Four years ago I went to my first indoor cycling class at Flywheel, and it changed my life. In the years since, I am a stronger, calmer, fiercer mom and entrepreneur because I’m able to hop on those bikes and burn a ton of calories and stress at the same time. A year ago I purchased a Peloton bike, which I LOVE, but there’s still something amazing about getting into the studio and taking an awesome class and feeding off the energy in the room. When I learned about Cate Brinch, the founder and owner of Recycle Studio, which has two indoor cycling studios in Boston, I was thrilled to learn more about her career journey and how she juggles it while raising an 18 month old!
Catherine Merritt: Tell me more about how you got your start with your career?
Cate Brinch: I was living in a city with no boutique fitness studios, maybe one or two yoga studios. Boston is an incredibly active community and I knew boutique fitness, specifically indoor cycling, was something that the community would warmly welcome. Indoor cycling was something I really had become a student of over the years and I felt like I was ready to put my "studies" to use and open my own studio, and teacher training program. When I opened my first location I was working a 9-to-5 job as well. I thought I would be able to do both jobs but it quickly became clear that I needed to give 100% to Recycle and leave my job if I was going to see Recycle reach its' potential. Two years after I left my job to open my first studio I opened my second location so I am glad I decided to take the leap of faith. There is no way I would have been able to grow the business if it were a side job.
CM: How did you prepare for quitting your day job and pursuing your new business/passion?
CB: I think the most important thing that I did was spend time in corporate America working for both small and large businesses. Having a "corporate education" was essential to me operating my own business well. It is something I draw on every single day to this day. From organization to accountability, you learn a lot about what type of business you want to run and how to run it. Even though I work for myself, I hold myself to a typical corporate structure - I limit my vacation time, I have office hours, I crave polished communication and I really don't take advantage of the idea that I answer to myself at the end of the day.
CM: Running a business and raising a child is hard. How do you strike a work / life / motherhood balance? Is it possible?
CB: It is hard to find the balance but I am lucky to have a great system in place at this point, almost a year into motherhood. We have a nanny who comes to care for Brook while I am at work so I can be totally in Recycle mode during the work day. Then when I come home I can give her 100% of my focus which I love. My husband and I also have a standing date night during the week and make a point to be out with friends at least one night each weekend. And I like to take lunch in front of my computer so I can fit my work outs in during "lunch time". It’s all about making the most out of my days so I can fit everything in because its all important!
CM: Lastly, can you share any advice for other women and moms looking to start their own business?
CB: Tip 1 - There are no victims, only volunteers. Someone once told me that and I live by it. Leaving a 9-5 M-F job generally means starting a 24/7 365 day a year job and you have to embrace that if you decide to go for it. For example, I control my company's social media feeds and I was posting content to our Instagram and Facebook accounts the day after my daughter was born because that's what needed to be done. I was having meetings when she was two weeks old - and I don't mind at all! You volunteer for this sort of lifestyle when you start your own business.
Tip 2 - Be sure you want your passion to become your job. Realize that when your passion becomes your career it will change its role in your life. I drew a line and realized early on that the best way for me to run this business was to be owner/operator not instructor, I couldn't wear all hats. I think it is important to identify the best ways for you to work with your passion if you chose to do so.
Tip 3- Always think creatively. As a business owner, you are always solving problems of all types and sizes. For me, that was learning everything from how to fix a broken spin bike to figuring out the best ways to collaborate with our community. I am constantly learning and growing in this role which makes for a rich professional life.