An Interview With Andrea Owen On Writing A Book, Being A Hot Mess, and The Top 3 Things You Need To Do When You’re Starting A Business

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I recently joined a Mastermind (can someone please gimme a better word for that, because Mastermind sounds SO fucking pretentious) with 4 amazing other coaches, and one of them (Miss Andrea Owen) wrote a book! So, being the totally biased friend that I am, I wanted to help her promote it, because it’s awesome, and she is awesome. Andrea Owen is a life coach who works with women to stop trying to be perfect and start loving themselves, and start living the lives they deserve.

Also, Andrea is a mom and runs a business, so, she’s basically superhuman. I have no idea how anyone does that. I can barely get myself fed when I’m in work mode. Seriously. I went for 5 days last week without showering or taking off my Smurf-blue men’s Lululemon sweatpants.

Anyway, here’s Andrea, the superhero, author, mastermind buddy extraordinaire. I decided it would be fun to add some of my comments in here, so anytime you see a ** and a comment in italics, that’s me, Becca, talking!

Andrea! Tell us a bit about yourself and your business:

I’m a momma, wife, runner, I play roller derby (**totally badass) , I have a big mouth, and love life A LOT. The business started was few years after I got dropped on my ass and had a huge, life changing experience. Up until then I had lived just an “okay” life, looking to everyone else to make me happy, love, and validate me. When my life changed, it was my invitation to take radical responsibility for my life and my happiness. I consumed everything I could on personal development and changed everything. I drew a line in the sand and said no more canned lifestyle.

Now, I help women do the same. It’s kind of amazing.

I know you openly share your story in your business. Tell us a bit about your story and how you use it to fuel your work.

When I was 30, my husband had an affair with our neighbor and got her pregnant (** Holy crap! This is the worst thing ever). At that time we were discussing conceiving our first child so needless to say, I was DEVASTATED. We had been together since I was 17, and it all came as a complete shock.

I was a hot mess for about a year after that. I got into another terrible relationship, isolated myself from most of my friends and family and was just in a really dark place. I was ashamed of where I was and at the same time I was so desperate for love, I would have rather been in a bad relationship than no relationship. I held on to the notion that this one would be different and I could change him. The relationship ended in a fiery blaze just as it had begun.

When that relationship was over, I looked at the thing in common with both of those failed relationships: Me. I had no choice but to look at what I had participated in creating with these men. Sure, they were dicks in their own ways, but I had tolerated it. By doing that I wasn’t honoring myself or loving myself at all. I was basically rejecting my soul.

It was that life experience that catapulted me into my own kick-ass life, and my mission to help others find theirs.

How does it feel to be THAT vulnerable in business? Are you ever worried about being judged or misunderstood?

Of course! In 2007 I started writing about my eating disorder and I thought only like 5 people would read my blog, so I wasn’t that freaked out. Then, more people came. And I freaked out. But, I’ve realized that’s what people WANT. They want to know they’re not the only ones and to know that there’s hope to get better and overcome the hard stuff. I wrote about my struggle with alcohol and getting sober in 2011 and the latest– I wrote about the abortion I had when I was 17. It was all really, really hard shit, but I know when I write about it, it touches people and they’re inspired. I’ve basically built my business around vulnerability and transparency. (** I LOVE all of this. It’s such a testament to the fact that you can use your demon-y stuff to fuel you and help others, and I kinda believe that it makes it all “worth it”, if that makes any sense).

So, you wrote a book. That’s um, a lot of work, no? Was it what you thought it would be?

It was a TON of fucking work, I won’t lie! It took two full years (well, 23 months, but who’s counting). As a whole it was better than I thought it would be. Writing it was fun until I got a publishing deal and had a deadline. Then it kind of became work. And new fears came up that I’ve never experienced before. So, just like starting a business, writing this book has been like one giant self-help workshop! And I plan to do it all again someday.

Did you ever dream of writing a book when you were younger? Was this always part of the big business plan, or did it kind of just happen?

It had been my dream since I was a kid, so I knew eventually it would happen. I struggled with what to write about because I have a hard time wrapping my head around ONE topic for 200 + pages. I always loved Richard Carlson’s Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff because they were short chapters on a bunch of different topics. So, I chose that model for my book.

When I first started my business, I kept my eye on coaches that had written books and saw that it made a difference in their career. And I knew I wanted to go traditional publishing because it seemed that in this industry it made a difference in distribution, credibility, and notoriety.

What is your best TANGIBLE advice for someone reading this who wants to start a business or write a book, but has about a million ideas and no idea where to start? What are the top 3 things they should do first?

1) Hire someone to help you. You don’t have to pay thousands in some year-long program. Just look for mentors that can help you “start here” and keep you focused on step by step action to get you started. Stop signing up for EVERY free call that comes along. Unless it has to do with what you’re working on right now.

2) Keep all your ideas together and organized. Evernote is great for this. Google Docs too.

3) Keep a good balance between firing too soon and waiting too long. When I started, I wanted to do a joint venture with someone else, so I asked everyone. I was like that guy who asks 10 girls to prom and 8 say yes and then is screwed on what to do. Or, I know some people that want to get everything right and perfect so they do nothing. Make sure it’s a “HELL YES” to you, then go for it. You might mess up. It might flop. But, you get up and start over and learn. That’s how WE ALL did it. (** SO true. We all started in the same place. I know it’s easy to hear that and go “Yeah yeah, but my situation is different”. Sorry, but it’s not. Anyone who has done anything remarkable made a decision and went for it, risk and all, and you can totally make the same choice!)

Part of what makes Andrea so incredible is her willingness to share all the super fucking messy stuff. What vulnerable thing are you hiding in your business that would actually help people connect with you more if you shared it? Share in the comments!

Andrea-Owen-web-Copies-Weston-Hall-Photography-6When she’s not juggling her full coaching practice, Andrea is busy playing roller derby under the name “Veronica Vain”, competing in triathlons, chasing her 6 year-old son and 4 year-old daughter or making out with her husband, Jason.

She is the proud author of 52 Ways to Live a Kick-Ass Life: BS Free Wisdom to Ignite Your Inner Badass and Live the Life You Deserve.

Learn more about Andrea at http://yourkickasslife.com

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