A marketing expert, a financial consultant, a contemporary artist and a health coach/public speaker walk into a recording studio.

The four Bozeman women are in the studio, not as part of an elaborate joke, but to record a podcast.

The show, “Beautifully Equipped,” is the collaborative product of a group of local entrepreneurs — Jen Cox, Jen Schimbeno, Kate Jo and Jackie Corcoran.

The four met several years ago through a series of mastermind sessions — essentially business coaching and networking groups — before breaking off and forming meetings of their own. The get-togethers often followed a familiar pattern, something the women call 2, 15, 5. In this structure, each woman gets two minutes to present an issue, business or otherwise, while the other three take 15 minutes to respond, saving five minutes at the end for the original presenter to reflect on how to move forward.

For example, at one mastermind, Jen Cox, founder of Aldea Marketing in Bozeman, brought up the idea of purchasing a for sale brick-and-mortar business. She wanted the challenge of revitalizing the store, she said. But the rest of the group countered that the purchase, considering the timing, might be a bridge too far.

“I didn’t have anybody to bounce the pros and cons against who were business-minded,” Cox said. “In the end it was a very bad idea, but I couldn’t see past my own thoughts.”

As the women tell it, the group acts as ballast for each individual member. When Corcoran, an artist, health coach and motivational speaker, was debating whether to apply to speak at TEDxBozeman, it was Schimbeno who stepped in and pushed Corcoran across the line.

The collaborations also get at a critical aspect of female entrepreneurship: The idea that women in business often devalue their work — charging less than they should, asking for less than their male counterparts or simply not knowing where the barometer is set.

It’s easier to address these types of issues, Schimbeno said, “when you have a group of people who you know have your back.”

In January, after two years of monthly mastermind meetings, the group got together at a coffee shop. There, one topic came up over and over: podcasting.

It was Jo, a longtime contemporary artist who the other three describe as the one who best synthesizes the group’s collected mass of thoughts, who suggested the women start recording their meetings to share with the outside world.

“I will never forget that meeting,” Schimbeno said. “I remember thinking, ‘I don’t have to do this alone, and it’s going to be epic.’”

The team released their first episode, “Together We Go Further,” about why and how to create a collaborative team, soon after. Jo, who has a background in video editing and production, handles the technical side of things, while Schimbeno, Cox and Corcoran split the social media, scheduling and website updates.

“I love that we’re all learning these different aspects that we wouldn’t have considered,” Jo said. “We all have different levels of experience, and so as we work together bringing this project to life, it’s pretty much grow or this will die.”

The weekly podcasts rotate between themed episodes, focused on topics such as favorite failures or creating a personal purpose statement, and interviews with fellow entrepreneurs such as Jelt Belt founder Jen Perry.

“A lot of women feel they’re going it alone, and we’re giving them a place where they don’t have to do that,” Schimbeno said.

The women admitted they are figuring a lot out as they go, including how to make the effort — 20 or so hours per member per week, on top of full time day jobs — worth its while. Monetizing podcasts typically requires scoring sponsorships, which come with downloads and positive reviews. The first episode of “Beautifully Equipped” has been downloaded more than 200 times, including a few times outside the U.S., and the numbers continue to climb. The group also plans to launch a new mastermind group for local women starting in January.

“It doesn’t even feel real yet. It’s been so joyful,” Corcoran said. “The things I’ve learned and grown from have been over the top.”

But as the podcast has gained followers, the foursome has encountered stumbling blocks, such as how to best address deeply personal issues in the face of a public audience.

“There’s vulnerability in everything we’re doing,” Cox said. “It’s about how do we look at all of our scenarios to grow in a positive way.”

And though their following may be bigger — complete with fan mail and interview requests — the group still hopes to get the same thing out of the podcasts that they did from the years of mastermind sessions: personal growth and moments of insight.

“In a year’s time, maybe it will look totally different than it does now, but we want this to be a journey for us,” Jo said.

“I am still so thankful all the time that I was introduced to these women,” Cox added. “And now we can give these tools to other people and shed light on all these things we’ve learned together.”

Kendall can be reached at 406-582-2651 or lkendall@dailychronicle.com. He is on Twitter at @lewdak

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