Meet Erin Schirack, co-founder of CHI-SOCIETY, whose mission is to bring tough Chicago-style workouts to your living room

Erin Schirack_Blog Header

Erin Schirack, co-founder of CHI-SOCIETY, sits down with us to talk about the importance of remaining flexible, how to balance being a mom and business owner, and the benefits of an at-home workout – Chicago style.

Describe your business in a few words?

CHI-SOCIETY is an on-demand streaming platform featuring 30-minute workouts from Chicago’s TOP fitness instructors.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

I have always wanted to own my own business. Shortly after having my twins I lost my job and knew that it was my opportunity to make that dream a reality, so I went for it!

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

I have been in the fitness industry for close to 20 years. It started as a side hustle while I was working as a sales and marketing manager in the hospitality industry and then it became my full-time career about 9 years ago.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

YES! I knew from a very long time ago when I was in high school that I was going to own my own company. My friends used to tell me that they could envision me rolling around in a black car in NYC wearing a business suit! Little did they know I would be working from home living in athleisure wear.

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

Ha—Tell as many people as possible! My business partner Bobby and I had zero marketing strategy when we started our first business. We relied on word of mouth and social media. It was the pandemic that helped build our brand recognition by offering free classes on Instagram live.

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

Don’t feel that you have to do everything yourself. I spread myself way too thin and wanted to micromanage and do everything on my own that I eventually burnt out and had to take a break, which resulted in the momentum of my business slowing. I quickly learned to delegate and ask for help.

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

Hands down starting my businesses. I learned so much in the process, learned a lot about myself and also learned how to pivot when times changed.

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience? My tip—don’t have one! I really prefer my interview process to be more conversational. I feel you can get to learn a lot about someone by just letting them talk and by watching how they react while learning about your business. I also rely a lot on recommendations. I trust my team and their suggestions so if they bring someone to me that means a lot.

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

TREMENDOUSLY! The fitness industry was hit HARD by the pandemic. Studios were forced to shut down, instructors were left to fend for themselves and develop their own brand and business. It totally changed the industry. I feel it also changed for the general population. People started working out at home, they invested in home gym equipment, established a new routine and started realizing that they don’t need a gym to stay fit and that there are a lot of resources out there (like CHI-SOCIETY) that can keep them moving from the comforts of their own home.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

What can we expect to see over the next few years? My BIG dream is to make CHI-SOCIETY a national name. We really want Chicago fitness to be highlighted in the on-demand world so we can showcase the incredible talent that is here.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

Learn how to be more flexible and to adapt to what is going around. That was a hard one for my very type A personality. The plan doesn’t always go as planned, but you can always adapt and make a new plan.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

Consistency is key and sometimes you need to delegate in order to stay consistent and protect your own energy.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

HAVE I?! Ha! I have to thank my husband and my business partners for that. They definitely have been my sounding boards and have helped talk me off the ledge a lot when I’ve wanted to give up.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

What are some of your best tips? YES! As someone who is a self-proclaimed workaholic, I can say first hand burnout is REAL! You have to set boundaries and make time for you and family. Leaving your phone at home while you go for a walk or establishing a “no work/ light work” day is crucial. You have to rest and recharge so you can be the best for you, your family and your business.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I have 2-year-old twin girls and am working on a 3rd company idea.

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

Wake up early to take time before the day starts (or the kids wake up) to take care of you, workout, make the bed, make your to-do list, whatever it is but take that time for you. Make Lists- I live by daily lists and it feels so good to check things off. Take breaks- take a walk, a nap, sit down away from your computer to eat lunch but take a break throughout the day to recharge.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

Reading that made me smile—It means that my dream has come true. 

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





8 Inspiring Latinx Entreprenistas that have launched groundbreaking companies

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we’ve put together a list of 8 incredible Latinx women founders that have launched groundbreaking companies. Check it out: Jessica Alba: The Honest Company Founded in 2011, The Honest Company makes sustainable, well-designed products that work – built on transparency, trust, and a deep sense of purpose. In…

Susan Sarit of Operations-Made Easy on achieving your goals by getting organized

Describe your business in a few words: I am a mom, daughter, sister, business owner, and more! I started my business for both financial freedom and to be a work-at-home mom. I created Operations-Made Easy to help diverse women with the Operations of their business. Deliberative, disciplined, and detail-oriented are just a few words we…

Lisa Nutt of Make Every Minute Count on personal and professional growth

Describe your business in a few words? The Make Every Minute Count ecosystem encourages us to go (do that thing), grow (personally and professionally) and give (through a membership based family to family giving circle). What made you take the leap to start your own business? I’m a serial entrepreneur. This is the third time…

Connection Coach Kristjana Hillberg on trusting your intuition and having an open mind

Describe your business in a few words: I’m a Connection Coach who helps women unearth their deepest desires, move from auto pilot to intentional action and prioritize their wellbeing. What was your background prior to starting your own business? I’m a multipotentialite – meaning, I have tried multiple things and tested multiple careers ranging from…

Martha Stewart & Marley Spoon: Finally Back to Delicious Meals For Everyone

Cuisine varies by culture, but no matter how societies segment and define themselves, certain foods show up in households across the globe — only differing in their forms. Some of a culture’s time-honored meals are created by its culinary icons.  Among America’s culinary icons, Martha Stewart is, without question, its most trusted. In 2014, Martha…

7 Entreprenista League Members share the biggest business challenge they overcame and what it taught them

Brand Photographer Brittney Guy-Atakpo of Brittney Jean Photography The biggest business challenge I have faced is sticking to a schedule that made me feel productive and good about my work ethic. What I have learned is that there is no right or wrong schedule or routine that produces success. I have been more grateful for…

Courtney Spritzer of WorkRobe on her “secret sauce” for a successful product launch

Describe WorkRobe in a few words? WorkRobes are designed to have you looking your best during any video meeting, so you can go from bedroom to boardroom in seconds and in comfort. My mission is to reimagine what you wear to work (from home).  Can you pinpoint the moment you knew you wanted to create…

Brand Photographer Brittney Jean Guy-Atakpo on helping women show up confidently on camera

Describe your business in a few words? I’m Brittney with Brittney Jean Photography & Company. I help women show up confidently in photos and on social media to grow their brand and business. I’m a Brand Photographer and Strategist. I have over 5 years working for Fortune 100 companies in sales and marketing and over…

Lorena Tapiero of Conscious Consulting on the power of networking

Describe your business in a few words? Conscious Consulting is a Latina-owned, bilingual marketing and public relations agency with 20 years of experience in the hospitality, sports and wellness sectors. Our thoughtful, comprehensive approach helps brands establish clear communication priorities and a long-range vision for meaningful press coverage, value-added partnerships and sustainable influencer relationships. As…

Lindsay Applebaum Stuart of Mamalux on the beginning stage of business

Describe your business in a few words? Mamalux is a first-of-its-kind leakproof sleep solution for breastfeeding moms. Our Kickstarter launches on 10/19! What was your background prior to starting your own business? I spent the first 10 years of my career as a sports journalist for the Washington Post and Sports Illustrated! So this has…

Jessica Bargenquast of Lady ChangeMakers on organic marketing strategies that work

Describe your business in a few words? Lady ChangeMakers is an exclusive e-commerce platform for women-owned businesses to gain valuable exposure and sales. Most of my life I’ve been encouraged to be seen and not heard. Growing up extremely introverted and shy I felt invisible. I wanted to create a platform so women-owned businesses could…

Jennifer Gligoric of EntrePods on the importance of mindset

Describe EntrePods in a few words? Cutting-edge entrepreneur and investor network answering the question “So Now What?” for business owners powered by fractional consultants and coaches with decades worth of experience. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I had no choice.  My mother owned a staffing company for 54 years…

Certified Financial Planner Maggie Gomez on investing and building wealth

Describe your business in a few words? An accessible place where anyone can learn to invest and build wealth, regardless of their net worth. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I realized that it was only those who were already wealthy that had access to quality financial guidance. I got…

Claire Jones of Cushy Couture on shifting paradigms in the fashion industry

Describe your business in a few words? Cushy Couture is a customer-driven clothing brand that creates high quality sweatpants in a wide range of colors and patterns that come in three different inseam lengths because we believe that you don’t have to settle for less. We create functional sweatpants that will last you for multiple…

Writer, Speaker, Podcaster, and Life Coach Chelsea Austin on taking care of yourself first

Describe your business in a few words? I advocate for others to find their own self-worth and acceptance through self-care, love, respect, and storytelling. What made you take the leap to start your own business? When I started writing my book and my blog, I don’t think I ever realized it would become a business.…