SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan Gave Us a 10-Minute MBA at Re:Make 2016
We at Brit + Co love technology, obviously. But we all know about the pitfalls of, say, binge-watching and the inner clarity and calm that can come from a digital detox. So when SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan says, at Re:Make 2016, that one of the keys to her company’s massive, mind-boggling success and growth is that it gives its clients the opportunity — and permission — to disconnect for 45 minutes to invest in themselves… well, let’s just say, it makes some sense.
Some fans of SoulCycle liken the national fitness chain (probably jokingly) to a cult; Whelan sees it (non-jokingly) as a community. “The community element of what you experience in the lobbies is what keeps people coming back,” she says, and given the behemoth that is SoulCycle, she’s probably onto something. When an inductee of Fortune magazine’s inimitable 40 Under 40 list shares a secret to her entrepreneurial success, you’d best be listening!
Then there’s the experience of the classes themselves. The music played during each 45-minute stationary cycling class is encouraging and, like, way danceable. The locker rooms are designed to be practical and functioning, down to the USB mobile device charging stations. The merchandise is arranged just-so. Everything about the experience, from the moment you walk into a SoulCycle studio, is meant to promote community and self-investment.
“Our instructors give so much of themselves in each class,” she explained onstage, and when she asked the audience whether any SoulCycle instructors were present, a handful of SoulCycle instructors made their presence known. But the energy, as Whelan explained it, isn’t accidental. As she puts it, building a company that exudes positive energy means investing in staff so that they can succeed. Fancy that: Invest in staff, and then they’ll help clients make the time to invest in themselves. Now go ahead and build your empire.
Have you ever rocked a SoulCycle class? Tell us where @britandco!
(Photos via Chris Andre)
It can be intimidating to step out on your own and build a business from the ground up. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're talking with Selfmade alum and solopreneur Colette Lawrence, the faith-based motivator and relationship builder behind The M.E.E. Movement, about ways in which women in business can find success.
B + C: How did you know M.E.E. Movement was your business to start?
The M.E.E Movement represents motivation, empowerment, and encouragement for women. It is what represents me. I did not know at first that it was my business to start, but then the thought of monetizing what I loved came to me. It scared me, however. I registered the business in July 2020 and have been slowly building my wings since.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
Thinking through and researching what the requirements are to start my business, and then asking questions of people who are in the business. Not all advice worked; however, it helped me to figure out what I needed to do and not to do.
B + C: Did you always know life coaching would be your entrepreneurial path?
(Smiles) No, I did not. I 'stumbled" on it. I knew that people were always coming to me for advice and I found that I loved having conversations with them, especially with women, young and old.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
My most valuable takeaway was the first day of training: Get out of your own way. There were a lot of great moments and important takeaways from every presenter. However, getting out of my own way, pushing past doubts, was for me my most valuable takeaway. Doing something that I had never done before took courage. If I do not focus on what is happening with me mentally then I cannot deliver to my clients successfully.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Get out of your head. You have something to offer. You have what you need to succeed so go ahead and do it.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by listening to music and listening to motivational speakers, and sometimes someone will just reach out and talk about the impact that I made in their life. That adds the extra juice or sauce I need to pummel through the day.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip?
Keep a diary and journal. It's the best way for me to keep organized and it also provides a source motivation as I record not only my "losses" but my wins as well.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Shirley Toliver – She motivates and empowers and makes me always want to show up.
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start or grow your business?
The scholarship was a blessing in that all the areas that were covered offered valuable information that I needed, from social media to HR. As a new business owner, I needed to know this to increase my own personal awareness in what it takes to run a successful business. The candidness of the presenters made it easy to see myself in their shoes and helped me to realize that I can also get there.
Want to feel motivated to take the next step for your business? Let Office Depot OfficeMax give you the confidence you need with a suite of business services & solutions to help you put your best foot forward. Make a good first impression with business cards & build the business pitch of your dreams with custom presentations. With Office Depot OfficeMax you'll find the tools to reach new customers with confidence.
Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. These offers are available for a limited time only, so be sure to take advantage of all this goodness while supplies last. Want to join the next Selfmade cohort this summer? Check out all of the scholarship details right here.