One of the biggest differences I’ve observed in people has nothing to do with race or sexual preferences and has everything to do with their attitude. There are those who relinquish control and act defeated and powerless, and there are those who experiment and work hard to figure out how to get what they want, regardless of their circumstances.
Angela Coté could have had everything handed to her. She’s the daughter of a very successful Canadian entrepreneur (her dad started M&M Meat Shops, which has over 400 locations across Canada), but she’s worked hard to carve her own path. Listen to this episode to learn more.
My dad always said to me…you’ve got two strikes against you. You’re the boss’s daughter so people are going to watch everything you do and you’re female so that’s going to make life a little tougher for you and you’re going to need to work extra hard.”—Angela Coté, franchise growth catalyst.
I met Angela at a networking event. She’s one of those people who demands attention, not because she’s loud or demanding, but because she’s smart, attentive and engaging. She makes conversation easy and she’s a genuine character. She also has some really good insight into what it takes to chart your own course in life and business.
I met Angela at the right time. I was humming and hawing about how to keep being a full-time corporate writer while running a podcast and a copywriting side-business. I wanted to do it all and at the same time. I considered dropping it all, too. Summer was on its way and I needed a break. I needed clarity even more. I spend a lot of time talking to people about their own passions, skills and ambitions but hardly any time really focusing on my own.
You could say I was on autopilot…as much as that’s possible for me, and on a plane going way too fast for what it was built to handle.
You don’t have to do what you don’t like to do
Yeah, I can feel you cringing through the computer screen. How many whackadoos have spouted this little ditty while you slave away? Here’s the thing though. If you don’t like what you’re doing, you do have the ability to shift your situation. It’s easier for some of us than others, but it is completely possible. Look at Oprah or Tony Robbins. Did they have life in a neat and tidy package while they were building their empires? Nope.
For Angela, figuring out her next steps required getting help. As a busy mom, she’d lost touch with what her employable strengths were. She was in give, give, give mode and needed to step back and figure out what motivated her life. And, as with many people, the answer was right in front of her.
We live in a saturated business world that is moving towards micro-niching, meaning you can serve a small community of interest-aligned people and still do well. You’re not Walmart (thank god, because I would give you a piece of my mind about how your aisles are organized and how you never have what I’m looking for), and you don’t need to be. You just need to be able to solve a problem for a group of people.
How to build that plane while you’re flying it
Risky, yes. As Angela says in the podcast, you have to be willing to invest if you want to experience growth. And I have to agree. As someone who entered the small business world with zero experience, I would have been totally lost without the help of mentors. Investing money and time hurts a little upfront, but you’ll come out stronger in the end.
It’s time to sort out what your strengths are and figure out what motivates you. For Angela, it people with a can-do attitude. She combined that motivation with her experience in franchising businesses to carve out a nice little chunk of the business pie.
Once you have some ideas and you’re ready to risk a little money (not your house, though!) on an education and/or a coach, find a program or person you align with. Find teachers with experience in the areas you’re interested in. There are a lot of “business coaches” out there, but you want someone with business experience, not just coaching experience.
Lastly, keep your eyes open to opportunities. You might meet the perfect person at the right time and be too busy to notice. Listen, meet new people, try some things. And if an opportunity presents itself, be smart and do your research.
And to reiterate, don’t be afraid to invest a little. You can do a decent online course for $300 or a coaching program for $2,500—much less than an MBA! If you’re not quite ready, start an automated savings plan. I saved for almost a year to pay for a coaching program just by putting away a little of my income each month. Avoid using credit if possible when you’re getting started, unless you have a really good plan for how you’re going to pay that debt off.
Don’t be afraid to pursue a side-gig or a freelance job! This is the future of work for millennials, and if it helps you achieve other things that you can’t get from your regular job, then it’s worth it. As Angela says, “when you love, love, love what you do, it’s infectious, it radiates…and it will monetize.”