“The most important skill as an entrepreneur is knowing how to learn and how to improve.” – Sam 

On this episode of The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast, we talk about six skills that you can work on now that will be crucial in helping you become a successful entrepreneur. Skills that you can work on improving right now:

  • Management/Leadership
  • Financial Literacy
  • Getting Over Fear of Rejection
  • Written Skills
  • Self Discipline
  • Creativity & Out Of The Box Thinking

Listen to this episode of The Lazy Entrepreneur Podcast on:

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Structure

Sam describes the importance of management and leadership skills [01:06]
What business did Sam start in primary school? [03:00]Why is it important to gain experience managing people even when you don’t have the title of “manager” [05:00]Emma describes how to cultivate the skill of “upward management” [07:48]What are some ways you can gain leadership experience outside of work? [08:30]What is the importance of financial literacy or accounting for an entrepreneur? [10:29]What accounting terms did Richard Branson not know until he was in his fifties? [11:30]If you were a business, would you be profitable? Are you a good investment? [12:38]What role does rejection play in the life of an entrepreneur? [14:52]
How to learn how to get comfortable with rejection [18:37]Why Sam wishes he worked at a call center for two weeks during school, and why Sam actually used to volunteer as a police officer [19:37]How repetition breeds comfortability [21:10]Writing as an essential skill for anyone [23:37]The struggle of self-discipline [27:13]What role does thinking play in productivity? And how does it differ in an entrepreneurial versus a corporate setting? [28:30]Why does Sam set 30 day challenges for himself? [30:08]What role does creativity and out of the box thinking play in entrepreneurship? [32:29]How does generating 10 ideas about a particular topic enhance your understanding or efficacy in that area? [34:29]Why meetings are not “dead time” [36:52]

Transcript

Hello and welcome back to another episode of the lazy entrepreneur. I am your host Sam Priestley and I am here with my wife Emma. Today we will be talking about the six key skills that every entrepreneur needs. tHese are skills you can develop and work on and that you don’t need to be born with. And also skills you can do whether you are an entrepreneur already or just aspire to be on one day. And ones that I personally believe that while you can get by without them, your business is really going to suffer. And to get all meta on you, I also believe that the most important skill as an entrepreneur is knowing how to learn and how to improve. So hopefully by focusing on these six key skills, we’ll also be learning how to learn. Alright, let’s get started. So the first one and something that I am notoriously bad at and if you listen to my podcast or read my blog you’ll probably know that I go on about this a bit too much is management and leadership skills.

 

Sam describes the importance of management and leadership skills [01:06] 

 

It’s something that I have kind of fallen into the self employment trap of by knowing that I am not good at it so trying to build businesses and avoid having to have them, so doing stuff that is relying on automation or technology and not on other people. Or focusing on sort of highly skilled other companies to do stuff for me, so instead of hiring people in a house, finding a company who can take a specific role in the business. And yes it is something that I do try quite hard to improve on and I have done quite a few businesses where I have tried to hire people and manage them and have struggled. So it is something that has been a real sort of long running battle with me. 

 

E: Yeah, like the tech start up 

 

S: WIth the tech start up, with the coffee shop. And now I have gone backwards and don’t have any businesses that have any employees at all.

 

E: Yeah, but do you have a management role in a lot of your businesses. You manage suppliers and have business relationships. That might not necessarily be full time staff.

 

S: Yeah, so managing business relationships with a factory who might develop your products or with supply chain, all that kind of stuff. Actually kind of management and leadership is something that I have been trying to work on the whole of my life. I have always known I’ve not been very good at it. As a student I would try to start a society or start a mini business in school, so when I was in primary school I started a school newspaper.

 

What business did Sam start in primary school? [03:00]

Started a couple clubs in secondary school. I joined the cadet force where I was in charge of other students. I think that leadership and management is something that a lot of people consider that you don’t need or don’t need to start working on it until later in life and kind of assume that you start off at the bottom of the ladder as an employee and then you get given a management role and then you convincingly become good at it or it is kind of a natural skill and it is not something that you learn. It is not learning how to use an excel spreadsheet, it is more of a soft skill. Some are better leaders than others. Some are better followers. I think that’s true to some extent but that doesn’t mean it’s not a skill that you can learn and get better at. There are hundreds of management books out there and big corporations are constantly sending their people off to management schools to get better at it. The whole idea of doing something like an MBA is to get better at managing people and businesses and when you were working at PWC you had to demonstrate your management abilities before you were allowed to even apply to become a manager.

 

E: Yeah, which is really difficult because how do you manage someone when you’re not a manager. You have to go out and find those opportunities, so whether it is starting your own initiative like a little club like I did, the same colleagues that are in the same grade as me or you put yourself forward within your team to run projects but that is all about the relationship that you have with your boss and putting yourself forward. I wouldn’t have gotten a manager if I would have just let things be and just not seeked out any opportunities because ultimately I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to manage someone and then I wouldn’t have been able to get to manager. 

 

S: So you can get experience managing people without someone giving you a job as a manager. Can you give me some examples? 

 

Why is it important to gain experience managing people without necessarily having been given the title of “manager” [05:00]

 

E: So there were marketing execs that would meet once a month to discuss issues we were having. It could have been something technical with some of the systems we were using, it could have been a training opportunity that one of us has found and we would recommend, or it could be that we are having this real issue with someone in our team and we just wanted someone else impartial to talk about it that we didn’t work with. That was like an open forum for people to discuss. And I would control the topics and run it. 

 

S: Yeah, so I think kind of what you are saying is that you don’t need to have people underneath you in order to be doing some management. You can be in a group of peers and start something which you are kind of running. And then managing kind of sideways. 

 

E: Yeah, but that does take a bit of courage and also a bit of creative. It is not just following what everyone else has done or is doing around you. 

 

S: Yeah, it is not just waiting for someone to give you the management or leadership sort of stuff. I 100% agree, and I actually think the skill of managing and leading people who are the same level as you or even more important than you is an even better skill. If you can do that, you’re going to have no trouble for whom its their job to do what you tell them. If you think that just because you have a title, that you’re going to be able to tell people what to do and they’re going to do it, it doesn’t really work like that. I think it’s something that I, especially as a child, when you think about stuff like a general in the army, you think people do what they tell them just because they’re a general, when actually that isn’t really the case. Being a good leader means you’re someone that people look up to and want to follow or just a good manager, good at inspiring people, good at getting people to do what you want is just as important. So you kind of talked about how you do that in a big corporation, you set up something sort of different like an outside of work project. There is also stuff like you can talk to your boss and take the lead on certain projects. Which might include managing upward. Sort of partners who are all involved and you kind of take the role of managing the project and making sure it gets delivered.

 

Emma describes how to cultivate the skill of “upward management” [07:48]

 

E: Yeah I was going to talk about the skill of upward management because for me I had a lot of skills around digital marketing and we’re talking kind of four years ago now so digital marketing was still quite new for someone like PWC so me taking the lead on social media, email marketing, general use of the website, even as basic as that, kind of carved out a bit of a role for me and made me look more senior and more in control than I guess I was, because the people I was working with were a lot more senior to me, and they didn’t know or have any of the skills that I did. So by teaching them about digital marketing, I kind of boosted myself up. 

 

S: Yeah, and if you don’t have those opportunities, maybe you’re not in that sort of business, there is always a bunch of stuff you can do outside of work. For instance, if you’re in a local church, you can speak to them about running an event and take control of that. Get a bunch of volunteers to help you and manage the whole event. If you’re in school, you could talk to the faculty about putting on another sort of event or specific project. You can do stuff like Duke of Edinburgh or join a society or create your own and take the role on that, you were president of a couple societies at uni, which again teaches you a bunch of skills which will kind of cross over to entrepreneurship. 

 

What are some ways you can gain leadership experience outside of work? [08:30]

 

Another thing I think of when I think of management and leadership are you organizing our wedding. And there you had to manage a lot of different suppliers and juggle everyone together. I think what I’m saying is to be a good manager, you don’t need to be in a management position. You can look at the skills that a manager can have and then try and do stuff that will then teach you those skills and then learn them. So it doesn’t really matter if you mess up or don’t get along with the people you’re managing because it’s just one small project, which means you’ll make all the mistakes early on so by the time it comes for you to hire you first full time employee you’ll know who you can work with, who to look for, what sort of person will be more rebellious than you can handle, whatever. Ok, let’s move on to the next one which I am calling financial literacy or accounting. 

 

What is the importance of financial literacy or accounting for an entrepreneur? [10:29] 

 

This is something that a lot of people kind of know is important but also think that they can outsource. I think it is terrible the number of small business owners I have met who have no idea whether their business is profitable a lot.

 

E: That is crazy

 

S: Especially stuff like coffee shops or little small shops, they don’t really, and sometimes you’ll sit down and look through the numbers and you’ll see that there is almost no way they can be profitable. So if you just sit down and put together a simple spreadsheet, how many customers do you need, how much do you make per amount of coffee you sell, they’ll hire an accountant to look at their numbers for a half hour every three months or once a year and then they’ll give them advice. That is not good enough, you need to have a really good grasp of what’s going on with your business. That doesn’t mean you need to know all the terms. Richard Branson famously didn’t know the difference between net and gross until he was in his fifties. 

 

What accounting terms did Richard Branson not know until he was in his fifties? [11:30] 

 

But that doesn’t mean he didn’t know what makes a business profitable. He knew logically and the common sense of how to look at how much you’re spending, how much is coming in, take the two away and you’ve got your profit. How to use a simple spreadsheet. You don’t need to be using pivot tables or macros. Simply plus or minuses to work out what it is your business needs to do. It is something that people do neglect and we don’t really get taught it at school, I don’t think. We kind of get taught maths but we don’t get taught to apply it to stuff like this. So again I thought a little bit about how you can learn these things without actually diving in and starting a business ike this to begin with. The most obvious one is to think about your own finances. Have a look at your income, your expenses. If you were a business, would you be profitable? 

 

If you were a business, would you be profitable? Are you a good investment? [12:38]

 

If someone were to invest in you, would it be a worthwhile investment. 

 

E: This is the most you think I have ever heard. 

 

S: It is so geeky but I love it. What would you have to do, what are the risks about you? If you lost your job, is your business bankrupt or would it survive? HOw much are you saving. There are loads of other things you can do, doing one off projects and events. If you are running a pot roast at your local church. Do the finances for it. HOw much does it cost for the ingredients. How much do you need. How much are you going to make? That sort of thing. Community events. Stuff to do with school, young enterprise, things like that, run a society or university, make the books balanced, do all the maths, make sure it is actually not losing money. There are video games you can play or board games to give you a little idea on how to balance the books, how to make money. If you can’t really do any of that, think about maybe offering to help friends who are already doing things like this. Let’s say you have done your own finances, maybe talk to a friend who is kind of struggling and offer to help them with that. Think of them like a business, offer to go through their finances, maybe create a budget, look where they can save money, what are the best they can do? That way you are going to help someone as well as helping yourself to learn these skills. There are also charities you can volunteer at to do a similar thing and then do sort of financial literacy classes. YOu don’t need a maths degree to do this, you don’t need an accountant degree, you just need to be able to know where your business is going to make some money. Alright, onto the next one, we don’t really have a good title for this so I’ll call it fear of rejection and I’ll put down a bunch of things like dealing with confrontation, dealing with rejection, cold calling/approaching, sales. 

 

What role does rejection play in the life of an entrepreneur? [14:52] 

 

E: It is putting yourself out there isn’t it. Instead of being in a big company where you’ve got loads of colleagues and you’re protected, potentially you are going out there on your own. 

 

S: Yeah, and I am kind of including anything in here where you’re going to either end up in a confrontation or you’re going to face rejection. You’re going to be turned down a lot, you’re going to be told no a lot or people might be angry or aggressive with you. Which is something again we don’t really learn at school. You can follow through life a very ABC pattern where you don’t really have to deal with this too much. But it is very important, especially if you’re running your own business. A lot of businesses struggle to get sales, and part of that is that they want to only be approaching and selling to people if there is a good chance that they will say yes. Whereas you’re going to struggle to grow that much. I really struggle with this with my blog. In fact, I kind of stopped marketing my blog because I didn’t like putting it out there in front of a bunch of people. And then getting mean comments from a few people. Even though 8 out of 10 really appreciated the content that I was putting forward, 2 or 1 out of 10, maybe even less than that, would say mean things or criticize it. So I struggle with it. But if you’re going to do anything entrepreneurial which is different out of the box, you’re going to get rejection, to face confrontation, you’re going to have people tell you what you’re doing is rubbish and a bad idea. It kind of crosses over a bit with our first one, leadership and the confrontation, how do you tell off bad employees, how do you let people go, how do you fire them? It is not easy. Especially if you are quite an empathic person, if you’re the sort of person who wants people to like you. 

 

E: I think most people are aren’t they.

 

S: I think most people are. 

 

E: I guess with every business you’re opening it up to negative feedback and criticism. So with the gin business, there could be customers that don’t like the taste of our gin. That is not something that we want to hear but ultimately that is part of having a business. We haven’t made a product that every single person in the world is going to love and that is the point. 

 

S: And the gin business is a classic example. We aren’t going to door to door trying to sell it, we’re going to bars and restaurants. And a lot of them will say no and that is a terrifying thought for many people, including me. Walking into somewhere apprentice style with a product that you’re trying to sell to someone who might well not want it.

E: Whereas in reality, when you meet people, or when I meet people and give them a sample of our gin, everyone is usually quite pleased to see me and they love the fact that they are getting a free mini bottle of gin and actually it kind of breaks the ice. It is the bit afterwards where you follow up several times over email and phone to then, well I have only had it a few times. But for a manger to then say, oh no, I don’t like the taste of the gin. No I can’t stop any more gins. So then you suffer rejection and then it feels worse because you’ve worked harder for it. It isn’t a rejection straight off. 

 

How to learn how to get comfortable with rejection? [18:37]

 

S: So how can you learn this as a skill? When you don’t have a full time job, it is kind of an easy solution. You get a job or a part time role and you just learn these skills. As a sales person or you there are hundreds of position based only sales jobs around. It is a lot more difficult to get a job where they pay you an hourly wage and hope that you’re worth it vs. a job where they pay you nothing but it is just based on you selling their products. ANd then there is also a lot more on you and it is much more on you. THe better you get at sales and approaching people and cold calling or whatever, the more money you will make, the more sales you get. In year 11 we do a week or two work experience and I went and did something kind of pointless. I think I went to primary school or something like that. I always think the best thing I could have done would be to work in a call center, cold calling people. It would be horrendous, but only for two weeks, and making hundreds of calls a day like that would definitely get you over that hump of fear. 

 

Why Sam wishes he worked at a call center for two weeks during school, and why Sam actually used to volunteer as a police officer [19:37]

 

Something that I did for quite a few years would I would volunteer as a police officer. I think if I can deal with arresting people, if I could deal with…

 

E: The general public shouting at you

 

S: If I could deal with people fighting… I could deal with anything. What’s the worst that could happen if you pitch an idea? They could tell you no it’s rubbish. What is the worst that could happen if you’re a police officer and you could try to arrest someone? They could attack you. The scales are totally different. Again it is still something I am not very good at but it is something I am working on and have put quite a bit of effort into improving and it is something you should be working on and you should be trying to improve, get yourself out of your comfort zone. 

 

E: With the cold calling, it is something that I had to do with my first job in London. It is not easy to start with, it is not a natural skill for me but I did it so many times that it did become natural. The fear was removed and I am actually quite happy to be speaking to people on the phone. It does not worry me because I had to do it so many times. So I think practice and doing something that you’re scared of could be going for a job interview, doing it multiple times makes it a lot easier. 

 

How repetition breeds comfortability [21:10]

 

S: And if you’re working in a big corporation, it could simply be going over and speaking to the important people. You could be going over and talking to the important partners. Most people get us to do it, it will make you stand out and will help you get over that fear of the unknown. 


E: And the more you do it, the more you realize that you are just talking to another person. They are not a monster. You can have a personal conversation with them. 

 

S: Alright, now we are going to go to something quite different. Written skills. It is something that I am naturally very bad at. I am not a very good writer. 

 

E: I don’t agree with you. 

 

S: That is only because you’ve known me after I have put a lot of effort into getting better at it. But it is something that at school I would always choose subjects that didn’t have any writing at all. Maths, computer science, where it would always be number answers rather than having to write an essay. But really, written skills are an incredibly important skill, whatever you’re doing. If you’re going to work at Google, you’re still going to have to write reports on whatever you’ve done. You’re still going to have to give feedback to people, to comment your code, if you’re a mathematician, a scientist, you will still have to write up reports.

 

E: Presentations.

 

S: Presentations, whatever, the same as if you’re an entrepreneur. You still are going to have to write emails, do customer service, write your business plan, do your grant applications, write your press releases, do your business procedures and your instructions for your employees.

 

E: And the marketing. 

 

S: And the marketing. If you avoid writing, then you are never going to get good at it. And the gap between you and everyone else is just going to get wider and wider and wider.

 

Writing as an essential skill for anyone [23:37]

 

S: It is really an important skill. So how do you get better at it? Well you don’t need to be a fiction author. You don’t need to be really eloquent. You just need to be not making spelling mistakes, get your thoughts out onto paper. You need to not be afraid of writing 1,000 words or 2,000 words. So how do you do that? Well, practice is really the only thing. You can take courses, like a journalism course in your spare time like one day a week is quite useful because it teaches you certain skills in journalism you have to churn out a lot of quantity rather quickly and you learn how to write basically. 

 

E: And take notes and edit. 

 

S: One of the things I did is I started a job as something I did to get better at writing. Actually at A level I took history rather than something else. Even though I knew it was pretty much impossible for me to get an A in it, I ended up getting a B which was definitely as good as I could’ve got. I put a lot of work into that. Just because I thought it would teach me how to write, how to get my ideas down on paper. Whereas the other modules I had were physics and math and they didn’t need any of that.

E: Yeah, I think it is interesting that on your computer science degree, you did have to do essays as part of the degree. It wasn’t all numbers. 

 

S: Yeah we did and we were all terrible at it.

E: Yeah but I think the fact that you had to do it was quite interesting. They recognize that you’re all on average not going to be very good at writing so you should be forced to do it. 

 

S: Yeah, there are a lot of excuses people have for not being good at writing. You’ve got one, that you’re dyslexic. And also, when you went to work at a corporate job, you purposefully didn’t tell anyone that you were dyslexic at the time because you thought that it would hold you back. It would be seen as an excuse, and in fact, and therefore you had to overcompensate by spending a lot more time on the written parts. And I remember maybe a couple years ago we found your original dyslexia report and I am not sure you would have, if you would take it again, if you would be classified as dyslexic. Not because you’re not dyslexic, but because you have spent a lot of time learning the skills to actually write coherently and get around it. 

 

E: Yeah, and there are a lot of comprehension skills that I was having. It wasn’t just getting words to paper. A lot of the comprehension stuff I definitely got over. 

 

S: And that doesn’t mean it isn’t harder for you than others, it just means that you have had to put a lot more work at it but you have still got better at it, and that is true for everyone. Just because you are bad at something, if you avoid it you are not going to get better. Just because you are bad at something doesn’t mean you won’t get better. You might never be a proper author or whatever but you can be good enough. It just takes more work. Okay, moving on. Here’s another one which I find particularly challenging, and that is self discipline. 

 

The struggle of self-discipline [27:13]

 

Again, all of this stuff, people are sometimes naturally good at or naturally worse at. And some people are obviously self disciplined and very good at making themselves do stuff but other people are naturally lazy like me. 

 

E: It is interesting that you say you are naturally lazy because other people in our lives think you are very productive, particularly once they read your monthly reports and they realize how many different businesses you are juggling and how many things you have achieved that month. 

 

S: People judge me on my output, not on my day to day. Whereas you see my day to day life and you see just how little I actually do. 

 

E: See how many video games you play, yes. 

 

S: Yeah, I find self discipline very difficult. 

 

E: One of the big things with you is you actually spend a lot of time thinking and you might be doing another activity while thinking and that is part of your work, whereas when I was in my corporate job, I wasn’t given time to think. I was expected to do that outside of work and really you don’t want to be thinking about work all the time, but that is a big part of your business and your success. 

 

What role does thinking play in productivity? And how does it differ in an entrepreneurial versus a corporate setting? [28:30]

 

S: Definitely. And actually, that is what we would be moving onto the next section. It is a balance right, you do need self-discipline and self-discipline is something that you can learn. One thing I like to do is set challenges for myself. I’ll set myself a time limited challenge. If it is going on forever I won’t do it. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for me, setting day habits, saying every morning I am going to do this forever. That doesn’t work forever. If I say forever, I’ll stop in two days. What does work for me is for the next month, I am going to do this. Competition is good and works quite well with me. So that is kind of my internal motivation. My competitive side. I also don’t like letting people down so I will often tell people my challenges so they can hold me accountable to it. So for me, the way I practice self-discipline and actually which then translates into how I get certain things done is by setting challenges and then making sure I do them. Announcing them and then doing them. 

 

Why does Sam set 30 day challenges for himself? [30:08]

 

There are other ways of helping to learn discipline. Taking a difficult sport or hobby on is another example of that, especially if you are young and, actually it doesn’t matter if you’re young. I am practicing a lot of jiu jitsu and it will take me a lot of time to get good at it. 

 

E: And there are lots of different ages. 

 

S: It is something I can do forever, but it is something that requires discipline because it is hard. But I think people think about this more at school because there are more opportunities to start a new hobby, a new sport and then if you end up doing that properly and you reach a good level of it throughout your school career, along the way you would have learned a lot of self-discipline. 

 

E: So whether it is learning an instrument. 

 

S: Or learning to play chess, or juggle. I am really quite bad at that. There are other things you can do outside of this which can also help you benefit by creating something productive for you. So what I put down is find a dead time in your day which is time spent on the train commuting, or your two hours of TV that you watch every night. It is time you are not producing anything and you can set that time to be a challenge and do something else. Write a book, learn a language, take a journalism course, or you can use that for maybe once a month you focus on a different one of these skills. Find dead time and then use it to focus on one of the six skills we’re focusing on today. Okay, let’s move on to the final one. Which I am calling creativity and out of the box thinking. 

 

What role does creativity and out of the box thinking play in entrepreneurship? [32:29]

 

I have put this one last because it is really difficult and kind of hard to quantify. I think that people just assume that you’re creativity or ideas you come up with are due to innate creativity. 

 

E: It is something you’re born with.

 

S: Yeah, it isn’t something you can train… I obviously disagree. Yes, it does come more naturally to some than others, but it is something you can cultivate, so for a long time, I did this 10 ideas a day practice. Where I would pick a subject and come up with 10 ideas of it. I first heard it from James Altucher. And that worked really well for me. So I would pick a subject such as ways to improve sales for our gin. I would come up with 10 ideas. I then kind of developed that into more targeted stuff, so if I had a meeting that day, I would think of 10 ideas of stuff I could say at the meeting that would be useful. Or 10 ideas for something that are relevant for whatever the meeting was about that would be a good point.

E: It was interesting because that wasn’t all about business was it. Sometimes it would be about things in your personal life. What was really prominent, what were you thinking about at that point in time. 

 

S: Exactly, it is going deeper into a subject. Like your birthday is coming up, let’s come up with 10 ideas for presents for you. Because often your best idea comes up at 7, 8 or 9. It is something that then goes deeper. So your first idea might be to start a gin business, so I could come up with 10 ideas for how to start a supplier or for what kind of brand I might like, or 10 ideas for different publicity stunts that would get into newspapers. 

 

How does generating 10 ideas about a particular topic enhance your understanding or efficacy in that area? [34:29] 

 

Yeah, so that helps developing out of the box thinking. Robert Rodriguez, who is a film director who I really like, what he does is he flicks between creative stuff but a different target. So he will get one of his actors to at one point be given a guitar, but they don’t play guitar, so he’ll have them play the feeling of the character, or draw the character, or write a short story of the character. All kinds of different things that tug on different parts of your brain and hopefully bring forth that creativity. So how do you go about doing this as a student or employee? Well, as a student there are quite a lot of opportunities. At school you have things like Young enterprise, at uni you have entrepreneurship opportunities, you have events like pitch nights where you pitch a business plan, you get better at your presentation skills and come up with good ideas. 

 

E: And listening to other people’s as well, giving them feedback, seeing how other people think when they are trying to think outside of the box and think of creative or unusual stuff. 

 

S: As an employee, you’ve got, I have already spoken about thinking about meeting and preparing and thinking about a bunch of ideas you can contribute to a meeting. I find that whenever I go to a meeting, most people don’t think at all until they’re in the room. If it is a brainstorming meeting, people try to go to the meeting and then think about it. So I try to think about it ahead of time, and then I won’t tell anyone that I do this so people think I am a genius because I’ve come up with loads of ideas because I have spent 45 minutes beforehand thinking about it. 

 

E: Well that makes sense, I have been in some of those meetings! 

 

S: I think it helps you stand out a bit at work. Having something to contribute at the meeting because you have spent time beforehand. I would argue that if you’re looking for a promotion, standing out in meeting is one of the best ways to do that, more so than what you are doing outside of it. A lot of people think meetings are dead times and they can’t wait to get out, when actually meeting are the time where you’re most going to impress and you’re most going to demonstrate what you have produced. Something else that I think about with this and kind of ties into sort of fear of rejection is just giving ideas to your bosses or higher up people in the company. 

 

Why meetings are not “dead time” [36:52] 

 

So thinking say 10 ideas of how they can improve their product or they can market the business better or they can solve a problem that you know the business is having. And then just emailing it or speaking to your boss or whatever, picking the best couple of ideas and then sending it to the CEO of the company or something like that. Chances are they just ignore it, but if you do it a few times you can be known as…

 

E: Someone to bounce ideas off someone you respect their opinion

 

S: Someone who thinks independently. You might be thought of as an annoying geek about how the company can improve its bottom line. It makes you stand out. They might not think you’re cool, but they’ll think you’re a good employee. And it also helps your creativity as well. And that is it, that’s the six. Let’s go through them quickly again. You have management and leadership, you have accounting and financial literacy, you have no fear of rejection, you have written skills, you have self-discipline, and then you have creativity and out of the box thinking. Obviously there are hundreds of other skills out there, technical know how, building websites, things like that, logistics, vocational skills around your business, how do you make gin, how do you program a web app, how do you make coffee, but all of those things you can learn on the job. I think they are less important than the six we have spoken about.

 

E: Yeah you can learn as you go along. 

 

S: And if you learn how to learn, that stuff all becomes easier. But those six skills are key and if you are lacking in any of them, then your business is really going to suffer. It doesn’t mean you’ll be a failure or won’t succeed, but it will never reach the potential it could. But there is a slight loophole to getting around a real deficiency, and that is partnering with someone who has them. Someone who has the complementary skills that you don’t. And that is where we’ll leave it today. Anything to add Emma? 

 

E: No, I don’t think so. 

 

S: Good, you want to hear a bit more about how to find a partner and is it right to get a partner for your business, then we have another episode on that. As always, if you have suggestions for