**In November of last year I offered a special photo shoot opportunity to three local women small business owners.
For the month of January I will be showcasing those women.**
Meet Angela Myers. Angela is an athlete, published author, speaker, life coach and the founder of Elevation Enterprise. Be sure and check out her website!
I asked Angela to tell me about her business and share her story. Here’s what she said.
What do you do and what led you to this particular career path?
“I spent a decade in the fitness and wellness industry, owning a fitness business, coaching hundreds of people towards physical fitness and health. Over time I observed that something was missing. The body was a point of focus for my clients because we can see our bodies with our eyes, they are tangible, but I observed that the body was truly an outward manifestation of one’s feelings and beliefs. Clients that felt poorly about themselves and their bodies rarely made lasting changes to their weight/behaviors/fitness level after their initial results. The body always came back to reflect their hidden core beliefs. In my eagerness to help my clients get lasting results and make permanent inner/outer changes, I became very interested in the connection between the body, mind, and spirit and changed my course of study and learning, eventually becoming a Coach of Inner Work. The title surrounding my studies is “Life Coach” but I hesitate to use this term as it is doesn’t represent the work I do with people. I help people understand themselves. We uncover the limiting beliefs and fears behind unwanted behaviors or situations in their life, as well as understand their driving needs and passions. When you better understand who you are and what you need and what has been blocking you, you have clarity to start aligning your behaviors and decisions in a way that brings true purpose and fulfillment to life, true WELLNESS.”
Can you share an interesting story that happened to you since you began your company?
Every client I work with is an interesting story! I truly love what I do.
Will you share an embarrassing experience?
“I am terrible with out-of-context face recognition! I was at a Salsa dance event and saw a man and his wife smiling and waving at me and when I came over they began to speak in a familiar way. I had a plastic frozen smile on my face as I nodded while they talked…….my brain was going crazy, like that feeling when you are frantically looking for change at the toll booth while the line behind you piles up! I had to fess up and ask where I knew them, and to my dismay it was a client of mine……we had just had our first session together the week before. UGH! The spouse I had never met, the low lighting in the room, the dance night attire, I just totally bombed the face recognition.”
What is the one thing that you enjoy most about being a small business owner and how has it enriched you personally?
“Owning a small business, especially in the beginning, tests you to the core. Each month, each new situation whether a problem that arises or growing faster than expected, calls for a higher version of yourself. One thing constant about life is that it will never be constant! There will always be obstacles popping up, impossible-feeling situations, challenges, disappointments, and at each crossroad it will test you on a profound level. You have a choice at every crossroad. Do I have the courage to step up to this and grow? Or do I throw in the towel and back down? It enriches you personally when you look back over time and see that you were able to persist through challenge and setback. It grows a deep level of satisfaction and confidence. It is also deeply re
warding to be making decisions for yourself, in line with your personal core values as opposed to your boss’s or company’s values and priorities.”
What are the downsides of being a small business owner? What are your biggest challenges?
“The downside is that you are always responsible, at the end of the day. Any decisions made related to your business, and the consequences thereof, always will be your responsibility. If quality of your service or product drops, if business revenue decreases, if an account doesn’t pay, if there is an issue with an employee, if the business was misrepresented on social media……whatever challenge arises, the responsibility ultimately is yours and you need to have the ability to shoulder this. A smaller business typically doesn’t have a board or several executives to help shoulder the decisions and responsibility, especially in the first few years. As a small business owner, it can take discipline to separate the leadership of your business from your personal relax time, but is absolutely necessary to do this so you can remain healthy (mentally and physically!).”
“Personally, my biggest challenge has been marketing a new small business. I know I deliver exceptional value in the service I provide, but unless I let other people know about what I do, I am not delivering any value! I am pulling in some experts for this area! When I owned my first business, the fitness business, it was 12 years ago and Instagram didn’t’ exist and Facebook was not used like it is now. I grew rapidly in the first 2 years in that industry without spending any time or money on marketing, it was just word of mouth. Things have changed so much with social media marketing since then, and I also am in a different service arena now, so I am needing new skills and strategies to grow than what I used before.”
What, if any, are some “myths” or misconceptions that you might like to dispel about being a small business owner?
“I see so many women starting and running small businesses that make it look easy. They love what they’re doing and set their own schedules. THAT is a myth lol. When you really talk to us, you find out so many of us entertained thoughts of quitting, shutting it down, questioned if it was worth it. And this is normal. The small businesses you see still in operation are the people that rose up to the challenge and said “yes, it’s worth it”, rolled up their sleeves, and dug even deeper. It takes grit.”
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women small business owners that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
“You know the term ‘mom guilt’? The struggle is real! You don’t hear about ‘dad guilt’. Women in general carry a deeper attachment and sense of obligation towards their children. Men in general can compartmentalize their time away from their children. Small business owners must devote a lot of emotional/mental resources and time to getting a business off the ground, and often have to make constant judgements about time value (time with kids vs. time for work) that men are not as prone to think about.”
What is the most striking difference between actually owning and operating a small business and what you thought it would be like?
“When we start a business, we are focused on our craft. We are excited by the idea of making money doing what we love and being our own boss! Maybe we are a great baker, artist, coach, designer, whatever your craft, you are probably great at it and envision making money while doing what you love! However, as a business grows, you end up wearing dozens of hats and it makes the craft that you love feel less enjoyable. The joy can slowly leech out of it as you are busy relating to customers, ordering products, managing cash flow, banking, payroll, and performing the other necessary operations of the business. Be prepared to grow with your business by either learning to be a great business owner in addition to your craft….or keep spending most of your time in your craft and pay others to do the other operations.”
Not everyone is cut out to run their own business. In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful?
“Exactly! You might be a great person and excellent at what you do, but not enjoy the process of running your own business. I think tenacity, faith, and an empowering belief regarding failure are the traits that will make you successful.”
“Tenacity….not giving up when things get stressful and instead of getting stressed, look for solutions. You have to enjoy problem solving.”
“Faith….having an unshakeable belief in yourself and your product, your business mission and your place in the world. Being able to visualize your end goal even if it’s not in reality yet. You need faith to get you through all the times of uncertainty. You need to believe in yourself and your ability to find solutions and make things happen.”
“Belief about failure….you only fail when you stop trying. Everything else is learning. Everything that doesn’t work is an experiment where x action =X outcome, and we learn and adapt. If you believe or feel like a failure everytime you don’t get the result you want, you will not make it in small business.”
What advice would you give to other women looking to start a business and/or what advice would you give to other women small business owners to help them thrive?
“Get people around you who are smarter than you, and who believe in you. Don’t be the smartest person in your business. you will struggle with self-doubt enough, the last thing you need is people around you who don’t believe in your mission. Use resources like SCORE, where you can take small business classes and have mentors. Find people who are doing what you BETTER then you and making money at it, and learn from them. They are not your competition, they are your teachers. Be willing to continually invest in yourself! As you add more value to yourself, you will add more value to the business and this will show up in your bank account.”
Thank you Angela for taking the time to share with me. I truly enjoyed photographing you!