The Lead Generation features conversations with today’s entrepreneurs willing to tell the truth about what it takes to be your own boss and the transformative impact you can have on your audience.
In this episode, we’re bringing you the growth story of Amanda Holmes.
Amanda is the CEO of Chet Holmes International, a pillar among the sales and business coaching community. She’s also the CMO of Divine Bliss International, a spiritual non-profit organization, bringing Love and Light to individuals and businesses.
In this episode, Amanda shares how her professional and spiritual paths intertwine, the struggles (and thrills) of being thrust into a leadership role before she was 25, and what helps her stay grounded as she grows both CHI and DBI.
If you’re short on time, here are a few golden nuggets from our conversation and the resources mentioned.
- Move forward with pig-headed discipline and determination – especially when the path is new.
- If you find yourself in charge of an established brand with history, don’t be afraid to steer it into new directions.
- At its root, a guru is a dispeller of darkness, an uplifter of light – one that brings you from ignorance to bliss to assist you on your pathway to understand who you really are.
- Bad things happening is inevitable. How you deal with them, while staying true to yourself, is what makes all the difference.
- Personal success is best measured internally instead of comparatively.
- Chet Holmes International
- God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita, Paramahansa Yogananda
- Divine Bliss International
- Divine Bliss on Facebook
Continue the Conversation
After enjoying this episode, what are your top takeaways from Amanda?
And what's one lesson you learned in this episode that you'll take action on over the next week?
Get to Know Amanda
Bob: Amanda, it is so great to connect with you today for this episode.
Amanda: It always is, Bob.
Bob: We've had the opportunity to see each other in Minnesota and other places. You're constantly traveling all over the place. Where are you connecting from today?
Amanda: I'm in beautiful Florida at the moment, The Sunshine State.
Bob: We're going to get into a lot of cool stories and things that can be very helpful for our listeners today. But before we get into some of the nitty gritty, just at a high level, how would you say the lives of your customers are transformed by what Chet Holmes International does?
Amanda: Well, we've assisted over 200,000 businesses worldwide, and what our core competencies do is they help to double sales. We have a lot of companies that maybe are at that $500,000 mark or they're at that $1 million mark, $5 million mark, and they're trying to get to the next one, right? So from 1 mil to five, from five to 10, because what it took to get you to that point is not going to get you to the next place. But the good news is it really only takes 12 core competencies to double sales, so if you master these 12 strategies, then you can get to the next step. So we assist companies to do that, and usually they're pretty happy about that.
Bob: I just bet that they are.
Becoming CEO in the Blink of an Eye
Bob: You were a little bit of an accidental entrepreneur in the way that this company is built, and we're going to talk a little bit about your next venture here in a little bit. But unfortunately, you had a family passing that happened. Talk to us a little bit about how you got started in your business, how you transitioned from a singer and performer into a CEO of a really phenomenal company.
“I was a singer-songwriter, studying with my spiritual mentor in Asia doing meditation, when the doctors told me that my father was passing and I needed to come home. From that moment after he passed, it was just a whirlwind.”
Amanda: Yes, I was a singer-songwriter and actually studying with my spiritual mentor, Guruji Sri Sri Poonamji, in Asia doing meditation, when the doctors told me that my father was passing and I needed to come home. And from that moment after he passed, it was just a whirlwind.
I can remember just looking, attending these meetings where there would be 30 different of my top C-level executives that would then distribute out to my 300 staff, and all of them were double my age. I was 24 at the time. And I just looked around and went, "You've got to be kidding me. I'm a singer. I like meditation. I just want to be a monk over in Asia, but how do I get back there? I don't want to be a part of this."
And it was through a lot of self-awareness, self-realization, and then listening that I really started to see, okay, what's going on here? How do our radio ads work? Oh, man, I can remember those calls that were just crazy, the amount of analytics that we didn't have in radio days. Stepping in as CEO was a really big deal for me. Then able to completely rebuild my marketing and sales channels. A huge part of that transformation came with Leadpages. That's why I'm such a raving fan of you guys because the campaigns that would take months for me to build with my CMO to my marketing director to my web builder. It just took so many people. To move that ship was so difficult.
The first time that I just went, "Okay, I'm going to build a webinar. I don't really know how to build a webinar. Okay, I've got a webinar now. Okay, now I need to send traffic to it. Okay, let me just call all my friends. Okay, I got these joint ventures. Okay, great. And now we're just going to go. Oh, wow. We just doubled our coaching clients. That was pretty cool. I don't know how I did that. That was really fun." But I'm glad I had Leadpages. It's been a wild ride.
Overcome Roadblocks with PHD and Awareness
Bob: Indeed. Has there been a time when frustrations and obstacles really gave you a big test for you to be able to move forward?
Amanda: Every day? Still every day. Yes, a lot. I can remember the first week that I stepped in as CEO, I got served a lawsuit. My merchant services shut down our payroll, so it was looking like I wasn't going to be able to pay my hundreds of staff. In that same week, I had to decide whether we were keeping our current CRM or going to a new one, so all of our client base was about to be frozen. Yeah, that was just my first week on the job.
Bob: And you look back, hopefully, fondly at those days. What got you through it? What was that persistence element for you that allowed you to come on the other side?
Amanda: Well, something that we call, my father coined, "pig headed discipline and determination," PHD. #PHD. My father wasn't around for hashtags, so now I have to hashtag it. That definitely was a huge part of it. And that's what every entrepreneur needs, is a little bit of PHD.
I think it was really my inner reflection because it was so emotional. That also segues to what I'm doing now: being able to teach people and come to an understanding of, we have to be able to go within ourselves to rise above our emotional baggage to come up with the most intelligent answers. So meditation was a really big practice for me. I'm a certified yoga therapist. I even have my essential oils close at hand. I believe that there's a lot of positive things that you can do within your own mind and within your own self. Nothing else outside of you that can give you the answers that you need to be able to step it up every day because it's an emotional roller coaster out there.
Bob: It definitely is. And now that you're working with Divine Bliss International and growing that, what are some of the initial roadblocks that you've overcome as you're moving forward with that?
Amanda: Oh, my gosh. Well, it really makes me appreciate now what my father created. Chet Holmes International has been around for 30 years. Divine Bliss has been around for seven, but I find that a lot of people have no idea about us or really understand a big thing, which is our organization is led by an Indian guru, which people have no idea what a guru is. I can walk out at a marketing event, and I can say, "Hey, the Dream 100. Hey, the Best Buyer Strategy and this Core Story thing." And people know, or people know my father's New York Times bestseller. There's an awareness there, which I now appreciate as I'm trying to educate people now about DBI.
“That's been a big hurdle: educating people that it's all a journey of self-realization.”
I go to a marketing, and you've seen me at some of these marketing conferences where I have my sprays out, and I'm spraying people with mists and getting them to calm and relax themselves. I would say it's fairly controversial just because people don't understand it, and they don't know what it is. That's been a big hurdle, is to educate people that it's a journey of self-realization. All we're trying to do is educate people on how to understand themselves. That's really wonderful, and when you see that transformation, it's worth all of it.
Bob: And the beautiful thing about that is it's pretty instantaneous. It's not like it takes a lot of time. You just have to make a decision and flip a switch. It's really cool. And also, I just wanted to say that when you mentioned a guru at a marketing conference, it usually has a little bit of a different connotation than a legit guru from India who can help you in a spiritual path.
Amanda: Yeah. Every interview I do and they go, "Oh, well, you're like a guru in marketing," I'm like, "Oh, I don't like that. Please don't say that. Actually, I'll break this down for you. If you take it back to Sanskrit, gu means the dispeller of darkness, ru means the uplifter of light. So a dispeller of darkness, the uplifter of light, one that brings you from ignorance to bliss to assist you on your pathway to understand who you really are. And now America, we have gurus of car repairs and the plumbing guru. Everybody can "be a guru," so that is a bit frustrating because I hold it very sacred. Right?
Bob: Right. Indeed.
You Know You’ve Made It When...
Bob: You obviously have had some really cool stories and journeys along the way. I'm sure some of them have been just amazing as you're going through them, some of them might've been hard. I think I'd love to hear from you any particular story you may have within Chet Holmes International of something that you had thought was going to work out really well, and then it did, and it was just like, "Wow, this stuff actually does work. I'm here for the right reasons." Because I imagine from talking with you today and in the past that there was a little bit of a confidence boost you needed to have for yourself to know you are the CEO of this company, not just by default, but you step into your own. And I'd love to know, where was that for you? Because I think that's a really cool transition.
Amanda: Well, I'll take it back to that whole Leadpages thing. Since we're here with Leadpages, I might as well share. We're a sales organization, right? We assist salespeople. We assist CEOs as well, but growing sales. So for me to step in and then look at the sales team and go, "I'm going to sell one-to-many instead, so at the moment I don't need you guys to do what you're doing." And I removed them from selling our front-end product. To me, I felt like I had taken our sacred sales team that we were coined for knowing all around the world about our sales, and then me stepping in and instead going, "Okay, no, I think that this webinar will do it." That was a real shock. I was really terrified of people saying, "Who are you? How are you supposed to know anything? You don't. Put somebody else on the mic." Right?
“I finally got that email that I had been fearing for years…. I read the email, and to my surprise, I actually laughed. I looked at it and thought: my worst nightmare just happened. Thank God that's over with.”
So in the very beginning, I did bring a lot of experts in from around me, and I would speak with them to try and build up my understanding and my credibility in the space. One day after, so I had this huge fear that people would call me this imposter, so I was trying to prove myself to be able to say, "Okay, no, I can stand here and say I know sales, or I know something of it." That year, I had doubled our clients and increased our marketing over 100%. I finally got that email that I had been fearing for years. It was some gentlemen that was very passionate about the fact that I had ruined my father's legacy, and he'd sent me this email and he said, "Your father would be so disappointed. It's disgusting what you have done. I can't believe that you're going out like this and trailing around." I read the email, and to my surprise, I actually laughed. I looked at it and thought: my worst nightmare just happened. Thank God that's over with. That was pretty funny.
Bob: I bet that was quite a trip. Did you print that out and put it on the wall anywhere?
Amanda: No, but it did surface again because my recent Facebook ads, I had three haters. I've heard of these internet haters, but I don't see them so often because we have a lot of raving success, a lot of happy people that go out and talk about us. It's very rare that I see the angry people. I was very curious.
I remember from a very young age, my father always saying, when you have somebody that's upset with you, you ask them why they're upset, and you listen. You listen to them very intently because they're usually the ones that will give you the answers to what you need to solve in your business. I can remember, because my father always complained about everything at a restaurant, and he's like, "You need to listen to me." That was instilled in me.
I would go onto Facebook, and I would see these people that were upset, and I would ask them, "Why do you feel that this is spam? We'd like to know, so I can improve. I'm always looking to elevate what we're doing here at CHI. Your advice as welcome."
I had one person that actually replied and said, "Amanda, I know you worked really hard, and I really appreciate what you do. I'm sorry, I was just having a bad day." Which was like, wow, that was really honest. So two out of the three I managed to turn around and say, "No, no, no. We think you're doing a great job." The third one was just crazy, and you just have to accept that some people are just kind of crazy.
“I remember my father always saying, when you have somebody that's upset with you, you ask them why they're upset, and you listen. You listen to them very intently because they're usually the ones that will give you the answers to what you need to solve in your business.”
It's also a lesson learned that it doesn't matter what anybody else is doing around you. You just have to make sure that at the end of the day, if you feel good when you go to bed at night, that's who you have to sleep with. That's who you have to live with, is you and your own conscience.
I live by that because after my father passed, I had so many people going after me and my mother. When money's involved, people just get very brutal and greedy. Lots of lawsuits and lots of battle.
I had to learn the hard way that I have to do my work in integrity because people will always question your integrity and always try to take you down whether you're doing a good job or not. It's just their own reflection of what they're going through.
At the end of the day, that's been my biggest lesson in entrepreneurism, actually, is just everything is just a mirror within me to understand myself and learn how to come into acceptance.
The Influence of Gurus
Bob: Amanda, my next question for you is, being CEO sometimes can be a lonely job, and I'm hopeful that you have had some cheerleaders around you, and it's not just all been internal self-awareness that has led you to do successful things. Who has been a really great cheerleader for you in your business as you've come to do what you do?
Amanda: Oh, my gosh. Well, I would definitely say that my guru has been huge. I mean, she's a huge reason why I stepped in as CEO. You wouldn't normally think that a spiritual teacher would push you forward into that kind of arena, but she also just saw that I needed growth.
I was just watching a video, actually, I was editing it because Mark Zuckerberg made this announcement a year ago. It didn't hit the press in the United States. It hit the press in India really hard. He had admitted to Indian Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi that when he was trying to figure out what Facebook would be, he went to his mentor Steve Jobs, and Steve Jobs told him, "When I was trying to figure out what Apple would be, I went to this healing center," or we call it an ashram in India, "And I meditated there, and I came up with what Apple would be. I think you should go there." So he ended up going there, and he said that a lot of what Facebook is today came from his time spent there. And that's actually related to my journey. That's in the lineage of gurus that I follow.
So it's funny how we take our business, and we put on our business hat, and we feel that our spirituality hat is something different or they have to be separate. And when you think of, "Oh, I need to grow my business, I'm not going to go and meditate in a quiet place." But for me that was my saving grace, was meditating and just saying, "I am here as a conduit of light and love. How do I make this happen? Please show me the way. I'm ready to plow through it." That's a pretty magnificent thing that I think more entrepreneurs could tap into.
Using Leadpages for Google Grant Campaigns
Bob: I love it. You mentioned using Leadpages a few times and how it transformed CHI. I would love to get a little bit more specific about how you're using it right now for lead gen or for sales. When you think of, you're going to go into your Leadpages dashboard and make something, do the marketing, what are you using it for these days?
Amanda: The last time that I personally logged into Leadpages was in the nonprofit because we have the Google grant. Have you heard of the Google grant?
Bob: Oh, yeah. Yup, for sure.
Amanda: So we get $10,000 a month in free advertising indefinitely, which is just lovely for a nonprofit.
So every different campaign I have, I run it all through Leadpages. From the truth about chocolates that nobody's talking about to meditation secrets to how to sleep more peacefully, those are all campaigns that we've had thousands of people go through. Leadpages, man, that got me there. Still, to this day, I look at our website, and I go, "Oh, my gosh, how do I make it prettier?" At one point, CHI's homepage website was a Leadpage. That's how much I love Leadpages. So yes, I've used it in every which way.
Bob: That's phenomenal.
Nourishing Body and Soul for Balance
Bob: I know that you love to travel, and you're in a lot of different places a lot of different times. How do you balance out the traveling and the CEO hat and the nonprofit hat? What things do you struggle with, if anything? And just how are you handling the multifaceted way that you've run your life and business?
“I feel that my sleep is very productive time.”
Amanda: It's a balance. I would definitely say that. Less sleep, more meditation. So when I wake up in the morning, I wake up at about 4:35 a.m., and I meditate for an hour because as soon as you've woken up, your mind is in a state where it's more susceptible to take in information. So it's a really powerful time between 4:00 and 6:00 a.m. to meditate and come back to yourself. And then that self-reflection again, right before I go to bed again because your brain goes, I think it's from alpha to beta waves.
Positive affirmations are great right before bed, or some people pray before bed, right? It's all because our brain is more susceptible to knowledge, and if you can get into a calm state. I also truly believe in before I go to bed to state the intention that I'm sleeping in my higher self to clear any blockages that are happening while I sleep. I feel that my sleep is very productive time. That awareness of checking in with myself is very, extremely important, and it assists me to get through it all.
There's so many emotions that can come up that can stop us. I mean, I can remember when my father passed, it was very emotional. I mean, he was 55. That was very young, and it was a year and a half of cancer. I remember looking at my family, the rest of my family, and they were just frozen. They couldn't move, they couldn't think. There was just nothing happening, and I had to step up to the plate and go, "Okay, let me figure this out," and had to actually use my brain, which for a lot of people that have lost somebody that they really, truly love very deeply, it's hard to come back from that.
I think that managing those emotions and not stuffing them away, but handling them and being in the now is so key. For me it's really been that diligence of checking in with myself, being true with myself. I think truth really sets you free, right? How many people have said it. That's what's important to me.
Also, taking care of what I eat. When I travel, I try to not eat out, which can be quite difficult. But I find that when I make my own food that the love that I put into making food is much better, and it makes my whole body feel a lot better than when I eat out. And who knows what people are putting in food? I'm pretty particular about food, too.
Feeding the Mind for Growth
Bob: I know that you love to learn and you take in knowledge from a lot of different sources. What books are you reading these days? What podcasts are you listening to? How are you nourishing your mind?
Amanda: This is a very strange answer, but come with me on this. I've been taking a course for the last year and a half on the Bhagavad Gita. Have you ever heard of the Bhagavad Gita?
Bob: Sure. I used to teach world religions for 10 years-
Bob: ... in high school back in Maryland before I became a business owner.
Amanda: Oh, my gosh. Oh, well, we'll have to bookmark that one and come back to that and talk more about that. I've been reading the Bhagavad Gita for a year and a half, and we're on page 68. Every day I read the Bhagavad Gita, but majority of the time it's the same page over and over and over again. As Guruji says, "It's not about reading the black words on a white page. It's about understanding the song and flowing with the song."
I'm really trying to elevate myself above the material world into something a little bit more higher intellect, very spiritual. That's my world at the moment, as you can see.
The Internal Path to Success
Bob: Amanda, as you travel and as you have conversations with people who want to tap into the success of both your business and now your nonprofit, I know it's difficult to boil down to an essence, perhaps, that meets all categories, but for the listeners here of The Lead Generation, if somebody does ask you, "What's the key to success and growing a business?” What's been true for you?
Amanda: I've been learning a lot about success lately. I, for the last six months, have been living in The Healing Center in Florida and managing the organic garden here. Very different from sales training, right? But I take my sales calls from the garden. Somebody was actually upset the other day when I told them I'd been weeding our entire conversation.
Bob: I don't know, I think that sounds like it could've been figurative and literal.
Amanda: I've really learned a lot about what abundance means because I no longer go to the store to get my vegetables or have to buy anything for food. I'm fully sustainable with the garden in the back. And it makes me realize that success can mean so many things for us in the world today, and ultimately, success to me means what I feel about myself. Success is being in the now. Success is being present. Success is feeling peace of mind. Success is feeling stress just melt away and things that come up during the day, just accepting them and moving forward. That to me has been my new way of success.
Of course, we live in this physical place that takes money to make things happen. I'm in a track to raise half a million right now for our bigger healing center in Virginia. So of course money does make the world go round, but it's not to say that money can't feel like an eggplant tree. People say, "Well, money doesn't grow on your trees." I'm like, "Yes, it does. I have eggplants in the back. Those would cost money, and now I'm eating them instead of paying somebody for them." So I find that the more that I manage myself and my environment and my inner thoughts, the more that I attract what is necessary and attract what I need monetarily, physically, emotionally, spiritually. It all is just derived from my own being.
“Success is being in the now. Success is being present. Success is feeling stress just melt away and things that come up during the day, just accepting them and moving forward.”
Bob: I love that. I think that what I hear from you, too, is a very different answer than I typically hear when I ask this question because usually people answer with some process or mindset of action-taking or doing to reach an end result. And what I love about your answer is you're taking the end result of what you're going for and just having it now, and then having it now and having it now and having it now, and it just perpetuates.
Bob: That it's there. It's just being.
Amanda: It's about being. Yes. It's not about doing; it's about being. Yes.
Bob: Yeah. Beautiful. Well, thank you so much, Amanda, for joining us for this episode. Where would you love to have people connect with you if they would like to learn more?
Amanda: Yes. Well, on the CHI side, I have a three-video series on how to 10X Your Income in 1 Hour a Week, and you can go to ChetHolmes.com to get that.
Then if you'd like some more spiritual upliftment and self realization, we're most active on Facebook, so you can go to facebook.com/divineblissinternational.
Bob: Thanks again for being on.
Amanda: My pleasure, Bob, always.
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