Salas Kastilio started off life constantly traveling to new schools (15 total in a short time) and having to speak three different languages, all at a young age. At the age of 15, she was completely on her own, supporting herself and facing tremendous financial burden.
For such a young person to have to fight her way out of two bankruptcies, this is truly an incredible story of how she made it as an entrepreneur and worked her way up to getting jobs at Apple and Oracle. She has also gone on to make quite the name for herself as a Snapchat Influencer.
Here are four big takeaways from my interview with Virginia Salas Kastilio.
Success as the Inspiration
“As strange as it may sound, whilst other girls my age shriek over bags and boys, I am obsessed with challenges. The more impossible something seems to me, the more it excites me,” said Salas Kastilio.
You don’t have to follow the standard path just because that’s what people do. In fact, I think it’s much more inspiring to break the mold and do something that others aren’t doing. That takes real courage.
Courage in entrepreneurship is especially scary for people. Many entrepreneurs like to piggyback off of something that is out there proven and working. It takes a lot more guts to innovate and do something never done before.
Stop Asking for Permission
“You do not need anyone’s permission to start a business, live your dream or go anywhere in the world that you wish to go. Too many people are waiting for the blessing from someone who is most likely less smart and much more afraid than they are,” said Salas Kastilio.
This is your life, your journey, your business. Why bother living someone else’s? None of us were put here on this earth to live someone else’s idea of what life or business should be. It’s easy to follow a path set out for you; it’s much more inspirational and challenging to make your own.
A lot of entrepreneurs seek external validation and permission from those more successful than them. It’s ok to get a confidence boost from a mentor, but at some point, you have to lace up your boots and get to work. Seeking permission and validation can become a self-limiting practice if you use it as an excuse not to execute on your dreams and ideas.
Everything Is Negotiable
Salas Kastilio faced a great predicament when she got her job at Apple. She could move away and take the job, or stay and finish school. She decided to do both. She convinced the majority of the professors to let her complete the courses online, but one of them would not budge. She negotiated and eventually got him to reduce the number of classes she would have to be physically present for.
“I began my impossible journey: taking four flights, two trains, and two busses each time, a 22-hour journey, to sit in a 1.5-hour entry level Sociology class. I spent over $10,000 in flights and hotels just to complete this one class. If I only missed one class, my entire investment would have been gone; it was a gamble,” says Salas Kastilio.
Salas Kastilio continued, “And on the second last class: I got to the airport and realised I forgot my passport at home. It was over; I was about to turn back, and I thought ‘No I got too far. I will at least try.’ And yes, I made four flights without a passport or ID. All I had were credit cards and an expired student card.”
Refuse to Give Up
It’s incredible what we are capable of when we refuse to give up. In Salas Kastilio’s case, a great example of that is traveling without her ID or passport. She had come this far, and she wasn’t about to give up now when she was right at the gate (literally and metaphorically.) This story reminds me that with real perseverance and never giving up, anything is possible.