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Mastering the mind-set of the Seriously Successful Entrepreneur

Mastering the mind-set of the Seriously Successful Entrepreneur

Unlimited Success Interview

 

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 my own name or spell it for that matter.  I was dyslexic and in those days the teachers didn’t understand what dyslexia was.

The year was 1957 when it really hit me I was seven years of age at the time.  I couldn’t read from the blackboard and my excuse was I can’t see the words ‘miss’ (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 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.  In moving my desk she made the mistake of alienating me from the other children and turning me into the class clown.  I could live up to that image by messing about!

In senior school I was put in the bottom class where the bullies and misfits were.  We were the kids that picked up stones off the playing fields while the brainy kids had their lessons.  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.

It wasn’t all bad, there were times where I liked being at school.  I enjoyed chess club, gymnastics, accountancy and not forgetting skipping off school to go to work – that was my favourite.

So, was it a success?

I learned a lot about how to treat people and be treated

I learned that most people were educated enough to get a mainstream job, and keep it

I learned that the people who seemed to be brainier than me took so much of their education for
granted

I learned if I was to succeed in life it would be because I had to think different and overcome
problems with a positive mind to achieve my goals

Did you have any formal education and if not why not?

I knew I couldn’t achieve most of the things the school were trying to teach me so I concentrated on what I could do and that was working,

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.  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 careered around the corners.  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.

At age 12 I learned how to ride an errant boy’s bike safely through the busy traffic of Peterborough.  Every day, with my basket full of flowers, I would deliver to the maternity unit.

I was a butcher’s boy too responsible for collecting the money when delivering meat.  I was taught how to clean the butcher’s shop, including the chopping benches.  I learned not to fill the bucket to the top as one day it splashed the side of my leg, scalding me in the process.  I learned to sharpen knives, to cut and tie meat.

I worked in a ‘Co-op grocery store’ 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 used to visit the Saturday market 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.  It 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 when I should have been concentrating on school.

 

What was your home life like?

Very loving, but very strict! The youngest of 3 I tried my parents patience to the limit.  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.  After 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.  If however 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.  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.

 

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, 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 CDs, or go to YouTube where you can find everything you need to give you the right mind-set for success.

Neville Wright – February 2013