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Mastering the mind-set of the Seriously Successful Entrepreneur

Unlimited Success Interview

I found this interview that I did in 2013 with whom I don’t know, so I slightly tweaked it to reflect my thoughts in 2020 but not a lot has changed since then. Also, I see from the first question that I had a natural tendency for reverse psychology.


Were you successful during your school years?

Yes, that may be a funny answer for someone who actually came out of the system at the age of 15 not being able to write his own name or spell it for that matter. I was and am very dyslexic, and in those days the teachers didn’t understand what was going on in my brain along with so many other kids, we were in a system that thought that we were just stupid, dyslexia was a word that came along far later but is it a good thing they found out and put a title to it or not?

The year was 1957 when it really hit me, I was seven years old at the time, I couldn’t read from the blackboard and the excuse that I told my teacher was that I couldn’t see the words on the blackboard as I didn’t know what else to tell her, I think she assumed I needed glasses so I was fitted with national health spectacles and immediately I had the ‘mickey’ taken out of me which absolutely destroyed my confidence, the glasses seemed to make the words bigger but they still didn’t stop the letters from altering position each time I looked at them.

To make matters worse the teacher moved my desk to under the blackboard which was next to her desk. I think then she realised I was a lost cause because in moving my desk she made the mistake of alienating me from the other children and turning me into the class clown, which was just humiliating.

In senior school, I was put in the bottom class where the bullies and misfits were, and definitely the stupid ones, we were the kids that picked up stones from the playing fields while the other kids had their lessons in football, I hated that class, I tried to get out of it but it took me 3 years to get from C grade to B grade.

But it wasn’t all bad, there were times when I liked being at school but not often, I enjoyed the chess club and the gymnastics club, but those happened out of School hours, accountancy was once a week and unfortunately not until I was 14 and ready to leave School so, was it a success? No, it was shit.

What if anything did you learn at school?

I learned a lot about how and not to treat people.
I learned that most people are educated enough just to get a job and keep it.
I learned that most people take the wrong education for granted.
I learned that to succeed in life I have to think differently to overcome problems.
I learned with a positive mindset I could achieve my goals.

What positives did the School system teach you?

I knew I couldn’t achieve most of the things that the school were trying to teach me so I concentrated on what I could do and that was outside of School, So from the age of seven, I always had a job, I learned more from the jobs I had than I did in school.

My first job was helping to deliver milk, ‘a milk boy’. In those days milk was delivered by a horse and cart and I learned very early on about health and safety, in other words, don’t let the horse tread on you or knock you over when you’re trying to lead it down the road, frightening to think a seven-year-old walking down a busy street nowadays with a horse and cart full of milk, good job there were very few cars on the road in those days.

I also learned to balance, what I mean is, I hung on to the crates of milk as the cart careened around the corners as I would be standing on the back of the cart sorting out the next delivery, that was when I began to be interested in time and motion.

By the age of 9, dealing in scrap iron old clothes and returnable bottles was just normal, why were the other boys kicking a football around on a Saturdays?

I was working at the cattle market on a Saturday by the time I was 10.

Aged 12, I taught myself to ride an errand boy’s bike safely through the busy traffic of Peterborough every day with my basket full of flowers that I would deliver to the maternity unit.

I worked in a ‘Co-op grocery store’ when I was 13, the deputy manager taught me one Christmas how to drink like a cowboy and subsequently got this 13-year-old paralytic, my mother was not happy with me or the manager!

I was a butcher’s boy at 14, responsible for collecting the money when delivering meat and I was taught how to clean the butcher’s shop, including the chopping benches and I learned to sharpen knives, to cut and tie the meat.

I still used to visit the Saturday market throughout those years where I learned about animals, I would buy and sell rabbits and guinea pigs, it taught me also that some of these animals were being bought for experiments in laboratories, unfortunately.

I learned about people, how life was for all of those who worked in the different businesses that I passed through, they taught me to be courteous and thoughtful towards customers and made me realise that I’d got two ears and one mouth and I should use them in those proportions when people were educating me.

All this put together made me grateful and humble for the opportunities that I was given, understanding that School wouldn’t last forever.

What was your home life like?

Very loving, but very strict, the youngest of 3, I tried my parents’ patience to the limit so every day I got caned, thrashed and beaten by my poor parents who didn’t understand any other way.

My father had been in the 1939-45 Japanese war which was brutal, most of his mates did not come home, he was fighting for his country most of that time in the Burmese jungle, this would have been unimaginable and incomprehensible, the atrocities that he and his mates had to endure, he did not want to go but like many thousands, he was forced to and I’m sure this affected him when we did not do as we were told. On the other hand, it was balanced with so much love and affection from both parents and they would always do their best to help us in everything we did.

At what point did everything change for you?

Easy question – meeting Marilyn, she was 15, I was 16 and after just six weeks I asked her to marry me and she immediately said yes, I have found that when you have someone to share your life with whether it’s a friend, partner, children or parents you have something in your life to work for and that drives you mentally and physically to achieve the goals that you desire for everyone concerned.

Why do you think it was that point that created the change?

When two people get together with the same vision and determination, who work with each other every day seven days a week, year in year out, totally focused, what outcome and results would you expect?

What did you do in your first year of being an entrepreneur?

I developed a Property Maintenance Business which meant I did anything anybody wanted me to do in maintaining their properties, from cleaning their windows to painting and decorating, mending roofs and anything else you can think of.

What was the hardest part of your journey emotionally?

Well, there are so many things it is impossible to mention them all but one area that sticks in my mind is the Government they make rules and regulations, which they should do of course, but you have to design your business within the parameters of those rules, and then without good justification they will change them which can throw your business into chaos. Usually, these rules are changed for financial reasons for the benefit of the government, they haven’t got a clue on how it really affects people’s lives; it’s full of red tape that is destroying many small businesses.

To take one example; some years ago they stopped all businesses that were producing fish and chips using coal fires, the business owners had to change to gas or electric which excluded many from the market because the owners could not afford to upgrade, but if the business owner could have upgraded in their own time they would have made the right decision for themselves, either to close or retire maybe, but some may still have been trading today in fact they could have a niche business which could be thriving.

Someone implements these laws that have a devastating effect on people’s lives which can escalate to partnership break-ups, divorce, even suicide. People in business have to walk a tightrope every day, unfortunately, the government has a tendency to destabilise it and with dire consequences for the individuals that are on it, just look at the turmoil today in 2020.

Where did you find the strength to keep going?

When you’re in business for yourself you really have no choice, it’s a sink or swim scenario when things happen in a crisis I find usually one person motivates the other and vice versa, that has saved us many a time when things haven’t been going right for us, if you have a strong bond with each other you’re 90% there, pulling through whatever crisis life throws at you, I believe that when one door closes on you there is another door opening with your name on it.

What advice would you give budding entrepreneurs that are in a life they hate and want to change?

You can change your life immediately, just change your thinking, if you have bad thoughts you will have a bad life, changing your thoughts to good ones will work; the problems don’t always lie outside of you very often the problems are in between your two ears, change your thinking to positive thoughts instead of negative ones, there should be some good things in every situation that happens.

My suggestion would be to make 2 lists, one good and one bad, go to work on both of them, start by helping other people and you find opportunities will come to you.

Just to get back to the question, I don’t know whether the person who is in a life they hate can be a budding entrepreneur, maybe they are just a person that hates their life, and will do nothing to change it, but if they are a budding entrepreneur then they need to realign their thinking by reading motivational books and listening to inspirational stuff on YouTube where you can find everything you need to get you started to give them the right mindset for success.

Neville Wright – February 2013 revised 2020.