You grow up really fast. Yes, as a young twenty something you are already an adult, but what no one prepares you for is “being 26 years old, managing a team of 10+ people, and running a million dollar business.” You have to learn very quickly how to not only run a business but truly be a leader and a CEO and that can be really difficult at times as well as rewarding.
As a part of our series called “My Life as a TwentySomething Founder”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Amanda Kolbye, an international business coach for service-based entrepreneurs who has built a half a million dollar business in a little over a year while traveling around the world full time. She focuses on sales, marketing and systems and helps her clients scale their own online businesses and live a freedom lifestyle. Amanda has been featured in The New York Times, Create and Cultivate, and Thrive Global and has built a global community and the go-to program for new entrepreneurs.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
After graduating university, I got a corporate IT sales job but knew that it wasn’t the path I wanted to continue going down. I only knew two things, I wanted to travel and live abroad, and I wanted to work for myself. So I quit my corporate job, moved to Thailand, and started dabbling in entrepreneurship. I ran a design business solely online for a few months before realizing my passion and zone of genius was in business and marketing. Now I am a business and marketing coach for service-based entrepreneurs who are looking to start or scale their online business so that they can live a freedom-based laptop lifestyle. I travel full time around the world and have lived in Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan and Bali over the past 2 years while building up my own business. In a little over a year my business has scaled to over half a million dollars and we are so excited to continue to scale next year. I see this freedom lifestyle full of travel and entrepreneurship as a movement in the education realm, workforce and with the things the newer generations value and I am so excited to be a leader in the online business and coaching space as it grows over the next few years!
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company? What lessons or takeaways idd you take out of that story?
I think one of the moments that has stuck with me most is seeing how my programs and courses have literally changed the course of people’s lives. It sounds dramatic but to see women that I know by name go from a corporate job and no idea how to create a business to a year later running their own business, making a full time salary, buying a new home, traveling the world and having an entirely different perspective on their future.
I have clients in Indonesia, India, Slovakia, Israel, Chile, the US and all over the world. To truly be able to cultivate a global community of powerful business women is simply put, so cool. I get messages all the time about how my programs were where friendships started or where new business relationships began. That is something that I didn’t expect to happen, being such a strong connector on a global scale is incredible.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I think what makes my brand stand out is our global network and how my brand embodies the freedom lifestyle through travel. While my company on a basic level provides business consulting services and programs, it also represents an education hub for entrepreneurs and a global network of powerful women from every corner of the world who want the same things and are being empowered together through entrepreneurship. The global perspective and connections are something that were so important to me to build not just a brand, but a community. We have such an amazing vision for how to expand the business more through education and community in the coming years.
For example, I have a client who is from Indonesia and went to school in the Midwest and now lives in London and she was hired by another woman in my community who lives in the Midwest and then she also became best friends with another client who lives in London and they got to meet up in person. Everywhere you go around the world you can connect and meet people through my network and programs. It’s wild to think about sometimes.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
This could not be more true. I would not be where I am without my team or mentors or so many people along the way but one person in particular that has helped me the most is my partner Zach. I have had some amazing mentors but Zach is also a digital marketing and entrepreneur and as the person closest to me he understands my values and vision better than anyone else. Whether it is figuring out a marketing campaign, dealing with tough decisions or just riding out the mental ups and downs of building a business, I could not have built this without him.
Zach has stayed awake at the co-working space in Bali with me until 2am for calls just to drive me home, he has jumped in to write sales page copy for a last minute launch, and always been my biggest supporter. I think having someone in your corner is one of the most important parts of entrepreneurship.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
Yes we are! We are working on expanding my signature program Laptop Lifestyle Bootcamp which is a business foundations program for new entrepreneurs as well as the cornerstone for the network and community that I’ve talked about here as well. We want to be able to serve more aspiring entrepreneurs next year and are working on expanding the capacity of the program as well as the support within it. We have just recently revamped all the material in the program as well to be even more in-depth and up to date with all things marketing, branding, systems, tech and more about 6 figure business foundations for service based online entrepreneurs.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Part of my mission, and how we have brought goodness to the world through our success, is to empower women as leaders and CEOs to be able to change the workforce and our lifestyles to be more aligned with their own values and quality of life they each desire. Through being able to reach women from countries all over the world and empower them to support themselves financially and feel unstoppable, we are creating a generation of female leaders who can use their newly found freedom of time and money to actually make an impact in a way that is most meaningful to them.
Another way in which we are bringing goodness to the world is through direct education through online courses that translates into usable skills and knowledge for a very accessible cost and just by having access to wifi. I’m so excited to see the landscape of the online space change over the next 5 to 10 years as we see how, when people are more fulfilled and able in their daily lives, they will be more energized and fueled to create a better world to live in.
Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
There are honestly so many but if I had to pick one that I read recently and felt a huge impact it would be Atomic Habits by James Clear. The reason for this is because everything big that you want to do with your life boils down to identity and the small habits and choices you make on a daily basis. This is both empowering and terrifying at the same time — but I love this approach to creating massive life change which is what my business is all about. His book makes it feel so attainable when you understand how to change anything in your life through small daily habits. For me, I moved countries every 1–3 months so my routine and daily life changes drastically all the time. Because of that, it has been more important for me to learn to be adaptable and establish coping skills to accomplish anything I want in any environment rather than become fixed on a certain routine and I have been able to accomplish stability in my business and life while changing homes all the time through habits.
Can you share 5 of the most difficult and most rewarding parts of being a “TwentySomething founder”. Please share an example or story for each
- No one tells you that founding and building a business is just as much about personal development as it is about business.
I truly do not recognize myself over these past few years of growth and feel that while personal development has been a deep journey, I am so thankful to have a completely different outlook and identity as well as this amazing business.
2. Not everyone understands your journey.
What I mean by this is that you have to make a lot of tough choices and risks and devote your entire self and all your time to build a business at this scale and for better or worse. It changes the dynamics of your past friendships and relationships and can be very isolating at times. But don’t get me wrong, it’s totally worth it and there are such amazing supportive communities of other entrepreneurs who “get it.”
3. You need to fail.
Failing is just learning and you will become a better business owner for it. Failing is truly necessary to pushing the boundaries and limits to come up with new ideas to stand out and see what works and doesn’t work. But it’s tough because we often have tried so hard in the past to do things “right,” and I always say that there is rarely right and wrong in entrepreneurship, it is more about making the best decisions with the information in front of you and continue to evolve.
4. You grow up really fast.
Yes, as a young twenty something you are already an adult, but what no one prepares you for is “being 26 years old, managing a team of 10+ people, and running a million dollar business.” You have to learn very quickly how to not only run a business but truly be a leader and a CEO and that can be really difficult at times as well as rewarding.
5. Separating yourself from your business.
I find that young entrepreneurs engulf themselves in their businesses which is often one reason why they are successful. But, as the business grows you have to find yourself and discover again who you are outside of your business as it very easily becomes your identity.
What are the main takeaways that you would advise a twenty year old who is looking to found a business?
Don’t just jump in, jump all in and do it right now! Building a business is both the most terrifying and exhilarating thing you will ever do and it has truly provided exponential opportunities for my future, my mindset and my lifestyle. You don’t have to have it figured out, but you have to be okay jumping in and taking action even when you are unsure — that is entrepreneurship.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
I would love to have lunch with Sara Blakely. She is someone who dove head first into entrepreneurship and has built a brand that truly empowers women that is so inspiring. Sara is also someone who feels very authentic and truly cares about what she does and the impact she has even after having such massive success. I’ve admired and looked up to her for years, I would love to chat with her about scaling a brand at that level and building a team and company of that size while still having such a strong brand and values.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
The best way to follow me is on Instagram @amandakolbye
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!