I love stories. What’s your story?
I grew up in Utah. We were a pretty normal family – my dad worked three jobs, while my mom stayed home with me & my twin brothers.
All that normal went away when my parents split – life got a lot tougher overnight. Luckily I was awarded a full-ride leadership scholarship to Weber State University. This was huge because I was going to be the first one in our family to graduate from college.
Until my junior year, when I decided to drop out and go into business with my boyfriend. I know, right? What could go wrong with this plan?
For one, my version of being an adult was having all this freedom and flexibility. To do whatever I want, when I want. Sometimes I can’t believe I was that naive.
We started out painting houses. Within a year, we had a million-dollar contract working on military housing, airplane hangers, flight simulator, and ammunition buildings at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada. It was really cool until the relationship took a turn for the worst and died a fiery, sad death.
I got all of that straight though. I moved to NC. I went back to school at night, finished my business degree, then an MBA.
Travis and I are entrepreneurs – starting and failing, starting and selling – and its always been one business after another. After 12 years of being a business owner, I realized it doesn’t matter what business you are in; there is going to be some self-motivating and reinventing yourself.
But my leader-shift came when I started to be aware I could have anything I wanted if I just helped enough other people get what they wanted.
And how I valued people, how I served people, and my leadership ability, that was going to determine how successful I was.
And when I started working on Leadership as a skill, my businesses took off.
Now that’s what we’re doing – speaking, training, and building a new business.
Tell me about your business?
We have a couple of things going on:
We own a small industrial maintenance company – like plant maintenance work – we’ve had that ever since we sold our construction company 5 years ago.
Then we have an online certification course for an engineering certification that Travis teaches.
Then we have a consulting company.
Then we have this leadership training and speaking company – we call it Amanda and Travis because we couldn’t think of a cooler name…
Why did you become an entrepreneur?
I don’t like people telling me what to do. Seriously, that was it at first.
But what I’ve found is that building a business is, for us, the most fun you can have with the lights on. We all have different styles, you know, and I’m the type of person I can’t imagine having to do the same thing day in and day out. And there are just so many opportunities out there to help people, they need us, and I couldn’t see a path to help them all working a 9-5 day job. Just as an entrepreneur, I can see that path.
Who is your ideal client?
My tribe is going to be a bunch of people who were just like me. 25-35 years old, feeling this drive inside, this ambition, and not knowing what to do first. Stuck in a crappy job, looking for someone to give them a hand, a ticket to the front of the line.
As an entrepreneur, we face a lot of challenges, what has been your biggest challenge?
Staying focused. We’ve done so much, and there are so many good ideas out there, it’s hard to stick to one thing.
What has been your biggest accomplishment in your business?
Let’s see… my Dad says it’s being a regular podcast and radio show guest. My husband, Travis, thinks it’s speaking on stage in front of over 3,000 people in the same year. My Grandma thinks I’m a motivational speaker like Tony Robbins, but I honestly have no idea. I’m just happy most days if my kid goes to bed without extra band-aids.
What’s one thing you’ve learned about yourself as an entrepreneur?
For the longest time, I thought I could do it all myself. And I could do some things, for sure, even be successful. But then I learned I was only as good as the people I surrounded myself with and that if I wanted to be significant, I couldn’t do it alone. One is too small of a number to change the world. So now, when I’m building my businesses, I’m looking for friends, partners, teammates, not to work for me, or buy from me, but walk with me, to go with me on this trip I’m taking to make a difference.
What advice would you give someone who just started or wants to become an entrepreneur?
Ha – we get asked that so often we have a whole framework of things to work on, and in a specific order –
Phase 1 starts with getting a raise, and using that money to learn, with books, courses, seminars, how to:
1. Grow your self-confidence.
2. Learn about risk, what’s acceptable and what’s not.
3. Learn how to stop worrying.
4. Learn how to start a side hustle.
5. Learn to grow your influence cash.
Here’s where Phase 2 starts, after you start making real money, like advanced learning:
6. Learn to self-promote.
7. Learn how to be financially creative.
8. Get fit.
9. Learn Leadership.
10. Learn Balance.
That’s it. Our approach is very strategic. More principles, less tactics.
Share one fun fact about yourself?
I’m curious about everything, like when we were in Japan last year, I wanted to visit the Cup of Noodles soup factory that was 100 miles away while Travis was in meetings all day. I took the subway to see it. But, I ended up lost somewhere between the factory and our hotel in Yokuska until some very nice Japanese lady came to my rescue. So my curiosity will get me in trouble, too. That’s fun. 🙂
What’s your favorite quote?
John Maxwell says, and I love it because we can all relate; he says: “Everything worthwhile in life is uphill.” So true.
How can my readers connect with you?
Of course, we have the website, amandaandtravis.com, and they can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or….
What I did for your readers was put out a free PDF of some of the ways I organize my busy day and fight off the overwhelm of working and being a mom. You guys can find that at www.amandaandtravis.com/timehack
You can also get me on social media of course. Amanda LeFever…
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LYDIA GILLIS PHOTOGRAPHY is Denver based and Destination Wedding Photographer, Seniors and Personal Branding Photographer.