Why are some people so successful and others not? One of the major reasons is focus – super successful people only worry about the things they can control and pretty much ignore everything else!
I used to worry about everything, I am a worrier by nature. All sorts of things stressed me out… planes crashing (that worry hasn’t quite gone), illness, something happening to the M’s, the business falling apart. But now I’ve learnt to not focus on stuff that distracts from the bigger picture. As I said to someone recently you are the driver of your very own bus, you can drive it high into the mountains or potter around the foothills – your choice. Think positive, think big and don’t worry about things you cannot control.
I don’t regret anything that I have done to date, it may not have always worked out as planned but that is life. Each experience has made me grow both professionally and personally. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked to work on this exciting project or that – only to find after working crazy hours putting together a fabulous proposal the project gets side-lined or canned from the get go or worse doesn’t even get to meeting stage. Amazing opportunities from restaurants and hotels to opening in the New York Plaza to being creative director for two very different companies, even designing apparel for a brand – incredible stuff. Yes, it’s been incredibly frustrating but you know what each one of those proposals that I have worked on has in some way propelled and helped out my own biz. Focusing on someone else’s biz and figuring out how to change, excite and create new opportunities for their brand has funnily enough propelled my business as I’ve applied some of those very same principles. Didn’t see that positive side at the time but it has helped us grow. The more successful you become the more opportunities present themselves to you, not all of them will come off but the ones that do will change your businesses like mine with books, or my Debenhams deal.
My point – don’t focus on all the stuff that doesn’t come into fruition; focus on the stuff that is on the table. You might not see it at the time but you don’t grow unless things go wrong – as odd as that sounds. Not every opportunity will give you zillions of pounds. You might take chances or do projects that pay little or even nothing. Sometimes you have to do stuff that means taking a chance and sometimes that is high risk. I’ve done a zillion things like this but you know what they have paid off.
It will make you go crazy. I used to do everything and it wore me down. I’m the first to admit that I’m not good at everything – who is? Just make sure you hire the best people you possibly can to help drive your biz forward and my biggest tip – get off that shop floor as soon as you possibly can. Focus on the bigger picture as soon as you possibly can. I now don’t worry about operations or logistics I mean I get involved when there are problems and believe me there are problems.
I put a quote on Facebook by Jonathan Adler the other day that kind of sums it up “”My business is extraordinarily complicated. I make stuff all over the world importing, exporting, shipping. The operational challenges of my business – and any business in which you make and ship fragile objects – are madness inducing.”
He is right they are madness inducing, manufacturing our own label has been the hardest thing we have ever done. There have been times when I’ve wanted to go back to the easy life (and I didn’t even realise it was the easy life) until we ventured down this path, but you know I have a great team that run all that and just tell me when things are going pear shaped (like daily)! Plus its massively grown our business.
Think of ways around obstacles and believe me there is always a way. Never think ‘can’t’ always think how! Maybe you can’t afford a bricks and mortar store, how about a market stand. We have the most amazing market near us Broadway and Nettle which houses some incredible businesses working out of containers (check out House of Spectacles in Nettle market). It’s amazing what those guys have done, amazing!