I met Amanda Martin, a college student who started the Pick Me Jewelry Company at the age of thirteen.  It has since made $17,000 at least because that’s how much she has donated to charities. I met her on a hot summer day at the O2 Max

Amanda Martin showing off her jewelry after our interview with her.summer day at the O2 Max

Fitness Center in Santa Monica. I wanted to look really nice to give a good first impression. So naturally, I had a bad hair day and my face just decided to break out with acne the day of. Nevertheless, I was really excited to meet her. I thought she would be so brilliant, so articulate, and so intense that it was intimidating. I expected to see someone who took herself very seriously—how could she not be uptight by nature considering the fact that she started a successful business at the age of 13?! Who teaches their child the professionalism and drive necessary to start a business at thirteen?! Either she was naturally motivated and serious or her parents were extremely pushy.

To my pleasant surprise, she was really personable and she says her parents were supportive but not pushy. Honestly, if Sylvia Scott, the founder of Girls CEO Connection, hadn’t introduced her as Amanda Martin, I would not have thought she was Amanda. This seemed like a normal college student I could easily just relate to.

I actually think I’m more serious than her but I’m not sure. I only met her for an hour after all.

But make no mistake, she is really mature and knowlegable. During her interview, she basically told me the same thing all the successful business people told me during the Academy of Business Leadership’s Summer Business Institute: dress nicely, be respectful, don’t hold yourself back, etc. She, a seemingly normal college student, echoed the intense Harvard MBA graduates part of the institute who always wore suits and were such perfectionists it was downright scary at times.

They both advised me to do simple things and when Amanda explained how she started her  business, it seemed so simple—just scary. She had an idea and her friends bought her jewelry. One day she decided to sell in stores so she approached store owners and such. She dressed nicely when meeting them and was polite. Then somebody else contacted her to offer her better supplies. Each step she took was simple enough but most people, I think, would only see the many tasks ahead of them and be scared by it if they were her.

I learned that it’s not that complicated and to not be so scared by how much needs to be done. Just take things one at a time. It is really easy to know or find someone who would know what to do next. As journalist “Kin” Hubbard once said, “There’s no secret about success. Did you ever know a successful man that didn’t tell you all about it?” It is just that most people do not want to do it either because of fear, apathy, or laziness. For example, the best advice anybody (and almost everybody has given me this advice) is to work hard. But how many people really follow that?

Amanda just seemed so normal yet she accomplished so much. The meeting was truly inspiring for me.

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