Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Corey Lewis, CEO of 1AND1, located in New York, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
1AND1 is a media and tech company at the intersection of mental health and wellness. We focus on mental health, strength, overall wellness, and cognitive strength. We look to help those who are looking to make a change. Although our content is heavily BIPOC-focused, we look to help anyone and everyone and create content that meets people where they're at on their wellness journeys. There is no one size fits all for wellness, so we are intentional about creating a space that provides resources for everyone. We want to help people find optimal solutions and get to where they need to be, mentally and physically, as those are connected. We stand for one mind and one body, that's all we've got, and we want to support others to feel comfortable in that body.
Tell us about yourself
I first got started after retiring from football. I intended to go into investment banking and finance, following in my father's footsteps. While I pursued it, I found that I wasn't passionate about it, so I took on personal training as a hobby. At the time, I didn't think it would be my career path, but when I started to work with clients, I realized there was so much more to personal training than creating programs, making them stronger or more fit. I experienced the importance of personal connection through that. I felt like I was building meaningful friendships and connections, and I started to love that and how I was helping people. From there, I connected with my co-founder and business partner, Thomas Drew, to create 1AND1. He's also passionate about helping and connecting with people, so we wanted to create a platform where we could do just that.
Helping people is what motivates me. I'm flattered and excited when people share how I've helped them. I'm glad to be in this position and to have the opportunity to do this. There's a greater purpose beyond me, and I hope I continue to be someone people can rely on.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
On an individual level, it's helping people lose 100+lbs. In addition, I'm proud that I started my own business. At 1AND1, we've been able to land a massive deal with a big 5Tech company that we'll be able to announce and discuss in the future. That's been so incredible, and it's validated all of the work that we've been doing. We're incredibly excited, and we're looking to have more opportunities like this to be able to help more people. We're thankful, and I'm so grateful to have a business partner who helped close that deal.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
There are so many things that are challenging when being a business owner. Every day presents something new that we have to overcome, so there can be a lot of ups and downs, especially in a start-up culture. From proof of concept to hiring the right people (which is the hardest thing) that we can trust to get things done and so much more, it can be challenging. It takes a great team to work together to get work done and to believe in what they're doing. That's the most important thing, and you need people who are passionate about it to scale the business forward. Business is business, and we'll fail multiple times before we succeed. But I try not to dwell on the failure because it can sometimes be paralyzing; instead, I've tried to find a solution and keep pushing forward to the best of my ability. You're on the brink of more success than you know, which keeps me going.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Get started: There's never going to be a perfect time to start. You might not be financially stable, scared, or feel like you have the pieces. But take baby steps, do the research, believe in your ideas, and work to see how you can execute them. Set yourself up for success.
- Identifying successful advisors: You need people you can lean on and ask for advice. Everyone's started somewhere. It's okay to ask questions because you won't know what you don't know. Having a circle of friends and advisors that you trust is extremely important. Be respectful of the people in your network and your time, but if they offer you their time and want to help, allow them to.
- Think about the team you want to work with: Who do you want in your corner? Who can do the necessary work, and who can you trust to be productive? Building a solid foundation is essential. And having a strong team goes far beyond what they can do for the business, but also how they help you mentally. You don't want to be around teammates who bring you down or don't have your best interest in mind.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Similar to some of the answers above, I would just say again to take a chance and start. Don't go in with an all-or-nothing mentality, but really give yourself the freedom to take your time on this journey. You'll learn so much about yourself in the process. Although your business is essential, it's even more important to want to grow into a better person through whatever you pursue.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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