –

“I create videos for helping people understand and enjoy the practice of yoga,” she writes on the new webpage. “I offer many different styles – yin, vinyasa, gentle, chair yoga, yoga with weights – and class lengths to fit your needs. I plan out my classes in advance, and no two are exactly the same, so you can count on variety and new classes on a regular basis.”

When we interviewed Bartine last Thursday, there were eight videos on the site. By the time we checked back a day later, there were 10, ranging in length from about 68 minutes to as short as slightly less than 17 minutes.

“I’ll be adding two videos a day for now,” she says. One will be longer and offer a challenging lesson, while the second will be shorter and “more gentle.”

Individuals can subscribe to the site at just $25 a month with unlimited streaming of the videos. Just two days after launch, Bartine had 25 monthly subscribers, enough that she happily says means “I’m in the black.”

How did Bartine, a self-admitted non-techie, get the online business going so fast?

“Mac got me set-up on a Vimeo channel pretty quickly,” she says, crediting Mac Bartine. He’s her husband and Chief Executive Officer of SmartRIA, the provider of compliance software and consulting services for registered investment advisors.

Jill Bartine adds that the launch of her own start-up has been much more time-consuming than she imagined.

“When I teach, I’m not doing everything with the students,” she says, explaining that she is observing them and offering guidance. “It’s a very different experience for me to demo and practice, but I’m getting into the swing of things.”

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