In Nov, 2019 I vividly remember chatting with our Manager Lisa, in my typically scattered manner (lol sorry Lisa!), about this feeling I had that we had to take Stax to the next level. I had no idea what this looked like or how we would do this, but one thing I knew for sure is that it wasn’t an option, it was a calling. An unshakable feeling down to the very last cell in my body that I had to share my/our teams passion for entrepreneurship with the world. I had no idea, in that moment, how much our business would change over the coming months.
On March 16th 2020 we made the call to close our studio; two days before the government mandated all non-essential business' to close due to COVID-19. At that exact moment, I knew that this was the universe, calling STAX to level up.
When I say we didn't skip a beat, I really mean it. The very next morning I brainstormed with my boyfriend all the ways that we could take the Stax experience digital. This was our opportunity, and while the world paused in shock, we moved (still in shock lol...but we moved).
We started our live-streams on March 19th with 2 webcams and a small group of instructors ready to step out into the world (2 metres apart, of course), and share their talents with a global community. As someone who experienced this from both behind, and in front of the camera, I'll be the first to say that teaching to a camera, that is being live-streamed to anyone and everyone in the world (at times we had 150+ viewers) is HELLA SCARY. I have to give the team a massive shoutout for this - especially in an industry that can be often cut throat. Sidenote...thank you Brene Brown for your words in Daring Leadership (which I happened to read in December of 2019...coincidence?) because our team referred to them on the daily as we stepped into the nerve-racking arena, together.
“I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.” - Brene Brown
BUT WE DID IT. We launched!
*Video taken March 22, 2020 (4 days in)
On March 21st I checked out a video released from Foundr Magazine, an Australian Entrepreneurial email I subscribe to (back to my roots, mate). There was a lot that stood out to me, but here are some of the most profound quotes that Steve Mcleod said...
"Now more than ever its important to realize that events like this, shape the reason of why we are in business. So this is a great opportunity to say how are we going to help people with what our product or service is?"
"Being in front of our customers right now is so critical. Because they'll remember us, and they'll be there with us. But if we forget about them now, they're going to go somewhere else. So we need to make sure we're infront of them and helping them with their challenges right now"
Ready for the real ass kicker? The quote that made my jaw drop to the floor and changed it all for me?
"Right now, if you're in a business that has any opportunity, you need to be working 15+ hours a day to seize it. You've got to go all in. 10/10 work ethic on what you can control. Relentless discipline, day after day. Putting your head in the sand is going to get you nowhere"
Well holy shit, Steve. Looks like we're going ALL IN (*Aussie accent)
Our plan? Create momentum through consistent, unrehearsed and engaging live-streams that would give people something to look forward to every single day of this crazy crazy year. Please play to preview!
GAH. I could swoon over our instructors (some not captured in this vid!) allll day.
And the response from our followers? Unbelievable. These are just a few of the messages we received during this time...
"You guys are absolutely killing it!! So appreciative how you are making everything so accessible to everyone during this difficult time! From behind the screen I feel sooo included and part of the Stax family! Thank you"
"I feel amazing! I am very proud of how far I have come strength wise, mentally & emotionally. This challenge, your guys energy, your messages have helped more then you will ever know!"
"I am BEYOND GRATEFUL you are continuing Stax Virtual Rides and our homes as I was praying so hard for this. I am truly thankful for your family and community. I just LOVE YOU STAX!!!! I had tears if joy signing up today for Stax on demand xo."
"Morning! I just to start off my saying, you guys have saved me!! I started spinning online with you when the pandemic started, and you have changed my world! I cant get enough! My husband bought me a spin bike for valentines:)"
To be honest, I think it helped our instructors mentally and emotionally just as much as it helped all of you. So thank you for showing up for us.
I'll be the first to say I don't have much figured out when it comes to running a business, but there are 4 lessons I'll take with me from this entire experience.
1. Assemble the dream team.
No matter what next phase your business is going into, you're going to need a team who is ALL IN. I've made many mistakes with this one, and some of the sad conversations I've had with people who weren't the best fit for our team still sit in the back of my mind. That being said, you cannot do it all on your own, so find a crew (even if it's small) who are down to take every step with you and show up BIG.
2. Be the F*ing Fountain.
Seriously. Whether you're an entrepreneur, an instructor, or a fitness enthusiast, we need to be constantly showing up as forces of positivity in our community. This means we have two choices, to be a fountain, or a drain. There is no in-between, and our duty to our community is to bring the light, no matter what, and even when it's hard.
3. Embrace the school of hard-knocks
I truly believe that all entrepreneurs should expect, and plan for their service offering to be constantly evolving and elevating. Local economy crashes? evolve. Covid shuts you down? evolve. People no longer like spin? well, hopefully this doesn't happen but...you bet your ass if this happens we'll EVOLVE!
4. Minimal Viable Product (MVP) is the real MVP
Get to 80%, and have the courage to launch that shit! We see far too often business and entrepreneurs packing in so much time trying to get the tail end (the final 20% of finishing touches) perfected before taking their talents to the world. The truth is, the tweaks you make to the last 20% are rarely noticed, and can be gradually improved along the way. Case + point? When we upgraded our $120 web-cams to high def cameras, nobody even noticed lol.
Almost 11 months into being fully virtual, here are a few badass stats that we've collected (scroll through):
With the recent announcements in Alberta, our studio will remain closed until at least March 2021. The sad reality is that 50% of Alberta's fitness studios will not survive the next few months without an ease in restrictions and additional financial support.
Our team is not giving up. We're going to do everything we can to survive this, but we need your help. We need you to choose to support your favourite local instructors and studios alongside, or over, the global fitness personalities and brands.
Here are some ways we need you to support us:
Have a bike? Sign up for our Stax "All-Access" (spin + sculpt) On-Demand membership here for $23/mo
Don't have a bike? Sign up for our "Stax Stackables" (online express workouts with minimal equipment designed to be stacked) membership here for $17/mo
Hurting for cash? If you are one of the many who have been financially hit during this pandemic, click here and try one of our workouts for free! If you enjoyed it, well, that brings us to the next way you can help us!
Tell your friends! Share, comment + like our instagram posts or tag us in your sweaty selfies. When we see you taking our classes, it seriously lights us up!
Support the Industry. Head to https://savefitness.ca (site goes live this week) to learn more.
In case you didn't get all that - here's a quick snippet from today's class:
Thank you again for listening to my/our story and for supporting local. I want to give a huge shoutout to our instructor team, our back-bike babes (Melyssa, Mack + Sarah), and Lisa and Salina who run the cameras and hype us up on the daily.
2020/2021 has been a wild ride, but we as a team will continue to embrace what the world throws at us.