Julie Rice — Co-Founding SoulCycle, Taming Anxiety, and Mastering Difficult Conversations (#372)

“There is no elevator to success; you have to take the stairs.”
— Julie Rice

Julie Rice (@julierice_) is an entrepreneur best known for co-founding the fitness phenomenon SoulCycle. Julie served as Co-CEO at SoulCycle from 2006 to 2015 before joining WeWork in November 2017.

Julie’s life’s work has been about building community, and these days she brings that focus to her new role at WeWork. At WeWork, Julie is approaching everything through the lens of community—she is focusing on WeWork’s brand and the experience WeWork provides its members, and seeking new and innovative ways to grow and share the WeWork experience around the globe.

Julie lives in NYC with her husband Spencer and their two daughters, Phoebe and Parker. She is a board member of The Public Theater and Weight Watchers, as well as an advisor to the women’s club The Wing.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Castbox, or on your favorite podcast platform.

#372: Julie Rice — Co-Founding SoulCycle, Taming Anxiety, and Mastering Difficult Conversations


Want to hear another episode with someone who knows how to build an enticing atmosphere into a business model? — Listen to my interview with hospitality mogul Liz Lambert, in which she talks about balancing the desire to be an artist with the desire to be a business tycoon. (Stream below or right-click here to download):

#320: The Art of Hospitality: An Interview With Entrepreneur and Hotelier Liz Lambert


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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…


  • Connect with Julie Rice:

 Instagram | LinkedIn


  • Julie was a nerdishly well-behaved child…except for this one time. [06:35]
  • What was Julie’s life like the year before cofounding SoulCycle? [09:28]
  • What were Julie’s duties as a talent manager in her former life, and what were some of her better decisions in that role? [13:37]
  • One of Julie’s better skills in life: people picker. [15:03]
  • How many clients does a successful talent manager usually have under their wing? [17:22]
  • What did Julie see in Ellen Pompeo that made her pursue her as a client, and how does it tie in with what she looks for in people who work for her in different capacities today? [19:04]
  • How did SoulCycle formulate as a concept and become something real in just four months? [20:49]
  • The Sunday $200 ATM ritual and how money was handled in the early days of SoulCycle. [23:44]
  • How did the name “SoulCycle” come about, and were there any serious alternatives in the running? [29:01]
  • How did Julie and Elizabeth decide on the business model that made SoulCycle stand out from its big box gym contemporaries at the time? [29:42]
  • Early good decisions. [31:35]
  • How lack of space in the first SoulCycle room created an accidentally positive environment for human connection and moving meditation. [33:08]
  • What value did Julie and Elizabeth find in having a life coach help them at this stage in the business? [34:48]
  • While initially skeptical about seeing a coach, what sold Julie on the deal at the first meeting? [41:26]
  • What Julie has learned about fostering a company culture and a family life (thanks to some help from Hendrix and Hunt’s Getting the Love You Want) that make conflict resolution go smoothly and constructively. [44:31]
  • Why Julie considers Simon Sinek’s Start with Why so helpful for people trying to communicate in the workplace. [52:18]
  • How SoulCycle’s investment in the careers of its instructors engendered true loyalty and made the company stand out as an innovator in the fitness industry. [55:24]
  • Why did Julie and Elizabeth resist the urge to take outside investment money early on, and how did it shape the way business — particularly marketing — was done? [57:27]
  • How a little creativity gave a marketing experiment in Bridgehampton much better ROI than a $75,000 magazine ad ever could have — and turned SoulCycle from a scrappy startup into a bona fide sensation. [1:05:14]
  • Why finally accepting outside cash infusion from Equinox was seen as a good idea for the business at this time. [1:08:49]
  • Bad uses of time and money and rolling with the consequences. [1:10:45]
  • Think you don’t have time to meditate? Here’s how Julie does her daily meditation in 16 seconds. [1:16:15]
  • The number one thing that keeps Julie from buckling under stress and anxiety. [1:17:54]
  • A new weekly ritual that helps reframe Julie’s family life and bring everyone closer together. [1:21:50]
  • What SoulCycle’s eight-week training program strives to instill in its instructors, and what this brings to the overall SoulCycle experience. [1:26:27]
  • What does a curriculum designed around developing spiritual, emotional leaders look like? [1:29:30]
  • Books Julie recommends and gifts frequently. [1:31:39]
  • What is Julie currently most excited about — professionally, personally, or in-between? [1:32:43]
  • What would Julie’s billboard say? [1:35:20]
  • Closing thoughts. [1:36:50]