Elaine Hart - Creating human connection through the screen
In this episode Elaine Hart talks about creating human connection 'through the screen' by offering a very unique combination of fitness, connection and coaching.
Tony Radford 0:00
Hello everybody. Today I'm joined by Elaine hearts of power fitness. events.com that's power fitness events calm. Elaine, how are you today?
Elaine Hart 0:12
Really well, Tony Yeah. How are you? Beautiful day here in Chichester?
Tony Radford 0:16
Yeah, it's the same here in Nantwich actually. And for those who are listening, Elaine is actually on a on a on a she's actually pedaling on you at the same time.
Elaine Hart 0:28
I am pedaling, actually pedaling.
So I'm pedaling a spinning bike. And simply the reason for that is that it's my, it's my happy place. I'd like to think it's where I speak my sense as well. And for me, it's, it's a tool. So my passion is human connection. Yeah. And I you know, simply power coaches, physical and mental strength from the bike. So what you might think of as spinning I never wanted power to be But for me, coaching from the bike is, is you know, works from a from a physical point of view. But very much recently because of lockdown, I'm now writing power online as a no bike concept. So the bike is just a tool. Great. Okay. And it's a tool for human connection.
Tony Radford 1:23
Okay, so Yeah, I was gonna ask you if you could tell us about your your business.
Elaine Hart 1:27
Yeah, absolutely. So.
So I had a career in luxury brands most cheaply for 14 years. And that's a funny, fantastic experiences. It's incredible people travel etc. But it was never really what set my soul on fire. So I sort of built my vision board from about 2012. And it wasn't till eight years later, that I actually bought the bike. And I peeled off my vision board what is now powered power was originally thought to be a blank from bananas business. And there's a reason for the bananas and I have one right here, never far away. So the idea was to create a small, initially a small group activity centered around the bike. And I was going to build it over the winter and launch it in the spring in the spring came along and COVID-19 and you know that that was never going to be possible. And the reason that I want a bike today that's good because that was the inspiration for power on line. So um, you know, he had huge respect for the fitness businesses that took fitness in quotes and took it online overnight. But for me, I wanted to well, initially I thought it just wouldn't work for me because the bikes and bananas is all about real human connection, and I couldn't see a way of creating real human connection screen. But equally, I knew that it was connection that was needed more than ever before. So I took a step back. And I thought to myself, well, the bike is just a tool. So perhaps I could launch it as a no bike concept. Which is what I did. But but sort of getting me there was the idea that I could join a zoom, call a business call, and be in my home office, and my home office is being on a bike. And I remember the first time I rocked up from those calls, and somebody sent me a message on, you know, private message and said, Are you marketing Are you exercising? Which really took me aback because for me, I wasn't doing either. You know, for me, I just needed to be on my bike. You know, I've overcome some of my hardest challenges and have some of my happiest memories on the bike. And so I just needed to be on my bike. And from that, I thought, Well, hey, perhaps this this thing could be, you know, I could include people that had different form of movements, not everybody's got a spinning bike. So perhaps they could walk and they could run. And they could mow their lawn and they could walk their dog or they could do the housework, whatever form of movement, but they could make the decision to put down their phone for 45 minutes, and ride in quotes. So that's what I do. So I set up my bike for 45 minutes, six times a week. And it's the community that has, has, you know, grown from that in the last 10 or 11 weeks. And the success stories that come from it haven't been about fitness. It's been about community and connection. And, you know, the, sort of some of the best success stories have come from people who don't typically fit a mold or fitness mold, you know, whatever that may be, you know, it's a new normal, it's all these sort of things, but you know, that they're not typically the people you would see in a spinning in a spinning class in quotes, and that's because Fail bad, the drawer of the community?
I think, you know where I've, where I've come from with that is that the bike is simply a tool and how it is, I would describe now as a family with a side order of fitness. Because it is, you know that that's the draw. And yeah, I mean, it's working. You know, it's, it's, I think what's interesting about it is I, you know, as I mentioned, I have this huge respect to people that took fitness online. But often their solution was quite simple in the sense that it was maybe a speaker in the living room. And it wasn't a sustainable solution. I think what I've found is that I've actually got, you know, something I can add as a string to the business. You know, so I've got the real bikes and bananas business. And I've got the online business.
Tony Radford 5:56
Yeah, well, tell us about oven.
Elaine Hart 6:00
Yeah, what's been on this thing was
so my background is his client experience and events. And the way in which I wanted to present real bikes and bananas was a silent set up. So everybody wears headphones. And it's therefore very immersive. And it's also it doesn't impact the surroundings, you know, in an in a negative way. It's a beautiful spectacle. But it could be workplaces, it could be festivals, you know, community spaces, and that's the environment in which I wanted to take the bikes and set up so the presence of the bikes was the silent aspect. And the fact that everybody was immersed and very much into their their workout. But the banana on the bike would have a word or a message on it. And when they arrived, so you'd arrive with your bike and there would be a banana on the bike. And the idea was that you would ride for 45 minutes. And then at the end of the ride, you'd refuel with a banana. And you would talk about the word or the message that was on your banana. And it was a real moment of connection, and had a couple of guys that came and ride with me in the garbage. And one was a real, you know, the guy on his banana that he found on his bike was loved. And there was another guy in the class and, you know, at the end of the session, we, we said, okay, well, you know, get together we'll have a photo with your banana. And it seemed like the most simple, almost ridiculous idea to jump in a photo with a banana with a word on it. But this guy was, you know, going with his stories we will have our stories would not get in a photo with a banana that said the word loved on it. The other guy on the ride said with I'll swap your banana off What my banana with you. And this guy had the banana that said, unstoppable. And the the guy that had the love banana was absolutely he was happy to swap his banana because for him, he'd happily jump in a photo with a banana that said, unstoppable, but would not with the word love. And when he left, I said, you got that banana because you are so loved. And I said, Thank you to the other guy for making him feel really welcome. Make him feel that he belongs making feel comfortable. and allowing him to process whatever he needed to process to get to the point at which he would be comfortable with having the word loved on his banana. So they've sort of simple things actually really powerful. And just one other example I had a lady and she'd been riding with me for a few weeks. And she booked on and then she sent me a message saying just really struggling this week. I'll be that tonight but I just can't find my mojo. I said that's okay. We'll find it. We'll find it. And she rocked up at the ride. And on her banana had the word Mojo. And I just said, I told you we'd find it. And she, you know, it's detail. It's that feeling of being expected, belonging, sparking that interest. You know, for example, I put the word passionate on a banana. And then I follow up with the rider and say, What are you passionate about? And they say, Oh, that's really interesting. Yeah, thanks, thanks for sort of, you know, prompting that and, and they brought me something, you know, in reply. And so, you know, the banana became very much more than just a gimmick that sits on the bike. And so now with online, I encourage people to bring their own banana. So BYOB and people will rock up, and they've got, you know, word on their banana and I'll say, Okay, this is great, you know. So, welcome to the ride. Welcome to power. What's your ride? Are you running? Are you walking? What are you up to? Are you on your outdoor bike? And have you brought a banana It's not compulsory, but it's encouraged and they'll have a word on their banana. And I'll try and thread that into the ride, you know, which is, which is, you know, it's a nice opportunity to make it very real to make it very current. And to bring in the energy that they've brought to the ride. So that's a nice, you know, nice sort of, you know, feeling again, of connection, even through a screen. Because I have an idea of what I want to talk about, but it's what people bring, you know, it's their story is their energy. It's a banana, you know, and we will do that, but it's also bear scenery. So, that's the beautiful thing of online is that it's not just to just stare anymore. You know, it's London, it's Brighton, it's Auckland, it's Melvin, it's Sydney.
You know, and that's the power of zoom. So, that's been really interesting and I'm able to cue in footstep, I'm able to cue in pedal strokes and I'm able to cue in their scenery. Everybody's got memories of London, everybody's got memories of the beach, everybody's, you know, so I'm able to talk about that and bring in those of the sensory aspects which during lockdown, particularly when people weren't able to get out, they may be shielding, or they want exercise a day. You know, it's a really nice opportunity for them to,
you know, to experience that and to share that adventure.
Tony Radford 11:22
Interesting, you have a very unique collection of services isn't quite the right word, but but the whole of what you're offering is, is very rich and unique, I think.
Elaine Hart 11:37
Thank you. Yeah. I mean, if, if
it is down to the, you know, it's down to that, you know, I can be the spark I could be the ignition, but it is down to the people that say yes. You know, that that's what it comes down to. And it's just, you know, because people say to me, I don't really understand how I can be part of this quote unquote spinning class. When you're when I don't have a bike, and I'll say just just try, you know, and it's getting them over that, that hurdle and then just sort of saying to them, Look, you know, the way we do one thing is the way we do things, the way you show up to the ride, is the way you show up to your life. And, you know, for them, they've got various different aspects and you know, going on with their lives, but the strength that they can find within their 45 minutes, in terms of whatever movement they're doing, and people say, I run further, I cycle further, you've brought such meaning to my dog walk, you know, these kind of things. And you think, yeah, but all of this energy you can take into your day, you know, you can share it with your home. You know, you can, you can just bring that off the bike. Now, which again is why, you know, if you didn't if you couldn't see me, would you know that we were set on you know, sort of stuff. Like, you know, it's very much more about the message that you're delivering, and the energy you're giving out. And sort of sharing that really and, and in, you know, inspiring people. But for me, it's the motivation of the people that inspire me. You know, I love the fact there's such a mixed bunch all fitness at all fitness levels, all ages, all sizes, you know, every everybody, you know, I my message really is Come as you are, celebrate who you are, you know, and to see sort of the journey that people are on and, you know, how it's empowered them is really what power is all about. So, being able to deliver it as a no bite concept of and you know, not only sort of, you know, get given that message of inclusivity but it's demonstrating that this was never about a bunch of spinning bikes. For me, it was about empowerment and, you know, any any movement you know, it's there to be celebrated. And any opportunity that that that, you know, we have the gift of another day. And you can wake up and you can decide that you want to start your day with what has become your power family. There are people that weren't even morning, we would never go out in the rain. You know, simple things like that, you know, it's just because the draw of that feeling of belonging and that feeling of connection is so strong.
Tony Radford 14:27
That's really, really great. Thank you for that. I was going to ask you, what would be one of the biggest challenges that you've faced? Is it still is COVID or
Elaine Hart 14:39
has to be in the sense that I was gearing up to launch a business that was very much real. And you know, I'm now delivering a business that is very much virtual. But couldn't be realer. Do you know that's that's, I think that's the thing that sort of smacked me in the face. Really. So That has to be the biggest challenge. I think the other challenge is the fact that it's just me. So I don't have a team of people, I just have a lot of passion. And, you know, in whatever way that I can deliver it, I will deliver it. So my, my focus now is just simply to, to grow the family and to maintain the feeling of connection. So, you know, because I'm very mindful of the fact that the bigger again, and that's absolutely what I want. I so it's a, you know, it's a bigger job, for me to make those people feel as important as the next person as special as the next person. As you know, their contribution matters as much as the next person. I mean, it's, you know, 70% of people are not on a spinning bike. You know, so, those sort of numbers, you know, that that's where the potential comes in terms of the fact that This is not simply for lockdown. You know, this is people have been running, people have been walking their dogs people have been mowing their lawns, before lockdown. And if I deliver a community that's strong enough, there's no reason that this can, you know, cannot continue as a strength to the business. So, you know, what I will have been a power in the garbage was never meant to be a thing, you know, that's the home introduced. That was just a testbed and that, you know, people were saying we really like it can can we continue it? It says it's as real and roars you can see around me, you know, it's that it's masonry, white painted all you know, it's simply a guarantee my car fits in the guaranteed next sort of invite. No, but it became people's greatest safe space and their greatest adventure and white walls, you know, simple face. So it's about, you know, what you can create to those people and I think the immersive nature of having the headphones on and very much locked in Absolutely assisted with that. So, so we'll have power in the garbage will have power on line. And then power to you, which is the workplaces, the festivals and the community spaces I'll be out and about with the bikes and bananas surreal. And I think getting out in nature you know, I mean my background is events so I want to be spinning under the full moon. I want to be on some you know, Sunset on the beach, I want to be out in the forest, you know, wherever we can get the bikes, I will get the bike and wherever we call and get the bikes, we'll do everything else that we can do, you know, as I say, the bike is just a tool and you know, to have that feeling of connection with nature can only enrich what what I'm trying to achieve. So the mental health benefits which i think you know, is what this is all about. Is is key.
Tony Radford 17:52
Are you are you on the bike every day?
Elaine Hart 17:55
Absolutely. At least once a day
Yeah. As much as I can be, I mean, I'm writing six times a week online. And mornings of my favorite. So morning rides are absolutely locked in. And then I do a couple of evenings. But generally the mornings people like to set their day up for the 7am during the week, and the the ACM on a Saturday seemed to work really nicely. But I will always ride and then if I'm not writing scheduled ride, I ride request a ride. So you know if there was, for example, I think there could be real benefits for corporates in terms of team builders. So if they want to sort of run a bespoke ride, or group ride experience that's not on the schedule. Then, you know, typically, I can ride five times a day and I will coach on the bike or off the bike. You know, I know that that's sort of my typical capacity is five rides a day and I'll coach a minimum of two on the bike. But what I actually know notices that because of a mental nature, and that you know that brain power and the fact that now I've proved that you don't need to be on a bike. I've proved that to myself about yourself. So, being out sort of in the trenches, if you like, you know, in, you know, in the face, and being able to absorb that energy and coach from the floor is another opportunity that I found thank you to, you know, the lockdown experience they've had. So I think from a scalability and a capacity point of view from a business point of view, I think that's really interesting.
Tony Radford 19:38
Yeah, and all your services and the way that people book with you, they're all available on car fitness events calm, are they? That's right. Yeah. Okay. Yeah.
Elaine Hart 19:50
And I would say it's probably most active through direct messenger aside from the website as well on Instagram. So yeah, either of those channels works really well.
Tony Radford 20:00
What is one thing you wish someone had told you when you started out?
Elaine Hart 20:06
I have, as I'm sure will come across because I could talk about this for hours is I have a huge amount of passion. I'm also highly impatient. I want to be growing this incredible family feeling a lot quicker than is probably feasible. So I think patience is is ultimately what I wish I, you know, could adopt a little bit more of
from a very simplistic point of view.
I, you know, this is it sounds very, very shallow, but ultimately, it's something that actually I've said out loud, I wish I knew that sooner. And that's probably because I'm very much in the in the business of detail and brand presence and how things look. And that's the fact that I just wish I knew how to caption Instagram would line breaks. And I wish I wish I knew that how your grid looks visually is actually really important. So very simple things like that, just you know, useful, especially when how I've been doing things is it's just me, you know, so everything from the logo through to the marketing through to the ride through to the follow up. Okay. Canva is a great tool, and I love it, you know, but I've learned how to use it. I've learned how to build my website, I've learned all of these things. But when you put so much into something, just little, sort of gems of simple knowledge would go a long way. So yeah, just something simple like that. But overall, I think it's just a patient thing. I think, you know, there's that whole thing of don't check, you know, compare your chapter one with everyone else's chapter 28. You know, I say on the bike is one of the warmup track I talked about. Nobody Parsons, no expectations. This is Tuesday, this is Wednesday, this is Thursday. You know, that's the whole thing. So, you know, if my mind and my body is different today to how it was yesterday and how it was tomorrow, and each one of that, you know, I can't compare it.
A lot of things I talk about on the bike,
I'm saying to myself, you know, those are the, you know, sharing experiences and it's sharing that mindset training that, um, you know, it's probably an interesting one for me.
Tony Radford 22:31
Okay, so the next step for your business.
Elaine Hart 22:35
Yeah, so I will continue to ride online for as long as people want to write online. And so for me, I want to take advantage of time zones. So on the online strand of the business, the moment you know, I can write here as simply as we can right in Australia. And we we arrive at sunrise in the UK and we ride with sunset in Australia, but you know, I've had some experience with the west coast of the states and For example, I want to look at time zones and look at how I can create a community. It's relevant to them. So I look at online time zones. And then I will look at opportunities to sensitively and appropriately approach corporate, because I think there's a lot of fellow staff about the, you know, corporate is doing a fantastic job of keeping them connected. I think what power provides is something that's a little bit innovative, and a little bit creative. That could be a real boost to what they're trying to do to, you know, those of a fellow staff who suddenly find themselves out on a limb. And if they're suddenly expected to, you know, just sort of fit back into a routine into a team. You know, the corporate sensei as much as they've got a program in place to do something a little bit fun on the team. The side would be useful to them. So I absolutely want to explore that. I don't think festivals are going to be an opportunity until next year, but festivals are looking to for the longer term community spaces. So private parks for example, a lot easier in my experience and very limited experience because I was building over the winter launch in the spring but private areas and parks and spaces. Again, just sort of exploring avenues for taking the bikes outside and having that connection with nature. So yeah, power to you will be my focus because, you know, since we can do the real thing, I will, the guarantee will always be here for as long as I live in this house. So that will always be a magical and original space for me. And then the online. excitement for me is in the time zone. Right? Time is to me is how often I can ride my bike. Um, where do you know that And I, you know, I'm grateful to the power of technology for allowing that to happen.
Tony Radford 25:05
No, that's excellent. Thank you very much. If somebody gave you 500 pounds now to spend on marketing, how would you spend it? Do you think?
Elaine Hart 25:13
I absolutely believe in online? I think you know, you've got the biggest opportunity, the biggest bang for your buck, I guess. SEO, I think is an interesting topic that I'm looking to explore. For me, because power is always going to be rooted in real humans. For me, there would have to be an aspect of, of that real human thing. And that would come back to the simplistic not only word of mouth because that's a difficult tangible investment. For me at the moment, taking the time to invest in people and to create that word of mouth is small scale. But actually have such a you know, Deep Impact I think are such a you know, it's got some real gravitates, if you like, so many people have talked to me about, you know, I'd love to be able to simply just, you know, fliers or, you know, branded vests or something which, you know, for me at the moment is still is still a thing because I haven't officially launched, you know, I had no database before power online 10 weeks ago. And so it's all simply be online, you know, that would be my number one, but I think there's still the place for old school methods of marketing and methods of marketing that lock into my values of power, which is always what I'm going to bring it back to, you know, that I've spent, you know, eight years creating this in my mind. So I'm very clear on you know, what's important to the brand. And that's people. Right. And, you know, that's so it's difficult to quantify that and it's difficult to put a price on that and I don't I'm not sure you can think the simple answer is absolutely online and then the the rest you know, still absolutely consideration for me.
Tony Radford 27:01
What about a mentor business mentor do to have one or a support group or something like that.
Elaine Hart 27:07
So I have a couple of local groups who I absolutely would love to credit because they're one of the reasons that I started online because they were actually the opportunities to have the online catch up. So the beginning of lockdown. So that's the collective. And the last Friday club, both face introduced. So I've recently started looking at sort of, you know, networking clubs further afield because again, you know, have the accessibility with power online. But it will always come back to the collective. I have a lot of riders from there. The people that actually set up the collective ride with me every week, and last Friday clubs, so those, you know, those are my anchors, if you like doing lots of them, as you know, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I'm absolutely locked into meeting with them. And so that's been, you know, it's been a fantastic inspiration. Aside from that, I was very fortunate former life to be mentored by john Surtees who was the man to both to win both World Championships on two and four wheels. Personally and professionally for me, we, you know, we he was he was incredible in my life and and I've always said I think if you've experienced that you've experienced the, you know the mentor role in your life, whether that's the impact you've had on somebody or you know, probably most significantly the impact somebody has had on you. There aren't really any words that you can ascribe to them because john is still there in my head, you know, every decision I make. But for me, he was he was simply john, you know, I have no attachment whilst I admired his incredible ability on the track. And in business, you know, aside from his, you know, time on the track, it was just it was him and, you know, for him to say That voice will always be in my head with all the decisions I make. So, yeah, I mean, if they're not here, they're always here here. You know, that's the kind of thing for me. And that's definitely the way it is for john.
Tony Radford 29:12
Okay, thank you. Yeah. Can you give us one actionable sales tip?
Elaine Hart 29:18
I think, I think Yeah, we're here to experience life to its fullest. And I would say that the only way that we can do that is to be the truest version of ourselves. And I think quite often the word sales can not sort of inspire the greatest of integrity. And, you know, in the best possible way, you know, sweeping generalization, the stereotype, whatever you you know, however you will, but I think if we can bring sales back to integrity, delivering a very honest message, and a very consistent message, listening to what, what the client wants You know, having one of the things again, I talked about on the bike is listening with the same passion you have for being heard.
And I think without listening,
you know, you're not going to be able to sell
because you're not going to know what your customer needs.
So I think, listen, you know, and use their words, you know, you've you've, you know, adopt what's important to them. And again, just be sensitive and, and be patient. You know, it comes back to that, that again, you know, and trust the process, you know, it's, it's, you know, I, I've never been a big believer in big, you know, quick wins. And, yeah, I think that that would be my message, I think. I'd say not particularly salesy.
Tony Radford 31:00
Yeah, but actually the way things used to be, are fading away pretty rapidly. And a new kind of almost a paradigm that's typical word, but the way that I mean people, people don't like being salty. Well, some people do. But in general, it's more to do with the kind of things that you were talking about than overcoming the objections and, and persuading people to buy the thing that you're trying to sell. And that's very much in the past, I think. And your approach that you mentioned, touches upon the kind of way that I think people from now onwards, really, that will start will serve them better than, you know, the way things used to be. So, no, thank you very much for that. Okay. Thanks, Elaine. That was really interesting. discussion, and it was very interesting to hear your take on many of these issues, which is you know, pretty unique take and your your business is a very unique business as well. And I really, really wish you a lot of success with it. I think it's a really great model that you're putting together. And it'd be interesting to see.
Elaine Hart 32:15
Yeah, well no, that's it. And I'm, you know, grateful for this opportunity because it is still early days for me. So, it's gonna be interesting to see how things are driving forward.
Tony Radford 32:26
Great. Thank you.
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