The Accidental Entrepreneur – How Betty Lee Turned Her Passion for Creativity into a Successful Business
We’ve all heard the now-famous Marsha Sinetar quote: “Do what you love, and the money will follow.”
Entrepreneur and creative spirit, Betty Lee, experienced this firsthand when she turned her love of art into a successful e-commerce business.
But what happens when the expectations don’t quite live up to the reality? Betty came face-to-face with this crisis, and her journey of self-discovery and actualization is what led her to exit her Amazon FBA business.
Amazon: The Swiss Army Knife of Entrepreneurial Tools
Betty’s first side hustle was selling textbooks on Amazon when she was in college. However, she would be the first to tell you that she’s not your typical Internet Marketing tycoon. Instead, she loves creative endeavors. She enjoys creating music and painting. She meditates regularly and loves to travel.
“I’m not the type of person you would think would end up running an e-commerce operation,” she says with a wry smile.
Despite all of that, it was her travels and pursuit of art that led Betty to full-time entrepreneurship. She started her first e-commerce business while living in India and sold local artisan handicrafts. “I wanted to do something unique.”
She also liked the idea of having her own product, something that no one else in the world could offer. Ultimately, she ended up developing that product when she found out it didn’t exist. She explains, “There was a product I wanted to purchase that didn’t really exist, so I was like, ‘okay, I’m gonna create this product.’”
Entrepreneurial Golden Handcuffs
Launching a brand-new product takes a lot of work, and there’s no guarantee of success. Betty didn’t have a lot of expectations, but her initial efforts paid off quickly. “It was just a little idea that I launched, and it did surprisingly well.”
There was only one problem.
Freedom-loving Betty, all of a sudden, had a successful business on her hands, and she was offering a unique product that no one else could provide. In a word, she felt trapped. In describing her situation, she says, “it [the company] was doing so well, I couldn’t walk away.”
The life of an entrepreneur can be all-encompassing. There’s often little time to do anything else except build, grow, and scale. This was Betty’s routine as well. “I was living to work.”
She goes on, “my life was based on doing this thing I had to do to make money, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do. It was very time-consuming, and I really didn’t have time for anything else, except for work.”
Always a problem solver, Betty eventually figured out how to outsource the bulk of her processes. This allowed her to scale the company and get a taste of the freedom she so desperately wanted.
She found that she could run the entire business from her laptop, and she finally had some free time. She even began traveling again.
After solving the immediate problem of not having enough time, Betty soon faced another harsh reality.
She didn’t feel like this business was her life’s purpose. “It was providing me with a really good life and providing me with everything I could have possibly wanted from a materialistic point of view, but there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t think like, ‘I’m not supposed to be doing this with my life.’”
“This isn’t who I am. I’m not a businessperson. I’m an artist.”
Recognizing that she wanted even more freedom, she began looking for other solutions. “That’s what led to me to Empire Flippers,” she says.
She initially found us via a Google search. Betty took her time, and she did her due diligence. “I pretty much looked up every business broker and called everybody.” And that was only the beginning. She still wasn’t sure what her next move would be. “I was very hesitant, very suspicious. I asked a lot of questions.”
Betty’s research gave her a lot to think about, and she decided not to take action right away. “I waited almost a year.”
This is where things get interesting! We already know that Betty wanted out of the business so that she could pursue her passions, but she still wasn’t quite ready to let go of what she had built.
Betty struggled with one of the most common and difficult questions all entrepreneurs face at this point: timing the decision.
Even though Betty mentally and emotionally felt that she was ready to sell her business, she wasn’t sure it was the best time financially. It’s natural to feel doubt about the timing. Have you taken the venture as far as it can go? Are you leaving money on the table by getting out “too soon?” What are the opportunity costs of continuing to run the business versus cashing out and doing something else?
After a year of thinking, Betty decided to work with us. “When you’re working with Empire Flippers, there’s a culture of transparency and integrity.” She adds, “There’s no drama. We’re just doing business.”
Always conscious of time and what else she could be doing with it, Betty also appreciated the efficiency of the sales process.
“I don’t see why you would use anyone else. They’re on a different level.”
Going Full Circle
After selling her business, Betty got the financial and spiritual freedom she always wanted, but the siren song of entrepreneurship may be calling out to her again.
“Before I worked with Empire Flippers, I was like, ‘no way. I’m out of the business world forever.’ But honestly, after working with Empire Flippers, I can see myself doing it again.”
So, what’s different? How did this creative spirit decide that she might one day want to re-enter the world of business and entrepreneurship? She explains, “I’m free in mind and in my spirit. It’s a level of freedom that I was always chasing.”
“This was the reason I set out to do this in the first place. I wanted success, and I wanted prosperity because I wanted freedom.” What Betty, along with virtually all business owners, discovered is that there’s unprecedented freedom in being your own boss. Yes, you might work harder and put in some more hours, but ultimately, you’re building something for yourself. No other job in the world can provide that type of freedom.
It was an honor to help Betty on her journey, and we look forward to working with her again.
If you have a business to sell or you’re thinking about buying an existing business, contact Empire Flippers for a free discovery call.