MP Local: Amanda Armstrong
Today's #mplocal feature is someone we met through Instagram (bless you, IG!) and after talking to her we were blown away by how inspiring she is. She's cool, she's super confident, she's hustles hard, AND she gives back.
She's worked in the world of entrepreneurship for much of her career, until she eventually became one herself! She gives tons of great advice, and after reading her Q&A we know you'll walk away wanting to know more about Amanda.
Name: Amanda Armstrong, but I often go by Amanda Sarah.
Title: Founder, Coach and Motivational Speaker
Give us your elevator pitch:
My goal, why I do what I do, is to help young people achieve their dream careers. I recognize that there is a lot of talented and ambitious young people all around the world who often go to post-secondary school, get a lot of great experience, are super energetic and motivated but have no idea what they what to do after graduating and have no idea how to find a job.
My goal at Athari Career Coaching is to help young find their dream jobs, to help them build purpose-driven careers, and specifically find careers with impact - careers that are making a positive impact in the world.
We help them with everything from identifying their strengths and skills, to resumes and cover letters, to navigating the job search, and negotiating contracts.
One word to describe yourself:
I would 1000% say: Passionate.
Why did you choose that word?
I think that everything that I do in my life that I love and enjoy, I really go above and beyond. I’ve learned more about myself over the years and the things that I enyoy doing - whether its soccer, or spending time with friends, my love for children, my passion for female entrepreneurship, - everything that I love, I’m very passionate about. I feel strongly about finding what you’re passionate about and living a life that you’ve dreamed of. Just waking up every day and living your passion. I’ve recognized and noticed that this is one of my strengths.
Why did you start the business that you did and what was the inspiration or reasoning of how it came it life?
I was very fortunate early on – I went to the Ivey Business School at Western University. One of the things I learned is they provide a tremendous amount of career support. And they do it in different ways – they help with resumes and cover letters, but the program is also based around case and in-class discussion so you’re constantly speaking in front of people, practicing communication skills. They do a lot of mock interviews and networking events. They help you transition into real life, every step of the way.
When I graduated from that program, a lot of people from my class were successful at finding jobs but I recognized that a lot of people from other post secondary programs across Canada did not have the same career support that we had. I identifed that a lot of young people’s resume and cover letters were just not as professional, and they didn’t know how to sell themselves, or were scared of networking. In general, I saw a lot of young people feeling really lost.
For me that was as big gap that I felt confident I could help with. After I graduated, I started doing it voluntarily. Mentoring, coaching, giving advice, introducing them to people in my own network, etc. and I got to the point where I was ready to take things to the next level. I knew I wanted to start my own business before I turned 30. So, last summer - June 2018 - I officially launched my career coaching business Athari!
First thought when you officially became your own boss:
I still have a full time job, Athari is my side hustle. I think because I’ve worked in the field of entrepreneurship my entire career it wasn’t a massive change in terms of what I thought about being my own boss. I always dreamed of and knew I was going to be my own boss one day, but what I think is really cool as someone who has worked in entrepreneurship and helped women with their business, is it was a big leap for me to officially start and officially launch my own business.
It’s exciting and it’s fun and it’s such an incredible experience because you are in full control – your results, your success, your Instagram, the work you do, every single thing is dependent on you.
I’ve dreamed of this for years, and now I’m officially an entrepreneur, that’s a really rewarding feeling. I was very proud to accomplish that. My goal was to do it before I turned 30, and I did it like 2 months before I turned 30. So I would say proud – it’s a very proud feeling.
When you’re not hustling, what do you do in your free time?
Soccer and snowboarding are my two big passions, as well as health and fitness. It’s a really important part of happiness and well being and success in you career and life in general. I go to the gym a few times a week, I bike to work, do yoga, go for walks. And I spend a lot of time with friends and family and a lot of time with the children in my life. I have a 7- year old godson, and 2 young nieces! I also spend a lot of time back in East Africa – I do a lot of travelling back there.
Describe a day in your life:
I’m not a morning person! If we’re talking about a weekday, it’s a struggle to get out of bed but that’s ok. I make eggs for breakfast because I think it’s important to eat a healthy breakfast. I bike to work, when it’s not freezing. I spend my full-time job at Hi Mama, a tech start up in Early Childhood Education. I work in sales, so I’m fortunate to be able to speak with female entrepreneurs and business owners who own their own daycares, and I get to introduce them to technology that will benefit their business and save them money and time.
I go to the gym, because I think it’s really important to take a break and then my evenings are spend with Athari clients. Sessions are usually interview prep, resume and cover letter review, and helping with the job search. After all of that, I’ve recently been doing about 12 hour days – it usually involves me cooking dinner or spending time with friends. I like to journal, I’m also reading this awesome book called The Awakened Woman. I would highly recommend it!
What is your biggest accomplishment?
Launching Athari was a huge accomplishment, but I would also say one of my biggest accomplishments in my life and career was hitting a 6-figure salary. This is through my full-time job at Hi Mama.
Why I say that is because I spent most of my career working in non-profit, and the biggest thing I sacrificed was money. I loved what I did, I had a tremendous amount of responsibility, skill development and travel, but I wasn’t making a lot. Why this is so valuable to me is I believe that everyone deserves to be making what they want to make in life, and it was a big accomplishment to be able to achieve the success I had in sales to get to that point financially.
I’m a single female living in downtown Toronto, life and rent is expensive! I also have three children in Kenya I support with their education. For me, financially, it was important to me at this stage in my life and career. For all of the clients that I work with, my dream is to help them achieve the financial goals that they want to achieve as well.
What are your top 3 bucket list items?
1. Sky-diving – I’m all about risk and extreme sports and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone.
2. Starting several more businesses – I’d love to start my own mom business, open my own daycare, and more!
3. Travelling the world – I would love to spend a year or two travelling the world with my family.
What or who inspires you to keep doing what you’re doing?
Most recently, I would say the biggest inspiration I’ve had has been the other successful females in my life, and successful female entrepreneurs. My boss at Hi Mama is a big inspiration for me because she is so bad ass, fierce, confident, all about hustle and hard work, and a positive, growth mindset.
Even looking at IG, I’m constantly surrounded by people like you, Mint & Poppy, and other incredible female entrepreneurs who are inspiring and successful. And all of the women in my life who have built successful business, careers, or who at least took that leap of faith to start their own business are the people who inspire me right now.
What is your spirit animal and why?
My favourite animal is a lion. Lion’s are bad-ass, fierce, confident. As a woman in a male-dominated world - especially in careers and financial success and entrepreneurship - I definitely relate to the lion. I know I’m fierce, confident, I speak out a lot.
What is your daily mantra?
One I’ve always lived by, is: live your life to the fullest.
What are some tips and tricks you use to stay motivated?
My number one is surround yourself with good people, who inspire and motivate you.
The second thing that has benefitted me lately is the books that I’ve read. For many years, I wasn’t spending time reading books. When I joined Hi Mama, we started a book club and it changed the way I approached my job in sales and my entire outlook on life and success in general. One of my favourite books of all-time is The happiness equation.
The third tip is it is really important to invest in yourself. Two years ago, I invested in a 2-year personal development course for women that was a big investment, but that really transformed things for me. I also did a course on financial freedom – both gave me a ton of motivation. People think they can’t afford stuff like that and put it off, but they spend money on dinner, drinks, shoes, purses, so why not invest in something that will benefit your happiness, health, wellness and success.
In order to stay motivated, I think it’s important to write down your goals and dreams, or do something where you’ll wake up every day and think about your goals.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt along the way?
Be unapologetically yourself. Entrepreneurship is messy, you’re gonna make mistakes, it’s trial and error, we just figure things out as we go. A lot of what I do is randomly on the spot and on the go, and improvising.
I also believe in speaking what’s on my mind and putting things out there. I would encourage other women to be unapologetically yourself, use trial and error, and just do it. Let go of the fear of making mistakes. Have fun!
What’s next for you?
Eventually, I want to be a full-tine serial entrepreneur, but the biggest next step for Athari is to take it online. Female coaching is a massive market. I’ve seen and participated in several online courses run by female coaches and seen that the power of going digital is scalability.
Currently, I meet face to face with my clients in Toronto, or do video chat, but in order to meet the crazy demand that exists out there, and to achieve my own financial goals, I have to go online. So, my next big step is creating my online course, building the platform, ramping up and moving from in-person to an online coaching program.
How can our readers find you?
We're so excited to see Athari move to an online model, and will be watching as Amanda continues to build her entrepreneurship empire!
We are constantly looking to promote local businesses and freelancers in the community, so if you are interested in sharing a bit about your life and your journey, send us a DM or email us at email@example.com.