Lada Ballowe was born in the former Czech Republic and developed an interest in personal and spiritual growth at an early age. After being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in her early 20s, Lada actively embraced meditation and other holistic practices as a way to treat her illness. As a result, she has successfully managed the disease without surgery or pharmaceuticals.
Lada left the Czech Republic to study in Italy and Switzerland and earned a master’s degree in art and painting. After spending time in Egypt and England, she moved to the U.S. three years ago. For six years she has taken classes in clairvoyance and spiritual leadership and continues her studies to this day. Seeking to improve her marketing skills, Lada joined the first cohort of the Santa Fe Innovates Business Accelerator Program.
Lada graciously agreed to share her experiences with us in Q&A style format.
Q: What motivated you to join the business accelerator program?
A: I have zero business background and have never advertised or marketed a day in my life. So, all of my students and clients come to me through referrals. I have clients globally and I would like to reach more people, but I didn’t know how to promote or advertise myself. It may not seem like it, but I’m basically a shy person, I don’t do much social media, and so I don’t have many followers. I realized there are many people who provide similar services and to be successful, I needed to learn how to sell myself. That is why I joined the program.
Q: What is your product idea and what problems does it solve for your clients?
A: When I began the program, my originalproduct idea was to create a platform, and eventually an app, that would connect a range of holistic practices including meditation, nutrition, and mindfulness for example. That product idea changed several times during the course of the accelerator program.
Q: Learning to pivot is an important part of the entrepreneurial process. What caused you to pivot and why?
A: During the ideation part of the program, I started doing client interviews. I quickly learned that there was no demand for my original idea. People don’t need or want a single platform or app for holistic practices right now because they like the wide range of options. That was my first pivot to the idea of building the product around me as a solo teacher. This was the path taken by a colleague of mine who has a very successful online global mediation school.
After some soul-searching I realized that being a solo teacher was not what I really wanted to do. This caused more introspection because I didn’t know what I was going to do. That led to a second pivot to a third product idea, an online platform for intuitive teachers. This involves working online with highly qualified teachers who will share their teaching and mediation styles so students and clients can choose what works best for them. We will target people who are struggling to have a regular meditation practice but really want one. The idea is that meditation is for everyone and should be done on a daily basis just like exercise. Even 10 minutes a day of meditation can boost your energy and change your habits. This is the product idea I am currently pursuing.
Q: What is your key, lesson-learned from being part of the accelerator program?
A: My lesson-learned is that growing a business takes time and consistency. It was unrealistic of me to think that I could create a huge business in a couple of months. After all, it took me a long time to build my current client base. In the acceleration program we learn there are three options with your business idea: you can pivot, proceed, or you can wait and observe. I intend to take my time figuring out which is the best next step for me, whether it’s an online platform for intuitive teachers or a solo practice.
Q: What’s next in your entrepreneurial journey?
A: Along with a Canadian colleague, I am developing meditation courses focused on women and women’s issues. I am also increasing my practice that focuses on childhood and adult trauma.
Thank you, Lada, for sharing her entrepreneurial experiences and for being a part of the Santa Fe Business Accelerator Program. Your story and openness to learn, shift, and grow is inspiring. Please visit Lada’s YouTube channel – Intuitive Meditation, and her website.