On Friday I was fortunate to be part of the audience for the first ever live recording of the podcast series Conversations Of Inspiration by Holly & Co – a live interview with Holly Tucker, MBE, and Thomasina Miers, OBE.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Holly, she set up the rather amazing Notonthehighstreet, some 13 years ago. An avid supporter of entrepreneurs and small businesses, she interviews top entrepreneurs in her podcast series, who share their remarkable stories. Previous guests have included Jo Malone, Joe Wicks, Deliciously Ella and the founder of Pip & Nut.
For this event, her team took over the beautiful St Mary’s Church in Marylebone, decorating it with banners filled with inspirational quotes from interviewees. Messages like ‘Life isn’t a race…I often reflect on the hare and the tortoise‘ (Chrissie Rucker CBE, The White Company), ‘Mistakes are how we truly learn‘ (Tamara Lohan MBE, Mr & Mrs Smith) and ‘It’s only by taking risks that you can be successful‘ (Johnnie Boden, Boden) set up the motivational tone for the evening.
There were various stalls, including the important Friday night gin stall (well needed after a busy week deflecting toddler tantrums), as well as those from a few select start-ups (including one from Holly’s 13 year old son. Never too young to start!). After a quick mooch, I took my seat just as the talk was about to begin. However, instead of being greeted by Holly, the unmistakable intro to Crazy in Love boomed out of the speakers followed by two singers, belting their lungs out and strutting their stuff down the middle aisle. They were joined on stage by the rest of their crew, the Urban Voices Collective, as the audience cheered and seat-danced in delight.
With the congregation in a party mood, Holly took to the stage. She gave an impassioned speech about the importance of being an entrepreneur and the role of small businesses in the economy. Having had such a successful and high profile business with Notonthehighstreet, her mission in life is now to help small businesses follow their dreams.
She shared with us her top 5 lessons:
1 – Anyone can be an entrepreneur or start a business.
As a woman in business, you don’t need to be an alpha female or dress in a Dragon’s Den type suit. Be yourself! Be colourful, show your friendliness and creativity.
2 – Everyone has a USP, a talent that can be turned into a business.
As Einstein famously said: “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
3 – Purpose is the fuel through the journey called life. A strong purpose should be at the core of any business.
Have a purpose that is good for the community or has a wider social benefit. Ask yourself how your business can be a force for good.
4 – There is no such thing as a work-life balance. Just life.
Don’t just live a life, build one. ‘The harder you work, the more successful you will be’.
5 – ‘Failure is the path to success’.
All successful entrepreneurs have failed in their previous lives. Jo Malone left school with no qualifications, the founder of Abel & Cole failed his bar exam, Holly left school with a D in business studies.
Failure shows us the way by showing us what isn’t.
Holly’s talk was warm and sincere, and struck many chords with me. As a late career changer it was reassuring to hear that failure is part of the process, and that it is never too late to start again – which is, quite frankly, a relief!
Keep an eye out for PART 2, where you’ll hear all about the brilliant interview with Thomasina Miers.