Carolyn Young has over 25 years of experience in business in various roles, including bank management, marketing management, and business education. She has written business plans for companies with complex products and business models, including a technology company that built a search engine optimization tool, a biotechnology company, and an online marketplace. She has helped several startup companies get off the ground.
She is the author of several entrepreneurship textbooks, and she created a related entrepreneurship curriculum that has been taught in universities internationally. Titles include Introduction to Entrepreneurship, Social Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurial Finance, and Lean Accelerator. The textbooks were part of an online learning platform designed for high school and college students. She was the Direct of Product Development for the company, Venture Highway, that launched the platform.
Carolyn also has expertise in financial business writing, with numerous financial whitepapers under her belt, as well as a technical manual for Chief Financial Officers. She has been a freelance business writer for over ten years and has a bachelor’s degree in Finance from The Ohio State University. She is also the author of a novel, The Perfect View.
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Table of Contents
Thank you so much for giving us your time! Before we begin, could you introduce yourself to our readers and take us through what exactly your company does and what your vision is for its future?
Carolyn Young: I’m Carolyn Young and I’ve had my own freelance writing and consulting business for over 10 years. My specialty is business planning, and I’ve helped launch several startup companies. I’ve also been involved in entrepreneurial education, writing online textbooks on various entrepreneurship companies for an online learning platform.
Those textbooks have been used in colleges internationally. My vision for the future is to keep helping entrepreneurs get started. I feel that doing so has a compound impact because ultimately it creates jobs and other economic benefits for all.
NO child ever says I want to be a CEO/entrepreneur when I grow up. What did you want to be and how did you get where you are today?
Carolyn Young: Well, I wanted to just write novels, but I got a job in a business role early in life and found that I liked it. Throughout the years, I accumulated a broad range of business knowledge and decided to use it to help other people. Working with startup entrepreneurs has been very rewarding.
Tell us something about yourself that others in your organization might be surprised to know.
Carolyn Young: Probably that I worked on a novel for 6 years that I eventually self-published. It’s too long and too descriptive, but I’m still very proud that I did it.
Many readers may wonder how to become an entrepreneur but what is an entrepreneur? How would you define it?
Carolyn Young: An entrepreneur is a visionary. No great company starts without a clear vision of creating value for customers and employees. If you don’t start with a vision, what are you trying to build? An entrepreneur is also a risk-taker who is not afraid to fail. In business, you will fail before you succeed. It’s almost a guarantee.
What is the importance of having a supportive and inclusive culture?
Carolyn Young: Employees are not productive and they won’t stick around if they don’t feel valued. All of us want to feel like what we do is worthwhile and part of something larger. A great team has members that value each other and share the vision of the company. If that happens, things get done and they get done well.
How can a leader be disruptive in the post covid world?
Carolyn Young: By looking for opportunities in the new normal to make people’s lives better and grow their company at the same time. Find the win-win in everything you do.
If a 5-year-old asked you to describe your job, what would you tell them?
Carolyn Young: I write stuff to help people start businesses. Someday you might want to start a business, and I could help you.
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts?
Carolyn Young: I had to decide if I should adapt my lead content to the Saudi Arabian market for a women’s college there. The opportunity did not have a big dollar ticket on it and it was time-consuming, but I did it. The result was that the Saudi Arabian women who took our course had an outstanding learning experience and some have actually started their own companies.
Leaders are usually asked about their most useful qualities but let’s change things up a bit. What is your most useless talent?
Carolyn Young: I have a talent for sarcasm. I suppose that it’s useful in that I can be funny, but some people don’t like it.
Thank you so much for your time but before we finish things off, we do have one more question. If you wrote a book about your life until today, what would the title be?
Carolyn Young: “Every Day is a Do-Over“
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Carolyn Young for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
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