The hardest thing about realizing a dream is getting there. As a female entrepreneur, you know how to dream. But maintaining your drive through the finish line can take monumental tenacity.
Elsie Escobar is no stranger to the entrepreneurial dream. After landing one of three spots at the prestigious National Theater Conservatory at the Denver Center Theater Company, Escobar earned her masters of fine arts convinced of her future in theater. But after supporting herself for 10 years, Escobar decided to blend her interests in yoga and storytelling into an emerging art form -- podcasting.
With over four million downloads to date, Elsie's Yoga Class remains Escobar's springboard to opportunity. Today, she co-hosts The Feed at Libsyn, the world's largest podcast distribution network, and co-hosts She Podcasts with Jessica Kupferman, providing female producers with broadcasting resources. Already reaching 4,000 downloads per month, Escobar's episodes of She Podcasts have built digital media innovations for thousands of entrepreneurs and landed her a coveted spot in the Academy of Podcasters.
The road to entrepreneurial success can be a long haul. It can be especially hard when you invested time and savings in expensive education that doesn't seem to pay off. Women whp aspire to establish their own small businesses are faced with unique challenges -- and endless opportunities. Here are 10 of Escobar's essential strategies for rising women in business.
1. Forget your assumptions.
Never stop learning. In any exchange, Escobar advocates for discovery over validation and would rather, "deepen conversations about almost any subject instead of looking to confirm what I already believe."
2. Indulge in creature comforts.
Don't forget to celebrate along the way. Marking small victories lets you anticipate your milestones. Escobar's personal favorites, "Optimally, sleep, quiet and space. Although chocolate wins a lot."
3. Practice productivity.
Escobar understands the value of staying intentional in her pursuits. She calls it conscious action and practices it as a productive state of mind consistently.
4. Be interruptible.
Working in an at-home office will never be completely under your control. Escobar was once interrupted during a live broadcast when her 4-year-old bolted up the stairs and stepped right into frame. "It's almost a constant. I just waved her around out of frame." Remember to stay flexible when things don't go as planned.
5. Pace yourself.
Pay attention to the schedule and workload that works best for you. Overload leads to burnout. Escobar suggests taking breaks that involve physical activity. "Do something else that involves you being in your body rather than in your mind."
6. Cultivate a creative mindset.
Creativity is the source of your innovation. To grow a creative mentality, Escobar recommends, "staying open and curious about the world and the mundane of everyday life. Keep a sense of wonder as much as you possibly can."
7. Get to know your own answers.
Follow your instincts. Escobar recognizes the value of expert advice and encourages business women to weigh it against what they know to be true. "I've always known what the next step to take is."
8. Be your own caretaker.
Escobar advises, "Sometimes you are in a fantastic juggling rhythm, totally in sync. And other times you're not going to be able to figure out how to even get the balls in the air." Never lose sight of caring for your own priorities.
9. Commit to being uncomfortable.
One of Escobar's strongest tips for women in business is to stop going to what you know and stretch out of your comfort zone. "It's a lot harder to stay open to what we don't know and to commit to following through, iterating and adjusting."
10. Make your own perfect path.
Don't be afraid to commit to your own direction. Setting out as a podcasting pioneer didn't fit everyone's idea of an acceptable professional pursuit for Escobar. But she was determined to make it work. "I'm not interested at all in fitting in, but in paving my own way. If others follow, bonus!"
As a rising entrepreneur, you'll be wearing all the hats and handling multiple moving parts. It can be challenging to juggle work, business, and life as a woman. Learn from everything. Lean into the craziness. Make it what you want it to be. Push yourself in the wrong direction, and you'll crash and burn. Ready yourself to meet the challenge, and you'll rise with strength and influence.