WomenVenture Entrepreneur of the Month for May
With more than 15 years of experience in corporate workplace wellness and a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and corporate and community health, Melissa Mulder felt strongly about pursuing wellness as a business. Her vision was to reach people on a personal level and to help them change their lives with coaching and individualized plans.
Melissa’s idea was years in the making, so when she heard about WomenVenture from a friend, she decided to take a business planning class. But writing her plan proved to be more of a challenge than she thought it would. After completing the class, Melissa was able to reflect and make an important discovery―she was not ready. “WomenVenture helped me realize that my business idea would have been too broad and the scope of the concept did not fit into my lifestyle.” As a new mom, Melissa decided to stay home with her child and placed her business idea on the back burner.
After a few years, her passion to pursue a wellness business rose to the surface again. Her daughter was about to start school and Melissa felt ready to tackle her dream, but with a slightly different concept; she envisioned a wellness facility that catered to children in a non-competitive environment. She had a lot of questions and wondered whether she would need a dedicated physical space for the business. To work through it, Melissa revisited her original business plan and followed the same steps she learned at WomenVenture years earlier.
There were challenges leading up to the launch of her business. Melissa was strained for time and funding, and she had to build the confidence to tackle the things that were not her strengths. She sought advice from friends who were small business owners and joined networking groups. Melissa invested in business training and bartered for the services she needed whenever possible. Melissa’s website, logo, marketing materials and home studio were all created with help from friends and family.
Launched in March 2014, Move meant is committed to bringing resources to work sites, schools and group settings to get people moving in situations where they may often be sedentary. Whether working with kids or adults, Melissa’s goal is to help others feel their best—and to do it in her unique way. “Having my own business, I get to control the integrity of the work,” she said.
Before going into business for herself, Melissa struggled to be taken seriously in the traditionally male-dominated world of fitness. She found herself wearing conservative fitness clothing and glasses to look more professional. “I downplayed myself as a woman,” she said. “Now I know I don’t have to change who I am to do what I love.”
Melissa credits WomenVenture for helping her feel empowered and for creating a culture of inclusion for women. “Participating in the class and meeting other like-minded women felt really good,” she said. “From the reception desk to the classes and consulting, the relationship I built with WomenVenture was very helpful.”
To learn more about Melissa’s business, visit Move meant .net