Angela Crocker is an Elite+ Mompreneur® Member based in Port Moody, BC. Through her company, Angela Crocker & Associates, Angela is dedicated to helping businesses communicate. She is also the published author of The Content Planner, and Decluttering Your Data. We’re excited to share Angela’s Success Story!
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I’ve always been an entrepreneur. As a pre-teen, I sold second-hand golf balls, juggled baby-sitting gigs, and masterminded a school-based, charitable, candy gram service. Later in life, that same drive served me well in my work for a variety of non-profits. Working in non-profit is a lot like being an entrepreneur. Every penny counts and you’ve got to do a lot with very little, at least at first. I raised millions of dollars, ran award-winning promotional campaigns, and served several good causes. When my son was a preschooler, I become a full-time entrepreneur. I wanted more control over my daily schedule and to give up my long commute into downtown Vancouver. Losing the commute alone saved me 15 hours a week. Happily, my company, Angela Crocker & Associates, recently celebrated its ninth anniversary and we’ve served thousands of individuals and businesses along the way.
What’s the best part about owning your own business?
I love being in charge of my own time and energy. I can schedule busy days, recovery days, travel days, and, most importantly, family days.
Can you describe a typical day?
I start each day with a cup of tea and a quick read of my overnight emails and social media notifications. I review my business schedule and our family calendar. Next, I focus on my son and our morning routine of cuddles, breakfast, and preparing for his day. Once my son is off to school, I start my business day. Each workday is a blend of writing, research, planning, and projects. I’ve recently implemented Mike Vardy’s notion of Time Crafting® in my work so I use horizontal time themes each day. For example, I typically write between 9am and 11am each day. In this way, I’ve consistently productive and never tire of the task at hand. Most of the time, I work from my home-office unless I’m out teaching a course or doing a speaking engagement. We eat dinner as a family as often as we can and, without fail, Friday night is take-out night at our house. After dinner, I usually return to my social media feeds and interact with friends and followers. I’m also notorious for late-night writing inspiration so occasionally I’ll stay up late to write. More often, I go to bed in time to get 7 or 8 hours of sleep.
Who do you count on for help? Do you have a network of family that answer the call?
I have two core support systems – “my guys” and “the gals”.
“My guys” include my husband, my son, my father and my brother. My dedicated husband believes in me no matter what. He’s been through every high and low moment of my business. My son keeps me grounded. He makes life fun and demonstrates the importance of curiosity. My father is my biggest fan. No matter what I do, I know he will lead the cheering section. My brother gives me perspective. He reminds me of what’s important and that everything we do is a choice.
“The gals” surround me with unconditional support and encouragement. We talk about work, troubleshoot personal problems, remind one another about self-care, celebrate good times, and lean on each other in the hard times. These women aren’t just friends. They are sisters-by-choice.
Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
Of course! Over the last two years, I returned to university to earn my Master of Education at Simon Fraser University. This graduate degree includes specialized training in Education Technology and Learning Design (ETLD); subjects that inform and inspire my work teaching digital life skills through my books and seminars. Fitting in the degree requirements has been a big commitment. In addition to one or two evenings a week on campus for four-hour lectures, I’ve had up to 20 hours a week of academic work to complete. To make time to do this, I’ve had to miss family events and decline professional invitations. I made a conscious choice to focus on the long-term benefits for my company and, most importantly, my family.
What do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
It’s taken many years but I now fully appreciate the concept of a weekend. Taking a day or two off is essential to recharge. Sometimes that means watching movies at home with my guys. Other times, it’s about connecting with friends and family over a meal or a walk in the woods. We take regular vacations, too. I leave the laptop at home but take a notebook and pencil to capture any bright ideas. If I write a note-to-self, I won’t waste downtime worrying I’ll forget. Many of my best plans and ideas have happened when I’m away from my desk.
Are you active in your community? What does supporting local mean to you?
Absolutely! Being active in my community means many things. I volunteer in my son’s classroom, on the performing arts committee of the local cultural centre, and as a business mentor. I know my neighbors and love informal driveway chats. I also shop local when I can. I love being greeted by name at my local bakery, green grocer, bookstore, and pharmacy.
Name another entrepreneur who inspires you.
I find inspiration in so many people. Today, I’d like to honour author, advocate and speaker Ann Douglas. Ann is the author and creator of the Mother of All book series on pregnancy and parenting. Her most recent book is Parenting Through the Storm. I greatly admire Ann for how her business has adapted to the huge changes in book publishing and distribution over the last 15 years. I’m also inspired by Ann’s long-term and ongoing commitment to own her own fitness and well-being.
Ann and I met more than a decade ago on the driveway of a fancy hotel in Vancouver. Instantly, we connected and the conversation flowed so easily. Every time we connect, it’s the next installment in a lifelong conversation. In particular, two-years ago, Ann inspired a huge shift in my own business. She helped me realize that I am a writer. Although I was a published author, I found it hard to describe myself as a writer. Ann insisted I could help a wider audience through original books, public speaking and courses, rather than one-on-one service. And she was right.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
The future is bright for me and my business. As I finish grad school, new teaching and consulting opportunities are open to me. I’ll be teaching more often, speaking more often, and facilitating more often. As always, I’ll continue to advocate for balanced digital lifestyles that embrace the best of technology without overwhelming the user. Speaking and media opportunities help me share this message as do the book retailers around the world who promote my books, most recently The Content Planner: A Complete Guide to Organize and Share Your Ideas Online (2017) and Declutter Your Data: Take Charge of Your Data and Organize Your Digital Life (2018). And I’m delighted to share that I’m under contract for two more books in 2019. My co-author, Vicki McLeod, and I are currently writing Digital Legacy Plan: A guide to the personal and practical elements of your digital life before death (2019). My sixth book, also due out in 2019, is a guide for teachers and parents as they help children, teens, and young adults learn digital life skills.
Any tips for other women thinking of starting a business?
Having taught several thousand entrepreneurs, I have lots of advice to share. Here are some quick thoughts for moms starting a business: Focus on family first. Start small. Grow organically. Nurture your idea. Find your why. Protect your intellectual property. Hire help for things you can delegate. Keep receipts. Guard your reputation. Be ethical. Be kind. Be responsive. Be responsible. Look after your own physical well-being. Make time for the spiritual. Seek quality professional development. Know that dark days will come. Know that bright days will come. Know you are strong, stronger than you think. Success takes time and commitment. Be ready for viral. Know you are capable of all things.