This week’s Up Close & Inspirational Blog post showcases Amanda DeGrace! I began working with Amanda in the fall of 2016 and have had the pleasure of getting to know her and her businesses since. She is definitely one busy woman between her businesses, volunteer work and taking care of her family! Thank you Amanda for taking the time out of your very business schedule to share your thoughts about being an entrepreneur and what has helped you to grow your business. Your suggestions and story are sure to inspire other women!
What is the name of your business and what is it that you do?
I run two businesses, Little Lotus Yoga & DeGrace Energetics. My company Little Lotus Yoga specializes in Prenatal, Postnatal and Children’s Yoga classes, teacher training and speciality workshops. DeGrace Energetics is my business consulting and coaching business that helps wellness professionals build the business of their dreams without sacrificing all of their time.
Why did you choose to become an entrepreneur or to be self-employed?
I always say that I was born an entrepreneur! My father, aunt and grandmother were all entrepreneurs. From a young age, I loved running with my business ideas, putting in the work to make it come to life and growing with it. I started my own business when I was 16 and ran all of our day camps and swim lessons for our town. My passion for entrepreneurship continued to grow and I couldn’t imagine it any other way!
Has this always been what you wanted to do or did you grow up dreaming of another career (was was the dream)?
I have always known that I wanted to run my own business. I have so many ideas that whirl through my mind and I love taking those ideas and bringing them to life. I always thought I would be an elementary school teacher; but along the way, I knew that wasn’t the right fit for me. I still get to be a teacher in many aspects of what I to today and have the flexibility to have the lifestyle I want.
What motivates you each day?
My passion is to help make the world a better place. Whether that is helping other business owners get out of their business worries and build a strong business from the foundation up, or leading our yoga teacher training programs so others can start their yoga career and expand their teachings.
Who or what was your biggest inspiration behind making the decision to become self-employed?
I saw the lifestyle my family members had running their own business and I knew I wanted the same. It was definitely a lot of hard work, perseverance and dedication but also the flexibility to take holidays as they wanted and spend time with family without restrictions like the regular 9-5 work hours were also appealing. When I had my first child my decision to be self-employed was cemented. My entrepreneurial lifestyle allowed me to be there for my child (now children!) so I didn’t have to miss not only the important life events but the small ones as well.
What have been your more difficult challenges or obstacles, and what have you learned from them?
When you are an entrepreneur there is always going to be something else “to do.” The list can be endless and it is easy to get swept away working around the clock. Especially when we are always connected to our smartphones and have internet access anywhere and everywhere. When we are connected 100% of the time and always thinking about our businesses we lose the whole reason most of us are drawn to entrepreneurship in the first place. The ability to have balance in our lives. To have flexibility. To still have time for our passions outside of our businesses.
If you could pick only 5 books, resources, or tools (i.e. apps, computer programs, etc.) to run your business, what would they be?
Oh wow! Only 5?! I have so many!
- Quickbooks – You HAVE to be clear on your financials and the numbers in your business at all times. Quickbooks allows you to have clean books and has all the numbers you need at your fingertips.
- Virtual Assistant – Hiring a virtual assistant was one of the best moves I made in my business. There were so many tasks that I was feeling bogged down with, that I didn’t understand how to do or that I would procrastinate doing. Hiring a Virtual Assistant helped propel my business forward and I am so thankful each day that I get to work with amazing people like Kimberley!
- CoSchdule – I have just started using this social media platform and it has been the missing piece to my social media and content planning for years!
- A network of amazing entrepreneurs – It can feel so lonely when you are running your own business. You need a place where you can connect with others who truly understand what you are doing, where you can bounce ideas off of other business owners, get help and feel a part of a community. This is why I created my Biz Inspiration Facebook Group.
- Hiring a Coach/Consultant – When our heads are always down working within our business we sometimes miss big opportunities or the ability to help move from point “a” to point “b” as efficiently and as effectively as possible. Hiring a business coach or consultant can be a great investment to really propel you forward and create the business you truly want to have.
What is the best business advice you have ever received?
Understand your numbers and your cash flow. If you don’t understand your cash flow and are only ever looking at the number in your bank account your business is going to be fast-tracked to failure very quickly. Get a handle on your numbers and really understand your financials.
What are your top 3 tips or pieces of advice you would share with new entrepreneurs or business owners?
- If you want to launch a business, make a change in your current business or move towards a specific direction – then just do it. When you want to do something bad enough you will make it come to life. Follow your passions.
- Set your business up from Day 1 as if you are running the business of your dreams. Create your systems, operating procedures, etc. right when you start your business. When you grow and realize you need those systems you will be too busy to have the time to go back to square 1.
- Stop comparing. What we see online, on social media, and think of when we see other people and their businesses isn’t actually what is happening in reality. It is easy to become overwhelmed with trying to “keep up with the Joneses”. Truth be told “the Jones” probably doesn’t have it as together as you think they do.
Share a little about you, your work or volunteer background, your family hobbies, etc.
I am a mom to 3 children under the age of 7. We live on a large property and I love sitting on my back deck in the morning with a hot cup of coffee listening to all the animals while the kids run and play. My husband is my rock. He is the yin to my yang. I volunteer for many local pre/postnatal groups including the CMRNP, Aaron’s Butterfly Run supporting perinatal and infant loss, and our local forest school and elementary school boards.
If a parent, how do you balance parenting and being self-employed?
I don’t believe in balance. I think the scales always tip in one direction a bit more than the other, but what is really important is that the scale is tipping in the direction you want it to at that exact moment in time. When we no longer have control of the scale then there is a problem. I am also a huge planner. Everything gets put into my planner pad and when I do my yearly and then detailed quarterly planning, all of our family events and important dates go in the calendar first. If they aren’t there then I have a tendency to overbook. I make them a priority!
To learn more about Amanda and her work you can find her at:
If you are a female entrepreneur/business owner and would like to be featured as part of the Up Close & Inspirational blog series feel free to get in touch by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!