202 Struggling Teen-mom to Successful Business Owner – Amber Hurdle

What You Will Hear:

  • A Mom's Response When 16 yr old Daughter Became Pregnant
  • Hanging onto Hope – A Teen Mom's Story
  • How to Build Support System – a Teen Mom's Road to Success
  • Struggling Teen-mom to Successful Business Owner
  • From Poverty to Abundance – A Single Mom's Story

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More about our featured guest

She was once a teen-mom struggling in poverty. Successful business coach Amber Hurdle shares many tips on how she positioned herself to success.

Amber Hurdle is an ICF-certified coach and longtime hospitality and mass-communications professional. She takes her experience of working with celebrities, record labels and Fortune 500 companies and translates that success to small businesses, all over the world, through her coaching and training. She effortlessly combines online and offline strategies to help her clients get out of the whirlwind, implement plans and translate their efforts into cash flow, while having tons of FUN doing it!

Full Transcript

[00:01] Joel: Welcome to Relaunch, your daily dose of inspiring stories, fresh ideas, practical steps and solutions. And you could think of this show as being your personal prescription for relaunching into the life, and into the business you love. And if you are a daily listener, welcome back to the show. Thank you for tuning in, and thank you for being involved in the before and the after show online conversations. And if you are new to the show, just know that you are among friends.

[00:39] Joel: And on the show today is coach, trainer, writer and speaker, Amber Hurdle. And by some people's standards, she has become the equivalent to the 21st century miracle worker. And she works with Fortune 500 companies, she works with them. She also works with mom and pop shops, and she works with individuals. And she takes her clients through an amazing six-step process that helps them to show up fully, and to help them live with intention. And hopefully, we'll have some time to grab a few takeaways from that six-step process a little bit later on in today's show. But first and foremost, let's go ahead and bring her into Relaunch. Amber, welcome. This is the first time we have had you on a show, so we're so glad that you could make it.

[01:37] Amber: Well, I appreciate you having me on the show, it's quite an honor.

[01:40] Joel: It's great to have you here. This show is all about the relaunch, and while many of us have experienced numerous launches and relaunches through our lives, I generally ask our guests to just zero in on one relaunch, the relaunch that has been the most transformational for them, or that has been the most significant for them in their life, and then just unfold the story from there. So, if you don't mind, let's go ahead and just start that way with one significant relaunch and just go from there. Amber, how should we start Relaunch?

[02:18] Amber: Well, there are so many that I could choose from. I believe that we all process life in seasons, but I think probably the most significant to where I am now in my paradigm in life is just my relaunch after becoming a teen mom. So, just to give a little background and perspective, at the time, I had literally just been on the Nashville Channel 4 News at six and 10 for an entire week, with maybe 10 other students in the middle Tennessee area. Because they were featuring us for being such great kids, we were the model kids like, “You should want your kids to be like them.” And I was president of my youth group, and I was president, vice president, or some level of leadership in so many different school organizations, so I wasn't quite a girl that was supposed to happen to, but it happened. And thank God I have very supportive parents, and very supportive teachers, and I had to tell my community, my school, that I was going to have a baby, even though I was 16. So, there was obviously a lot that went with that. I'm not even sure I can begin to describe what that feels like, to suddenly have that level of responsibility, even as a very responsible teenager.

[03:43] Amber: So, her father and I tried to make things work and it didn't, and I won't even get into all of that, but we'll just say they were some dark days. And so, I just decided that I was… I'm gonna use term “reborn.” And I even went so far to, this was before it was the hot craze, but I even went so far to drive to Tattoo Charlie's, I think it's in Kentucky, and had a butterfly tattooed on my hip. So that on the days where I was working four jobs, that there were a couple nights out of every week where I literally worked through the night, came home, took a shower and went back to my jobs, just with about enough time to take my daughter to the educational preschool that I was paying up the yin-yang for, at least for me at that time.

[04:43] Amber: And so, I'd take a shower and I would see that butterfly on my hip and it was just a reminder that Brittany and I were starting over together, it was just us, and we didn't have a whole lot of help in terms of financial support. I mean, obviously I have a very supportive network and my family's incredible, but it was on us. And seeing that in the mirror, when I was just so tired and I just wanted to sleep, or just quit, or have somebody else do it for me, it just really gave me… A tattoo is permanent, it is on you. And it was, “This is permanent. This is your life, Amber, and you guys are going to make it.”

[05:23] Joel: So, let me ask you this, and thank you for sharing that, by the way, Amber, and I won't even pretend to understand where you were emotionally at that time, 'cause there's obviously no way that I can. But what goes through a 16-year-old's mind? Or what went through your mind once you learned where you were? What were some of the first thoughts, or once you got grounded, and once you started thinking like you normally think and then process things?

[06:04] Amber: So, but I think the most important part for my mindset at the time, was just maybe even two weeks before, my mom and I were watching TV after school, and… My mom was… She was pretty strict, I'm not gonna lie. My parents are both amazing, but my mom is fairly strict. So, thinking about telling my mom, that was not exactly the coziest feeling [laughter] in the world. But we were watching some, one of those talks shows that use to be popular, and it was these teen girls telling their moms that they were pregnant. And I remember looking at my mom and just saying, “I can never look you in the eye and tell you that I was pregnant.” And my mom said, right then and there without the first hesitation or breath, “Don't ever say that. There is times where I might be disappointed in you, but I'm never going to stop loving you. Don't ever tell me that you couldn't come to me with something.”

[07:02] Pei: Wow.

[07:02] Amber: So, that just really laid the groundwork. And so, fear, obviously, like shame, how am I… I'm a leader. I'm seen as that student, and I was just on the news, like everybody was talking about the fact that I was just on TV for a whole week. And now, I have to do… So there is just so much… I would say a balance of shame and fear, with overwhelming… But when I told my mom that night, I waited 'til my dad went to sleep, 'cause I'm a daddy's girl, and [laughter] I just couldn't tell him. So I told my mom, and she said, “Well, we need to wake up your dad”, and I was like, “No! Let's not. Let's wait 'til tomorrow.” And she said, “No. This is not fair, we need to tell him.” So I told my dad. Of course, my mom said, “No matter what, I love you.”

[07:55] Amber: She said, “What you did, you made a bad decision. But what is coming of this is a baby, and there is nothing but love and goodness in that. And that's where we're gonna go with this.” So, she woke up my dad, I told him. He was half-awake, and he just said, “Promise me, you're gonna finish school.” And I was like, “Yes, sir. Absolutely.” I didn't tell him it was gonna take me 10 years to finish my college degree, but I did finish my high school diploma on… I actually…

[08:17] Joel: Oh, you left that out of the conversation?

[08:19] Amber: Early, yeah. [chuckle]

[08:19] Joel: You left it… [chuckle]

[08:21] Amber: Yeah, by then. I don't know this either, but it's gonna take me 10 years to finish my college degree. But I was still in high school at the time, so obviously that was a priority. And then that was it. And then my mom went to the store. She had to go to the store, and she came back with a pack of onesies and some prenatal vitamins. And at that point, my mind shifted to, “Oh, crap! How am I gonna tell everybody this, too?” I'm a mother now, and I have people who love me, and we're gonna do this.

[08:48] Joel: Awesome. I've really, really do appreciate that story. And I wanna kinda fast forward here in just a minute, but before I do that, talk about what you learned, or you relearned about yourself, during those, that time. When Pei and I are helping people set up their own relaunch, there's a period of time where people learn, or they relearn about their own possibilities, their own potential, their own value, and their own worthiness. So, I'm curious in this process at that time, what did you learn or relearn either about yourself, the relationship that you had with your family, or something along the lines of that?

[09:37] Amber: There are two things that really pop out to me, as you ask that question, and the first one is, really letting go of judgment. And I've never been a judgmental person, but I went to private school and I was always at church when the doors were open, and we went to church camp. And I'm not saying any of that is bad. I mean, I'm a Christian, and I still have all of my same beliefs, very bigger, more open mind now. But it's like you would see people, and you would judge them because they didn't go by the rules in that book.

[10:13] Amber: When you put yourself… When you get in a position yourself where you really have to experience an enormous amount of humility, you start to show other people a lot more grace. And that was just a first part of a slippery slope, we… We did really well, and then I had another, just kind of, life experience, and now I had a very dark year. And after that, that just kind of compounded. And so, on top of that, I guess the second part would be that I'm an overcomer. It was hard for a really long time. And I never… I'm not even sure that I knew that it was ever gonna end, [chuckle] to be honest. But I just kept looking towards the end of the tunnel, and then one day, it was just like it was all… It was good, and I was successful. It was just the two of us, and I was making great money, and I was able to provide for my kids. And so, I just hang onto that.

[11:08] Amber: And as I coach other people, and they're going through things, I can tell them with full confidence like, “You can overcome it.” It gets better, and it might not feel that way right now, but just keep doing the right thing, and life has a way of working itself out.

[11:24] Joel: Was there a period, Amber, during that point in time in your life or another point in time in your life, a little bit later on, when you… Something caught you off guard about yourself that actually surprised you one way or another, either surprised you like, “Gosh! I didn't know I had that in me”, or that surprised you on the other side?

[11:49] Amber: The grit… I mean, I knew, I'm a redhead. So, I'm kind of bowdy anyways. [laughter]

[11:55] Joel: Okay. [chuckle]

[11:56] Amber: But, yeah, between that, between going back to college, I was going through a divorce, and finishing my degree and raising two kids, and… There's just… The things that I've been through and come out through on the other side, I'm exhausted, but just to think about putting that kind of energy into my life, now it's like, “Ha! How did I ever do that?” But I think it's… Well, here's one of the steps in my process is creating a winning environment, and there is no way I could have gotten through those seasons of my life without the right support system, without people cheering me on.

[12:35] Pei: Yeah, could you…

[12:36] Joel: Yeah, cover a few how-tos now that we're talking about it.

[12:39] Pei: Get into detail, 'cause, yes, there are people supporting you, but I want you to expand a little bit more on this support system.

[12:47] Amber: Certainly. So I've always been one to find mentors because I did have to drop out of college… Well, I won't say have to, I chose to drop out of college because things got tough and I needed to provide for my daughter, 'cause I wasn't…

[13:00] Joel: Of course.

[13:00] Amber: I wasn't getting any support so I had to work more. And so, since I didn't have a degree, I had to figure out how to grow my career quickly. So I sought out mentors, I developed relationships with people who knew more than me. I was very tactical about… If I needed to learn how to buy a house, then I would talk to somebody that I knew was an expert at buying a house. So I never tried to do anything on my own. It's always been a very collective type of life that I've lived. I just think there's a lot of wisdom in seeking advice.

[13:40] Amber: But the other part is looking for women who were older than me. I have a very strong network of pseudo-moms, if you will, in addition to my own mom, obviously, who've been there, done that and can say, “Yeah, I've been through that, too, it gets better”. And then, I think probably when the most important things… You talk about the five people you spend the most time with in your life, and that's kind of how your life is going to look, and I believe it. I had jobs that put me in a position to interact with wealthy people, development officer… Of course, I had my own celebrity event planning company as well. And so, I just saw things from a different perspective, not from a broke single mom's point of view, but from what is possible, and I just…

[14:30] Amber: If somebody got to be janky in my life and their energy suck, they got excused from my life. And I only allow people in my life who are kind, who show grace… This is coming from someone who's been through a couple of abusive relationships and really had to learn the hard way. But if somebody isn't going to bring light into the world and into my life, then that's just… I don't have time for that, life's too short.

[14:55] Joel: Now, when did you figure that out? Because that right there is a huge point.

[15:01] Amber: Probably when I was going to college, and… Going through, the working full-time and going to college and all that kind of stuff.

[15:07] Joel: Sure.

[15:08] Amber: I found… I think you're kind of born a coach, and so I've always been that friend where people come to and they… I always kind of joke like, “Why do they keep coming back for the abuse?” because I tell it like it is. [laughter] But they keep coming back, and I found that some people never wanted to change, or they wanted to call and they just wanted to complain about somebody else. They weren't ready to make good decisions in their life. And I'd already been through all that, that stage of just feeling sorry for myself, or whatever. So, now I'm just very intentional about it, so I'd say maybe my early 20s.

[15:43] Joel: Okay.

[15:44] Amber: If somebody's at their 20s and they're not digging deep into personal development, then they're missing the boat and they're going to be behind in life. That's just my personal opinion. [laughter]

[15:52] Joel: Gotcha. [laughter] For sure. Pardon me. Talk a little bit about mindset. You said a few minutes ago, that you saw things as full of potential, basically. I'm kind of using my own words here, not from the viewpoint of a broke single mom?

[16:11] Amber: Yeah, so…

[16:11] Joel: Okay. That totally caught my attention.

[16:13] Pei: I love that.

[16:14] Joel: Right, right. So let's talk a little bit about the mindset that you had.

[16:20] Amber: Yeah, so… I should probably go way back and just say… My dad's a musician, my mom's a culinarian, so I didn't exactly have, the normal childhood where my mom was a teacher, my dad was an insurance agent. That's not how I grew up. So, I grew up around some level of celebrity, plus I was raised in Orange County, so I was around celebrities, anyways. And so, that… There just weren't a lot of boundaries for me. I don't hold people in like, “Oh my gosh, they're celebrities, so they're better than me.” I saw their humanity. And so, I think as I got older, and I had the opportunity to select jobs, it didn't intimidate me to deal with celebrities. It didn't intimidate me to deal with people who had a lot of wealth.

[17:05] Joel: Okay.

[17:05] Amber: And so, it was very comfortable for me to be around them, they were comfortable being around me. And I just saw their lifestyle. And so, well, yes, I understood that, here's the level of my bank account, [laughter] or lack thereof. And it's not a financial thing, it's more of an abundance thing. I knew their stories and I knew they were very normal people, and they put their pants on the same way I put my pants on in the morning, and they lived a life that was very similar to mine. They just… They found their path to success. And so I knew that I had to find my path to success. And that involves a goal, or multiple goals. It involves bringing in key stakeholders, it involves working my plan and just not letting go of my vision. So I used to sit down with my daughter, my son was still a baby… And I even have this crumpled up, still, I carry it in my purse, [laughter] and I can almost cry even talking about it, but she and I would sit and we would just draw little vision boards.

[18:04] Amber: And I have this one where I had a big closet and a pool, and she wanted a horse, thank God that fell off, because it was so high maintenance; a workout room, and… We had all these things that we wanted for our life. And I used to put the kids in a car and we'd drive around really affluent neighborhoods and pick out the houses that we were gonna move into. And I don't have a monstrous house now, it's by choice, but I have exactly the house that I want. We've redone it. It's in a beautiful gated community. It's not a huge house by any stretch of imagination, but it's exactly what I want. And I really believe that that came to be because we just were intentional about it. We set our mind to what we wanted and now we have it.

[18:50] Joel: Well said. Pei?

[18:52] Pei: Yeah. Well, you said when you grew up and celebrities were strangers, and you know what you needed just to find a way to make it work. And that's why we do what we do, honey, this Relaunch show where we interview top performers, and people get to hear their real story that they go through struggles just like anybody.

[19:21] Joel: Absolutely.

[19:21] Amber: Oh, yeah. And what you guys do is so important, because you just open up that portal of possibility to your listeners.

[19:29] Joel: Thank you for that.

[19:30] Pei: I love that, “portal of possibilities”.

[19:33] Joel: Yeah, portalofpossibility.com. See if it's still available.


[19:37] Amber: Yes, we're all entrepreneurs here.

[19:40] Joel: Speaking of entrepreneurs, and we're kind shifting into the decent, if you will, in this show. Now, in your business, you built up this Moxie Internal Relations or public relations firm that you developed, and then just recently, you had made the decision to shift from a corporate identity, if you will, to more of a personal touch and a personal identity to Amber Hurdle Coaching and Training. And I'm just curious about that whole shift and the mindset of why you wanted to do that, and why it just made sense for you, personally, and then, of course, professionally as well. So, yeah, take us there.

[20:34] Amber: Yeah, so my degree's in PR, minor in marketing, minor in organizational communication. So, everything within me told me that I was supposed to have a logo and be this company and say things like, “We”, which I do have a small virtual team, but essentially, it's me in my office, sitting here. So, leaving the corporate world and the intensity that I was in… I had it all buttoned up, and that's how we were gonna roll. And then people were saying it was “Moxie International Relations”, or they'd call me “Moxie girl”, or I'd get a check that was written to “Moxie International Relations”. But people weren't getting what internal relations was. I specialize in internal publics; I teach people how to communicate and engage. And so, it was just like, “Okay, if nobody else is getting this, I'm being hired, I'm being recommended, I'm being referred for being Amber.”

[21:35] Amber: But I have to say, as somebody who's had a career in really putting other people out there at their best and coaching them to have their own personal brands and dealing with celebrities and senior leaders within organizations; for me to put my face out there was scary. It was like, “Oh, no, no, no. I make everybody else look good. I don't promote myself.” That was horrible. That was so uncomfortable. I can't even describe someone who's as… Fairly… I'm pretty courageous… Most people would say like, “Amber, she has zero fear.” But that was scary. And I'd call my high-level PR friends and just angst over it. And they're like, “No, you're doing the right thing. You're totally doing the right thing.” So, once I moved through that, it felt like everything got right. The corporate, I deal with small business and I also deal with corporate, and even the corporate people, they love me, they don't love my logo, they don't love my fancy schmancy brand.

[22:37] Joel: Okay, talk about that. Because now in a practical way, people that are in the Relaunch nation that are thinking about relaunching into the life and the business that they love, maybe building a business from ground up, they're gonna have to put their face in front of their product. They're not gonna have that ability to hide behind a corporate shield. So, how would you recommend to people that they get over this… If there's doubt, if there's fear, if there's hesitation, and start to present you.

[23:15] Pei: That's a big question.


[23:17] Amber: Well, one of my favorite things that I tell people is “Just do you”, and so…

[23:21] Joel: Okay. What does that mean, “Just do you”?

[23:24] Amber: When you're just… Authenticity is getting so worn out. But I mean, God designed you, or the universe or spirit or whatever you want to call it. God designed you a certain way. You have unique characteristics, you have special powers that other people don't have. And so, if you show up and you share all of those things, and you just do you, you don't try to be somebody else, you don't try to be an image of something, you just share who you really are and you're designed to be, you're going to attract the right people and opportunities into your world because they're going to want that. And if you don't show up as you, inherently who you are, you're going to attract people who are looking for something that you're not.

[24:12] Amber: And it's going to be frustrating. You're gonna get the wrong clients, you're gonna take on projects or get involved in strategic alliances that aren't a good fit, and it's gonna feel icky the whole time. And so, when you just step into your own greatness and your personal brand is truly just who you are, I think it's a lot easier of a road. And then you can start niching, like… If somebody's asked me one more time, “Well, who's your avatar?” I might punch him in the face…


[24:40] Amber: Because that's not where you begin, people, please. If you get anything from this podcast episode, it does not begin and end with your avatar. That's a very important part, but it begins with who you are and who you can best serve and what your talents are. And once you get that figured out, then you can start to look outward and say, “Okay, now these type of people would probably need that from me. These are the people who have the problems. Now I can study them, now I can put a face and a name to those people.” But it starts with you.

[25:08] Joel: Absolutely, “It starts with you.” That's tweetable and…

[25:11] Pei: Love it. [chuckle]

[25:12] Joel: I absolutely agree with you there. Amber Hurdle is our guest today. Amberhurdle.com, the place to go. Of course, we'll have links to all the social media hotspots in our broadcast show notes. Coming in for a landing on this, Amber, but I wanna give you just a few more minutes to talk about some of the other steps in the process that you take your clients through, so that they can show up and be intentional with every single thing that they do, every single important thing that they do…

[25:46] Amber: Yeah.

[25:47] Joel: So yeah, just… If you can just share whatever else needs to be shared as we round up today, round out our show.

[25:59] Amber: Yes. So the first one I take anybody through is probably the least sexy, but it has the most impact to set them up for success. And when I do it in a corporate environment, I call it “time management versus time strategy”, but really it's about personalizing your methods, your processes, really looking at time and calendaring as a strategy and less about trying… Well, I'll say it this way: You can't manage time. You can't. Whether you sit here and do nothing, or you do something with the time, time is passing. But you could be strategic with your time, you could get ahead of it. You could plan well, you could get the right tools and resources in place. So we start there, and then we do talk about personal brand, we talk about communication style. We talk about communication strategy. And this stuff is… To be able to get into it is so much deeper than just, “Oh yeah, you have to learn how to communicate effectively.”

[26:57] Amber: But when you start studying how you communicate and then how your key stakeholders communicate, it's really powerful to see where there's any disconnects and how you could become more influential…

[27:06] Joel: I see.

[27:07] Amber: Yeah, building a winning environment, obviously, is one. Overcoming fear… I'm losing my count here. But that's…

[27:17] Joel: Four or five. I think we're up to five.

[27:18] Amber: Okay, so hold on, I gotta think. I'm off my game today.


[27:22] Amber: I'm in my yoga pants, people. It's Friday… See, personal brand, I'm glad you're…

[27:29] Joel: Let me ask you this. What is the one that most people struggle with? And the second half of that question, where does the breakthrough generally happen?

[27:42] Amber: Okay. The one I'm missing is the engagement piece, bringing in the right people. But I would say that the breakthrough comes in personal branding, so fairly early on, because… I give the example of… Remember the girl in high school who everybody thought was super snobby, and they don't like her…


[28:01] Amber: And it turns out she was just really, really shy. And so, even though she knew she was a great human being, she was kindhearted and she had a lot to offer the world, because she came off as… Because there is a disconnect between how she saw herself and how people in her life saw her, she wasn't at all powerful. She lost all of her power. And so, I help people not try to frame themselves in a particular way that is not inherently who they are, but I do teach them how to be more bold about pieces of them, so that the people who they'd like to influence can grab a hold of something and truly understand who they are, and that increases their influence exponentially. So, we go deep into that. And then I would say probably the communication strategy piece, style is kind of, “I have this style. I'm very bold, I'm very direct.” And I might be talking to somebody who might be a little more subdued and they might be feeling like they're accosted when I come and speak to them.

[29:01] Amber: But strategy is more like “I wanna get something done, and so I send an email.” And that person doesn't email me back, so… And I'm being very basic here, it's so much bigger than this. And so, I don't every get what I want from them, which really because I'm a millennial, and this person is a baby boomer. It would serve me well to just go walk over to their office and ask for what I need and have that human connection, because they're gonna respond to that type of strategy more because that's what they need.

[29:32] Joel: Gotcha.

[29:33] Amber: So, in a corporate environment, when I'm doing executive coaching, that's huge. But it's also big in entrepreneur land, we're all trying to… Especially, you, podcasters, I'll be joining your ranks soon, but you wanna get those key names into your show, and people are going about it all wrong. I know because those key names tell me about it.


[29:55] Amber: They tell me like, “This is what happened. I wish they just knew better.” And that's what I teach, is how to influence through your communication strategy.

[30:03] Joel: Awesome, awesome. Something that everyone needs to know, how to influence through your communication strategy. Amber Hurdle, our guest today. Amberhurdle.com. It has been a pleasure to have you on today. Thank you for your time. We are delighted to have you on, and Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, as we're recording this on December…

[30:25] Amber: Merry Christmas to you.

[30:26] Joel: The 12th. And you are welcome back here on Relaunch anytime. Thank you so much.

[30:32] Amber: Thank you.

Follow Amber on Twitter, Facebook, and visit her site.

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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.


  1. Joyce Kaiser (@Driftseed) on December 31, 2014 at 10:03 am

    More golden nuggets than I can capture. A must listen over and over again…

  2. Amber Hurdle on December 31, 2014 at 6:58 am

    Thanks Joel and Pei for having me on the show! I appreciate you allowing me to share my story as part of what you are doing to inspire and encourage others through your show. You both are remarkable people and the success you’ve enjoyed through this podcast is merely one indicator of how you are so perfectly leveraging your God-given greatness to shine light in the lives of others.

    I hope by learning how amazing my mom was to me through that initially scary season to seeing how others invested in my success, listeners will take away that it takes a village…not just to raise a child, but to learn how to receive the abundance that it IS possible to have.

    Much love! Happy New Year!

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