In the age of Covid, one thing’s certain: an increase in stress and anxiety. Andrew Miller felt it himself while navigating a long-distance relationship and a stagnant business in the early days of the pandemic. His partner, Tarin Calmeyer, a holistic wellness expert, helped realign and center him. What if, together, they could help others do the same?
Andrew and Tarin wanted to bring this magic to remote working teams around the globe. Remote Team Wellness is their Covid baby and has since gone on to work with Netflix, Dell, Microsoft and more. The company has generated over 100 times its initial bootstrapped startup investment and shows no signs of slowing down.
Before Andrew and Tarin were a couple, Andrew, who’s also known as @AndrewStartups, was a self-described “early-stage startup marketing guy” traveling the world helping startups grow. From Silicon Valley to Dubai, Andrew never shied away from a challenge, even writing The Startup Growth Book to teach founders how to do their own growth hacking.
Tarin was equally influential, devoting her life to teaching people about wellness long before the pandemic. She started as a trained osteopath and then became a devoted yogi and world traveler. She often consults on wellness strategies for resorts and hotels worldwide. She has such a gifted way of teaching that’s never preachy but always passionate. Not surprisingly, she has a cult following of HR leaders nowadays.
The duo first met when Andrew was in the middle of an international public speaking tour. Andrew, an American, was due to speak in South Africa and he began to prepare for his trip by DMing “all of the top wellness people there.” This was not out of character for Andrew. He often reaches out to “startups and wellness people” when he travels. Even before Covid, Andrew valued both working hard and staying well.
The Power of the DM
One of the people Andrew reached out to was Tarin. He sent her a DM (her Instagram handle at the time was the memorable moniker “TheChocolate Pretzel” but she’s since changed it to be the more CEOish @Tarin Calmeyer). Since Andrew reached out months before his trip, Tarin found his offer to “potentially” meet up a bit premature. She responded with a non-committal but friendly answer: “Reach out if you come.”
Andrew was intrigued and true to his word, followed up with Tarin when he finally arrived in South Africa. They connected on many levels, and Andrew began following Tarin “on her wellness journey” which included teaching at an event in Morocco and working with a hotel in Thailand.
Andrew explains, “We are both nomads together. I was back visiting family in the US when Covid hit and this is our remote wellness origin story. I had a very successful marketing agency based in San Francisco but then Covid hit and everything crumbled. I was very stressed. Tarin suggested doing some virtual meditations and I said, ‘No way! I’ve tried all of the apps. I’ve tried Headspace. Meditation is not my thing.’”
There’s No Substitution for Virtual Meditation
Luckily for Andrew, Tarin was persistent. She did a virtual meditation despite Andrew’s initial hesitancy. Andrew was floored. He says, “In the first five minutes, I fell into what I thought was a very deep sleep, but I was still awake. It’s hard to explain and if you haven’t done a live meditation with a teacher, then you’ve never experienced it. I came out of that and it felt like I had eight hours of deep sleep. All of this clarity came to me and I was sold. I told Tarin, all right, I’ll keep doing these. After the third one, it became clear to me that there’s an unprecedented gift from Covid to not be focusing on client work and to build something myself.”
Back in Ohio lockdown, Andrew did everything “fully remotely.” He and Tarin were physically separated for the first year of growing the business – with only a $900 initial investment. They spent a lot of time Facetiming and thinking that the world would open up quickly. Andrew had visions of sneaking into South Africa through the border in the back of a petrol car. They kept scheming ways to reunite all while building the business.
The business started small. Through Andrew’s startup connections, he got a website built by developers in India for only $100. Since Andrew is a growth hacking teacher, and he and Tarin handled SEO, email marketing, and social media campaigns. Initially, Remote Total Wellness targeted startups and CEOs which turned out to be a mistake as “startups are often a bit too small to have budgets for employee wellness.”
Even with all of their marketing efforts, Andrew and Tarin didn’t get their first closed deal until roughly six months into the journey. But their first customer was a big one. The booking was a speaking gig at an HR conference focused on larger companies.
By listening to their clients, Andrew and Tarin learned that meditation and yoga are fairly mainstream in corporate settings. Almost every team has at least one yoga teacher. The duo also figured out that few startups have the resources to hire wellness professionals. As a result, they switched lanes, contacting enterprise-level clients, companies, HR leaders, and team-experience leaders. Tarin assuaged any “yoga and meditation fatigue” by sharing her breadth of knowledge in the space.
Living and Breathing Wellness
Tarin lives and breathes wellness. She’s not a part of the recent explosion of interest in the industry, and instead, prioritizes focusing on wellness in every aspect of her life (yes, even money!). This comes through in her work with teams that are now struggling to find ways to do the same for their employees.
Remote Team Wellness now has over 150 different expert level wellness facilitators teaching topics from stress management, “burnout optimization” and more. Tarin handles all of the sales and facilitation for Remote Team Wellness and meets with potential clients to customize their goals.
It’s no surprise that the pandemic brought up a lot of requests to tackle stress, time management, and productivity. Tarin says, “I still teach a lot of yoga and mindfulness classes but we have added so many more robust offerings. We’re focusing on the things that people are dealing with to give them support and take the sessions in that direction. It’s been an iterative process.”
Andrew explains what makes Remote Total Wellness so unique: “Our unique selling point versus competitors is that they make you buy a 30-minute yoga class for your company. It’s cookie-cutter, right out of the box.”
But not Remote Team Wellness. Andrew continues, “Our specialty is speaking to Tarin and getting a customized recommendation that usually includes multiple facilitators either over a day, a week, a month, or throughout the year. It’s a bit labor-intensive on our side, but companies appreciate that. Tarin quickly identifies what employees need or what they’re stressed out about. Then we pull in those people that we do have a relationship with and consistently build that Rolodex.”
Bread and Butter, er Yoga
Remote Total Wellness has a unique collaborative approach to working with its clients. Andrew calls it a “one-stop-shop.” Some businesses are looking to package and send wellness gifts to their employees, and some want a strictly digital approach. “Our bread and butter is the conceptualization of live wellness-focused events and classes for companies,” Andrew says. “We have the backend – we know how to build the network, make the relationships, and vet all of the experts.”
Tarin is focused on growing the company’s network. Her positive energy and likability are huge draws, and so is the thoughtful way she continues to learn and grow. Andrew calls her “a total queen” and that’s a pretty fair assessment. He says, “We won’t close any deals and no one will care about us without Tarin. She’s leading the business with her position in the wellness industry, which is a unique selling point. We’re not just hustling and burning ourselves out. How can we sell burnout classes if we burn out ourselves?”
Andrew and Tarin continue to grow Remote Team Wellness. Among their clients are billion-dollar companies that want to grow their HR wellness offerings. Tarin stays abreast of all of the current trends in the industry so that her team can address them.
Currently, Remote Team Wellness is bringing in $200,000 in annual revenue. They experienced a 30 percent boost in sales around the Holiday season. Andrew attributes this to SEO (Andrew “Startups” doesn’t play around), but he stresses this is just the beginning. Andrew and Tarin are exploring a subscription service and a membership model. Remote Total Wellness has garnered a great deal of interest from VCs who want them to develop their current technology. Andrew and Tarin are taking it one (mindful) step at a time.
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