Tell us about your entrepreneurial product or service.
SweatGuru is the first marketplace that brings people together around fitness classes and experiences. By allowing anyone to organize, discover, book, and share fitness classes online, SweatGuru takes the work out of working out. The company also helps small and medium-size fitness businesses get online and be more successful. By offering the first easy to use, affordable tools for marketing, scheduling, payments and staying in touch with clients, SweatGuru allows fitness professionals to spend more of their time teaching, and less time behind a desk.
What inspired you to launch your business idea?
SweatGuru was created by Alyse Mason-Brill and me. We are marketing experts, athletes and cousins who are on a lifelong mission to make the world more fit.
Many recognize us from our award-winning online health community Fit Approach, our fun pub runs at SXSW, as speakers at top blogging conferences or maybe you’ve braved the morning fog to take our bootcamp classes on the hills of San Francisco. If you’re really hard core, perhaps you’ve run alongside me in an ultra marathon or two.
The path to SweatGuru started in 2009 with our San Francisco based boot camp, called Fit Approach, which quickly grew from a weekend hobby into a thriving business. We launched a corresponding blog, and soon thousands of athletes were flocking to FitApproach.com to talk about fitness, encourage one another and “sweat pink” together.
Fairly quickly, Alyse and I realized that there was no technology platform to help us manage our growing boot camp. Students were eager to book and pay for classes online, but there was no way to do that. If they had to make a last minute location change, there was no way to contact the group at 6:00 AM. We wanted a platform that would help them manage their business better. As fitness consumers, we also wanted a way to discover and book a great yoga class, or see what classes were happening in our neighborhood on any given night.
In the true spirit of Silicon Valley, we jumped in and built the first marketplace for fitness.
And SweatGuru was born.
What problem does your business or organization solve?
99% of fitness businesses rely on antiquated, labor-intensive systems for managing and growing their businesses. Card catalogs, spreadsheets, and text messages are the industry standard.
As both providers and consumers of group fitness classes, we were frustrated with the scheduling and search platforms available in the marketplace. We are creating SweatGuru to take the pain out of managing and taking fitness classes.
What has been your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur and how are you working to overcome it?
The biggest challenge I have faced as an entrepreneur is realizing I can’t do it all. At the very beginning, I tried to be the Jill of all trades, wearing every hat I could find.
And while it’s necessary to get as much done yourself as possible, it can be very taxing and discouraging. I am working to try and find a balance between the various duties I must tend to, set a schedule, and stick to it.
Give us one word that people might use to describe you.
How has Project Eve helped you and/or your business?
Project Eve has been a great resource and learning tool as a startup founder. Learning from other women business owners has inspired new ideas, creativity, and sparked a lot of conversations within our office.
Give us an insider tip that relates to your industry or startup story.
The fitness community is extremely close knit and requires authenticity. If you’re looking to start a business in the fitness industry, you need to first become part of that community so that you can talk the talk and walk the walk.
And don’t fake it, fitness buffs will see right through impostors!
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