Welcome to Feature Friday! Here we feature a new and inspiring woman entrepreneur and share her story for those looking to start or grow their own entrepreneurial venture.
This week we are featuring Maggie K. Dou of WoSeeker Alliance who, after years of globetrotting, created the world’s first lifestyle exploration program to inspire others. Check out more of her story below.
(PS. Do you want to be featured next? Find out how at the bottom of this post!)
I was professionally trained as an engineer, and my 9-to-5 was the ideal, stable, and grown-up lifestyle (as taught by my middle-class upbringing). Great career, and I could probably stick with it and retire comfortably. Several years back, I visited China for New Year’s celebration, and found out that my grandmother, in her 80s, was learning to write Chinese characters. She was born in a time where women were not allowed in school, and despite her ever-growing eagerness to learn, she was designated to raise children and care for the household, and nothing else. Looking at her crooked writing like that of an elementary student, I could only imagine how hard it was for her to hold on to that little spark in her, to question every limitation she had been taught to believe in for decades, and to start over whenever she fails. I started crying and listing all the things I dreamed of building when I was a little girl. I wanted to nurture the little spark I adopted form my grandma, and make it a firework for all the people who have limiting beliefs.
Many! But one person that moved me emotionally these days is the founder of Lao Gan Ma chili crisp sauce (you can find this sauce all over the world wherever a Chinese community is present). Her name is Tao Huabi, and she was born in a poor suburb family that couldn’t afford to send her to school. She was widowed with two young children in her early 20s, and had to support her family by selling noodles. She noticed that people particularly liked her recipe of chili sauce, and turned the chili sauce into a product. At age 49, she took a plunge and set up a factory to manufacture this chili sauce. Fast forward – 20 years later, she is one of the most influential businesswomen in China, and had built one of the most successful companies.
This story is so inspiring, because many people, myself included, talk ourselves out of pushing hard towards a better and more meaningful life. We say ‘later’, ‘too hard’, ‘when I have money’, ‘when I have time’, ‘when I feel ready’ – these conditions never happen because we have to create them, not wait for them. If someone like Tao Huabi (illiterate, widowed, and responsible for two small children) was willing to take the risks, work restlessly, and learn everything from scratch, what reason do I have to sit around and tell myself that this is the best I can do with all the privileges I have been given?
To keep myself going when there are unknowns. I get scared a lot when it comes to risks, people’s responses, money, repeated failures, and it feels vulnerable – it feels that I have a lot to lose, and that every step I take could lead to losing everything I have.
Do you know what helps with that? To continuously build a solid belief in myself. I might not have everything I want right now, but I can work hard to become the kind of person who is capable of building value from scratch. That’s pretty settling 🙂
Whenever you feel frustrated with a situation, look for your entitlement and ask yourself what you haven’t done to earn a more desirable situation.
My business is called WoSeeker Alliance, and the program creates opportunities for people to seek themselves through seeing the world. My clients go on global rotations to explore their values and interests (for example, 3 months in one country to study a language, 3 months in a country to volunteer or explore a career field they always wanted to try, and 3 months in another country for adventures), so they have a better idea of what they want in life and what options are out there.
You can contact us via our website woseeker.com, or our Chinese WeChat platform under the name woseeker.
PS. Want to be our next featured woman entrepreneur? Click here to submit your feature story!
Are you ready to build a business you love and just need a step-by-step plan and a supportive community to help you get there? Join the Young Women Entrepreneurs Club now!