378 How to Prepare for Your Entrepreneurial Leap – Amy Anderson

What you will hear in our discussion with Amy Anderson:

  • How to Prepare for Your First Business
  • When It’s Time to Start Your Own Biz
  • Building Confidence to Start Your Own Biz
  • Multiple jobs and confused about your career path? Got to listen!

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More about our featured guest Amy Anderson

Amy is the former Senior Editor of SUCCESS magazine and the Emmy Award-winning Founder of Anderson Content Consulting. She has worked with authors and experts like Darren Hardy, Todd Duncan, and John Assaraf, as well as companies like Dell, Predictive ROI, and Advisors Excel. Amy's passion is helping entrepreneurs increase their resilience and write their own happy endings.

Full Transcript

[00:00] Joel: It is an absolute treat to have today's guest on. She has worked alongside the who's who of the business and personal development masters; guys like Darren Hardy, John Assaraf, and she's worked with companies like Dell.

[00:18] Pei: Wow.

[00:18] Joel: And also Predictive ROI, and you know who that is. That is our mutual friend, Steven Woessner. And actually he introduced Amy to us and to this show. So without any further ado, Amy Andrews, welcome, welcome. Or Anderson rather. One more time: So without any further ado, Amy Anderson, welcome, welcome to ReLaunch, and thank you so much for listening to the show.

[00:44] Amy Anderson: Thank you, Joel and Dr. Pei. It's an honor to be here. I am a big fan of the show so this is a thrill. And hi, ReLaunch listeners, great to be here with you today.

[00:52] Joel: We are so excited to have you on as well. And this show, as you know, Amy, is highly practical because it is all about the relaunch, and specifically how you did it. And while we've all experienced numerous launches and relaunches throughout our lives, I generally ask our guests to zero in on the relaunch that has been the most significant or transformational for them and then we unfold the story from there. And we'll do that with you here in just a few minutes. But if it's okay with you, I'd like to start off the show with a quick piece of takeaway gold, if you will. And let me just start with this. We all go through periods of setbacks and self-doubt. And for you personally, Amy, what has been your most empowering, confidence-building activity or process?

[01:47] Amy Anderson That's a great question, thank you so much. I definitely think that for me having a realistic perspective on my fears has been incredibly impactful for my confidence level. I have some daily habits that I do. I do a pray, read, meditate every morning. I like to run and listen to a great podcast. And these things are all essential to my attitude and outlook, but when it comes to my self esteem and my confidence, addressing fears is a big one. So let me tell you just briefly how I do this. I look at this as what I call The big scary and the little scary. And so, let me give you an example. Let's say maybe you're thinking of launching out on your own and starting a business. So you're thinking of sharing your idea with someone else but you're afraid they won't like it. And that fear might feel really big, paralyze you to the point where you don't tell them and this is a big scary.

[02:48] Amy Anderson The thing is, what you're probably afraid of is not only will they not like it, but they might laugh at you, they might tell a bunch of your friends, people will lose respect for you, you'll realize you've been a fool for thinking you could ever do this and that really you're just not cut out to be an entrepreneur at all. That's a big scary, but all that stemmed from just the simple action of telling one person your idea. A lot of times underneath what is really not a big deal of an action is a huge fear that's not reasonable. And I also call this separating feelings from facts. And so what I do is I make a list of the feeling. What's the fear? What am I really afraid of? I'm afraid maybe I'm not cut out to be an entrepreneur, let's say. But what's the fact? The fact is that if I tell one person and they don't like my idea, that's just one person. I don't know about you guys, but plenty of people already think I'm crazy or silly or dumb, and that never stopped me. So what…

[03:45] Pei: Those are the people we attract on ReLaunch show by the way.

[laughter]

[03:50] Amy Anderson So I just think if already there are people out there that think that of me but I'm doing just fine, what difference will it make if there's one more? And I try to reduce that big scary into a little scary, and then it's more manageable. I'm not dealing with just big feelings, I'm dealing with facts, and then I can move forward with confidence.

[04:07] Pei: Amy, I'm curious. I realize you're just an amazing writer, so when you process these feelings, these emotions, do you find that writing them down, journaling, being helpful?

[04:22] Amy Anderson Absolutely. And I find that writing, especially if you hand write something, you will reveal to yourself things that you didn't even know were in there. I discover things about myself that I couldn't have any other way than by journaling. And it doesn't have to make sense to anybody else. It doesn't have to look pretty and it doesn't have to flow in a certain way. Just writing out your thoughts really helps me to get clear on not only what my feelings are but what that still, small voice inside me is saying to me. Because again, it's not what other people think about me that defines me. Only you and God decide who you are, right? So to get clear on that, you have to sit down, be quiet, write those things out, and cut out all the chatter.

[05:05] Pei: I love that. We're gonna get into your relaunch story in just a moment, but I wanna just insert a little bit of my personal observation. I really wanna start journal more, but one thing I noticed, if I have a dream that I wake up and feel like, “Hmm, that's strange,” and if I start… It's like the more I think about it, the more it doesn't make sense, but if I start journal, it's like it start to reveal to me what it meant, and I'm like… But that happens all the time. So that's just my comment, back to your story.

[05:42] Amy Anderson I love that. It is a very revealing experience. And I started journaling by giving myself permission to only write one sentence every day because that way, there's no pressure. So I journal every single day. Even if I'm too tired to do it, I just write, “Too tired,” and I close the journal.

[laughter]

[05:58] Joel: You know what…

[06:00] Amy Anderson But that way I do it every day.

[06:00] Joel: Yeah. Well, I love this, Amy, because…

[06:01] Pei: Me too.

[06:02] Joel: You took all the pressure off yourself by saying, “You know what? I'm gonna write one sentence a day,” and I don't care who you are, how busy you are, everyone has that opportunity to write one sentence. And, most times, it won't just be one sentence. It'll probably multiply upon itself, but at least you're in the practice and in the habit. And even if that practice is to just write for, every once in a while, “too tired”, that's you're one sentence. So, she stays faithful to the promise she makes herself. Very, very important. Appreciate you sharing and kind of giving us a bird's eye view into that, Amy. Very, very helpful. Now, if we can back up a little bit and let's start talking about the relaunch that we really need to zero in on today. What would that be?

[07:00] Amy Anderson Sure. I'd be happy to. First, I wanna make a little confession to the ReLaunch listeners. I wanna tell you that I worked 28 jobs before I became a successful business owner. So, I had my fair share of failures and confusion in terms of what my career should be. So, back up to 2004. I had already worked multiple different jobs but I had finally finished an English degree in school and I thought I wanted to be a college professor. So, I applied to a bunch of graduate schools, in fact eight of them, and I was rejected by all eight. It was startling, but… So, I took a job as a TV producer and writer at the ABC affiliate here in Dallas, the TV station. I had a friend that worked there and I'm pretty sure that's how I got the job cause I didn't have a lot of experience, but I could decently write at the time. So, I'm working this job and…

[07:56] Joel: That's WFAA, isn't it?

[07:57] Amy Anderson It is, yes. WFAA TV. Great, fantastic people. It really was an incredible job and on the outside it really was. It was the best job I'd ever had. I was making more money than I'd ever made. I had this little security badge that made me feel very special. I was exchanging friendly banter with local celebrities. It really, from the outside, it looked great and, in fact, I was nominated for an Emmy while I was there. I won an Emmy later. It was a fantastic opportunity, especially for someone like me with an English degree. Right? People, I think, expected me to just be a waitress for the rest of my life. So, it was a big deal. But, inside, I was not happy and because everything seemed so perfect with the job, I started to assume that there must be something wrong with me because who wouldn't love this job? But I had this dull sense of dread everyday when I would go into work. So…

[08:52] Joel: Okay, so let me ask you this. Sorry to jump in, but… Okay, you're starting with a dull sense of dread. So, that's a symptom, right there. So, let me go two levels deeper. Were there other symptoms that you either kind of pushed to the side or didn't recognize as you were working there at WFAA? , a great television station and a great group of people that worked there, but maybe it just wasn't for you… Other symptoms and signs?

[09:23] Amy Anderson Absolutely. I found myself during the day less able to focus and I found myself… Well, the truth is, I found myself really longing for a spiritual connection that I felt, for some reason, was more lacking than usual and so…

[09:38] Joel: What does that mean exactly? You've… Longing for a spiritual connection?

[09:40] Amy Anderson For me that meant that I had a, what I call, a personal relationship with God at the time, but during the day I would find myself just feeling so downhearted and in need of encouragement and so I would stop and, in the middle of the day, pray or just have some time of reading some spiritual literature that I had, and so I've really felt this longing for more and I got it through that, but I still felt like, “What's wrong with me? Why am I so unhappy?” So, one day I'm driving back from lunch and I drove a little two-door Acura and I was sideswiped by a Cadillac Escalade, which is a big car.

[10:25] Pei: Right.

[10:26] Joel: That's not a fair fight right there.

[10:28] Amy Anderson Absolutely. Yes. So, my car was totaled and I was taken in an ambulance to the hospital for some tests, because my neck hurt and my back. So, I'm lying there on the gurney in the hallway. You know how they do you at the hospital? So, I'm lying in the hallway and the ER doctor comes up to me and says, “We found something in your spine and you need to see a neurologist within 24 hours.” So, very long story short, there was a problem in my spinal cord up near the base of my skull and the doctor wanted to… He did a bunch of tests and then he wanted to wait three months and run all the tests again to discover if the problem was worsening and, therefore, slowly paralyzing me and if it was worsening…

[11:12] Pei: Wow.

[11:12] Amy Anderson I would need to go through what was essentially brain surgery, because it was so far up and that surgery might or might not work. So, I… If you've ever been faced with this kind of mortal moment that really… You have to face your human frailty, you know that it forces up in you every regret about every dream that you've never pursued and it holds you painfully accountable for that. So, I walked around for [11:42] ____ in this sort of thick fog of regret. But here's the thing that I've learned at that point in life, that the antidote to that kind of mental confusion is not more thought, it's action. So, I decided to just start taking some action on some of these dreams. And once I did that, I started to realize not only I was more focused on who I really was and what I really wanted, but on the fact that it was okay to be who I was, and to want what I wanted.

[12:14] Joel: So, what kind of actions…

[12:16] Pei: Right, but before that, can I… I wonder, once you… Tell us what kind of actions, but also tell us why you put that off, put those dreams off before.

[12:30] Amy Anderson Sure. The truth was, I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I had been afraid to admit that to myself for years. And I had been afraid to lose the security around a job, and I don't mean just the paycheck. I mean the security of the illusion that someone else was taking care of me, and that I was not ultimately responsible for my wellbeing. And that is an illusion. People who went through this recent economic collapse can tell you, many people can tell you, that's an illusion. But I wanted to hang on to that, and I was terrified to let go of it. So, this forced me to fully admit to myself, “I wanna be a business owner, and I don't care if that means that I'm gonna throw away the best job I've ever had, and the biggest paycheck I've ever had, to essentially go back to eating Ramen noodles for a while. If I don't do this now, why am I here? I mean, why am I on the planet?”

[13:23] Amy Anderson Jim Rohn says, “Never wish that life was easier, wish that you were better.” And so, I started to do things to make myself better. My plan was to be a freelance writer. That was pretty much the only business I knew how to run. I didn't know how to run a business, but it was the only talent I had. So, I had no clients and no prospects. So I researched, and I bought books, and I found the most successful freelance writers I could find, and I started making notes about how I could model what they had done to succeed. And I didn't know it at the time, but I was making kind of a rough business plan.

[13:58] Amy Anderson So second, I worked out a financial timeline. I figured that if I had about… After I quit my job, if had about three months of total living expenses, that would at least give me time to find some clients and get some work and supplement that. So, I committed to myself to stay for three more months at the TV station, and save fully half of every paycheck I got during that time. So I did that.

[14:24] Pei: Well, in the meantime, what about this… What they found in your spine?

[14:30] Joel: Right.

[14:30] Pei: Were you going through treatment? Or…

[14:33] Amy Anderson I was… There was nothing they could do. It really was a… Either it was getting worse and they were going to have to perform surgery, or it wasn't. And all this time I didn't know. For three months I was doing all this, I even went out and registered my business name and really got started on the business. And then, right before I quit my job at WFAA, my test results came back and I was okay.

[14:57] Pei: Wow.

[14:58] Amy Anderson I did not need surgery. And so I quit my job and I went out on my own and became an entrepreneur.

[15:06] Joel: That is an amazing story. I'm just trying to process this a little bit. So, you were… You had a clean bill of health, and thank God for that. But I also had to think a little bit, that it had a lot do with how you carried yourself, as you were waiting for test results and things of that nature, and while…

[15:31] Pei: I was just thinking about the same thing.

[15:33] Joel: Were you? Because she continued on with what she thought was right for her.

[15:40] Pei: And she's making plan as if there's a huge future, instead of getting depressed and thinking, well… Go ahead.

[15:51] Joel: This sort of reminds me of a show that we did a couple of weeks ago, with Robyn Benincasa. Remember that show, Pei? She has that organization for cancer survivors. Helps them…

[16:04] Pei: Yeah. Adventures for Survivors. Yeah.

[16:07] Joel: Right. Right. Well, and one of the things… One of the tips that Robyn talked about is, you always need to have something on the calendar. You always have to have something to look forward to, to help you to continue your journey. And that's pretty much what Amy's kind of laying out for us, is she had something that she was working toward, yes? Did I hear you correctly?

[16:32] Amy Anderson Yes, absolutely. Yes.

[16:34] Joel: Fantastic. So, we're gonna fast forward a little bit. Hold that thought for just one second, Pei.

[chuckle]

[16:40] Joel: We're gonna kind of speed up a little bit, but what I wanna understand is what you actually learned or relearned about yourself, your potential, your possibilities, or the value that you had to bring to yourself and your clients, as you turned in your resignation at WFAA, but as you moved full speed ahead in your own business?

[17:03] Amy Anderson I think that a lot of that goes back to what I said before about having worked 28 jobs. Now, I did end up working full time after this again, I worked for Success Magazine, as I told you. But I continued to build my business part time. So, for about three years after I left WFAA, I worked as a freelance writer, and I couldn't really grow very much, because I didn't know enough about business. And I didn't know that that's what I didn't know. One of the biggest things I've learned… I mean, I've had another relaunch a few year ago where I completely changed my business model, and I have a team now, and I work in an entirely different way. And what I know now, looking back, is that I had the opportunity to learn from 28 different business owners, and learn from their mistakes.

[18:00] Amy Anderson It's just that I didn't always have that perspective. If you're an entrepreneur trapped inside an employee and you're not looking around where you work and saying, “All right, what can I learn from this environment to help me be a better business owner in the future?” Then you're not an entrepreneur yet, you're still an employee. So I think that's the switch that happened for me at that point is that I realized about myself that I'd had plenty of opportunities to learn how to run a business, I just had never taken advantage of them.

[18:29] Joel: Okay, so let me ask you this, thank you for sharing that. What would you say is the biggest lesson that you learned from your time at Success Magazine? Either from Darren, from some of the cover stories that you interviewed from John Assaraf, pick your person. What would you say would be the number one lesson that you learned from that particular experience?

[18:56] Amy Anderson Well, I'll tell you what, I learned some incredible lessons from Darren Hardy. He's a great mentor and I consider him a friend and he's a wonderful person. But I have to tell you that the most surprising thing that I learned there and the most lasting lesson from my whole time at Success was from a cover story that I did on producer and director, Ron Howard.

[19:19] Joel: Okay. Opie.

[19:22] Amy Anderson He was Opie, right? When I spoke to him, there's really two reasons. One is he was just surprisingly down to earth and incredibly wise. This man knows a lot about leadership. I wish he would write a non-fiction book about leadership because he has so much wisdom to share after leading so many different groups of people through such incredible creative projects. But two, listening to him and he was just an example of all… So many of the people that I got to encounter at Success but he's a prime example of someone who succeeded because he's good and decent and kind and generous.

[20:03] Amy Anderson And what was fully ingrained in me while I was at Success is that these behaviors and attitudes pay off far greater in the long run than any negativity or selfishness or greed may seem to in the short run. Ron Howard, in my brief experience with him, was an excellent example of the principle that right… Wins every time. And I learned that from really everyone I encounter just about at Success.

[20:33] Pei: I love that, and the lesson you shared is so crucial that no matter where we are, even if we are… We dream about being an entrepreneur one day and circumstances keep us where we are in a corporation or not a position we want but look at the opportunity that's surrounding us. Because when we are building our own business there's just so many components that we do need to take care of almost in the beginning all by ourselves, and a little bit lesson, wherever we work is gonna be very important.

[21:14] Amy Anderson Absolutely. And we have everything we need to begin. We often tell ourselves, “Well, I don't have the resources or the money or the time or the knowledge to do everything I want to do in this business”. But you don't need all of that for what you can do today. You have everything you need. The knowledge and the resources right now to make some kind of beginning. You could take one action today to move yourself forward with your business plan, exactly what you have.

[21:41] Joel: I heard Joel Osteen on a podcast the other day and we'll come in for a landing on this. So one of the things that Pastor Joel said, of course the pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston. Joel said that, “If you don't have it, then you don't need it.”

[21:57] Amy Anderson I love that.

[21:58] Joel: And I thought, “You know what, he is absolutely right. If you don't have it, well, you don't need it”. Talking with Amy Anderson today. Of course, we will have all of the social media hotspots and the go-to places included in the broadcast show notes that accompany this episode. I know Pei has one more word she wants to say.

[22:20] Pei: Here's the link, just go to joelboggess.com/378 and we'll have Amy's business web address, social media accounts, everything you need to connect with Amy.

[22:36] Joel: Fantastic. Amy, this has been a pleasure, I'm so glad that you were able to spend some time with us today on ReLaunch. Again, thank you for listening to the show on your own, and you are welcome back here on ReLaunch anytime. Thank you so much.

[22:54] Amy Anderson Thank you both, it's been an honor.

Connect with Amy on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and her website.

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Joel Boggess

Keynote Speaker | Corporate Trainer | Award-winning podcaster I help teams ignite their courage, take bolder steps, and get greater results. Together, we create possibilities that bring empowerment, meaning, and financial impact.

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