002: Angela Middleton - How to Crush it with your Personal & Company Brand and Why Diversification is Key
Do you ever see those people that “do it all” and you wonder how the heck they have the time?
Angela Middleton is one of those people. Angela is a graduate of the University of West London, where she achieved an honors degree in Business Studies and also a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10k Small Business Program. Angela is the owner of Middleton Murray, an apprenticeship training provider and Apprenticeship Levy consultancy that takes a holistic view of the job market to maximize the chance that the right candidate gets placed with the right employer.
Angela has an extreme passion for health and fitness, theater, fashion, reading and mindfulness. She is a firm believer that success starts with your own mind and body. This podcast explores the importance of personal branding, issues with growing a company, finding the time for life outside of work, and advice on investment vs. organic growth. Angela is the definition of a bad a** in the workforce.
David Alonso: You have done a great job with Middleton Murray, growing the business to over 100 employees and growing revenue. Tell us about the some of the big issues that come with growth and how you deal with decision making at Middleton Murray.
Angela Middleton: Primarily dealing with people and cash. I’ve never had issues with clients, I love the client side. My first difficulty was having to fire someone due to lack of performance. That was very early on and they were such a lovely person but they just couldn’t get the results. After firing her, I literally went home and cried about it because I loved her so much as a person.
Another issue was when the recession happened. I remember feeling so upset that I had to let go of so many people. The worst part was that I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone about how stressed I was about money. From that I learned that there’s no point on acting like everything is okay and that its okay to tell people. I learned that if you tell people they will either really dig in to help you or they will jump and leave.
David Alonso: You are one of the few people I know who have managed to continue to grow your staffing business yet start other ventures. At what point in your growth at MM did you need to put in the management structure to help grow and free up some of your time.
Angela Middleton: I think the fact that I didn’t come from a recruitment background helped a lot in this respect. I’ve never seen Middleton Murray as myself, I’ve seen it as one of the companies I owned and kept it as a separate thing. I always wanted to build something separate to me, that could run without me. Once you have that mindset, you can figure out who can do the jobs for you. You just need Finances, Operations, and Delivery. Those are the three main things you need.
David Alonso: Let’s talk about brand. We have seen your company and personal brand skyrocket over the years. What was the mental change that you thought you need to do something different to get not only the company name out there but get you out there also.
Angela Middleton: I spent a lot of time, money, and effort on learning. Part of that is personal development. As long as I can keep my body healthy and fit, I could keep developing my mind. The only way you can achieve what you want is to get attention. You need a very clear brand so people know what you stand for. It needs to be congruent with your values. My brand launched once I started using Instagram. I promised myself if I was going to use it I wanted it to be me and not a fantasy of a perfect life.
The thing about a personal brand, is tbat no matter what you do with your business, you always have your personal brand and it’s always going to be valued. You have to have a very clear audience.
David Alonso: Parent, business owner, speaker, author, mentor and you have successful a fitness programmed called Your Body Means Business. I am exhausted thinking about it so where do you find the time. Help us understand how you manage all this?
Angela Middleton: First, think of what you really want. Give yourself a flavor of it, then you’ll want it even more. For me, I wanted to improve mentally. The way to do that was to get a physically fit as I possibly could.
David Alonso: What do you think are the most important qualities to be a CEO.
Angela Middleton: One, a clear vision of where you want to take the business. Everyone looks to you as what to do.
Two, when things are not going how you want them to, you need to be vocal as to what’s happening and how you’re doing about it. Constant communication is key.
David Alonso: How do you view taking investment vs. organic growth and what is your advice as to when you should take it.
Angela Middleton: I think that it is frustrating when you’re growing organically, and everyone is growing faster than you. If you take investment and you take too much, then you aren’t in charge anymore. Cash is always tight. Nothing happens overnight, things take time. If you keep pushing and focusing you will grow. Unless you really have to, I wouldn’t take investment.