20 May 2021|Brand Story, Female Founder Spotlight, Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder
Angela Bryant (47) is the founder of angelrated.com, an independent directory and user review site focused on the products and services most frequently used by female online business owners. She is also a podcast host, certified health coach, and travel blogger. In her spare time, Angela enjoys wild swimming in the Thames year-round, singing with her choir, and brain-training with cryptic crosswords and logic puzzles.
Angel Rated is an independent directory and user review site focused on the products and services most frequently used by female online business owners. Angel Rated, the first website of its kind, helps female online entrepreneurs find the perfect tool, course, or person for the next stage of their growth, in a time-efficient and informed manner. The platform also provides increased visibility and independent reviews for the businesses listed and offers reviewers the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience of the different products and services.
Described as ‘the TripAdvisor of the online business community’, Angel Rated was founded by Angela Bryant in 2019. Angela identified that there was nowhere for her to read independent reviews of the tools, courses, and coaches she wanted feedback on, so she created this unique resource for female online business owners.
We caught up with Angela recently to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey.
Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?
After graduating with a Masters in Operational Research, I went straight into the corporate world, working for industry leaders such as British Airways and Vodafone. After seven years at the latter, I realised I needed a position that aligned more closely with my ethics and beliefs, so I took a role leading a sustainability consultancy, before moving on to run a climate change charity.
It was in late 2012 that I made the decision to leave the corporate world entirely and jump headlong into the online business world. I realised that I was working long hours for other people, and I wanted to do something more impactful with my life. I spent the next five years building different online businesses, looking for my purpose. During that time I was struggling with confidence issues as a result of the burnout I suffered in my last corporate role, however, those years are what led me to founding Angel Rated.
Angel Rated, the first website of its kind, helps female online entrepreneurs find the perfect tool, course or person for the next stage of their growth, in a time-efficient and informed manner. The platform also provides increased visibility and independent reviews for the businesses listed, and offers reviewers the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience of the different products and services.
How did the idea come to you for the company?
It was while I was in that transition period in my life, trying to work out what I wanted to do and establishing several online businesses. I realised there was a complete lack of unbiased feedback on the various tools and courses I needed as an online business owner. From there, the idea of creating a single trustworthy website to collate information and reviews was born. It also aligns perfectly with my academic and career background – my degree and analyst experience have left me very well-placed to collate and categorise data in a user-friendly, accessible way.
I spent two years on R&D and marketing before the website launched in late 2019.
Over the past decade, I’ve wasted more money than I care to remember on tools that
were unsuitable for my business, courses that didn’t meet my needs, and business coaches that
failed to live up to what they promised. Now, there is Angel Rated to help others cut through the hype of affiliate reviews and polished testimonials, and find the perfect tool, course or person for the next stage of their growth.
How did you achieve awareness?
Building awareness has been a continuous process since the outset. I am a member of a number of large communities of online business owners, so a lot of the initial support came via my networks. As well as sharing on social media (both free and paid), I’ve written meticulously researched guides to the various digital products and courses that are available and have shared these via the Angel Rated blog, which drives additional traffic from search engines.
I’ve also launched a podcast, The Angel Rated Show, that shares inspiring conversations with the people behind the products that are listed on the site. This provides listeners with the opportunity to hear how a founder’s personal beliefs and values have influenced their business, making it ideal for those who want to know more about the integrity and impact of the businesses they are buying from. More recently, I’ve been leading and moderating panel discussions on Clubhouse, and speaking at international online summits and on others’ podcasts.
How have you been able to gain funding and grow?
I decided at the outset that I wanted to build the business from scratch myself and keep everything in-house. This bootstrapping approach has probably meant that growth has been slower than it could have been with external investment, but I am happy that it was the right decision for me. I have invested a considerable amount of my own money into the parts that I was unable to do myself (such as the website build) but am confident that this will reap greater rewards further down the line.
What are the key successes?
For me, the biggest success has been the number of people who have said something along the lines of ‘I’ve been thinking for years that something like this needs to exist and I’m so glad that someone has finally created it.’ This happens multiple times a week and always reminds me that I’ve created something that’s been desperately needed for a long time. Other successes include the hundreds of products that have already been added and the ever-increasing number of reviews that are being written.
In the future, I expect to be able to gather further data on the amount of time and money that has been saved on researching and buying unsuitable products and services, but for now, I am happy to know that I am supporting fellow online business owners in their decision making.
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
The biggest challenge has been constantly considering the needs of three different but overlapping target audiences, both within the site and in any promotional work. As well as the users of the site who are searching for the right course, coach or tool, and who need information on what products are available and most suitable for them, there are also the reviewers who need to be persuaded to write reviews, and the business owners themselves, who need to be encouraged to add their products and services. This has always been a fine balancing act and I have to constantly think about which audience I’m speaking to and which messaging and benefits are most important to them.
Another challenge has been learning how to be the face of the brand when I am someone who is more comfortable working behind the scenes. This is something that is slowly getting easier with practice, especially when I am so passionate about what I have created!
What are your plans now/for the future?
My husband and I have established our working lives so we can be location independent and continue working while travelling for extended periods of time. In recent years, we have alternated working in the UK for 18 months before heading off backpacking (and working remotely) for six months, most recently to Mexico, Cuba, and Central America. We had planned to spend December 2020 to June 2021 travelling around South America, so our lives are somewhat on hold until we can take that trip as intended.
In terms of the business, there are always improvements that can be made to the site but my biggest focus is on continuing to increase both awareness and usage. I donated 100% of Angel Rated’s year 1 income to FORCE Cancer Charity and intend to continue donating a percentage of future income each year to charities chosen by Angel Rated’s reviewers. Longer-term, my plan is to establish a foundation to fund research into alternative approaches to everything from energy to health.
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
Based on my journey, I would say that it’s never too late – you can totally change your life in your forties (or later!), and you don’t need to follow the path that is expected of you. If the corporate world isn’t for you, that’s ok. If you want something different from the 9-5, that’s ok too. Make your life and your job work for you and what’s important to you. And don’t ever stop searching for your true purpose in life! I would also say that success takes hard work and it’s important not to get sucked into all the flashy stories online about ‘overnight’ success – there is no such thing!
Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?
● Just get started (especially if you don’t think you’re ready). You might have researched everything and know all there is to know, but until you test your idea with real customers, then you never truly know if it will work.
● Don’t spend money on a product or service until you have done your due diligence (and remember to take website testimonials with a pinch of salt!).
● Don’t pay for flashy software before you need it – many tools and platforms have free plans for when you’re just starting out.
● But equally, don’t be scared to invest in your business, especially when it comes to getting help with the tasks you most hate doing or are terrible at.
● Tell everyone you know how they can support you – you’ll be surprised what contacts your friends and family have, and how much they want to help you succeed.
● If you know that you need external accountability to make progress, then hire a business coach sooner rather than later, otherwise you risk wasting a lot of time on unimportant tasks.
● Learn everything you can about yourself and how you tick. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses will save you so much time and pain in the long run.
Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most?
I try never to put people on pedestals, but I have learned a great deal from the following people:
● Denise Duffield-Thomas, a money mindset mentor who teaches female entrepreneurs how to make money and change the world, while staying chilled and down-to-earth (@denisedt on IG).
● Suzy Ashworth, a transformation coach who has inspired me as she has pivoted, grown and evolved to great success over the past five years (@suzy_ashworth on IG).
● Amanda Cook, founder of Wellpreneur, who helps people to start and grow their wellness business and does so while staying grounded and connected (@wellpreneur on IG).
● Charelle Griffith, an online marketing strategist who is the queen of consistent content (@charellegriffith on IG).
● Marissa Loewen, a business coach who always shows up unapologetically as her full self (@createtherules on IG).
What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. – Anne Frank
Don’t just climb the ladder, chart a new path. – Arianna Huffington
Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be; embrace who you are. – Brene Brown
Success isn’t about acquiring things, it’s about discovering your life purpose and following the call. – Elizabeth Gilbert
Nothing will work unless you do. – Maya Angelou
What are your social handles and website links so our readers can connect with you?