I am Olympia LePoint, and I am here to remind you that you can do anything that you set your mind to. I came from poverty and rose to become an award-winning rocket scientist. Today, I am the founder of Answers Unleashed, a multi-media science education platform geared to help people find answers for our globe. I was a rocket scientist for nearly a decade. I helped launch 28 Space Shuttle Missions into space and helped to save astronauts’ lives. My team and I also launched important satellites that we use today in our virtual technology. Thankfully I was successful in my efforts. I won the “Modern Day Technology Leader” Engineer of the Year Award, and the Boeing Company “Professional Excellence Award” during my time in aerospace. My Mission Control Room seat is now an exhibit at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
When I was a rocket scientist, there was a shortage of Americans going into math and science careers. At the time, The United States ranked 29 out of 32 industrialized countries when it came to math and science education. So, to help change the future, I decided to start my business to help promote the next generation of global problems-solvers who will help save lives through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers.
I formed OL Consulting Corporation, a company which publishes educational science books and produces LIVE and virtual shows, TV shows and online multi-media. We have trademarked educational products Mathaphobia® and Answers Unleashed®. We help you reprogram your brain to overcome fear, so you find the answers that are in front of you.
To date, our work has gained over 17 million views online and on TV. And our live and virtual keynote programs have aided colleges and universities by inspiring thousands of students to graduate from four-year universities with math and science degrees. Our science work has been featured in Global Technology Forums with members from Artificial Intelligence (AI) industries and technology companies with attendees from SAS, Facebook, Google and other giant tech companies.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
When I first started my corporation, I did not have an investor. I had very little money. I used my savings. I thought that I did not have enough money to start a company. Though, I realized that I had enough. I had resources in the form of time and talent. I also learned to save money more strategically, so I could bank on myself. Using my part-time teaching salary, I began writing my first book Mathaphobia: You Can Overcome Your Math Fears and Become a Rocket Scientist. That book landed me on NBC News, CBS News and on PBS. Then I started my AnswersUnleashed.com science-based website. Then I wrote my second book, Answers Unleashed: The Science of Unleashing Your Brain’s Power. That book landed me on "Impact Theory" where the show gained 2 Million views. After this, I wrote my latest book Answers Unleashed II: The Science of Attracting What You Want.
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
Entrepreneurs benefit from reading Answers Unleashed II: The Science of Attracting What You Want by Olympia LePoint. Yes. I read my own books! The mental approach works! I am walking proof that you can succeed no matter what you go through. I continually take my own advice. This book provides entrepreneurs with ways to make confident decisions for future business. Often, you may be scared of making the wrong decision. Avoiding decisions is common, and this hesitation is based on your past top 6 fears.
My entire decision-making science method is new, and it is based on science. It shows how humans can make fast, and effective decisions for the future.
In the book, you identify your top fear-based moments through a method I created, called “Quantum Deciding.” In it, you revisit moments from your past dealing with your (1) Faith, (2) Identity, (3) Intent, (4) Learning Capacity, (5) Use of Resources and (6) Your Relationships. Through Quantum Deciding exercises that I show in the book, you connect with ‘The Past-You’ who needs your strength.
In doing so, you coach yourself and embed strength into the younger you who needs your wisdom. That action triggers new events to happen in the present: you start attracting better opportunities for new decisions. To add, you can connect with the ‘Future-You’ and discover your next steps. This plan helps you reach your desired future. As you jump through time, it becomes easier to make decisions faster.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
Not everyone will understand your passion in starting a business. I remember when a good church friend asked why I was “scared to go back to a 9-to-5 job.” I looked at her puzzled. At that moment, I realized that not all people are entrepreneur minded. Being an entrepreneur is reserved for the dedicated few.
Yes, I feared going back to a 9-to-5 job and missing my opportunity in becoming a best-selling author and TED speaker. I kindly shared with her that I was choosing to build my company and become an author. I continued my self-investment. Six months later, I landed my first TED talk. After many people watched the TED talk online, I started touring the world as a keynote speaker. I must have been a positive influence on her, because she started her own company as well years later.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
It is my formula: New Decisions + Perseverance = Success
When you first start your company, you will fail. That is OKAY! This failing process is natural. It shows you how to make new decisions. You will never know exactly what you are doing. Like a parent, you do the best job that you can, given your circumstances. Every day, there is a new challenge that will build your perseverance. And through new decisions and perseverance, you stay committed to developing a legacy. This formula brings you success.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
Contracts. If you want to be taken seriously, start writing your own contracts. Know your contracts. No contract is perfect. That is okay. You must start with something. Gain sample ideas online and do your research. ALWAYS do business with people who are willing to sign a contract. Like in a college course when your professor gives you a syllabus that outlines the class expectations, a business contract outlines all expectations and deliverable work. You must read contracts thoroughly and know what each line means of the contract. Here are 4 recommendations:
If you hire work-for-hire specialists, ensure there is a contract in place that outlines your deliverables with due dates. Always include a clause that allows you to end the deal if the work is not complete.
Your contract should always allow you to own your work. Be wary of contracts with the word “exploit,” because that legal language is not in your best interest. If you will not own your work, there needs to be a fair exchange for your services. Always price your services at market value and negotiate from that number; and state any percentages clearly.
Sometimes you have contracts from others. In this case, know what is important to you, and request that it be written in your agreement before you sign it. Never sign a contract without all terms identified in advance.
When you take these steps, you can avoid traps and choose great business opportunities for yourself for the long-term.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Join a local business group. Join an alumni group. When I first became a business owner, I joined a Rotary Club group. There I met my current accountant and made life-long business connections. As I became more versed in business processes, I joined the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce. There I met CEOs of top organizations who help me develop my philanthropy. Always check out your campus alumni organizations as well. I have met amazing alumni through California State University Northridge. I am happy to be a member of groups that help others.