In Conversation with Ana Lilia, Breathwork Coach & Intuitive Healer
Describe your business in a few words?
I guide overwhelmed and stressed out women to intimately connect with their breath so they can manifest the life of their dreams. I help them to Dream Bigger and live an empowered life. I am a breathwork coach and intuitive healer.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I was depressed, I felt stuck, and like I wasn’t in control of my life. The very first time I experienced breathwork was an intense experience. I felt so connected with my body and mind. And for the first time in a long time, I felt hopeful and knew things will get better. I couldn’t believe that by manipulating my breath I was able to manage my stress, anxiety, and depression. After about six months of practicing consistently and seeing more positive changes in my life, I decided to learn how to become a breathwork coach. Four years later, I have a thriving breathwork practice.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I was working as an actor before being a breathwork coach. As an actor you learn to trust your instincts and it also makes you a good listener, which are all tools I use in my breathwork practice. And the hustling lifestyle of being an actor has come in handy to being an entrepreneur.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I always knew from a young age I was NOT going to work at a 9-5 job (which would frustrate my parents so much). Till this day, I have never had an employer. I have always been a freelancer and now my own boss. I love the freedom and control you have of being your own boss.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
I had no marketing strategy. My idea was that my breathwork classes would be a side gig. I started by hosting small classes in my friend’s apartments. They quickly became so popular that we no longer fit into my friend’s 1 bedroom apartment. I needed to find larger spaces to host the gatherings. That’s when I transitioned into working at yoga and meditation studios. And started to host big events like my yearly Dream Bigger event where hundreds of people attend to learn how to manifest their wildest dreams.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
When I was first starting out, I didn’t have a business plan, I was just hosting classes which don’t bring in a lot of money. I need to come up with a strategy to make my business more sustainable. I started to think about who my clients are and how I can best support them. That’s when I created my RESET 1-1 coaching program, which took my business to the next level.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
I was on the front page of the LA Times two years ago. The whole page had my face on it! It was an incredible accomplishment because I had been working so hard and this felt like a huge validation.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
The foundation of my business was in person events and gatherings. When the pandemic hit, all of that was gone, including my studio work. I needed to act fast and pivot. Even before we went into a lock down, I started hosting free online breathwork classes called Community Gathering. This community has grown to have over 2000 people, from all over the world, who still gather on Saturdays to breathe, release and relax. I am so proud and honored that my breathwork sessions have been such an important part of people’s lives during such a challenging time.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
I have so many big projects I’m working on. Online courses and retreats (so we can gather and travel together once the pandemic is under control.) And the biggest project is I am working on creating a tv show about healing.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
Delegate work, I can’t do it all by myself. And just because someone does things differently than me, doesn’t mean it’s wrong or bad. I had to practice letting go of control.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
Having your own business takes a lot of work and requires long hours at the beginning. Be patient. There’s a lot of trial and error, but you’re making a huge impact in the world.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
My breath. I do what I tell my clients to do, breathe, and often. I also go to the beach as often as I can. The beach is my happy place where I immediately feel relaxed and am able to let go of my worries.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
Yes, but I am failing at it miserably. In the last year my business has doubled in size, which has kept me extra busy. I have been creating new systems to streamline things, so that this year I will have more time off.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I was born in Napa, CA, and no my parents don’t own a winery. I graduated from UC Berkeley. I love serenading my dog. And my favorite drink is Champagne.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
Set a goal for your day. Take breaks. Get up, move your body. Put on your favorite song and dance to it. Drink lots of water, have a water bottle next to your computer.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
Being an Entreprenista is having control of your life and doing what you love to do every single day. It’s how you can share your gifts with the world and inspire others to take the brave leap and do the same.