POWER WOMEN WEDNESDAY – Maria Andersson
Maria Andersson is a strong woman and an entrepreneur. She's been through a lot. She's been threatened to life after starting a business with the wrong person and today she works relentlessly with women and children's rights. She teaches people on how to let go and move on, how to never give up and how to handle setbacks. She gives you an inside in her life and business today and what new innovative ideas she's been working on lately. Don't miss this.
Tell us a little bit about who you are and your background?
I am married, I have three children and I live in the countryside outside of Norrköping. I am an entrepreneur who develop concepts to raise awareness about children and women.
I used to run a construction company because "women can't", and my whole life I have proved that girls and women can do whatever they want.
I had a tough childhood and was as a woman manipulated by business partners. Today I work with my experience to help others.
You’ve gone through a lot in life, so you wrote a book about it. When did you decide that you wanted your life to become a book?
In 2013, I became the project manager for Victoriadagen. This is the Crown Princess's birthday celebration on Öland every summer. Prior to that, I’d been working in other fun projects but no one knew anything about me or my background. I was on my way to Öland to manage of one of the biggest events in Sweden, and I thought that it was time to tell my story. I wanted to help people realize that no matter what you have gone through or what you have in your backpack, you can make it against all odds. So, when I got back from Öland I rented a cabin in the woods for two weeks and wrote the framework for my story. After my book release, the book became a study plan for NBV to help code pendent children and abused women. Today I am lecturing about my story, both for the government, in jails and for organisations and cooperatives in order to highlight the importance of children's safety and women's rights.
What’s your tip to handle all the setbacks? How do you rise again?
I can only speak from my own experiences. But in order to deal with any setbacks and when my background comes over me, I've got a couple of tools. I watch superhero movies and fairy tales. For example, Superman and Iron man. It´s a way to escape from reality for a while and see happy endings. I never watch crime series. I lived through one and have no need to see it.
I also use the forest and the silence to clear my mind and bad energy.
When you are in the middle of an anxiety episode for something you have been through, I recommend to take a vacation from life. With that I mean that you stop doing whatever you're doing for a certain time. For example, "I will take a vacation until Thursday 1pm". Until then, turn off your phone, email, computer and just do what makes you feel good. When Thursday 1pm comes closer, you can prepare yourself to get back to life again. It worked for me and also for many women I have talked to.
I often say: The strong ones are not those who never fall, but those who find the strength to rise again after they have fallen.
I know that you got tricked in business, and I know other people as well experiencing the same thing, although maybe not as bad as you. What can we do to prevent people to get hurt this way? Can we make a formula for it?
I have been tricked several times in business. I have no formula for it, but I sure would like one! The only thing we can do is to do our background check on the people we get into business with. However, that won't always give us the whole truth about people. The gut feeling usually tells us the truth. If that feeling is just a little bad, don’t go there.
In your book, you write about these experiences, and you also say that many people got hurt on the way. Are you in contact with any of the people, can you help each other in any way?
I use my energy on people who care about me and my entrepreneurship. We often stay in old patterns and dwell on the old, but that way we can never move forward.
Today I run concepts for children and women and have a concept I just created that can strengthen female entrepreneurs with the goal to build strong women.
What advice would you give to women in business?
Do your check-up. Listen to your gut feeling and your heart. You always have the answers inside you. Never do anything that feels just a little wrong. You are the most important person in your life so don’t let yourself down.
What is Onebracelet, and how did you come up with the idea behind it?Onebracelet is a part of a concept called My Life. It is a statement on your wrist that tell others that you stand up for gender equality and women's empowerment. I created My Life a couple of years ago and presented it to UN Women national committee in Sweden to bring contribution to their work and visuality to what they stand for. Today Onebracelet is sold globally.
The idea and name for the concept comes from my book My Life, my decision and the concept is created from my own experiences.
Any new fun projects coming up?
Yes, two actually. My new book Amanda, which also is a concept where I want to create an Amanda effect. Amanda means: She should be loved.
Amanda is a female entrepreneur who was deceived in business. The book tells the story of a woman's powerlessness and the feeling when no one knows or understands what's going on more than herself. We follow her fight against corruption and threats, and how she eventually with her own strength as a woman at last stand up for herself and save both herself and her family. They say that success is the best revenge and Amanda shows just how to do it.
The other project is totally different. It's about how to use digital technology to help others. We are in a time where technology operates the most of our time, both personally and in business, so why not use it for something good?
If you could give yourself an advice as a 20-year old Maria, what would that be?
Listen to your gut feeling. Never do anything that does not feel 100% right. Let people earn your trust, don’t give it away just like that. There will be a quote in your future that you can start to use from now on: "People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who does"