JETSWEAT gives you exclusive access to stream unlimited workout videos
from leading boutique studios, wherever, whenever. We caught up with Erin Frankel, one of JETSWEAT's co-founders.
- What is your background? What were you doing before you founded Jet Sweat Fitness?
It all started nearly four years ago. I was an entrepreneurial professional food writer living in NYC who ate out at least four times a week, which meant that I started exercising at least four times a week as well. On top of that, I was running the sales team for an early stage technology startup. Everything from travel, to hellish work hours, to a generally all-over-the-place schedule, contributed to putting the breaks on an exercise routine. I always found myself running to yoga five minutes late, and I thought: ‘I must be in the wrong field if all I’m thinking about is getting to yoga.”
- What inspired you to start Jet Sweat Fitness?
Our business was inspired by a personal frustration that lead to a realisation, that evolved into a much broader opportunity. Isn’t that every founder’s plot line?!
For me, JETSWEAT was a marriage between my busy professional life and my personal passion for boutique fitness. And as a frequent traveler, I could never find an app that could let me take all my favourite boutique studio classes with me.
I knew how important working out was for both my physical health and my mental game and I knew I needed to find something that fit my busy lifestyle so that I could make it a real, effective routine.
My co-founder, Lexi and I noticed the rapidly growing demand for high-quality health and fitness content. We researched the industry looking for numbers to back up the trend and found that In a time when everyone from ClassPass to Peloton is attempting to bring the studio workout experience home, we wanted to create a mobile first platform for people like ourselves who want access to our favorite boutique studio workouts while we are traveling- something we can easily do anytime anywhere with enough space for a yoga mat and a solid WIFI connection.
The idea behind JETSWEAT is to bring real studio experiences directly to your fingertips wherever you are, whether that be in your hotel room, your living room, your office, or the beach.
As busy professionals and boutique fitness enthusiasts, we know how precious time is, and the importance of staying active while on-the-go. We are invested in building a community of top studio partners, providing great workouts, customised training, and high-definition video content to our users at a low fee, and while making it accessible anywhere in the world.
Both of us frequent a variety of different studios. That’s the beauty of this new fitness culture and that’s how our demographic consumes fitness. However, if you’re anything like me, you probably don’t want to do the same monotonous cardio all of the time. I’ve always wanted to customise my workouts so I have the ability to adapt my workout regimen to different amounts of time and different types of equipment. And, every day, I want to work on different parts of my body. Ultimately, I wanted to create a technology platform curated around the boutique studio experience that allows people like me to adapt to their environment.
For me, movement is a big part of self-care, personal restoration, and generally feeling good. And I wasn’t about to let that go out the window just because I was out of town. JETSWEAT makes it simple to get a sweat even in a hotel room, at the beach, in the airport lounge, or in the comfort of my own home, and JETSWEAT is constantly adding to the subscription program so it never gets old.
Sometimes we skip town to get restored and then counterintuitively spend our time in that other place doing things that make us feel the opposite of restored.
The old-school mentality views vacation as a complete treat for the emotional self, but this can be a sort of self-sabotage.
For people who are trying to reach or maintain certain health goals, I find that it can be really disruptive to quit exercising while traveling, because once you get back, the challenge for personal restoration is so much greater.
I always advise people to spend some time moving your body over vacation- it is definitely not a punishment. The end goal is to get to a place where working out—and your physical health—is just a part of you who are, and it makes you feel better.
- What has been the greatest challenge you’ve faced in running your business so far?
There is a long series of huge obstacles that makes it hard for any founder to stand out. Almost running out of money every three months for the first year of the company (our 1 year anniversary will be next one)—before we have raised real capital—has been incredibly stressful, but everyday, I’m proud we’re always able to continue. That scrappiness innate to early-stage startups that don’t take venture funding in the beginning is incredibly useful and impossible to instill in a startup later on if they’ve had it too “cushy” in the beginning.
But we continue to grind every single day and have learned how to be resourceful, wear many hats, and fight, even when the going gets tough and we feel burnt out. And, it’s working. Our retention rate is at 82%. It’s one thing to feel that you have developed a strong technical solution and another thing to experience the reward of actionable proof.
Another challenge? Time management might be the biggest problem I’ve faced as we grow, when my business partner and I have to wear many (and all) hats. I always think, if I only had more time, I could accomplish so much more!
The solution: I try to make time. Like money, it doesn’t grow on trees, of course, so you have to be smart about how you’re spending it. Here’s how (I try) to accomplish this everyday:
Create goal lists: I create a list of lifetime goals, broken down into annual goals, broken down into monthly goals, then broken down into weekly goals. My weekly goals, then will be broken down into specific tasks by day. In this manner, what is my your task list in any given day is all I need to do to stay on track with your lifetime goals. I’ve had to learn that if any tasks do not mesh with my goals, eliminate them.
And, if any tasks do not absolutely have to be completed by me, I try to delegate them
I’m consistently asking myself: “Is what I’m doing right now the absolute best use of my time?” This is, by no means, any easy task to accomplish and I’m still learning and working hard at this everyday.
- Running your own company is consuming and can be really stressful. How do you manage stress? What is your self-care routine?
Ambitious women are often told that in order to be successful, they should achieve a healthy work-life balance. But I personally don’t believe that is a realistic goal.
I think it’s in our nature to be consumed by what we do. Instead, I think of everything in terms of juggling and prioritising.
I am constantly juggling home life, work life, and everything in between.
Instead of trying to give every aspect of my life equal attention, I try to make an effort to dial up on one area because it demands it, and not feel guilty for dialling down elsewhere and trying to plan accordingly.
Whether you call it work-life balance, juggling, prioritising or managing stress, the goal is living the happiest, most productive life without getting bogged down by unnecessary stress.
My self-care regimen? Well I have a few: Exercise, Prioritising, Meditating, Reading a Book, Cooking, & a Dance Party (I elaborate on all of these points below)
Exercise. Clearly. Lol. But really. Sometimes your work role requires you to be online from time to time. But, at times, we really need to disconnect from our job and leave our work at work, which is always hard for any entrepreneur. However, disconnecting completely, even for short periods, can help you build better habits. There was a time when I used social media to decompress between projects but that’s clearly not the case anymore. Now, social media just distracts and agitates me even more.
Making time to exercise is difficult. Do what you can to fit it in. I always find that I’m more patient, clear headed and creative after a good sweat session.
Prioritising: I prioritise my time off like any other task. There’s a reason you always remember to finish your work tasks but often forget to have real fun — our work duties are part of a set schedule, making them much easier to keep. I advise you to treat your personal time the same.
I really believe you have to schedule your time out. We are less likely to break a date with ourselves if it’s a standing date.
It may feel awkward to enter “a half our of me time “ into your calendar, but it’ll help you make sure you actually stick to that plan.
The most helpful way to accomplish this is to set aside specific times in your schedule for personal and professional to-dos.
Dedicating time to one area helps me stay focused during those moments and ensure I'm giving my all to the task at hand.
Making time to Meditate: I meditate everyday. I typically try to make time to meditate for at least 20 minutes but sometimes my schedule doesn’t allow me to do so I try to make time for at least 5 minutes a day- either on my way to the office on -whether I’m in a cab or on the subway or before I go to sleep to help wind down. It puts me in a really good headspace. Something is always better than nothing.
I’ve been meditating, more or less, everyday for the past few years and I find it very grounding. Sometimes if I find myself feeling anxious, ll pull out a 5-10 min meditation on my way to an investor mtg or just on a frustrating commute when I’m stuck in traffic. I always try to let go and breath. Meditating, for me, is the best way to both start the day and end the day.
Read a Book: I try to replace social media with reading every night. In the evenings, I read only for pleasure. No business books allowed after 11PM! And, no computers in the bedroom after 10:30pm!
Cooking: For me, cooking is both a creative outlet and a way to connect with my boyfriend, friends & my family. In addition to being quite a therapeutic and meditative outlet, my hands are literally too messy to check email.
Dance Party: I also always leave at least one night a weekend to allow myself to have a fun night out with friends and dance. Dancing is my release these days.
- What keeps you motivated to exercise?
Staying motivated can be a challenge but it's a very important part of staying committed to a long-term healthy lifestyle. Here are a few of the things that keep me motivated:
1. I change my exercise routine every day. On any given week, I will switch up my workout routine with a spin class, a HIIT class, yoga, barre, and pilates. Variety keeps anyone engaged and will get you better results!
2. I always try to workout with a friend to help me stay accountable. Support is important and it can help to team up to keep moving. And, these days, I’m so busy with work that working out with a friend is a great way to catch up!
3. I try to focus on the benefits of what I’m doing and how you feel AFTER a workout so rather than dreading the act of getting to the gym, I always think about the positives that come out of the activity- like that endorphin rush I crave everyday.
4. I try to celebrate my successes and set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
- What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting their own business, especially in the health and fitness industry?
1. You may want to consider getting a bridge job.
A bridge job is a temporary position that you take once you leave traditional employment to become a small-business owner. It can be incredibly stressful to rely solely on the income from your new business when you’re first starting out.
When I decided to start my own business, I first found a part-time consulting job working for a personalised vitamin company- specifically a company in the health & wellness space so I could familiarise myself with the new space I was entering. This gave me time to begin to build my boutique studio network while still earning a stable income. Easing into your career transition with a bridge job will allow you to create a financial cushion upon which to build your passion project.
2. It’s going to be scary.
I’m all about being positive, but starting a business of your own will always be a scary task. However, if you think about it, this can be said of any new endeavor that stretches you or helps you grow. You just need to jump in, do a little bit every day, and find a way to stay centred along the way.
For me, this meant educating myself about all aspects of running my own business—benchmarking with more experienced wellness practitioners; reading books; signing up for business workshops, webinars, and e-newsletters.
3. You have to learn to love marketing.
I believe that the more heart centred you are in your marketing, the more your business will resonate with the public. Once you connect with prospective customers from a place of honesty and passion, your conversations will feel much less sales-driven. Rather, they'll become opportunities to build trust and find an audience of people who feel comfortable with you and need what you offer.
Before I started JETSWEAT, I thought I hated anything to do with marketing, but as I went along I realised that marketing is simply a more focused way to connect with others. I started to slowly figure out the kind of issues my potential audience I wanted to market to and learned how to describe how what I do can help these customers with their problems. This took time, but the more I practiced, the more I was able to relax into it.
4. You’ll need to discover how to avoid burnout.
This is one of THE MOST important pieces of advice I can provide for any budding entrepreneur. As the owner of your own business, you will have a flexible daily schedule, which can be great! However, it’s much harder to end the workday when you're working for yourself, and you will often end up working weekends, late nights and early mornings a lot. Especially when you’re first starting out, you will likely be working or thinking about working on your business 24/7.
Brainstorm ways you can get your work done while also taking care of yourself by making a list of activities that help you avoid burnout. Maybe it's yoga classes, meditation sessions, meals with friends, or simply time to lie on your couch and read a novel or watch a movie with a glass of wine. Whatever it is, schedule it in as if it’s an official appointment or meeting and actually take the time to do it. You’ll be more efficient and productive once you do—I promise.
And, last but not least, try to enjoy the journey of creating something special as you build your business from the ground up, but always remember to be gentle with yourself along the way.
- What advice do you have for anyone who is new to exercise, and exercising at home especially?
Some people might be motivated by vague goals such as “better health” or “weight control.” But if that’s not doing it for you, I advise making the benefits of working out more tangible, such as by treating yourself to a smoothie or an episode of your favourite TV show afterwards.
An extrinsic reward is so powerful because your brain can latch on to it and make the link that the behaviour is worthwhile. This is, more or less, creates what scientists call a “neurological habit loop”, which involves a cue to trigger the behaviour (setting out your gym clothes next to your bag the next before you go to bed), the routine (making it through spinning class) and then the reward. An extrinsic reward is so powerful because your brain can latch on to it and make the link that the behaviour is worthwhile. And, ultimately, it increases the odds the routine becomes a habit.
Over time, the motivation should become intrinsic (as it did for my on my fitness journey), as the brain begins to associate sweat and pain with the surge of endorphins — those feel-good chemicals released in the brain that are responsible for that “I-feel-freaking-amazing” rush you get after a great gym session. Once you’ve trained your brain to recognize that the workout itself is the reward, you won’t even want the treat. It’s all about making this a habit so eventually it’s a intrinsic to your daily routine as brushing your teeth- you stop thinking about doing it, you just know you have to do it to start or end your day. Don’t be discouraged if this takes a while- it usually takes a minimum of 21 days to start a habit consistently so don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t happen overnight- just keep plugging away at it.