Cory McKane has grown up in the fitness industry and has discovered a huge gap in the personal training space while getting his Accounting degree at EWU. He founded WeStrive with the vision to transform the personal training industry. Now, that vision has expanded to more than just trainers. WeStrive is the first Collaborative Operating System for all Health & Wellness Professionals. Personal trainers, Nutritionists, Physical Therapists, and more will be able to build, manage, and grow their business – all while collaborating amongst each other for the better health of their clients. He enjoys grabbing drinks with friends, traveling, working out, and spending time with family. Most of his weeks are spent either working on WeStrive, attending some kind of tech event, or just relaxing after a long day.
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Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up?
Cory McKane: All I have are stories of hard times over the years so I don’t know where to begin. I spent 6 years having to go paycheck to paycheck, raise small investments every month, and constantly have to take out more credit cards. It seemed like every 3 weeks I was trying to figure out where our next $5K was coming from. It’s such a blessing to be a funded company now. I think one of the hardest times was in 2017 when I flew to LA to receive a $250K investment. I still don’t know what happened, but I was essentially “ghosted” by this investor. I had no money, was stuck in LA for a week, and our app was years from being successful. I have considered giving up many times but ultimately I knew two things. 1) I knew I would regret it for the rest of my life and 2) I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and knew I needed to just keep going.
Resilience is critical in critical times like the ones we are going through now. How would you define resilience?
Cory McKane: Resilience is being able to persevere even when everything seems hopeless. When you work for 6 years on something & have nothing to show for it, but you still push forward for the hope of a better future. That’s resilience. We’re finally seeing the other side of the tunnel and it feels so great to say that we earned it.
What are the most common mistakes you see entrepreneurs make and what would you suggest they do?
Cory McKane: I think the number one fault of entrepreneurs is hearing advice from someone early on and just believing that the advice they received is like the all-knowing truth or something. I can’t tell you how many times people gave me god-awful advice at the beginning of my journey. My next piece of advice is sort of the opposite of what I just said – it’s to listen. A lot of entrepreneurs build egos or think they’re always right. I’ve ignored both investors & my audience countless times on my journey & it’s ended up causing a huge setback. I think if you combine the first two points – AKA always listening and always being open to other opinions, you’ll be off to the races. The best entrepreneurs become great at filtering advice.
In your opinion, what makes your company stand out from the competition?
Cory McKane: The main thing that makes us stand out is that our audience can tell that we care. I’ve personally interviewed thousands of health & fitness professionals over the years. All those interviews have accumulated to my team & me building a 5-star Health platform.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?
Cory McKane: Grit – the combination of perseverance + passion. I had to constantly push myself throughout this journey and I had to do it with a fire underneath me or I don’t think I would have made it this far.
Patience – I was not a patient person when I created the early forms of WeStrive back in 2015. The realization that some things are out of your control is such an underrated skill to have. It drastically can reduce stress and help you to focus on other things. 99% of the time when you’re dealing with software it’s out of your control – especially as a non-technical founder. Things like waiting on Apple to approve your app and beta testing all just require a mountain of patience.
Self-motivation – The weirdest thing about owning your own business is that nobody is forcing you to get up in the morning…especially once you’ve raised money. Yes, you have investors & team members, but nobody is sitting next to you 24/7. Thoughts like, “maybe I’ll just sleep in” creep into your head constantly. It’s okay to sometimes reward yourself with downtime/vacations, but you need to constantly find a way to motivate yourself to get to the next stage.
Being a CEO of the company, do you think that your personal brand reflects your company’s values?
Cory McKane: 100%. For example, as the founder of a company in the Health & Fitness world, I try and stay in the best shape possible. Additionally, even though I go out and drink on the weekends, I try and be as appropriate as I can as to not embarrass my company publicly. I try to be as kind and loving to everyone that I meet as I can, and I think our companies brand reflects that. Always striving to be better in every way.
How would you define “leadership”?
Cory McKane: There’s a lot of ways that leadership can be defined. I think one of the most important words to some up leadership is ‘responsibility’. You have to be responsible to create a solid working environment for your team, responsible to delegate tasks (something I’m still working on), and finally, you’re responsible for anything that’s late or fails…everything is on you.
What would you say is the main difference between starting a business at the time you started yours and starting the business in today’s age?
Cory McKane: A lot has changed since 2015. There are so many new tools out there to automate things for you. When I first started, I remember there weren’t things like drip campaign tools or really powerful CRM managers. Everything was really basic and I had to do a ton of work in Excel. Another thing is testing apps through TestFlight. I remember how ridiculous it was to have to get my non-tech-savvy friends to send me their email, have them download an app, and then after they have that app they would then have to download my app. It was such a long process and now you can just send them the link.
What’s your favorite “life lesson” quote and how has it affected your life?
Cory McKane: It’s a classic quote but it holds in so many ways – “This too shall pass”. I look at this quote in two main ways.
Anything you’re currently going through – whether you’ve run out of funding or you just had an employee quit – shall pass. It will end at some point and your job is to find the best way to get through it for the time being. Hopefully, you can learn a lesson along the way. Success doesn’t last forever. Just as terrible situations don’t last, neither do good ones. You need to work on building on a good situation or creating a new one while the moment lasts.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Cory McKane for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Cory McKane or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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