Awake at the Wheel

Exploring the intersection between work, play, and the creative process.

How to Turn a Personal Pain Into a Business

One of the purest seeds of innovation is personal need.

One of the purest seeds of innovation is personal need. Click to tweet

You want something. A solution, a product, a service or experience, but it simply doesn’t exist. Or it exists, but it doesn’t do what you want it to do.

So, what do you do?

The average bear grins and bears it. The creative maker makes what’s missing. But, the entrepreneur does one other thing that holds the potential to change not only her life, but the world. She wonders whether other people have the same need, and asks what might happen if she solved the problem not just for her, but for all others in need.

That’s exactly the spot Julie Rice and Elizabeth Cutler were in. Two busy moms, who’d moved to NYC from L.A. and Boulder. Both kept looking for the perfect fitness experience, especially indoor cycling. And both kept striking out.

They went to lunch one day and started writing a list of what they wanted. Included were things like a more soulful experience, indoor cycling, candle light, phenomenal music, rock star instruction, sweaty, powerful workouts and super efficiency. That list quickly became a roadmap and by the end of lunch, they intuitively knew what they’d stumbled upon was a need that extended far beyond them.

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So, they set out to create a new experience. With that, SoulCycle was born. First, to solve their own need. And then to bring it to the world.

In the 5 years since, their idea has grown from the back of a napkin to a next-generation national fitness brand with more than 10 locations and dozens more in the works.

In this week’s Good Life Project, I sit down with Julie and Elizabeth at one of their beautiful signature locations in Tribeca, NY to talk about their incredible journey. We go deep into how they went from raw, personal need to national brand. We explore how they leveraged their prior work experience in Hollywood casting and Boulder real-estate and how their original vision has grown into something neither expected.

We also talk about what it’s like to grow a business, while still wanting to be present in the lives of those you love, your family and friends. And we talk about where they’re going from here and what it means to each of them to live a good life. And so much more.

And, in the comments below, answer this -

Do you have an unfulfilled personal need that might expose a broader need, one that might even be big enough to build a business around? If so, how might you test your idea?

With gratitude,

Jonathan

Jonathan Fields is an attorney turned lifestyle-entrepreneur, speaker, and author of Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel For Brilliance.

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