From managing a leading hair salon to heading up project-management for a busy PR agency… prior to finding her highly coveted role at Hotpod Yoga, Emily Rawlins racked up an impressive and varied set of skills across multiple industries.
After realising that she could utilise those skills within an industry she felt more passionate about, her proactive and ambitious mindset led her first to the Welltodo careers platform, and from there to networking opportunities and part-time events work. Eventually, her determination bagged her the position of Operations Manager for a fast-growing and inspirational yoga brand.
Now almost three years on, she has helped to grow the Hotpod Yoga office team from three to thirteen. And is working in a fulfiling role surrounded by like-minded, entrepreneurial and welcoming people.
Here Emily reflects on the ups and downs of her journey and shares her advice on how you can transition your career into the wellness industry……….
What inspired you to want to work in wellness?
I wanted to match my personal interests with my career. I had reached the stage in my career where I realised how important it was to place myself in an industry I was actually interested in, and do something I cared a little more about than my previous, more corporate, roles.
What’s your main piece of advice for anyone out there who’s thinking of making the same leap?
The transition between the “corporate PR world” and starting my role at Hotpod was very exciting. I dived straight in – putting myself out there and getting any bits of work I could, without being fussy as to what it was, or with what company.
Paid internships, unpaid internships (if you can manage that financially), events assistance, networking evenings, etc. Do it all! And approach it with confidence.
Try to overcome the sometimes awkward feeling of introducing yourself to people and just start up a conversation, as you never know where it could get you. Ultimately, it was by meeting as many people and companies as I could within the industry that led to the right role for me.
What were the crucial steps you took that got you to where you are today?
I didn’t know anyone within the industry when I decided I wanted to make a career change. So researching what and who was out there was critical for me. In the end, it was a paid internship for the Welltodo events team that took me in the right direction. Doing an internship at 27 sometimes felt like a bit of a step backwards, but those few months of getting my teeth into the industry and putting myself in front of as many companies as I could really helped me learn where I ‘fit’.
How long did it take you to transition your career, and what did that journey entail?
When I left university I went into a very fast-paced project management role for a PR agency, which I enjoyed initially but after a few years, I began to feel overworked and very unfulfilled.
After a short break living abroad, when moving back to London, I decided it would be the perfect time to move into the wellness industry, something I had been passionate about for a while. I was fortunate enough to be able to take some time to find the right role for me, so embarked on some voluntary and freelance work to cut my teeth on.
I met the Welltodo team early on in the process and working alongside them provided a springboard for meeting and networking with wellness business owners. I took on some part-time work at Hotpod Yoga which ultimately led to a full-time position; the whole transition only took 6-9 months as I was able to dedicate all my time to it.
What were some of the key challenges you faced along the way?
The greatest challenge was overcoming the self-doubt that crept in from time-to-time and getting frustrated or impatient that things weren’t falling into place quick enough. I’d sometimes wonder if I would find the ‘right role’, or if any of the companies I was eagerly contacting would ever take me on. But perseverance and willingness were key!
What is the key set of skills your job requires of you and have you had to adapt?
As Operations Manager for Hotpod Yoga, I need to have the ability to multi-task, adapt quickly and wear a lot of hats!
Since joining the company, we have grown from a small startup team of four into a multi-national business with a network of 40+ franchise locations and 6 permanent London studios. As the Operations Manager, I typically picked up all the bits and pieces that weren’t catered for by other departments – facilities management, events coordination, retail and merchandising, business administration, accounting, health & safety, scheduling, and so on.
The biggest learning curve in working for a wellness startup (or I suppose any startup) has been developing the confidence and ability to just take on any job that needs doing, even if it’s not my area of expertise, sometimes things just have to get done!
Have you encountered any myths or misconceptions about working for a yoga brand or the wellness industry more generally, that you’d like to debunk?
We’re not just doing yoga all the time and it’s not necessarily more chilled or meditative than a non-yoga workspace. Working for a startup in the wellness industry is still hard work even if it is yoga!
And last, but not least….what do you love most about working in the wellness industry?
The people! Everyone is welcoming, likeminded, entrepreneurial and has something you can learn from.
Ready to find your fulfilling new career in wellness? Start your search.