Ryan is the founder of hOM and the inspiration behind the company is based in his mother’s journey with cancer and the effect yoga and meditation can have on the body. When he’s not crushing sales and finding new buildings with which to work, he’s steering the ship offline. His excitement, love and endless energy is palpable. This man is a natural-born worker, his life is his work and his work is his life. There is little separation besides the solid time off because he just genuinely loves what he does. His mind never shuts off from exploring new ideas.
I think that’s how a lot of us feel at hOM. We are constantly going and we don’t even realize it because the way we work fills us up. Sure, we take our breaks when we need it and we make sure to eat well and exercise regularly, but we’re always thinking about hOM and how we can best serve our community. Ryan has made this lifestyle possible and enjoyable for us. Learn more about him here:
1. Tell us a little bit about the history of hOM and how you’ve worked to bring the vision to life.
hOM has been in the works for a long time. I like to say it started when I began my personal practice 12 yrs ago. This personal practice was inspired by my mother, Hope Freed. She was diagnosed with Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer and used meditation and yoga, doctor prescribed ;), to create a healthy mind and body. Not only did she get healthier, but her self-confidence and self-love blossomed. It was from watching this experience I knew I needed to share these practices with the world in a relatable way.
hOM has gone through so many iterations to arrive at what it is today. It was a physical tea/meditation store….a stand-alone meditation concept...an on-demand private yoga and massage delivered to your apartment...fast forward a couple years to present day hOM.
We have always maintained the vision to create secure careers for wellness instructors and convenient, relatable, affordable wellness for the customers. I guess the iterations were just the business naturally playing itself out to manifest our purpose and vision. What’s most exciting is we still have a long way to go!
2. As a co-founder and one of two hOMies who do not also teach yoga, how do you stay tuned into the teaching aspect of the business?
A few ways. My own practice - I have a basic asana practice and meditate every single morning. I meditate every night and try to bring mindfulness into my daily activities. I like to develop my practice by teaching informally to my friends and family and then formally in our give-back classes through Gildas Club.
The give-back classes really bring me back to my purpose--it’s almost as if I’m sharing the practice with my mom since people at Gilda’s Club are going through similar journeys. Now that my schedule has freed up, thanks to my hOMies, I’ve been making a point to attend a lot of our internal workshops, trainings and classes at our properties.
I’ve picked up a lot over the years from working with yoga instructors that I incorporate into my personal life, practice and share with others. So I guess you can say although I don’t teach our students (except Gilda’s Club) I am kind of teaching through myself and the friends and family around me.
3. This is pretty much for my benefit and the rest of the hOMies working from a mobile office. Where’s your favorite wi-fi and coffee spot?
Oooooo there are so many good ones. My favorite is probably my old hood in the LES - WhyNotCoffee. I’ve met a lot of cool people there and it’s a great work environment with good coffee and tons of food options around.
4. What is the vision behind having a company run by teachers and what are you looking for moving forward?
We all teach because we’re passionate about helping others find the best in themselves--mentally and physically. When we’re passionate about the service we’re providing it trickles into other areas of the business which creates a company that is continually growing, improving and serving our customers in the best way we can.
We can spot the problems before they even arise because we’re living and breathing the service. We’re connected to the cause.
Our teachers are entrepreneurs and hustlers -- so they can morph into any role and do it incredibly well. In the cases where an instructor left the corporate world to find his/her purpose, we utilize the skills these individuals honed over the years by offering the proper vessel to grow.
We’re looking for these hustlers, purpose-driven instructors with any and all skill-sets. Most immediately accounting/finance roles & a web developer role.
5. What is your advice for someone trying to start a business?
Keep iterating on your business concept until it is something that aligns with your values because you’ll hit thousands of walls and the only way to break through them is to blindly believe in what you are doing and the impact it will have on society. Once you’ve found that sweet spot, recognize it’s a journey of ups and downs, and it takes time and patience to build something special.
6. Okay, enough about the business. How do you like to stay fit?
Yoga ;) With a few days of lifting and running. My real favorite activity to keep fit is snowboarding! It’s the best workout by far and you get the scenery and adrenaline rush to go with it.
7. You may not be running around the city from class to class like our teachers, but you sure have a ton of meetings! What’s your advice for someone looking to find balance in the city?
One full day off and time your meetings, class, and/or other activities so you have lots of little breaks during the day. Set your week and schedule on Sunday or Saturday or whatever your weekend is and stick to it. Consistency is key to maintaining balance. If you can, try to turn off your computer a few hours before you go to bed.
Also - request hOM comes to your building so you can fit a quick practice in 3 times/week to stay grounded, balanced, and operate with a clear-mind ;)
8. You have a very positive and calm outlook that helps keep the “ship steady,” is this something you actively work on, or were you just born this way?
First off - thank you. Hmmm - good question. A little bit of both. I’ve always chosen or been placed in scenarios that require me to stay positive and calm. I grew up as an ice hockey goalie and have been starting businesses my whole life. I believe entrepreneurship requires this attitude. When I was thrown into the situation with my mom I kind of took on the role of the calm sounding board and one who could always provide humor, no matter the situation. I think meditation has been a HUGE help. Whenever I feel like freaking out I turn to my breath and find moments of isolation to have my own little personal “break-down.” It helps to get the emotions out and usually puts those emotions into perspective.
9. How has meditation influenced your life?
Good follow-up. It’s helped me nurture that sense of calm and put things into perspective. Bringing meditation out from my personal time and into other aspects of my life is the real way it has influenced me. This has really taken off lately with the help of some hOMies I know who are constantly working on being mindful. It’s inspiring to be surrounded by this attitude.
10. Words to live by:
Everything is as it should be. Thanks Corey :)
11. Anything else you’d like to add?
My hOMies are awesome. You all are the reason this vision is coming to fruition.