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Conversations with the Inspiring Laura Munkholm

Today we’d like to introduce you to Laura Munkholm.

Laura, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I straddled (ha… no pun intended but it’s a good one!) my corporate sales gig and the yoga world for about six years before diving full time into running a large studio in Solana Beach in 2012. That was really my launching point in the wellness industry. I taught at many studios over the years, and I was always amazed at how often they went out of business, changed owners, or were simply struggling financially. When I was hired to manage a studio, I was committed to bringing my business acumen and sales superpowers into the yoga world. We saw incredible results. We grew membership, revenue, and ultimately the studio community began to grow into something we were really proud of.

Once I had my second baby, I knew I needed something more flexible, and thought about helping other studio owners. I knew I had the formula down, and loved seeing the results of a thriving studio. So, I left the studio and began consulting for yoga, barre and fitness studios. It was incredible to see the response. I began networking with businesses that used MINDBODY software because it’s what I knew best, and I was able to leverage it for revenue growth at each business. Studio owners were over the moon grateful to just have someone that understood their world and had answers for them. We made changes, grew memberships, and took struggling businesses and turned them around. Wow… that sounds easy, but man it took work. And time.

As I consulted with more and more studios, I realized was that they all had the same challenges, and I desperately wanted to connect them somehow.

In 2016, as my business began to take off, I approached MINDBODY about creating a forum or online community for all of the owners that used their software. They were incredibly receptive, and along with the co-founder of MINDBODY and another consultant in Colorado, we launched MINDBODY One. I have managed and led the community since. It’s been really magic. Not only am I able to support all of the business owners in MINDBODY One through Studio Solutions, but I see them helping each other, and finding a tribe of like-purposed entrepreneurs.

Currently, I have a team of 3 other consultants and a VP of everything (her legit title…she is the glue that holds the team together). We work with Yoga, Barre and Fitness studios all over the world. In fact, I’m headed to Australia this month to speak at a conference on sales in the wellness world!

Has it been a smooth road?
Is it ever smooth for entrepreneurs (especially mompreneurs)? Hmmm, well, I think I went almost two years without a real night’s sleep, but other than that, smooth. LOL. Last year, my daughter asked me if I was ever going to put my suitcase away. Talk about a heartbreaker… After wiping away a few tears, I explained to her how hard my husband and I have to work for us to have all of the incredible things we have, and to live where we live. I wanted her to understand the value of money, but also know that she was more important than anything. I also talk to her about how important it is to use our brains, our hearts, and our hands to help the world around us, and that my work really does do all of that. It’s never easy to balance or manage kids, husband, friends, and work, but we have so many resources out there… we just have to ask for help.

One of my biggest challenges was that no one understood what I did at first. Consulting in my field was really, really new. There were a couple of other people working at MINDBODY who consulted on the side, but honestly, there was very little out there to support about 55K studios. I had to do a lot of explaining at first. It would take me many conversations to close a client (something I wasn’t used to). I struggled with imposter syndrome all the time. It felt like I constantly had to prove myself, and since I didn’t really have a lot to compare to, I was worried I wasn’t enough. I worried about my pricing and undervalued my time quite a bit at first. Whew, I could write a book on that now. Ladies, your time is insanely valuable, and you are probably worth way more than you are charging!

It was also challenging to convince a prospect that I could actually help them make more money. Some of these business owners hadn’t paid themselves in years, and here I was asking them to pay me. Now, I have testimonials from dozens and dozens of clients, but back then, it was just asking someone to take a major chance on me. But the results are so worth it. When I have a client tell me that they are opening a second location, or how they could give their teachers a raise, or that are taking a vacation for the first time in 5 years, it is magical. It’s all worth it.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Studio Solutions story. Tell us more about the business.
My work has probably affected many of you reading this article. If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, barre class or class at a boutique fitness facility, our team may have kept the doors open at that studio. Studio Solutions is a management consulting firm that specializes in sales process design, reporting, analytics, operations and leadership at Boutique Fitness and Yoga studios. We give studios the tools to become and stay profitable. But it’s way more than the money. We know that thriving studios impact their communities. When someone walks out of a yoga class, they are a little lighter, probably happier and less stressed. They might choose to smile at a stranger or choose not to get angry at a co-worker in a meeting. Those little moments have a ripple effect on every aspect of their personal and professional lives. It can all start by caring for themselves in a yoga or fitness class. We truly believe that a successful studio helps create a healthier, happier community around it.

I’m known for being the “behind the scenes” coach that is helping make the boutique fitness boom more than just a fad.

I am most proud of my clients. They work so incredibly hard because they care about you, their clients. They are so fiercely passionate about what they do that they simply had to take the risk and open a studio to help heal, strengthen, and support the people around them. When we start working together, it’s a lot for them to take on. Many of them have never run a business before. Many of them know little to nothing about sales and marketing, but they are damn good teachers. We have to start from scratch sometimes, and it can be vulnerable. I am in awe of the work they do.

What sets me apart is that I LOVE this industry and have lived in it for over a decade. I am also wildly competitive. I was a college volleyball player and have five brother and sisters. I want to succeed for these studios so badly it can drive me crazy (hence the no sleep). Those who know me, know that I love to lead, and I’ve set all of my goals around leading this industry forward. I want to see a healthier more peaceful world, and I genuinely believe that these business can help make that happen.

Do you have any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general? What has worked well for you?
Get out of your house. Get out of your office. Take your interactions offline. Talk to people! San Diego is full of networking opportunities. Especially for women. Early in my corporate sales career, I had to learn to network. I went to at least one networking event a week (where most of the attendees were men), and forced myself to have a meaningful conversation with at least five people each night. Not only did it help my sales, it gave me the confidence to communicate with people at all levels. I was regularly in a room with CFO’s and CEO’s as a 25-year-old and learned to love every second of it. What I learned most of all was to listen. To listen and to help other people with no expectation of a return favor. When you come from a place of genuine interest and caring, people feel it. Enjoy the process, too. You’ll meet some incredible people along the way!

Pricing:

  • Free 30 minute consult
  • Front Desk Staff Sales Training Video and Workbook: $499
  • One Month Strategy Package: $949

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
PHOCO

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Paul

    November 27, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    We love you Laura ❤️

    FF

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