Get organized. You will feel empowered managing your time by intentionally planning to live your best life and be effective in your business.
Angela Wallace Impact Agency builds brave consumer brands for a better world, with a purpose beyond profit. Ange delivers best in class strategies to maximize company mission, sell with soul, and share stronger stories to make magic happen in the market. She focuses on empowering female founders, currently mentors start-ups on social impact and sustainability design in the global WeWork Labs network and will be officially certified as a Conscious Capitalism Consultant in 2020.
Where did the idea for Angela Wallace Impact Agency come from?
Brand founders and business owners want to create companies with a purpose that goes beyond profit, and solve the world’s most pressing problems. I help them do that. I launched my Impact Agency after working for nearly 5 years in the ethical and sustainable consumer products space, and it really came out of happenstance and my long held latent desire for entrepreneurship. In January 2019 the business where I was employed restructured and I was asked to take a demotion, which I refused. After that role ended, I found myself in transition and I had brands in my network ask me if I was taking on any new projects or work. My business grew organically out of that huge life change, and I ended up incorporating Angela Wallace Impact Agency on March 8 of this year, on International Women’s Day. I find that so delicious as an origin story since over 85% of brands I work with are female founded.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
As a single parent running a household on my own and as a new solopreneur, my days are usually busy from 6am – 9pm. I use my Passion Planner (most) Sunday evenings to sketch out my week, prioritize my personal and professional weekly to-do lists and get organized for my life. It gets a bit Type-A, but I even try to plan when I’ll grocery shop, complete meal prep and go for swims in my condo pool (and date, that too). Staying organized is key to ensure we thrive as a family (instead of only survive) in our daily lives. I often rise before my 5-year-old daughter so I can sneak in a (warm!) cup of coffee and read my favourite conscious business and leadership books for half an hour before she gets up. We get through the breakfast and school bus run, and I’m back at it around 8:45. I work from my own home office or my incredible co-working space, Artscape Daniels Launchpad, an innovative hub for creative entrepreneurs. I tend to leave Mondays free of calls or meetings if I can avoid it, to dive into any preparation I may need and get ready for my client commitments through the week. I work remotely and in-person with my client brands, so the rest of my week is a combination of standing strategy meetings and business development work. I’m still finding a balance between executing current client work, while building out a sustainable pipeline of future leads for my service based business.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I usually whiteboard any idea, sometimes more than once, and then vet it with some trusted advisors, friends and fellow founders. The accountability piece is big, because I don’t want to get distracted by shiny object syndrome, but I’m also in an exciting start up stage with opportunity to pivot as I build my new business. I did that with an idea to create a podcast and coaching offering – that’s called Launch Conscious, and it’s in the works now and it will go live as we head into 2020.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I’m obsessed with Gen Z’s these days – I devour market research and data on them all the time. As an elder Millennial I have a pretty good grasp on what’s happening with our generation, but I’m curious to see how Gen Z’s will challenge us all as the next cohort of citizen consumers. I believe we should all pay attention and watch how they come into more of their economic, political and social power over the next decade, especially as the Zennialls will out number the Boomers.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Self-care. It sounds trite but I didn’t go into business for myself to wear myself ragged and burn out (I managed that quite well working for others). Sleeping well, eating well, resting and moving my body are priorities. Turning off notifications on evenings and weekends saves my sanity and fuels me to work better and smarter. It’s about finding a way to succeed on my terms that doesn’t make me fail in other areas of my life. I decided to define self-care as actively liking my life and feeling pretty good about it in all areas. Still trying to achieve that. It’s shockingly easy to compromise our well being and end up hurting our health on all levels when we treat it as a transactional good.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Get gritty. Perseverance and passion are more important than raw talent, so don’t underestimate your own commitment and resilience. Raise your hand, step forward, take up space. Failure will help you, so don’t be so afraid of it, just learn how to learn from it and move forward again. Stay true to your values. Keep good company. Learn at someone else’s company. Then start your own company. Remember where you come from.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Not every business needs to grow exponentially in revenue or hire hoards of people to be a success. Hear me out. Plenty of excellent business ideas exist that can provide someone with a sustainable living and creative fulfillment, while adding value to their clients/customers, without needing to scale or raise capital or create additional jobs. Maybe my company will grow beyond me and I’ll hire a team someday, or maybe I will continue to work solo with brands I love, at a scale I can sustain, crafting my own definition of success. This echoes sentiments in books like “Company of One” and “The Million-Dollar One Person Business”. Bigger isn’t always better and it’s worth exploring this more openly in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, which hails unicorn startups with an almost cult like reverence. Pressures all of us, often unnecessarily.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Find a community of entrepreneurs you can actually be real with, not compete with. We’re all competing in so many ways – but we need safe spaces of authenticity to address our challenges and tackle our issues with folks who get ‘it’ (and even if your best friend, mom or partner really really loves you, she might not be the one to do this for you in your business life). I’m part of a small group of service based business founders and we do in-person sessions to share our struggles in a confidential, non-judgmental meeting, facilitated by an experienced business leader. We each score how we’re feeling personally and professionally at the beginning of the gathering, then we take turns framing our greatest challenge. We ask clarifying questions, and then give each other advice. It’s a sort of round-robin mastermind to problem solve together and support each other, and it helps fix the loneliness endemic to entrepreneurship. I think everyone should be in something like this.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I’ve been profitable from day one because I determined my value from day one and refused to compromise on my worth and what I offer. It isn’t easy because some folks will try to get something for nothing, and there were some early weeks I felt tempted to work for peanuts just to have something in the hopper. I’m glad I didn’t do that. Because I held that space for my best possible clients at a price I’m worth, I’m doing work I believe in with brands I believe in even more. It’s partially a practical, tactical move to pay my bills (we gots to eat), and also a money mindset that I’m trying to foster in my life and business.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One of my earliest brand partners wasn’t a good fit with me and I felt it in my gut while I was trying to negotiate and find a way forward to work together. I ignored my instincts and it ended up being a headache for both of us. I spent two months spinning my wheels trying to make it work even when it was obvious we weren’t getting where we needed to go. It was a quick lesson to learn in gauging for client alignment in both founder focused work styles (how do they operate/partner up?) and core values. I decided to end that partnership and I’ve had way better experiences since. Lesson learned.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I desperately need a flexible child care solution that puts convenience for parents and safety for kids first. I know there are some people working on new approaches and solutions to part time or temporary child care but I haven’t found anything that really works well for someone like me. If I had a dollar for every parent that posts a similar struggle on social media, I’d retire today. I think it’s a huge opportunity for someone to solve in a cool new way. Help a mother out!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I’m going to confess I hadn’t bothered to cut my hair in over a year while my long time hairstylist was on maternity leave – she finally came back to the scissors last week (and actually she’s now working for herself as an entrepreneur with her own chair in a collective salon!). I was so happy to have a fresh haircut and I felt like a badass boss lady walking out of there. Best $100 I’ve spent in ages.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Mixmax is my jam. If there’s one thing I hate it’s writing 5000 emails with someone to schedule a meeting time. I take the lead by suggesting calendar availability and 8/10 times they just click to confirm one of the options I laid out for them. I love it the most out of all the things I use in my business today. With Mixmax I can track email opens and clicks, set up email sequences, manage calendars with suggested availability for meetings and basically run my schedule so much leaner and cleaner. I also LOVE the feature that allows me to send emails at a later date and time. For example, on weekends when my daughter is with her dad I may get into my inbox on a Saturday morning after my leisurely coffee, to move things along for the next week. The messages will go out Monday morning at 8:45am or whenever I choose them to be delivered. This feature helps me work outside a traditional M-F 9-5 window when it suits me, but keeps my communications within that structured window for anyone else I’m connected with (so they aren’t getting messages at 11:37am on a Sunday morning when they be brunching). Great for all.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Hands down, Conscious Capitalism. I believe these are the ideas that will future proof truly heroic businesses to lead and build a better world, in the next critical decade. In addition to starting my business, I’m currently in the inaugural Conscious Capitalism Consultant program. This book is on the reading list, and it’s pretty much baseline for any entrepreneur or founder who wants to choose the hard right over the easy wrong, and create a higher purpose beyond profit. I believe, along with so many people, capitalism itself is in need of transformation. With climate crisis, gender inequity, increasing inequality and epidemics of work-related anxiety, health issues and stress – among all the other issues we face locally and globally – we have to challenge the status quo. This book frames the key concepts that have led companies to start radically reimagining the way business works, and why. It’s a driving force in my business, and all the partner brands I work with. Many of them are led by female founders like me. Frankly, we’ve had it with watching businesses hurt people and harm the planet. Time to do better. We want to make more than money, we want to create meaning in our lives and make a damn difference in our communities.
What is your favorite quote?
“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.” – Maya Angelou
- Get organized. You will feel empowered managing your time by intentionally planning to live your best life and be effective in your business.
- Practice self-care. You can’t be much of a visionary leader if you’re exhausted and unwell.
- Define what success means to you, as bigger isn’t always better when it comes to business.
- Know your worth. Really, truly know your worth.
- Ask how your company can have a higher purpose, and then set out to build a better world – it’s what Zennialls want from us.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.