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The Next List: Chris Beer

Chris Beer, the founder of B.Well Consulting, has a diverse background that is rooted in finance, driven by data, grounded by giving, fueled by entrepreneurial passion and made possible by hard work and grit.

After a 20 year career in finance, Chris became a MINDBODY-Certified Business Consultant to further her ability to help fitness and wellness owners make data-driven decisions that propel their organizations forward. Chris specializes in the development and implementation of business operating systems -- a company's unique way of doing things -- how it operates, goes to market, produces and deals with its clients.

Driven to be humble and helpful, she partners with small businesses to create more success while working more efficiently and gaining a better understanding of what drives revenue.

What has your career path been like up to this point?

The first half of my working life was spent in the trading pits of the Chicago Board of Trade. On my first day on the trading floor, I was 16 years old and had no financial background -- but the environment was exciting and fast-paced and lucrative. I threw myself into learning everything I could and working from the ground up, putting in a lot of hours along the way. My approach to learning this field was the same as my approach to anything -- being a team player, pitching in on whatever was needed, being willing to make mistakes, and being open to learning from others.

Along the course of my trading career, I worked for mid-sized firms, larger firms and for myself. During the time that I had our two children, I was self-employed and had very little support in terms of being able to take time off or get adequate rest. In hindsight, it was a lot of pressure to put on myself during a high-stress period of my life.

About 9 months after the birth of our second child, I entered into an intensive outpatient program to receive help for the overwhelming anxiety and depression that had been brewing for quite some time. This required me to take a step away from my work, which was difficult but necessary. As my husband reminded me, I had never “half-assed” anything in my life, why would I take a light-hearted approach to my mental health?

The period in the intensive outpatient program gave me a lot of new tools in my toolbox. I entered in being scared to go back to work (or really any potentially stressful situation), but I learned that I could take a different approach to my perfectionist tendencies in my personal and professional life. I returned to trading in a more team-based capacity until 2017.

How did you know it was time for a change?  Was there a defining moment that sparked you into action?

The trading industry went through many changes from 1999-2017, and it was time for me to do something new. I had made a “mini-pivot” in 2015 by taking on a small role (I think the kids call it a “side gig”) as a consultant for a group of boutique fitness studios in the Chicago area. It was a fun, creative way for me to geek out on numbers while crafting marketing and retention strategies. When I stepped away from trading, I started to see more opportunities to help entrepreneurs understand their financials and develop systems to run more efficient businesses. When doing some research for a client, I read that MINDBODY, one of the leading providers of business management software and online scheduling platforms served over 58,000 health and wellness businesses and 35 million consumers globally. I could say that was a defining moment, because it made a lightbulb go off -- realizing that there is a large community of health and wellness businesses who could benefit from assistance with operational efficiency. I was determined to figure out a way to make an impact on these businesses, scaling my impact by creating sharable content that taught people best practices in marketing automation and retention. My official next step was completing a course to become certified as a MINDBODY Business Consultant. I continue to “always be a student” by attending and teaching webinars on subjects that appeal to small business owners.

Where did you find support and inspiration?

When making my pivot, I found that I needed myself as my biggest source of support and inspiration. Sounds funny, right? Instead of seeking outward “likes,” I made a big effort in liking myself as I made my way through this next stage of life. For me, that came with regular exercise, consistent sleep, and saying “no” to social engagements that didn’t make me feel happy.

How did motherhood play a role in your career path?

With our children in elementary school, I want to have the flexibility and emotional bandwidth to support them in their everyday moments. I have been fortunate to identify opportunities to grow professionally while working remotely and off-hours. I see my professional endeavors changing as their independence grows. I’m mindful of seeking opportunities but trying not to stress about it. My crash course in therapy has taught me that worrying is rarely productive -- and life is too short to waste such precious time and energy.

What was your biggest challenge in changing direction or starting something new?

For me, it was losing my sense of identity. When I left trading, it was a huge source of pride, my sense of purpose, and had been for 18 years. I wasn’t fully prepared to “mourn” the loss of that part of my life.

What advice would you give to other women that feel stuck in their current situation?

No one cares about you…. isn’t that great?! Honestly, my biggest advice is to stop worrying about failing. We hold ourselves back from trying new things because we’re afraid of what others will think if and when we fail. Guess what? Most people are too absorbed in their own lives to be watching every step of yours. Go ahead. Take the risk. The worst thing that can happen is that you fail and hopefully learn something new as a result.

Do you have a favorite quote?

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” -- Albert Einstein

What are you reading, listening to, who are you following?

My favorite podcasts are “How I Built This” and “Land of the Giants.” Spanning multiple industries, “How I Built This” follows the path of entrepreneurs as they take an idea to market. The Land of the Giants has been a great dive into the FAANG stocks, starting with Amazon in Season 1. These companies are leaders in collecting, storing, processing, and analyzing personal information from you and every other customer and their customer journey platforms are amazingly good at influencing how customers are spending their money. For daily news, I read Morning Brew.

What’s NEXT for you?

I’m having a blast consulting small businesses in the wellness/fitness space. Each case is like solving a puzzle. By asking a lot of questions, listening, and providing accountability, I help business owners design clear and scalable practices that streamline processes, giving them more time to focus on doing what they love. My passion within this space is marketing automation: the use of technology that allows companies to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows, so they can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster.

Drawn to a love of lifelong education, I have also taken on a part-time role as the Admission Engagement Manager at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. Similar to putting together pieces of a puzzle, I make connections between prospective students and current MBA candidates based on similar passions, strengths, and areas of growth.

Both paths have been wonderful ways to learn new things, broaden my horizons, and grow my network. What’s my next? I can’t wait to find out. Right now, I’m enjoying figuring it out. :)

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