INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
Cory McKane of WeStrive Tells Us About Growing a SaaS Platform during the COVID Pandemic
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Cory McKane: My family is doing well. At the start of Covid, I actually took the opportunity to spend 6 months with my parents back in Washington (I’ve since moved to OKC). I didn’t leave the house much, but it was great to reconnect with my family. There are definitely a lot of families struggling, especially financially.
We’ve had our ups and downs, but overall, we’re doing fine and getting through COVID-19 the best we can.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded WeStrive.
Cory McKane: I personally love working out, being outdoors, and staying active, so a fitness startup is right up my alley. I’ve been working odd-jobs for the past several years, trying to get my startup off the ground. We originally started as a marketplace for fitness programs and have since pivoted into being a SaaS platform for personal trainers (eventually, we’ll service all health & wellness professionals).
There have been so many ups and downs on my journey, but I’ve met people all over the world in so many different fitness/startup capacities. I started a podcast, a successful entrepreneurship group in Los Angeles, and have made multiple moves throughout the course of this startup.
We’re finally at a point where our MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) is growing, and we’re starting to expand our team!
How does WeStrive innovate?
Cory McKane: We have a very in-depth but rapid design process. Our team is huge on customer service, so we do hundreds of customer interviews each year in order to make sure we are building the right products.
WeStrive tries to build the easiest and most unique features out there. I truly believe it’s a combination of building something new and listening to your audience to make sure that what you’re building is something they would actually want to use.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Cory McKane: So, we’re an online platform, and COVID has been both good and bad for our business. It’s been good because a lot of trainers discovered online personal training, which led to them discovering WeStrive.
However, it’s been bad for three reasons:
1) The gym industry has suffered. This doesn’t directly affect us, but it’s been sad to see this hurt the lives of so many amazing gym owners we know.
2) Since everyone is at home, trainers have been able to utilize Zoom (a free product) to replace online training programs, they would typically assign to clients to follow on their own. This trend won’t last forever, but it’s definitely put some dents in our growth for the time being.
3) Unfortunately, a lot of the clients of our personal trainers lost their jobs, so our trainers ended up losing a lot of clients.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Cory McKane: I’ve made so many difficult choices over my years running this startup. I think the biggest one is just financial. I’ve sacrificed (and spent) so much money over the course of this journey. I haven’t been able to have a full-time job this entire time, so it’s made paying for typical things very difficult.
That’s just a gamble that I’ve made on myself, though. If I need to, I get a job any time and put my startup on pause…but I won’t be doing that anytime soon.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and WeStrive in the future?
Cory McKane: It’s really difficult, to be honest. I just think I’ve been under stress & pressure for so long that I’m just used to it. There have been hundreds of occasions where I was late on a payment, or missed a deadline, or launched an app only to find dozens of bugs that we missed.
These things kind of just happen, though. Over time you just learn to do your absolute best, and even then, sometimes you’re going to fail. The key is to learn from the failures and keep pressing on.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Cory McKane: We have a few main competitors in our space. They’ve essentially been doing the same thing for years and haven’t really innovated their product or services.
We plan to do more than just stay in the game. WeStrive plans to pass up our competition very soon by offering a superior product, stellar customer service, and to keep constantly innovating. We already have all our plans laid out for 2021 and beyond. We’ll continue to grow our current platform and then expand into the far corners of the health & wellness space.
By this time next year, our app will cater to everyone from life coaches to dieticians to physical therapists.
Your final thoughts?
Cory McKane: Startups aren’t for the faint of heart. I wouldn’t recommend that everyone go and make a company. It’s an exhausting journey that can take a toll on your physical and mental health. However, if you’re able to get through the hard times, the grass is definitely greener on the other side. My experiences with this startup are irreplaceable, and I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life.
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