It’s become commonplace for those running a business to say their goal is to foster a team environment, a place where people feel like they’re valuable and appreciated. Work here, they’ll say, and you’ll be standing for something bigger than yourself.
Clyde Simms believes in all that. But he doesn’t just talk the talk. After spending a decade as a professional soccer player, he’s bringing a tested team mentality to his role as the co-founder of Rev’d Cycling Studio, along with Meaghan Severson. (You can meet her, here.)
The studio has two locations outside of Boston, with another on the way. Boutique fitness is booming, no question. But it’s the people they surrounded themselves with, says Clyde, that’s made him and Meaghan successful.
“Being on a team for so long was the best thing I could have possibly done,” Simms says. “The personal sacrifice, the patience, the teamwork. Personal advancement is OK, but there really is nothing like being able to have people around you, putting in the same amount of hard work, in order to accomplish a common goal. It seriously gives me chills.”
When’s the last time thinking about your day job gave you goosebumps?
Simms has cleared some major hurdles to get to this point in his life. Soccer sounds glamorous, sure, but it’s still a job. He played through constant nagging injuries, never having enough time to rest and fully heal before hitting the field again for another practice or game. And despite living in Boston for two years (he played the rest of his career for DC United), he didn’t get to experience it much.
“I only really saw my apartment in Dedham and Gillette Stadium, where we trained and played,” he laughs. “Oh and also Logan Airport.”
In many ways, it was injuries that brought him to cycling in the first place. The soccer season is long and grueling, the longest, in fact, of any professional sport. But once he discovered cycling gave him the cardio he needed without the strain on his joints, he was hooked.
It was right at the time when he and Meaghan were pushing to open their first studio that Simms got really sick. His kidneys failed him, putting him in and out of the hospital and on dialysis three times per week.
“That was very challenging,” he reflects. “I told myself everyday, if I can get through this, I could handle anything.”
Now, he’s got a team back, one he helped build from a career spent both playing soccer and observing the coaches who were helming the best, and worst, clubs around him.
“The successful teams had coaches or managers that had a clear philosophy, a standard, and treated everyone the exact same,” he says. “The very moment you start playing favorites, it becomes apparent, and you then lose your team very, very quickly.”
With business surging and Simms’ health back on track (thanks in large part to a kidney transplant), he’s got some time to reflect on his personal journey and arrival here, as a spin instructor and business owner.
Not that he’ll spend much time on himself, that is. To build something positive, a place where your employees will enjoy coming to every day, a place, perhaps, that will give them the occasional goosebump, takes a scope of thinking that’s larger than one person. It takes a team; but every great team has a great coach.
“Revd is absolutely nothing without our amazing instructors, our front desk staff and managers, and our crazy awesome community of riders,” Simms tells me, unprovoked. “It really feels like home here. A home I don't think I could live without. Without all of these people, we wouldn't be having this conversation. They deserve all of the credit.”