Ever wanted to work for yourself? Have an idea that you think could really succeed in the fitness industry? We hear from Lauren Armes, founder of Welltodo on how she got to where she is today and how you can chase your dreams in this industry too!
How did the idea for Welltodo come about?
The first ‘version’ of Welltodo was actually a lifestyle blog which I started because I saw that wellness was beginning to really take off in London with new fitness studios, food/drink brands, activewear labels, and digital concepts popping up weekly — and nobody else was writing about it. After 8-9 months of treating it as a fun side project, I looked at the audience I’d built and realised that it was made up of entrepreneurs, brands and investors watching an industry emerge. And so I decided last September, to merge my passion for business and wellness and relaunch Welltodo as a B2B industry platform.
What was your first step in launching the business?
I remember launching Welltodo (it was a terrible wordpress template with a logo I designed myself in Microsoft Paint) and feeling so nervous about it going live — and yet so excited when after a few weeks, 100 or so people had visited the site. I laugh now, realising that the hardest part is always getting started! It wasn’t until many months later that I actually set Welltodo up as a business, figured out how to make money, and quit my day job.
I noticed that the wellness industry lacked a forum for all these incredible entrepreneurs to get together, be inspired, and learn how to build successful, high-impact businesses. So I asked Ella Woodward (now Mills) if she would be interested in talking about how she built the Deliciously Ella brand. To my surprise, she said yes. We sold out our first Welltodo event, and have continued that streak of success since. What I learnt is that business is about solving real problems, and if you look around, you’ll see there are plenty!
What was the biggest challenge you faced?
I’m currently facing my biggest challenge, which is scaling Welltodo beyond the UK. It means growing the team and taking risks. My ambition is for Welltodo to become a truly global resource for the wellness industry — and having not yet taken any outside investment, the challenge is sustaining this revenue-driven growth. As a sole founder, there are tough decisions that need to be made on a daily basis. It is a constant challenge and yet incredibly rewarding.
How long did it take for you to feel established in the market?
It is only in the last month or so that, as a team, we have felt that the Welltodo brand has become truly recognised for what it is. The wellness industry as it is now, is still quite niche in many respects (and investors are still catching up!) — and so we are always working to establish ourselves as an industry voice, and the process will continue as we expand outside the UK.
What has been the hardest part of setting up and running a successful business?
To be honest, the hardest part is committing to a single direction. The problem with being at the forefront of an exciting emerging industry, is the temptation to get sidetracked by every opportunity that comes our way. My team would attest to my tendency to get distracted by all the different rabbit holes we could go down. The hardest part is saying, ‘this is what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and we’re 100% focused.’
What advice would you give to someone looking to start a wellness business of their own?
I hear a lot of people say, “someone else is already doing what I want to do”, and there is this fear of getting started or not being successful right away. We tend to think small about ourselves, and for some reason we get fixated on what everyone else is doing and hold our lives up against theirs. My advice to anyone wanting to start a wellness business, is to remember that life doesn’t just happen to you, you create it. Focus on action, not the outcome, and just start. Put your full attention on this present moment, forget your past experience (or lack of it), and just go for it!
What can we expect to see from Welltodo in the next 5 years?
We’ll continue to grow our audience through more globally relevant digital content and reports. Our events are also destined for a wider audience, which means replicating what we do now, in other cities, and scaling our annual conference. The Welltodo Careers platform will also support wellness businesses in new markets, to attract top talent, and allow more people to become part of this exciting new industry! We have a lot to achieve, but wellness isn’t slowing down and neither are we!