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Ann marie Houghtailing
Founder, Millionaire Girls' Movement
San Diego, CA

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“We live in a culture that suggests that we do it all and then feel really guilty that we aren't doing any of it well enough.”

Ann marie Houghtailing is the founder of the Millionaire Girls’ Movement, and has been running her own sales and business consulting firm since 2009.

What inspires you? I’m inspired by my mom who is turning eighty this year. My mom raised four children as a single mother and she never caught a break in life. She really modeled a ferocious work ethic that has served me extremely well in my business. My mother never earned much money.

Do you have a favorite quote? “Nothing will work unless you do.”–Maya Angelou

What are the most pressing issues facing women today? Women have more access but they’re still grappling with pay equity and the overwhelming task of working and managing home life, referred to as third shift. It’s an incredible amount of pressure. We live in a culture that suggests that we do it all and then feel really guilty that we aren’t doing any of it well enough. I think we need to stop feeling guilty, negotiate our worth and the terms of our lives to create more equity in and out of the workplace.

What advice do you have for a woman who wants to advance her career?
1. Learn how to generate revenue – once you’ve mastered that skill, you own your future.
2. Earn your own money and become financially literate. Don’t surrender control over to someone else.
3. Learn how to negotiate. When you don’t negotiate for yourself, you leave a legacy of inequity for those behind you.
4. Ask for help, support and opportunity. You can’t do it all alone.
5. Help others along. Don’t hoard information and experience, gift it to the next generation on the rise.

What are the biggest keys to your success? I’m tenacious. There might be someone smarter or more experienced in room, but no one is more tenacious. If I fall, I shoot right back up like a rocket. I like to say that I built my company with $5, a MacBook and a truckload of tenacity. Knowing how to hustle and never giving up matters more than what you know.

What are the biggest keys to the advancement or success of women? Unquestionably knowing your worth and being able to negotiate the terms of your life. Whether it’s a contract, a salary negotiation or a division of labor, the ability to negotiate keeps you from accepting less than you deserve and doing more than your share.

Do you see any differences in leadership skills and/or styles when it comes to genders? All of my professional mentors have been men and what I’ve learned from them is that you have to take risks, you don’t turn down opportunities out of fear and that you say yes and figure it out. I don’t like getting into what men and women to differently. I think it’s more relevant to talk about what excellent leadership looks no matter the gender. Excellent leadership is about being an excellent example, having a vision, inspiring those you lead with humanity and doing good work.

Where is your product sold? Our membership site is My book, How I Created a Dollar out of Thin Air can be purchased on Amazon.

What are the biggest hurdles you’ve faced in starting or growing your business? How did you overcome these? The biggest hurdle has been scaling the business and knowing where to invest. When you start with nothing you have nothing to lose so in some ways it’s less scary. Once you start growing you have to really start investing and being strategic and while there are more opportunities to grow there are also more to fail.

What is the most important element in running a successful company? Unquestionably the ability to monetize and generate revenue is critical to the success of every business. Selling is the only revenue generating activity in a business – everything else is an expense. You may have a phenomenal idea or product but if no one is paying you – it doesn’t matter. When companies start out they often want to find someone to do the “dirty” work of sales but frankly they can’t generally afford it. If you aren’t in love with your product or service enough to sell it yourself, no one else will be either. Selling is not about manipulation or coercion, it’s about education and advocacy. If you understand how to sell elegantly in a client centric fashion you’ll be successful.

Annmarie as Rosie

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