Interview With Successful Entrepreneurs
March 18, 2008 by Akemi Gaines
I am so excited to deliver the first post in the Interview With Successful Entrepreneurs series.
As I maintained in If You Want To Become An Entrepreneur, Be With Entrepreneurs, it is critical for aspiring entrepreneurs to learn the entrepreneur mindset directly from successful entrepreneurs. So I scout out successful entrepreneurs online and offline and ask for interviews.
My definition of “successful entrepreneur” is someone who has built a profitable business that resonates with who he or she is.
If you are not happy with your enterprise, it is not worth bothering to build the business. It is about passion. At the same time, it is not only about passion – it is a business, so it must be profitable. When you clear these two criteria, then it is up to you how far you want to take it. I respect the owner of a closely held micro business just as much as the owner of a multi billion dollar public corporation.
If you are such a successful entrepreneur, please contact me. I’d be honored to interview you.
Now the feature interview. Christine O’Kelly is a SEO marketing and copywriting expert. She has been writing and publishing since childhood. Moreover, she was an accomplished salesperson in her previous jobs and brings that experience into her business. Be sure to also check SEO Copywriter and her outstanding blog, Self Made Chick.
1. Tell us a bit about your business.
As an SEO copywriter, I help businesses market themselves online by creating content that is optimized for search engines – and most importantly, for humans. I provide website content, press releases, landing pages, articles – and many other types of content that help businesses increase their search engine ranking and build engaging relationships with their customers.
2. What were the biggest challenges when you were starting off as a new entrepreneur?
Certainly one of my biggest (perceived) challenges was having no capital whatsoever. I mean, I was really broke. I barely had enough just to pay the rent, internet, and phone bill. Just after I quit my job, my computer broke and I started my business on a $100 clunker that I bought on Craigslist. When you are broke like that, your spirit can feel really weak – and that is probably what is more difficult than actually being broke is feeling helpless.
Another challenge was that I didn’t think that I was good enough. I think that is a lie that everyone tells themselves. Everyone is good enough to provide some level of service no matter where we are on the
3. And how did you work through these challenges?
It wasn’t an accident that I ended up in this situation where I was broke. I put myself there knowingly. I had tried to start businesses on the side for years, but because I didn’t NEED them to succeed, they didn’t. When I quit my job and had no other options, I knew that I was either going to have to make it, or else. I knew that if I had a life preserver that I would get desperate and grab onto it so I jumped in without one.
I knew that I, like most people, had a habit of justifying ways of not pushing forward when things got tough. That might mean saying “I’m tired, I think I’ll go watch something mindless on TV just to unwind and let my brain relax.” I didn’t want to give myself any excuses not to be 100% focused. I got rid of TV for 2 years and only read books or occasionally watched movies. I was vigilant about only putting information into my mind that I thought would benefit me on my quest to become successful. That may be a little extreme, but I put myself into an extreme situation and I decided to take extreme measures.
4. What is the best part of being an entrepreneur for you?
The best part about being an entrepreneur is that you can see so many more possibilities in business and in life. Suddenly, anything really is possible. When I was working the 9-5, I had heard that this was possible and wanted it to be true, but I never felt that. It’s like there is this invisible dimension right next to us that you cannot see unless you are in the right mindset.
5. Any advice for people who dream to have their own business and yet find it hard to make the leap?
Really, you just have to do it. You have to stop thinking that you’re insignificant and that you can’t possibly make a difference because you can. Someone needs exactly what you have to offer. You need to go for it even if your competitors are more established. You need to go for it even if you’re not an expert yet. A little bit of action over a long period of time ends up to be something quite significant.
Thank you, Christine. I am so impressed with her focus on success. Becoming an entrepreneur does involve risks and it is scary – we need to focus on moving forward despite the fear. It is also intriguing that she points out the sense of new possibilities as the #1 reward of entrepreneurship. We can make money in so many ways, but the spiritual awakening is priceless.
Enjoyed this interview? Read on to the next interview here.
If you like this article, you might enjoy my eBook on spiritual entrepreneurship. Click here for free, immediate download