Angela McKillop spent 10 years building up a £multimillion business in the construction industry with her husband, to lose it all in 2016! She is now a 7 figure entrepreneur and best selling author and Founder of GrowthFlix, and truly understands the role that self belief has played in her business journey so far. Angela took some time out to speak with The Industry Leaders about this powerful state of mind.
Firstly, can you give us a little bit of background about your business journey?
I gave up my secure job as a nursery nurse when I was just 22 to pursue my interest in property. I realised there was a gap in the market for reliable trades people so set up a domestic trades business. Most of the business was through word of mouth. I think a women’s perspective on this type of business really gave it an edge. I was very focused on cleanliness, organisation and reliability. The business grew arms and legs and by year 4 we hit our first £1m. We progressed into the commercial sector offering full build solutions. We had to learn fast but it was very excited being involved in boutique hotels, restaurants and education facilities. The business grew consistently for 10 years hitting multi-million turnover, but unfortunately in 2016 it collapsed. I personally experienced feelings of shame and embarrassment, I felt like I had completely lost my life purpose. The worry about what other people were saying and the constant fear of bumping into someone I knew became so stressful that I would isolated myself more and more. However, after doing some personal development work, digging deep and pressing forward with grit and determination, my new business has a projected turnover of £10 million in the next three years, but I am passionate about doing it all on my terms. I realised that I wanted to help as many business owners as possible not make the same mistakes that I did with my initial business. It was simple mistakes collectively that lead to the failure of the business. I wanted to share my learnings, without the need for a high ticket price tag, and so my brand new app GrowthFlix was born - ‘The Netflix for Business Owners’. I am passionate about paying it forward for other business leaders and entrepreneurs…
What role has self-belief played in your journey as a business leader? How has it influenced your decision-making and overall success?
Self-belief has been and always will be key when it comes to life and business. I became so sure that what I wanted to achieve would happen, that any negativity or setbacks bounced off me. I was always able to find a solution. I think being young helped initially, but I created very good habits around self worth and self-belief. My vision was so clear that it was difficult to imagine it not coming to fruition. Believing in myself helped me take calculated risks, which I think is important if you want your business to evolve and grow.
Can you share a specific moment or challenge in your journey where your self-belief was tested? How did you overcome it and what did you learn from that experience?
In 2016, when the business collapsed, I lost a lot of self-belief. I told myself that if I was good enough, this would never have happened. I was feeding my negative thoughts everyday. It got worse, which led to me isolating myself. The turning point was nearly losing everything. I had to pay for my 3 year olds nursery uniform with a tin of coins I had in the cupboard. I felt like a failure but I knew nobody was coming to help. I had to believe that I could make changes, which started with me believing in my own ability again. I decided that I was going to help business owners not make the same mistakes that I did. I outlined a 6-month program teaching business practices and mindset from research. After a lot of work, meetings and marketing I got 13 people signed up. I didn’t sleep the night before and I nearly cancelled through lack of self-belief and worth. Those 13 business owners got amazing results through the program. They became my therapy. Through them, I began to believe in myself again. They built me back up and they were thanking me!
How do you cultivate and maintain a mindset of self-belief amidst the inevitable ups and downs of life?
First of all, I accept that no matter what you do and how happy you are, life is not perfect. There will be ups and downs, but it’s how you respond to it that matters. I make time to do the things that make me feel confident and good about myself. I practice gratitude, affirmations and exercise to keep my mind and body healthy.
Are there any specific strategies or practices you follow to boost your self-confidence when facing uncertainties or setbacks in your business?
I love a good guided meditation. It helps you focus and stops the overthinking! A lot of people think its fluffy, but the research behind it is powerful. Fresh air and a good walk also always helps me find clarity and solutions in challenging situations.
How do you handle self-doubt or negative self-talk that may arise as a business leader? Do you have any specific techniques for reframing negative thoughts?
Yes. I have done a lot of research on this. I’ve come to understand that negative thoughts breed negative thoughts. Instead of trying to block it (very difficult) it’s much easier to change it for a positive thought. Lets say you are about to do a public speaking event, uou hear things like .. “I’m so nervous, my heart is pounding, I’m going to forget what I’m saying!” Change it to “I have done this before, I am more than capable, I know this topic inside out.” Watch your stress levels and heart rate drop. You can use this in any situation.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who struggle with self-belief? How can they start building a stronger sense of confidence and belief in themselves?
Remember no-one has it all figured out. Growth is meant to be uncomfortable, it’s proof that you’re trying. Never be afraid to ask for help and advice. Surround yourself with people on the same journey, as they will understand what it feels like, which will help.
Have you ever encountered external skepticism or negativity regarding your business ideas or decisions? How do you stay grounded in your self-belief despite external influences?
Yes, but mostly from people who weren’t where I wanted to be. People who had been in the same situation for years would find it weird that I wanted to grow a business, but everyone will only understand from their own perspective. You don’t need everyone to understand your journey.
Are there any books, podcasts, or people you'd recommend checking out for anyone who wants to change to a more self-confident and belief-rich mindset?
My favourite podcast is Diary of a CEO. It is filled with people, from different backgrounds from all different industries that cover success, failure and mindset. My own book, which was a best-seller on Amazon ‘Win Win at Business’.
Finally, what are some practical tips or exercises you can recommend for entrepreneurs to strengthen their self-belief and mindset on a regular basis?
Do what works for you. Don’t try to be it all and do everything that every successful entrepreneur does. You will end up with a full time job! Embrace your flaws and turn them into superpowers. Know that it’s good to be unique. Get used to being out your comfort zone. Even if it’s tiny little things. It will help you build confidence and self-belief.