Agatha Brewer is the founder and CEO of Agatha Brewer Coaching, where she works with new entrepreneurs who want to launch and grow businesses that give them freedom and flexibility while also making a bigger impact on the world.
She grew up in the United States but was raised by two Polish architects who emigrated to America when she was just two years old. Her parents taught her to be independent and work hard, and she was always reminded by her father that in order to love what you do, you have to own your own business. While she heard his advice, she also saw how hard he and her mom worked and how little time they took off for themselves.
Instead of following in her parents’ footsteps, she chose to pursue marketing as a career, graduating from Rutgers University and then making her way to New York City to work in the event industry, planning large food festivals. During the 2009 recession, she moved to Atlanta, GA, and started working in software, focusing on marketing automation and demand generation. She’s worked in both smaller companies and large global organizations, running complex programs. While she’s had a lot of success in the corporate world, she has always wanted to make a bigger impact on the world and that’s led her down the path of entrepreneurship.
Recently, she started her own coaching business that brings together her 15+ years of marketing knowledge and her life coaching skills (Whole Person Certified Coach®) to help new business owners launch and grow their businesses. She believes that to succeed as a new business owner, you need to have a solid strategy and the right mindset. If you have one but not the other, you won’t be successful. There’s also a big identity shift new business owners have to make from thinking like an employee to becoming an entrepreneur and CEO, and she helps her clients make this important transition.
Where did the idea for Agatha Brewer Coaching come from?
I started Agatha Brewer Coaching while healing from a chronic illness that I have had for over ten years. The program I was using to heal myself focused on self-directed neuroplasticity––i.e., using exercises like visualizations to create new connections and pathways in your brain––and it made us look at our core beliefs and really examine them to see if they were true. I did this work for over a year and realized that I had a lot of limiting beliefs around my health, but also my life as a whole, and what was possible for me. I had also created a lot of negative behaviors based on those beliefs. By doing this work, I started to unravel this programming and heal in the process. And the more I read about neuroplasticity and beliefs, the more intrigued I was to learn more.
I decided to train as a life coach to help other people change their ingrained thought patterns so they could achieve what they want in their lives instead of being blocked from moving forward. Now I work with new entrepreneurs who are looking to launch and grow their businesses. I combine my marketing experience and my coaching skills to help them put together a solid strategy and help them release any mindset blocks that are in the way of achieving their goals. Things like the fear of failure, procrastination, self-doubt, imposter syndrome, and perfectionism. Anything that blocks them from living to their full potential.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day for me starts with those same practices I mentioned above. When I wake up, I do about thirty minutes of visualization and some gratitude work to start my day. I spend some time with my husband in the morning, followed by a late breakfast (I follow intermittent fasting). I then jump onto one-on-one coaching calls with clients on Zoom or work on other projects for my business.
I like to stay productive by writing down exactly what I’ll be working on before I sit down to do it, and also batching certain tasks together, like creating social media content, marketing, shooting videos, etc. So, there are times when I coach, and there are times when I do everything else I need to do to promote my business. This helps me to focus because coaching is a very specific skill set and requires a lot of brainpower whereas marketing is pretty much second nature to me.
I also decided to take my own advice and go through the same program that I created for new entrepreneurs, which includes creating a formal marketing plan and business plan. This helped me organize my ideas––the problem with having a marketing background is you don’t always think you need to write things down or map it all out since marketing comes easily. But doing this exercise forced me to organize and better prioritize my business goals.
At the end of my day, I like to relax to take my mind off of work. If I have time, I meditate to keep my mind clear and reduce stress or work in my garden. I never understood why my mom spent so much time working in her garden until I tried it myself! It’s so good to connect with nature, breathe in the fresh air and it’s pretty cool to eat food that you grew yourself.
How do you bring ideas to life?
When I have an idea for my business, I typically write it down, mull it over a bit, and then start brainstorming. Once I’m happy with the concept and have come up with a few bullet points or ideas, I start creating. This part comes easily to me, and it’s one of my favorite things about being an entrepreneur. I can easily get into a flow state when I’m working on certain types of projects.
If I get stuck, I typically talk with one of my peer coaches and work through it with them during a session. The beauty of being a coach is you know a lot of other coaches who can help you! It sometimes takes talking to someone who is objective and knows how to ask the right questions to get you out of your head, stop the overanalyzing and make better decisions.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I’m excited by what’s happening in the e-learning industry. In 2019, the industry was forecast to be worth $300B by 2025, and those were still pre-pandemic numbers. We’re at a point in time where many people are looking to learn online and course creators are having success launching courses that allow them to serve more people at a time, reach people all over the world, and gain back their time and flexibility.
In my industry, a lot of coaches trade their hours for dollars, and there’s a cap to how many people you can serve without burning out, and also how much money you can make using that model. Online courses provide the answer to this problem.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I believe that many new entrepreneurs struggle with self-doubt and uncertainty around their ideas. So, they sit on them and don’t share them with the world. And they think that they’ll get clarity around something by just talking about it or analyzing it in their head.
But what I’ve learned to be true is that no matter how long you think something over or overanalyze, you won’t get real clarity until you put it out into the world and get feedback on it from real people. I have learned that even if it feels uncomfortable, or like it’s not fully baked, it doesn’t matter. You still need to put it out there and learn what other people think about it and then make appropriate adjustments based on what you learn. I try to do this as much as possible in my business and tell myself that’s it okay if it’s not perfect.
What advice would you give your younger self?
As cliché as it sounds, I would tell myself to follow my dreams more, and that I am capable of achieving anything I set my mind to, even if it scares me. The idea to become a life coach is not really that new for me. I had pondered it as a career option eight years ago at a personal development retreat, but I never did anything to move forward on it because I was afraid of what people might think, and of potential failure. It took several life events and realizing that I want to give back more to the world to finally go after this dream. While I don’t regret waiting because that life experience helps me have more perspective when I’m coaching clients, I do believe that you don’t always have to feel “ready” to jump into something new.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
You don’t always have to be super organized to bring great things into the world.
It’s funny because, in my marketing career, I’ve been known for being super organized and being a great project manager. But in my business, I don’t always follow those rigid boundaries. I enjoy being creative, and sometimes that creativity can be messy. I have multiple notebooks filled with ideas, and also more formalized ways of organizing myself that I’ve had to force myself to use. It’s kind of an “organized chaos” and it works for me.
Also, since I have so much experience in marketing, I don’t always have to plan much before I execute. I might not suggest that approach for clients, but for me, I can easily picture what something will look like before I even start creating it.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I have this practice where I intentionally track and celebrate my small wins. As entrepreneurs, we tend to keep our heads down and we don’t always take the time to appreciate what we’ve created. If we don’t come up for air sometimes, we won’t feel grateful or even proud of ourselves, and we may miss out on the journey along the way. I also try to celebrate things that aren’t related to money or getting clients, because it’s not always about financial success. When I remind my clients to do this, they usually come back to me feeling a lot more confident and inspired.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I don’t think there’s one specific strategy that has grown my business over others. But what I do think is that consistently showing up, even when I don’t necessarily feel like it, is what works for me. People may see something I share on social, a guest blog post I wrote, then check out my website and sign up for my email newsletter or download a free resource from my website. Or I may talk to someone at a dinner party and casually mention my business and they connect me to a friend of theirs who they think I can help.
I think it’s a combination of everything I do that helps people find me and want to work with me. And I know from my marketing experience that potential customers need to see the same message multiple times before they get that “know, like and trust factor” that allows them to feel comfortable enough to work with you. Especially for something like coaching where your clients really need to trust you in order to be vulnerable and open up.
And finally, I’ve found that the less invested I am in the outcome of my marketing efforts, the more successful they are. It’s an energy thing: If you come across as desperate or needy in your marketing, people will feel that energy and be less likely to respond to you.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When I launched my first online course, I had several people sign up, but then they never logged in or finished the program. It was really defeating, because I had put in a lot of work and had good feedback from the peers I had sent it to, and I knew they would have achieved some level of transformation if they had just continued. It was hard to see it flop. But I learned two things from this failure.
Number one, don’t offer a free product that’s pretty involved because it’s human nature to sign up for something for free and then never go back to it. And number two, beta test everything!
I ended up repurposing some of the content I had already created, made it more specific to my niche, and have relaunched the course. This time, I’m working with beta testers who have already told me how “buttoned up” the course is and how much they love the content.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think it is time we create a network of businesses to deal with all of the waste we produce as a society, because if we don’t solve our global warming and environmental problems soon, there won’t be much else we can really focus on. (I believe in science!) In the US, it’s hard to know whether what you’re putting into the recycling bin is actually being recycled vs. just being sent to the landfill. I also experienced this working in event production–even if we followed strict rules around using compostable materials, a lot of times there was no guarantee that our trash would end up in the right place and be handled correctly. And I’m talking about leftovers from hundreds of thousands of event attendees. I feel like we need to overhaul the entire system and replicate the European model or get third parties involved who can ensure that the positive actions people take to reduce waste are not in vain. If they believe their actions aren’t making an impact, they’ll eventually stop trying.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I got a deep-tissue massage after over a year of not having one! I told myself that as soon as I was fully vaccinated, I would treat myself. (Sitting behind a computer for multiple hours a day isn’t great for your shoulders!) It felt so good that I booked another one a few weeks later.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use Later.com to schedule all of my social media posts in advance. I love it because it allows me to not have to be on my phone all the time, it helps me to batch create content, and I don’t have to think about it once it’s been scheduled. So, that part of my business is pretty automated now. Which is great because I’m a solopreneur and need to use my limited time wisely.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I’d recommend The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge. Learning about and practicing neuroplasticity has helped me heal a long-standing illness when nothing else I tried even came close. This book explores how you can use your thoughts to shape your brain and also your reality.
The reason I recommend it to business owners is that when you know how powerful your thoughts are, you start tending to them more and being aware of what you’re telling yourself you can, or can’t do. Because if you keep telling yourself you can’t do something or that you’re not good enough, that will become your belief and the story you tell yourself no matter what evidence the world provides. I find this belief to be very prevalent in new business owners and something they have to work hard to change.
What is your favorite quote?
“Keep going, because you did not come this far just to come this far.”
This is a quote from someone who did the healing program I mentioned earlier, reminding us to keep going in our healing journey, because the magic may be just around the corner. I think it applies to healing, but also to launching a business.
It’s the faith you have to have in the beginning that all of your efforts will eventually lead to success. And that when you think you’re failing, it may not really be true. Your failures teach you something new that will allow you to pivot, and get you a little bit closer to your goal. And one day, all of these small actions will turn into something much bigger.
- To gain clarity as an entrepreneur, you need to bring your ideas out into the world.
- Reframing failure as a learning opportunity helps you pivot and grow.
- Celebrating your small wins is the key to staying motivated as an entrepreneur.
- Follow your dreams, because no one else will!