Before Selena Soo started her own business, she was earning $42,000 a year working for a nonprofit in New York City.
Tired of the demanding schedule and low pay, she headed to business school in 2010 in order to change tracks.
Two years later, she launched her public relations coaching business, S2 Groupe. In 2014, her business earned over $300,000 — and over $100,000 in February 2015 alone.
She told Business Insider that she credits that growth to one thing in particular: the connections she built.
Even before she settled on coaching, Soo had made a point of helping and connecting with online thought leaders like Adam Grant, Danielle LaPorte, Ramit Sethi, Derek Halpern, and Marie Forleo.
By reaching out and offering to help with everything from promoting their products to analyzing their plans, she built a reputable base that was able to eventually offer help in return.
I think that rather than waiting for opportunities, we can actually create our own opportunities by being proactive, by identifying who are the people that we really care about and admire. It's not just about the people who can always do the most for you.
Who do you feel just drawn to, passionate about, maybe you see a piece of yourself in them and they inspire you? The opportunity to help them is the reward. You don't need anything in return, but to be a part of their world and support them.
When you're clear about who those people are, then give generously to them.
A woman who went from earning $42,000 a year to building a business that earns over 7 times as much shares her best advice for entrepreneurs
“You create opportunities by performing, not complaining.” Muriel Siebert, first female member of the New York Stock Exchange
“Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.” Anne Sweeney, President of Walt Disney
“I learned to always take on things I’d never done before. Growth and comfort do not coexist.” Virginia Rometty, CEO of IBM
“Just as my mother said, ‘You can do anything if you put your mind to it, you work hard and you take that responsibility,’ and I think that that would be my message.” Marillyn Hewson, President and CEO of Lockheed Martin
“Do not be afraid to make decisions. Do not be afraid to make mistakes.” Carly Fiorina, first female CEO of a Fortune 20 company (Hewlett-Packard)
“Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.” Sara Blakely, Spanx founder
“As a leader, I am tough on myself and I raise the standard for everybody; however, I am very caring because I want people to excel at what they are doing so that they can aspire to be me in the future.” Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo
“Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that so it goes on flying anyway.” Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics
“I was probably, definitely, not normal. I was reading Moby Dick from start to finish when I was about nine. I read a ton of books. I still have a notebook with a complete design for a time machine that I designed when I must have been, like, seven. The wonderful thing about the way I was raised is that no one ever told me that I couldn’t do those things.” Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos
"If you're offered a seat on a rocket ship, don't ask what seat." Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook
“You can and should set your own limits and clearly articulate them. This takes courage, but it is also liberating and empowering, and often earns you new respect.” Rosalind Brewer, President and CEO of Sam’s Club, a division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc
“The only way to do something in depth is to work hard. The moment you start being in love with what you’re doing, and thinking it’s beautiful or rich, then you’re in danger.” Miuccia Prada, co-CEO and lead designer of Prada
“It is within everyone’s grasp to be a CEO.” Martha Stewart, founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
“With kids, they don’t do what you want them to do when you want them to do it. Organizations don’t necessarily, either. You’ve got to listen. You’ve got to learn how to influence.” Ellen J. Kullman, former CEO of DuPont and Company in Wilmington, former director of General Motors
“So often people are working hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.” Caterina Fake, Co-founder of Flickr and Hunch