"We often miss opportunities because they’re dressed in overalls and looks like work." ~Thomas A. Edison~
I just love this quote. It resonates with me deeply and I’m definitely guilty myself of missing some great opportunities in my life because I was unwilling to roll up my sleeves and get to work. Not many, but definitely some. Most of us, when we get to the finishing line of life, will be carrying a handful of success and a bag of missed opportunities.
And everything we did that was good will pale in comparison to our regrets.
Quite recently I’ve decided not to go down that beaten path. I’ve decided to turn things around and be more open and receptive towards opportunities that resound with me and my core values.
We let good things pass us by because of three reasons:
We constantly fear things – We’re afraid that our ideas are stupid. Or that we’re not good enough and that we’ll fail. As webpreneurs, we’re afraid that technology is moving forward so fast that we won’t be able to keep up and that someone will end up doing things better and faster than we can. Because of that fear we shush our dreams and lay them to rest without ever giving them space to grow.
We don’t want to face obstacles – Most obstacles seem insurmountable from a distance. I imagine that people standing at the foot of Mount Everest see no way of getting to the top and beyond – it’s so huge that they just don’t have an idea where to start. Webpreneurs have a similar scale problem. Researching the market, building traffic from zero, setting up funnels, doing online marketing – all of that seems huge and insurmountable if you don’t chunk up the process.
We’re not motivated enough – I used to look for an angle in everything I did – how much money will I make versus how much work am I going to have to put in. If that equation didn’t work out favorably (favorably meaning more money for less work) I would scrap the idea. It didn’t matter that I was super excited about it and loved doing it. I would run after opportunities that had the best financial ROI. Sometimes even that wasn’t good enough. I know people who’ve let great business opportunities slip through their hands just because they were too damn lazy to answer their phone!
One thing connects all of these reasons – they are all in our heads!
A young woman called Carrie Green calls it as she sees it. She says that most people are not successful because they operate with a self-sabotaging mindset and I agree with her.
This is her inspiring story.
Carrie Green’s Journey from a destitute Law Student to the Global Voice of Female Entrepreneurs
In 2005, Carrie Green was 19 and broke. Seriously broke. She just finished her first year studying law at the University of Birmingham. She used up all her student loan money from the previous year and had to think of a way to make some extra cash to feed herself and continue her studies.
She looked around left and right but no one was hiring girls on the cusp of adulthood and with no prior work experience. She had one offer and that was selling sweets at Circus de Soleil.
She thought she’d rather perform there than work at a concessions stand. Sadly, she couldn’t grow an impressive beard and was not nearly limber enough to work the trapeze.
She almost gave up at one point. Moving back home and working in the local grocery shop was a very likely, and grim, future for Carrie.
Then she had an epiphany. She was going to start her own online business! She settled on a niche – mobile phone unlocking. It was a real issue back in the day. Phones were lock and worked with certain SIM cards. If you were traveling you couldn’t simply change the card and use a local number, you most likely had to buy a new phone as well. She felt that it was something that could really take off and help her pay her bills in the long run.
There were just two little problems with this idea:
1. She had absolutely no idea about mobile phones except that you could use them to make phone calls and send text messages.
2. She had zero business chops –she never ran her own company and how could she, being only 19 years old at the time!
Most webpreneurs, especially those who are just starting out, would have given up at this point. Carrie decided to push through.
‘I asked for help’ – she says.
At that point, she could either give up or find a way to make it work. Her life and her entire future depended on her making it work.
"There is no shame in asking for help if you can’t figure out something", Carrie says. "What is shameful is giving up because you couldn’t be bothered to ask and learn".
With a little bit of help from her friends and the Internet, Carrie had a website that was up and running a couple of weeks later.
‘It was ugly and awful but it was a start. I heard a bit about Google Adwords and decided to use it to help drive traffic to my new site. With a budget of about $45 per day and absolutely no idea what I was doing, I set off to become an Internet entrepreneur!’
When she wasn’t studying for her exams, Carrie was learning how to run, maintain, and grow an online business. She read books, listened to podcasts, and even went to night school to learn how to become an efficient managing director.
A couple of years later she was a law graduate and her business was booming!
Her site was getting thousands of clicks per day but Carrie was confused. Is she a webpreneur or a lawyer now? She looked deep inside her and she found that she loved the freedom of being a webpreneur. She loved the fact that she could do anything that she wanted, that no idea was too silly, or difficult or, far-fetched.
She decided to forget lawyering. Webpreneurship was her true calling.
By 2011, her business was global and she was earning truckloads of money. She was set, financially speaking, for life. But still, something was missing.
Successful but Not Happy
Carrie soon realized that her business wasn’t giving her as much satisfaction as she had expected. She would work day after day for hours from her little apartment. She even converted her spare bedroom into an office. Still, she didn’t have anyone to share her successes with and she had to go through all the bad stuff completely on her own, as well.
Her business was doing great, but she wasn’t
One day she read a book by Michael Gerber (E-myth) and one particular passage struck a chord with her.
‘You’re walking into a room. There is a box there and your friends and family are around. As you approach you realize it’s a funeral. The person in the box is you. What kind of things would you want people to be saying about the kind of life you lived, about the kind of person you were, what you achieved?’
‘I didn’t want people to say that I made a ton of money unlocking phones and then died’, Carrie says. ‘I wanted to be an inspiration; I wanted to help others achieve things’.
She did a lot of soul-searching at that time and decided that mobile unlocking was neither her passion nor her dream. It was a means to an end and it definitely wasn’t exciting. She was ready for her next adventure.
In 2011, 5 years after starting her first online company, Carrie decided it was time to dip her toe in the unknown yet again. She started the Female Entrepreneur Association, a platform dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs succeed. It’s a place where they can share their stories, unburden, and find guidance when they need it.
Carrie’s mission today is to empower women to take control of their destiny and to show them that nothing is beyond their reach.
And all I can say is –good job Carrie, I applaud you for it!
Lessons to Learn from Carrie
I think it’s safe to say that we can all learn so much from Carrie. We can learn how not to get intimidated, how to push forward despite all the obstacles, and how to succeed through sheer willpower and determination.
However, the greatest lesson Carrie brings to us is the one about our core values and our heart and mind alignment. Having money doesn’t make us happy – doing what we love does.
In her speech at TEDxManchester, Carrie said one thing that really impressed me. She said that she was more confused and more worried when she was starting her second business, her passion project, than she was with the first one. She would obsess about it, thinking that no one was interested in what she had to say and that no one gave a damn.
You see, her own mind was sabotaging her
She then decided to nip it in the bud. Whenever she caught herself thinking negative thoughts she would pause and reflect. She visualized her success and everything that she wanted to achieve. She actually pictured success in her mind!
Carrie realized early on that her worst enemy was her own mind; her own doubts and fears were preventing her from doing what she loved. With a positive change of attitude and a can-do outlook on life, she managed to turn things around.
Program Your Mind For Success
That is my advice to all of you. Stop chasing success and money and start doing what you love. Make sure you are following your passion and that your heart sings with joy when you’re doing something.
If you have passion in your heart for what you’re doing, everything else falls into place!