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By: Aleksandra Mihajlovska and Natasha Carroll

The phrase “American Dream” was coined in 1931 by James Truslow Adams. Adams described it as:

That dream of a land in which life should be better, richer, and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.

In 1931, the American Dream applied to white men only. Today, due to the struggles and triumphs of women of all colors, we stand on a new precipice of what the American Dream is. Adams’s words stand the test of time — but we are finally seeing in 2021 that the American Dream is achievable for anyone, regardless of their gender, skin color, where they were born, or what class they were born into. We have seen it grow into the idea that all can attain upward mobility and pave their own unique path to success.

One woman’s success that paved the way to a greater “American Dream” is Natasha Carroll, of Natasha Carroll Realty. Her rags-to-riches story puts to shame the limited mindset of 1931 America, and she shares her advice below to help other women follow in her footsteps.

From cleaning homes to selling homes.

Natasha and her family grew up poor in New Orleans, where the reality of owning a home was out of reach. While she was watching her mother clean other people’s houses and commercial properties, she was dreaming about owning her own home and her own properties.

She worked hard. She pursued educational achievement, receiving a Masters in International Business and putting her degree to work in the corporate arena. In her career, she worked to improve business processes and digitize systems of the oil and gas industries — a career that took her all over the world.

Looking back on those early days, what advice does Natasha have to share with ambitious women like herself? Her first tip is:

Don’t underestimate the value of what you’ve gone through. Although I left the IT world for Real Estate, what I learned through my education and work experience was invaluable to building my own business. I learned skills like building brand awareness, growing a business, and serving clients.

All your experiences, even the challenging ones, create your portfolio for wealth and success.

[Related: Hard-Won Success Secrets to Advance Your Career]

Be an educated investor.

Through her pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness, Natasha had the opportunity to travel all over the globe. These travels were experiences she wouldn’t trade for anything, but “fueled her desire to own a home in America.”

Buying a home in Houston was the second big catalyst for change in her life. After buying her home, she decided to invest in another property. This investment experience was something the RE market would call a bad investment. However, it was a good lesson and a life-changing moment for her future career path.

Natasha’s second tip for Millennials wanting to strike the investment market while it’s hot is to realize “you live the mortgage not the house.” She goes on to explain:

The market is constantly fluctuating between peaks and valleys. Someone will always try to convince you you’re ‘getting a bargain,’ but make sure your investment makes sense for your financial situation. If you want to begin investing, educate yourself.

Natasha’s bad investment led her to get her real estate license. She didn’t want to be “just another investor,” as she wanted to know her investments would pay off. As before, she recommends getting educated:

I don’t recommend every investor become a realtor of course, but I do recommend that you educate yourself on the process and find an experienced agent who can guide you in your investment journey.

Remember, the American Dream is about upward mobility, not getting strapped to an investment that isn’t compatible with your budget.

[Related: What Is Your Spending Style and Do You Walk the Line?]

Quality over quantity.

Before Natasha was a real estate agent, she was an investor. Her dream was not to sell homes, but to own them. What makes her a strong investor? Her belief in quality over quantity:

It’s not about how many homes you are invested in, it’s about how much value each house can bring.

Natasha’s bad investment fueled her desire to continue investing. She knew that:

At some point, every investor purchases a faulty investment. It will happen. It’s okay. It doesn’t negate all the hard work you’ve put in. Look at it as an opportunity to grow. If you take setbacks as growth moments, the limitations you perceive will fall away.

The final word: Don’t beat yourself up about where you went wrong. Go back to Natasha’s first tip, and understand that everything you do creates the portfolio of your American Dream.

[Related: Plotting a New Course]

Aleksandra Mihajlovska a theater actress and communications professional. She uses theater tools to work on personal and creative development of people of all ages, with a specific focus on youngsters, girls, and marginalized groups. She leads workshops on communication, conflict resolution, intercultural dialogue, and advocacy through arts.

Natasha Carroll Realty is a boutique real estate firm offering personalized service for buyers and sellers in the greater Houston area. With a background in real estate investing, Natasha holds prestigious certificates such as the SRS — Seller Representative Specialist —, MRP- Military Relocation Professional —, e-PRO, and CIPS — Certified International Property Specialist. She has been featured in Yahoo Finance, Digital Journal, FOX, and NBC. To get in contact with Natasha, click here.

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