For a while we’ve had things like JustEat, ordering our takeaways in the quickest, simplest way possible, and Treatwell, helping us to enjoy more spa days whenever we fancy. In 2016, Stephanie Newport-Booth was looking at a huge, gaping hole in the market where a similar service was needed for finding and booking fitness classes. She set out on a mission to change it, and has since launched GoSweat, allowing users to easily discover and book classes on the founding principle that fitness shouldn’t be a chore.
We came across GoSweat when it was in the early stages, and Desk Life Project is so proud to have watched it grow from amazing idea to a thriving app set to take over the fitness world. GoSweat is ready to make a huge, sweaty splash in the fitness market this year, so we chatted to Steph about her journey so far.
Hi Steph! Tell us about GoSweat and your role there.
Hey! GoSweat connects people looking for sports and fitness, with Sports Providers offering it. GoSweat makes that discovery process easy, by showing you local fitness at your fingertips, so you can easily find and book exactly what you want. From Candlelit Yoga, to Silent Disco Bootcamps, GoSweat has your fitness needs covered.
My role at the company is Chief Product Officer (CPO). It’s a role I love, and requires me to be a visionary and an avid evangelist of GoSweat. Both requirements come naturally as GoSweat’s mission, to make discovering sports simple, is at the heart of all I do.
How did you end up doing what you do now?
I never set out to be an entrepreneur, I was just frustrated that it was so hard to find local sports and fitness. It shocked me that finding a takeaway was easier than finding a fitness class, and I wanted to change that.
I’ve always been someone who enjoys a challenge, and who is good at fixing problems. GoSweat is revolutionising the sports industry by making fitness discoverable. Consolidating a fractured market is no mean feat, but it’s been done across most main industries, including beauty (Treatwell), takeaways (JustEat) and travel (TripAdvisor), so why not sports too?
You work with two other co-founders. How did you all meet, and what struggles did you come across in the early days of setting up the business?
The early days of GoSweat were challenging. To start with it was just myself and Alex Hind, GoSweat’s now CEO. So we desperately needed to find a third, technically, co-founder who shared our vision and could help us build the tech we needed.
Finding a co-founder is much like dating. You have to find them – normally done through stalking LinkedIn, Meetup events and networking. You then have to meet them – think coffee dates, walks in the park, exercise classes… and finally you have to decide whether you’re on the same page, in regards to the company’s vision, mission and growth. After all this, you then have to decide whether this is a relationship worth pursuing and if so, how?
We kissed a LOT of frogs until we found our prince – aka Kent McClymont, GoSweat’s now CTO, who previously worked as Tech Lead at Ocado and Director of Engineering at Beamery.
Starting a business usually means long hours in the beginning. Would you say this is the experience you had, and how do you think company founders can improve their work life balance while still achieving their goals?
I am very lucky, and thankful that I enjoy my job. I’d hate to have to spend my time doing something I didn’t enjoy. However the cost of this is that work doesn’t feel like work, so it can be very hard to know when to stop – especially if you’re working from home! There were some days when I didn’t even go downstairs, because I’d literally roll out of bed after a couple of hours sleep, and work through until my stomach growls were too loud to ignore.
There comes a point though when you realise that working 24-7 isn’t sustainable, and that you have to find some sort of work life balance. Now I have a puppy, who forces me to take some time and to get fresh air (if that’s possible in London). I also de-stress by going to fitness classes as it not only tires your body out but gives your mind a break too.
Is there anything that you have had to “learn the hard way”?
The biggest lesson I have learnt is remembering my own, and GoSweat’s, worth. It’s very easy to be star-struck by others and lose sight of your own value. I did this in the early days of GoSweat and it resulted in me making some poor decisions as I undervalued myself, or GoSweat, in arrangements and came up short-handed.
We saw you speak at the IdeaSpace International Women’s Day event, which was amazing! You spoke about what it’s like to be a female founder today. Can you give other aspiring female founders some advice?
Thank you! It was a brilliant event, and amazing space. There really has never been a better time to be a female founder. For all those fellow ladies thinking about starting your own journey, I’d say JUMP, and don’t look back. Doubt is the biggest killer of dreams, and it’s about learning how to handle and overcome it so you can thrive in that uncomfortable place outside your comfort zone.
Do you have a definition of “success”?
Success is constantly moving, it’s really frustrating, but natural. There is a great poem by Philip Larkin called Next, Please, that warns of the dangers of constantly waiting for the next milestone. To try and counteract this we work by a motto at GoSweat, whereby we ‘celebrate our successes’, no matter how big or small, we call them out so that they can be recognised.
What’s next for GoSweat and for you?
GoSweat is well on its way to becoming the largest sports marketplace in the UK, and we hope to achieve this by summer 2018.
As for me, I’m just riding the roller coaster!
20% OFF GOSWEAT!
Want to try out GoSweat? Stephanie has very kindly set up an exclusive discount for Desk Life Project readers – that’s YOU! You can get 20% OFF any class you’d like to try, just head over to GoSweat.com and use the discount code DESKSWEAT … enjoy!