Episode 133 // Launching Before You’re Ready with Merideth VanSant

July 18, 2017

Merideth VanSant, founder of 405 Yoga and True U Girls, joins us on Being Boss to talk about quitting her corporate job to start a yoga studio, giving the middle finger to fear, and focusing on community and listening to your clients to grow your business and stand out from your competitors.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"Half the effort of being a successful entrepreneur is showing up."
- Merideth VanSant

Discussed in this Episode

  • Merideth's creative entrepreneurial journey
  • The importance of having support from your partner to follow your dreams
  • Starting a business (opening a yoga studio) in a saturated market
  • The importance of listening to your clients and community to find direction for your business
  • Getting past fear
  • Using your business to step up and give back
  • Doing the work to pitch yourself and get recognition for your business


More from Merideth VanSant

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Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.


Kathleen Shannon 0:02
Hello, and welcome to being boss,

Emily Thompson 0:05
a podcast for creative entrepreneurs. I'm Emily Thompson.

Kathleen Shannon 0:09
And I'm Kathleen Shannon.

Merideth Vansant 0:11
My name is Meredith fanzine and I am being back.

Kathleen Shannon 0:17
So today we're talking with Meredith Van Sant about going from working in corporate to quitting her job and building a yoga studio from the ground up and becoming successful in a super short amount of time with very limited experience. As always, you can find all the tools, books and links we reference on the show notes at WWW dot being boss club. Hey, guys, it's heating up outside, a lot of people are taking a pause from their business to go on vacation and have fun. And this is really a great time of year to make sure that you're staying on top of your bookkeeping and accounting and freshbooks is here to help. Their automated features are going to help you save so much time, including payment reminders. So they're going to help you having that awkward talk with your client about past due payments by sending it on your behalf. And there's also things like online payments if you're waiting on a client's cheque to show up to your doorstep. You can automate this with simply two clicks and get payments on the line. Oh, and your clients will love paying by credit card straight from their invoice. So save yourself some time this summer with freshbooks automated features. Get your bookkeeping in order and go on vacation or soak up some sun in your own backyard. Try it for free at freshbooks comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section. Meredith is a founder of true you girls and has brought yoga and mindfulness to underserved populations through the United Nations national girl summits and Girls Inc. She is the owner of 405 Yoga, a powerflow Studio located in cities across the US. And Meredith's work focuses on adolescent resiliency, health and wellness through traditional power modalities, and is a trained powerflow and rocket yoga teacher. Meredith, we are so excited to have you on being boss. I feel like there's an Oklahoma connection.

Merideth Vansant 2:25
Thank you for having me. And there totally is you actually gave a shout out to Oklahoma City in one of your latest episodes. I did a little air pump like

Kathleen Shannon 2:35
it's so funny because a lot of people don't know that. I'm from Oklahoma City. I think that they assume Brooklyn or San Francisco. But Emily and I are here. podcasting from Emily's in Chattanooga.

Merideth Vansant 2:46
Oh, that's wonderful. Oh, that's wonderful. You know, people don't realize that Oklahoma is full of young entrepreneurs. I think that people, myself included, have either moved away or done enough traveling where we're now coming back into our city. And I'll be surprised I'm sitting at a coffee shop next to someone in sweats or jeans. And they're the real movers and shakers of the city. It's people our age that are starting to propel this city forward, both from things we experience from living outside of Oklahoma City and coming back. But also we've always been cool. So

Kathleen Shannon 3:20
I don't know about that.

Unknown Speaker 3:23
Shout out to the big friendly.

Kathleen Shannon 3:26
No, but I do love I do love my home. There are certain things that frustrate me about it. But what I do love is our creative community. And that would be the hardest thing to leave. So with that, tell us about your own journey of becoming a yogi and where that's taken us so far.

Merideth Vansant 3:43
Sure. Now do either of you all practice yoga?

Emily Thompson 3:46

Kathleen Shannon 3:47
I was just thinking about this adding it up. I've been practicing for 20 years on and off snap. I like to sing yoga whenever I was 15 with you might even know him Meredith. Andrew eppler is Ashtanga Yoga was like my first I didn't know anything about yoga and just jumped right into an Ashtanga practice. Okay, you got very,

Merideth Vansant 4:09
you got very lucky to find that. That's phenomenal. I mean, that's really good for Oklahoma to Andrew eppler. It's

Unknown Speaker 4:15
phenomenal. Oh,

Merideth Vansant 4:16
I'm so happy to be chatting with Yogi's, then this is great. Okay, well, you know, I was educated in Oklahoma. So I'm originally from here, finished my master's at Oklahoma State University, and was recruited out to Washington DC and was in consulting for years. My main client was TSA headquarters. And I would travel around to many of the 450 federalized airports, and I would roll out these national training programs. So things that you might know like TSA precheck, and things that you might not be familiar with, but TSA is really working to improve like wait times customer service, I got to lead about a 20 person team. I remember being about eight and a half months pregnant Li x thinking like I have the best job. Ever This is so fun. And had my son went straight back to work because I loved what I did. I was building communities across the country. And after about six months after going back to work after having my son who's now three, I was the first woman to win Employee of the Year at our midsize consulting firm. And I kind of thought, you know, without sounding flippant, that this is too easy, right? Like this was kind of handed a little bit too easy. And I want to affect change on a much greater level. And I want to have creative control of the process, which I think a lot of the being boss tribe can relate to. So I opened up our first brick and mortar in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, DC. We've been open since November 2015. And it has been phenomenal what a journey

Kathleen Shannon 5:51
we wait. I feel like there are so many holes here. I hang on. So you go from consulting, TSA, inventing precheck. To I'm just kidding. Maybe you didn't even pre check. Oh, my gosh,

Unknown Speaker 6:03
I wish Oh, what a lifesaver. Yeah,

Kathleen Shannon 6:07
to opening a yoga studio. So did you already have a practice? Like, tell us about your yoga background?

Merideth Vansant 6:13
I did? That's a great question. I moved to Washington, DC, and I'm a super outgoing person. And I didn't know anybody. And I would leave work on Fridays. And I wouldn't talk to anyone again till Monday morning. And it was super lonely. I would talk the head off a barista. I'm still really close with Eduardo from Starbucks. He's phenomenal, right? He was kind of one of my first friends in the city, and still recognizes me. But I really didn't have any type of community. And I was very isolated. Lots of tearful phone calls home to my parents, am I going to make it? What am I doing? And it was by stumbling into a yoga studio that I began to practice. And even though I didn't know anyone, they'd kind of do the head nod, like airwave. Hi, Hi, good to see you. And I started to grow roots in the city because of the practice. And it's something that I wanted to provide northeast DC. So after I had my son, and we moved over to that quadrant, we really didn't have any fun powerflow yoga studios. And I thought, This is my chance at such an offering and a service to give people this type of yoga. And I'm great at building communities. And I've shown myself to be a leader through consulting, I thought, This is what I want to do entrepreneurships in my blood, my father, my grandfather, both entrepreneurs. So it's always been nice to kind of have their ear and listen to their feedback as I kind of go on my own journey. And I really did, I just pulled the trigger. I left consulting about six months before our actual brick and mortar opened. So yeah, I actually was I did a lot of the demo for our first space. It was an old liquor store in DC. And I remember like pulling down the ceilings and old liquor bottles would fall out. And I really was so hands on with the first project. We've since rolled out more brick and mortars and I haven't had to really like roll up my sleeves and get dirty with sawdust. Although I do not mind doing that to save a couple dollars. Yeah, I would love to it's been really rewarding.

Emily Thompson 8:10
Awesome. So you, so Okay, I need to know when you were getting your training to then were you getting your training? Also, while you had your day job? Or did your yoga training come in that six months before your brick and mortar? When did all of that go down?

Merideth Vansant 8:25
Yes, that's a great question. So we are crazy. in DC. We're very type A, we probably need a little bit more restorative yoga, but we're total powerflow a strong gi racket Yogi's. I did my teacher training about two months after I had my son. So I went straight into it. It was a program Friday nights and the weekends for working professionals. And I knocked it out within three to four months. So I was a trained yoga instructor was teaching at studios around town, of course, while I was consulting, and I decided this this was my This was my break away from the nine to five.

Emily Thompson 8:59
So working nine to five, getting your yoga teacher training, teaching yoga with a kid under a year old.

Merideth Vansant 9:08
Yes. I mean, it's right. Yeah, I mean, it's all it's all about finding the right partner. I've a really supportive boyfriend of about 11 years. And we've always been in this together. Now looking back, I'm like Poor guy. He had a newborn every weekend while I was off, like having the time in my life, going through yoga teacher training, but he never batted an eye. It was something that really mattered to me, both on a personal practice and kind of knowing this is what I've maybe wanted to do eventually, as a full time career. Oh,

Emily Thompson 9:37
I love that. I think I think having partners in our life that are willing and just as excited hopefully to take on roles and responsibilities so that their partners can do exciting and engaging things is really important. So if you don't have a partner who does that you might want to rethink things

Merideth Vansant 9:57
up. So I would say hands down. I don't know how I would Dude, I don't know, strap the baby on my back and go into teacher training I might have. But luckily, I had a partner that was willing to step up. It's so important.

Kathleen Shannon 10:09
Yeah, I know, I feel like there's always this, you know, we talk a lot about the work life blend here at being boss. And even for me, I find myself wanting to separate out my success from any sort of dependency, whether that's financial or emotional from my partner. Now, I will say that, I think it's really cool to rely on a partner financially, but even more so emotionally. And I think that a lot of the bosses that we interview and that we work with one on one or are in the clubhouse, all, you know, wish that they had that financial backing. And even if they do, they still have that drive that stands out separate from their partner success. But I guess what I'm trying to say here is that it's okay to rely on somebody else, whether that be a business partner, I mean, I rely on Emily, in financially and emotionally in many ways that I rely on my husband or my sister, who's also my business partner. So I think there is something to be said, for having support networks to help get you off the ground. But I want to come back around to the fact that you had a dream job at your day job. I mean, you loved it. So. And it seems like if you really want to wanting to ignite change on a big level, working with TSA is pretty big. Like it almost seems counterintuitive, that a big change might be getting smaller. So can you speak a little bit to that?

Merideth Vansant 11:35
Yes, yeah, TSA was a phenomenal client, they were great. But when it comes down to it, I was working for a midsize consulting firm, and I was affecting the type of change that they wanted. And they were phenomenal. I was one of the only women in the firm, though. So it felt good to stick around for a while and hire up more women and train them. But it got to the point where it didn't feel authentic to me anymore. It didn't feel like I was truly effecting change. And I wonder if this is a shared experience with other consultants that have worked with government agencies, there's so much bureaucracy, and there's not a lot of autonomy within it, that I thought this doesn't feel authentic to who I am being creative, being self motivating. So it was time for a change. I missed I missed I mean, I missed the team sponsored happy hours. You know that and I just I adored My colleagues and I had the pleasure of working with a lot of men, most of my team was male on the contract. And they were just some of the most inspiring, thoughtful, motivating people. I never kind of felt like I was the best woman contract manager, I always just kind of felt like we were the best program. And I was just honored to lead it. Although very well deserving. I worked very hard to get that role. But I always kind of felt like it was a great team to be a part of and I sure do miss them.

Kathleen Shannon 12:57
I think that one of the biggest fears a lot of our listeners have and even ourselves sometimes is this fear of doing something that's already been done. And opening a yoga studio in an incredibly saturated market, right? I mean, Yoga has become a booming industry. Did you have any of that fear of like, Oh my gosh, what am I adding to this? What differentiates me? Where did your motivation and confidence come from to do this thing?

Merideth Vansant 13:26
Okay, so here's the thing. I mean, the best yoga studio is the one closest to you in DC, you could literally sneeze and land on a yoga studio or a coffee shop. So you have to be so much different or offering something that's so unique and catchy that somebody is willing to walk past to yoga studios to go to yours. So it was a really fun opportunity for us to go in there and try some things out. I knew we would succeed because my work ethic and my drive wouldn't allow otherwise, just a lot like you all and like the being boss tribe. You're willing to work at something until you can make it successful. And that's really what's gonna separate you from your competitors is do you show up? Do you do the work? And will you not quit? Will you keep going for us? You know, I think it's so important to shop your competitors. Yes, sign up for their email newsletters, order their products, see what their client retention emails are, like, see what their welcome emails are like maybe the packaging that their products come in at. But I think it's even more important to stay on your own yoga mat so to speak or to swim in your own lane. be so busy, active listening to your clients, that you're coming up with creative problem solving to things that they really want without you ever looking at any competitors. And I think it's our way of creating not replicating by listening to our clients all the time. It's I think it's our biggest strength. We're constantly doing creative rollouts new products, and we continue to grow. This is the industry's slowest time and we're having the Biggest numbers? Yeah, I truly think it's because our eyes are on our own yoga mat just crushing it how we can,

Emily Thompson 15:06
that is super powerful messaging and can be translated into anyone's business. You know, I think about, I think about the the entrepreneurs or the business owners, the creatives that, that I've worked with before, who are so obsessed with what their competitors are doing. And you know, what's happening in the industry around them, but they're not taking the direct feedback from the people who are actually hiring them or buying from them. And I think that's when you can, so you can just put yourself in a really nasty plays, but if you're listening to the, to the info, and only to the info that is actually relevant to what it is that you are doing, and that's when you can actually do really cool things. Yes.

Merideth Vansant 15:46
And I think Renee Brown, who is on who's on being boss, previously, she had even mentioned, right, like really taking the feedback from the people that you respect and that have your best interest. Same thing. Our community loves the community, they want to keep coming to yoga there, they want to bring their friends. So we're more focused on the people that are coming. And because the thing is if you create something for everybody, nobody's going to come. So find your niche, love them hard, listen hard, and then formulate your rollouts, product launches and services around their feedback what they want.

Kathleen Shannon 16:21
Okay, so then more specifically, what did you roll out that they wanted?

Merideth Vansant 16:26
What were kind of wacky we're kind of weirdos in the yoga community, really, really rowdy positive vibes. We do everything from a yoga mats hanging up in the studio when you hit 100 classes. You ring a bell, you sign the mat, you get some swag. You're part of the 100 class club. We do funky flows like Finn power for International Women's Day. Oh, gosh, we've done some really creative ideas with our 200 our teacher training programs. Even our client retention emails are really kind of tongue in cheek kitschy, funny, they reflect our brand. We're not afraid to publish first and iterate second, which I think is really important for the tribe on being bussed here. You know, we think that having something done is better than it being perfect. Because if you wait for something to be perfect, you're just not going to do it. You've got to check your unattainable standards at the door, publish things try things. You know, our Yogi's wanted a power flow express our Yogi's wanted a slower fluid flow, we made up a class name. It's now getting national attention we're really excited about it's called heartbeats. So we are not afraid to do wacky things.

Emily Thompson 17:37
Good. Are you too and it helps you build a brand that's that's obviously different and noticeable and recognizable. And when you're building a brand, that's what you want?

Merideth Vansant 17:49
Yeah, yes, it truly is. And I think it has to your point differentiated us for most of the market, we're not as sitting down Lotus calm studio, although you get super Zen by the end of class, we flow hard, we sweat, we high five, our neighbors. You know, community really is at the core of most of what we do, what the being boss creative entrepreneurs do is build this community. And it's if you can listen to the people coming in your doors, your online shops, if you can listen to what they want, you can solve their problems in a very creative way, and really start to be an industry leader, rather than just a replicator.

Kathleen Shannon 18:28
Community is the name of the game. And I didn't realize how important it was. And even coming back around to that conversation of support from your partner conversation from conversations with your community and the support that you get from them. Being able to high five, your neighbor on a yoga mat is going to make or break your experience. And it makes a tangible difference. And so a lot of our community is solopreneurs that are sitting behind their desks all day by themselves. And I think that they start to really get in their heads and they start to get really freaked out. So there it is. I know that you're about fucking some fear.

Merideth Vansant 19:06
Yes, yeah. Oh, my gosh, I hope my parents aren't listening.

Kathleen Shannon 19:11
Yeah, as you guys, we're about to drop some f bombs here.

Emily Thompson 19:14
So if your kids are in the car with you go ahead and turn us off. Because it's time sorry, not sorry.

Merideth Vansant 19:22
It's so true, though. It's so true. My thought is that wife happens every single day. And it's like, what are you doing? We do this with our 200 our teacher trainees that are going through our yoga teacher training program. We do this with our true you teen girls who we do yoga, meditation and mindfulness with, we have them write a list about the things that they're fearful about. And then we kind of have them write, it's almost like what would you do if you were not afraid? Like what would you do if you weren't afraid? From a bio social emotional perspective? Most of the reasons we don't go for what we want to go for is we have a fear of what people will think That's just biological in nature. And then of course, ecological, social, emotional in nature as well. But it's what are people going to think about me? And the thing is what people think about you is their business. I would be remiss if I didn't quote Hillary Rodham Clinton right now. But it's almost like take feedback seriously, not personally. Right. So like, you've got all of these things in coming all of the time. What are people going to think about me? Am I an imposter? Do I deserve to be here? Am I going to be able to afford to own my own business to be a solopreneur? How can I make this work? There's all these fears that ruminate within our head. The thing is, your job is to focus on your business to grow, build and scale. We have a sign at 405 Yoga Oklahoma City, and it's bright, neon pink, you creative entrepreneurs will love this text color FF one, a six, five, okay, so it is like this huge neon sign and it says YOLO, and it takes up like the whole wall. And it truly is our motto for living life. You only live once. So fuck your fear, sorry, dad, and just do it. Some fear might be rational, some might be irrational. But the thing is, if you can make the list of all of your goals, and the things that are holding you back the things that you are fearful about when reaching those goals. That's step one, then it's like, okay, every single decision I'm making today, just today needs to get me closer to meeting the goals, right? Fuck my fear. These are my goals. And every decision I'm making is going to get me closer to these goals that are going to build, grow and scale my brand. You know, I felt really fearful. I was rolling out our 200 hour yoga teacher training program. And I would consider myself a freshman in this senior yoga industry scene in DC. And I had these thoughts, what are people going to think? Do they think I haven't served my time? I haven't paid my dues? Am I qualified enough? Am I smart enough? Do I know enough about this? Meanwhile, I was on part time faculty at George Washington University. In the yoga classroom, teaching philosophy and yoga, I had some merits about me. But I still had this fear, and it was holding me back from launching. And this product teacher training would have been a huge revenue generator, it would have helped me create teachers that specifically fit our concept. And it would have helped me grow community and reputation. But I still was so fearful about what people would think I almost didn't roll it out. And I called a girlfriend. She's now in Amsterdam, and I told her about how fearful I was. And she said, What are you really that scared about? I said, Well, what people are gonna think about me rational or not. And she said, Listen, mare. And I think this is really important for the being boss tribe to hear as well. She said, your vision is so much greater than their ego. And to me, that meant a lot, because it almost put the onus back on me to pursue my goals and fuck fear and crush my daily choices so that I could roll out this program. So it kind of took the energy off of what are people going to think which is valid, and I understand that gut feeling. But when it came down to it, I now rolled out my teacher training program, we're moving into our third cohort, I'm generating revenue, I'm creating teachers for our concept, and it was just picked up by the Greater Washington DC YMCA, to roll out in their studios as well. If I hadn't, if I had like, succumb to fear, Oh, I'd be missing all of that. Plus the community of teachers we built that we're putting out into Washington DC.

Kathleen Shannon 23:37
I'm still recovering from the sucker punch that your vision is greater than their ego. Mic drop you just dropped on us, right? That is so good. And I would even I was just not thinking, Wow, it could even apply to my own ego, like my vision is greater than my own ego. It's greater than anybody's ego. That's incredible.

Emily Thompson 24:03
I have to ask what it is that you make those people do whenever they write their list of fears on that piece of paper, because I'm hoping you make them put it in their mouth and chew it and spit it out?

Merideth Vansant 24:15
That's a great question. Sometimes we have the maybe cuz sometimes people will just start to write and it's a beautiful expression just to get your greatest goals and fears on the same piece of paper. It's almost like you've committed them outside of your mind. But we also have them pick maybe one or two goals. And we have them do things like set a date for when you want to accomplish this goal. Identify the barriers and your solutions to those barriers, what what are your creative solutions, we also have them identify the people places and things that are going to help them achieve those goals. What girlfriends talk about, talk about partners and support. What girlfriends friends family are going to help you reach this goal, who do not need to surround yourself with So we kind of help them do contextual clickable things to make the decisions to reach their goals. It's not just some lofty pen and paper journaling exercise. It's okay, what's the date that you're going to accomplish it by? And what are you going to do to reach your goal?

Emily Thompson 25:15
Love that that is super actionable. Everyone do that.

Merideth Vansant 25:18
Go do it. Go do it right now. Yeah.

Kathleen Shannon 25:21
I have a question about goals too. So in yoga, for example, and I love connecting parallels between your mind body connection and our entrepreneurial practices. So let's say I'm a yogi, and I want to perfect my handstand, which is like, arm balances are just the hardest thing in the world, right? But it's every day little changes that you can make. So what would you say to someone who wants to get into handstand? And how does that apply to our businesses?

Merideth Vansant 25:51
Emily, Kathleen, I love that. So I have to tell a quick story I was practicing at our DC studio. And you know, we go hard. So I was hand standing arm balancing. We call it OSPF. I was on my own fucking program on my mat, you know, when you just need to move and breathe. And we ofp all over the place at 405 Yoga. So I'm in there in my own practice. And afterwards, a student that I think was a newer face. I hadn't had the pleasure of meeting her yet came up to me and said, Wow, your practice is really strong. I wish I could handstand like you. I'll never have that in my practice. And I thought, Man, that's really interesting that she said that, because for about the last two, two and a half years, I've been practicing handstands almost every single day. And I have fallen many times in class smacked over on blocks, whacked a teacher hit my friend, I fallen on my face, my ego has been bruised. There have been many different setbacks. But I was determined it was a goal of mine to reach handstand. And I kept practicing. And I thought, you know, what this one student didn't understand is the hard work that goes into these things that happen behind the scenes that nobody ever sees. And I think that's half the effort of being a successful entrepreneur is showing up. So I started to cause more than half the effort. Yes, yes. I mean, you and I absolutely agree. You know, I think, number one, the yoga mat serves as a mirror, and it oftentimes reflects What's going on? Do we push ourselves too hard? Do we not push ourselves hard enough? What how are we talking to ourselves? Are we being kind to ourselves? What is going on? In your mind? What is the tape? What's the loop staying today. And I think that if you just show up and do the work, I remember running my first marathon and it wasn't the 26.2 miles that made me feel accomplished. It was the idea that I did this on my own. No one else could get me through this marathon. But myself. And I think that about a handstand, I can have some great teachers, which we do, I can keep practicing, which I did. But getting it and achieving it and feeling it in my own body. Only I could do the hard work every single day to finally achieve that posture. And so you know, I say show up, do the work that could look like cold calling, right, half of your competitors aren't going to start cold calling new clients by showing up and you putting yourself out there and tossing the fear aside, if your goal is to get new clients, make a list of all the people that are serving your demographics, cold, call that partner get a partnership going with them cold call those people because more than likely your competitors aren't showing up to do the work you are. And I think that's what differentiates the being boss tribe from a lot of these other people that aren't showing up. Amen. Yeah,

Emily Thompson 28:45
I hope I hope and pray guys, that that is one of the things that differentiates us from all the other tribes or groups of entrepreneurs or people are creatives in the world, is that you guys are the ones who are actually doing it. And from what Kathleen and I have seen, especially those who you know, join us in the clubhouse, or really show up and do the work is that they're showing up and doing the work. And that is that for me, I know makes it worth the hours that Kathleen and I put into this thing is seeing what comes out of it whenever that message hits ears that are ready to actually do it.

Kathleen Shannon 29:22
I love that. I love that. All right, we have to hang up soon. I feel like I could talk to you for hours. But I want you to tell us about true you girls before you hang up because Emily and I care a lot about giving back and with the recent political climate. I think that people are stepping up more than ever and really wanting to find ways to blend their business model with giving back so I would love to hear a little bit about that.

Merideth Vansant 29:49
Oh shirt. Well, first of all, I am a survivor of adolescence. I feel like I barely made it through. And I I feel like the more and more I share my story of my teenage years. There's a lot of head nodding And me too. So I wish I would have had this yoga meditation and mindfulness tools growing up. So what we did is we took four or five yoga our for profit studios. And we created a not for profit spoke called True you, which does yoga meditation and mindfulness for teen girls. And it's trauma informed, it's body positive, it's empowering. It's creating those communities, of girls supporting other girls, we did it for free, because it was so meaningful to be able to go out into the community. Soon, the United Nations picked us up and we got picked up for a second year. So I'll be out in DC in July doing a 200 plus person event for the United Nations for teen girls across the country. But we started to do all of these, these great engagements with young girls who are if you need to get inspired and or refresh in your life, go hang out with some teen girls that want to change the world. And it's like, yes, that's a mic drop.

Emily Thompson 31:02

Merideth Vansant 31:03
you know, so we're doing all this work, and Lululemon found out what we were doing, and they gave us this huge grant. So we've been able to now roll out our program in DC, where we started Oklahoma City, and then St. San Francisco is rolling out in the fall. And we're training these teachers yoga teachers in these big cities. On the true you engagement model, which we created. The model is set to work with really any vulnerable youth population. We just created a true colors for LGBTQ youth. And we are starting to work with teen boys as well. And we go in we do yoga, meditation, mindfulness, true talks, which is journaling, goal setting. We don't really say F and fear but we definitely say we definitely say forget fear. And they they needed to they're scared of what people think just like we are as adults. The model has been successful, our efficacy numbers look great. We just rolled out in New Jersey for a temporary engagement at freehold High School. So we're kind of all over the country you can follow us on true you girls, our Instagram account i'd love I think it's on fire. You guys are like the bosses though. This, the big boss tribe would let us know what's up. But that's how we connect with our, our teen girls from around the country. And we love that it's part of 405 Yoga.

Kathleen Shannon 32:18
so inspiring. I love it. Do you feel like though that you had to bring on a whole new team are a whole new? I mean, does it feel like another 40 hours a week? If that makes sense? Does it feel like you're launching a whole new business? How do you have the bandwidth?

Merideth Vansant 32:34
We did, we created a really solid training program. And we started to delegate out all the work. And you will understand the higher and larger your business grows, the less you actually maybe get to do what you truly enjoy. I'm not in there teaching anymore, and playing Justin Bieber and journaling with these girls. Uh, you know, now I'm more so delegating are awesome instructors that we've trained into these engagements and getting to see the effects it's having on our instructors as well as the girls. It's pretty inspiring. They're amazing. Okay, I've

Kathleen Shannon 33:05
got one more question. Because you get a lot of publicity and recognition. And I'm sure other yoga studios could look at you and be like how like I'm doing these cool, amazing things. And even us as creative entrepreneurs have these, you know, whenever someone else lands, that amazing interview, or that conference gig or whatever it might be recognition, awareness attention. Are you showing up for those things, too? Do you have a system for pitching yourself? Or is it just happenstance that you're getting recognized because I started to realize, Oh, wait, these people are applying for these grants, these people are showing up for these things just as much as they're showing up for their clients. So I'd love to hear a little behind the scenes of that.

Merideth Vansant 33:48
Yes, and I know we don't have much time. But I'm so glad you brought that up. We have always been people first product. Second, always, we care more about the people coming through the door than we do about making $1. Now the conversion rate is great. If you care about the people, if you care about your team, your teachers, your shift leads, they're going to care about the clients. And you're you will do you do you will do well financially. I think because we've always been people first we've been in the community, we've had a lot of exposure. So use that as a tool for your advantage. create partnerships with the people that are already serving your community. And you'll get exposure that way. We had done so many free events for athleta, which I'm the brand ambassador for we have done so many free events for Lulu lemon for other women owned businesses in DC, that by the time it came to be oh we have extra money that needs to go to a meditation and mindful program in DC. Well, they had us on speed dial because we've been supporting for a few years now. So it's all about going in with the idea of serving community and gaining exposure that it will continue to compound and grow on itself.

Emily Thompson 34:51
And this is super reminiscent of we did a mini search recently on giving it all away for free and how important that is for our model. This idea Again, just showing up and giving and caring and doing the things whenever it comes time for people to need what it is that you do. You're obviously going to be the first person on their list whatever it may be.

Merideth Vansant 35:11
It's a savvy move as an entrepreneur to partner with people that want to grow and build. I that's how we really grow and get exposure is connecting with the people that are on the same track. We are

Emily Thompson 35:24
for sure. I love that.

Kathleen Shannon 35:26
Meredith, it has been so much fun talking to you. I have one more question.

Emily Thompson 35:32
One more one more question more.

Kathleen Shannon 35:35
Are you in Oklahoma now?

Merideth Vansant 35:36
I'm currently in Oklahoma City. Well, awesome. Coffee girl. You know where to find me. 405 Yoga Midtown.

Kathleen Shannon 35:43
I didn't realize that you were already open. Are you in the old? bar three spot? No.

Merideth Vansant 35:49
So we are in the same building as house Pizza Kitchen with the roof top. Mario's? Yes, we love it. So we're accepting our soft rollout. We've been open three weeks. And we're loving Oklahoma City that the people here rock. So we're thrilled to be kind of leaving our soft rollout and going into the grand opening. And then we launched in North Oklahoma City in a shipping container, this fall or spring depending on construction schedule.

Kathleen Shannon 36:15
I love that. Well, I will be there. Other than that, where can people find you?

Merideth Vansant 36:21
Yeah, so you can connect with me on instagram and facebook at Meredith Van Zandt, you can check out our studios 405 Yoga Instagram and Facebook and everybody go follow true girls. True girls, Instagram and Facebook.

Kathleen Shannon 36:33
Okay, and then one last question for Bill this time. What makes you feel most boss?

Merideth Vansant 36:40
Oh, what makes me feel most boss? This is the least sexy answer processes and procedures.

Emily Thompson 36:46
Yes, ma'am.

Kathleen Shannon 36:48
Totally unsexy as that answer is Emily Just got off.

Merideth Vansant 36:53
I mean, it's so true if my dad told me anything it was Listen man if you're going to scale grow and build Make sure your process and procedure is so spot on that as you grow, you're not compounding any issues, even if their minute everything we did if we was a success failure, it went back into the process doc and was reflected there.

Emily Thompson 37:14
Love is a beautifully smart man. I love it.

Unknown Speaker 37:17
He's great.

Kathleen Shannon 37:19
All right. Well, thank you so much for joining us. We've loved having you on the show.

Merideth Vansant 37:23
It's been a pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.

Kathleen Shannon 37:27
This episode of being boss was brought to you by fresh books, cloud accounting, thank you to fresh books for sponsoring us and you guys can try it for free by going to freshbooks comm slash being boss. Thank you for listening to being boss. Find Articles show notes and downloads at WWW dot being boss club.

Emily Thompson 37:48
If you're a creative entrepreneur, Freelancer or small business owner who is ready to take your goals to the next level, check out the being boss clubhouse, a two day online retreat followed by a year of community support, monthly masterclasses book club secret episodes and optional in person retreats. Find more at www dot being boss dot club flash clubhouse.

Kathleen Shannon 38:11
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Emily Thompson 38:29
do the work, the boss and we'll see you next week.