Angie Bellemare has built a hugely successful lifestyle brand and business by helping women (and some men!) achieve their health and fitness goals. Over the past seven and a half years, Angie has built the largest Beachbody Team in all of Canada and the 4th largest team worldwide. “Team Uproar” currently has approximately 8,500 coaches. But Angie has developed much more than a million-dollar-plus brand. She has become a successful lifestyle influencer. “Donuts, Dumbbells and Dreams” focus on helping people “dream grander and smile bigger.” Angie uses YouTube (300,000 followers) and Instagram (nearly 65,000 followers) to share content that encourages people to live their best life, both personally and professionally. Topics featured on these platforms include health and fitness, goal setting and planning, motivation, decorating, routines, work-life balance, and her extreme love of all things Disney. Angie invites her followers into her own life on these social media platforms, which has resulted in her husband Andre and her dog Carl becoming fan favorites.
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Angie to discuss her journey as an entrepreneur and here’s what went down:
When did your entrepreneurial flair first reveal itself?
As cliché as this may sound, I was born into entrepreneurship. When I was a child, my mom started her own paralegal practice and always advocated for “being your own boss.” The desire to be in business for myself only grew when I met my now-husband at the age of 15. He too comes from an entrepreneurial family and also envisioned being a business owner/operator. My husband and I started our own business importing fashion goods from China when we were in our late teens. That translated into a fashion brand we owned and operated for several years, before making the transition into the business we’re currently in.
How did your life look like before being an entrepreneur?
I would have to look pretty far back to answer that question. My professional life mostly consisted of retail jobs along with four years at University studying architecture. After that, my life’s path took me toward entrepreneurship. What I can recall is that I spent a lot of time soul searching. I did not feel I was a good fit for the corporate world, so I continuously and actively searched for an avenue that was better suited for my character and skill set. I stumbled upon fitness coaching in 2013 as a franchise business in the network marketing world, and let my passion drive me into a variety of other businesses and ultimately the brand that is “Angie Bellemare Fitness” today.
As an entrepreneur, what is it that motivates and drives you?
The need to feel as though I am serving a grander purpose drives me every day. If I can clearly see my business in connection with the purpose I am serving, then I hardly need an extra push to get up early and get to work. If that connection is blurry, I need to sit down and rethink my approach so that I can continue feeling motivated in the pursuit of my goals.
In one word, describe your life as an entrepreneur and explain why.
Control. I feel that when I am in charge, I can dictate my next move, and adapt to the changing times without having to get a sign-off from a manager or boss. That may be due to the still small scale of my business and the overall nature of my business. But it is so important for me to see the repercussions of my actions; and as the ‘leader of the organization,’ there is no red tape to stop my efforts from paying dividends. On the flip side, there is no insulation if my decisions lead to poor outcomes. Furthermore, not all decisions as an entrepreneur make financial sense. Sometimes I want to do something just because I feel it fuels my sense of purpose. Again, that might not be the “right way” to view a business from an entrepreneurial standpoint, but it’s the way I see my style of entrepreneurship, and because I am in control, I can make those decisions.
What were your top three motivations for starting your business?
1 – From the time I was a child, being “my own boss” was always emphasized as a way to create a fulfilling life. So, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that being my own boss and working on my own terms wasn’t a huge motivator upfront, and continues to be to this day.
2 – Freedom. Not necessarily from the standpoint of not having to do work, or doing what I want when I want. But more so from the standpoint of being able to do the work I need to do in the way that best suits me, and with the people that best compliment my skill set and character.
3 – Clarity. I’ve always felt my path was unclear until I started my own business. For example, I graduated with an Architecture degree. From there, I THINK I would have gotten a job with a firm, and worked for what I THINK is about 10–15 years. Then I THINK I would have opened a firm after that. I just wasn’t confident in the path I was on mostly because I felt there were so many variables I couldn’t control. For my own business, I knew that if I put my head down and did the work, I could experience growth in a way that was more understandable to me and something I had more control over.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful business?
This feels like a question that could lead to a very drawn-out answer, so let me do my best to be brief.
First, picking the right business to be a part of. Both from a “there’s a market for it” standpoint, and from an “I’m the right individual to lead this business” standpoint.
Second, leading by example. To build a strong culture, a leader must be the one most willing to do the work. He or she must set the pace for the remainder of the team.
Third, putting the right pieces in the right place. Delegate! Don’t try and to do everything yourself. Respecting where an area of the business would be best run by somebody else, and then find the right person for the job.
And finally, committing to constant and ongoing growth. A business is either adapting and growing or it’s dying. There is no in-between. Growth is vital for maintaining a strong culture, and also for ensuring your business doesn’t fall victim to changing times.
What are the three biggest challenges you have faced growing the business and how did you overcome them?
1 – Overcoming the opinion of others. Using social media is a great way to build your business. However, by doing so, you open yourself up to a lot of weary eyes and worried family members. I had to be confident in the path I chose, and work hard to not let the opinions of others – those that felt like I should have followed a more “traditional path” – deter me from following my own vision.
2 – Self-confidence, especially at the beginning. Imposter syndrome was a real problem for me. Why should other people believe in me and want to be a part of my team? What qualified me to lead others? Fortunately, the more I saw growth, the more comfortable I became with my role as a leader and coach. I focused on personal development and yes, I made my share of mistakes. But in the end, this learning process enabled me to become the best possible leader.
3 – Finding what made my brand unique. The content creator space is fairly crowded. When I first entered it, I found myself copying other creators that I looked up to in the hope that it would lead to a similar result for me as it did for them. That lead to me and my brand being a watered-down version of other content creators. To overcome that, I simply committed to representing my business as the most courageous rendition of myself. I started being far more transparent about the story behind my personal brand and started communicating the little things that made my brand unique. Fortunately, people like this!
What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?
I’m a content creator, so social media content creating has always been what has resulted in my brand seeing growth. I consistently create content that is intended to bring people value; not sell. Through my content, I look to inspire, motivate, entertain or educate. When you do that over an extended period of time, you tend to earn people’s trust and garner influence. When it comes time to call people to action, those you’ve helped the most through your content are the ones most likely to respond and take action.
As you grew the business, what have been some of the most important leadership lessons you have learned?
There is a fine line between being a strong leader/mentor and a personal assistant. My leadership style very much mimics that of a teacher. I am continuously training my team members to be the best possible version of themselves. However, at first, I found myself enabling helpless behavior by constantly being at my team’s beck & call, and robbing them of their opportunity to grow by being resourceful and facing challenges themselves.
Now, I realize that as the leader it is important that I cast the vision, create excitement around that vision, and ensure the tools are accessible for my team members. After that, they need to take the necessary steps to best execute their job.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Always be mindful of the individual who is giving you advice. Be it in relationships, business, life, or anything. Oftentimes, we find ourselves listening to just about anyone who gives out advice. In reality, we should be taking feedback, guidance, and advice from people who lead the life we’re looking to create in that specific area. Too often I found myself taking business advice from somebody who had never created a successful business themselves, or more commonly, life advice from somebody who lived no rendition of the life I wanted to live. When somebody is being critical towards your decision, or trying to “help” you, ensure you take a minute to assess where the words are coming from before you embrace them.
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
Your success will be a by-product of three major components.
Consistency. Consistently showing up and doing the hard work that oftentimes others are unwilling to do. Consistently making the time for your business. And consistently committing to grow in the ways you need to grow to be GOOD at running and operating your business.
Patience. Sticking to the hard work you’re consistently doing long enough to start seeing a result.
And belief. Believing in the business you’re creating and the value it’ll provide your customer. Most importantly, believe in yourself and your ability to achieve the goals you set out to accomplish through your business.