Carrie Green: entrepreneur, business woman, inspiration to women and founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association. Ahead of the release of Carrie’s first book She Means Business next month, we caught up with Carrie to find out exactly what it takes to launch a successful business. Pre-order your copy of Carrie’s book here.
Can you tell us a bit about how you became an entrepreneur and the founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association?
I started my first business in 2005 – I’d just finished my first year at university and I’d completely run out of money! While trying to figure out what to do, I stumbled into the online world and found an opportunity to start my own business as a reseller, unlocking mobile phones! Even though I had no clue how to build an online business, I decided to go for it.
Within a few years the business had become a global success, but I ended up feeling so isolated building my business online from my home. This sparked the idea to create an online platform for female entrepreneurs. So in 2011, I set up the Female Entrepreneur Association as a place to inspire, empower and connect like-minded women in business.
What is the secret to having a successful business?
It’s simple: you just have to keep on going in the direction of your dreams. That’s it. If you can just do this you’ll learn, grow and the path to a successful business will unfold.
“Successful people hang on when everyone else has let go.”
What is the biggest mistake you see people make when they first launch their business?
They don’t stick at it! Too many people want success overnight or they want to avoid all of the confusion, frustration and despair that goes hand in hand with turning an idea into a successful business. When I launched my business there were so many times when I felt like giving up, because everything felt impossibly out of reach, but I kept a quote on my wall that said, “Successful people hang on when everyone else has let go.” It helped to keep me strong.
What is the best piece of advice you would give someone just starting their own business?
Condition yourself for success, because you’ll need to have the mental stamina to rise up and push yourself outside of your comfort zone to do things you’ve never done before. I always say, success is not an accident, it’s something you have to create on purpose. We can all do this, we just need to become the person that’s willing to make it happen; the person that’s committed to following through. Because it’s not the ideas, skill or talent that will make you successful, it’s YOU. If you’ve got a great idea, but you’re getting in your own way and can’t move past the fear to take the leap and go for it, then the idea isn’t going to become a successful business. If you’ve got a not so great idea, but you’re 100% committed to turning it into reality, you will. Maybe during the process you’ll learn and grow so much that your idea will transform into something incredible.
How can having a blog help to launch a business?
Having a blog is an amazing way to engage with your audience. It enables you to communicate your message and values with them. It enables you to serve your audience and add value. This is a crucial part of any business – if you can do this consistently, you’ll develop a tribe of raving fans.
How do you create content that stands out in a saturated market?
The best way to create content that stands out is to think about the experience you’re creating for your audience. How is it going to add value to them? How will it help them? If you put yourself in the shoes of your audience and create content with them in mind, it will stand out.
“I think it’s important to not hold back from giving the best you’ve got.”
Also, don’t be afraid to share your best content in the posts you create. A mentor of mine once said, “fire your big guns first”. I think it’s important to not hold back from giving the best you’ve got. If you want to stand out, you have to be prepared to go above and beyond to delight and wow. As long as you keep thinking, “what’s in it for the reader? How will this help them?” your audience will love it.
How do you integrate self-development and spirituality into the way you run your business?
I integrate it in so many ways. As an entrepreneur I’ve come to realise you need to have a lot of trust, faith and mental stamina to keep on going through the tough phases of building a business, so over the years I’ve developed what I like to call my bag of mindset and spiritual magic tricks to help me!
This includes things like listening to guided visualisations, creating vision boards, goal boxes and goal folders, sticking affirmations and inspirational quotes all over my home, journalling, asking the universe for guidance and answers, reading personal development books, listening to podcasts, having my inspirational “pick me up” music playlist to hand, carrying crystals around in my bag, having success mindset coaching sessions, using angel reading cards – literally immersing myself in anything and everything that will enable me to keep on believing in my dreams and keep on working towards building my business. I love all this stuff so much, I talk about it a lot in my book!
In your book She Means Business, you include many positive quotes and affirmations. What role does positivity play in business?
A massive role. I have quotes and affirmations stuck all over my walls. I want to feed my conscious and subconscious mind with positive messages every day. In the book, I share how on my vision board I have affirmations and words stuck to it, like ‘trust’ – every time I see that word it conditions me to trust the process.
“Words are so powerful, we need to make sure we’re feeding our mind the right ones!”
I remember when I was going through a really tough time financially, part of me felt like everything was hopeless, I felt like a failure, but every time I looked at my board and saw the word trust, it reminded me to stay strong. I also had the affirmation, “Money flows to me quickly and easily” on my board and every time I saw it I’d just connect with the idea of money being on its way to me. It helped me to move past my money blocks!
Words are so powerful, we need to make sure we’re feeding our mind the right ones!
How do you respond to people who say that even with hard work and positivity, some businesses will not be successful?
Firstly, I believe that anything is possible if you want it badly enough. When I started building the Female Entrepreneur Association people didn’t get what I was trying to achieve. Someone even told me I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and it wasn’t financially sustainable. But I believed with every cell in my body that somehow I was going to make it work, because my heart was 100% in it.
However, before I started FEA there were lots of business ideas I messed around with – some of them went quite far. I had a telecoms business for a while, but my heart wasn’t in it. I didn’t want to make it succeed badly enough to see it through, so I walked away.
Sometimes business ideas don’t work out, BUT being an entrepreneur is about learning from your experiences and growing into the next idea. The businesses I’ve started over the years that haven’t gone anywhere were an incredibly important part of my journey, because they acted as stepping-stones to get me to the next phase. They enabled my path to unfold. So if something’s not working out, you have to take a step back and figure out the lessons to be learned and what action you need to take in the pursuit of becoming a wildly successful entrepreneur. You have to tune in with your intuition so much as an entrepreneur, so you can tell the difference between when you’re getting in your own way, when something just truly doesn’t feel right, and when you need to move onto the next thing.
You really have to listen to your heart – but ultimately, I really do believe that if someone wants to make something happen badly enough, they’ll do it.
What are the top three tools you recommend using to improve online marketing presence?
1) Facebook. Over the past 6 years I’ve focused on understanding how I can leverage it to grow my audience and create success. By focusing on it so much, I’ve been able to build a following of nearly 400,000. Facebook now drives hundreds of thousands of visitors to my site! So I’d definitely encourage people to use Facebook – in particular Facebook ads.
2) YouTube. Video is so powerful – when people can hear you and see you, it enables them to connect with you on a much deeper level. You build the know, like and trust factor much faster.
3) Pinterest. It’s an incredibly powerful search engine! Most people searching on Pinterest are looking for solutions – they’re in the mindset to download or buy things, so the traffic tends to convert a lot better than anything else.
What is the one daily ritual you cannot live without?
My planner! I’d never get anything done!! Every evening I plan out the things I need to do the following day and I schedule in a time slot for each activity, so that I make sure i give myself time to get everything done.