Lifestyle | 28 February 2024

seven unique insights into how to go 'beyond success'

For our new series of podcasts, ‘Beyond Success’, presenter and entrepreneur Laura Jackson joins our Head of Specialists Greg Kyle-Langley, to interview six uniquely successful individuals – here Greg shares some of the key themes behind their stories.  


Listen to Beyond Success here

I was joined by six leading lights to discuss the success they’ve achieved in their fields, their business secrets, their hopes and fears, and what it’s all for.

  • Dean Forbes – Tech Entrepreneur & CEO and founder of social investor Forbes Family Group
  • Ella Mills – Food writer and founder of the plant-based food and wellbeing company Deliciously Ella
  • Mercedes Benson – International DJ, Digital Creative and founder of black and minority employment engine SocialFixt
  • Roger Saul – Founder of Mulberry, global fashion label, and Sharpham Park farm
  • Charlotte Stavrou – Founder of SevenSix, the influencer agency and broadcaster
  • Ayesha Hazarika MBE – Broadcaster, journalist and political commentator.

Evolve constantly

You can become yesterday’s news very quickly. And you don’t always drop from number one to number two – you can suddenly fall very far, especially if you’ve neglected to read the latest market trends and keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. As Roger Saul told me – as soon you think you’re safe, you’re not; as soon as you’re successful, you’re a bigger target for your competitors.

Loyalty is mutual

You might be able to manufacture or outsource to anywhere in the world but remembering you’re responsible for the livelihood of your team counts. By being loyal to them and investing in their growth, you’ll have people who can shift and grow with the business. So, when they need to retrain or adapt it’s not a problem because they’re able to retool and master new skills quickly and willingly – proving they’re your people to trust, and saving you time and money.

Be a facilitator for further opportunity

The money that’s come with success can lead to a great sense of responsibility – but Dean Forbes told me how he knows he can’t just fix everything for the people around him. It’s important to know when you need to let others make their own way. Some people will only ask for your help because they’ve tried everything else – they’re the ones to back. If you’re able to crack the door for them, they’ll walk through and flourish on the other side.

Happiness isn’t always linked to success

Learning to recognise and respond to success is something all my interviewees have done well. They understand how their goals and drivers can change over time. You might start out targeting the dream lifestyle, but Ella Mills told me that when you reach the peak of your mountain, you realise it’s just base camp for the next one. So, recognise your achievements in the moment, and remember to look back and enjoy the view. Banking those moments of success helps deal with the feeling you’re on a never-ending climb.

People often won’t see the moments of fear you’re facing when running a business, so taking time to reflect on the rewards as well as the rough can be key. Happiness and success don’t always come together – terror and doubt are all a part of it as well. All my interviewees talked about a constant feeling that the rug could be pulled from under them at any time – and that kept them moving forward.

Don’t be afraid to reinvent to succeed

You might have built up a number of different avenues of income but there may come a point when it’s time to focus on just one. Ella Mills explained how she was running a blog, then the cafes, then a food business. She realised the food business was by far the most scalable and required much less capital than the restaurants. So, she took the decision to shut the restaurants down. The media perceived that as the business failing, but they were wrong. It was actually the most successful time for the business – the foot of a much bigger mountain.

A balanced way to 1% better every day

How do you deal with it all? The fear that it could all evaporate tomorrow; the constant slog that just brings you to the foot of the next mountain?

Building success often comes with a moment of realisation that there isn't necessarily going to BE an end-point. As an entrepreneur you need to accept that, one way or another, work and life are going to be one and the same, and it'll be stressful. But you can build your business to get to the point where the work life balance is sustainable – a ‘forever balance’.

That sweet spot can help you manage your trajectory on your terms, so your growth feels more natural, rather than chased. Ella Mills committed to making her business 1% better every day. You need the vision to know which direction the business needs to head in, and where those incremental improvements are most powerfully made. The 1% principle breaks the ambition into manageable chunks, while being conscious of your work life balance. 

Not all successful people get up at 5am

Finally, knowing the best way to get the most from yourself is crucial. Take time to rest and be honest with your schedule. If you’re working nights and inspired by the stars, it’s OK to get up after 10am. Likewise, if you’re working in Dean’s ‘marathon mode’ then seek out downtime and switch off your wifi!

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Our new podcast series, Beyond Success, looks at the unique personal journeys of six entrepreneurial individuals. Broadcaster Laura Jackson joins Coutts Head of Specialists Greg Kyle-Langley to discover how their guests overcame their biggest business challenges, the most important lessons they learnt along the way and what beyond success really means to them.


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