The idea for a wellness coaching business evolved in late 2017 as Anne Mitchell and Roxie Speer plotted their escapes from corporate America. This is the story of how they created Teacup Wellness and what happened after it failed.
Wanting to devote our talents and energies to something we felt passionate about, we brainstormed and researched and crafted personas and defined target markets and wrote lean business plans.
As recovered alcoholics and former smokers, we each had gone through our own wellness journeys and had also gotten certified to be coaches.
We loved what coaching can do and we wanted to build a business that helped other wellness coaches be successful and help more people.
The first iteration of our business was focused on helping coaches operate their businesses so they could focus on coaching. We got to work setting up tools and systems to fill that need.
The name Teacup Wellness came as we explored branding for successful companies such as Apple, Google, and Starbucks.
We knew our name didn’t need to be literal, it just needed to be memorable. Maybe our name could even get a positive response when people heard it for the first time.
We thought the idea of tea evoked a sense of wellbeing and connectedness. And the word “teacup” was fun to say. Adding wellness to the name shares a little about what we do.
People loved our name and loved our concept. Coaches excitedly joined us, hoping for a new way of working that would make it easier for them to do what they loved best.
Except we never quite figured out how to make money doing it, for us or for our coaches.
After about a year of spending more time and more money trying to make it work, we finally closed up shop and considered what to do next.
Roxie moved on with her life but Anne soon discovered that she wasn’t able to let go. The idea of creating a business that benefits coaches and clients seemed too promising to just walk away from without some more thought and some more tinkering.
Creating Teacup as a nonprofit had always been a consideration, but since we knew nothing about nonprofits, it seemed safer to go the profit route. If only…
Recreating Teacup as a nonprofit had to cost next to nothing to build and operate since all the money was gone after the first failure.
With unreasonable optimism based on absolutely nothing, Anne kept trying different online solutions. She was looking for a way for us to offer a directory of coaches and a process for connecting them with clients in a way that didn’t require a room full of technology experts to run the thing.
After many false starts and dead ends, Anne finally identified a suite of tools and processes that seemed to work.
Then she had to expand upon and refine the concept and do all the rest of the work of setting up a new nonprofit. The following list of steps is an overview of what it took, and not necessarily in order.
devour books and podcasts about nonprofits
learn about fundraising approaches and opportunities
craft a nonprofit business model
develop a financial structure
create a collaboration space for coaches
register as a nonprofit
file for an IRS EIN
define all the processes
design and build the site
write all the content
obtain a bank account
identify and configure a donor management tool
apply for a secure payment processing service
submit 501c3 (started)
Inviting earlier coaches to give feedback on the concept, she tweaked the business model and finished building out the site based upon their input.
After more months of work, Teacup was finally to the point where it was ready to onboard coaches, solicit donations, and invite clients.
Teacup Wellness Nonprofit was officially (re)born on April 20, 2021.
We hope this story is just the beginning of something amazing.
In case you’re curious, Anne wrote all the content, built Teacup’s site, and crafted the processes and structure of our new nonprofit operations.
Roxie, along with supportive friends, family members, and other wellness coaches gave Anne the love, support, and input to help keep her going during what sometimes seemed like slow-motion progress (plus her fulltime job as an experience designer for a major insurance firm keeps her busy on weekdays).
Anne’s vision and stubborn passion for the possible got us to this point, and the passion of our devoted coaches and donors will be what drives us to new heights going forward.
Let’s all raise a cup to a fabulous future for Teacup and for everyone it touches.