Angel Quintana tells it straight and raw because the only thing she focuses on as a business coach is delivering results. Her clients run the gamut from fashion designers, social media experts, wellness experts, and so on. Angel has been in the trenches as a small business owner herself having to turn her company around by herself. In all her endeavors, Quintana has managed to balance a thriving media and fashion empire with a marriage, family, and personal pursuits. In the following Q&A, she explains her unique philosophy and approach to keeping her life and enterprises ... real.
What are the essentials that you have found are critical to balancing a demanding successful business with other priorities, such as a marriage, family, health, etc?
For me, marrying (or dating) someone who is also an entrepreneur was the best decision I ever made. My husband and I "get" each other because we both have the same priorities and goals. We know that without good healthy food, exercise, and quality time together we would burn out and so would our relationship. My husband and I are both homebodies, when work permits. So luckily, even when he is traveling a lot for work and me working like a fiend, I know he'd much rather be sipping low-sugar cocktails with me and the pups in front of the boob tube watching documentaries. It's the little things that make our relationship work and luckily it's that nerdy, go-getter side that we share that keeps our relationship stable, even when our work life is completely out of balance!
There is much talk in the coaching world about how women entrepreneurs and successful career women are "too masculine" in their personal energy and therefore, challenged when it comes to finding love. Do you have any thoughts on this kind of mindset?
Hmm that's an interesting question. I often consider myself to be quite masculine, even though I am a girly girl in shoes and make-up! Personally, I think it's my masculine, no-bullshit-approach to dating (or anything for that matter) or finding love that made me alluring to men. It helped me weed out the ones that were just playing games and the ones who could deal with an ambitious woman. You really just have to get to the point in your life where you think, "This is me. Take it or leave it." I personally do not think being "too masculine" is what is hindering someone from finding true love, especially successful career-minded women. What I think it has to do with is getting over the fact that Mr. Big isn't looking for YOU. He's out there dating....LOTS of women. The thing that's going to get his attention is that you're different; you won't put up with his ridiculous behavior, and that will have him intrigued! He won't be able to stop thinking about 'the chick he couldn't have' and eventually, he will come around and well, if he doesn't he was just a player anyway.
Another phenomenon which seems common in the coaching world is that strong females must become more feminine or else they will attract a weak man. Could you speak to this as a married woman, successful entrepreneur, and ambitious female with strong leadership skills?
I believe femininity and strength are actually synonymous. The definition of 'femininity' has changed quite of bit from it's traditional meaning. Since there are far more opportunities than there were in the past for women, we finally have the autonomy to do what we want. Even if our salaries are still less than a man, that’s even more an encouragement to start your own business and lay that old school thinking to rest. In today's modern age, being feminine means to be strong, to take action, make choices, and to represent that having children, wearing a skirt, and calling people out on their bullshit can all be considered 'feminine traits.' And if you're a strong woman attracting weak men, I don't think it has anything to do with your lack of femininity, but rather her inability to raise your standards and go after what your truly want even if that means you get rejected a few times. This echoes my sentiments in response to the previous question.
You wrote an article titled "Before I was a Coach I was Human". What stood out for me was that you are aware of and promote your strengths and track record for credibility but are not presenting yourself as a guru. You easily could as being a guru seems to be the trend in the coaching world. Why did you not go this route?
I don't like to tell people what to do; what I do is help them see what I see. I've only been in the coaching industry for 3 years, so excuse my lack of knowledge, but it appears that some 'coaches' treat their 'clients' as people who are below them; they are the master teacher and the client is the student. Here's where I believe I am different. My clients teach ME stuff every day! They have just as much wisdom as me, I just might be a better marketer. I'm not interested in being 'above' anyone and the Gurus I've coached with sometimes made me feel like I was beneath them, and that always pissed me off. I truly think being a Guru is all about leading with the ego and that is a stinky cologne. I prefer to smell like an alluring woman delicately dipped in an essential oil blend made of real jasmine. I’m the real deal; what you see is what you get, good, bad, and ugly!
There were times when you were struggling with your business, which is common in most entrepreneur's experiences, and were able to overcome them. As a business coach you bring this to the table because you have been there yourself and turned things around. However, not all business coaches share this experience but are charging just as much or more. Why do people still buy into coaches who don't have the track record?
Let's define track record. Track records are solid analytics, results, and straight up proof. Just because someone knows how to get another person (or 500, for that matter) to whip out their credit card doesn't mean they are a master at helping to solve problems. The Salesman's job is to get people to spend money-- that's Closing the Sale 101. As long as there are good salesman that prey on the vulnerable person who has a problem that desperately needs to be solved, those people will continue to have clients. However, my business was built on the opposite frame of mind.
In an 85-minute seminar I did called The New Sales Pitch, it is here I discuss the power of personal branding and it’s authentic approach to selling. It's unfortunate, but the greatest benefit any entrepreneur can have is to have people know their name. Word-of-mouth marketing is the easiest and fastest way to grow your business; this is usually done through affiliate programs. I don't offer an affiliate program nor do I have any affiliates. If people see results from working with me (and they're cool), they'll tell their friends, but I don't put out any bribes to do so! Eventually, a business will go out of style if it doesn't start producing results. People talk, good or bad, so I try to give my clients the absolutely BEST product money can buy, so they can't help but talk about it. That's just good old fashioned business paired with a strong personal brand, which is how people will FIND you in the first place.
Since you work with many women who are forging their own business, some of whom are single and open to finding "the one", do you have any advice for them when they are told to be "more feminine" and to "express a feminine leadership style" to make their dreams come true? There is a lot of talk on the coaching scene about what is considered "the feminine art of accomplishing one's goals".
Well, as much as I am all for being a female entrepreneur, I do not take any conscious efforts to use my 'femininity' to conduct my business or in my teachings. I show people how to blend soft skills with hard skills, and to lead with the hard skill. People want SOLUTIONS to their problems, not fluffy stuff, that's what romantic comedy movies are for. I personally think it might be a long walk to the bank if you conduct your business without a strategy. Call me ignorant, but I don't even know what it means "to accomplish my goals using the art of femininity."
Another concept in the coaching space is how women can attract supporters, partners in their personal and professional lives, and attract what they need by "allowing" versus "doing and being a go-getter" by looking and being more feminine. This kind of coaching takes into account their fashion style. Since you also started the Willow House of Design and Holistic Fashionista, can you comment on both these aspects on feminine and femininity in business?
I'm a fashion snob. I am also a typography snob. I'm into making things looks and feel aesthetically pleasing. To say the least, I’m an overly visual person. However, the power of good design is undeniable. Instead of "allowing" or "being a go-getter" why not think of style as a plan (or a strategy). Just as we get dressed up for a formal event, we seek to have our clothing function properly, while being aesthetically eye-catching. The same holds true in every program, product, outfit, or any other design-related event you take on. The true beauty of design is about having things look AND function to accomplish the end results. It's not really about "allowing” or "being a go-getter,” at least not to my knowledge. When you have both "aesthetics + function" working harmoniously, you will have an excellent advantage. If it looks great, but fits too snug or rips at the seams, it didn't really accomplish it's job. And if your website looks pretty but isn't generating leads or vice versa, you're setting yourself up for that long walk to the bank again. Masculine or Feminine, business is about making money. With good design, you can make more money. Get your real exercise on a hike with your soon-to-be-husband instead!
Do you believe that women have particular concerns or challenges in relation to handling money as they grow a business? This is also suggested in many business coaching programs aimed at female entrepreneurs?
Money. Money. Money. The green stuff that keeps entrepreneurs in business! It all starts with mindset, at least that's where it started with me. Most women were taught that men are to be the bread winners because it was that way in the past… But when you're a female entrepreneur you need to get your head out of the toilet! I probably have a unique story in that I spent all my money trying to grow my businesses, which got me into crazy credit card debt. I soon discovered that NO ONE had the solution to my issues with money and the sooner I stopped spending money trying to 'figure it all out' the sooner I could start focusing on HOW TO MAKE IT instead of spending it. Mindset also has to do with getting used to ASKING for money, saying your fees aloud, and valuing your time.
Most women tend to give too much information in their "free" consultations, which hurts their sales. Why would anyone spend money when you gave them too many answers on that free call? You must set boundaries and know your worth. Until those boundaries are clarified, accepting and making money is going to be an uphill battle. Until you start seeing money as energy instead of some tangible material you don't have enough of, you'll realize how different your relationship with money will be. Money is a direct relation to how valuable you believe your products/services to be, and how good you are at asking for it from your market! Go practice!
One thing that you are clear about both on a personal and professional level is the importance of being real. What do you mean by this?
It seems cliche, but until I started showing up the REAL ME, I didn't make much money. If I invited you over for dinner you would see a RAW person at the table, digging deep, obsessing over conversations filled with juicy details. Why didn't I do that in my business in the first place? Because I was scared people wouldn't like me! Turns out people didn’t like me anyway, so why even bother! As women, I do believe we suffer from people-pleasing syndrome, always trying to keep everyone happy. That's a good way to drive yourself crazy! In my programs, I help women entrepreneurs discover what their business is really about so they can align their offerings to who they truly are and what their kismet client is currently searching for on Google. The way you turn those browsers into buyers is to have a personal brand they connect with. That is truly the best way (and the fastest way) to convert leads into paying clients. Being real, gets the job done.
You have many events and programs offered through Holistic Fashionista, Willow House of Design, and your other endeavors. What events are coming up that you don't want the serious entrepreneur to miss?
The Willow House of Design is a design and marketing house for entrepreneurs who want to learn how to create aesthetically pleasing marketing materials to sell their products + services backed-up with some killer marketing strategies that work like a charm. The course is 9-weeks of beautiful marketing delivered in a video-style tutorials followed up with Q+A calls. My masterminds have been hot sellers too! Conveniently named, The Salon, where I primp my ladies to be more successful in their business by focusing on a niche topic. The next Salon Mastermind begins on May 15, 2014 and is all about Creating a Sales Funnel. Perhaps it's a masculine subject, but I'm a feminine chick who LOVES a good strategy paired with fabulous design. That’s just how I roll.