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Author Carrie Green: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became A Founder

Don’t get stuck inside your head focusing on the negative things, you’ve got to make sure you have a positive narrative, so that you’ve got the right mindset to dust yourself off and get back up.

As part of our interview series called “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became A Founder”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Carrie Green, Founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association and Author of the Best-Selling Book ‘She Means Business’.

Carrie Green, 36, from Manchester, is an inspirational mum of 2, who’s made it her mission to empower and motivate other passion and purpose fuelled women for over 10 years now, sharing her entrepreneurial and personal development journey that’s taken her from feeling lost and lonely as a business woman, to a focused and fulfilled 7-figure business owner juggling a young family. Sharing her knowledge and her business growth methods as well as her approach to mindset and overcoming challenges, Carrie is relied upon by thousands of women globally who turn to her and her community for direction, motivation and inspiration. Having been the first to bring women in business together online through the Female Entrepreneur Association back in 2011, now one of the largest global communities for female entrepreneurs involving almost 1 million women worldwide, Carrie’s mission is to help women build the business of their dreams and create the success they want, while making life-long friendships and having fun.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I was definitely one of those children that was always coming up with fun ideas to make extra money. When I was 7 years old I started selling sweets and packets of crisps to the other children on my street that I’d pinched from the treat drawer in my family kitchen!

But my official business journey started years later when I was in my first year of studying Law at Birmingham University. I remember that I’d spent all of my student loan — mainly on clothes — and knew that I needed to get a job. It boiled down to selling sweets at Cirque du Soleil or starting my own business.

So I went with the business idea, which I got started with literally no knowledge of business — so if I can do it, anyone can! I had a business idea and from there I just started to asked people for help, as well as using Google, and I was soon making money. I used Google AdWords to help me reach customers, which was perfect for me at the time, I set a £30 daily spending limit I tested different adverts and played around with the website. It wasn’t long before I got into the swing of things as I was determined to learn and apply as much as I could.

I started going to night school to learn more about web development. I realised how powerful the Internet was and wanted to know more. By the time I graduated in 2008 I had a Law degree and the business was making around £10K a month.

I didn’t know if I wanted to have a career in Law, so after I graduated I wanted to at least give it a try before ruling it out. I worked in-house with the legal team at Warner Bros. in London, but my heart just wasn’t in it, and because I’d seen all the amazing things I could do with my business, I knew this was what I was supposed to be doing and knew I could grow it into something really big.

The only problem was doing it all on my own was really lonely and I felt really isolated and in all honesty, I didn’t know what to do with the freedom I’d worked so hard for.

That feeling of loneliness was the main thing that led to me to starting the Female Entrepreneur Association (FEA).

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?

I felt a lot of imposter syndrome when I was starting FEA. I bought so many different website domains and tried so many different names and styles. In honesty, I think I was just stalling because I wasn’t sure which direction to go in and kept thinking to myself “who am I to do this?” which I think so many of us are faced with.

I felt so all over the place, plagued with indecision, negativity and limiting beliefs. But I knew that if I wanted to make FEA a success I just needed to get out of my own way and just start to make some progress.

I started by interviewing women who were running successful businesses and I would share their story on the website. It was so simple and within no time I had incredible stories that were really having a positive impact on the women who were discovering FEA.

Even though I felt so positive with everything I was doing, negativity constantly crept in, not only in my own mind but people that I knew who didn’t understand what I was doing, saying things like “But how are you going to make money?” and “Why don’t you just get a real job?”.

It was so tough to keep going with that kind of noise, but I knew I just had to stay focused and push past all of that doubt.

Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

I had really clear goals and I knew what I wanted to make happen.

If I hadn’t had those goals to keep me focused and knowing exactly what I wanted to work towards, I would have really struggled. And I think that’s something people face all the time.

Because they don’t have clear goals, they don’t know where they’re going. There’s a quote by Lewis Carroll that says, “If you don’t know where you’re going any road will take you there.” and it’s so true!

I knew I wanted to create a platform to inspire and champion women, to show them what’s possible and to help them turn their ideas and dreams into reality. I had a clear mission and so everything I did needed to resonate with that and contribute towards that mission.

It’s something I tell people all the time, get really clear on your goals and on what you’re trying to achieve. Having a mission statement can really help too, because then you can always ask yourself “does what I’m about to do align with my mission?”

So, how are things going today? How did grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?

Things are going really well today, it’s taken a long time to get to this point, but the team I get to work with and the incredible women I get to help everyday makes it so worthwhile.

It didn’t happen straight away, it took me years of building the foundations of FEA before I even started to make any money. So there was a lot of grit, determination and persistence that went into making it happen.

For the first few years I was living off the money from my first business, but when I closed that down to focus 100% on FEA, I knew that I would have to start creating some revenue streams to keep things going. As soon as I started making money, I knew that I could scale it.

FEA turned 10 years old in 2021 and it’s been an incredible journey. It all started from one small idea and has grown from there. It wasn’t an overnight success, there have been so many ups and downs, but it took 10 years to get to this point where it’s a multiple 7-figure business, with members worldwide and a network of almost 1million women.

I always say to people, whenever you feel like progress is slow, remember that the last thing to grow on a fruit tree is the fruit. You’ve got to keep going, keep working and have faith.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

One of the funniest things when I was just getting started was when I was on a local radio station. I think it was my first ever media appearance and I was so excited, I’d told all my friends and family about it.

When I was at the station recording the interview, I was really nervous and you could tell in my voice, I think I was talking about fear and pronounced it like “fee-arr”. It was so cringeworthy listening back on it!

I was trying to be so professional and was worried that people wouldn’t take me seriously, but in hindsight I should have just been myself. The important thing in business is to be your true self and bring your authenticity and energy to everything you do.

The more true you are the more that will shine through and people will resonate with you.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I think the thing that makes the Female Entrepreneur Association stand out as a company is that we care. We genuinely care about our members, we put care and attention into everything we create, the women within our community care and support each other so much, and it makes a huge difference.

I started FEA when I was feeling so lonely and I really wanted to connect with likeminded women and to create a platform that gave them a place to share their story, in the hopes that it would inspire future female entrepreneurs and show the world the amazing things women are doing in business.

When one woman succeeds, we all succeed, because it shows others out there what is possible.

I remember back in 2017 we did a business retreat in Majorca, we had about 20 women there, it was incredible connecting with such an amazing group of positive women. One of the women there burst out crying at the end of the second day and when I asked her if she was okay she said that she “had never met women like this who were so supportive and inspiring” and that she just didn’t have this kind of support back home.

It reminded me how important community really is, surrounding yourself with likeminded people who are on your wavelength, who will support you and inspire you is absolutely essential. We don’t have to go it alone, there are communities out there (online and in person) who provide so much support.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I think entrepreneurs have a natural tendency to try and manage everything themselves and don’t like to delegate. So, my tips are really practical!

  1. Realise that you don’t need to keep spinning all the plates in your business, you can choose which ones to put down (otherwise they might all come crashing down) so either try outsourcing to external contractors or just figure out when/what to step back from.
  2. Focus on the things that make you happy and help you thrive. If you’re terrible at copywriting or you hate social media, don’t suffer it, get someone to do it for you so you can work on the things you love to do instead. Don’t make it harder than it has to be.
  3. Take time out, whether it’s 5 minutes or 5 days, we have to make our mental health a priority. My morning walk with my dog is so important to me, because taking that time out in nature away from all technology just helps me clear my head and refocus.
  4. Talk through it with someone. Remember, a problem shared is a problem halved, so talk through your troubles or issues with someone: a friend, a mentor, a coach. You don’t have to go through it alone.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Absolutely, I think this is something we all need to remember, there is support out there and we don’t have to go it alone. My dad has always been my biggest cheerleader and instilled in me from a young age that anything is possible.

He would say “Decide what you want, write it down and then make it happen”. A dream written down is a goal, putting it down on paper makes it physical because it’s no longer in your head, it’s real. I tell this to my children now and they’re only 1 and 3. If you want to achieve something, write it down and then decide how you’re going to achieve it.

My son, Kasey, recently told me that he wanted a Spider-Man action figure and I told him that if he wanted one he would need some money to buy it, so he would need to work out how to make that money. He decided that he wanted to make some cookies and sell them, so we made the cookies together and then asked friends and family if they would buy a cookie for £1 each and within time he had made enough money to buy the action figure he wanted.

For some people that kind of support from family and loved ones isn’t there, as some people just don’t understand our big dreams. But there are definitely people out there that will support you and cheer you on, we’ve got thousands of women like that within our FEA membership who are all building their dream business & life and they’re there supporting and championing other women, it’s so refreshing.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Having a platform to share my message and inspire others is so rewarding for me. I know exactly how it feels to be at the beginning of the business journey and trying to get things going, and the struggles faced, so I know how much grit and determination it takes to keep going, against all the odds.

So whether it’s speaking on a massive stage or on my Podcast, spreading a message of positivity and telling other women that they can live their dream life is so important. If one person can do it, we all can — no superpowers needed!

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Dream Big — So many of us don’t give ourselves the space to dream big and get intentional about what we want to make happen in our lives. We get caught up in the rush of life and get stuck in the day-to-day. It’s so easy for us not to live the life we want, and the way out of that is to stay so focused on the positives and the big dreams we’re working on, that doubts don’t even have a chance to creep in and stop us. I love talking about manifesting and dreaming big because it really opens your mind up to all the infinite possibilities. It’s something that I’ve learned about from a very young age and it has helped me to achieve so many incredible goals I set for myself. Anyone can become really good at manifesting what they want — once you get really focused and intentional about what you are working towards, everything will become so much clearer.
  2. Make Yourself A Priority — It’s easy to get so busy in our businesses and life that we actually forget to ask ourselves how we’re feeling. It’s important to take some time to connect with yourself on a daily basis and tune in with how you are feeling. Whether it’s taking 5 minutes to meditate in the morning, a walk in nature or it might even be working out at the gym — whatever your way to unwind and reconnect with yourself is, make time for it. Recognise how you are feeling and give yourself space to work on it — doing this will also help you build a more successful business.
  3. Be Visible — The number one thing I always get asked is, “how do I create more visibility in my business?” Creating visibility needs to be a top priority for all of us as business owners because we can create amazing things, but if we don’t get people to discover the amazing things we’re creating, then we don’t really have a business at all! I have loads of ideas to share with you about ways you could create visibility — here are my 16 ways to skyrocket visibility for your business — https://femaleentrepreneurassociation.com/2022/06/16-powerful-ways-to-create-visibility-for-your-business/
  4. Find Your People — Connections will happen really organically when you show up in communities (both online and in person) and contribute your knowledge and opinions. Set time aside to connect with others and build meaningful relationships. If you do this every week, even just for an hour or so, I’m sure it will lead to amazing things. Start going to events in person, where you can connect and chat to people in real life — this can really change your energy and make such a difference. I’ve been to so many amazing networking events where the women there have really inspired me when I’ve been feeling stuck and lost. Obviously, you have to try a few to find the right ones for you. Also, find coaches and mentors who can support you — having a coach allows you to have honest conversations and they can support you and help you with your mindset. This provides you with a safe space where you can open up and be vulnerable and can be a game changing during those rollercoaster moments and lulls that we all have in business.
  5. Keep Going — Every big business out there started life as just a small idea that someone nurtured into what it is now. So, if you feel things haven’t turned out as planned, take a moment to step back, learn from it, reframe and then keep going. Know that taking a moment to pause and reflect on where you’re at isn’t stopping. You’ve just got to keep going, don’t lose momentum, persist. I’ve always said, successful people are usually the ones still hanging on after everyone else has let go.

Can you share a few ideas or stories from your experience about how to successfully ride the emotional highs & lows of being a founder?

Highs and lows are part of being an entrepreneur, we all go through them — usually lots of them — and it’s something we really need to embrace and get used to. Especially the lows, because they can be harder to handle.

Often, when things feel like they’re going wrong, it’s easy to get stuck in that valley where you beat yourself up over it and just end up dwelling.

There’s a quote I love that says, “Tell the negative committee that meets inside your head to sit down and shut up.” And it’s good advice. Don’t get stuck inside your head focusing on the negative things, you’ve got to make sure you have a positive narrative, so that you’ve got the right mindset to dust yourself off and get back up.

The highs are of course amazing, when things work out well it’s important to celebrate the wins, because that’s what makes all the long days and late nights at your laptop worthwhile. But importantly, use them as the stepping stones to the next success and keep up momentum.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

As a mum, I am really passionate about helping my kids be happy, resilient and confident — I want to help them thrive in this crazy and unpredictable world, and this is something I’d love for all children and young people.

Most kids and teenagers aren’t taught about their emotions and how to handle them, how to have the mindset for success, how to believe in themselves, how to handle tough situations and that’s why so many adults struggle. If we can do more to help the younger generation, the impact it’ll have on the world is huge.

Suicide rates are the highest they’ve ever been, including children, so a bigger movement around mindfulness and mental health for children and teenagers is definitely needed and is something I hope to help with in the not too distant future.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

FEA website: https://femaleentrepreneurassociation.com/
She Means Business Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/she-means-business-show/id1199101868

FEA Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/femaleentrepreneurassociation/

FEA Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FemaleEntrepreneurAssociation

FEA blog: https://femaleentrepreneurassociation.com/the-blog/

Carrie’s TEDx talk: https://youtu.be/MmfikLimeQ8

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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