Meet Maura Vella. Business Advisor at Cultivate Advisors, Entrepreneur and Director at 105F Hot Yoga & Pilates
June 1, 2021
MK: Maura, tell us about yourself. What do you do and how did you get to where you are today?
MV: When I was 28 years old, I quit my 6-figure paying sales job to do yoga teacher training with the vision that I’d open up a yoga studio. My business partners-to-be founded 105F in 2001 and I decided that joining forces and entering into a partnership with them would be an awesome opportunity. Together, we opened up a third yoga studio in the city under the same brand. Now, 20 years after our first studio’s doors opened, we are actually the longest continuously operated hot yoga and fitness brand in Chicago with our three locations around the city.
The picture wasn’t always that rosy, though. As micro-gyms and specialty fitness outfits were becoming more mainstream, we learned that offering an awesome experience, an amazing sweat, with a devoted community, was not enough to make it. We needed to operate more efficiently and more strategically. This led me to navigate our 40+ person team through a rebooted brand, sales processes, and backend software, resulting in dramatic growth within our revenues and profits. I proudly “worked myself out of a job” allowing me to eliminate myself out of the day-to-day operations and scale up my own personal freedom.
Grit rewarded me and gave me a new calling. I love helping other small business owners grow and scale their businesses while giving them the freedom to enjoy their best lives. As a business advisor with Cultivate Advisors, I enjoy great satisfaction when I get to help other business owners identify their unique strengths to propel their thriving business plan. Together, we create the path to achieve their visions by setting up financial goals, structured systems, while layering in the soft skills needed to transition them from mere business owners into business leaders.
MK: That’s a hell of a story with great achievements. Congratulations on the 20 years in business! Now, tell us, what is it like to be in business for that long? Were there any major obstacles you had to overcome at some point?
MV: My journey, like many of us, has been far from smooth sailing; and yet, my ultimate goal is to slow down so I may enjoy my journey along the way even as I hit some of these rough spots. One of the biggest pitfalls was about five years ago when my business, which had been going swimmingly well for 15 years prior, hit a plateau in all meanings of the term. Our offerings were classic, yet stagnant. Our income wasn’t increasing year over year. Our team wasn’t inspired. And yet, the costs to run and upkeep the business continued to increase. Not only that, the perceived competition became supersaturated. My partners and I weren’t getting along because we all had a different vision to get out of this lull. We also did not know a path that could take us to continued growth and success. I knew that this trajectory was doomed unless we learned and accelerated our systems to optimize scalability and growth. Now, I know that this problem seems like a very common business issue to come across; however, living in it and knowing that the choices I made could impact our 40+ person team who depended on us to lead the path, weighed so heavily on my conscious to make the next moves toward this growth.
MK: We are also curious to know more about your work as a Business Advisor at Cultivate Advisors. How do you help other businesses?
MV: I love working with business owners who are looking for someone to help guide them into growth – whether this means scaling up their revenues and profits, or learning how to attract the right customers and nurture them for long-time relationships, or creating the systems to maximize their productivity and freedom.
I’m most known for connecting with each of my clients uniquely and exactly where they are in their skillset. I’m really good at rolling up my sleeves and getting to my client’s level, and ultimately lifting them to new heights with tangible and measurable results. I help hold tension to their accountability so we can achieve their personal and professional vision for their business. I love working with and meeting people in all different industries across all different stages of their business trajectory, and creating that path to success –whatever this looks like to them!
MK: Over the years, we’ve learned that some people are outcome focused. Some people are behavioral focused. And others are a healthy combination of both. How would you define success? And, do you feel you achieved success in your life?
MV: To me, success is an intrinsic feeling of satisfaction. The path to success is not a chore. It’s a journey and a journey that I feel like we all should celebrate and enjoy. Success = passion, value, and celebration. (And if, that’s rewarded with some money along the way… this is even more validation that can be celebrated as well!)
When I want something, even if that some “thing” changes forms along the journey, I ultimately succeed because I’m enjoying and learning along the way. Because we are all interconnected, to me, my personal success story is when I am able to provide value and serve in a way that resonates with my daily connections. I’m a successful mom because I care for and nurture my children day in and day out. I’m a successful business owner because I’m able to provide a service that helps others feel their best self, inside and out. I’m a successful advisor because my clients learn from and appreciate the value of our work together, and this helps them find joy and happiness in their lives.
MK: Last but not least, where do you get your inspiration from? Do you have any recommendations to us and our readers?
MV: I’m a fan of all things educational and motivational:
Dr. Joe Dispenza
Every night, when I go to bed, I put in my earbuds and listen to these wise people to share their wisdom and insight so I may continuously improve myself.
Today’s Featured Guest:
Business Advisor & Entrepreneur
Cultivate Advisors | 105F Hot Yoga & Pilates