Entrepreneurs rely on the ability to be agile, adapt, change, and, most importantly with today’s guest, flexible to survive and flourish. We talked with Heather Anderson, a fitness instructor and entrepreneur, who tells her story of seeing a need and moving to fulfill it in this edition of “There is a Difference.”
Working out virtually has become a huge trend over the last year, and tenured fitness instructor Heather Anderson caught on quickly, making it her business. As a thoughtful entrepreneur, she created Move, offering HIIT (high-intensity interval training) classes to attendees online. Her business grew quite quickly and successfully. She is making a difference to fitness enthusiasts looking for a trusted instructor with enjoyable classes, a bright smile and accountable playlists to make the sweat more fun.
Heather: Hi, my name is Heather, and I am a senior SoulCycle instructor and training development officer in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m also the founder and creator of Move, which is a beat-based movement class.
The pandemic changed the way we work out in a very significant way with studios having to close. You created a successful virtual business teaching “Move” classes. Tell us how you were able to garner such a large group of enthusiasts to participate in your classrooms.
Heather: Move was basically born out of the fact that SoulCycle had closed its stores. I didn’t really know what to do with myself. I took about a month and I think we were all just in this, wondering, “how long are we going to be in this? What does this actually look like?” When we realized that we’re likely not going to be opening our doors anytime soon, I had to make the choice to kind of pivot. I just found something different to teach. I don’t have a background in anything other than teaching studio classes, so for me it was a question of, “What do I do?” I like to do beat-based classes and I like to lift weights, so I just kind of combined them.
When it came to getting people involved, I got really lucky because I’d been teaching at SoulCycle for almost eight years. Because of that, I had people that were saying things like, “Whatever you’re doing, we will log on to Zoom and do it.” They would end up telling their sister in Ohio, or their best friend in Palm Springs, and then there would be 150 people on a Zoom call. It was really incredible. From that, it just grew into more classes and different people. It had a life of its own. Bigger than I thought it would be.
Do you think that working out virtually is a trend that will continue even when things start to open back up?
Heather: I do think that working out virtually is always going to be something now. It’s just so convenient. I’m a mom of a two-year-old, so there are times when I can do a 10-minute workout, or a 6:00 AM workout. Sometimes a 6:00 AM workout is easier to just roll out of bed and jump on your Peloton, or roll out of bed and log onto The Class, or a Tracy Anderson workout. What I’m feeling right now is that people are creating a little more human interaction because we have gone so long without it. I think we are going to see a surge when studios open back up. They’re going to really boom, but I don’t think that virtual is going to go anywhere. It’s just going to be sort of a complement on those days when you can’t get to a studio.
You frequently share your client’s positive feedback from your classes. How does making a difference for so many people feel for you as an entrepreneur?
Heather: Sometimes it can be overwhelming to get as much feedback as I get so quickly. I’m an introvert, so I process a little bit slower. I’m a little quieter with my processing of things. It’s amazing. Any time that you feel like you’re enriching somebody’s life, it just doesn’t get better than that. It’s the whole reason that I became an instructor. I got high off on the fact that I really did feel like I was a bright spot in somebody’s day. That matters to me. It matters more, I think, than the workout itself, because you can get your butt handed to you by anybody. I think it really does spark joy in somebody for 30 minutes or 45 minutes. I don’t think there’s a better job than that.
Since the pandemic people have been turning their homes into offices, and daycares, and schools, and, like you, at-home gyms. Tell us how you created your studio at home.
Heather: I’m sitting in my studio, which is my living room with my fireplace. We are really lucky. We moved into a home before the pandemic hit. The home that we moved into has this beautiful living room that’s all windows. I thought “When I go into a yoga studio, I like it to feel really bright and airy and not just like I’m standing in front of a white wall.” That was really where the concept came from. It also came out of necessity. Otis, my two-year-old’s room is downstairs, so I couldn’t have a studio downstairs because I’d be working out at 7:00 AM and waking up the baby. I figured, “Okay, I can either do this in my bedroom, (which Joe would not be okay with), or my kitchen, or my living room.” I had to kind of narrow it down. It was pretty funny then because we thought, “Okay, if we move the coffee table, we move the one chair, we put up a step ladder, and we put the laptop on top of the step ladder… Well then you can see me… And then if we plug in this light and the power cord… If the mat goes here…” It really was just so much trial and error, but now I can set it up in 2.5 seconds. But it’s funny, I don’t work out here. I teach class here, but our bike is downstairs in the guest room and the treadmill will be in the garage. Whatever space you have, you just go for it. If you have to move stuff, you move it.
A home gym. Hmmm. Now that sounds like something we should look into as an option.
Thank you, Heather.
Watch the full interview with Heather by visiting our YouTube channel. Here is the link.
Have you found a creative way to continue working through this pandemic? We’d love to hear about it. Feel free to email Abby at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story for a “There is a Difference” video and post.