Charlottesville is not Beijing, and other 2016 insights

We are so grateful. This year has been an intense period of getting REAL about business. In early 2016 we were accepted to the iLab at the University of Virginia, and thus began months of fundraising, coordinating and ultimately launching a more business-savvy version of The Mind Body Project. In June, four of us began attending entrepreneurial incubator classes, Alyssa finished up corporate programming at Bloomberg Beijing and we had a soft opening of The Yellow Door, a mind body wellness hub in Charlottesville, VA.

Throughout the journey our tribe grew to include a branding and graphic design consultant, inspiring intern, a tech-loving meditation guru and six new teachers. We ran over 250 classes and programs at companies, schools and around Charlottesville.  Highlights included receiving a grant to teach Mindfulness at Johnson Elementary, a scholarship to attend the Mind & Life Institute Symposium in San Diego, running a mindful MBA program in Beijing and teaching trauma-informed yoga at the Blue Ridge Juvenile Detention Center.

Erin continues to teach with the Contemplative Sciences Center at UVA, as well as work in corporate training at Worldstrides in Charlottesville.  Brittany is working with the Guinness Book of World Records, teaching music and movement programs in Beijing, and is currently in India receiving a children’s yoga certification.  Sarah is teaching mindfulness with the UVA Curry School of Education, Natalie is officially an events-savvy architect at Crossboundaries, and Alyssa is growing her savvy as Executive Director of Project Penyou in Beijing.

Things we learned this year:

  1. The Mind Body Project is a solution, not a problem.  Passion projects are fun, but sustainable businesses solve problems.  We are working on our branding and getting specific about the problem we want our mindfulness programs to tackle.
  2. Charlottesville is not Beijing.  We have loved getting to know the community here intimately, quite a change from the hustle and bustle of Beijing. We’re getting used to the change of pace and business mentality, and excited about local collaborations.
  3. Consultants are awesome.  We have had the privilege of getting feedback from lots of mentors at the iLab, which have helped us learn to get lots of feedback, not to take things personally and to get outside of our bubble!
  4. We need Digital Marketing Savvy.  We are learning to effectively navigate the rapid changes in SEO, social media and inbound marketing.  Look out for our blog in 2017!
  5. We need diversity on our team. We are five early-thirties, white, females who like the same things.  Our personalities are diverse, but not necessary our skills and perspectives, so we are looking to attract new energy this year.

How you can help:
We know that many of you are far away, but you believe in what we are doing.  Thank you.  We truly feel your energy from around the world.

  1. Help us keep the lights on.

We keep costs REALLY low but still have monthly costs like this newsletter, email, website, insurance, utilities and incidental program costs.We are becoming more sustainable this year via classes at The Yellow Door and have our fingers crossed about a large grant and a few corporate proposals, but our operating costs will be a minimum of $4,300 this year. We are six months into operations in the US, and we could use help extending our runway. Erin is happy to share our 2016 financials, she keeps diligent records. Additionally, if we receive at least $2,000, we will offer another mindfulness program at Johnson Elementary.
We are also ready to apply for grant funding in conjunction with partner organizations.Please connect us with community health, mental health and contemplative science/neuroscience research opportunities.

       2. Share our journey!

-Send friends to our website:
-Share your connection to us on your Facebook page and mention @TheMindBodyProjectCrew
-Post inspirational quotes on Instagram and tag @themindbodycrew

     3. Send good vibes!  Email, snail mail, in-person.  We want it all!


The Mind Body Project 2016