#GirlBoss Stories: Amanda Lairsey
I’m so excited to introduce you to my friend & fellow #GirlBoss, Amanda Lairsey! Amanda is a Blogger & Business Consultant living in Nashville, Tennessee, and is the Co-Founder of WOMENPRENEURS, a Nashville-based meetup for female business owners. Amanda regularly invests in #GirlBosses at The Caffeinated Woman, sharing a busy woman’s perspective on business, faith & long lasting relationships. Grab your favorite cup of coffee & check out Amanda’s #GirlBoss Story below…
1. Tell me a little about Amanda—what are a few of your favorite things?
I’m a 29-year old entrepreneur who loves deep relationships, awkward conversations, and intimate moments. People think I’m obsessed with coffee, but I’m actually obsessed with how coffee brings people together. I use coffee as an excuse to build those deep relationships. I’m the first one to make the conversation awkward because I don’t know how to be “normal.” I go deep – fast. Mainly because my life story is not pretty… it is actually rough… but it’s real and it has helped me to become who I am today. You can’t know “me” until you know my story. ANNNDDDD I feel the same about the people I speak with. So, I’m the first to make it awkward by asking who they really are.
2. What inspired you to launch your own business this year?
I didn’t intend to start my own business… that just sort of happened. It all started with a year of prayer. Back in 2015, I didn’t have a “mission” and it was bothering me to the point where I couldn’t be happy. I wanted the Lord to tell me exactly what He intended for my life so that I could have a mission. I wanted to wake up everyday with a focused task (I have an A-type personality so I live for the task list ya know…). After about a year of praying… He finally answered. He told me that I was designed to lead His people. The only thing was that He didn’t tell me where I was leading them. At least not at first…. So, I decided to call 2016 my year of saying “no.” I started saying NO to everything that didn’t line up with “leadership.” I then researched “how to be an effective leader.” I started writing all the things that resonated with my heart… such as relationships, authenticity, faith, business, success, work-life balance, and faith in the workplace. All of that writing lead to me to the idea of starting a blog. So, I launched my blog in May of 2016. Immediately following my launch I was handed a group of women who needed a leader. Someone to lead them in being fearless in their pursuits. I now run a local meet-up called “Nashville Womenpreneurs.” We have about 200 members online and thirty members who attend our monthly live meetups. The more I keep stepping into who God has called me to be, the more I want to quit my full time job to pursue whatever this is. So, after about a month of prayer… I decided it was time to figure that out. I hired a business coach and after telling her everything that was going on (and before I told her that I was wanting to do this full time), she said, “Amanda… it is time for you to take this full-time. Start pursuing that now.” Confirmation. Don’t you just love how the Lord does that? This was exactly what I needed to hear. The next day I drafted my five year plan of how I am going to grow this passion into a business; something that I was already helping my Nashville Womenpreneurs do. My official launch date is undecided, but I will be announcing my “From Failing to Fortune,” a growth academy for entrepreneurs in early 2017. I am going to teach other entrepreneurs strategies to grow their business while preventing failure. Pre-launch announcements will be on amandalairsey.com.
3. What is your mission—the “why”—behind everything you do?
Nine out of ten business start-ups fail. 50% of new businesses fail within the first year. 30% of businesses fail within the first ten years. Those are statistics from Forbes, Small Business Association, and Bloomberg. I want to break that statistic and teach entrepreneurs how to PREVENT failure. The only reason I’m even qualified to teach that concept is because of my history with a failing construction company in 2013. It was my first day on the job as a bookkeeper and when I opened up the quickbooks file… I determined that the owners were about to lose everything… including their livelihood. Their business was more than a hot mess – it was failing miserably. My head told me to find another job, but my gut said, “HELP THEM!” You see… I experienced tremendous loss at a young age when my parent’s home was foreclosed after in the market crash of 2005. I was homeless at 18 years old and the amount of heartache associated with that loss had me motivated to prevent failure from a very early age. I’ve lived my entire adulthood with the idea of “preventing” failure. So, walking into that construction company hit me like a load of bricks. I knew that I could help them. So, I implemented every strategy, process, and plan that I could think of. In three short months, we turned the entire business around. Two years later, that company was debt free and doing FIVE times the amount of revenue as it was in 2013. My “why” comes from my personal experience with losing everything my senior year of high school. Honestly, that was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I value relationships over things. I look to the Lord rather than my career trajectory. I refuse to be lazy and always aim to be smart with the things the Lord has provided me. My “ugly” past has made me a strong hustler. I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength. I will operate with a sound mind, never giving into fear because I know who holds my future.
4. What is the biggest thing you’ve learned starting your own business?
Starting a new business means that you will be outside of your comfort zone about 99% of the time. I’ve had to learn a ton about website development, create my own images for my blog, reveal the deepest levels of my heart to strangers, and speak in front of many people at once. I’ve even had to pitch my idea to strangers and tell my current boss that I’m planning to do my own thing long term. There have been many circumstances where I wanted to shy away rather than speak up, but I knew that the Lord called me to speak up. I couldn’t disobey… especially after begging for this mission for over a year. Every uncomfortable step has helped me to grow into a stronger leader.
5. If you were having coffee with another #GirlBoss, what would you encourage her with?
I’ve been meeting with many other female entrepreneurs over the last six months. My message to them tends to be the same: Be fearless in your pursuits AND don’t shy away from who the Lord created you to be. The Lord created you to be unique so that you would stand out from the rest. He has a plan and purpose for you. Be authentic and build deep relationships with those around you. All of those things (fearless pursuits, authenticity, and deep relationships) will help you to succeed beyond your wildest dreams. Finally, I would say… never forget who created you.