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.

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

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

Important announcement from Tim below:

Hello, my lovelies!

From June – Dec, 2019, I’m removing ads and sponsors from the podcast for a six-month test. The podcast will continue to be 100% free for everyone. There will be no paywall, and no one has to pay for anything.

If interested, you can contribute a few dollars a month to support me doing more crazy experiments and initiatives, or to simply say “thank you” if any of my books, nearly 400 free podcasts, or 1,000+ free blog posts have had a positive impact on you or your loved ones.

Visit tim.blog/support to find out more and support.

Since the podcast has become the engine that fuels everything else, if this experiment doesn’t work out after six months, we’ll go back to sponsors. If it works, we’ll stay with fan-supported. Easy peasy.

So, why am I doing this? Two main reasons:

#1 – Sponsors and ads chew up a TON of time that I’d rather spend finding and doing cool things I can share with you. To be clear, I don’t think all advertising is evil. I turn away 90-plus percent of inquiries, personally test everything remaining, and then share the best. I feel good about that, BUT it consumes a lot of my time and energy. I would rather focus on finding, doing, and making cool things that I can share with you. That’s what I love, it’s what I’m good at, and it’s why many of you ended up reading my books or listening to the podcast in the first place.

#2 – Over the years, thousands of readers and fans have asked me, “How can I thank you?” Aside from the books, I’ve never sold any products, courses, or otherwise, nor do I plan to. Fan-supported subscriptions allow people to say “Thank you, and please do more.” If you want to help fuel more experiments, science, and exciting discoveries, you can easily sign up below and contribute to the cause. Think of it as a monthly gym membership for your mind and career. How much would you gladly pay for that?

Then, each time you hear a podcast episode (or see anything from me) that you consider life-changing and want to share with friends, you can smile, knowing that you helped to make it possible.

Please only contribute what you feel great about contributing. This is zero pressure, and I’m not mailing out any beer koozies or other crap you don’t want. I’ll just do and share more good stuff.

The lower tiers of support are roughly equal to four Starbucks cappuccinos per month, or one decent bottle of wine per month. The higher tiers of support are roughly equal to a gym membership, or a single dinner for two per month.

Visit tim.blog/support to find out more and support.

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…


  • Connect with Julie Rice:

 Instagram | LinkedIn


  • 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]


Posted on: May 30, 2019.

Please check out Tribe of Mentors, my newest book, which shares short, tactical life advice from 100+ world-class performers. Many of the world's most famous entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, poker players, and artists are part of the book. The tips and strategies in Tribe of Mentors have already changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for a sample chapter and full details. Roughly 90% of the guests have never appeared on my podcast.

Who was interviewed? Here's a very partial list: tech icons (founders of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Pinterest, Spotify, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more), Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Stiller, Maurice Ashley (first African-American Grandmaster of chess), Brené Brown (researcher and bestselling author), Rick Rubin (legendary music producer), Temple Grandin (animal behavior expert and autism activist), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Dara Torres (12-time Olympic medalist in swimming), David Lynch (director), Kelly Slater (surfing legend), Bozoma Saint John (Beats/Apple/Uber), Lewis Cantley (famed cancer researcher), Maria Sharapova, Chris Anderson (curator of TED), Terry Crews, Greg Norman (golf icon), Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), and nearly 100 more. Check it all out by clicking here.

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10 comments on “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!

    Liked by 1 person

  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!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 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!