Lady bosses: The female entrepreneurs who inspire us
This week is Global Entrepreneurship Week, which makes it the perfect time to celebrate some incredible women who are striking out and doing their own thing in the business world.
As a woman running a business that is all about empowering others to live, learn and thrive it was hugely important to me to inspire you all by showing you that there is no set path when it comes to making a success of your passion. So, I approached women who have interesting and varied stories to tell about their experience of running their own business and asked them all exactly the same questions.
Their answers are as unique as they are and give a fascinating insight into what makes them tick as women, and as businesswomen. Some run huge companies with hundreds of staff, others are just starting out on their journey, but I know all of them will inspire you with their determination, tenacity and passion for what they do.
We will be bringing you a different woman every day this week, all of them united in being the very thing we love – they are all on fire!
Carrie is the founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association, a global network of 650,000 women around the world. She set it up after feeling isolated while running a successful online business and is passionate about helping to inspire and empower women to succeed in business.
She’s also the author of She Means Business: Turn Your Ideas into Reality and Become a Wildly Successful Entrepreneur, which was our October book of the month.
1. What job did your parents do?
My mum stayed at home and raised four kids and my dad worked insanely hard building businesses.
2. Did you choose your vocation or did it choose you?
I chose it. At university, I completely ran out of money and so in my quest to find a job, an opportunity arose for me to start my own business and I’ve never looked back.
3. Who was your role model growing up?
My dad. He taught me three things that have helped me so much:
Anything is possible when you put your mind to it
There’s no such word as can’t
Decide what you want and write it down
When I was ten, he sent me and my brothers and sister on a course to learn about the power of the mind and positive thinking. He encouraged me to dream big and write my goals down, so as a teenager I made my first goal folder. I tippexed out all of my bad school grades and changed them to As and put it in my folder, along with a bank statement that I added quite a few zeros to!
4. Who is your role model now?
There are so many amazing people I admire right now. I love reading about stories of people who had an idea to create something and then had the guts to do it, but as for role models, someone who’s been really inspiring me is Rachel Hollis, the author of Girl, Wash Your Face.
I recently saw her speak and she was incredible. She’s so down to earth and authentic, yet really successful. I love how she leads her business with community – her audience love her because she goes above and beyond for them.
5. What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you and how did you use it?
The best advice I’ve been given is: If you want to create the business and life of your dreams you have to start by conditioning yourself for success. This realisation changed my entire life. I went from being unhappy, lost and confused about what to do with my life, to creating the business and life of my dreams, by working on myself first.
It’s like the quote says:
“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
Watch your words, they become actions;
Watch your actions, they become habits;
Watch your habits, they become character;
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
When I was unhappy and lost, I was focused on thoughts that made me feel bad; I put my energy into worrying and doubting myself and I had to work really hard to stop that pattern. Every time I realised I was thinking negatively, I forced myself to stop and think about something that made me feel good. At first it felt silly, but over time my life began to change.
When we get intentional about the life we want, instead of focusing on what we don’t want, it’s amazing what can happen. For me, it was a huge turning point in my life.
6. When did you consider yourself an entrepreneur (and can you spell it?)
Ha, yes! But only because it’s in my business name – no-one ever gets my email address right!
I think I first associated myself with that word when my first business became successful and I realised that I’d managed to turn an idea into something that actually supported my life.
7. What was your biggest challenge when you started out and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was actually figuring out how to get out of my own way and dare to put my ideas out into the world! I had imposter syndrome for a really long time. I kept thinking, ‘Who am I to do this? People will think this is silly!’ and so I kept putting off working on my ideas.
I overcame it because I became more afraid of letting the years go by and not making any progress on my dreams and ideas. I started to think about the bigger picture of life and how quickly it all goes by and the more I did, the more I realised that it really didn’t matter even if it didn’t work out.
I’m here on this adventure, so I might as well be as daring as possible in the pursuit of living my best life.
8. If you could go back to when you started and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Remember that building a business is like learning to play the piano – always learn from people who are better than you, practice like crazy, have patience and know that as you continue to focus on creating success, you will get there.
9. What’s your favourite business quote?
Success is not an accident. It’s something you make happen on purpose.
10. What do you want your legacy to be – what do you want people to say about you after you’re gone?
I want people to say ‘She inspired me to believe I could achieve amazing things and live an incredible life.’
Look out for more inspirational entrepreneurs this week, we’ll be featuring one every day.