A Guide to Personal and Professional Growth

A Guide to Personal and Professional Growth

Check out the latest episode below. Mr.Biz Radio provides business owners with the knowledge and insights needed to drive their companies forward.

Mr. Biz Radio: A Guide to Personal and Professional Growth

Unedited transcription of the show is included below:


Welcome to Mr. Biz radio, Biz. Talk for Biz owners. If you're ready to stop faking the funk and take your business onward and upward, this show is for you. And now here's Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth.


All right.


Alright Welcome to another episode of Mr. Biz Radio with me, Mr. Biz ken Wentworth. And we are going to talk to someone who is a master at building business in a specific type of business, actually a yoga business. Now, you might be saying yoga business. We haven't talked about that for we haven't. And we're not going to dive a whole lot into the yoga side, per se, but she's got a ton of experience in doing this from a unique perspective. At least I think so. And I'm really excited to talk to her this week. Our guest this week is Nicole Byars. She's an entrepreneur, a mom, and fan of messy personal development. I love that.


In the past decade, she founded and operated a franchise system, established the successful Live True Yoga and Honest Yoga Studios in Minneapolis, and crafted an innovative on demand service platform. We're going to talk about that. Nicole's achievements extend to being the best selling author of the book Living Yoga Beyond the Mat, a dynamic speaker, a 500 hours registered yoga teacher. Wow. I haven't done five minutes of yoga, so that's very impressive.


And an expert in trauma informed yoga practices. Nicole. Welcome to Mr. Biz Radio.


Well, thank you so much for having me. I'm happy to be here.


Yeah, awesome. Look, tons of different things. And I know one of the things I want to always people who listen and watch the show, all the know we're going to get and pick Nicole's brain in the third segment with her areas of expertise. And we're going to do I won't call it rapid fire, but I've got maybe four or five questions I want to ask her that just ask her. I'm going to blurt something out and kind of have her just go at it. Right. These are the things she learned when she was building her businesses.


But Nicole, before we dive into all that, tell us a little bit about your so.


You know, I didn't start off in the yoga industry, but I actually graduated with a finance degree. So I started off in corporate America. I started working for big companies, organizations. I realized really fast that I had a difficult time sitting behind a desk doing the nine to five thing. I needed a lot more, I don't know, just like, adventure, flexibility. And so I ended up, after being in corporate America, I got married. I had a couple kids, and I was staying at home with them. And I realized within the first four years of being home with my two boys that I was really missing working.


And so I decided to I always loved yoga. I got into yoga in my 20s, very resistant, actually, to yoga. I got into yoga because it was part of my eating disorder recovery. So I got into that. That was part of my journey and it was part of my healing. And so I got into that when I was in my twenty s. And so that's how I was introduced to yoga. So fast forward now six years, I have my kids, and I just kept thinking, like, what lights me up? What is something that I love to do? What is something that I'm passionate about?


And I came back to yoga. I fell in love with yoga because it was such an instrumental part of my healing. And so I got my training, I became a teacher. I started teaching at all these different places, in wrestling rooms, at gyms, I mean, all over the place at yoga studios. And I started to see how everybody else was running their business, how these fitness centers, how these yoga studios were running their business.


And I thought, I think I can do it better. And so after a year of teaching, I decided to take the leap and open up my first yoga studio, which was ten years ago.


Oh, wow. Okay.




So I have to ask you, we have lots of people come on the show that have a similar path in regards to started the corporate side and then launched their own business. Was there a particular moment? And I know it sounds like maybe you left the corporate world to begin start your family and everything, but even after that, if it wasn't, then at that point, you said you kind of realized you wanted to get back into working. But was there a moment or some sort of epiphany where you said, I do want to go back to work, but I don't want to do corporate?


Yeah, I knew when I was in corporate that I knew it wasn't for me, but I was trying to fit myself into this box I grew up with. My dad was a physician, my mom was a nurse. It's just so much corporate. They worked. It was a very strict schedule, nine to five kdeal, I went to college to go work in corporate America and I just didn't fit that box. And so it took me a while, even though I knew deep down it was not the right path for me, I stayed in it for five years.


I tried to fit into that box, but I knew that it was just never going to be for me. And then it was like, yeah, my whole world changed so fast. Having kids and two boys 15 months apart, having to then send them to daycare doing the corporate job that I had financially, it just didn't make sense. So then it was kind of like, all right, well, the option now is to be home with the kids, because my husband at the time was the breadwinner, and that's what I did. But I do remember feeling unfulfilled being home. Like, I loved my kids, but I knew there was something else, there was something more.


And I'll never forget just practicing yoga once, and it was after I had the kids, and it was just like, I feel like there's something here. It was just an intuitive kind of, like, ping. Like, this is something I can always come back to my mat. I want to help, I want to teach. And so I just started to go after it.


So what was the next sort of defining moment? So it sounds like you got certified. You're teaching for a year or so, and you said you're observing how all these studios are running their business, and you go back to your don't take offense this I call myself. I'm a self professed numbers nerd. But you said you're a finance major. I was an accounting major. So we're from the same ilk. Right. You're probably seeing a lot of things and going, man, why do they do it that way?


And why do they do this? Okay, so I understand that right. That part of your business mind, but what made you say, I don't want to just be an instructor now? Not that that's not enough, but jeez, I think I can really do this, because that's a huge leap, going from being an instructor to let me launch a business and let me launch my first studio.


Yeah, you're right. It was it was a very big been. I've always liked to lead, and so even like, when I did work in corporate America, looking at my boss and wanting to do what my boss was doing. So it's like I've always I feel like I have had the confidence that I know that I can lead. And what I saw missing in a lot of the studios was a lack of leadership, and I knew that was a strength of mine. And I also, deep down, knew that I wanted more than just teaching, because I've always been passionate about business, and I thought, okay, so I know how to teach.


I've a pretty good teacher. Okay. I'm going to give myself that. I've got that. I do have that finance background. I have a passion for business. I think I can put both together and do both, and I can do both well. And in the yoga industry, to be honest with you, it's harder to find people that can balance both being a solid, good yoga teacher, passionate in that area, but also having the business sense.


So when you're able to put both together, it's really worked for me throughout all these years. So, yeah, I am a risk taker. I took the leap. It's always been in my blood.


It's interesting, and I can only imagine I mean, I see this a lot with people who are good at whatever it is. Right. You're a really good yoga instructor, but a lot of people will say, I'm a good yoga instructor, so I'm going to open my own studio. But they don't have a business sense, whereas you already had that. You had developed that during your corporate career. So it's interesting that you decided to take that leap and obviously been very successful.


Talking this week with Nicole Byars. We'll put this in the show notes as well, but you can follow her on Instagram as well as go to our website and we'll put that in the thing too. And I scribbled it out. I can't even read it. I highlighted I can't read it very well. Come back after the break on Mr. Biz radio.


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All right, welcome back to the show. It is time for the Mr. Biz Tip of the week. And this week's tip is not a popular one for most business owners, especially ones I work with. Be honest with you, if you fall behind on your budget, do not accept that. What I like to do is we review the budget, obviously every single month. But let's say, for example, typically we'll look at it about a third of the way through the year. So it's may.


We're looking at the first third of the year, january through April results. Let's say we're $100,000 behind on revenue. Let's just make that up. The sales. I don't accept that. I take that $100,000 and I basically reforecast the last eight months of the year, seven months of the year. In that case, six, seven and a half, and put that 100,000 in there. Don't give up on the goal. Don't give up on, oh, we're 100,000 behind. We're going to run 100,000 behind, maybe even a little bit the rest of the year. No.


Then we figure out ways how we're going to make that up, that gap during the last seven months of the year. It's one of those things that I think a lot of people who don't like the word budget and don't like using budgets, which they're super powerful, but a lot of people don't get the results they should get from a budget because in my mind, they don't use it effectively. And that's one of the ways you can use it effectively is to make sure you're keeping your foot on the gas and you're continuing to pursue that goal even when you fall behind.


So that is the Mr. Biz tip of the week again, especially with my clients. Not exactly I'm not exactly Mr. Popularity when I do that. And by the way, I do it the other way as well. If we're 100,000 ahead, I project instead of, let's say our goal was $2 million for the year. Our goal is 2,000,001 now because we're already 100,000 ahead, right? I might even bump it up more like, well, if we got ahead by 100,000 in four months, jeez, could we be ahead by 300,000 by the end of the year?


Again, sometimes not very popular with my clients anyway, and I apologize. Nicole, I literally from the studio lights here. I had highlighted your website to plug it, and I highlighted I usually have a yellow highlighter and I have an orange highlighter today, and I literally couldn't freaking read it because of the lights. www.thehonestyoga.com is their website www.thehonestyoga.com Like I said, we'll put it in the show notes as little. Tell me something about so I know we talked a little bit about sort of your founding story, but what would you say?


We talked about those kind of monumental leaps you made from corporate to being starting a family to becoming an instructor to your first studio as part of your founding story. What would you say is maybe the most challenging part that you've experienced as part of that initial part of the founding story?


So this is a great question. So when I opened up my first studio, it was 900 sqft. It was small and it was simple, and that was the perfect way for me to start a business. I had no business plan. I don't recommend that. I'm sure you don't either. I went in just more of like, this is going to be a hobby. I had that luxury at that time because my husband was the breadwinner. And then we grew. We started to grow within the first year and we expanded into the space next door. And so we doubled in size. And when you double in size, my rent went up.


My expenses became a lot bigger than what they were, and things started to become more complicated. But what I will say as a business owner that I did really well as these changes started to happen, was I was able to pivot. I was able to pivot quickly and make decisions and pivot in ways that would benefit the business very quickly. So we grew. I ended up going through a divorce, and that really made me. That was time for me to really put on those big girl pants and get moving and start working harder than what I was already doing.


So we expanded, and then fast forward. Three or four years later, I moved into franchising, and that was probably the biggest challenge of my business. So I started franchising, and that was a big process. Franchising was a big process. But I thought franchising would be a great way for me to expand my brand, but not have it be my own investment, like people were investing in the business. So it wasn't my money.


It ended up being a lot harder than what I thought it would be. I ended up, at the end of the day, we had three franchise locations and two corporate locations in a two year time frame. And what I realized really quickly was, you can teach people your methods. You can teach people everything of how you did it. But at the end of the day, I can't force people to follow the model. And so I was really on this path of bigger is better at the time.


And what I realized is the bigger we got, the more challenges there were, the more people I had to manage. And I'm very grateful that I went through that experience. But after two years of franchising, I decided to dissolve the franchise because it was no longer working. It was no longer working for me, my personal life. So going through the franchise, that was difficult. And I learned a lot. I had a lot of expensive lessons that I learned throughout the way.


But at the end of the day, I decided to dissolve the franchise, and I moved back into my one studio. And I'm so grateful to be in the place that I'm in now with my one studio. So I think for me, the biggest lesson over the last ten years is bigger is not always better. For some people, it is. For me, it was not.


Yeah. No, I get that. I always tell people better is better, right? Sounds almost stupid to say that. And for some people, as you mentioned, maybe bigger is what is better in their vision. So tell me, you mentioned about pivoting, and you pivoted to franchising. You pivot back out of it. Tell me about this on demand service platform. Obviously, that was another pivot you had as well.


Yeah. So on demand, that was before COVID That was before the pandemic. On demand was something that I always wanted to do. I wanted to bring what we were doing with our yoga and bar classes into people's homes. So we started an on demand platform. There's so many different options out there. And I found kind of more of a startup company, and they ended up being a wonderful company to go to. At the time, they were called Namastream, but now they're called hey marvelous. And it was a platform that we used for on demand classes. So it ended up being $125 a month just for the operation piece of it.


And basically we had at the end of doing the on demand, we had over 70 videos of yoga and bar videos for people. They could be on a subscription base, so they could either purchase monthly or yearly to access these on demand videos. So we did that for about four or five years. The on demand service.


Now, I'm sure that worked well during COVID You said it was before COVID.


It was before COVID and it did work well during COVID But what I will say is that COVID, we had to pivot again. And when we pivoted again, we started offering all of our classes live stream. So to this day, all of our classes that we offer in studio are also offered live stream so people can access any of our classes on zoom. What we found is that the live stream classes overtook the on demand piece.


So that's why eventually we got rid of the on demand and now we only offer the live stream classes instead of the gotcha.


Gotcha talking this week again, guys. Nicole Byars. You can follow her on Instagram as well as go check out our website www.thehonestyoga.com. We're going to come back and we're going to do a little semi rapid fire and pick Nicole's brain about business.


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Check out all three of Mr. Business best-selling books at mrbizbooks.com. Now, once again, here's Mr. Biz.


All right, welcome back to the show. So, Nicole, again, usually at this time of the show, I'll turn it over and basically ask the guest, like, hey, give us your top five tips on whatever your area of expertise, given your varied background, all the different things you've done. You've been the corporate person, you've been the entrepreneur, you've pivoted multiple times as an entrepreneur. You're a mom that takes multitasking like a crazy woman, right?


I thought it would be interesting to maybe kind of do not necessarily rapid fire, but maybe fire a couple of things out to you and get some of your thoughts on those things. Does that sound cool.


I love it. I'm all in.


All right, let's do it. So defining your target market, what are some of the things that you did or that you think are very important when you're defining your target market?


So defining your target market is really important. It's something I wish I would have done more in the beginning phases of opening up a studio. So I highly recommend doing it if you haven't done it. I personally hired a marketing consultant that was really helpful for me. I do believe really in investing in your business. And for me, hiring a marketing consultant really helped me hone in on who my target market was. That was my marketing consultant. That's her area of expertise.


And so we went through a series of questions. You need to know who is buying from you? Who are you marketing to? And when you have an idea almost like an avatar of who that person is. You can create marketing campaigns, you can create Google Ads, things like that, that are going to be so much more successful if you know who your market is.


Yeah, super important I talk about all the time is I think a lot of business owners sometimes try to DIY their business too much, right. They say, oh, I know who my customer is. Well, guess what? If you swing and miss on that target market, you can't wasting tens of thousands, if not more dollars, marketing, et cetera. Whereas you hire someone who lives and breathes it every day, you're going to probably get a lot closer to that target right from the get go, as opposed to kind of having a bunch of bumps in the road.


I think that's very important.


Yeah. And I just wanted to add something else that I did. And this was more when I was Franchising, but I did find it to be really helpful, was I hired a company and basically he took the data that we had of our membership base and he inputted it into his software system. And we were able to pull, basically, zip codes of where people were coming from to attend classes. We were able to pull kind of income level, how much money per household were the average people in our market attending our studio, college degree or not? We just got really clear on some of those really specific items about who the buying purchases of some of the people in our target market.


It was really helpful.


Yeah. I can tell you as a numbers nerd, I love that stuff because every time that I've gone through that for myself, for clients or whatever, there's always at least one thing that stands out that comes out from the data and you're like, holy crap, I would have never guessed that. You know what I mean? There's always something you think you know and then you see the data and you're like, the data is not lying. Like 74% of people say XYZ. I would have never guessed that.


Yeah, it's very eye opening and it gives you perspective and it's important in your business.


Yeah, for sure. All right, semi rapid fire number two. How about building your brand? What are some things you learned about building your brand?


So this is another one. Same marketing consultant that I hired that helped me out, she really helped me hone in on, you need to know what your vision is, what is your mission? She also helped me create what was our positioning? So, for example, as a yoga studio, our positioning, my studio right now, we are community focused. It's yoga for the average human. Top quality instruction. We have no dark rooms or pumping music.


We really honed in on how do we position ourselves, how do we want others to view us as a brand? She helped me figure out what are our services? I mean, it seems really simple, but really get clear. What are your services, what do you offer? What do you want your voice to sound like when you're out on social media and you're doing those type of things? How do you want your voice to sound as a brand?


Your core values, those are really important too. Those are your content pillars. What are you going to talk about on social media or in your email blast? You need to get really clear on your content pillars as well.


Yeah, and I think an important part about that, if that voice of your brand isn't honed in and exactly what you want, you might start to attract people that you really don't want in your community.




Very true. You bring in people that just don't fit what you're trying to attract in the community you're trying to build, and that's obviously not going to be successful. And then it could drive out the folks that you really do want in. Right. If you've got too many people that sort of don't fit the mold or whatever. You had mentioned learning a lot of lessons, and I guess I'll put words in your mouth a little bit. The school of hard knocks obviously made some mistakes, and we all do right along the way. So what are some of the things that you learned that as you were scaling right?


I guess maybe another way to put it. What are things not to do as you're scaling your business you thought was the right thing to do and you did it, and you're like, oh, my gosh, I swung a missed on that one.


I think it's important that you're grounded, and maybe that's a little yoga talk for you. And during the times in my business when I was frazzled, when I was overwhelmed, when I was stressed, making bigger decisions at that time did not serve me well. So really, it was times in my business when I was very grounded, when I was taking care of myself, when I was pausing, taking 24 hours, taking a week before I made a big decision.


That is when I made decisions that were more supportive for my business versus making decisions out of pleasing, out of chaos, out of overwhelm. Be really grounded in yourself and the decisions that you're making. And the hope is that you will make a lot more better, more successful decisions, better decisions for your business than you will make or take wrong turns, if you will, in your business because you're going to make mistakes. The hope is that you make more good choices with your business than the mistakes.


So, yeah, love it. All right, we've got about two minutes left. Last semi rapid fire challenges. Running a business, always challenging, right? You'd mentioned a couple of things that were more challenging than you even thought they were going to be when you started them. What are some things that you found were challenging and how did you overcome those? What are some things maybe you use yourself?


Personal development. You mentioned messy personal development that you use now even to overcome challenges.


Yeah. So one thing that I want to say, and this might a little bit deter from your question, but I just want to remind people, when you start a business, I always follow the repeat button. Every day I hit the repeat button. I continue to show up consistently for my business, but when I consistently show up for myself, then everything flows well in my business. So the way that I show up for myself is by doing things that are nurturing to myself, like moving my body, like eating the right foods, like meditating, all of those things are important because when I show up for myself, then I can show up effectively for my employees, for my staff and for my studio.


It starts with you as the owner and so I can show up as the leader that I want to be for not only my staff, but also the community that I'm building at my studio.


I love it. I love it. Well, unfortunately, we're out of time. Nicole again. Nicole Byars. Bestselling author of the book "Living Yoga beyond the Mat". Check out her book, her website is www.thehonestyoga.com. And again, we'll put this in the show notes and everything as well. Follow her on Instagram. Nicole, thanks so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate it.


Thank you so much. It was fun.


Ken well, awesome. Good stuff, guys. Thanks for watching. Thanks for listening. Have a fantastic remainder of your week and as always, don't forget, cash flow is king.


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