We had the good fortune of connecting with Angela Castrigno and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Angela, what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
Many. But, I would say the most important habit for me has been connecting with other people who are on the same journey as me. Not necessarily people with the same life background or even the same type of business, but people on the entrepreneurial journey in general. It’s the road less traveled! And, it can be lonely and frustrating and seemingly impossible at times. Being connected with others who are also on this ride has been HUGE. I think it’s important to have people who can relate to your struggles and hash things out with you. I can’t tell you how many times talking with someone about their challenges in their business has helped me work through my own. To be connected with at LEAST one other person who is fighting the good fight and who can motivate you in a unique way because they GET IT — that has become invaluable to me. The second most important habit has been committing to decisions and seeing them through. This still takes a lot of practice for me. It is crucial to MAKE A DECISION and STICK WITH IT. Its great to have a big vision and have dozens of ideas and directions you can potentially take your business, but you can’t just dip your toe in one idea at a time for one week at a time and then think it’s not working. You have to pick something and commit to it, really give it you’re all and prove to yourself that it does or does not work. Otherwise you are just stagnant, moving around a lot, but never moving forward. Finally, a wise lady once told me, “you cannot serve from an empty cup.” It’s just a fact. You have to take care of yourself!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I create a completely customized experience for people who are struggling with eating healthy, specifically meal planning. I am a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach with a B.A. in Psychology. I’ve also mentored with experienced health coaches and chefs in my community. After an in depth dietary assessment with a client, I can create a completely customized meal plan or recipe collection for them to use. Additionally for my local community, I offer a personal meal prep service for those who would like their healthy meals prepared for them each week. This service is tailored to each client’s unique diet and lifestyle. This is different from popular meal delivery services because with a personal meal prep chef, you can be extremely specific about the foods you want and don’t want in your diet while also not having to cook the meals yourself. I love cooking healthy meals, and I love cooking them for others who need it. But, what I’m really excited about right now is the customized recipe collections. This is such an incredible tool to have on hand! Most people want to eat healthy, but they are blocked. Maybe it’s time, maybe it’s confidence, not knowing what to make, not knowing what they should be eating, etc. Whatever it is, a customized recipe collection takes the guess-work and stress away. I usually describe it like a mix tape. On a mix tape, you love every single song because you made it specifically for you, right? That’s what these collections are. When you get your recipes and start flipping through, every single one looks amazing to you, they look easy to make, they don’t take too much time, they have ingredients you really enjoy, etc. When you’re thinking about dinner options and don’t want tot resort to something unhealthy, you just take out your customized recipe collection and just pick one! It’s been a long road. I’m still traveling for sure. I’ve wanted to be my own boss since college. I really wasn’t excited about any “normal” job that I could be hired for after getting my degree. I was trying to figure out a way I could do something I really enjoy and get paid for it. My first venture was actually hula hooping! It’s always been something I really enjoyed for fun and exercise. So I became a “hoopdance fitness instructor” for a few years. It was really fun! In the end, it wasn’t something I wanted to put my heart and soul into full time, but just have it for myself. That career fizzled out while I was in nutrition school, which I was wild about. I started thinking about health a lot when my mother was sick with breast cancer for the 3rd time in my early 20’s. I stumbled upon a food documentary one night and it really spiked my interest in health management through diet. At the time, I was working at a farm-to-table restaurant that was offering a health coaching and cooking program in the yoga studio upstairs. As an employee, I got to participate for free. So, I did. And it completely changed my outlook on food and health. I enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York and decided I wanted to be a health coach so I could bring others to the experience I had. I did this for several years before I realized I wasn’t doing exactly what I wanted to do. And what’s the point of being an entrepreneur if you’re not doing exactly what you want to do? I eventually ended up moving in with 2 other entrepreneurial women for a while. Healthy meal prep was an important part of my personal routine at this point to say the least. I was always sharing tips and recipes with my roommates and we would meal prep together. It wasn’t clear to me at the time, but it must have been clear to them that this was something I really enjoyed and should consider doing professionally. When we moved in together I was working at a job that wasn’t a good fit for me anymore. I was looking to take a job at a wellness center but wouldn’t be able to pay my bills with that job alone. So, I took a leap of faith! I started meal prepping for people on the weekends to see if this was something I could sustain. I took the job at the wellness center and quit my other job. I had to make it work! It was a little risky since I knew my meal prep clients could drop me any second, but it kept me motivated to keep putting myself out there to make sure that I had the income I needed to make ends meet. It was kind of nerve-wracking actually, but in an exciting way. When the pandemic hit the area, I couldn’t cook for anyone for a while. That’s when I started offering customized meal plans and recipe collections because I knew I could do that virtually. That carried me through for a while and eventually I found ways to get back to cooking for people safely. Now I offer both services! You learn so much when you’re building a business. Mostly, you learn a lot about yourself. One of my biggest take-aways is that if I don’t like my reality, I can change it infinitely. I would take this road again and again.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Much of our time would probably be focused around food and nature. Anywhere we could go where we could be outside, do an activity, and then eat good food – that’s my jam. For example. right now I enjoy playing disc golf (I am not good, but it’s still fun). I might take them to a picturesque course where we could play and enjoy each others company. Then we could pop over to a fun brewery or outdoor dining place. There’s a course in Amesbury, MA that I really like. I’ve only been there a couple of times myself, but it’s a pretty course in the woods and the downtown area is super cute with great food and places to walk around. After that we could come back to my place in Durham, NH where I live with my partner to have a bonfire and go for a night walk on the trail by our house. We are fortunate to live on a plot of conservation land in a carriage house in the woods. It’s a pretty special place and we love having friends over to share it with. The evening would then continue with music and good conversations. Someone will mostly likely take out their guitar or harmonica. Other days of the trip could be a couple of relaxed NH hikes like Mt. Major or taking a drive down to Cape Cod where most of my family is from. That’s one of my favorite places to be. I really enjoy settings that are relaxed and/or in nature. Any place that facilitates connecting with the people you are with, even if it’s just a car ride. I also am very into live music. I suppose I would normally mention that right away if it weren’t for the pandemic. That’s definitely one of the things I miss the most. A visit from a good friend would definitely have to include a show or two. Food and music are my two favorite things to facilitate human connection 🙂
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Oh man, if there was ever a story of not doing alone, it’s mine! First shout-out goes to Tracey Miller and Kath Gallant. These women introduced me to the world of health coaching, eating for your body, and cooking with love and intention to serve yourself, the people around you, and the environment (and so much more). Tracey Miller is a Health Coach and Founder of the Women’s Wellness Exchange out of Manchester, NH. Kathy Gallant is the Owner of Blue Moon Evolution Restaurant in Exeter, NH. Interning for these women in my early 20’s changed my outlook on my health and therefore, my life. I love you guys. Second shout-out goes to my life/business coach, Karolina Labrecque (Help to Grow Institute in Rochester, NH) . She has pushed me through some really challenging spots and holds me accountable, always. I can’t recommend talking with a coach regularly to support you while growing a business enough. If you need one, look no further. Thank you, K. I have also been fortunate enough to work part-time in an environment that supports the growth of my own business and wants to see me thrive. Thank you everyone at A Lebro Center for Well Being in Kittery, ME. I appreciate every single one of you. Thank you, Jamie, for being the most loving and supportive partner anyone could ever ask for. You always let me be me and love me for it. Your advice, “follow your heart” works every time. I love you. Finally, of course, there’s my friends and family. For all the long conversations, talking, listening, hugging, butt-kicking, late nights, early mornings, and crazy long text conversations… Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. One last thing – Brienna Boisvert, owner of Expawditions, LLC: Your Dog’s Daily Adventure, and “roommate to bust.” Thank you for telling me that I was really good at meal planning and that I should consider it as a business. That was a really good idea 😉
Image Credit: Lindsay Fairchild Photography