We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Esteban and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
When I was in my 20’s I was very focused on work and career. To make a long story short – I pretty much went to school full-time and had a full-time job until I graduated. There was one year of it that was easier because I had a simple job, but the rest of the time was difficult because I didn’t just have a job, I was also trying to build a career. In fact, I was building 2 careers – one in business and one in photography.
I told myself that today’s hard work would pay off and that one day this would all be worth the struggle. My days typically began by leaving the house around 7am and returning home around 11pm. And there were cycles to my stress – basically anytime around midterms and final-exams I was a wreck, I couldn’t clean, cook, or do anything but study and work. This wasn’t sustainable and really made me somewhat unstable. I learned the hard way that when one piles that much on themselves and leaves no room for error, one change to the plan could immediately make emotions run high with stress, anxiety, or pressure and make it difficult to meet the challenges from a level-headed place. I managed to use this challenge to practice mental and emotional stability as well as training myself to sustain long-periods of work, focus, and stress, telling myself that all successful entrepreneurs would need to be able to do this.
I managed to sustain this kind of lifestyle for several years until the very end of my last semester of college, when I got into a major car accident became my wake up call. At the hospital I remember thinking to myself, “I almost died and I haven’t even begun to live”, because all I had done was work, gain skills, and focus on my career. However, the reality is that I HAD been living my life, I just didn’t see it that way. And then I realized that I could not put my life on hold any longer, every day I worked towards my goals, was a day I was living my life. I couldn’t wait until I was “successful” to do things like travel, have a nice home, prioritize relationships, etc.. This is it, every moment is my life.
Everything changed after that day. Suddenly I found myself with no more school, no work, and also no money and no car.
All I had was work experience and skills. So I took one more risk and decided to try to create my own path and design a life that I really wanted, even if it meant that I had to say no to certain jobs or any financial stability for a while. I concluded that my biggest skillset was in building start-ups and in marketing. So I decided to become a business and marketing consultant and had my first client within 2 weeks of putting myself out there. But this time, I chose to work mainly from home and then meet with clients when it was needed, and to make my own schedule, I wanted to live in a beautiful house that pushed me to work hard, and I wanted to live with friends who were focused on their own entrepreneurship goals. I wrote down what I wanted and set it aside and looked for opportunities that would lead me in that direction. I spent a good year looking at houses and asking all of my entrepreneur/career focused friends if they would want to move in with me and co-create this vision. Eventually, I found a someone with a house and I was invited to come and create that vision. Long story short – I ended up taking over the house and I created an amazing community home for creative entrepreneurs and for the last several years I managed to not only do well with my work, but I managed to create an amazing tribe, lower my stress, focus on improving my health, create the work/life balance, and also succeed as an entrepreneur.
In hindsight, my accident was a blessing because it put into perspective the old adage: “Its about the journey, not the destination”, and redirected me to design a life where every day is lived and enjoyed. And I learned that it is possible to make your home life an important part of balance and fulfillment, including the possibility of meeting your social needs and the need for family and belonging, And now my passion is helping people discover and create a home life that meets their needs and makes their lives as fulfilling as possible.
What should our readers know about your business?
After all of my story about creating a community home, I became very passionate about community living and the power of community as a lifestyle. So much that when I asked myself what I rally wanted to do and what I could consistently dedicate myself to, I wanted to help others have what I found is possible. And so I created a platform for people to find roommates that share similar values while I share info and education on community living and creating a home and life you love. What sets us apart from other sites is that ours is the first one to focus on education, mindset, and community – and this community values things like connection, growth, and positive lifestyle choices.
I am excited to grow this community and be able to ramp up the amount of value I am able to provide with the goal that we elevate, or as I like to say, “revolutionize” the roommate culture from one where people feel they live with strangers, to one where people live with people they love coming home to.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend came to visit LA, I would take them to my favorite vegan spots like Honeybee Burger, Gokoku, and Double Zero and invite other friends to join. If they aren’t very familiar with LA I would drive them along the coastal cities between Malibu and San Pedro and show them the beautiful view along the coast and stop at cute boutique businesses and coffee shops along the way, including discovering new ones myself.
Then depending on whats still open and around after Covid, I would take them to see different live music happenings like to see Robot Nature or DPAK play violin. I would take them to yoga in Topanga or Hollywood Hills, the Venice drum circles, the Santa Monica and Calabasas Farmer’s Markets, and the Original Farmer’s Market at the Grove. And for the rest of the time I would take them to the coolest thing available at that moment, there’s so much to do in Los Angeles on any given day.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shout out to my mentor, Fred, who spent years sending me books and teaching me about business and marketing. Also big shoutout to my friends who talked me away from my self-doubt when I was afraid my ideas and goals were way too big for me. And shout out to my beloved partner in shine for being so supportive of my crazy entrepreneur ways.