Female Founder Series with Niafaraway.com
FEMALE FOUNDER SERIES - Hannah spoke with Nia about Equanimity, why she left the corporate world, her typical working day and the challenges of running a business. Check out the article below.
Equanimity is a wellness consulting service for businesses, events and retreats across the UK. Founder Hannah Holt decided to combine her corporate background and wellness passion, so she could inspire more people to feel better.
Tell us a little about your background and your role within Equanimity?
I spent the majority of my career in the corporate world working for large entertainment/media companies – BBC Worldwide, Fremantle Media, Warner Bros etc As I climbed the ladder so too did the workload and stress levels. I have always had a passion for yoga and fitness so I did my Yoga TT whilst I figured out what I wanted to do. An opportunity came up working for a wellness start up and part of that role was to recruit yoga instructors so I started to realise that many instructors I worked with found it hard to promote themselves. The concept of being a sales arm for instructors is really the essence of EQ, helping to create more opportunities for them and in turn making wellness more accessible in the workplace, events and retreats.
What incentivised you to start the company?
It was a case of less talk, more action. I decided to take the plunge spending the first 4 months building the website, researching the space, working on the brand and messaging. I officially started pitching early January.
Have you ever done anything like this before?
What do you predict for wellness in 2019?
We are at a fortunate time that there is now a good level of awareness, with organisations recognising the need to improve their employee wellness offering. Only a few years ago the word ‘wellness’ wasn’t as familiar as it is now, we also didn’t speak about mental health in the way we do today. With the millennial workforce now taking more leadership roles and growing in presence and power within organisations, the need to make changes to attract the younger talent is now at the forefront, as well as retaining the good. Mental health will soon be recognised and considered the same as physical health and with that, the necessary support will be mandatory in the workplace. Introducing ways to combat stress, reduce risk of burn out with proactive initiatives like increasing opportunity for exercise, offering mindfulness classes and working with healthcare providers that reward employees for completing health screenings, ensuring they eat well and get their steps in.
How do you promote and PR your business?
Through word of mouth, speaking at events, social media and linkedin.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
Each day is different and depends if I am working on a pitch or preparing for a talk. Approaching new businesses is a big part of the day at the moment, as well as pitching to events for speaking opportunities as I work to increase awareness. Research is factored in looking at new trends, mental health insight / surveys etc.
Practicing what I preach, I take 10 minutes out mid way through the day to revisit my goals and affirmations, using either a guided meditation, or sitting in stillness. At the end of the day I prepare content for tomorrow’s social posts and write my to do list for the following day, which is a great time saver.
What has been the hardest thing(s) about starting this latest venture? And how you’ve worked around the challenges?
Finding the right people to talk to and getting past the gatekeeper (receptionist) is the toughest part. I know I have a great product and there is an appetite there but many companies are still at the stage of knowing they need to make changes but not having a budget yet.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start in the health and wellness industry?
Research your category, check out your potential competitors, talk to people and see where the interest is. Read industry reports – The global wellness summit report it great for trends and rising categories.
What are your favourite brands right now?
Innermost – love their product and branding. Always have a soft spot for Nike and their innovation. Pretty Athletic again love the product and branding. Blok my favourite studio for offer, branding and experience.
What’s been your biggest achievement in life thus far?
Starting Equanimity, although I have a long way to go I am proud I took the leap.
And biggest lesson?
Acceptance of where I am and to not be too hard on myself. I have always set big goals and with a new business it’s a rollercoaster of emotions so when I first hit a dip, I really came down hard on myself. Now I just accept the tough days because I know the next day will bring new opportunities.
Who are your role models?
I have a few….love Tony Robbins for his no bullshit approach but on the flip side Louise Hay and her self love has pulled me out of a hole a number of times. Gabrielle Bernstein has taught me things I use everyday. Sir David Attenborough, I just love him full stop!
Did you have a mentor or people you asked for advice?
The Women in Wellness facebook group has been so great for me so thank you Lauren Armes. I met mentor/friend Christina Hunt through the group who supported me at the beginning. I also worked with Rachel Chatham from The Wellness Connect who has been amazing too and helped deliver my new website.
How has what you do, changed you as a person?
I am far more passionate about what I do and telling people about it. I would rarely talk about work in a social situation before but now I am much more vocal. I love the idea of helping whoever I talk to with sleeping tips, or how gratitude can change your mindset and why our body reacts to things in certain ways.
What are the top 5 books and blogs on your reading list?
Jay Shetty Podcast – great for wellness insight from both celebrities he has interviewed as well as scientists.
Thrive Global – wellness insight and I love reading everything from Adriana Huffington
Louise Hay – Love yourself heal your life – game changer for self doubt and self loathing
Robin Sharma – Monk Who sold his ferrari – amazing story
Tim Ferris – Tribe of Mentors – interviewed so many inspiring entrepreneurs, actors and business leaders, great for tips.
If you could do any other job, aside from what you do now, what would it be?
Always wanted to be an actress!
What’s yet to come?
Having more ownership in the corporate wellness space. Creating events and collaboration with wellness brands to raise awareness. Women’s Wellness is also a major focus, we are working with experts in the menopause arena to support women with yoga and mindfulness techniques so we can avoid more women having to quit their careers because they can’t cope.
Do you have any unconventional words of advice?
Live in the present moment for that is all you can control. By focusing on your breath, even for one conscious inhale, you are in the present moment. Accept what is, let go of what was and have faith in what will be!
What is your motto?
I have many of these too, right now it’s – Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.
If money and time were no object, what would be on your to-do and to-see list?
Travel to as many places as possible and at each destination…after practicing yoga and a few margaritas, I would organise a mass plastic clean up with everyone on the beach. Every little helps!