By Abbigale (Abbi J) Winslow
Like many fresh college graduates, Abbi J landed a job and started climbing the corporate ladder. She was earning good money. But she wasn’t happy. There were days she cried before leaving for work because she hated her job. She called it quits even without a new job prospect down the line. She was unemployed, scared, but definitely happier!
She then asked herself one fundamental question: What do I want to do with my life? It was then that she realized she didn’t want to go back to the corporate world. She wanted to be a life coach and be her own boss. That was when AJ Life Hacks was born.
Today, through her YouTube videos and online courses, she’s teaching millennials how to create and live life with passion and purpose. Today, we welcome Abbi J to The After Six Club’s #AmbitiousTribe. This is her story.
I’m Abbigale Winslow and my nickname is Abbi J. So the “AJ” in AJ Life Hacks is me. I have a degree in marketing and so I knew my business name had to be clear, easy to say, and explain. AJ Life Hacks was perfect: It’s basically me teaching life hacks.
Life coaching and public speaking are in my blood. My father was the first person to really see my passion for personal development and speaking. He helped me realized that I could make a career and business out of it. Since so few people do what I do, I feel that I didn’t choose this path. Instead, I created my own.
AJ Life Hacks was established in 2017 and it’s all about helping people find their success. I specialize in teaching young adults life skills and success principles to help them break free from so-called “average” living and create a life they love. I teach personal development fundamentals through my online courses, books, and YouTube videos.
Utah will always be my home and this is where my business is based. The best part about my business is that I can do it anywhere! And this is something that’s really important to me. I mostly run my business at home so I can always be close to my family.
What do you believe makes your business stand out?
My personality, style of teaching, and speaking are uniquely tied to who I am. They are three of the greatest factors that make my business stand out. I learned that instead of trying to be like the 1,000s of other YouTubers out there, I need to focus on myself and embrace my unique differences.
Is it always necessary to be passionate about what your business is about in order for it to succeed?
Yes! If you aren’t jumping out of bed to work on your business then you are in the wrong business. While you can make money through different businesses or jobs, you must have some level of passion for what you do to truly be successful. Otherwise, you are just making a living and not succeeding.
How did you obtain capital? Were there investors?
Thankfully, I didn’t need much to get started in my business. I have always followed the advice of my college professor who said that the most successful businesses don’t need crazy capital to get started. They just start with what they have. There are so many free digital services, video services, and tools available online. My business has been self-funded and at very little cost.
How did you build your customer base? What form of marketing has been most effective for you so far?
YouTube proves to be one of the greatest platforms I use in building my audience. Offer-based marketing, wherein you give valuable service for free to build trust, relationships, and a customer base has also proven effective in my business.
How do you generate new ideas for your business’ growth?
It’s all about knowing where you want to go. You have to start with the end in mind and be very clear on your vision. Once you have a clear vision of how you want your business to grow, opportunities start to present themselves. You just do what you can right now and always keep your eyes and ears open for anything that adds to the vision of your business.
What kind of company culture are you implementing/would like to implement? What are your core values?
Right now, my business is small in terms of employees but I like it that way. In the future, I would love to create a company culture that embraces integrity, freedom, ingenuity, and creativity.
How do you deal with major mishaps? What would you say is one of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
My biggest mistake to date was not starting my business sooner. I sometimes catch myself wishing I should have done what I’m doing right now years earlier. Whenever that happens, I really have to remember to take one day at a time. We have to embrace where we are. We all wish we are better, stronger, faster, smarter, or, in my case, started sooner. You can’t change the past. You just have to learn from it and be grateful that you are where you are today.
What skills do you believe are necessary in handling a business?
To be a business owner, you can’t give too much value to what other people think about you and your business. I really struggled with this when I first started. People didn’t understand my business and looked at me like I was insane when I explained what I was doing. You just have to realize that not everyone will catch your vision. That’s okay. Remind yourself that you are focused on those who get it.
What would you say are some dos and don’ts in starting one?
Do make a plan. Do look at all the risks. Do calculate the cost in time and money. Do what you love. Do start small.
Don’t start a business just because it seems like a cool thing to do. Don’t trade time for money. Don’t give up.
Was there ever a time you felt afraid that this might not work? How did you manage this fear?
Managing fear is a huge part of being an entrepreneur. The fear of failure is inside all of us. You have to take it one day at a time and realize that it really is okay to fail. I tell myself all the time that if a new idea for my business doesn’t work or if I don’t hit my goals, it was still worth it. Why? Because I learned something in the process.
Describe a typical day for you. How many hours of work a day do you put in? How many days per week?
I wake up and work out. Then I work on my top priorities for my business, then spend as much time as I can with my husband and family. There is always something I could be working on when it comes to my business. For that reason, I draw boundaries and always try to end my work around 4:00 P.M. and not work during weekends.
What is your greatest fear?
Not being able to take care of my family. It’s one of the reasons I started my business in the first place.
What sacrifices have you had to make to get here?
My greatest sacrifice has been my time. When you first start out, you can’t just work full time on your own business. Normally, it starts out as a side hustle and that eats up all of your spare time. While others are playing or having fun during the weekends, you are trying to work on your business. But just like any sacrifice, it’s worth it.
What can you consider is your greatest success?
My greatest success has been creating a home and a family where love abounds. At the end of the day, it’s family that matters and nothing else.
What would you say is the secret to success?
The ability to take action. Do something small today, right now, to further your future. That is how you create success.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Freedom. You can always get more money but you can’t get more time.
What motivates you? Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My own vision for the future and all I want to accomplish. These motivate me every single day to give it my all. I would have to say my father has been my greatest inspiration. He is an entrepreneur and through the ups and the downs, he still chases his dream with passion.
Where do you see yourself and your business in 10 years?
With millions of YouTube views, speaking tours, published books, and most importantly, I see myself continually getting better.
Do you consider yourself an ambitious person?
Absolutely! I realized at a young age that I wanted more out of life than the rest of my peers. My family recognized it and really helped me figure out how to use that ambition to push myself forward. Ambition is the secret sauce that will separate yourself and your business from the competition. It’s being willing to go for crazy dreams and goals that help you find your true calling. If I wasn’t an ambitious person, I never would have even started my business.
What piece of advice can you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Don’t ask a brickmaker how to make bread. Ask a baker. Don’t listen to anyone who hasn’t done a specific task ahead of you and have done it well.
Edits: Kath C. Eustaquio-Derla | Image and Video Credit: Abbigale (Abbi J) Winslow
About Abbi J
Abbi J is a life coach, an energetic public speaker, and someone set on helping you succeed. She has been praised as someone who has the magic key of relating all the old, motivational how-to of yesteryear to a millennial audience that is ready and eager to live with passion and purpose. Visit her website here.