Amanda Cook of Wellpreneur & VintageAmanda.com
‘A Date With Ains’
It always amazes me how deeply interesting, engaging and inspiring my ‘Date With Ains’ guests are, and Amanda Cook of the Wellpreneur is no exception.
Over a delicious Lebanese lunch Amanda revealed how a quarter-life crisis was the very thing she needed to gain clarity around her core values and passion for travel…and as a result she took up an amazing job opportunity in Paris, re-dsicovered her love for natural recipes and remedies and started a ridiculously successful blog which has resulted in her living a location-independent life!
If you’re after practical tips and advice on how to gain confidence and clarity in life and business PLUS a major dose of inspiration on creating and living an extraordinary life, you can’t go past this interview!
Dive in and ENJOY!
You have such an interesting back story Amanda! I’d love for you to share with us what brought you to Hong Kong, where you grew up, how your business got started, your passions etc.
One August when I was about 11 years old, we were visiting my grandparents on their farm in Iowa (in the middle of America), and I was bored and sitting in the spare room surrounded by bookshelves.
One old book grabbed my attention – it was a book from the early 1900s called “Dr Chase’s Recipes and Information for Everybody”.
I think I spent the entire day reading that book, and was totally mesmerised by the idea that you could actually MAKE things like toothpaste, cough syrup, skin creams (not to mention all the other random recipes he had in there!) I was so in love with that book my Grandma even gave it to me to take home!
But then I forgot about it, and went onto other things.
It wasn’t until I moved to Paris in 2007 that I rediscovered my curiosity and love of natural recipes and remedies.
I moved to London in 2009 to be with my (now) husband, and started my website VintageAmanda.com to share my love of natural health + beauty (and as an escape from my corporate day job!)
While living in the UK I studied with a well-known herbalist, got certified as a health coach and started teaching workshops on natural beauty and herbal remedies.
But I still had my day job in computer software, and I was determined to quit and work for myself. I’d been following a lot of blogs of people who were “location independent” and I really wanted that flexibility and freedom for myself too.
So I followed the signs of what people were asking for — and the request that was coming up the most was from other wellness practitioners and health coaches, about how I grew VintageAmanda.com to have such a large audience.
So I started my business Wellpreneur, which teaches wellness entrepreneurs how to grow their businesses online using tech + digital marketing.
Wellpreneur is a great combination of my skills and interests – I’ve got the techie and marketing skills from the corporate world and my own experience with VintageAmanda, and I’m able to help other health and wellness practitioners, which is an industry I’m really passionate about.
We moved to Hong Kong for my husband’s job earlier this year – and I absolutely love it! I am also so grateful that I was in a position that I could move with him while still continuing my business. I love the flexibility that working online provides.
I love photography and exploring the herb shops and wet markets here. And I’m able to work on VintageAmanda too while I’m here since there is so much natural health + beauty inspiration in this city!
What does ‘clarity’ mean to you? When you’re lacking clarity in life or business, how do you get ‘unstuck’? What practices or strategies do you use?
Clarity is centred confidence.
When I feel clear, I am focused on my own path and less distracted by all the other noise (and other people’s opinions of what I “should” be doing.)
When I’m lacking clarity – I usually find myself overwhelmed and feeling like there’s too much to do. That’s a big sign to me that I’m not focused on the most important things in my life or business.
The first thing I do when I’m lacking clarity is a massive brain dump of every single item in my head out onto paper (or in Evernote!) I list everything I want to or have to do.
The list is usually long (somewhere around 80 items!) Then I step away for 10 min and get outside in the fresh air to clear my head. And then I come back to the list and the most important items just seem to pop out.
It also helps to keep a list of my core values and a vision board nearby my workspace. If I start feeling off-track, I just reconnect with those to get centred again, and then my priorities become really clear.
I’d love for you to share a time when your self-confidence has been at an all time low and what you did to pick yourself up and get back out there.
When I was in my mid-20s I had a major quarter-life crisis that was so painful – but in retrospect I am so thankful it happened or my life wouldn’t be nearly as right for me as it is now!
I was working at an intense corporate job in Washington, DC and was totally caught up in the typical consumerism/status thing – so I was always ‘upgrading’ all my belongings, I had way too much stuff, I was leasing a new car, working all the time, going out a lot, was making a lot of money but hardly saving anything — and generally felt constantly like it wasn’t ‘enough’. Then I split with my long term boyfriend who I’d imagined a future with – – and it really shook me.
It was a deep wakeup call where suddenly I saw my life and thought “What is this? This isn’t you!”
It was suddenly so clear that I’d abandoned my creativity and values and love of travel and desire to live in France … I was living how I thought I “should” live rather than how I really wanted.
Once I made that decision to change, everything started to shift.
I got a new job opportunity out of the blue with a French software company … who later relocated me to Paris (my lifetime dream!)
I started making new friends from all over the world, reconnected with my creativity, started a podcast (which was featured on BBC radio 4!) and got a huge self-confidence boost. It was the big jolt I needed to get me back on the right path.
How do you stay connected to your purpose and your passion?
I make a vision board and regularly update it throughout the year.
I set it as my desktop background so everytime I start up my computer (or whenever I need to recenter), it’s right there.
I also limit my working hours, and try to make time for fun, creative play a few times per week.
I’ve learned it’s so important to keep the creativity fresh and alive, even if there’s no immediate ‘business purpose’ for it — it’s that creativity that feeds all the rest of my life!
Who and/or what inspires you?
I am so inspired by people who choose to live unconventional lives, and follow their own paths, whether that’s through a big leap of faith or just small daily steps.
I’m also inspired by travel, being in nature, and noticing the little details of life in a place.
That’s why I like going to markets so much – I find it fascinating to just see how different people’s daily lives are around the world.
What’s next for you and Wellpreneur?
I host the weekly Wellpreneur Podcast where I interview successful health + wellness entrepreneurs – and my focus right now is on reaching a new audience with my podcast.
In over 100 episodes there is so much valuable information and inspiring interviews – I want to get it into the hands (and ears!) of people who aren’t familiar with podcasts but who dream about starting their own wellness business someday.
I’m also learning Cantonese and a little Chinese Medicine while I’m in Hong Kong, and hope to learn and share more about natural health and beauty recipes from this part of the world.
What do you love about living in Hong Kong?
Of all the places I’ve lived, Hong Kong is absolutely the easiest to meet people and make new friends!
I love that.
It’s such an international city, and because there are so many people coming and going, it’s always easy to meet new people.
I also love the food here. And the markets. And that it’s such a convenient jumping-off point for exploring Asia.
My words of advice for young women about taking the leap and following their dreams would be….
You don’t have to have it all figured out in advance.
There’s no way I could have envisioned what my life would be like now.
You don’t even need to have a clear vision or goal for where you’re going.
Just follow your interests and curiosity, and just take the next step. You don’t need to quit your job and move continents.
Just sign up for a class, start a blog, go to a new Meetup event where you’ll meet different types of people.
The key is to find an interest that you have, something that’s calling to you, and just starting doing it, even in a small way.
The path will show up if you just keep taking steps!
And finally do you have a quote or a daily mantra you use to keep you feeling clear, confident and connected within your business and life?
From “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks (definitely worth a read if you haven’t!), I say this every morning:
“Everyday I expand in abundance, love and success, and inspire those around me to do the same.”
(Totally agree with Amanda re ‘The Big Leap’ being a must-read! You can read my review of the book here).
I enjoyed every second of my interview with Amanda and we could’ve chatted the whole day away! It felt like we had been friends for decades. I particularly love how she makes fun and creative play a priority each day and her practical tip of doing a massive brain dump when she’s feeling stressed and off track is a winner. Often it’s the simple things that are the most effective!
I’d love to hear your key takeaways from Amanda’s interview – share your thoughts in the comment section below!
Amanda Cook advises wellness entrepreneurs on how to grow their business and find more clients through digital marketing. She is the host of the top-rated Wellpreneur Podcast and also runs the natural beauty site VintageAmanda.com which receives over 25k visitors per month. Amanda has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Sunday Telegraph, Natural Health Magazine, MindBodyGreen, TinyBuddha and the Next Women Business Magazine.