Form pregnant teen to serial entrepreneur

Form pregnant teen to serial entrepreneur

Tuesday, February 23, 2016 11:13 am


Grace Essen

Grace Essen

Grace Essen

When she found herself pregnant and homeless in high school, she never could have imagined that one day she would become a business owner having two successful businesses, a loving husband and four great kids. This is an inspiring story of Tran Wills taken from an interview she granted Foutune.com.

I have two reasons for sharing this story. The first is that this story goes to prove that no matter what challenges or set back we experience in life, we can still pick up our lives and become whatever we want to be. Particularly for young women, teenagers who get pregnant unexpectedly and conclude their lives have come to an end. Some get pregnant as a result of very painful situations such as rape, and that can be quite devastating. In the news last week was the story of a young girl about 13, who was raped by her uncle. It was just discovered that she is three months pregnant and according to her she is meant to sit for JS3 basic certificate exam next month.

Secondly, I hope this story will help parents realize that having a pregnant teenage daughter as embarrassing and disappointing as that may be, shouldn’t be a reason to ‘throw away’ their precious child. Girls in such situation need love, encouragement and support, and if they cannot get it from their own parents, where would they get it?

At 15, Tran met a boy she loved and that made her parents kick her out of the house. She tried to survive by seeking refuge in friends’ homes. And then she found she was pregnant. Her boyfriend, Josh told his parents, and luckily they took her in.

She had her baby in Josh’s parents’ home and when the baby turned one, they decided to move out on their own. It was tough but eventually life started falling into place for them. Now they are married for 16 years and counting, and have had three more kids, now altogether four.

Their life together started with her now-husband, Josh, working nights so she could finish high school. Together, they opened their first business, Fabric Lab, which sold local designer’s wares out of the basement of a hair salon. Friends and family thought they were crazy. They started very small, Josh did the artist work, and she made the clothes.

Tran always knew she wanted to have her own business, but what she didn’t know is that she would be giving people jobs. And that is amazing to her considering where they started from – running a business with young children and very low financial resources, their own money most of which came from Josh.

They have been able to manage their lives together and business very well, though it was not always easy. Tran often had to take her children to business meetings. A lot of people were awesome about it, and some were questioning—like, are you a professional or not? But she maintained her position: “If you want to work with me, this is what it is.”

She has also experienced a lot of stress and disappointments too. One of the hardest was when a cupcake shop she started closed. The experience humbled her and she realized that not every idea was going to work.

To keep family and business going, Tran and Josh plan their day ahead, they decide what needs to be done and who can do it. That way they are able to manage whatever comes like a child falling sick, and something going wrong at the store.

Tran thinks her kids are super proud and super inspired by her. Her first son often tells her he is. And she thinks they (she and her husband) are being good role models to their children. That is what every parent should aim to be.

We all know it’s hard work to manage being a good wife, a good mother, and being a good business partner or business owner. Some days it would feel like being torn three different directions, but it is doable. Here is Tran’s advice for women trying to make it all work:

“Always ask for help. Once I started doing that, my life got way easier. I was so used to doing it all by myself. I did it all without having a nanny or a house cleaner. Sometimes I thought about it, but then I thought, no, I can use the money to buy the kids this or put it into this business. I can clean my own house. But there are days when I wish I had help. There will be sacrifices and days you want to quit. I probably want to quit every other week, but this allows me to see my kids.”

We all can be what we want to be regardless of where we are coming from, or whatever the present situation may be. I sincerely hope this story has inspired you to not give up on yourself, and to not give up on a pregnant teenage daughter.

Let’s have your thoughts. Thank you!

You may reach Grace via email: gracessen@gmail.com. You can also follow her on twitter @GraceEssen, on Facebook, and also follow her blog @Mum2MumAfrica.com.


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