A few years ago Neil realized that his experience and achievements in business on his entrepreneurial journey was something that will be helpful for other people who have the passion for the entrepreneur way of life. He now makes his living sharing his knowledge with “want to be” entrepreneurs, and other entrepreneurs who already have a business and need some addition guidance to take it to the next level.
At the age of 14 years old, Neil declared to his family that he was going to be a multi-millionaire by the time he was 30 years old. At that time, he recalled thinking that he didn’t want to work for anyone else although he had never had a job to come to this conclusion.
He was working in a nightclub at the age of 20 and whilst it was great fun, the pay was barely enough to live off. He realized that he needed to do something else. So he made the decision to find a way of fulfilling his dreams, although he didn’t, at the time know how he was going to do it. Over the next 4 years he read books and tried different things. For a period of time he tried network marketing, selling water filters but that didn’t work for him. He tried setting up a printing business but that didn’t work either. he then tried selling spy holes but didn’t find any success with that either. He did find some success buying and selling snooker tables at Christmas but that was short lived. He also tried selling consumer electronics products such as televisions, etc… He discovered something that appeared to be a real opportunity. By the time he was 24 years old he had finally set up a full-time business selling electronic products in a retail shop and by mail-order all over the UK.
Over the next 6 years the business grew year after year with double digit growth and by the time he was 30 he had achieved the goal that he had set for himself when he was 14 years old. The story doesn’t end there but it was the fulfillment of his childhood dream.
We all have aspirations. What are yours? Nancy’s wanted to leave Corporate America and start her own business. Something that for many years she was afraid to even mention because it wasn’t the “safe” journey. Venturing into the unknown was scary. If we let our fears hold us back from what we truly want – it limits the level of our true happiness. One needs to be comfortable with change to be successful. It doesn’t mean that it’s going to feel comfortable to change, it’s about figuring out what is intentionally, the best direction for you.
Please click here: url to listen to Nancy Capistran’s full interview. Below is a written summary:
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I thoroughly enjoy helping others to reach and exceed their business goals. Specifically, senior leaders as when change happens at that level the ripple effect impacts the entire business.
What is it that drives you?
I am motivated by resolving thorny challenges. An example of this is when I had a couple come to me during a hostile take-over of their business. They secured my services and not only did I bring in all the appropriate high-level professionals in addition to myself within 2 years there were able to create a new business – beyond their wildest dreams. They now have a state-of-the-art facility with major clients. I will never forget the pride I felt for my clients going from the deepest of despair to achieving something they couldn’t imagine even being possible for them. Our inner voices and gremlins hold us back from what we are truly capable of achieving.
How do you relax when you are not working in your business?
My family, home, and friends are very important to me. We have a large amount of acres of forest in our back yard. So walking in the woods with my husband, family and dog are very special to me. I also like adventures, experiencing new things, gardening, DIY home improvements, and getting together with others.
Do you have any Entrepreneurial Role Models? No. I learn best by remaining curious and watching how others approach situations personally and professionally and then observe the outcomes. I believe every person I meet has something to share. Those tid-bits of learning over a lifetime are powerful knowledge enhancers.
Before you were an entrepreneur, what difficulties did you have to overcome when you started your business?
I didn’t know what I didn’t know! Stepping off the ledge of Corporate America into the unknown of self-employment was risky and scary especially with the financial responsibilities of a family, a mortgage, home projects, college for our children, etc… I am fortunate to have a very supportive husband who believes in me. I tend to be a kind, caring, generous and a thankful leader. I’ve learned over the years to surround myself with people I know, like, and trust. Having this protective, collaborative allows for all of us to succeed. Even though I didn’t have one client when I left big-business, I quickly tapped into what I did learn throughout my life and reached out to others that could support me on my journey – as I supported them in their goals and objectives.
Did you have any doubts that delayed you starting your business?
Yes, I did. I’ve always had the dream to have my own business however I never spoke the words out loud. I thought it was irresponsible to leave my dependable, reliable job and pay check for the unknown. Many people didn’t think I could do it and though I was crazy to try. I knew deep inside of me that if I was going to take this leap, I needed to make sure I dotted my I’s and crossed my t’s before I gave up my career in Corporate America. I knew there were many things I didn’t know – I focused first on what I did know about starting a business. Once I processed through that, I did a ton of research, had several conversations with others that were successful entrepreneurs to understand what went well for them and what were the most valuable lessons they learned as they launched their businesses. I remember one day I was having coffee with a friend who I had known for a while she had created her own successful non-profit. I mentioned that I was thinking of starting my own business but I was second guessing myself – could I really make it a success? She looked at me and said, “Nancy, what have you ever put your mind to – that you didn’t accomplish?” At that moment, I thought deeply but couldn’t think of anything that I really wanted but didn’t follow through on doing. THAT is when I decided to move the needle in creating a better future. I absolutely love what I do!
What mistake did you make that slowed your journey?
We all make mistakes, it’s part of learning and how we grow. I can’t really think of anything that I did that was a major mistake. I did have a number of hiccups along the way. What slowed my journey the most was more of the “rug being pulled out from underneath me” due to an unexpected serious medical issue. A cluster was found in my breast – which turned out to be two different types of early-stage cancers. Over the last three years, I’ve had 10 different surgeries and a third cancer was found by accident. Since as far back as I can remember, I’ve been emotionally strong and very determined. This cancer journey rocked me to my core in so many ways. I decided I was going to look for the good in every day as I struggled through every day of my recovery. It served me very well. My last surgery was 6 months ago and I now have a clean bill of health! I’m very excited for the blue skies ahead…as a matter of fact, just recently I received a very prestigious award from a business organization called USA500 Clubs. The event was the Night of 500 Stars. The almost 500 members voted on the award recipient. I was quite surprised and felt very honored to have been presented with the Most Inspirational Member Award for Outstanding Achievement both personally and professionally.
What are some of the things that you did before you started your business that would be helpful tips to some of the listeners who haven’t yet taken the first step of the entrepreneur’s way?
Understand what motivates you. What truly makes you happy. What are you naturally good at. It’s just as important to know what you don’t like as what you do, so that you can plan accordingly a head of time. Understanding what you are getting into – not only communicating with people that have succeeded. It’s even more important to learn from other’s failures. Lessons learned will reduce the amount of “oops” that you make. Go into the role of being an entrepreneur with your eyes wide open – not with rose colored sunglasses. The grass is not always greener on the other side. It’s demanding, and difficult to start a business. No one has all the answers. Gain knowledge and experience from other entrepreneurs that have succeeded.
In regards to your entrepreneurial journey, do you think culture is important from the beginning in your business?
Absolutely! Culture is mission critical from the first day of establishing your business. The most successful businesses have leaders that focus on a healthy culture.
Knowing what you know now, is there anything that if you had known it when you started out would have helped you to short cut the learning curve?
Not really. I was very prepared and had done a ton of soul searching, research, saving, from a financial perspective – for the ramp up of my business. Life happens, we can’t plan or control all aspects of our life. Issue come up – it’s about working through them versus avoiding them. Prior to my transition, I spent a lot of time planning on how to make my business successful – and I’m proud to say, I’ve accomplished that.
How much does gut feeling influence your decisions in your business?
It’s important to have a healthy intuition – I’ve relied on it on many occasions – it has served me well. I weigh the facts that I know, remain curious and educate myself on the situation and then decide. I try to balance “gut” with actuals.
Life is made up of constant change whether you like it or not- The Only Constant is Change
How do you try to keep up with change?
My life has been full of change – more so than most people. So, I’m very comfortable in that space. I think as an entrepreneur, one needs to be comfortable with change to be successful.
What is your favorite book on entrepreneurialism, business, personal development, leadership or motivation? Can you tell us why you have chosen it?
Give and Take by: Adam Grant
I am a very giving person – which has its pluses and minuses. Until more recently, people would often take advantage of my generosity. I’ve learned to say “no” in a respectful way. I am more of a strategic giver now. I’m intentional about when I say “yes”. My life is now more in balance.
What one thing would you do with your business if you knew you could not fail?
I just did it – I started a second business called Crisis Interception. We are “911” for businesses. So, when the sky is falling due to any business crisis, we are the highly skilled professionals that come in to defuse the issues. We are like a SWAT team for companies. We handle:
- Workplace Tragedy – employee, subcontractor, or client is killed or injured
- Environmental Accident – chemical spill, gas leak, oil spill, explosion
- Natural Disaster – sinkhole, flood, thunderstorm which disrupts business operations
- Disgruntled Employee – fraud, theft, embezzlement, violence
- Product Recall – safety issue or product defect that might endanger the consumer
- Data Breach/Cyber Crime – sensitive, protected or confidential data that potentially has been viewed, stolen or used
- Unauthorized/Inappropriate Spending (business / non-profits)
- Advertising/Marketing Campaign Gone Wrong – offending/insulting audience, sparking outrage
- Death/Serious illness of an Executive
- Executive Under Criminal Investigation
Crisis Interception will help executives plan, mitigate, and manage business risks. We help senior leaders make decisive and effective responses for the inevitable crisis that faces all businesses at one point or another.
What is your favorite quote?
“We don’t know – what we don’t know. Remain curious and learn every day.”
What is your best advice to other entrepreneurs?
Stay focused on the tactical and strategic objectives of your company.
About Nancy Capistran
Nancy helps executives make bold moves faster and with greater precision. In surveying her client’s, the top three words that best describe what they appreciate most about her are: TRUST. VALUE. RESULTS.