I am BEYOND excited to share this amazing interview I got to do with Renae Cowley, I have been following her on Instagram for quite a while and was amazed at all she has accomplished in such a short time. When I first came across her account I honestly just thought she was super cool, looked like she knew how to have fun and work hard, and was clearly in the horse world.. so hit Follow! Then one day I went back to her Insta page and decided to click on her website out of curiousity. I was scrolling through and all of a sudden I noticed she offered coaching! Whaat?! Barrel racing AND coaching?! You know how sometimes you're like I have got to be friends with this girl?! That's when I knew I had to get to know her better!
Whether or not you are a fan of barrel racing, she's got a formula to success and clearly it works! I won't hold you back anymore, let's get to the good stuff!
1.Tell us a bit about yourself. What made you decide to start barrel racing?
I starting riding horses when I was 9-years-old in 4-H. That was my gateway drug into competing on horses. I did a little bit of everything, high school rodeo, reining shows, and rodeo queen contests. I reached my ultimate dream of winning Miss Rodeo Utah when I was 19. I thought my days of competitive riding were over after that but once I finished my MBA I got the itch to saddle up again. It is not an exaggeration to say I woke up one morning and thought, "I think I'll try barrel racing."
In all humility, I have been blessed time and time again in horses, in school, and in business because I have implemented a success formula to reach my dreams. Once I set my sights on barrel racing, I started applying this formula once again. I thirsted for knowledge, sought out any coach who would talk to me, I created a plan of action, and basically just went to work. Everything has happened so fast, it almost doesn't seem real. A year ago I had never even ridden a barrel horse and now I am winning checks at pro rodeos. It has been a whirlwind but I am not done yet!
When I am not horseback or on the rodeo road, I have a full-time job in politics. I am also growing my online business of coaching and multi-discipline horse training tutorials.
2. What inspired you to then build a brand and business? Tell us about the different aspects and what you offer!
My motivation is twofold: 1) I wanted to share the knowledge I was accruing with others along the way and 2) I needed to create extra income to fund my rodeo addiction.
I have never regretted spending a dime on education or coaching and believe that it is the one resource we can never have too much of. Barrel racing and starting an online business are hard. This made me want to be a resource to others. I dove in head first and just started experimenting with training and business strategies while sharing what I learned along the way through social media and my website, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I wanted to be the guinea pig and help others through their journey of either barrel racing, training their horse, or starting a business. I just grew this into one-on-one coaching and tutorial videos because that is the best way for me to share the most amount of knowledge with my followers.
Another hurdle I had to face was figuring out when I was going to have the time to spend training, traveling, and competing while I still had a real job and bills to pay. I received a lot of feedback from my followers that they struggled with the same thing. They all have dreams and ambitions but felt like they did not have enough time to fully dedicate themselves to it so it prevented them from ever even trying. I saw this as an opportunity to share more of what I was learning and figuring out so I developed an e-course on time management. In it I share exactly how I am able to balance a demanding full-time job, with building an online business, and pursuing my rodeo passion.
3. A lot of girls compare themselves to others, how do you handle feelings of envy or competition?
I believe that success and happiness are not finite resources - there is plenty to go around. My success formula relies heavily on surrounding myself with successful people and learning all I can from them. That really doesn't work well if I am harboring feelings of jealousy and resentment. I have been amazed at how much people will share information with you if you just ask them in a friendly, positive way.
I also don't compare my Day-1 with someone's Day-10,000. I try to remind myself that I am still a beginner and have a lot to learn from those who have 'been there' and 'done that'. I try to channel envy into motivation to figure out what I can do to get one step closer to their level.
4.What do girls need more of?
Empowerment. I call my inner-circle of friends "The Boss Babes" because we all encourage and support each other in our unique endeavors. Each one of them are amazing and crazy successful in the things they are involved in. I am constantly learning something new from each one them. My family is my greatest support system. They have been there for me through all the ups and downs. If every girl had the support group I have, there would be no stopping them! I think in order to receive that kind of friendship and love, you have to give that kind of friendship and love. I try to take the time to celebrate my friends' and family's successes and offer encouragement when they need it.
5.What do girls need less of?
Excuses for why they can't succeed. It seems like women are our own toughest critics. We can come up with a million reasons why we won't get that promotion or have opportunites. Equality in the workplace is one I hear a lot. I have observed that, in most cases, it really isn't men stifling our success, it is ourselves. I learned a lot from reading Sheryl Sandberg's book, 'Lean In' and recommend it to everyone - men and women.
I work in a heavily male-dominated industry. Sure, there are certainly times when it may feel like it is hard to be taken seriously as a young woman but I love a good challenge! I have found that in situations where inequality does exist, if I am polite, upbeat, confident, assertive, and can add value to the project or conversation, it is really disarming and ends up earning me lasting respect from both my male and female colleagues. I don't allow others to marginalize my contributions but I do it in a way that is non-combative and encourages team-building.
I also feel like the internet is the great equalizer. Google algorithms and consumers don't care what your gender is, your level of education, or work history. If you have a good product or offering and a solid marketing strategy, you can have a successful online business.
6. What/who is inspiring you right now?
The personal stories of Insta-lovers and Snap-fam'ers taking risks to pursue their passions. There are tons of everyday people just like me taking big, heroic leaps to start a business, take on a new endeavor, or train for a competition they have always wanted to do. It is insanely motivating because I feel like I am a part of this tribe that believes in themselves enough that regardless of age, education, experience, or financial means that they can do anything. I am deeply touched if I am able to play even a small role in inspiring these incredible people who are doing amazing things.
7. What's a day in the life of you look like?
I try to have "varsity practice" at least 3 days a week. That is what I call getting up before sunrise to go ride. Fun fact, in the summer months, that means 4 a.m. I ride at least 3-4 evenings a week in addition to that. My day job in politics is exciting because it is different every day. I might be in the office, meeting with clients, testifying in committee hearings at the capitol, or attending black tie events. Most nights are spent editing youtube videos, working on my website, creating content, or working with my coaching clients. Weekends are reserved for rodeos, of course!
8.How did you conquer fear when building your brand?
I was just talking to one of my girlfriends about this who is trying to build her online brand. Confidence in sharing my daily grind through social media comes from knowing there is no such thing as failure in this game, just learning opportunities. The only way I can fail at this is by not doing anything - not sharing or putting myself out there in an honest, sincere way. You've heard the phrase "you miss 100% of the shots you don't take,". well I am living at that free throw line, right now. I love trying something slightly new every day to see what works. If a post doesn't get a ton of likes or engagement I don't get upset about it I just try something different the next day.
I also try to focus on authenticity. People are smart and they can tell when you are being real or not. Real, raw, passion is extremely relatable and likeable. If I am not excited about something, how can I expect my followers to be excited and engaged in what I am doing?
Also, social media is a self-selecting audience. I sometimes have to remind myself that the people who are following me do so because they like horses, rodeo, or learning about the struggles of building an online business. I don't get embarrassed talking about horses constantly because I know that they they like the things that I like. Insta-lovers and Snap-fam are my tribe!
9. What is one piece of advice you have for a female entrepreneur just starting out (whether in barrel racing or business!)?
Two things: 1) Constantly seek knowledge and 2) don't strive for perfection. People who are masters of their craft are always hungry for more knowledge. There is so much information out there, and not all of it is online. Go 40-pages deep in a Google search, ask advice from anyone who has proximity to your goals, read ... a lot, get lost in YouTube tutorial wormholes, collect coaches, but mostly don't be afraid to experiment and to make mistakes - it is the best way to learn.
Lastly, women are far too hard on themselves. We relentlessly expect perfection from ourselves. Perfection is not reality - in business, in barrel racing, or in life.
Take action today, not tomorrow, even if it isn't exactly perfect.
Indecision and stagnation kills businesses.
I see this in politics too, industries that are not growing and adapting every day are dying. If you make a mistake, course correct, learn from it, and move on. I sincerely believe everyone has a unique gift or story to share with the world. Instead of second guessing ourselves, let's find a way to share that gift with others. Go after it, Boss Babe! You've got this!
Click the links below to follow Renae (& her horse Stryker!) on her journey:
Regardless if your goals are about barrel racing, training horses, starting a business, building an online following, time management, or confidence, she is ready to share her knowledge with you to guide you into the winners circle, to book a call with Renae click HERE.
P.S. This is one of my favourite videos of Renae and a couple of her Boss Babes, Jenna Smeenk & Fallon Taylor sharing all the secrets to their success, in and out of the arena. They cover everything from business, relationships, confidence, goals, overcoming nerves, pursuing your passion, weight loss, the squad, and of course - barrel racing.
Watch Here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TKWV5fEb3E