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





Michele Henry of FACE FOUNDRIÉ on why she leans into her fears, and the importance of dreaming big

Describe FACE FOUNDRIÉ in a few words? Efficient and effective focused facial bar specializing in all things face, facials, lashes, brows, and skincare. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I worked in my parents’ small inground pool business from age 13 all the way through college. Being an entrepreneur is…

Ashley Spriggs of Pivot Media on the power of genuine relationships

Describe your business in a few words? We are a media firm that gets your message the attention it deserves. We offer services in Public Relations and Podcast Management. What made you take the leap to start your own business? It was the right time! I was growing my client list as an independent contractor…

Mary Allard of The Third Place podcast on inviting listeners to explore uncomfortable conversations in a safe space

Describe your business in a few words? The Third Place podcast is a weekly podcast that invites listeners into the hard conversations that we have a tendency to avoid. It is a podcast that “goes there,” within a safe place where curiosity is encouraged, differences are welcomed, and empathy is embraced through healthy dialogue. What…

Kelsea Olivia of East Olivia Creative on creating experiences that spark curiosity, joy, and connection

Describe your business in a few words? East Olivia is a boutique creative agency that specializes in large-scale floral installations. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I have been starting businesses since I was a child, selling my crafts and babysitting. As an adult, I had an innate desire to…

Tiffany Roman of Small Biz Highlight on creating a platform to help small businesses thrive

Describe your business in a few words? Small Biz Highlight is a web show, created to help introduce the people behind a small/local business, their products and services, and discuss how COVID affected them. What made you take the leap to start your own business? Back in April 2020, COVID shutdowns were in full effect…

11 Mamaprenistas share their best productivity tips to manage a business and a family

1) Tierney Larkin, Founder at Larkin Living Spaces: “Be sure to have a designated space to work that is just for you and your business. It can be a makeshift office in the corner of a room, or even a traveling cart that you can take around with you to store all of your supplies…

How Two Entreprenistas Launched & Scaled Their Business on Shopify in 30 Days

Within 9 years, Stephanie Cartin and Courtney Spritzer have bolstered the presence of over 300 women-owned companies — all through social media strategy, platform management, influencer marketing, paid media and creative service. Given their success with Socialfly, Steph and Courtney recently decided to create a podcast called Entreprenistas, which provides a community to celebrate and…

Sarah Kallile of Lunnie on building the first community-led brand for modern mothers

Describe Lunnie in a few words? Community-led brand for modern mothers. We’re reinventing the nursing bra. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I’m a mom of two young girls. While breastfeeding my second daughter, I was frustrated with my clunky nursing bra and how it made me feel frumpy. I…

Ramy Sharp on launching Ramy Brook to fill a void in the marketplace, and what inspired her to take the leap

Describe Ramy Brook in a few words? Happy, Sexy and Strong! Ramy Brook is female owned and operated, stemming from one woman’s dream to uplift, empower and celebrate women. The apparel, accessories and swimwear collections transcend generational dressing, offering something for anyone looking for a vibrant and celebrational style. My vision is for women who…

Charlotte Michailidis of Parenthood Ventures on fueling the next wave of innovation for early stage ParentTech

Describe your business in a few words? Parenthood Ventures is the founder ecosystem for early stage ParentTech – i.e., startups serving parents, from fertility to teens.  Companies in our community span sub-sectors like caregiving, employee benefits, food, physical goods, digital health, retail, clothing, education, media/entertainment and fintech.  The objective is to fuel the next wave…

Vanessa Coppes of BELLA Media + Co on how determining who her customer was changed her business

Describe BELLA Media + Co in a few words? Lifestyle media company sharing content and resources for living a beautiful life. What made you take the leap to start your own business? My mental health. Launching my business literally saved my life. I was suffering from postpartum depression and needed a creative outlet. I launched…

Ingrid He of the Sjogren’s Tracker app on using her creativity to help people with autoimmune disorders manage their symptoms

Describe your business in a few words? Sjogren’s (SHOW-grins) Tracker is an app that helps people with autoimmune disorders manage their symptoms and flares. We aim to help our users better understand their conditions and identify triggers to their flares. Our mission is to create innovative solutions to improve the lives of users and facilitate…

Bari Koral of Yogapalooza on pioneering kids yoga with Yogapalooza!

Describe your business in a few words? Bari Koral is a Kids Yoga Pioneer and recording artist. Bari inspires thousands of parents, teachers and young children every day with her kids yoga, music and mindfulness activities and popular YouTube channel. What made you take the leap to start your own business? After burning out on…

Angelica Hanley of ACouplePuns on growing her business while staying 100% true to herself, and the biggest lessons she has learned over the years

Describe your business in a few words? ACouplePuns specializes in sparking joy through laughter and delivers the punniest content and high-quality paper goodies for every special occasion and moment in-between. Whether your bestie loves her house plants, binge-watching Friends, or drinking coffee, ACouplePuns has a punny card for that!   What made you take the leap…

Kelly DuFord Williams of Slate Law Group on disrupting the traditional law firm space and building a business where employees can thrive

Describe your business in a few words? Slate Law Group is a forward-thinking, accessible San Diego-based boutique law firm that provides legal, tax and HR services for small to medium sized businesses and corporations. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I was inspired to start my own business because I…