20 June 2016

Are some people more likely to become entrepreneurs than others? Is entrepreneurship a born character trait, or is it also fuelled by life experiences?

Inspirational surroundings in Verbier

Inspirational surroundings in Verbier

I was fascinated by a report that I read this weekend which found that immigrants were three times more likely to be entrepreneurs than British-born people who never lived abroad. Even Brits who spent some time in another country were found to be more inclined to set up their own businesses.

It’s an idea that has been around for a while, and if you take a moment to think about it, makes perfect sense.

Stepping outside of your comfort zone and taking risks helps you to make the most of opportunities and look at them from a different perspective. Whilst getting stuck in a daily routine is easy to do, new experiences are more likely to leave you feeling inspired and motivated to do things a little differently.

Never underestimate the power of travel. When I am feeling low on inspiration, I pop over to Amsterdam – the colours, the community and the designs over there are so fascinating to me. It’s a completely different way of life and I always return with a hundred ideas or more!

It’s the same after our annual family holiday. The Maldives is an exceptionally special place for Gail and I. Just being in that environment, I am driven to replicate the luxury in our hotel, to introduce the key colours I find there into the office or to help others experience the same feeling I get when I travel. There’s simply nothing like visiting new places, places completely outside of the norm.

You challenge yourself and uncover new skills. It was Tony Robbins who said: “All growth starts at the end of your comfort zone”.

I set up UKFast on the back of a long trip to America. I was thirty years old and wasn’t quite sure where the next business venture would take me, so I headed to New York. Is there a more inspirational place for a businessman? It’s also an incredibly intimidating place – you’re surrounded by every kind of person, not least highly successful business people.

There was a lot of uncertainty, but by being in a different environment, skateboarding and playing chess in Washington Square Gardens, I was able to experience how things were done on the other side of the pond.

Technology had never been a particular business interest of mine, but the States were so far ahead of Britain with tech at the time. I don’t think I would have fully understood the possibilities of the internet if I hadn’t been in uncharted territory, with an open mind and a willingness to learn and take a risk.

I still try to push my boundaries on a daily basis, even if it’s just for a short period of time. To me, running a business is about finding a balance between the routine that keeps you going and the challenges that keep you motivated. For the same reason, I try and push my team to keep developing and learning new skills.

Whether you move to a new place, you go on holiday to somewhere new or push yourself out of your comfort zone for an hour a day, it’s great practice to make you more successful in every area of your life.
How do you challenge yourself and your team?

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