“If people don’t think you’re crazy and you don’t hear the word ‘no’, you’re really not breaking ground.” – Sara Blakely.
If you have seen some of my previous posts, you would know that I have been using this period as a time to invest in myself. I have been learning, growing, building on my skills, developing my business and my podcast. I have looked at this period as an unbelievably rare opportunity to do all the things I have wanted to do, but have never found the time for.
Last week, I shared that I had signed up for Virtual Success Summit (VSS). VSS is hosted by Success Resources Australia. It has been an incredibly powerful event with an impressive line-up of world class performers and thought leaders.
The theme for series two is business entrepreneurship. Since I am so incredibly passionate about women empowerment, I was particularly interested in what Sara Blakely, CEO and Founder of Spanx, had to say. In her session, Sara shared her entrepreneurial journey, and tips on building a billion dollar business.
One of the biggest lessons that Sara has learned, is that everything in life is sales. Whether it is a job interview, persuading others towards a new idea or selling a product, everything is sales. One of the most valuable skills you can learn, is to practice and learn selling.
Sara spoke to her experience of coming up with the idea of Spanx, and the fact that she did not share it with anyone, including parents or friends in the early stages. Sara said she did not seek validation for her product. Her decision to pursue the idea was intuitive, and she did not want to have to defend it – until the point she knew she was on an unstoppable path.
Sara’s father would frequently ask at the dinner table “what did you fail at this week?” He would constantly encourage Sara to try new things and, would encourage her if she failed. Redefine your definition of failure. The only failure is not trying.
According to Sara, the best habit she has developed is identifying her best thinking time. Einstein famously noted he got his best ideas while shaving and for Sara, it is while driving. She often takes a longer commute to work, purely so she can create time and space to think. Identify your best thinking time and allow your mind to wonder.
Sara writes all of her ideas in a notebook, emails them to herself or jots them down in the notes section of her phone. Sara goes back and spends some time revisiting and reviewing all of her ideas, and shared that she currently has 56 pages of notes. She believes in the importance of honouring every single idea that you have.
Sara says one of the most important factors when it comes to business, is to find a way to differentiate yourself. Tell others what’s in it for them – and do it concisely. Identify why you are unique and different to others. Let them know why that matters to them. People need to know why you are the best choice.
There was so much wisdom from Sara Blakely, as well as other successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders who presented as part of Series 2 of Virtual Success Summit. You can gain free access to the event for a limited period of time, simply by clicking the link here.