Sheila Viers is the co-founder of the premium fitness and yoga bag brand, Live Well 360, which is taking the fitness world by storm. Live Well 360 has been featured in various top fitness publications including Oxygen Magazine, Men’s Health, Shape, and on Livestrong.com, to name a few. In addition, Sheila has created a program for women called “Rock Your Dream Body” based off of her own weight loss journey, which helps women end emotional eating and self-sabotage so they can get their dream body and feel amazing in their own skin.
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- Your Big Idea: Successful Entrepreneurs have One Big Idea. Follow JLD’s FREE training & you’ll discover Your Big Idea in less than an hour!
- “The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE.” – Napoleon Hill
- Sheila has overcome many challenges on her Entrepreneurial journey. Her insights are inspiring.
Entrepreneurial AHA Moment
- Sheila has discovered the secret: it’s all about your mentality. If you truly believe you can, it will happen for you if you keep driving forward.
- Live Well 360 has experienced success on so many levels, and Sheila shares with us a great insight that has worked extremely well in the marketing department.
Small Business Resource
- iCalendar: A computer file format which allows Internet users to send meeting requests and tasks to other Internet users
Best Business Book
- The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
- SheilaViers.com – Sheila’s website
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John Lee Dumas: Hire Fire Nation and thank you for joining me for another episode of EntrepreneurOnFire.com, your daily dose of inspiration. If you enjoy this free podcast, please show your support by leaving a rating and review here at iTunes. I will make sure to give you a shout out on an upcoming showing to thank you!
John Lee Dumas: Okay. Let’s get started. I am simply electrified to introduce my guest today, Sheila Viers. Sheila, are you prepared to ignite?
Sheila Viers: I am.
John Lee Dumas: Alright! Sheila is the cofounder of the premium fitness and yoga bag brand, Live Well 360, which is taking the fitness world by storm. Live Well 360 has been featured in various top fitness publications, including Oxygen Magazine, Men’s Health, Shape and on LiveStrong.com. In addition, Sheila has created a program for women called “Rock Your Dream Body” based off her own weight loss journey which helps women end emotional eating and self-sabotage so they can get their dream body and feel amazing in their skin.
I’ve given Fire Nation a little overview, Sheila, but why don’t you take it from here? Tell us about you personally. We want to get to know you. And then a little bit about your business.
Sheila Viers: Yes. Well, I’m a multi-passionate entrepreneur, and so I have a lot of different things that I’m interested in regarding health and fitness, and one of them was in creating the line of fitness bags, and also, in helping to motivate women to see themselves as they truly are, as I like to say, and to help them to really step into this lifestyle of making health and fitness fun and making it feel like something that you get to do and not something that you have to do. That really all began back with my own journey in becoming healthy and fit, losing weight and meeting my husband who was also on his own health and fitness journey and coming together right about at the time where he had just lost about 80 pounds. Oh he had lost about I would say 50 pounds by that point, and then together, he had lost another 30 pounds. Health and fitness really just became something that was really important to us, and along the way, one of the things that we realized that was lacking in our routine was having a bag that could keep up with our active lifestyle. We both had a lot of really crappy duffle bags along the way where he would end up with shoe prints on his nice, clean white shirts at work, or my personal biggest pet peeve, I would end up with my jewelry in a giant knot in the bottom of the bag and we felt like there has to be a better way. After two years of research and design, we developed the first bag in our line of fitness bags called the Core, and then we’ve since then gone on to develop two other bags that we have kind of coined as the ultimate bags. Like the bags that we were searching for but could never find along our journey.
John Lee Dumas: Wow! Well I definitely have my share of old, crappy duffle bags in my closet right now, being an athlete growing up. It just seems like it was such a great aha moment the two of you had together and I just love how you keep referring to the journey that you’ve been on because that’s what EntrepreneurOnFire is all about and I really look forward to delving more into your specific product later in this interview, but for now we’ll transition to the first topic, which is the success quote, because at EntrepreneurOnFire, we really love to get that motivational ball rolling and get the listeners excited for the content that you have to share with us. So Sheila, what do you have for your favorite success quote?
Sheila Viers: The quote that I love is by Napoleon Hill, and it is “The starting point of all achievement is desire.”
John Lee Dumas: I love that quote, and his book “Think and Grow Rich” is an absolute classic. It never gets old. For all you Kindle users out there, it’s only $0.99. So definitely purchase that book. It’s so worth it. Sheila, how do you actually apply that quote to your everyday mentality?
Sheila Viers: Well I think that the quote has great meaning to me because this is really where success truly starts. It’s with your desire. But for many people, that’s also where it ends too because they shoot themselves in the foot by following up that desire with fear and anxiety and just not feeling good enough. And so my motto is really that if you think it, you really can achieve it, but you just have to stay open and ready for opportunities and also stay in alignment with your intuition so that you could hear those hunters as they come along and show up along your way.
John Lee Dumas: What’s something that you just decided to think, and then that actually became a reality?
Sheila Viers: That I could be an entrepreneur. That I was capable of it. That I could. At the time, I think that being naïve was actually really helpful to me had I known all of the different things that I would come upon in this journey, I probably would have been scared to death, but I think just taking that step and saying, “You know what? I can do this,” and then figuring it out along the way was really one of the most empowered things that I have ever done for myself.
John Lee Dumas: I love that, Sheila. Let’s continue the journey that we’ve alluded to prior. In every entrepreneur’s journey, we encounter failure on some levels every single day. It’s part of being an entrepreneur. It’s what makes us better as people and makes us grow and makes us pivot and inspires us to move forward and overcome. Can you take us back to some point in your journey where you encountered a challenge or an obstacle or a failure – however you want to term it – and what you did to overcome that barrier?
Sheila Viers: Yes. I like to see them as challenges because I believe every perceived failures are actually a stepping stone to greater and greater heights of success. It’s through these challenges that we really learn what we want for our lives and then can adjust ourselves so that we’re lining up with moving towards what it is that we do want. So it’s really I believe that failure or challenges are what give us the clarity that really help us to step into our own greatness. And so I don’t really focus a lot on regret or worrying about the past or really seeing or perceiving them as failure. I just really like to see it as something that has helped me to become more of the empowered person that I really am and it’s through those challenges that I learned more about myself. So really, I would say that if I had to pick one thing, looking back, it would be when I didn’t listen to my own intuition. That was probably if I was looking for a recurrent theme of times that I have sort of taken a step back or had a failure or whatever it is you want to call it, it was not listening to myself over and above the guidance that we receive from people who are well-meaning that want to kind of help you along your way when I kind of turned my decision-making skills over to them over and above listening to my own intuition.
John Lee Dumas: So be specific, Sheila. This is about your journey. Take us down to the ground level to an actual situation where you had this challenge and you overcame it.
Sheila Viers: Yes. I would say the best example is from my own personal life where growing up, going back to my story of coming to my healthiest and fittest self, all through high school and college, I had a lot of really big self-esteem issues and I was really trying to sort of measure up by looking a certain way, by being beautiful and by being thin. That’s how I felt like I would be beautiful, is by being thin. Trying to measure up according to the media standards or what I thought that other people believed was beautiful over and above what I knew about myself that I was beautiful even if I wasn’t the skinniest girl around or whatever, that, I would say would be one of the biggest challenges that I have faced and gone through and come out of that really has made me into the person that I am today.
John Lee Dumas: Awesome! Thank you for sharing that with us. Let’s move to the other end of the spectrum now because just like an entrepreneur’s journey is riddled with challenges and obstacles and failures, we also have these great aha moments, these little inspirations that just keep us going forward every day. You’ve already alluded to a great one where you were just having issues with jewelry being knotted at the bottom of your bag and your husband was having footprints on his nice, clean, pressed white shirts because you guys were really prioritizing working out and exercising, but you’re having a hard time fitting it into an active, full spectrum lifestyle. Can you share with us, Fire Nation, an aha moment that you had that you feel was really special and how you turned that moment into success?
Sheila Viers: I would say that the aha moment was really us coming to this place where we realized that we could create our own bag. That we could be entrepreneurs, that we could get the resources and find our way as a business owner who had never owned a business before. We both came from the corporate world so we didn’t know anything about having a business or running it, but like we’re really thinking, okay, let’s just start. Like how do you [Unintelligible] [same goal]? You just take it one bite at a time, one little thing at a time. And so that’s really I think the biggest aha for us, was in the beginning when we were like, “You know what? We don’t know what we’re doing, but we can figure it out.” So we started researching, we go online, we check out great books like The 4-Hour Workweek that gave you tons of resources, and then you just start going, taking those steps and finding your way throughout all the information that you need to gather in order to really do and accomplish what it is that you want to be able to accomplish.
John Lee Dumas: Take us through some of those early days, Sheila, because those are such fascinating times when we really don’t know what we’re doing and we’re just trying to get our heads wrapped around what it means to be an entrepreneur, what it means to make a product or a business. Take us back to those early days and share with Fire Nation some really valuable insights that you gained from those days.
Sheila Viers: Just researching, using Google. I mean like going online, and most of the resources that we had gathered were really from us being resourceful and just saying, “Okay, where can I find this information?” going online, talking to people, reaching out to people who were already doing what it is that we wanted to do or something similar like in another field and talking to them and basically interviewing them, asking them questions about okay, what is it that you did? What would you have done differently if you could have gone back? What challenges did you come upon along the way that you would have liked to have some guidance on or been able to maybe have a little bit more information about before you got there? And just asking questions, really, and not being hard on yourself if you make mistakes because we certainly have made our share of mistakes along the way, but really, again that’s where you learn what it is that you’re doing and then you become more comfortable with it and then mistakes aren’t that big of a deal. You just say, “Okay, well, I’m going to try something different and we’re going to go in this other direction now that we know what we know and all we can do is go from here.”
John Lee Dumas: So speaking of different directions, take us through the evolution of your product, the bag itself. How did it start as far as what did it look like, what did it actually encompass and how did it progress, how did it evolve as a product?
Sheila Viers: Basically, we went through and found – we studied a lot of different bags that are out there in the market and we actually went into other types of bags besides just sports bags. We looked at golf bags, we looked at baby diaper bags and we just really kind of picked out all of the different organizational features of each of them that we really liked, and then we put our own spin on them and then we found materials that we were interested in using and we got very specific about the ballistic that we’re using. Is it really high quality ballistic? Then the hologram on the back says “the highest quality.” We wanted to make sure that we used actual metal hardware so that it wasn’t going to break or fall apart and the zippers are of the highest quality. And so we took all of that information that we gathered and we went to our manufacturer who we found online through a connection who referred us to them. Basically, it couldn’t have worked out more perfectly because we love the manufacturer but it’s not someone that we – we wouldn’t have found them had we not reached out to people in the industry and did what I was talking about asking questions and getting to know them and so forth.
So we went to our manufacturer and basically told him what we wanted and he created a prototype from that description and from the drawings that we had sent to him, and then we basically communicated with him via video. Like he sent us the samples and then we would review the samples on video and send him the video so he could watch basically all the things that we wanted him to change or tweak or different things like that. And then we went through about four different revisions on the prototypes, and then we eventually got the final version and then we placed our order.
John Lee Dumas: Wow! So once you actually got that final product in hand, ready to be put out to the public, ready to be shipped, what then?
Sheila Viers: Well, up to that point, we had been sharing our health and fitness journey on our website. So it started out, Live Well 360 actually started as a blog. And so all along this time, because remember I said it took us two years, so throughout that time, we were blogging about health and fitness and we were kind of prepping people. They knew that we had a product coming that we were working on and that it was a bag. And so we were promoting it not vaguely, but we were promoting it up to that point where we really didn’t talk a ton about it because I didn’t really want to set people up to start getting irritated because it was taking so long. So we just kind of alluded to it, but continued to share great information.
And then when it was ready for us to launch it, we had a big launch and we did a giveaway, we reached out to all of our colleagues and friends in the fitness world and we asked for contributions to this giveaway so that we had products that we could sort of put into the bag. So it was called the “what’s in your bag giveaway.” We really got a lot of hype that way, through the giveaway, like allowing people to enter by tweeting and facebooking and things like that and leaving comments on our website. And then I also did an outreach to healthy living bloggers and we chose a handful of different people and we sent them a bag to review. Some of them did their own giveaways with it, some of them kept them and used the bags themselves. That really helped too because then it was kind of like we were seemingly everywhere all at once, and that’s what we were shooting for, is for people to see us all over the place, on the Internet and in healthy living websites and fitness, people using our bags, and then to really realize that wow, this is something that I need to know about. So we really kind of prepped our marketing beforehand so that when we were ready to launch, it just kind of hit the ground running.
John Lee Dumas: What’s something marketing-wise that worked really well that kind of surprised you as far as you just didn’t expect it to do so well that it did?
Sheila Viers: I would say reaching out to magazines and editors myself because that’s really what we’ve done to create all the media features that we have. Like I would say that we have spent less than $500 on marketing period over the past…
John Lee Dumas: Wow!
Sheila Viers: Yes. Since 2008 when we started. I mean it’s really just a matter of reaching out to people and being honest about who you are and not trying – like I’ve never tried to fake that we were like a big company and pretending like we have all of these marketing knowledge. Really, I just say, “Hey, this is who we are, this is what we’ve created. We’re really passionate about it. We genuinely want to help people and we think that this product will really help them and it’s something that you might be interested in learning more about,” and basically leaving it up to them whether or not we send them a sample and we start a conversation if they’re interested in featuring us. That it kind of goes from there. But mainly just being a real human being and reaching out to people I think is the biggest thing where it was like, wow, that really worked. We haven’t paid for PR which can be really expensive to have a PR company going out and doing that same thing for you.
John Lee Dumas: Did you ever consider trying to get your product on Shark Tank?
Sheila Viers: Actually, yes.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] Yes!
Sheila Viers: We’ve been watching since the beginning, and actually just this year, we were like, okay, I think we’re to the point where we’re ready. Like we’re ready and we feel comfortable about it. So we did. We sent them the email and said, “Hey, this is who we are” and we’ll see in the next year if that’s something that comes about.
John Lee Dumas: Well I will keep my eyes open because I watch the show every Friday. I love it.
Sheila Viers: It’s great, right? Yes.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] So Sheila, have you had an I’ve made it moment?
Sheila Viers: It’s funny because I think I probably should have that more often, but I’ve always – my husband and I joke it’s like things that you think that are going to make you really excited when they happen, but then they happen and then you’re like, “Oh, but wait, I’m focused on this next thing.” So I’m like oh, I’ve already set that next peak where I’m shooting for that next level of achievement. Really, we have to kind of force ourselves to take a step back and really celebrate these different things like where we make it into a magazine or multiple different magazines or where we last year after Christmas, we sold through our entire inventory because we had a feature in Experience Life Magazine and it was such a hit. So those are things where it’s kind of like whoa, that’s a big deal! Or we made it in Equinox Gyms and now we’re being sold at various Equinox Gyms throughout the country, and those are really big sort of moments in creating this business. I do feel it, but I don’t think I feel it to the same level as I thought that I would.
John Lee Dumas: I love your perspective on this, Sheila, because every entrepreneur really looks at this question differently, which is why I always continue to ask it. It’s so important as entrepreneurs that we do have these goals that we hit and we really just strive hard and make it to those lofty goals, and then we need to step back and really say, “Hey, wow! We have come a long way! I’ve made this product, I’ve made this service and it is successful” because it’s about the journey. EntrepreneurOnFire is about your journey so I’m glad that you’re enjoying your journey and the milestones that you’re hitting and I definitely hope you continue to do so.
Sheila Viers: Yes. Yes, thank you.
John Lee Dumas: So Sheila, you have a lot of cool things going on in your business right now, but if you had to just share with us, Fire Nation, one thing that’s really exciting you about Live Well 360 right now, what would that be?
Sheila Viers: I would say the growth that we’re having now into retail where we’re really starting to connect with more retailers that are interested in having us in their boutiques or their retail shops. It’s really opening up a whole new door and focus, and I don’t know, it feels really exciting to me because now we’re talking to people and we’re actually having more and more retailers coming to us, asking us to come and work with them versus the other way around where we’re going out and searching out retailers to work with. And so that’s a really big one, I would say.
John Lee Dumas: Just out of curiosity, what kind of capacity do you have to create bags? I mean what kind of quantity level?
Sheila Viers: Well, it’s ever increasing really. I mean we’re a small company. We’re self-funded, and so it’s been very organic up to this point, but every year we keep doubling our output. I would say last year we went through I would say a thousand bags or something like that. And so this year we’re on schedule to do pretty much twice that.
John Lee Dumas: Wow! So it’s great that you can actually fulfill orders as they come in. Is it kind of the process that that goes through?
Sheila Viers: Well it’s tricky because we have about a three month lead time because we produce overseas. And so it’s kind of an art to balance that and make sure that as best as we can, we are placing orders so that we don’t run out of stock again, but if it happens, it happens, and then we just continue to grow from here. I mean I would rather run out of stock than to have way too much stock. So it’s just kind of where we’re at in the moment, and as we continue to grow, I see that happening less and less.
John Lee Dumas: Sheila, what is your vision for the future?
Sheila Viers: We just want to continue growing this company and reaching more and more people and giving them bag resources, different things that really help to make this lifestyle for the serious fitness enthusiast something that they really enjoy. And so we’re really focused on organizational things like bags. We want to continue and we have three bag styles right now. We want to make at least two more and make them in multiple different colors, but I don’t see us like expanding to the point where we have like dozens of different bag styles. We really just want to focus on what we know, like basically the basics. Have the basic bags that we feel are the best solutions that we can offer, and then continue to refine them and work with our customers to provide them with the different features and things that they are asking for.
John Lee Dumas: Awesome stuff! Well I look forward to following the progress of Live Well 360. On that note, Sheila, we’ve reached my favorite part of the show. We’ve now entered the Lightning Round. This is where I get to ask you a series of questions and you come back at us, Fire Nation, with amazing and mind-blowing answers. Does that sound like a plan?
Sheila Viers: Sounds great!
John Lee Dumas: Alright! What was one thing that was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Sheila Viers: I would say it was fear. Fear of not being good enough. Yes. That’s the biggie.
John Lee Dumas: What is the best business advice that you ever received?
Sheila Viers: I would say it was from David Culiner, who was one of my mentors along the way. He said, “Design the business that is right for you. This is your business. You’re the boss.”
John Lee Dumas: Love that! What’s something that’s working for you or your business right now?
Sheila Viers: I would say again it’s media coverage. So talking to different magazines, I do those things like that myself.
John Lee Dumas: Do you have an Internet resource like an Evernote that you’re just in love with that you can share with Fire Nation?
Sheila Viers: My go-to resource is my iCal. I just put everything into my calendar. So that’s really where I put my to do list. If I have something that I need to do, I just schedule it into my calendar and then it’s in there and I have time for it, and so that’s kind of like my best friend, my scheduler.
John Lee Dumas: What business book would you like to recommend to Fire Nation?
Sheila Viers: I would say “The 4-Hour Workweek” was instrumental for us, and even going back and looking at it again and again, I still find little things like little nuggets that I didn’t catch the first time. So I would say definitely The 4-Hour Workweek.
John Lee Dumas: Awesome! Well, listen, Sheila. This is the last question, but it’s my favorite. It’s kind of a tricky one, so just take your time, digest it, and then come back at us with an answer. If you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world, identical to earth but you knew nobody. All you had were $500, a computer with Internet access, your food and shelter was completely taken care of. What would you do in the next seven days?
Sheila Viers: Wow! That’s a fun question!
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] Have fun with it!
Sheila Viers: I would just start going out and talking to people, meeting people, going to different places and meeting people that have like interests. Like I love travel, scuba diving and things like that. Going and doing those types of things and making friends along the way. The relationships that I’ve developed that have been the best relationships kind of came together in that sort of way where it was like you just meet people that are interested in things that you’re doing, like like-minded people, and then you end up clicking and really making good friends that way. So I think that’s what I would do, is just go out, start really just living my life to the fullest and seeing where that would lead me, whether that’s through travel and doing things like that or what.
John Lee Dumas: Okay, but none of these people speak English.
Sheila Viers: Oh! [Laughs]
John Lee Dumas: Sheila, I’m totally kidding [Laughs].
Sheila Viers: [Laughs]
John Lee Dumas: So listen, Sheila. You have given us some great actionable advice this entire interview and we are all better for it. Give Fire Nation one parting piece of guidance, then give yourself a plug, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Sheila Viers: I would just say give yourself a break. Don’t be so hard on yourself, don’t feel like you have to know everything, don’t feel like you have to be perfect. Just allow yourself to figure it out as you go and have fun with it. And then you can find us at LiveWell360.com. We’re @LiveWell360 on Twitter and on Facebook it’s Facebook.com/LiveWell360.
John Lee Dumas: Sheila, thank you so much for your time, your insights, your information. Fire Nation, we salute you, and we’ll catch you on the flipside.