Julie Rice — Co-Founding SoulCycle, Taming Anxiety, and Mastering Difficult Conversations (#372)

“There is no elevator to success; you have to take the stairs.”

— Julie Rice

Julie Rice (@julierice_) is an entrepreneur best known for co-founding the fitness phenomenon SoulCycle. Julie served as Co-CEO at SoulCycle from 2006 to 2015 before joining WeWork in November 2017.

Julie’s life’s work has been about building community, and these days she brings that focus to her new role at WeWork. At WeWork, Julie is approaching everything through the lens of community—she is focusing on WeWork’s brand and the experience WeWork provides its members, and seeking new and innovative ways to grow and share the WeWork experience around the globe.

Julie lives in NYC with her husband Spencer and their two daughters, Phoebe and Parker. She is a board member of The Public Theater and Weight Watchers, as well as an advisor to the women’s club The Wing.

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Castbox, or on your favorite podcast platform.

#372: Julie Rice — Co-Founding SoulCycle, Taming Anxiety, and Mastering Difficult Conversations
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Want to hear another episode with someone who knows how to build an enticing atmosphere into a business model? — Listen to my interview with hospitality mogul Liz Lambert, in which she talks about balancing the desire to be an artist with the desire to be a business tycoon. (Stream below or right-click here to download):

#320: The Art of Hospitality: An Interview With Entrepreneur and Hotelier Liz Lambert
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE

  • Connect with Julie Rice:

 Instagram | LinkedIn

SHOW NOTES

  • Julie was a nerdishly well-behaved child…except for this one time. [06:35]
  • What was Julie’s life like the year before cofounding SoulCycle? [09:28]
  • What were Julie’s duties as a talent manager in her former life, and what were some of her better decisions in that role? [13:37]
  • One of Julie’s better skills in life: people picker. [15:03]
  • How many clients does a successful talent manager usually have under their wing? [17:22]
  • What did Julie see in Ellen Pompeo that made her pursue her as a client, and how does it tie in with what she looks for in people who work for her in different capacities today? [19:04]
  • How did SoulCycle formulate as a concept and become something real in just four months? [20:49]
  • The Sunday $200 ATM ritual and how money was handled in the early days of SoulCycle. [23:44]
  • How did the name “SoulCycle” come about, and were there any serious alternatives in the running? [29:01]
  • How did Julie and Elizabeth decide on the business model that made SoulCycle stand out from its big box gym contemporaries at the time? [29:42]
  • Early good decisions. [31:35]
  • How lack of space in the first SoulCycle room created an accidentally positive environment for human connection and moving meditation. [33:08]
  • What value did Julie and Elizabeth find in having a life coach help them at this stage in the business? [34:48]
  • While initially skeptical about seeing a coach, what sold Julie on the deal at the first meeting? [41:26]
  • What Julie has learned about fostering a company culture and a family life (thanks to some help from Hendrix and Hunt’s Getting the Love You Want) that make conflict resolution go smoothly and constructively. [44:31]
  • Why Julie considers Simon Sinek’s Start with Why so helpful for people trying to communicate in the workplace. [52:18]
  • How SoulCycle’s investment in the careers of its instructors engendered true loyalty and made the company stand out as an innovator in the fitness industry. [55:24]
  • Why did Julie and Elizabeth resist the urge to take outside investment money early on, and how did it shape the way business — particularly marketing — was done? [57:27]
  • How a little creativity gave a marketing experiment in Bridgehampton much better ROI than a $75,000 magazine ad ever could have — and turned SoulCycle from a scrappy startup into a bona fide sensation. [1:05:14]
  • Why finally accepting outside cash infusion from Equinox was seen as a good idea for the business at this time. [1:08:49]
  • Bad uses of time and money and rolling with the consequences. [1:10:45]
  • Think you don’t have time to meditate? Here’s how Julie does her daily meditation in 16 seconds. [1:16:15]
  • The number one thing that keeps Julie from buckling under stress and anxiety. [1:17:54]
  • A new weekly ritual that helps reframe Julie’s family life and bring everyone closer together. [1:21:50]
  • What SoulCycle’s eight-week training program strives to instill in its instructors, and what this brings to the overall SoulCycle experience. [1:26:27]
  • What does a curriculum designed around developing spiritual, emotional leaders look like? [1:29:30]
  • Books Julie recommends and gifts frequently. [1:31:39]
  • What is Julie currently most excited about — professionally, personally, or in-between? [1:32:43]
  • What would Julie’s billboard say? [1:35:20]
  • Closing thoughts. [1:36:50]

PEOPLE MENTIONED

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with over 400 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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12 Replies to “Julie Rice — Co-Founding SoulCycle, Taming Anxiety, and Mastering Difficult Conversations (#372)”

  1. Hi Tim. Love your shows and I’ve been a follower for quite a while. Your work has and still have a great impact in my life. I added my support with $19 a month. I would say that I find it to be in the upper limit for me personally. I can see myself opt out if I find my self not listening so much in the future (that happens some times). So I would just share with you that for me a $10 per month option would, most likely, be something I would keep paying even though I’m not so much of an active listener. Keep up the good work!

  2. Hi Tim! Thanks for another strong interview.

    That said, let me second what bonsaykris wrote. I suggest you add a lower level of support, $10 or even less. After all, your marginal cost per subscriber must be close to zero.

    I’m a podcast addict. I listen to over 60. I do value your interviews, but I also value the time it takes to listen! I’m always looking for a reason to cut one from my roster.

    I have to think you would get more than twice as many supporters with a lower minimum. I suppose you could try an A/B test. Perhaps I’m being naive and you already have!

    1. I suspect Tim would get less income if he dropped the levels. Folks who would stretch to $19 might only donate $5 or $10 if it were offered. It also builds a list of people who are likely to buy future offerings; the “1000 true fans” list, although presumably much larger for Tim.

  3. Thank you for another great interview. I re-listened to the bit when Julia speaks about active listening ( 50 minutes on podcast). She explains the method of making an appointment with your partner and one person having their turn to speak. The other person must listen, repeat back what was said and ask, “Is there more?”. Then repeat and repeat this sequence. She says it becomes more about taking care of the person you love or care for than about winning. Such a simple nugget of advice for all relationships. Thanks to both of you. It is lovely to hear such gratitude from a person about the other people in her life.

  4. It’s great that you are experimenting with the peer support model. As for someone in their 20s with low and unpredictable income and who listens to only the episodes with experts that apply to their current life track, the subscription model does not work as well. I would appreciate an option to make one time contributions, for episodes that I like for instance.

  5. I like the listener support model but the most I could afford is about 4$ per month. I assume i am only worth 25 cents to a sponsor (maybe less because i am in Canada). With the current model it would look like i canceled after 3 or 4 monthly

    I really appreciate the Sam Harris support model

    Thanks for all your work

  6. “there is no elevator to success — you have to take the stairs”

    Thanks Tim. Awesome podcast this one.. Julie was a great guest.

    Best moment imo was her story about taking the stairs. Funny hearing the audience laugh in the background, it immediately made me think of this:

    [Moderator: link removed.]

  7. Hello Tim. I would like to relate a story to you that I heard from my husband, Rick, who listens to your show. A woman told him a story about her mother-in-law and how unhappy and bitter she was and that she never ever smiled. A few years ago, her mother-in-law was diagnosed with dementia and they put her in a nursing home. The staff at the nursing home tell her how happy and smiley her mother-in-law is and how much the staff like her. Her dementia has taken away all her memories of her unhappy past and she now just lives in the moment. I think the lady who told my husband this story did not realize how profound a statement she made. I believe that happiness and contentment is a choice we make. Anyway, I thought you would be someone who could appreciate this. Thank you for all you do.

    Cindy and Rick

  8. Tim – First, thanks for your podcast, have subscribed as this is part of staying mentally healthy for me, getting information on how to live well, survive, and thrive in our world… I pay for OrangeTheory, why not your and your guests thoughts and advice? (And yours is the one podcast I find myself going to more than any other.) I have no yet listened to Julia’s interview, but please ask her where she got her shoes (need brand please… shallow? Yes, and I don’t care).

    Thanks for pushing the boundaries!

  9. Tim! Loved this episode so much. Been listening to your show a long time and your consistency inspired me to launch a podcast of my own, which I did last week thanks to your helpful youtube videos and advice.

    I hope you can check it out with all the free time you have (JK, I know you are extremely busy.)

    [Moderator: additional text and link removed.]

    Best,

    Carolina

  10. Just wanted to ask you to have an interview with John Crestiani, he is genius at what he does and is helping millions of people live a better life.