I’m a guy from El Salvador, which is a very tiny, third-world country in Central America. Which has a lot of problems. Really bad problems.
Most people in the US complain about “working the 9 to 5.” In El Salvador the normal thing is to work 8 to 6, and that’s if you’re lucky. I have friends who were working 7am to 11pm Monday to Saturday.
I worked really hard to get my dream job, but it was obvious that I’d never get to retire.
I’d never even considered starting a business because it’s such a violent country. I have friends who started physical businesses and got robbed, got stabbed, got shot. Some of them are dead because they started a business. We have a problem with gangs in my country so if you start a physical business they go in and ask for protection money. If you don’t pay they kill you.
That’s when I stumbled into online entrepreneurship. Like I thought, “Okay! I can have an online business and nobody has to know it’s mine!” I didn’t even have to put my photo on it. It actually took me two-and-a-half years to put my email on my website. Turns out, no one in my country is looking for online businesses. Everybody is still looking at videos of cats.
So that’s when I was able to lose the fear. Many people in my country think I’m an idiot for believing in this thing, even though I made way more money than I ever did in El Salvador. I don’t care anymore because I’m securing a life that is not going to be hellish. And that’s all that matters to me right now.
I’ve taken many other programs since B-School, and I still say that B-School has the most detail. I take it every year. Because of the experiences throughout each year, I get a new understanding of the principles Marie taught in each module. I notice things I’d never understood before. “Damn, this was here last year, but because I didn’t have the experience I didn’t even see it.” I saw the video, I saw the message, but it didn’t click in my head until maybe two years later, three years later.
It’s a strange duality to see the horrible life that awaited me had I never started this business, and now living out the dreams I had since I was a kid. I just hope to secure a good life not only for me, but for my friends. I like having a business that makes lots of money, but not just so I can live a good life in Europe. What I want to do next is hire other people who want to leave El Salvador.
A friend of mine came to me and said, “How do you not get nervous interviewing these big shots? ” And I say it’s because I have bigger things to fear. I’ve been where it’s truly scary – I have seen people die. I have woken up to find dead bodies outside my house. Compared to that, interviewing an Oscar winner isn’t scary at all.