Amanda Furgiuele of AF Consulting Team: Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Launched My Business or Startup

An Interview With Doug Noll

Doug Noll
Authority Magazine

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Mindset matters! I cannot stress this enough. If you are constantly focusing on what isn’t going right, then nothing ever will. Don’t sit in the shit! You are not the victim! You are in control of your own success. Own that. For years I blamed others for what wasn’t working, but the painful truth was that I wasn’t leading the way my team needed me to and my mindset was a large part of the problem. That was what was holding us back. My mindset made all the difference and once I held myself accountable, things changed in a big, wonderful way.

Taking the risk to start a company is a feat few are fully equipped for. Any business owner knows that the first few years in business are anything but glamorous. Building a successful business takes time, lessons learned, and most importantly, enormous growth as a business owner. What works and what doesn’t when one starts a new business? What are the valuable lessons learned from the “University of Adversity”? As part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Amanda Furgiuele.

Amanda Furgiuele is a sole parent, serial business owner and entrepreneur, bestselling co-author of The Pursuit of Badasserie series, podcaster, educator, and expert in creative problem-solving and time management. Her no-fluff attitude towards business (and life) has led her to start, buy, sell, and mentor businesses across the globe. A fearless and accomplished strategist with over twenty years of experience, Furgiuele leads with a relentless determination to succeed and guide others to do the same.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’ve always been a hustler. For as long as I can remember, I had an entrepreneurial mindset. So, when I first started seriously opening businesses at the age of eighteen, although I had drive and tenacity, I never thought I’d be working as a business consultant. It actually came about naturally. As I started businesses, more and more people asked for my advice on everything from filing paperwork and taxes to pricing and sales processes and one thing led to another — I was working as a consultant without actually considering that my title. As I delved deeper into the field — training, reading, researching, working with my own mentors and consultants — I realized that there was a massive knowledge gap. So many business owners had all the passion in the world, but none of the business sense, or they had gotten to a certain point, but then got lost and stagnant working in the business and not on it. That’s when I made the official shift and launched AF Consulting Team, a multi-level consulting firm that aims to empower business owners to grow in confidence using strategic and proven methods.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?

I don’t think it’s possible to be an entrepreneur and not face challenges. That’s part of what I help my clients understand and manage. Lack of support, chasing leads, closing sales, legal quandaries, tax navigation, crisis management, team culture, following opportunities, and so much more — owning a business is a LOT. Running a business successfully is even more. Add to that leading teams in multiple states while raising and homeschooling my child alone, and yes, I faced a challenge or two when I started. I still do. Adapting, evolving, and embracing change is part of the journey and I love it!

Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

My drive comes from an unwavering tenacity and focus when faced with a challenge and my commitment to helping business owners take control of their businesses and lives (not the other way around). I don’t work for money — I work for the freedom money buys me. There is a decided difference and I want that freedom for all my clients. I am also extremely fortunate to have an incredible executive team to push me, keep me on track, and call me out — I definitely need to be called out! Moreover, I am blessed with friends and family who may not understand my gumption and drive, but always support me.

So, how are things going today? How did grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?

I am happy to say that today my company and I are growing and evolving in ways I hadn’t even imagined five years ago. We have clients in multiple states and countries across varying industries, have helped companies grow from five figures to six and six figures to seven, have released two best-selling books, a thriving podcast, and online courses (with my partner and co-author Lynn Howard), and I have no signs of stopping. These successes are absolutely a reflection of years of grit, determination, resilience, perseverance, and commitment (to myself, my goals, and my clients). I want to leave this place better than I found it and I’m confident I’m on my track.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I’m not sure it’s funny, but one of the mistakes I bring up a lot is when I bounced a $50,000 check. Not my proudest moment, but it’s a prime example of how important proper bookkeeping can be in a business. I had written this check seeing an account balance that exceeded the total, but hadn’t reconciled the books to realize I had outstanding checks that hadn’t cleared. So even though my bank account read over $50,000, I also had over $50,000 in checks that were about to clear on top of the one I had just written. And as fate would have it, they all cleared on the same day. I was absolutely mortified when I got that call from my banker. Luckily, we caught it in less than 24 hours and were able to divert funds, but it was an embarrassing lesson in proper bookkeeping and it taught me to be vigilant with finances.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

At AF Consulting Team, we believe that each business faces its only unique set of challenges and deserves a customized approach. We take a client-centric, results-driven strategy that focuses on a comprehensive assessment and action-plan, ensuring our clients get what they need, when they need it. What sets us apart is our creative strategies that seek solutions inside and outside of the box. From walking human billboards to flash mobs, guerilla underwear (literally) marketing to strategic alliances, we aren’t afraid to ruffle feathers and get noticed. We go above and beyond for our clients and if I can get a laugh at the same time, all the better. Honestly, I’m not doing my job if my client doesn’t say, at least once, “No, Amanda. That’s too far.”

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

The burn out struggle is real and I talk about it frequently on my blog and podcast. As a self-proclaimed workaholic, I have struggled for years to remember that the standard I set for myself cannot be the standard I set for others. That being said, I teach my clients and colleagues the importance of setting boundaries that make sense for them and creating time management strategies that are sustainable. We teach others how to treat us, so the first step to avoiding burn out is to recognize your triggers and address them early. Another tip that I advocate for is to build an executive team you can trust and count on. That may include paid and unpaid advisors, mentors, coaches, or anyone who pushes you without being a “yes person.” Surrounding yourself with people who make you better and support you when you are at your lowest is vital. Finally, I always encourage lifetime learning to grow your mind and keep it sharp while fueling your passion. After all, “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress: Working hard for something we love is called passion” Simon Sinek.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I am very blessed to have the guidance and support of both my parents, even after over twenty years in entrepreneurship. They taught me the foundations of ethics, hard work, and the importance of my word. I also have two mentors that I continually reach out to for both personal and professional feedback. They have shaped who I am as a business owner, leader, parent, educator, and coach.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

We all go up together — this has been a mantra I’ve repeated for years. As someone who has been fortunate enough to achieve recognition, success, and self-sufficiency within my multiple careers, it has always been important for me to encourage collaboration, community, and philanthropy. All of my businesses have set up strong programs in community outreach, including working with local and international non-profits such as food banks, women’s shelters, children’s programs, educational resources, and health initiatives. I strongly believe that success is not solely about the money you make, but in the differences you do, and it is something I strive for both professionally and personally.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first launched my business,” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

1 . Fail fearlessly. Fail forward. I was always so afraid of failing, of seeming “less” because of it, but the truth is that failure has been one of my truest teachers over the years. Without failure there is no growth or innovation. Without failure you cannot discovery your own resiliency. Without failure you cannot take the risks that lead to greatness. So many newer business owners are afraid of making mistakes, big and small, but I just don’t believe mistakes really exist. Repeat after me: there are no mistakes, just the decisions you make from one moment to the next and the outcomes you create. It’s about mindset, how you perceive your setbacks, and how you learn and grow from them.

2. Collaborate. Networking and strategic alliances are critical for building a successful business. This means building relationships, seeking new opportunities, and embracing lifelong learning. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” (African Proverb). If you are looking to make the biggest difference, it means you will need to reach more people, and that takes collaboration.

3. Pivot! It’s not just for fans of the TV show, Friends. Entrepreneurship is full of peak, valleys, and endless twists and turns and if you don’t learn to adapt with the constant state of change, you won’t get far. Stubborn resolve can get you somewhere (yup, that was me), but learning to pivot and seek opportunity will make a much greater impact on your overall success.

4 . Invest in yourself. There will never be a better, more rewarding investment than investing in yourself. Grow and develop as a leader and as a person. There is no such thing as becoming an expert and then stopping there. If you want to be great, you must continually strive to be great-ER. This means diversifying your interests, hiring coaches and consultants, attending conferences and retreats, reading and reading some more, constantly learning, and then actively applying that education.

5. Mindset matters! I cannot stress this enough. If you are constantly focusing on what isn’t going right, then nothing ever will. Don’t sit in the shit! You are not the victim! You are in control of your own success. Own that. For years I blamed others for what wasn’t working, but the painful truth was that I wasn’t leading the way my team needed me to and my mindset was a large part of the problem. That was what was holding us back. My mindset made all the difference and once I held myself accountable, things changed in a big, wonderful way.

Can you share a few ideas or stories from your experience about how to successfully ride the emotional highs & lows of being a founder”?

As a founder, business owner, and entrepreneur, it is a fundamental truth that the highs will be very high and the lows will be very low. It’s unavoidable. And it’s unrealistic to imagine your career will be a smoothly paved road lined in sunshine, flowers, and frolicking unicorns. Running a business is hard and it’s not for everyone. And for the few who want it and work for it, it can be one of the greatest rewards and legacies of your life. Navigating the emotional minefield of founding your empire can be made easier by relying on your “why.” Why are you doing this? Why is it important? Why does what you do matter? Why should you keep going? This will keep all the turmoil in perspective and help you rise above, brainstorm solutions, and get the results you need.

I think most business owners had a taste of the lowest-lows as their businesses were forced to shut down due to government restrictions during the Covid pandemic. When it first began affecting one of my businesses, there was definitely a moment of fighting, then forced closure, then denial and anger, followed by pivoting and focusing on taking care of my people and supporting the community. What saved me was the shift — getting out of the “woe is me and the government ruins everything” mentality and just doing what needed to be done while staying aligned with my purpose, my values, and my why.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

It has always been a dream of mine to open an educational center for women, where they can grow and learn in a safe and supported environment, with access to free childcare and career development services. I know firsthand how hard it can be to manage building a business, a family, and a life as a woman in a male-dominated field, especially on your own, and I want to be a resource for others who need it. Not only would we provide advice, training, and guidance, but also networking opportunities and mentorship across multiple professions. This is part of the reason I have been so excited about launching my best-selling books under The Pursuit of Badasserie brand — I want to reach and help more people in a positive, uplifting, and life-changing way.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Reach out to me through my websites, Instagram, or podcast! I love talking business and helping others achieve their goals!

You can find me @afconsultingteam and @thepursuitofbadasserie across multiple platforms.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

About the Interviewer: Douglas E. Noll, JD, MA was born nearly blind, crippled with club feet, partially deaf, and left-handed. He overcame all of these obstacles to become a successful civil trial lawyer. In 2000, he abandoned his law practice to become a peacemaker. His calling is to serve humanity, and he executes his calling at many levels. He is an award-winning author, teacher, and trainer. He is a highly experienced mediator. Doug’s work carries him from international work to helping people resolve deep interpersonal and ideological conflicts. Doug teaches his innovative de-escalation skill that calms any angry person in 90 seconds or less. With Laurel Kaufer, Doug founded Prison of Peace in 2009. The Prison of Peace project trains life and long terms incarcerated people to be powerful peacemakers and mediators. He has been deeply moved by inmates who have learned and applied deep, empathic listening skills, leadership skills, and problem-solving skills to reduce violence in their prison communities. Their dedication to learning, improving, and serving their communities motivates him to expand the principles of Prison of Peace so that every human wanting to learn the skills of peace may do so. Doug’s awards include California Lawyer Magazine Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers in America Lawyer of the Year, Purpose Prize Fellow, International Academy of Mediators Syd Leezak Award of Excellence, National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals Neutral of the Year. His four books have won a number of awards and commendations. Doug’s podcast, Listen With Leaders, is now accepting guests. Click on this link to learn more and apply.

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Doug Noll
Authority Magazine

Award-winning author, teacher, trainer, and now podcaster.