Melanie Ann Layer is a 33-year-old entrepreneur, founder and head of Alpha Femme, a luxury boutique coaching firm. Narcity Québec reports that in August, she made history in the Lower Laurentides with the purchase of a nearly $5 million mansion — a record sale for the Quebec subregion.
Layer spoke to Narcity Québec about her career journey, including a low point in which she had to sleep in her car.
How did Melanie Ann Layer start her career as a coach?
Layer described how, at age 25, she found herself without a job after breaking up with a boyfriend who had been a manager at the company she had been working for, Narcity writes. She relocated to Sherbrooke but initially failed to find success despite an aptitude for sales.
"I couldn't sell anymore. Everything I had always been able to do effortlessly, all of a sudden, there was nothing that worked at all," she said.
"I went from being the best salesperson in the whole company to not being able to sell a thing. Then my money started to [plummet]. I remember it was at a time with my family that it was really not going well. I was mad at everyone, I felt like everyone had contributed to the fact that it wasn't working out so well in my life."
She said she went broke as a result, eventually becoming unable to afford her accommodation.
"I'll never forget the first night I couldn't pay for my room in the motel I was staying at, and I had to sleep in my Civic," she told Narcity. "It was like the culmination of the worst time of my life."
How did Alpha Femme start?
Then a conversation with a friend put Layer on the coaching track.
"I have a friend who randomly called me to talk to me. She was struggling and what I had started to do for myself, I kind of introduced her to that." Others soon reached out for advice as well, Narcity writes.
Layer went on to start a scrappy coaching firm, charging $100 an hour. "I started my business and my name was 'the invisible coach.' It was really just word of mouth, that was the only way to find me."
In 2017, she took her business to social media. It exploded.
"I started a Facebook group and an Instagram page. Instead of being a life coach who was making maybe $100,000 to $200,000 a year, all of a sudden it started to grow. And what I was teaching was very cutting edge, the way I talk, the way I see things. It got a lot of attention."
Fast forward to 2021, and Alpha Femme is having its "best year ever," Layer told Narcity.
"What's special is that it started in 2017, and we made a million, before taxes, before all that. The other year we did $2.5 million, the other year we did $8.5 million and now we're up to $14 million in revenue."
What is Layer's advice for success?
But despite the success, insecurity can still haunt Layer. She said she has to remind herself that she deserves her success.
"What's hard is to have a drastic life change in the middle of your life and really be okay with it and say you deserve to be here."
"I didn't have a normal trajectory. I'm 33 years old, and I've lived and created a lot in those 33 years. It's trying to ground myself in the right to live this life right now and have what I have, to feel deeply that it's right and that I deserve it. That, I think, is the hardest part."
Her advice to those who will listen: "Don't listen to anyone. Don't listen to anyone if you know inside you that it's right."
Narcity reports that Layer plans to move into her $5 million home in April 2022.
Why You Need To Go: This is one of the more popular spots for a country house because it's close to the city, but still gives you the feeling of being on a getaway. Whether you have a house here or not, you definitely need to make the trip.
Why You Need To Go: Great in the winter, great in the summer, this town is downright fantastic at any time of the year. It's also home to the fabulous Estérel Resort which will truly make you feel like you're travelling abroad.
Why You Need To Go: The sprawling Parc Régional des Chutes Monte-à-Peine-et-des-Dalles has 21 kilometres of trails around the Rivière de l’Assomption and its waterfalls — once of which is also called "Magnificent Falls."
At five kilometres, the Desjardins trail is the longest, taking visitors on an easy promenade along the river.
It's been said again and again that Montreal has two seasons: winter and construction. And while Montrealers know how to have a good time regardless, there's nothing like taking a break every now and then to trade in the city grind for a walk on the wild side.
Fortunately, Montreal is surrounded by hiking trails of all kinds that are just waiting to be discovered. Of course, wherever you're headed, make sure to follow the relevant public health guidelines.
No matter if you're a novice or a seasoned pro, you'll likely know that having the right gear has a big impact when it comes to hiking. Footwear can make all the difference, helping to keep you safe and comfortable along the way, whatever the terrain.
One of the most well-known hiking shoe brands is Merrell, whose new Moab Collection is designed to be lighter and more flexible than old-school boots while still delivering the traction and support any type of hiker needs.
Whether you opt for the protective, cushioned trail runners that are the Moab Flight or the lightweight, athletic tread of the Moab Speed, each can help you confidently take on any one of these nine trails near Montreal.
This spectacular hike is less than an hour's drive from Montreal, and if you follow the Dieppe trail you can even catch a glimpse of the city on a clear day. Talk about a "peak" selfie moment!
While Dieppe (and all of Mont-Saint-Hilaire's five trails) are open year-round, summer and fall are usually best to avoid the mud and muck (although it's nothing a good pair of hiking shoes can't handle).
You don't have to travel out of the city to get your hiking fix. While Mont-Royal's peak can be reached via the tried-and-true Park Loop, you can also opt for the more rugged trails that zigzag through forest.
It's a good idea to bring some snacks because you'll likely want to stop and take in the panoramic view from the summit (and maybe dip your toes in the mountain-top lake too).
As one of Mont-Saint-Bruno's 27-kilometre-long network of trails, Le Montérégien is ideal for more intermediate hikers. It'll quickly become a place you'll want to revisit, which is easy to do as it's less than an hour's drive from Montreal.
But don't forget your camera or your binoculars because, with over 200 bird species and 40 mammal species, you're definitely going to want to capture memories along the way.
Located by Richelieu River Valley, what makes Mont-Saint-Grégoire's Cime Haut-Richelieu trail extra special (aside from the fact that it's only an hour from Montreal) is its farmland views that can be seen from the top.
The 2.3-kilometre trail is suitable for all hiking levels, with a summit you can reach in under an hour. If you climb on a clear day, you may even be able to catch a glimpse of Montreal in the distance.
At about a two-hour drive from Montreal, this 3.5-kilometre trail in Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook is worth the trip. The trail is perhaps best known for being home to North America's longest suspended footbridge, measuring 168 metres long and 50 metres high.
Access to the hiking trails costs $8 for adults (taxes included), which is a good deal for breathtaking views like these.
As one of Parc national d'Oka's ten trails, there's no shortage wildlife to be seen on this hike. Just 45 minutes from Montreal, the Calvaire d'Oka is surrounded by history and heritage too, including three Roman-style chapels atop the mountain's peak.
It's truly an experience of hiking through history as much as it is hiking through nature.
Perhaps better known as a skiing and snowboarding destination, Mont-Tremblant also serves up seriously scenic views for hikers too, including waterfalls and streams along the way.
With Mont-Tremblant as the highest peak in the Laurentides, the Grand Prix Des Couleurs Trail is the quickest way to the top. You're definitely going to want to have your gear, including your hiking shoes, at the ready — and your camera too.
No matter which trail you choose to tread, make sure your footwear is up to snuff with Merrell's new vegan-friendly Moab Speed and Moab Flight hiking and trail-running shoes.
Combining 100% recycled laces and a Vibram® Ecostep outsole made from at least 30% recycled rubber with protective ankle support, cushioned soles and lightweight materials, you can make that first step an Earth-friendly one.
There's no need to feel trapped in the hustle and bustle of urban living. Heading out of the city and exploring some of the great hiking spots near Montreal is a really simple way you can feel better in your body and soul. As long as you're always following public health guidelines, get your hiking shoes on and get out there!