An investment advisor representative at Heritage Investors LLC, Amy Ahrens, tells The Industry Leaders about her journey from starting a Mary Kay business to being involved in the financial field, helping to build the American economy by giving invaluable advice to small business owners.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
I have always loved systems, strategy, analytics, and finances. My dad and uncle owned their own business, and I worked there throughout my teen years. Fascinated with history, I studied and taught both civics and history before moving on to logistics administrative support.
Because I wanted to work from home, I started a Mary Kay business and worked into becoming a sales director, teaching others how to start and manage their business. Then, wanting to try something different, I found this opportunity to combine my background and skills in the financial and business world, coaching business owners.
What kind of work does your role involve?
I love the variety in my work. I advise clients, and educate 401k participants with financial advice, trade-in accounts, and move money as needed, open accounts, create and improve systems, track and evaluate KPIs, and manage the budget and books. I also lead our team to accomplish our goals, work with business owners to evaluate strengths and weaknesses, propose more efficient systems, and help business owners develop an exit plan and build value. I mentor those who work for me.
What gets you excited about your industry?
Small businesses employ citizens and help to build the American economy. I love that by helping to coach a business owner, the impact is so much bigger. We are helping to shape the economy and impact the families of the employees of the small business. I love helping people to live in freedom and to have choices.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
"Don't doubt in the dark what God showed you in the light." This quote has helped me throughout my career and in coaching to remember that the night is darkest just before dawn, and that frustration precedes growth. Cling to the truths you saw before you were covered up, and don't quit.
What's the best way to support aspiring leaders in your field?
Just in our team, we have three young people in their early 20s who are just getting started, and I do a lot of one-on-one coaching to help them learn how to understand different personalities, how to tweak their wording to be very client-centric, and how to be forward-thinking to see all of the possible challenges and outcomes. I also participate in think tanks with other value growth advisors to discuss what is working in our field.
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?
I do a lot of reading, webinars, and listening to podcasts. By conversing with others that I respect in our industry, I find that collaboration helps to keep me up to speed. Some of my favourite podcasts are Financially Simple and The Wealthability Show.
My favourite authors are Patrick Lencioni, Bob Kelleher, Bob Burg, Jon Gordan, Gino Wickman, Verne Harnish, Michael E. Gerber, Les McGeown, Justin Goodbread, the Arbinger Institute, and Robert Kiyosaki.
What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?
We were living in Pennsylvania, and I was in the qualification process to earn my first car with Mary Kay and finish as a Sales Director when my husband was made aware of a job opportunity in Virginia. Within three weeks, he got the job; we listed and sold our home, bought a house and moved in, and I finished earning the car. However, I had to start over in a new state to build connections and a network to restart qualifications to become a sales director after we got settled.
Did I mention we had three kids - aged six, seven, and nine - that we uprooted too?
It was crazy, but, wow, was I grateful for the flexibility and choices to start over. The whole experience taught me that there are always choices and opportunities; you just need to explore and pursue them.
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
I would probably give half of it to a Donor Advised Fund and have fun picking charities to bless over the next few years. I would also buy a dream lake property and boat, then build a vacation home for our family to enjoy. After, I would invest in starting a consulting business with my husband and enjoy the freedom of advising other business owners on our personal schedule while not feeling the pressure to plan for our financial future. This flexibility would allow us to serve on mission trips and travel and hopefully be involved as grandparents one day!
How do you define failure?
Failure is resigning to being a victim of no hope or choices instead of rising above to become a victor. When you lose the ability to think outside of the box, search for answers, or even question, you have failed.
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
I would love to see business owners learning from each other and collaborating more than competing with one another. There are so many principles, across industries, consistent with those businesses that succeed.
What book or podcast should everyone know about?
The Go-Giver, The Go-Giver Leader, and The Go-Giver Influencer - all by Bob Burg and John David Mann - are books everyone should read.
How should people connect with you?
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