Monday, March 26, 2012

5 pearls from British entrepreneurs across the pond-Part 1

The inspiration for this blog is to help you the reader define and achieve the life that would give you lasting happiness.  Part of the original energy of this website came from reading a little known book called How I Made It by Rachel Bridge.  In reading the short biographies of British entrepreneurs, I attempted to discern a pattern.  Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”  If there is a success habit, I wanted to find out how to develop it.  I re-encountered the following five principles in their stories:

1.  Understand yourself, your interests, your talents. 
Matt Stevenson suffered the loss of his first goldfish when he was 10.  His sister had cleaned the stones in his tank with bleach.  Young Matt was confused and forever influenced by how a seemingly well-intentioned action could have such disastrous consequences.  At university, he continued his passion for fish, even renting a house so that he could keep his fish with him.  While studying product design, innovation, and marketing, his mind turned to his hobby: “…I realized that the skills I was learning in engineering and product design were lending themselves to solving some of the problems I had in keeping fish.”  Creative juices stimulated by academic requirements, he concentrated his effort on a circular aquarium that overcame the limitations of a traditional fish bowl. 

Initially, his friends thought he was foolish to be abandoning traditional pathways to well paying jobs in order to chase a quirky hobby.  His company now grosses the equivalent of $11 million annually.  His company mission is in line with that significant experience as a boy with a dead goldfish.  “When people go into a fish shop…most people don’t want to know how to wire a fish tank or what chemicals to add.  They just want to keep fish.”  Matt maintains a keen understanding of his market while combining the ideas he learned in university with his passion. 


2.  Do what you love.  Do what you know. 
Sharon Hilditch grew up in a working class area of Liverpool, struggled in school because of a severe hearing problem in one ear which affected her speech development, and left school at 15 to work in a beauty salon.  She eventually took a job in a cosmetic surgery hospital caring for patients with aging skin.  Sharon enjoyed bringing new ideas to her patients and realized she wanted to stay in the anti-aging market.  Part of her success is directly attributable to her desire to find new products and treatments for her patients.  While visiting an Italian dermatologist she encountered micro-dermabrasion and designed a gentler machine which was the start of her company Crystal Clear.  I find it admirable that despite not having done well in school, having a speech impediment, and no formal engineering or medical training, Sharon was able to learn enough to create a product and company worth millions... 

...Part 2 of this post to follow!  

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