THE BLOG
06/17/2013 05:50 pm ET Updated Aug 17, 2013

Ann Marie Houghtailing Shows How to 'Create a Dollar out of Thin Air'

Most people living in the United States in 2009 would agree that was not the time to start a new company. That was the year when the economy was heading toward a massive meltdown and everyone was predicting doomsday scenarios, from the housing market to the job front. Yet that was the year that Ann marie Houghtailing did what most people thought was crazy. With only $5 in her pocket and a Macbook by her side, she built a company in the worst economic climate of her life.

Four years later, Houghtailing's company -- and life -- has gone beyond what she imagined. She opens up about the life lessons she's learned on her journey in her new book, How I Created a Dollar Out of Thin Air.

Create Your Opportunities
For every project Houghtailing develops, she advocates a philosophy of creating instead of waiting. As she began her company in 2009, she partnered with a private university in San Diego to teach sales and business classes. What started as teaching one sales class morphed into convincing a university that an institute dedicated to sales and business development would be a powerful contribution to the community.

Houghtailing did not wait for a job offer or wait until her company was in business for five years. She approached the university based on a good idea, competence to executive her vision, and launched an institute. From the experience of launching the Institute for Sales and Business Development, Houghtailing encourages clients and readers to create opportunities rather than wait for them to come knocking.

Blazing Your Trail By Asking
One of Houghtailing's guiding principles in her life is there's an elegant and gracious way to ask for what you want. And just by the simple act of asking, one will likely get much more than they expected. This is -- quite simply -- because so many people fail to ask for what they want or need. This belief is one of the core components in Blaze My Trail, a program Houghtailing designed to empower middle and high school students to take ownership of their future and create their own opportunities. Houghtailing loves the moment when these students learn the powerful lesson: Asking might get you something and rejection won't kill you.

Success Is Not Divine, But Designed
Houghtailing is deeply committed to the idea that success is not granted or gifted, but designed. And to design your success and your life is to honor your talent and ideas by committing to meaningful work. This is especially obvious in the Millionaire Girls' Movement, which is dedicated to inspiring, motivating and educating women to earn a million of their very own dollars. The movements seek to change the culture and create more women millionaires as role models for future generations.

Houghtailing came up with the idea for the Millionaire Girls' Movement sitting at a Starbucks with her marketing director. Two weeks later, she had a website, logo, and had secured interviews with notable female entrepreneurs for the movement. It started with a simple design: Houghtailing was deeply committed to an idea, created a goal, did the work, and a movement was launched.

Houghtailing is quick to point out that her story -- and her book -- is not a "get rich quick" story. But she does believe that by following a set of very common sense guiding principles, success does not have to be something that is difficult to attain.

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