Running a business is hard, but running two?? That takes some skill, dedication and serious forward planning, which is exactly what Amanda Holdsworth tells us about in her Startup Story. We caught up with her to talk about how she started her businesses, how she juggles both and how she prioritises such a busy schedule. If you want to feel motivated today, this is the interview for you!
Hi Amanda! What’s your business called, and what is it all about?
I have two businesses! My first, CommunicatED Consulting, provides strategic communications services to private and public schools and colleges. My second, What the Professor Wore, is a career branding and coaching firm helping women navigate their careers through online classes, workshops and trainings.
Tell us about your background before you began the business. What motivated you to change direction?
I worked in educational communications for the better part of the last 18 years and was burnt out. Due to long hours, I missed my family and was physically drained at the end of the day. I originally started CommunicatED Consulting so I could be my own boss with my own hours, helping schools and colleges in the areas of the industry I thrive in such as strategy planning, communications audits, public relations and marketing.
What the Professor Wore spun off from a class project I was doing with my college-level digital communications class. Over the years, I’ve had dozens of people asking me to rewrite their resumes and cover letters, and what to wear on interviews, and requests to prep them for interviews, just like I prep executives through media training. In 2017, I reviewed over 500 resumes for a few open positions on my team, and realising candidates did not know how to articulate their impact, I decided the time was right to offer my services to others on a larger scale.
What has been your proudest moment in business so far?
Finalising my direction and my websites! Once I narrowed down my companies’ separate visions and goals, everything else fell into place. I hope to soon realise success in my own business, as I have for the organisations I’ve worked for, such as scoring placements in Forbes, Inc., USA Today and on Good Morning America.
What’s the biggest lesson you have learned since starting your business?
It takes time. It sounds so cliché, but after a successful career in PR, where, if I just hustled harder and pitched more stories, I’d see immediate results, I realised with my business, I couldn’t just send a bunch of cold emails without getting rejected. It has taken time to build my brand, build my email list, build my client list, build my social media following and increase my speaking engagements. I’m excited for what awaits now that I feel like my foundation is solid.
How do you stay organised? Any tips or tools?
I use Google Docs and Sheets so I always have access to my brainstorming documents. I also use a physical planner as well as a wall calendar with colour coding for different assignments, projects and events.
Would you say you have a healthy work life balance? If not, what would you change?
I don’t right now, unfortunately. Launching two businesses right after I started a new job as a full-time assistant professor wasn’t the ideal timing. Working out has gone to the wayside because with my few precious minutes in the morning, I have the option of snuggling with my girls or heading to the gym; I choose the former because I know they are only going to be little for so long. That being said, once holiday break starts, I’ll get back into my daily routine of working out. I miss the extra energy I so desperately need.
What do you have planned for your business and what are the next steps toward your goal?
I plan to expand What the Professor Wore to offer downloadable books and resources as well as online classes, transitioning away from in-person services. As for CommunicatED, I’m happy to report that I’ve had a steady stream of contracts and clients, and I hope to continue expanding the firm so I can bring my amazing consultants and freelancers on full-time.