In Conversation with Emily Fletcher of Ziva Meditation

Emily Fletcher_Blog Header

Describe your business in a few words?

Ziva is all about meditation for extraordinary performance. You can experience our flagship training from the comfort of home. This isn’t a guided visualization you download to your phone and do once. Ziva teaches you the skill of meditation to help you get better at life, get more out of your time investment and remember who you really are. Ziva’s the practice you’ll finally commit to because you feel it working.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

I was fortunate enough to find meditation during my ten year career on Broadway where I was struggling with insomnia, anxiety, premature aging and getting sick all the time. It changed my life so dramatically — I started asking myself, “Why isn’t everyone doing this?” I left Broadway, went to India and started what became a three year training process to become a teacher. That training consisted of eighteen hours a week of meditation, thousands of hours of apprenticing, transcribing books in Sanskrit by hand and studying The Vedas. I am now twelve years in and have taught 40k people to meditate! 

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

I had a 10 year career on Broadway. In the last year I was performing in the musical A Chorus Line and was an understudy for three different parts. I never knew who I was going to be for any given performance. Sometimes they would switch me from one character to another during the same show. It was incredibly high demand and I asked the woman sitting next to me in the dressing room, who was understudying five roles, how she was able to perform her job with such ease. Her answer was simple: “I meditate.”

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I always knew I wanted to help people. I knew I would start on Broadway but that it would be a stepping stone to helping people perform at the top of their game. It wasn’t until I started Ziva that I fell in love with creating a company, a community and a culture. Once I finished my meditation teacher training I dedicated the same time and energy to learning how to run a company. 

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?

When I started teaching ten years ago, in NYC it was a bunch of monks and me. Meditation was still considered weird in the mainstream. I had a very different marketing challenge of convincing people that they even needed meditation. Now the challenge is differentiating from the sea of free guided apps out there. When I first started teaching, I was the accessible one. It was like you can either move to the cave and be someone’s disciple for five years or you can do this thing that’s made for us. 

Now, people think that meditation is whatever the free app is on their phone or the hundreds of millions of guided videos on YouTube. When people say, ‘Exercise is my meditation’ or ‘Cooking is my meditation’. What they’re saying is that those things relax me. The meditation portion of the Ziva Technique that I teach is not based on something that was made for monks. It was made for people like us, people with busy minds and busy lives. It is healing you on a cellular level and changes your brain for the better. This is why it is so effective and so much easier for people to commit to. 

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?

Last year, I was manifesting my face off (already too much effort) to get my debut book Stress Less, Accomplish More on the NYT bestseller list. I’m talking years of writing, planning and hustling.

When the book hit shelves it was a raging success. It made it all the way to number 7 out of all books on Amazon, rubbing shoulders with Michelle Obama and Marie Kondo. We soon got word that the NYT was tracking my book for the list.

My book agent calculated that if they went by sales alone, we would be number 5 on the list! Then the next Tuesday the list came out…. Nothing. It hadn’t made it.

I was devastated.

That’s when I realized — I was trying too hard to control the “how” and the “when.”

I made it about me instead of about the mission. This book has helped over 60K people and been translated into 14 languages but I felt like a failure because the NY Times didn’t put it on the list. A big lesson in surrender and getting clear on your WHY.

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

My son, Jasper. It is cliché but true. Birthing him and breastfeeding my way through a best selling book launch of Stress Less, Accomplish More has been a herculean feat and worth every second

A close second…. I started the world’s first online meditation training, which I’m very proud of, it’s called zivaONLINE. Most online courses have a 3% completion rate. zivaONLINE has a 70% completion rate which is unheard of in the online space.

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

We put small, easy to miss details in the original job application. We also have applicants make a video with their first submission which weeds out anyone who doesn’t really want the job. Once they make it to a final interview with me I am looking for deep motivators, intelligence, drive and personality. 

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Because of the extraordinary demands being placed on medical workers Ziva decided to offer full scholarships to zivaONLINE for MDs, nurses, EMTs, physician assistants and respiratory therapists on the frontline. We gave over $1 MM in scholarships to 2700 healthcare workers during the pandemic. 

We also created a whole new free resource for people who are suffering from the other pandemic, mental health. I have been doing weekly lectures and global meditations on our FB and IG platform. We archive them all along with audios for immunity and stress and tips for kids at

Thankfully we were able to keep all our employees and not reduce salaries but we have taken a hit for sure by not being able to offer live courses and still paying rent on an empty Soho studio. We keep asking what is the opportunity in this challenge?

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

I’m very happy to report that our big project for 2021 is Ziva Kids. We’ve been developing this for 2 years with leading child psychologists from Harvard and creators at Sesame Street. It will really be the first of its kind — teaching children mental resilience and emotional intelligence that they can carry with them for life.

The course will include online meditation training for kids from 4-14. There will be different modules for different age ranges, complementary training for parents to make meditation a habit, videos + fun interactive activities to do together.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

“The braver I am the luckier I become” – Glennon Doyle

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

There will be a lot of shiny trains. Meditation fads will come and go. Stay the course. Do what you do well. This tool is 6,000 years old. It’s not vulnerable to the latest tech gadget. Listen to your own intuition but don’t get distracted by what everyone else is doing. 

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

Trick question. Meditation is my non-negotiable. I also started working out with a trainer which has helped my mental game immensely. I have taken breaks from NYC to be in nature and I have 2 life coaches and 2 therapists to help me manage the growth and change happening internally and externally. 

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips? 

I have a 2 year old son, which really flips your personal and professional priorities. I had been working for the past two years to get Ziva to a place where I could take maternity leave. But having a baby, writing a book and running a company at the same time makes you get super diligent with your schedule and your priorities. Because I love what I do, who I work with and our students, it is easy for me to work all the time. Now with my son, Jasper, I protect my time off much more. Strangely having a son has helped my work and life to feel more balanced which I am grateful for.

The pro of running your own company is that you can go and workout in the middle of the day if you want to. The con of it being your company is that there is an infinite amount of work to be done at all times which makes it trickier to go and do that workout. Because I teach on ‘off hours’ when most other people have down time it is a little challenging to find time to hang out with my friends.

Tips to achieve the best balance between work and personal life:

  1. Meditate
  2. Delegate
  3. Relentlessly prioritize your tasks
  4. Schedule in down time
  5. Protect that time with your life

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I am learning about the art and power of sex magic! This is basically manifesting in high gear. Using your pleasure to help create your dreams. I have had the honor of working with the amazing Layla Martin! 

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

  1. Meditate 
  2. Eat raw fat to keep my brain happy
  3. Exercise regularly
  4. Morning Routine

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

I have dedicated my entire life to either becoming or helping other people become high performers. But the real mission is that when you’re operating at such a high frequency, you start to change the collective energy of the planet. My biggest goal is to eradicate unnecessary suffering from the world. NBD.

Share it!

Posted in

Leave a Comment

Randi Shinder on how SBLA explores the intersection of science and beauty to create skincare products that address universal aging concerns

Describe your business in a few words? SBLA uses the intersection of science and beauty to create skincare products that address universal aging concerns. The non-invasive wand-delivery-system skincare line is clinically proven to build collagen, smooth, lift and tighten the skin while targeting the most fragile areas of the face and neck to deliver a…

How Heather Ouida and her co-founders are amplifying women’s voices in the gaming industry through the*gameHERs

Describe your business in a few words? The*gameHERs is a media platform and social networking community that connects, supports and amplifies women who game and who work in the gaming industry. Our mission is to advance the role, voice, image, and power of all women, femme-identifying and non-binary gamers who are comfortable in spaces that…

Creating a smarter swaddle with Hindi Zeidman through her company The Ollie World

Describe your business in a few words? It all started with an amazing infant named Oliver. I was a single foster parent and he was my foster son. When he came to me he was on the verge of being labeled failure-to-thrive because he struggled with the basics of eating and sleeping. He was also…

Jen Fuller on how Etta Loves delivers both babies’ cognitive development and calmness for parents through uniquely-designed baby products

Describe your business in a few words? Etta Loves baby essentials are uniquely designed with science to support babies’ visual and cognitive development, delivering wonder for babies and calm for parents in the everyday. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I had an idea that I couldn’t ignore when my…

How Jessica Jackson is achieving better sleep for both parents and their babies through The Mookabee Swaddle

Describe your business in a few words? The Mookabee Swaddle is committed to helping babies (and ultimately their parents!) achieve better sleep by utilizing the proven power of a parent’s scent. 10% of all profits are donated to Saving Mothers- a non profit dedicated to improving maternal health worldwide. What made you take the leap…

Stacie Stanley on empowering women through her swimwear brand STAYkini™

Describe your business in a few words? STAYkini™ is a swimwear revolution created to empower women through high-quality, backless, strapless swimwear that lets us move freely and soak up the sun while avoiding unwanted tan lines and accidental exposure. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I had the idea for…

Healing Trauma and Getting In Touch With Your Power with Kimberly Ann Johnson, Author of Call Of The Wild

What made you take the leap to start your own business? I’ve always worked for myself (beside when I waited tables and a brief foray into public school teaching). But I took the leap from a calling to a career when I became a mother. What was your background prior to starting your own business?…

How Nicole Boyd used her maternity leave to create Prept, a personal style and beauty help service delivered to consumers virtually so that everyone can feel Prept

Describe your business in a few words? Prept is an on-demand style + beauty concierge that matches women in need of style/beauty help to experts that can help in an affordable, personalized, and digital way. What made you take the leap to start your own business? Having TIME OFF from my corporate job while on…

Daniela Schiliro & Heather Kamback on co-founding inBodi Swim, a swimwear brand inspired by different places of the world the duo has traveled together

Describe your business in a few words? Each collection of inBodi Swim has been thoughtfully created based on different places around the world that we’ve been fortunate enough to see and experience. Along with the environments, colors, textures, cultures of each place; we are most inspired by the unique beauty that each and every woman…

Women Making Bold Moves In Business

Your next read: Ali Kriegsman, co-founder of Bulletin, has released her debut book How To Build A Goddamn Empire. We can’t wait to check it out!  🎉 An exciting partnership: Rocksbox, founded by Meaghan Rose, was acquired by Signet Jewelers, making their $1B service business goal that much closer. 🎉 Top sellers: The Jills Zeder Group, a women-led…

Jasmine Carter on how her own obsession for engagement rings led her to create Balacia, a custom bridal jewelry brand that allows shoppers to create the engagement and wedding rings of their dreams

Describe your business in a few words? Balacia is a custom bridal jewelry brand allowing shoppers to create the engagement and wedding rings of their dreams within their budget. We use diamonds, moissanite, and gemstones so buyers have endless options for colors, shapes, and sizes for their rings. In addition to rings, we also make…

How Julianne Fraser is creating meaningful dialogues with Dialogue New York, a global digital marketing consultancy that specializes in influencer marketing

Describe your business in a few words? Dialogue New York is a global digital marketing consultancy, that specializes in building influencer marketing strategies for luxury and lifestyle brands. What made you take the leap to start your own business? Over the last decade, I’ve watched as the Wild, Wild West of Influencer Marketing took shape,…

Tiffany Buzzatto on pioneering unbottled, undiluted, and uncomplicated slow beauty with her brand DEW MIGHTY

Describe DEW MIGHTY in a few words? We are pioneering unbottled, undiluted, and uncomplicated slow beauty. We plan to always deliver effective skin care products without fillers, sans water, free of nasty ingredients, and without plastic or trashy packaging to always USE LESS. DEW MORE™ What made you take the leap to start your own…

Molly Fienning on how Red Clay turned her into a hot sauce fanatic and CEO

Describe your business in a few words? Red Clay is a cold-pressed, made-for-foodies hot sauce and hot honey brand, named “Tabasco for the 21st century” by Food and Wine Magazine and “a hot honey to elevate your meal” by The New York Times. Crafted by a talented Southern chef, we focus on delicious flavor, sustainably-sourced…

Jhoanna Marissa, founder of WILLA Creative Agency, on creating her dream women-led digital creative agency in the fashion and lifestyle space

Describe WILLA Creative Agency in a few words? A digital-first creative agency working with beauty, fashion and lifestyle brands. What made you take the leap to start your own business? Not being able to find my dream job. I wanted to work in the digital e-commerce space specifically in beauty and fashion. And back when…