Tiffany Orli Hakimianpour is CEO and Founder of Handstand, a personal trainer app that enables users to book a trainer on-demand at more reasonable prices than they would pay at a gym. By offering a platform that connects clients and fitness instructors directly, it enables users to pay less than they would at the gym, while putting more money into the pockets of trainers and instructors. Tiffany’s goal is that Handstand will help more people commit to a healthy lifestyle by putting personalized fitness options at their fingertips.
Name: Tiffany Orli Hakimianpour
Job Title: CEO & Founder
Currently based in: Santa Monica, CA
Originally from: Santa Monica, CA
My superpower — which sometimes gets me into trouble — is simplifying ginormous tasks into steps, and then executing every step. This is sometimes dangerous as constantly I tend to feel like i’m biting off more than I can chew or do — but in the end, it gets done. I’d say it’s a superpower!
A woman in history you admire & why:
May Kay Ash, founder of May Kay Cosmetics, because she created and built an enormous profitable company from scratch that created new opportunities for women to achieve financial success. She made so many win-win decisions and achieved massive success by following her heart and using her philosophies to create a path where there hadn’t been one before.
Quote/piece of advice that you live by:
Never stop learning.
What inspired you to start your current venture?
I knew there had to be a more efficient, affordable and flexible way to get more people the individualized help they need to thrive with a healthy lifestyle. I also wanted to do something that was in the best interest of the personal trainers and instructors. They are the ones changing lives, and they deserve adequate pay. I thought the market was really imbalanced, with gyms taking a huge cut of their instructors’ compensation. My heart was being pulled in both directions and I couldn’t let my idea go. That was my inspiration to begin Handstand, a personal trainer app that enables users to book a trainer for less while giving more money to the instructor.
What are you and your company doing to make history today?
We are making history by building a company with female leadership, using brand new technology and tools, and implementing a customer and personal trainer service model that goes above and beyond.
What is one thing your company has accomplished that you are most proud of?
I am proud of our partnership with the W Boston Hotel, which we are hoping to scale. With a hotel reservation, the W Boston provides their guests with free Handstand sessions in their newly-built studios to use during their stay. It’s awesome and I’ve checked it out myself — it’s so easy and simple. With Handstand, you can stay on a healthy routine without worrying about it or spending excess money or time!
What is one project you are currently working on that you are most excited about?
The newest version of Handstand allows our users to follow the trainers and leaders who work with us. Our personal trainer app is implementing a new healthy lifestyle paradigm and our instructors are on board with us. Yes, fitness is about movement, but it’s also mental and emotional — figuring out what feels right for you at any given moment and what you need to move forward.
We’re excited to introduce Handstand to the world because a personal trainer app is a great way to make fitness easy and customized. I think of our concept as similar to athleisure clothing with its relationship to fitness. Like athleisure clothing, Handstand supports a mentality that you should be active and healthy throughout the day, and we are offering a product that enables that lifestyle.
What, in your opinion, is one of the biggest challenges facing your industry today?
One of the biggest challenges that Handstand hopes to tackle is the importance that is often placed on numbers-driven fitness. Focusing solely on weight and dimensions is too narrow-minded. Working out without the proper support and knowledge can be counterproductive, discouraging and can increase your risk of injury. A personal trainer app makes booking customized fitness easy and affordable, and it helps more people live a healthy lifestyle. Best of all, after the journey into fitness begins, it often makes a positive impact on other areas of your life.
What is a trend in your industry that you foresee becoming popular in the future?
I believe we will see more bots handling tasks like customer service.
What is one of the greatest challenges you have personally faced at this job?
I’ve faced so many challenges. Many of them were from starting a company for the first time. I never really knew how to lead people; I loved working solo and I was used to that. However, through a few hires and fires, I found my way. In fact, I kind of found myself in the process.
I learned that although I saw parts of myself in many members of my new team, none of us had the same exact strengths — which, in fact, is a great thing! I learned to learn each of my employees’ strengths and build off of that rather than pigeonholing each person into a specific role. I realized that all of our team members needed to understand other people’s skill sets too. This makes for a well-oiled company that runs smoothly.
As we grow, challenges still arise — but having a team of incredible people who are honest about their strengths and weaknesses allows us to overcome obstacles together. I believe that people are the company, and our company won’t work without great people on all sides — partners included!
What were you doing before your current role?
I graduated USC in 2013 and began Handstand in 2014 – so for a short time, I was a media strategist. I evaluated company’s marketing budgets and planned how they could give clients the most ROI by spending in different mediums. The work I did then still helps me now. I still use what I learned while getting my degree in Business Administration from USC Marshall School of Business, and even use skills I learned during the time I spent building things at the Architecture School.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to give to other female founders & change-makers?
Learn to rest and not quit. And find silence when it’s the loudest.
Are there any great resources you have discovered that you would like to share?
I love Medium because it’s good for reading about what’s going on in the world from the perspective of the people. Pinterest is also a favorite of mine — it’s so visual and so informative. It’s like my new Google, in a way.
Fun fact about yourself:
My middle name means “my light” in Hebrew and I never felt that my signing my name without it was completely me. It’s Orli.