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Anna Santiago: A single mom's entrepreneurial journey from survival mode to thriving

Updated: Oct 19, 2021

Anna Santiago never intended to run a gymnastics studio let alone be an entrepreneur. But when she left her husband with two young kids in tow and no money, she had to figure something out.

In this episode of Co-Creators in Conversation, Anna shares the story of how listening within helped her breakout on her own. When she started Intown Stars Gymnastics studio in 2012, Anna was in survival mode.

Anna "never had any intention whatsoever of running a gymnastic center...I left their dad and pretty much jumped off a cliff, I had no money....I was really needing some kind of stability...and had no idea how I was going to support myself and my kids...I asked my good girlfriends, I said if I started teaching some classes would you sign your kids up? And they's now 2021 and...we have 65 employees and we were in the Inc 5000 List of the fastest-growing companies in America and I'm thriving...I've found my independence as a single mom and it's, it's just been amazing."

She quickly learned that her inner world affected her business - and she was stuck in some unhealthy patterns around money. Anna tells us the steps she took to shift out of a survival mindset both personally and in her business.

Anna reflected, "one of the patterns that I was recreating my life over and over again was this survival pattern, this idea that I was always going to have to hustle for the money you know, that money was hard to get...I really did a lot of deep order for the success to happen in the business. I had to get out of survival mode"

As part of her journey, Anna realized the notion of paying her employees less to maximize her profits did not sit well with her. If she wanted her business to thrive, her team had to be financially secure and supported as well. Anna tells us how she tripled the salary of her highest-paid employee. A strategy she successfully replicated with other staff.

She shares, "I realized that they themselves personally were in survival mode. And I really had to ask myself, if that was going to work for us as a team, if that was going to work for us as a business. And I decided it just wasn't, I was going to have to shift the mentality of how businesses pay employees."

While Anna fell into starting and running a gymnastics studio in 2012, her success in the last 9 years is proof she stuck the landing. What started as a small studio in the basement of a church is about to move into a 75,000 square foot multi-sport complex.

This episode offers tangible inspiration for entrepreneurs and leaders to align their values with how they run their business so everyone may thrive.

Connect with Anna



Tell us what insights you've gleaned and the actions you plan to take as a result!

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