Here at Mavenly + Co., we are all about using time wisely and being productive. That's why we love what Celine Tarrant is doing with her startup Smart Girls Sweat where she hosts 'sweatworking' sessions for young women. Find out more about how Celine started Smart Girls Sweat and what advice she has for women looking to start a side hustle below.
Instagram handle: @smartgirlssweat
Location: Toronto, Canada
Occupation: Founder, Smart Girls Sweat + Manager, Walmart Canada
University: Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario
Secretly Obsessed With: Podcasts and audiobooks. I can't get enough!
On My Nightstand: Lavender-scented candle and a brochure from my dream b-school…I like to visualize myself there every morning when I wake up!
Last Thing You Read: Grit by Angela Duckworth
How did you get started? What was the inspiration for Smart Girls Sweat?
I took a page from Nike’s book – I just did it. I was 6 months into a new job at Walmart Canada, busy immersing myself into the young professionals’ scene, training for half marathons and trying to keep some sort of social life together.
I noticed a lot of other young professional women who were just like me – smart, ambitious, career-driven, with an interest in fitness and wellness. Evenings and weekends were split between I realized that there were amazing communities for women in business and in fitness, but really nothing in between!
I wanted to create a unique experience where high-achieving women could network and develop themselves professionally, while working out and doing something great for their health. That led me to start Smart Girls Sweat, where every event starts with a group workout and ends with authentic and enjoyable networking! After the first event, people kept asking when the next one was and at that moment I knew I was on to something.
What key elements played into your success?
Initially, I think my persistence was key to getting my idea off the ground. I was basically cold-emailing speakers, vendors, sponsors, and media. I really had to be persistent in following-up, and not taking “no” for an answer (within reason!). I am extremely grateful to my small crew of my dedicated team who make each event possible.
Once things were up and running, word-of-mouth marketing from some of my amazing attendees – both friends and strangers - was instrumental to our organic growth. Over half of our attendees hear about Smart Girls Sweat from a friend and I owe that to a few brand champions who have taken the initiative to share our message and grow our audience!
Finally, our speakers and sponsors who give their time, advice and money to help make our events possible! These are women and business who live and breathe our values every single day and I am deeply grateful that people continue to support us and help us grow.
What’s your favorite part of your day?
First thing in the morning. Our condo has an amazing panoramic view of the city. I like to sit on the couch for a few minutes before the hustle and bustle of the morning commute and take it all in - it feels like I’m floating amongst the skyscrapers!
What struggles did you face getting to this point?
Time management has been a huge struggle. Between a full-time career, running Smart Girls Sweat, staying active, and other commitments, it can be hard to balance everything. Logistically, I can’t schedule meetings during most people’s business hours because I’m busy working at my full-time job, so I end up taking a lot of calls on my commute and sending emails at odd hours of the night.
On top of the day-to-day responsibilities like doing my accounting, maintaining my website, and managing social accounts, actually planning the logistics of the events is a lot more work than I originally anticipated. I’m a perfectionist and I haven’t quite managed to hand the details off to someone else yet – I like to have my hand in everything to make sure it’s perfect for our attendees!
Who was the biggest influence in your professional life?
My mom has been a huge influence on my professional life. She’s the one who instilled the importance of perseverance, hard work, education and health in me growing up. She has been incredibly supportive of me starting my own business and has come to every single event so far. She still manages check-in at events and helps me with everything from packing my car the night before to entertaining our speakers and sponsors before an event!
What accomplishment are you most proud of? When do you feel most successful?
When someone tells me that they love what I’m doing, that one of our events inspired them, or that they made a valuable connection at an event, it validates that all the time and effort I am putting into Smart Girls Sweat is worth it! I feel most proud and successful when I can actually see that my work is having a positive impact on my community!
What advice would you give to girls looking to start a side-hustle?
I absolutely love the idea of a “side-hustle” as a low-risk way to prove a concept or follow a passion. It’s a great way to build essential entrepreneurial skills, without quitting your day job. I have two key pieces of advice for aspiring side-hustlers. Firstly, come up with the absolute minimum viable product (MVP) you would need to launch. Be specific – what is the bare minimum you need to launch and how much time and money will you need to get there? Secondly, put a schedule in place and stick to it. You need to carve out time to work on your side-hustle with focus and rigor. Start by setting aside one or two evenings a week exclusively to work on getting to your MVP.