There isn't time to do everything and hard work alone is no guarantee of success, so how do you make sure that the efforts you do make have the most impact on your career and personal and professional visibility?
Work smarter not harder, learn fast not perfectly, don't wait for permission and when you fail - as you will - fail fabulously. Just part of the advice to my 22 year old self, after a colourful career as a CEO, entrepreneur and child chimney sweep. (You need to view the slides for that joke to make sense!)
This was recorded at Edinburgh University Business School as part of my talk to #IWScot and #BCSWomen on 30th May 2019.
I am deep in startup CEO mode right now, with my new company Vistalworks. But I do intend to resume the interview format episodes as soon as my schedule allows!
This episode I’m talking about quitting. And I’m talking to myself, because when you have a job, have a company, have investors, have staff - there are some things you just can’t say out loud without major consequences. “I quit” is one of them. So based on my own experiences, and the many conversations had with other founders & CEOs feeling trapped in their startups, here's the if, when, why and how of quitting in your startup.... Quitting your role, quitting the company, exiting a market, project or product - and winding up your startup completely.
After being made redundant from her job as a UK Government Minister when she lost her seat in the 2015 General Election, Jo Swinson worried she was unemployable and felt frustrated her business skills were of little interest to recruiters. She reinvented herself as an entrepreneur and author, and was a great advisor to me, before regaining her seat in 2017 and becoming Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats. In this episode we talk unemployment, finances, networking, building a personal brand, repositioning your skills, charging for your time and how to create opportunities that will let even the most accidental entrepreneur thrive eventually.
This mini extra episode is the audio of Vicky Brock's March 2018 TEDx Talk about coping with an involuntary career or life pause. After the shock of overhearing she was about to be put on gardening leave from the company she had founded, Vicky found the old map she'd used to navigate her life no longer applied. This is her story of the process she used to be ready to begin again.
In this mini extra episode, Mark Logan, IOD Director of the Year and former Skyscanner COO advises a startup founder who asks whether the stress they are under is a normal part of the CEO job, or something more troubling.
He explains that while moments of acute stress come with the CEO title, the problem is when these join up to become chronic. We shouldn’t live with that because while it might become normal, it is not sustainable. “Remember you didn’t start the company because you were after more stress in your life!"
The blog post referenced by Vicky in this episode: Mistakes that cost founders their companies
Founders Joe Tree and Vicky Brock talk about losing their companies and facing, then surviving the pains of startup failure in this frank episode. They share the invaluable if difficult, learnings that come from that experience. Under-capitalisation, product-market fit issues, slow sales cycles, and board/investor tensions don’t take away from the sense of personal responsibility and pain when you lose your company - but as Joe says: “we didn’t fail to do something remarkable... I have no regrets. You have a whole arsenal of experience that very few people have.”