AURA AMBITION :: HANG ZEN YOGIS :: RIDE THE WAVE OF WELLNESS
AURA AMBITION is a series of interviews on female entrepreneurs who are passionate, determined and committed to building their own version of success by living life full of intention and purpose. This Aura Ambition post spotlights the entrepreneurial spirit and growth of Kathryn McCann, CEO of Hang Zen Yogis. Hang Zen Yogis is a corporate yoga and wellness company that coutures unique experiences for every type of workplace setting; proving the power of movement has no limitations!
AURA: As we are all things beauty, brains and business, give us some background on who you are, what your brand is and when you made the decision to become an entrepreneur.
KATHRYN: I was a professional ballet dancer for the majority of my life, so my love for movement and artistic expression has always been very important to me. At the age of 30, I retired from the ballet world and was at a loss for where I wanted to go from there. It’s difficult to find your path or purpose in life after studying something so specific. I always taught ballet to supplement my income but I knew there was something else out there for me. I knew I was put on this planet to make a change in the world. That’s when I decided to take a yoga teacher training. Yoga completely changed my life for the better. I was searching for something more profound and meaningful, and yoga gave me that outlet mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Since it changed my life so drastically, I decided to start my own corporate yoga business, to benefit the health and wellbeing of employees working long hours in the office place. It brings me great joy to know I founded a company that helps so many people in need.
AURA: When it comes to emerging brands, audiences only tend to see the glamorous side of doing business. Which is great, but in reality, it’s only about 2 percent of what the work actually looks like. Give us a description of a normal day operating Hang Zen Yogis.
KATHRYN: There is so much that goes into teaching the classes on a daily basis with Hang Zen Yogis, but there is a lot of ground work that requires a lot of my time and energy. For instance, I’m constantly looking for ways to expand the business beyond the current accounts that I currently have. The growth of the business is very important to me, therefore I’m always looking for ways to network and reach a broader target audience.
AURA: How has social media affected your career and where do you see its importance taking a role in the development of your brand through the next years of business?
KATHRYN: Social media has been a crucial part of expanding my brand. I’m constantly posting pictures of different yoga postures and inspirational quotes to create a larger following and capture the interest of the San Diego community.
AURA: Offline, what hurdles have you had to overcome and what do you foresee in the future that may challenge your brand? How do you get people to be open to ‘Corporate Yoga’?
KATHRYN: My main obstacle has been convincing certain companies and their Human Resource departments that yoga is crucial to the health, wellbeing, overall fulfillment and job satisfaction of their employees. Once I can set up a “free trial class” to spark the interest of employees, the rest is easy! The challenge is getting my foot in the door, so to speak. After that, the yoga works for itself.
AURA: How do you stay organized within your business as well as your personal daily routine?
KATHRYN: My personal daily routine is just as important as keeping up with my business. The two go hand in hand. Although I teach several classes a day, I always find time to develop my own personal practice as well as maintaining my other hobbies such as stand up paddling, meditation, functional fitness, pilates, hiking, biking, journaling, vision boarding, modeling, cooking, juicing, etc.
AURA: What are your favorite phone apps?
KATHRYN: My favorite phone apps are Shazam for developing new music for my playlists, Uber for affordable and safe transportation, and Instagram to expand my brand and connect with the world.
AURA: If there’s anything you could change about your industry what would it be?
KATHRYN: There are a lot of stereotypes in regards to the yoga industry. I wish I could change the mindset or overall impression that “you have to be flexible to practice yoga” or “thin” or “young” to develop a practice. The beauty of yoga is that it works for EVERYONE and my goal is to convey that message.
AURA: What are some of your biggest accomplishments as a business owner?
KATHRYN: My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is maintaining my classes on a weekly basis and getting more and more students onto their mats. I’m constantly developing different postures, music, challenges, props, ideas, formats, workshops, etc. The key is to keep it fresh and lively each and every week so the classes expand as opposed to dwindling.
AURA: What mistake(s) have you made with your business? What did you learn from the experience?
KATHRYN: I’ve made a few mistakes with the business but that’s all a part of the learning curve. One thing I can’t become too attached to is the fact that most companies don’t have the wellness budget to support a concept such as this. They expect the employees to pay for the classes out of pocket as opposed to paying me for the service and offering it to their employees for free to boost job satisfaction, team morale, and reduce health care costs.
AURA: What is your most meaningful memory since starting Hang Zen Yogis?
KATHRYN: My most meaningful memory thus far was asking my students to write testimonials for my website, Hang Zen Yogis.
The response was overwhelming.
I never knew how much the classes were affecting my students so it was rewarding to get that confirmation.
AURA: What’s your next goal?
KATHRYN: My goal is to start hiring other instructors to teach the classes for me. There are only so many classes I can instruct on my own, so it’s a matter of teaming up with the right people to represent the company and brand in other locations. I find that companies are particularly interested in hosting classes from 12-1 during lunchtime hours or 5:15-6:15 after work hours. I definitely forsee, hiring other instructors within the 2016 calendar year.
AURA: In your opinion, what are key traits every female entrepreneur should aspire to have personally and professionally?
KATHRYN: Positive key traits or attributes are vital to being a successful business owner. I find that the more authentic and relatable I am to my students, the more they show up for me. Being kind, compassionate, funny, witty, and inspirational are also important to my success.
AURA: What advice on personal image do you have for women when it comes to what we wear? What is your dressing style in everyday life?
KATHRYN: I’m lucky that my wardrobe consists of being in yoga pants on a daily basis! I tend to wear leggings such as Mahiku Activewear or Teeki that have really fun prints and then tone it down with a solid colored top. It’s important to maintain a healthy looking physique when acting as a role model in the yoga industry so I tend to choose yoga outfits that compliment my best physical attributes in a professional way.
AURA: Do you have any start-up advice you can share with women reading this who would like to launch their own businesses?
KATHRYN: My advice is to be original, authentic, and passionate. I’m lucky that I developed a niche in the yoga industry that is fairly new and there’s no other competition within my genre. There are a lot of yoga studios within San Diego, but as far as I know there is no other mobile corporate yoga company.
Join the Movement – Ride the Wave of Wellness
Image Credits: All images provided by Kathryn McCann from her beautiful adventures and yoga experiences!
XOXO – The Girls
Chelse K & Ivy C