Death is a difficult topic. In fact its so difficult many of us avoid discussing it at all. We put off taking care of the things we know we should and when the inevitable finally arrives, we leave our families to not only deal with grief but hundreds of unanswered questions, legal battles and endless paperwork. Esther Cardenas Pipoly found herself in a similar position when, within two months she lost both her father and husband. For the next two years she worked tirelessly to close their estates with little help or direction. It made an already difficult situation impossible.

Esther knew that she never wanted anyone else to have to go through what she did and created Loss of Life Advocated (LOLA). At Lola, she and her team help guide families before, during and after death. LOLA is there every step of the way doing everything they can to make things a little easier.

They assist their clients with collecting medical info and designating their end of life wishes. During the incredibly difficult time of saying goodbye to a loved one, they help carry the weight of decision making. This allows families to focus on saying goodbye, instead of dealing with hospice and funeral arrangements. Finally, they are there to provide legal advice and assist with the financial issues that come with closing someone’s estate.

Refusing to talk about death does not change that fact that eventually, it is something we will all need to deal with. Esther makes sure that ones we leave behind are not unnecessarily burdened. Her services are something that everyone of us could benefit from. You can find out more at LOLA’s website or Facebook.

Esther has walked through the fire and in the midst of it found a way to help others. Growing her business has taken incredible determination and fortitude. Luckily, she has agreed to share her journey with us.

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Esther Pipoly and I am the Owner and Founder of Loss of Life Advocates.

How did you get into your business?

Sadly enough after suffering through a double loss 63 days apart in 2014 of my father and husband of 26 years I found people really needed help before, during and after a loss. Someone they can talk to confidentially about the help they needed. I wanted to make sure no one goes through what I went through.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Starting a new venture, let alone talking about something that will happen eventually to all of us as well as sharing some of my mistakes can be difficult. But once people hear it and they can envision what could happen by not being prepared its rewarding.

What do you wish you’d known when you started?

There are going to be some hard days and difficult decisions to make, but self-care is so important, so you are in a good frame of mind and body to tackle the difficult tasks.

If you could narrow your success down to one thing, what would it be?

Having a get up and go every day drive helps. I get the drive from my dad, and the spirit of taking a risk from my husband. In one word I would say Determination.

Where do you see yourself in a year?

Leading other LOLA Advocates to do what I do for their community. Speaking to groups about my story and helping people navigate through the life transition processes. I really enjoy getting to help families.

What are your top three tips for women starting a business?

1. Set your schedule for work so you know your boundaries.
2. Have a good group of other women who can coach you for free, set up a weekly time to video chat to keep yourself motivated.
3. Celebrate the highs and lows each day. Start by having gratitude for the successes and then acknowledging how you can learn from what didn’t meet the bar for you that day.

What is a typical day like for you?

I start each morning with my dogs and a good cup of coffee and water my gardens. I review any emails and my schedule for the day. I list 3 people I am checking in on that are outside of business and saying a short motivational statement to myself. As the day goes, I remind myself to breathe and try to stay on task. Smiling is super important as well. I hit my 2pm with a review, what have I accomplished on my list and what needs to be done and if anything can get pushed over to tomorrow I decide right then.

What is your business motto or quote you live by?

“How do you eat an elephant? One piece at a time” It’s easy to become overwhelmed and feel defeated but by looking at it and taking one piece at a time, it is manageable.

If you were starting your business over again, what would you do differently?

First, I would have taken advantage of the Free services available to me and my start up. I spent a lot of money on consultants and 2 years later I realize now there were so many free services I could have used and saved the money.

Secondly, I would have set my own standards on vendors I would contract with. I needed to have a clear set of standards to go by when using someone for services.

Lastly, I would have set up a performance guarantee to ensure we were on the same page of what success looked like for both of us.

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