Spotlight on Robin Waite
Starting a business
From 18 years old until 22, I worked as a systems analyst for a medical devices company. I increased efficiency and decreased costs, helping to double the company’s turnover and make it 50% more profitable. From 2004-2016, I ran a marketing agency, serving over 250 clients. I delivered workshops and masterclasses to over 1,000 business owners on subjects including marketing, product architecture, pricing, websites and more.
In 2016 I founded Fearless Business, a coaching practice for coaches, consultants and freelancers, offering insights from product/offer and pricing structure to personal development and mindset. With fearless goal setting and accountability, Fearless Business is turning dreams into reality for clients around the world.
I wanted to make an impact when running my own agency. People would often be making fundamental mistakes in their business and when I offered my advice I was met with replies like, “We just want you to build us a website!”. So, I wrote my first book - Online Business Startup - in 2014, which positioned me as an expert in my industry. I started to get invited onto podcasts, to speak at events and conferences and people would listen to me. Finally, I was able to exit the marketing agency and set up my coaching practice and continue to have a much greater impact on my clients’ businesses overall.
During my thirties, my mental health started to deteriorate from working long hours, putting myself under a lot of undue stress, doing a “back-to-brick” house renovation on my own. At times it left me completely unable to function. It’s hard going from someone who has always been good at most things I turn my hands too, to then struggling with motivation and drive.
It came to a head after my Dad passed away in 2014, I got married, had two children and moved house twice in a short period of time.
Overcoming these setbacks was hard. I was lucky enough to meet an amazing life coach, who got me re-motivated. He showed me that the agency wasn’t the right path for me and to follow my heart when it came to writing books, speaking and positioning myself as an expert. I also got back into reading lots of motivational and business books.
Plus, a ton of therapy. I’m not going to lie. People don’t really like to talk about mental health but it’s something I’m quite open about. Having a great support network around you as an entrepreneur is essential.
Drive determination and passion
Most business owners undervalue and undersell themselves. We work on three core pillars with the most important one of those being pricing.
This taps into our clients’ mindset blocks around money and how they value themselves. They are stuck in struggle despite being incredibly bright people and getting amazing results for themselves. And they are afraid to ask for more money. When we unlock that, they confidently charge more, and more importantly, they understand the amazing value they deliver every day.
I’ve never known anything different, I’d say what I do now is my life’s work, it’s my purpose for being. If I didn’t have what I do now, I’d be completely lost.
A Seneca quote – “Things are much worse in your imagination than in reality!”. There’s absolutely no point in dwelling on things because your mind will make up stories, scare you, put up blocks and walls and stop you from ever achieving what you want to achieve.
The simplest thing is to act, take massive action, with consistency and work towards a specific goal.
To anyone looking to start their career I would say:
Don’t listen to other people – especially family – while they love you, they will give you dumb advice to protect you because they are naturally biased. Imagine a husband/wife/mum/dad giving business advice to someone starting up a business when they’ve never run a business themselves. It makes no sense.
Follow your heart – there’s no point living someone else’s dream, doing a job you don’t love. Build your own dream.
When you find something you love doing, you’ll never have to work another day in your life.
I know I’m biased here but find a mentor or a coach who has experience doing what you’re about to start out doing. If you try and work it out on your own (like I did in my agency) it will take you years. With a good coach or mentor, you’ll get to your goals so much more quickly.
The best bit of advice I’ve ever been given is you’ve got to slow down to speed up. If you’re working too hard and not smart you’ll burn out. By slowing down, getting more focused and creating a plan you’ll have a much better chance of success. Then speed up when everything is firing.
Be clear on what type of leader you are and don’t try to please everyone. If you please, everyone, ultimately you please no-one. A good leader knows when to stand up and isn’t afraid to piss people off in order to do the right thing.
Don’t suffer fools – if you give too much rope to people they will just keep on taking so the moment you see someone not towing the party line; no matter how much you dislike confrontation you’ve got to nip it in the bud.
There is no pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Consistency is key, show up each and every day with the same consistent message, take massive action, double down on the things which work. Most importantly, don’t ever assume it’s easy. That super successful YouTuber you see was making videos ten years ago…they are a ten-year overnight success!
Throughout COVID my strategy has been to focus on my family, my energy levels and not force sales. It seems daft to not go hunting for sales, but when there is a recession and the markets are depressed like they have been during the crisis, the worst thing you can do is go out hunting for sales.
Marketing and sales take a lot of energy, it’s 80% of the work for a small business owner. And most small business owners I know, especially those with families, had much less time. So there’s no point trying to force the market when you’ve got less time and people aren’t really buying. Instead, I encouraged all of my clients to focus on saving cash wherever they could and building up their audiences.
Imagine coming out of the crisis with double the number of people in your Facebook group and then running a product launch when people start spending again. You’ve just doubled your chances of success.
To anyone struggling I would suggest taking regular breaks and if you’ve got a team be kind to them. Your team will be fearful of letting you know that they are struggling. Everyone is struggling with remote working. A crisis like the one we are experiencing now creates a huge emotional trauma for most people. Some will absorb it and never let it out. Everyone will be dealing with it differently. But emotional trauma bottled can explode.
I just made sure that I was 100% consistent in delivering to my existing clients. I gave them extra time when they needed it. I pulled the whole community together which helped us all to bond and it’s been great to see how they’ve all pulled together and helped one another.
We ended up with two of our most successful months since starting out in 2016. And it’s all down to two things – focus and patience!