The big difference between business as taught in colleges and universities and business as run by real, live, business owners is ‘guts and passion’. If you don’t have the enterprise know-how when you start your business the good news is that if you’ve got the guts and passion to hang in there you’ll learn what you need to know and do for your business very quickly.
Let me tell you about my background. I lived my early years in Hull, close to Ottawa, in Canada. My house was called ‘The Parsonage’. It was up a steep road, separated from the other houses, and it overlooked a grim churchyard. In truth, it was a greyish place, surrounded by bleak, undulating moorland, with just eight bare rooms and a stone staircase.
I was one of three sisters and I had an older brother who I regarded as something of a genius. Many people thought we were talented. We created light, colour, beauty and a fantasy world out of sand, water, blu-tack, paper clips and sweet wrappers. We weren’t allowed glue because of my brother Grayson’s tendency to sniff it.
We would each take a side of the sand pit, with me, Leonora, (as a child I wasn’t the single celebrity name I now am) directly opposite Grayson. The sandpit would represent far off and foreign lands populated by little colourful people whom we’d make out of the paperclips, blu-tack and sweet wrappers. This is probably where I first gained an eye for fashion.
I would be Queen Antonia, The Reasonable. Grayson would be King George, The Junior. Together we ruled the kingdom of Gundoil, where all the Gundoilers did as we said. The mission of us, the Gundoil rulers, was to effect regime change in other lands. Basically we blew them up, so that we could make huge amounts of money selling construction, arms, drugs and fast food franchises to these other lands whilst taking all their natural reserves of energy back to Gundoil.
I learned the first big rule of enterprise which is ‘when you get money and power buy other people’s businesses and properties – it’s a lot quicker way to grow than building customers for your business’
My sisters were the opponents of Grayson and me. They were the Grand Protectors of the Funny Foreign Lands and they had to avoid provoking Gundoil, Grayson and I, into attacking and annexing their lands. The fantasy was played out in silence, so that the other side couldn’t hear the other side’s plans or suspect their duplicity.
We communicated in tiny writing, often in heroic verse, on sweet wrappers which we then made into little airplanes which we flew across the sandpit to our partner in crime.
We had thought about publishing the contents of all these sweet wrappers to show off our brilliance to the world, but unfortunately Grayson had a nasty streak which combined with his glue sniffing habit made him not the ideal co-author, co-ruler and business partner. When Grayson took a dislike to anything he didn’t understand he would just throw a bucket of water over everything in the sand pit.
Eventually, we three sisters got fed up with rebuilding our world and we were also getting really fat from eating all the sweets.
Now, you could think that this enterprising background, as a child, is the reason for my fabulous success. The main reason, of course, for my success is that I turned what I loved doing, my passion, into earning a living. I just loved fashion and looking and being better than everyone else. However, the games we played gave me useful skills with numbers, with communicating, selling my ideas, with showing off, with problem solving and so forth.
There’s a fabulous book, by an Enterprise Rocker, Lorraine Allman with Mary Cummings, called ‘Enterprising Child’. It shows parents how they can give their children, through play, these vital life skills. With luck this will ensure future generations aren’t miserable moaners, like you, that grew up hating everything to do with business.
For more from Soculitherz come back every weekend or purchase the Kindle book ‘Freedom From Bosses Forever‘ by Tony Robinson OBE (with Soculitherz) from Amazon.