Name:Ann marie Houghtailing
Industry: Coaching & Consulting
Location: San Diego, California, U.S.
Reason for Starting: In 2009 I lost a job in sales that I dearly loved. It was the worst economic climate of my life, and I had nothing more than $5 and a MacBook. Because I’m a single mother and I take care of my own mother, I didn’t have the luxury to second guess myself; I quickly became my own best case study. Because the toughest part of business for lots of women is asking for their worth, I have worked with many women on negotiating salaries and fees. My project, The Millionaire Girls’ Movement, has become a free platform where women can learn from other women. I am also currently working on a documentary entitled “Architecting Our Own Glass Ceiling” to address how we can earn our worth and leave a legacy of equity. I want to help others reach their full potential.
How do you define success?: My success is defined by my values. Freedom is incredibly important to me, even more important than money. If I’m able to do meaningful work that I adore, helping people reach their full potential and earn my worth, I feel that I’m on the right track. My success is measured through the success of my clients; at the end of the day, what my clients say about me behind my back really says it all. Everything I do is about the bottom line and ensuring that there’s a focus on generating revenue, but I want to do that with humanity. I want to be able to have a hell of a lot of fun, and maintain my integrity and the integrity of my clients. Freedom, fun, and financial impact is what defines my success. If one is missing, I have to decide what I’m doing wrong.
Biggest Success: I would say that writing my book and doing a TEDx talk were major milestones for me. It’s very difficult to pinpoint one event. My biggest success has been creating a viable business in a horrific economic climate. I think that creating something out of nothing and building a reputation and income stream is not for the faint of heart. I didn’t have a family that could support me with seed money. I had me. Without question, creating my destiny–on my terms, in my own style–has been my greatest success.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?: Prioritizing: I have endless ideas for how I want to grow and scale the business but each decision has to be evaluated against my larger goals. It’s so easy to be seduced by shiny objects, particularly because I really love the creative process. I have to stay grounded, not become overwhelmed, and stay focused on what will drive the business forward right now. I’ve also learned that I have to be patient; this is really critical to growth. Some things just take time and you can’t make the clock move faster. Believe me, I’ve tried. If I could bend time and really get my arms around cloning I would be golden!
Who is your most important role model?:Two women have really influenced me enormously: Madame C.J. Walker and Coco Chanel. These women were entrepreneurs before that was a viable option for women. Every time I read a biography about one of them I think that nothing I do will ever be as hard as what they did. They forged a path for my life and work to be possible. Their stories are the reason my own story is possible. These were brave, confident women who built something from absolutely nothing. They astonish me even today.
Edited by The Story Exchange