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Everyone can make a mistake, as mistakes are an inevitable part of life. After all, to err is human. However, the more important thing about mistakes is whether a person keeps dwelling over the spilled milk or rises above the situation and learns from their mistake. As Maeurn Smiles points out, mistakes are perfect learning opportunities as they show us precisely what to steer away from in the future, especially if someone is on a journey to success.

Maeurn Smiles
Maeurn Smiles Maeurn Smiles

Maeurn Smiles is an entrepreneur and real estate investor and also one of Instagram's favorite models and influencers. Fed up with life below the poverty line, this gorgeous Filipina rose to fame three years ago when she decided that enough was enough and moved to Manila to search for a better opportunity. She saw her chance to become an Instagram model and influencer. Starting from scratch wasn't easy, but three years later, Maeurn managed to build quite the reputation and earn over 1 million strong following.

The three-year-long journey taught Maeurn a lot of things, but one of the most painful lessons she had to learn was when she became a part of one atrocious statistic. While the exact numbers differ from scam to scam, Maeurn became one of ten people who lost money and/or goods to scammers (according to International Fraud Report on scamming statistics).

Coming from the impoverished neighborhood of Cebu, Philippines, Maeurn learned from a young age to be wary of everyone and everything. And even though it seems easy to spot a scammer while they are targeting you, Maeurn Smiles explains that even the most alert person can be blindsided and robbed. "A few pyramid schemes were going around for a while that I learned to avoid," she says. "But nothing had prepared me for the catastrophe I went through when I got into real estate."

After she became an Internet sensation, Maeurn started to earn some serious money, and for her, going into the real estate industry was the only logical choice. The properties were relatively cheap, and once the renovations are finished, they could go for up to double or even triple the price of the initial investment. But young and inexperienced Maeurn didn't know how sly and tricky others in the industry can be.

"The most painful lesson was these few early bad real estate deals. After some initial success, I ran into this seemingly great deal. I got this building that looked great on paper. It was cheap, it didn't need much investment, and I decided to go for it," says Maeurn. "But when the deal was done, it turned out that building had so many problems that were so expensive to fix. And I couldn't believe that someone could stoop so low, to scam people for their hard-earned money."

But the mistakes stop being mistakes when we learned from them, and the lesson that Maeurn learned then was that if something seems to be too good to be true, it probably is. She also learned a few more valuable lessons as she had a lot of success flipping houses and rentals since. "I learned so much from those experiences. Now, I always make sure to thoroughly inspect everything and to hire a good architect, designer, team, etc.," she says. "All of our subsequent projects were super successful, and all of our houses are currently being rented out."

However, even though caution may look like a smart way to approach things, Maeurn still believes that there is no success without risk. She explains that being overly cautious won't get you anywhere. Those who want to achieve success, need to follow their instinct and learn how to make an informed decisions.

"But being overly cautious is not how you succeed. You need to take risks, but the smart way is to put mechanisms in place that will mitigate that risk," she says. "You just need to follow your instinct, your gut. If you don't feel comfortable going forward with the deal, back off and don't ever look back. But if you proceed, be sure to have a great lawyer and a good team. And if you are in real estate, make sure you get along with your architect. That's your recipe for success. Also, don't forget one thing – if something seems to be too good to be true, it probably is."