Wendy Yates is an entrepreneur and philanthropist dedicated to leading by example as she inspires her team and like-minded leaders to create a culture rooted in value. After dropping out of college to prematurely launch into the world of business, she experienced failure on many levels. From those failures she learned how to use grit and purpose-driven motives to ultimately achieve her goals.
Yates is the CEO and founder of Abigail-Elise Brands, a collection of companies on a mission to reinvent what others believe to be possible in the world of design, leadership, and global impact. She is host of The Design Driven Life Podcast, an upbeat interview style podcast with a goal of sharing stories of people doing good in the world with a mission to inspire others to shift their mindset to create the world they want to live in. Her companies currently include: Abigail-Elise Design Studio, an award-winning design firm specializing in interior design and merchandising for commercial, hospitality, and residential projects; Well Fit Human Retreats, a wellness based impact humanitarian travel company; and AE Cares, a non-profit foundation dedicated to positively influencing the wellbeing of others connecting need with resource. Together Wendy and her team elevate the overall quality of people’s livelihood by being a force for good.
Our corporate flagship studio is still based in Frisco, Colorado. But as a growing Brand, they have satellite locations across the globe.
Where did the idea for Abigail-Elise Brands come from?
The name Abigail-Elise is a combination of my daughter’s and my middle names, which I used for establishing the interiors company. As we developed more products and services, I kept the identity because it holds sentimental value as to why I became an entrepreneur in the first place. Abigail-Elise Brands is our collection of lifestyle and wellness-inspired companies building a foundation rooted in value. We are on a mission to reinvent what others believe to be possible in the world of design, leadership, and global impact.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I would say a typical day looks a lot like a juggler doing cirque du soleil underwater surrounded by a ring of fire. I kid, but some days it feels that way.
I rely heavily on scheduling and my calendar. Every day is scheduled out in a way that allows me to organize the chaos as best I can. To maintain peak performance, everything gets a time slot and is color coded with a category, even my showers. Although this may sound rigid, it really isn’t. It allows me to flow from one moving part to the next and if needed I can pivot at any time to drop certain tasks or pick up new ones. The goal is to progress everyday and be flexible when new challenges arise.
How do you bring ideas to life?
A key pillar for effective leadership is evaluating your team and which individual’s skill set will be best for taking each project from concept to completion. Tasks are delegated to team members based on these conditions to bring our visions to life.
What’s one trend that excites you?
In my opinion “trends” are somewhat of a dirty word, but I would say impact driven businesses are a movement worth noting and getting involved in. I love creating, building, brainstorming, and discussing how Abigail-Elise Brands can create a whole lifestyle approach. I am motivated by being a part of other’s growth and success, especially when it’s something we have created, said, or built that changes what they believe is possible in their own lives. Having a positive impact on communities near and far is important to me, thus learning new ways in which I can attribute my time and efforts is 100% exciting.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
The best thing I did was to surround myself with coaches and/or mentors that had achieved what I wanted to do with my business. The mindset that we are always learning helped me to shift gears to look at everything as an opportunity to solve a problem and focus on my purpose.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Stop comparing yourself to others. Your skills, journey, looks, etc. are different and unique to you. Trust that life is a process and focus on being open rather than having resentment and worry. This will help you achieve your purpose.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
JUMP INTO THE FIRE, it will eventually burn out.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I am constantly learning, changing and evolving. My mission is to create impact and value with every action and/or conversation. I recommend that if something doesn’t get you closer to your goals then don’t spend time there. Focus on reading, listening, and discussing ideas that align with your mission, vision, and values.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I’m not afraid of failure and continue to learn from my decisions. I try different ideas, strategize in a variety of areas, and am open to changing directions when needed. It’s helped me find what processes are most effective.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest failure is how much time I wasted not dreaming bigger. I overcame the fear to fail and now I fail everyday. I am willing to try any ideas that I think can be great without letting fear hold me back.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
The best idea I can share is really to find something that gets you excited and do that. As humans we work harder when it fuels a passion.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
BITCOIN- You can only make money in bitcoin. It’s literally the smartest thing you can buy.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Google Calendar and Google Search Engine. I summon the mighty Google thousands of times a day.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Money Grows on Trees by Jerremy Alexander Newsome is a must read and game changer book as many people are hindered by their mindset around money and finances. In his book, Jerremy Alexander Newsome does an incredible job helping people understand their power and ability to change their financial situation in an authentic and incredibly easy to understand way.
Jerremy is my personal financial coach and has totally changed my life. He has an incredibly kind heart and is on a mission to help other people gain financial freedom.
What is your favorite quote?
“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.” – Margaret Fuller
- Dream big and go after those dreams without fear.
- Let your failures be lessons that propel you forward.
- Surround yourself with coaches and/or mentors that have achieved what you want to do.
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.