Ameesha Green

Ameesha Green is the Founder and CEO of The Book Shelf® Ltd, where she helps everyday people to write and publish life-changing books through idea-to-bookshelf services. She also offers free guidance via her podcast “Better Shelves” and Quora (where she has 1.8 million answer views) as she believes that anyone anywhere should be able to write and publish books. Whether she is volunteering as a mentor, offering internships to help young people gain their first steps in publishing, or donating to protect the Rainforest, Ameesha believes that we are all here to make the world a better place for others.

What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.

Growing up, it was me and my mom, who was a single parent — and very inspirational! She worked a lot of different jobs and saved enough to put herself through two degrees to become a nurse and then a university lecturer. I quickly learned from her example that it’s possible to change your circumstances if you are driven and you keep trying. From a young age, she encouraged me to read and even gave me philosophy books, which led me to name my teddy bears after philosophers and develop a curious mind. So, she really got me on the bookish path from the start, and I ended up studying a degree in English Literature and Philosophy, then eventually starting a company that helps people to write and publish books.

Every industry that is now a large-scale, top-notch business once started as a small idea in the minds of entrepreneurs. What was that idea or motivation that made you start your business /initiative? What motivated you within to say YES, go for it!”

Entrepreneurs are full of ideas, and starting this company wasn’t my first idea. I thought I wanted to build a traditional publishing company, so I spent a few years working in-house at a publisher to see how the industry operated. Still, I was hesitant to take the plunge because of my limited knowledge of business. So, I started more gradually with a side hustle, a year as a digital nomad, then full-time freelance work, which organically grew into me founding a company, The Book Shelf®. While it wasn’t a planned path, I knew that working for “the man” wasn’t for me and that I wanted to make a big difference in the world, so starting a company felt natural to me.

Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?

There are still fewer women in leadership positions and fewer women starting companies than men. Why is that? There’s a well-known statistic that women will only apply for a job if they feel they can meet 100% of the requirements while men will apply if they meet 60%. What if the same issue is holding women back from starting companies or applying for leadership roles? If women don’t want to be in leadership positions or start companies, that’s fine as it’s up to each of us to choose our own path. But if they’re not doing it because they’re being held back or don’t feel confident or capable, then more should be done to support and encourage them.

Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women leadership today?

Across the world, I feel that there are many expectations placed on women (more so than on men), and these expectations come from family, society, and the media. From what they wear and how they should look to how they should behave, from what they should do for a career and whether they should be a leader or business owner, from whether they should marry to whether they should have children, and so on. I’d like to see a world where women are free to be their authentic, real selves without feeling that they have to conform to these expectations. If you are being yourself and trying to make the world a better place in some way, that is enough.

What’s the most important thing you have learned in your personal life and professional journey? What is your personal motto in life?

Everybody will face difficult times in life, and the philosophy of Stoicism has really helped me with that. Its key lessons are to focus on what you can control (not what you can’t) and importantly to realise that how we view a situation is within our control. So, we can choose to view something as “a bad thing that happened to us” or as “a challenge for us to overcome”. My motto is everything is a learning experience because that is how I choose to view life.

With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?

I once asked a successful entrepreneur which personality trait was the biggest difference-maker in those who “made it”, and they said perseverance. In other words, the successful entrepreneurs got knocked down as much as anyone else did, but they got back up, learned from the experience, and kept going. They didn’t give up when they made a mistake, when they faced setbacks, or when people said they couldn’t do it. This tenacity is necessary if you want to build a business, and it’s something you can find within yourself — just look back at all of the times you’ve faced challenges and kept going.