It’s safe to say that entrepreneur, beauty powerhouse and OBE, Michelle Mone, knows a thing or two about success. We sat down with her to chat about her accomplishments, how empowering others will empower you and how bitchiness gets you nowhere…
How do you keep a balance between everything you have going on?
Plan plan plan. I plan before I plan, then plan it out. I have To Do lists absolutely everywhere. I have a meticulous filing system for emails and this translates to my general business. I show this to all of my team to ensure if they promise someone something they then follow through on it. Under promise and over deliver, I always say. I do a Critical Time Path weekly and try and work out all my timings and stick to them strictly. This means I manage to do what I need to do. Prioritising important things, then anything you can’t finish carry on to the next day but never forget them. My phone helps to keep me organised… in fact, without it I would be lost (not just because of the GPRS)!
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I think that you can’t have any regrets as things happen for a reason, depending on your dreams, goals and methods. Having started Ultimo 20 years ago I would say not to trust people so quickly. You have to trust but I trusted a lot of people implicitly and this has lead to me being severely stung a few times. I would tell myself that and not to get too worried about what people think, as you shouldn’t care about what people that don’t know you think. It’s your family and friends opinions that matter most. “Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.”
In your eyes, what are your 3 biggest achievements?
My 3 gorgeous children! But in business terms I love mentoring people and giving something back. I started to mentor people as a business and theres nothing as rewarding as seeing your advice and coaching change someones life, and achieve their goals. These people usually go on to teach others, which is a win win! I also never thought I would become the most renowned female keynote speaker in the UK… I remember I couldn’t even speak to a room of 20 people without throwing up and now I speak to hundreds of thousands of people yearly, around the globe. I was also drafted in to conduct a two-part review on business start-ups for the UK Government, having left school at 15 I never ever thought I could do something like that.
Aside from your current job, what would your dream career be?
I’ve always wanted to do business from a very very young age but aside from that I find criminal law fascinating, I love watching shows and TV documentaries. I always think “I could do that” as these mega tuned in investigators piece together the puzzle… though these things are always easier from the sofa.
What quality do you look for when hiring a new member of your team?
I would hope them to be honest and trustworthy first and foremost. Aside from this, core skills like being committed & hardworking. Most importantly, if they are keen to learn and know how/when to have fun, they will settle in just fine. I like to teach my team skills that will improve them as people AND as workers. If that helps them to do the job at hand and gives them better opportunities in future, then it is a win win.
What advice would you give someone wanting to emulate your success?
My mantra is “Work hard, play hard and give something back”. Always stay focused on where you want to be and have clear plans on how to get there. Have goals and don’t think you are above yourself — keep it real but dream BIG. Don’t ever get complacent. I don’t think I’ve made it yet, this is just the beginning.
What mistake do you often see people making when they’re climbing the career ladder?
Main mistakes people make when they try to make the top is they turn quite vicious and bitchy, instead of helping others. If you help people going along the way thats the best way to keep it as you never know when your paths might cross again. Don’t be selfish or dishonest. I always say you can tell someone’s true qualities by how they treat people when they are on the way up.
Do you have a saying in life that you swear by?
Apart from “work hard, play hard and give something back” I was brought up to believe that It doesn’t matter where your from, what education you’ve managed to get, if your from money or not from money, don’t let it hold you back from achieving your goals. The biggest limits we face are the limits we place on ourselves in our own mind. If you work hard in life, be honest and never give up you will make it!
Who is the woman that inspires/has inspired you the most?
Oprah Winfrey – incredible entrepreneur and amazing broadcaster.
What makes you feel empowered?
Seeing my mentees succeed. I coach a lot of women who don’t realise the power they have. Usually, they have taken the career ladder to senior level and then seem to lose their drive and self-confidence. I work with cases like this a lot and sometimes it can take a long long time to help them break down the barriers and lose the false beliefs. When everything finally clicks and my ‘students’ become empowered, it in turn empowers me.
You’d be lost without…?
My UTan and Tone products. When I was developing these with our team of chemists, I was being quite selfish and designing products me and my daughters wanted, that we would use. They are truly irreplaceable and it is amazing to see so many people think so too! I believe you look and feel so much healthier with a tan.. or at least a glow! Personally it makes me feel so much more confident and it’s important that I don’t end up smelling like biscuits. I can’t say I’ve tried anything that comes close.