Elsa Unenge is a Swedish native living in Los Angeles. She is the founder of Andetag (Swedish for 'breath'). Elsa works as a Breath Coach focusing on functional everyday breathing for mental and physical health. She helps individuals and companies to breathe themselves healthier and happier.
Q: What's your background, and what are you working on?
I have a background in Behavioural Science and social media working with companies like Adidas, Netflix, and Land Rover. However, in 2020 I switched careers completely to become a full-time breath coach focusing on functional everyday breathing for mental and physical health.
Q: What motivated you to get started with Andetag?
I came across an interview with James Nestor (Author of ‘Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art’ and Journalist for The New York Times) and realized how little we know about the most essential thing we do, breathe.
How breathing wrong (which 80% of the adult population do, many without knowing it) can affect my health, both short-term and long-term. My first thought was “how can we not learn this in school, people need to hear this!”. Learning how to breathe can help with issues such as sleep, anxiety, digestion, and a lot more.
Q: How have you attracted clients and grown your firm?
Word of mouth. It all started at an event. I told someone that I’d just received my Breath Coach Certificate when another person overheard our conversation. A few minutes later that other person became my first client. From that day on, I was in business. My first client told her friends and they kept spreading the word to theirs.
To test my program and get feedback, I also did free programs with my friends and family. They then spread the word to their friends and in their workplaces. That’s how I started working with businesses. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and people in your community for help, that can literally be how your business kicks off.
To date, my business is still primarily word of mouth, so don’t underestimate it.
Q: What are your goals for the future?
Simply put, it’s to spread the knowledge of breathing to as many people as possible. I have seen how much it can help people who struggle with anxiety and stress.
By spreading the knowledge around breathing, I’ve noticed that most of the science around breathing is actually the opposite of what people tend to think. For instance, when people think they are taking a deep breath to calm themselves down, they often breathe in a way that actually makes them more stressed.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you've faced so far?
Getting people to invest in themselves and taking more time to do something that will do them good. Unfortunately, people tend to put their work ahead of their health. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that bills need to be paid. But everyone has a few minutes a day to stop and breathe.
Q: What's your advice for female founders who are just starting out?
- Find just a little time outside your day job to work on your project. Take it step by step and do a little every day. Be micro ambitious.
- Spread the word to your friends, family, and people in your different communities. Sooner or later they might bump into someone who is looking for exactly what you are offering.
- Attend networking events and have your elevator pitch ready. But make sure to test it on some honest friends first.
- Ask for help. The worst thing that can happen is that you get a no.
- Break down your to-do list in as small pieces as possible. Then you’re always ticking things off.
- When you feel like giving up, listen to podcasts with people who are/have been in the same situation as you. It will inspire you to push on.
- Remind yourself to enjoy the journey. Imagine yourself a couple of months/years from now, looking back at this moment. Try to be in that moment.
If you are interested to learn more about your breath, sign up here for your first session with Elsa for free!
All Databird readers get a 15% discount on a breathing program with Andetag until the end of the month (7/31/21). Just mention 'Databird' to claim the discount.