It was 11 years ago that Carriene made the move from London to Denmark and it was in 2011 that her company I Love Natural Hair was born. Shortly after moving, Carriene’s hair condition – traction alopecia – made it increasingly difficult to maintain the chemical and weaving procedures she was accustomed to. Eventually, embracing her natural curls was her only option.
Yet frustration mounted when her quest to source natural hair products in Copenhagen became an impossible task. This frustration would soon translate into a business idea, which eventually culminated into selling natural hair products and creating inspiring content catering to various curly hair types. But building a business comes with its own set of challenges and Carriene’s business requires one key ingredient – a healthy money mindset.
But it wasn’t always this way for Carriene who had to consciously rewire her money mindset from one of scarcity to one of abundance. Here’s some lessons she’s learnt along the way.
Starting a business
Once an aspiring television presenter in London, it wasn’t until Carriene moved to Denmark that the frustration with the hair product market sparked her inner desire to become a business owner. Working as an English teacher at the time and realising that television presenting in Denmark wasn’t working out, the lightbulb moment hit her: “I had a problem that’s been ongoing for most of my life, so I decided I’m going to use my company to solve it.”
But working as an English teacher whilst also building a business comes with a host of lessons and Carriene has her share of them. “I made the mistake of believing everything had to be perfect and that you need loads of money. In fact, I think it delays a lot of people. Instead, you just need to get started and you’ll figure it out along the way. That was something I had to overcome.”
Arming yourself with knowledge too, Carriene urges, will minimise your risk of losing money. For her, research is key when making business decisions. “Make sure that you know your stuff. Knowledge is power.” This realisation came after Carriene spent unnecessary amounts of money on her website. “Don’t just put your work in the hands of other people. Go in armed with information so that when you’re presented with information from their side, you can evaluate it and decide whether it’s for you.”
Appreciate the small wins
Small victories are a way to take stock and realise that successful steps towards your goal are in motion, whether that’s setting up your website or finding your first supplier. “I think I was so desperate to get to the end or whatever success looks like to me” Carriene said, “that I forgot to enjoy the small steps I was making towards that. That’s a shame because now looking back, I know I’ve come a long way and I should have enjoyed those small triumphs because it shows I’m moving forward.” She added: “It just makes this journey a lot more enjoyable and easier I think. I stress myself more than I need to and then I can’t produce as well as I should.”
Money as ownership
With owning a business, a journey towards a healthy money mindset began for Carriene. Quickly, she began to value the importance of ownership: “I think ownership is so important.” But that’s more than say, simply owning a property for Carriene and she discusses taking it a step further with her own children. “It’s about investing and how to make money work for you. I want to make it a normal conversation around the dinner table.” If she had the same discussions growing up with her own family, Carriene is confident she would be in an even stronger place financially.
“You can always make more money, but you can never get your time back”
Be less afraid of money
Money is your companion, not your enemy. That is, when you figure out the tools to make it work for you. “Big numbers frightened me so I was less likely to take risks. My mindset has changed in that I see it as a tool and if you learn how to use this tool, it’s extremely powerful.” Working with bigger numbers and taking risk has become more comfortable for Carriene over the years and utilising and managing it carefully, she says, has been the driving force behind that shift and has culminated into greater financial returns.
Value time over money
Yes, time is money, but it doesn't mean that you should work as much as possible and not enjoy life in between. Even though working on your journey to financial freedom is important, you should place even greater importance prioritising and making the most of your time. “You can always make more money, but you can never get your time back” Carriene explained.
You work hard for your money so you deserve to own it rather than allowing it to control you. “I was very spontaneous with my money before and I would just live from pay cheque to pay cheque. I was every business owner’s dream.” Wandering around shops and buying things is fun – sure! But what if rather than just buying from the shop floor, you could own part of it?
Pay yourself first
Rather than putting your pay cheque into somebody else’s pocket first, Carriene strongly advocates paying yourself 20% up front to put into savings and investments. “Every time I get my salary, I pay myself 20 per cent.” This is a strategy Carriene does every month without fail to ensure a proportion of her money is invested back into her. It requires an extra dose of self-discipline and consistency. But “just from doing that, I have a lot more money than I’ve ever had. We always put ourselves last, but I think the first investment you can make is to yourself.”
Slow and steady wins the race
Money making, for most of us, isn’t an overnight success which is why for Carriene, playing the long game is when consistency transforms into financial rewards. She believes that the small percentage that succeed financially, do so by being willingly consistent regardless of the circumstances.
Changing habits leads to positive change in action
If we all saw money as only for the rich, how could we open ourselves up to the opportunities to whip up more of it in our own lives? The magic trick is to change your mindset. See money as a powerful tool, take ownership of it and most importantly, be consistent. As Carriene puts it: “It’s when you change your mindset on how you see it, that I believe you’re also able to attract more of it. That’s because you see more opportunities to make it, rather than seeing it as something you could never achieve.”