Mandee Flanders is a woman on a mission to support equine entrepreneurs. I met her first at Equine Affaire in 2019, when she stopped by my author table to introduce herself and we chatted for awhile. I love her energy and enthusiasm, but I especially love her mission to create a community in the horse world.
Mandee Flanders is a long-time marketing professional and even longer-time horsewoman. At the young age of 20, she was an ambitious entrepreneur looking for ways to get further involved in the horse industry without breaking the bank. Not one to be deterred by lack of funds, Mandee found a way to maximize her skills in online marketing and journalism and launched an online magazine for backyard equestrians called Horse Family in 2009. Through Horse Family, Mandee started booking speaking engagements and on-camera interviews with some of the top equine professionals in the United States. Her most noteworthy interviews featured guests such as John Lyons, Josh Lyons, Stacy Westfall, and Tommy Garland. Today, Mandee manages a large Facebook community of horse business owners and focuses on helping other creative entrepreneurs become more profitable doing what they love. She resides in upstate New York with her husband Tim and their horse, cat, and bunny.
What is your experience with horses?
My parents bought our very first horse when I was 13 years old. It was a bit of a disaster, considering our entire family lacked experience with horses. Despite the hiccups, however, I was hooked! I have had only 3 horses in my lifetime to date: the first horse that bucked me off more times than I can count (and was re-homed in less than a year), a 30-year-old senior mare who taught me not all horses were bad, and a beautiful APHA mare that I’ve now owned for nearly 17 years. I’m what most would consider a backyard horse owner: someone who adores their horse but doesn’t go too far from home. I’m simple – I love saving money but I’m not afraid to spend money on my horse when needed. I’m always on the lookout for DIY projects and smart equestrian hacks. You’ll rarely spot me at a horse show because it gives me anxiety (LOL), but I’ll join you on a casual trail ride or fun trail obstacle course any day.
What do you do?
BloggerMarketing & Business Mentor
What is your business name?
When did you begin your business?
Horse Family – 2009, The Leadline – 2021
What is unique about you or your brand?
Both of my brands are about building community and a safe space to bring like-minded people together in the equine industry. When I started Horse Family, I was longing for a resource that catered to someone like me: a young, backyard horse owner with basically no money, but the determination to figure things out. Many of the equestrians I encountered at the time weren’t at my level and acted accordingly. I didn’t want to show or compete with my horse; I simply wanted to have good rides in my own backyard. I was tired of wasting money on products that were too expensive, didn’t work, or weren’t well suited for my needs. That’s when I created Horse Family: a blog for backyard equestrians like me who were eager to learn. My brand is unique because it’s an all-inclusive space for any backyard horse owner to gain new knowledge, no matter the breed, discipline, or training style. It’s a “get back to the basics”, no-nonsense community that will help you get closer to your horse. How does your brand or business positively affect other equestrians or horse welfare? I always focus on uplifting and positive content. I want to encourage and support equestrians in their journey, no matter which stage they’re currently at.
What challenges have you faced in life or business?
Ahhh – I could write about this one for days. The biggest challenge I have had as a creative individual has been learning how to monetize my passion. I started my first horse business (Horse Family) many years ago. I was excellent at the marketing aspect and grew the following exponentially within the first few years. But what I didn’t know was how to turn a profit even though I was spending endless hours on the brand. I actually sold Horse Family to a friend in 2014 and left the horse industry to pursue a career in event marketing. I stayed in the event marketing industry for several years, and eventually bought Horse Family back in 2020. Even though the monetization of my blog has been minimal since I purchased it back, I came back to the brand with fresh eyes and years of business experience. Horse Family is continuing to be a great resource for equestrians, however, it is also helped me to develop an entirely new venture as a horse business coach and podcaster. This is where the true monetization has been stemming from in recent months, and I never would have had built that community of equine entrepreneurs without first having my blog.
What keeps you motivated or inspired?
It’s SO important to surround yourself with people who are like-minded and have similar goals. When I find myself spending too much time on my own, my business and my goals tend to plateau. Make sure you are regularly evaluating who you give your time to (for example: are they negative? always complaining? always broke?) and take action to surround yourself with the kind of people you aspire to be more like.Who has influenced you and why?Professionally, I get a lot of my influence from outside of the equine industry. I love listening to podcasts from people like Pat Flynn (Smart Passive Income) and Mike Kim (Brand You). I also love collaborating with other creative minds who challenge me to be better and encourage me that I can make it. On a personal level, my husband – despite not being a horse guy – is very supportive of my work and is always celebrating my wins.
How could your story benefit others?
In everything I do, the overall message that I want to share with others is this: You CAN make money doing what you love. It will require time, dedication, and perhaps some financial investment to get where you want to be, but you CAN do it. Remember, there’s always someone less experienced than you who’s already figured it out. People are waiting to hear your message and learn more about what you have to offer, so why not go for it?
What advice would you give to someone starting on a new adventure or business? What advice would you give?
Have confidence about what you offer! I hear so much uncertainty with newer business owners who are just starting out. If you are constantly expressing doubts about yourself or your business, potential customers will feel that. No one wants to do business with someone who sounds wishy-washy or like they have doubts about their abilities to perform the task at hand. Go in ready to win!
Are you working on anything currently? The Leadline Podcast – launching March 2021
Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org