We had the good fortune of connecting with Amanda Benson-Tilch and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amanda, what role has risk played in your life or career?
For me risk and opportunity have always gone hand in hand. When an opportunity presents itself I always way the pro’s and con’s, and in this case the pro’s outweighed the con’s. That is how my consulting business, Ask Amanda started. A few opportunities to work under contract with two different businesses, helping them with marketing and social media needs came about, which was enough for me to leave my current job. Then, I slowly got another client, then another, and when I closed out the books on my first month, I had doubled my income from my previous job. I actually couldn’t believe it! Huge risk in starting my own company, being a single mom with two kids to support. But I saw a need in our community, and I know my work ethic and I quickly learned my value. I knew I could do it, and I did.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Ask Amanda is a consulting service of which I help solve every day problems for the small business owner. I’ve been told that I have that likability factor. That people get excited about something because I get excited about it. I also have this ability to see things that others can’t. I have a keen eye for branding. I can instantly see the problem with someone’s marketing. I can quickly give advice on improving customer service just by being in someone’s store a few minutes or listening to a salesperson on the phone. After hearing a business owner or managers problem, I can easily come up with a solution. I am also very well connected in my community, so my tag line to my consulting business is, “If I can’t solve your problem, I’ll connect you to someone who can.” I believe this combination is the reason why Ask Amanda works. I am also a boots on the ground type of woman. I started a flower shop when I was 22. Prior to that I started working when I was 15 in service-related type of jobs. I worked in real estate, for the Hyatt hotel brand and for a community magazine. I have learned a ton and have been able to meet some incredible people. All that experience, along with my volunteer work, has helped me make a name for myself in this community, one that people like and respect. I have spent a lot of time networking and building relationships. It is actually my favorite thing to do, meet new people and hear about their business or interests. I instantly start thinking of someone they should connect with or a new idea for their business. I owe a lot of my success to the people of my community who have hired me to help their business and continue to support the causes I get behind.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
One of my favorite things to do with friends is wine tasting. I love starting a week trip off staying the night in Ojai, visiting all the shops on main street and stopping at all the tasting rooms. Next stop on my list is Solvang, staying at The Landsby. They have the best happy hour with locally sourced fruit that is perfectly muddled in their signature cocktails. We would also have dinner there as their chef is so creative! Breakfast up the street at the best pancake place for miles. I love all the shopping there and tasting rooms. Next stop for a night would be Los Olivos. Of course, we would shop and sip our way through that cute little town, but we would for sure end up at The Hideaway to enjoy their Flocking Fabulous brand. That place is the hidden gem of that whole town, hence the name. Heading our way to Paso, I would stop at Vincent Vineyards for a bit. That place feels like your sitting in your very successful friends’ backyard. It is very homey and the staff are all so welcoming. I think we would stay a few days in Paso Robles because there is so much to do and so many great places to visit. This would be my ideal weeks’ vacation with my besties!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are two people I would like to recognize in my success with Ask Amanda. The first one is my husband, who had just started dating me when this was not quite a full business idea yet. He allowed me to talk it all out with him as much as I needed and as often as I wanted. He has worked a very stable “9am-5pm” job for the last 20 years, so he doesn’t have that entrepreneur mindset. There was too much unknown in starting your own businesses for him, but he believed in me. He told me that all the time. Which, starting out, I needed! I still need it. He is my biggest cheerleader which I’m so grateful for. The second person I can give credit to, is Gary Vanyerchuck. I listened to him every day for two years before I started my own business. I read his books, watched his vlog, followed him on FB, Instagram and LinkedIn. He speaks my language and everything he says pushes me to do me, to not care what others think, to take risk, to help others, and to be honest. He helped me turn my “why” into my drive. He talked about how important it is to be consistent and to be sure you show up, every day. He also helped me to be okay with failure. If this consulting business I wanted to start didn’t work out, I know I would figure something else out. I am a survivor. I knew I had to go for it.