My new book, Beyond Barriers, includes profiles of incredible people who have turned their toughest challenges into their greatest strengths. One of these incredible people is Jane Barratt, CEO of Goldbean. This is her story.
Jane Barratt, founder and CEO of GoldBean, a financial services and technology company, was born in Melbourne, Australia, one of eight kids from a large family. Her father held numerous blue-collar jobs, yet he managed his money well. As a result, the family thrived. He even managed to afford private school education for all of the children. Jane’s mother didn’t simply want to raise eight kids; she wanted to raise eight confident individuals. She encouraged them to embrace their own unique personalities and find their own paths.
“You can do anything you want in life,” she often said, “as long as you figure out how to pay for it yourself.”
As a child, Jane became obsessed with television commercials. She found them more entertaining than the regular programming, and given her limited exposure to the white-collar world, advertising seemed like a great career, a place where she could bring her storytelling abilities to life.
When she was only eleven years old, Jane set a goal to someday run a Madison Avenue advertising agency. The circuitous route she took to get there enabled her to fulfill this dream before the age of forty. Jane credits an early career decision to work in Asia as the key to fast-tracking her success. The transition created a huge cultural shift for her, but like Noha, Jane adapted to the change.
Driven by a Dream
Ultimately, her dream of having adventures in life and business was helped by many mentors along the way. During her time in Asia, a number of powerful women instilled in her a sense of focus and a no-nonsense approach to leadership. This proved extremely useful when she became a manager, helping her handle serious situations, including an outbreak of the SARS pandemic in her office building, multiple market downturns, and the dot-com crash that wiped out so much of the burgeoning digital space.
Throughout her career, a positive mindset kept her learning and growing. She rose to meet each new challenge, and the confidence she built informed her entire journey. One thing she did to cultivate her mind was to keep an idea journal. Anytime she came up with an interesting idea, she wrote it in the journal so she could spend time contemplating it. If, after a time of contemplation, it seemed like a good idea, she took action. If an idea failed, she just chalked it up to a learning experience and tried something else.
After her children were born, she put the journal in storage. Ten years later, she pulled it out again and was amazed to discover that one of the ideas she’d written was for a technology platform that would allow people with limited resources to invest. This idea became her company, GoldBean.
Fulfilling Her “Why”
In all of this, Jane’s “why” came from an insatiable curiosity about people and the world, a fascination with the broader economy and how companies work. This culminated in the creation of a company that not only gave her a better life but also helped others do the same thing.
Jane’s company provides a platform for people of limited means to become savvy investors and share in the economy that they are driving. Jane would not have gotten this far if she hadn’t achieved her goals early in life. This allowed her to gain clarity on what she wanted, why it mattered to her, and how she could take more risks in life.
Starting GoldBean required tremendous courage. Operating a business in New York City is difficult enough, but competing in the overlap of the financial services and technology fields (FinTech) proved even more challenging. It’s an extremely male-dominated and monocultural industry, but Jane proved a rarity. She has become one of the few women to build her own FinTech company from scratch.
She recognized that by taking risks and taking action, she would learn from setbacks and gain confidence from her successes. Through it all, she maintained her faith in a better future, living by the motto “Next year will be bigger.”
Jane and countless other pioneers have achieved success through courage. They faced their fears, learned from their failures, grew confident in their successes, and moved confidently in the direction of their dreams.
For more advice and stories on how to turn your challenges into successes, check out my new book, Beyond Barriers.