Tag Archives: Entrepreneurship

You don’t need to fit into the entrepreneur stereotype. 

The only photo I have from the referenced event – this is Olivia.

A couple of years ago, I went to a Before I Die meeting, organised by the brilliant lovely Olivia.

A lady called Sam was talking about a sober morning rave she’s started called Morning Gloryville. It sounded bonkers to me – who’d get up at 5am to party before work? – but a lot of fun. What struck me even more than her idea, and her wonderfully colourful artistic hippy dress sense, was the way she spoke.

She was all over the place. Her answers to questions were roundabout and indirect. She was endearing – you couldn’t help but like her – but I couldn’t see how she was making a success of her business. She didn’t talk like I’ve come to expect entrepreneurs to talk. In my head, I dismissed her. I didn’t think she could be successful with the way she articulated herself. She was fully aware of her limitations and talked about the importance of having supportive people around her with the necessary skills… but even then, because she didn’t fit my expectations, I didn’t quite believe in her. 

WAS I WRONG!
Fast forward two years, and I find myself in a position of being a ‘creative director’ type, with the responsibilities that come with founding a business, but without the lingo and some of the traditional skills and attitudes of business founders. 

I realised that despite not fitting into what founders are ‘meant’ to be like, I’m still bloody doing it anyway. I’m making it up through trial and error – with a lot of thought, and support from the awesome people around me. 

In fact, it’s BECAUSE I’m not a ‘normal’ entrepreneur that I can be part of making something extraordinary happen. 

In meetings where I’d ask others for help to make up for the skills and knowledge I don’t have, I realised that I was drawing on Sam for inspiration. She wasn’t the traditional entrepreneur type, but she was making it happen anyway. If Sam can make Morning Gloryville happen without traditional business-speak, I can make the Service Design Fringe Festival happen just as I am. 

In fact, I’ve already made it happen three times!

It gets bigger every year, and I’m constantly working on my skills and self-belief in order to keep up with the scale. 

I was holding myself to what I thought an entrepreneur ought to be like – and I judgementally held Sam to that idea, too. But the proof of success is the events that we run. People love it, they keep coming back, and there’s demand for international expansion. 

As I am, I am good enough. 

Of course, I actively seek out learning opportunities and I reflect on how I can do things better on an ongoing basis. I want to grow as a person. My self acceptance doesn’t mean I don’t nurture myself – believing that I am good enough as I am today doesn’t mean I don’t believe that growth is vital.

If you’re self-doubting, I recommend you go to Morning Gloryville to fully understand the truly special vibe that successful Sam has created, despite of or maybe because of her off-the-wall way of communicating. 

Unselfconscious fun!

I went for the first time recently – and there’s no way I’m not going to go back! Maybe I’ve loosened up a bit 🙂

Last I heard, Sam decided she wanted to meet the Pope… and she actually made it happen. Nothing is impossible. 

YOUR WAY IS OK
Dear reader, please don’t overlook yourself because you don’t fit into how you think you’re ‘meant’ to be. If you have a vision, and if you’re willing to dedicate yourself to learning and hard work to make that vision happen, you can do it. You might not have all the skills today to do what you envision, but with time, effort, and support, it’s possible. Go you! 

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Filed under My current work, Service Design Events

Design and Entrepreneurship


Image from Designersblock website

During Designersblock at the Southbank Centre this year, there was an excellent lecture series. I attended the Design and Entrepreneurship seminar, despite being exhausted from running my own workshop that day – and I was very glad I did. Here are some inspiring quotations.

You need rigour of thinking… Fake it til you make it.Daljit Singh

How do you cope with risk of failure?
Put distance between yourself and your project. Believe that it will work. Accept that risk is a part of it.Russell Pinch
Make mistakes at other people’s cost [don’t start out as an entrepreneur, start your own business when you have learnt enough from other projects]. Fail fast.Michael George Hemus

Design is making a conscious decision about the future.

Create demand for skills that exist through marketing and communication. Create opportunities by seeing and understanding circumstances, and reaction.Paul Bishop
Read: If you build it, will they come? – Peter Thiel

A good entrepreneur is a Master Jack of All Trades – it takes a long time to get there.Michael George Hemus

Always employ someone that scares you because they’re better than you at something.Russell Pinch

It might all end tomorrow – that motivates me to do whatever I can today. It takes a huge amount of energy and stops me from enjoying the fruits of my labour, and my relationships can suffer.Paul Bishop
That attitude will help you achieve a great deal professionally. But is it worth it? This happens a great deal with high achievers.

Thanks for the advice guys. There was much more in this talk that came up that I didn’t record. Hope to see something similar again next year.

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Filed under Design Inspiration, Designers, Ideas