Brian Heather is a serial entrepreneur; young, dynamic, good looking and with a real social conscience. Not only is he in the business of sustainable building, landscaping and water proofing, this 30 year old business man is changing the landscape of green buliding.
It may be a buzz word to many, but let me assure you, being green is more than meets the eye. Brian is a much sought after entrepreneur who has landed himself in the spotlight with his inaugural Ted Talk on June 23 on "The importance of reconnecting our cities to nature".
His business, Solterra Systems, is a fully licensed electrical, landscaping and waterproofing company that focuses on integrating environmental technology into buildings.
This can range from green roofs where you are producing food, to rain screen siding systems that protect the building from the elements with plants.
What can communities be doing more of to connect their cities to nature?
The first step is attaching an ROI to the benefits associated with being in nature for all humans. For example, they estimate that the average American spends 26% of the day being distracted whether its a text message or an advertisement - but right now technology is very much a part of what we do - and so, if we just look at businesses for example, there is a loss of productivity in the workplace and people have in general very un-balanced lives.
I remember all those cool kids who seemed to have it all at the ripe age of 14, while I sat in the library reading a book because, quite frankly, I wasn't as cool, nor did I win any particular popularity contest to speak of.
Instead, I wrote my weekly debates and hoped that the cool kids' "coolness" would somehow rub off on me and overnight, I could hang onto their coattails too. But that was not to be - instead, I spent every free hour at school secretly hoping that one day I would be cool too.
It’s been five days of the best Miami has to offer coupled by discussing entrepreneurial topics, life and success (or in some cases, lack of) with some very versatile, uninhibited entrepreneurs who all seem content to share stories and experiences while enriching each other’s lives through old-fashion mateship.
Someone once said to me that they never wanted to be on that list because there are only two outcomes that derive from being placed on this list: 1. Telemarketers will harrass you for the rest of your life. 2. You will go broke.
Jan Cameron, the founder of successful retail chain Kathmandu knows this only too well. She built her business over 20 years to be the most successful retail business in the outdoor adventure space, selling for a reported $247 million and being placed on the Rich 200 list only to be in BRW today with the journalist reporting that she almost certainly won't be there this year. Why? She sold her business and then after a break decided to get back into the game and invested $80 million into Retail Adventures discount group. Not long after, she had to double her investment to keep the chain alive. Plagued with poor management and a bad company culture, the chain was put in Voluntary Administration in October.
"People who cultivate a positive mind-set perform better in the face of a challenge and in every area of your business, you will show improvement if your brain is positive" said Achor at a recent speech to 800 global entrepreneurs.
In fact, sales people who were happy outsell their less positive colleagues by more than 37 per cent and positive people in organisations are not only happier, they perform better and live longer, healthier lives.
It's summer over there and winter here in Australia, so the weather is definately a big plus. Cost of living is significantly less which means I can buy more shoes. There is a god after all ;-)
And... the business is ready. Most importantly, we have dotted all of our 'i's' and crossed all of our 't's'.
So, what's next?
Firstly, this is an exciting phase not just for the business, but for myself personally. I believe wholeheartedly in the Marketing Eye concept and our ability to give small businesses a 'marketing eye' at an affordable price without the commitment of a fulltime employee. Our systems, processes and thirst for education is second to none and on top of all of that, our website is far superior to many that I have seen in that market. All reasons for us to celebrate and walk forward with faith that Marketing Eye will conquer any challenges that are put in front of us. Our firm focus is on attracting the best people and our employment policy is that we will only promote new jobs through our website and social media platforms. Therefore, there is a good chance that the people we employ REALLY LOVE MARKETING and social media - which is imperative in this field in this day and age.
Today, I have butterflies in my stomach. I am told that this is really good. For the first time in my life, I am moving without the help of a partner and I have just realised that I have no idea how to go about it. The men in my life have always organized everything. I have been fortunate and as my friends keep reminding me 'very spoilt'. My long term boyfriend endured every move we had by himself with his gorgeous mother because conveniently, I was always away working. How blessed I was to have such a good boyfriend at the time. So, in some ways, I suppose I am growing up and taking responsibility for my own things and my own future. It's seems crazy to be in my late 30's and to not have gone through this process in its enormity before.
I am taking a big risk. I leave behind an amazing family and my friends are the most remarkable group of people in the world. Fortunately, they love to travel, so I suspect I will see them a lot. They pick me up when I need it most and they celebrate my good fortune when positive things happen in my life. Those day to day support sessions will be dearly missed.
As any person who has expanded internationally with their business can attest, it's expensive, but I am of the thought that it's only money. My dreams are far more important. However, my bank balance will no doubt take a big whack. Maybe I will have to put off those new shoes after all.
I am going to experience things that I have never experienced before. I will feel lonely at times which for some reason, I never seem to feel here in Australia or when I am travelling. I don't have a shoulder to cry on other than over skype with my family. I can't ring my brother every day to tell him how my day was and to ask his advice. Skype for some reason doesn't seem quite the same.
I have to find a home which is tricky. Do I buy, or do I rent? I suppose renting seems logical for now. Where should I live? We are opening in Atlanta, but have already a number of businesses in the pipeline in areas such as New York and Los Angeles. These are questions that will need to be answered fairly swiftly.
Do I take my time in settling in before I buy a car? There is so many things to think about and it's all quite daunting to be honest. No doubt I will share my journey with those who read my blog - the good and the bad, as always.
But for now, it's off to Atlanta. A city so beautiful and full of life and possibility. My friends there are fantastic too. I can't wait to spend time with them and to share their city through their eyes.
Let's see together what the future holds.
P.S. The artist behind the drawing is Emmannel Javier www.maneljavier.carbonmade.com - if you have any illustration work - he is the guy!
Failure sometimes helps us better understand what we are trying to do and how we should go about it. It sets a clearer picture for the direction that we should head.
"I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love, than to be a success at something you hate." George Burns.
Is failure just part of the parcel? Do we need to fail in order to succeed? Bill Gates did. Michael Jordan did too.
Your ability to handle failure and to some degree, blame, is imperative to being successful in everything you do. If you fail at something, being able to recognize the failure and embrace it, can help you learn the lesson you need to learn to achieve success.
Approximately 70% of Americans have a personality type that tends to react inappropriately when things go wrong. I am sure that this statistic is similar in places like Australia and the UK.
Of this 70%, many 'point the finger' at someone else rather than place blame or responsibility on themselves. Not dissimilar to relationships when arguments occur and people don't take responsibility for their own actions.
"The biggest failure you can have in life is not trying at all." Emily Motycka.In business, failure is something that will happen from time to time. We cannot win at everything. Look at Facebook. They have been on a huge winning streak, yet after listing on the New York Stock Exchange, their mediocre results and downgrading of market capital has been significant. They have failed on listing - it's as simple as that. I know we are talking about a few billion dollars which quite frankly the founders can afford to lose, but their responsibility is to make a success of the public listing and increase the value for shareholders. Whether or not this is going to happen, remains to be seen.
Have they learnt anything from this failure? I am sure they have. While they can blame technology and New York Stock Exchange for so long - we all know that the under-performing stock has everything to do with the fact that the stock was over-hyped and no doubt over-valued when it listed. I feel sorry for the Mum and Dad investors who are being robbed of their life savings because media has played a pivotal role in over-hyping the stock and building a dream for anyone who was willing to invest.
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." Thomas EdisonWhen you fail in your business, regardless of size, sit back and analyze what caused you to fail and how you can do it differently next time. It's just the same with life. Learn the lesson and move on with experience and better insight to how you can do things differently.
"Failure defeats losers, failure inspires winners." Robert T. Kiyosaki.When was the last time you failed and learned a valuable lesson?
Key to success is being able to withstand the negativity that may cross your path, and rise to any occasion with the same enthusiasm and depth that you had the first day you came up with your new business idea.
In Australia, it's Mother's Day today.A day that we show appreciation for our Mother's and tell them how important they are to our lives.
My Mother is an interesting woman. She is highly religious, has an incredible sense of resilience and shows compassion to people around her like no-one I have never seen before.
As a child, I remember looking up to her. I loved that she wasn't showy like some other people's Mother's and that she always stood in the background, quiet, yet very supportive. She was the type of Mother that would bake a cake, pop into the school unannounced and give a slice to each of the kids in our class so that they could enjoy her delicious baking for morning tea. Knowing that I had a phobia of eating food out of a lunchbox, she also use to drive 10 kilometres to drop me off fresh lunch, or my favourite fish and chips, on days when the canteen didn't operate - so I would not starve.
Expanding a business internationally is not exactly the easiest task to undertake. It requires a lot more work than you think and some serious planning.
When a person has a big business goal, it can be all-consuming. It's a 24 hour, 7 day a week gig. And when you put that sort of effort into something, you are looking for one hell-of-a-return. I know I am!
Most entrepreneurs think about the end goal. What is it that they are trying to achieve. Then they work back from there. What steps need to be taken to achieve this goal.
To me, this is the norm, but what sets one successful person apart from the run-of-the-mill entrepreneur can often come down to a set of traits. So, what traits make a successful entrepreneur?