As a Florida high school drop-out with learning disabilities, my prospects of achieving success in life seemed very slim. My childhood dream was to be a writer and a pilot, but life unfolded in a different direction. My father told me, “Girls don’t fly airplanes, and you’ll never make money as a writer. You’re not smart enough.”
Dear Old Dad ended up getting into some big trouble, changing our lives dramatically. He went to prison for the organized crime. Soon after, my only brother was killed by a drunk driver when I was sixteen.
Traumatized and feeling completely lost, I made some poor decisions and ended up in an abusive marriage lasting fifteen years. When I sprouted the courage to leave my husband, I sold cars to support my two young daughters, because it was the only job I could get with an outdated resume and no education.
I never gave up on my dream to become a writer, and in my spare time worked at learning the craft of screenwriting. I wrote an award-winning romantic comedy on Post-it-Notes while waiting for customers to show up on the car lot.
I went on to win two international screenwriting competitions, and nearly sold the scripts, but the deals did not come to fruition. Refusing to give up, I kept on studying the craft of writing for twelve more years.
When I was 45 years old, I found myself in a wonderful new marriage with the most gentle and inspiring person you can possibly imagine. He was a pilot with an instructor’s license and taught me to fly. I earned my private pilot’s license and also received a float plane rating. My faith in love and life was restored.
Our marriage led us down some interesting and wonderful paths, and when I was 48 years old, I started a company making bath and beauty products in my kitchen. With this new endeavor, I was able to leverage my writing talents to help my products stand out in a crowded market. My life story and its challenges became the jump-off point for our products.
I launched my start-up the old fashioned way. I filled up my pick up truck and drove up and down main streets, cold-calling gift shops. Within two years I was making 85 personal care products for men and women and selling them in over 2000 stores throughout North America.
Our company is headquartered on a farm. Our goals were not just to create an income for ourselves, but to be able to save our 1850s barns for future generations and create rural jobs. Sitting high on a hill, they are an icon in our area. These old barns are a valuable part of our agricultural history, and as most are roughly the same vintage, they are disappearing at staggering rates. Can you imagine a country drive with no old barns? I’m proud to say we are restoring our barns as this article is written.
It hasn’t been easy building a brand. Some days I felt like all forces were against me and I was pushing boulders up-hill. The tape in my head played, ‘Your job is just to survive today. That’s easy. You can get through one day.”
Today, I’m an entrepreneur, CEO, writer, pilot, and public speaker. I’m a member of the Women President’s Organization, a mastermind group for female millionaires. I’ve learned ‘right timing’ is everything. If you really want something, forge away until you don’t want it anymore or you succeed. Even if it takes a lifetime. Some people are just late bloomers.
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