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How I Made It: 40 Successful Entrepreneurs Reveal All

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Every year thousands of hopeful entrepreneurs decide to take the plunge. Many fail, but many go on to achieve great success and huge profits. Why is it that some race ahead to glory while others fall at the first hurdle? In How I Made It, 40 successful British entrepreneurs explain how they managed to defy the odds and turn their dreams into reality. They tell how they dec Every year thousands of hopeful entrepreneurs decide to take the plunge. Many fail, but many go on to achieve great success and huge profits. Why is it that some race ahead to glory while others fall at the first hurdle? In How I Made It, 40 successful British entrepreneurs explain how they managed to defy the odds and turn their dreams into reality. They tell how they decided what to do, how they got started, how they found the money they needed and how they went about it. But they also reveal how they had doubts, made stupid mistakes, and encountered overwhelming frustrations along the way. This new edition updates their stories to reveal what happened next and how, in most cases, they finally sold their businesses and made millions. Gutsy, inspiring, and life affirming, How I Made It is for anyone who has dreamed of starting a business.


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Every year thousands of hopeful entrepreneurs decide to take the plunge. Many fail, but many go on to achieve great success and huge profits. Why is it that some race ahead to glory while others fall at the first hurdle? In How I Made It, 40 successful British entrepreneurs explain how they managed to defy the odds and turn their dreams into reality. They tell how they dec Every year thousands of hopeful entrepreneurs decide to take the plunge. Many fail, but many go on to achieve great success and huge profits. Why is it that some race ahead to glory while others fall at the first hurdle? In How I Made It, 40 successful British entrepreneurs explain how they managed to defy the odds and turn their dreams into reality. They tell how they decided what to do, how they got started, how they found the money they needed and how they went about it. But they also reveal how they had doubts, made stupid mistakes, and encountered overwhelming frustrations along the way. This new edition updates their stories to reveal what happened next and how, in most cases, they finally sold their businesses and made millions. Gutsy, inspiring, and life affirming, How I Made It is for anyone who has dreamed of starting a business.

30 review for How I Made It: 40 Successful Entrepreneurs Reveal All

  1. 4 out of 5

    Erwin

    Just a collection of interviews of moderately successful entrepreneurs. It's funny that the author continually wants to point out: 1. the precise financial results of each entrepreneur 2. the fact that the entrepreneur doesn't do it "for the money" Not a serious business book. Not very helpful to most entrepreneurs. There were some insightful bits, but not much. Fortunately, it was a quick read - but even so I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. My favorite quote was: To avoid seasickness look to th Just a collection of interviews of moderately successful entrepreneurs. It's funny that the author continually wants to point out: 1. the precise financial results of each entrepreneur 2. the fact that the entrepreneur doesn't do it "for the money" Not a serious business book. Not very helpful to most entrepreneurs. There were some insightful bits, but not much. Fortunately, it was a quick read - but even so I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. My favorite quote was: To avoid seasickness look to the horizon. If you were to only read 2 chapters, read: 35) Rik Hellewell - Founder of Ovenu 37) Matt Stevenson - Founder of Reef One Here are my notes from highlighted sections: --- Page 5 --- Professor Gray says: ‘Successful entrepreneurship is basically a successful commercial application of an innovation. That could be a new product or a new process, a new way --- Page 6 --- of marketing or a new way of organizing people. It could even be something which already exists somewhere else but simply put in a new context. --- Page 7 --- Successful entrepreneurs tend to be brighter than other people and they are usually particularly good at people relationship skills. A key part of being an entrepreneur is having the ability to talk to people and communicate with them and persuade them that their idea is a good one. You often find that a lot of successful entrepreneurs are backed by a loyal team. --- Page 9 --- Some people are driven by an overwhelming desire to prove to others that they are capable of achieving some-thing great. praise leads to a need for achievement. Money is not the main driver for entrepreneurs. Instead they are motivated by the desire to be in control, to do their own thing and put their stamp on it. --- Page 10 --- If you do not believe 100 per cent in what you are doing, you will never be able to persuade anyone else – investors, customers, bank managers, partners or employees – to believe in it either. The second requirement is an ability to see every failure as an opportunity, not a disaster. --- Page 11 --- Successful entrepreneur have this hardiness about them which means that they dwell on the positives rather than the negatives. If there is any light at the end of the tunnel then they will follow it. --- Page 12 --- To be a good entrepreneur you have got to be good at problem-solving. And that means being an optimist because by looking for a solution to a problem in your mind you are in effect saying that there has always got to be a way to overcome any difficulties. It is having that constant belief that there will always be a way forward that separates successful entrepreneurs from everyone else. --- Page 31 --- The secret is to know what you are there for – and then to do what you do extremely well. It is no good having a venue where the sound is bad and saying you will deal with it next week. You have to deal with it there and then. It is about being the best you can. Do what you want to do, but do it absolutely brilliantly – and do it now. --- Page 37 --- Failure cannot live with persistence --- Page 41 --- I learnt not to waste money. The company was run with maximum cost control. --- Page 42 --- Successful people are the ones who don't switch off from their business. They are the ones who are continually thinking of new ways to move their company forward. --- Page 46 --- Money has got nothing to do with it. I just get a kick out of the business going well. I am really pleased with every sale we make --- Page 53 --- If you want to be successful in anything you have to surround yourself with experts who are able to guide you and educate you --- Page 63 --- When you lose the most important thing in your life, the loss of anything else isn't terribly important. --- Page 72 --- I turned the concept on its head and started to look at why a company was losing customers. Because losing fewer customers actually costs less than gaining more customers. --- Page 75 --- So she filled one with concentrated blackcurrant juice and sent it by post in a white unlined box to the head buyer at Tesco. --- Page 77 --- Creating a valve that was completely leak-proof took many attempts, but finding a company prepared to take it on was even harder and Haberman made more than 20 presentations without success. Undaunted, she invested her own money to develop a fully working prototype. --- Page 78 --- she discovered that a major brand had launched a similar cup using her technology --- Page 79 --- She is a member of several advisory committees and regularly speaks at events and seminars on the subject of intellectual property rights --- Page 100 --- He now spends his time investing in privately owned companies which he believes have an innovative product --- Page 101 --- His interests currently include an internet-based courier business, a marketing agency, a raw pizza delivery company, a hotel group and a worldwide wine advisory business. I'm not convinced that having experience is that important to becoming a successful entrepreneur. I think that it is about totally and utterly believing in what you are doing and being passionately committed to it. --- Page 106 --- I am always looking at ways of doing things better --- Page 133 --- To avoid seasickness look to the horizon. --- Page 135 --- It would have been a lot of hard work to get nowhere and it was a pretty galling thought. I was 40 years old with three children and I knew I never wanted to work for other people again, but I began to realize I might have to. It was not a good place to be. --- Page 144 --- It had never occurred to me there was such a thing as the best shop for croissants. It was like scales falling from my eyes. --- Page 145 --- I realised early on that I am not the best cook in the world. But I am very good at hiring good people and creating the right atmosphere for them to do their best. --- Page 146 --- I was convinced that if you gave people a wonderful glass of Chablis and a plate of smoked salmon, they would just flock in. And they did if it was a sunny day, but when it rained nobody came. We lost a lot of money and it shook my confidence.' --- Page 153 --- in 2008 he and his wife spent two months driving a 1961 Corvette from Panama to Alaska --- Page 161 --- Then in 1989 recession struck and demand for events management dried up overnight. The situation was made worse by the fact that Beggs had invested heavily in commercial property. I went in there thinking I have got to give the pitch of a life-time. I was terrified. I put the keys on the table and said, there they are if you want them, but if you are prepared to let me carry on working then I will repay the debt. --- Page 162 --- Beggs immediately shifted the focus toward organizing events for clients he thought would do best in a recession, such as bankers and lawyers. The business survived. --- Page 174 --- I always think that until you have something written down, you can't improve on it because ideas in your head are too ephemeral. --- Page 177 --- I can't believe I managed to keep it going for as long as I did. I didn't really have a business plan and I didn't understand cash flow. --- Page 178 --- I knew that in order to be successful a business either had to be huge or it had to be niche --- Page 179 --- There were very few barriers to stop my sales manager going round the corner with a credit card and an overdraft and setting up in competition to me. Mitchell decided to set up a business that handled claims on behalf of insurance companies by validating the claim and then repairing or replacing the damaged equipment --- Page 185 --- She was so confident of success that she deliberately priced her pieces at twice that of her competitors. --- Page 192 --- I wanted new Mercedes trucks but the business model wouldn't support it. Our competitors were all operating on a shoestring and we couldn't compete with them. I learnt that one business model doesn't necessarily fit all businesses. Some businesses need to operate in different ways. --- Page 193 --- You have to be passionate about what you are doing – and you have to want to win. --- Page 198 --- he was never driven by money but instead was really motivated by the thrill of creating something new --- Page 201 --- Instead she spent the whole of her first year's promotional budget of £30,000 paying for the services of Max Clifford, the public relations consultant, in the hope of attracting celebrity followers. It worked. --- Page 203 --- with the help of her partner and some design engineers from Liverpool University spent a year and £30,000 creating a prototype machine and holding clinical trials to ensure that the treatment was effective and safe --- Page 205 --- Now 47, Hilditch says that one of the nicest things about being successful has been seeing her parents' pride in her achievements. ‘When my father died I discovered that he had taped every television appearance of me talking about Crystal Clear. Whenever someone visited, he would say: “Look at what Sharon has done.”' --- Page 208 --- I was never very comfortable in a factory and being told what to do by people who didn't have the faintest idea themselves. I wanted to be the master of my own destiny. --- Page 209 --- There was a lot of trial and error. There is only one way you can learn something brand new and that is to get stuck in and do it. I wanted to make all the mistakes myself first. by registering the design of the equipment and by having our own products, we weren't going to make it easy for anyone else to come in and try to compete. he deliberately chose to work alone, because from the start he decided that if the concept worked then he wanted to be able to use the data he had collected to turn his Ovenu business into a franchise operation. When I was working in the carpet game we had 120 subcontractors and it was just wall-to-wall hassle', he says. ‘I wanted a system where people could own their business, but trade under a corporate identity. People who have got their own businesses tend to behave better than subcontractors because they are responsible for the direction of their business. You don't get the Friday afternoon syndrome. --- Page 210 --- I was determined to make my business work. And if people know that the whole company is run by somebody who has been there, done it and got the T-shirt, they appreciate that and are going to want to work with you. There are a lot of companies being run by people who haven't got the faintest idea what goes on at the grass roots and I don't think that is terribly bright Hellewell now has 130 franchisees with 200 vans between them, who pay a one-off fee of £9,750 to join Ovenu and a monthly fee of £165, producing a collective turnover which is expected to be £5 million in 2009. --- Page 214 --- I went to my local business centre for advice but the adviser though it was a stupid idea and tried to convince me out of it. --- Page 215 --- Everyone thought my shop was so bizarre that I had a lot of press coverage and so I had a huge following from day one --- Page 220 --- He drew up a list of 12 ideas and after asking his family what they thought, decided to develop one further. It was a circular aquarium called the biOrb. --- Page 221 --- I think part of the reason it has been so successful is because by making it ourselves we have learnt how to improve it --- Page 222 --- When people go into a fish shop they are faced with a bewildering list of things to buy, but most people don't want to know how to wire up a fish tank or what chemicals to add. They just want to keep fish. So our job is to work that all out for them and take away those question marks. --- Page 231 --- Bigham had to contact 15 banks before he found one prepared to let him open a business account, even though he was not asking to borrow anything and was investing £20,000 of his own money in the venture. --- Page 238 --- disaster hit when Hughes decided to invest heavily in a new project called The Ice Space, an indoor ice exhibition in London

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Ward

    Have read a few of the stories that hooked my immediate interest - very insprirational,,,still reading

  3. 4 out of 5

    Luca

    Just a collection of interviews, very short and they don’t go deep enough to understand the challenges that the entrepreneurs have.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Loy Machedo

    Loy Machedo’s Book Review – How I Made It by Rachel Bridge Having read a few many books over the last many years, I find it a challenge to discover any book or author that can motivate or inspire me with something original. Almost all of them recycle old material and stories. Even worse is the practice where the an author believe he or she has found a number followed by How you can achieve something – more like the 7 steps to this or the 14 steps to that. These techniques used to work in the 80’s Loy Machedo’s Book Review – How I Made It by Rachel Bridge Having read a few many books over the last many years, I find it a challenge to discover any book or author that can motivate or inspire me with something original. Almost all of them recycle old material and stories. Even worse is the practice where the an author believe he or she has found a number followed by How you can achieve something – more like the 7 steps to this or the 14 steps to that. These techniques used to work in the 80’s because it was fairly a new concept. But now, there are too many of the so called Motivational Speakers – so much so, that if you are being called one, is more of an insult than compliment! So in comes Rachel Bridge – A Enterprise Editor for ‘The Sunday Times’ who regularly writes for its column on success stories in the business world. This book ‘How I made it’ is a collection of all these stories she had contributed to her paper. In this second edition she gives us personalities like • Charlie Bigham (founder of Bighams), • Darren Richards (founder of DatingDirect.com), • Harry Cragoe (founder of PJ Smoothies) • Heather Gilchrist (founder of Happitots) and • Lizzie Van (founder of Organix brands), • Maria Kempinska, (founder of Jongleurs), • Rosemary Conley (founder of theHip & Thigh Diet), • Ted Smart (founder of The Book People). • Zahid Kasim (founder of Café Lazeez), Just to name a few. What I loved about this book: 1) The stories are to the point – They are short, sweet and simple. 2) Each Story is around 2 to 3 pages long. 3) You can relate to most of the characters as they are normal everyday people 4) The book is very easy on the mind and eyes. 5) The stories are so simple and the language so fluid – even a child would be intrigued to read it. In fact I recommend you to give this book to your child. 6) The Book is attention grabbing and keeps your interest alive right through the end. 7) The author gives equal importance to each and every author 8) The surprising bit is that it reinforces my belief that you do not need to have great academic education to succeed in the Real World – not that I am disregarding ‘Education’ in the larger context. 9) And guess what – the best part about this book – most of the successful people have crossed the so called Middle Age Mark. 10) And the part I loved about this book – There is no secret to success or a standard path. It just came down to good old principles of Hard Work Drawbacks: None that I can think of. The only drawback which some would state would be that she didn’t have any ‘strategy’ or say ‘words of wisdom’ to help you succeed – which I believe was great. I believe each and every one of us is capable of finding out the best of what we feel we can apply and learn from. So overall, a Great Inspirational Read and I would call it more like ‘The Better Biographical Business Version of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series’ Go ahead and buy it. I rate this book an 8 out of 10. Loy Machedo loymachedo.com

  5. 5 out of 5

    Waseem

    I love books like these, short biographies and summaries of how various entrepreneurs made there millions - this best serves has a reminder that the route to riches can be found down many paths and ways - one of which may be yours one day ... ... More importantly it isn't mutually exclusive to a certain background, experience, skill set or best of all age .. So it's never too late! Follow your dreams and you can achieve more in a few years than most have in their entire lifetime ... Even if at pr I love books like these, short biographies and summaries of how various entrepreneurs made there millions - this best serves has a reminder that the route to riches can be found down many paths and ways - one of which may be yours one day ... ... More importantly it isn't mutually exclusive to a certain background, experience, skill set or best of all age .. So it's never too late! Follow your dreams and you can achieve more in a few years than most have in their entire lifetime ... Even if at present they may be doing better than you... To Our Continued Success! Waseem Mirza http://www.WaseemMirza.net

  6. 5 out of 5

    Othón A. León

    I am re-reading it (second round). Originally I read this book like 5 years ago and liked it very much; I found it inspiring (in entrepreneurial terms I mean...). Easy reading really, a light book to enjoy it in that way too... I recommend it especially if you're in the mood for creating your own business and need "proof" that it's possible to get rid of that horrible boss of yours and finally become the master of your destiny. It's a British book and so are all 40 cases included, so be prepared I am re-reading it (second round). Originally I read this book like 5 years ago and liked it very much; I found it inspiring (in entrepreneurial terms I mean...). Easy reading really, a light book to enjoy it in that way too... I recommend it especially if you're in the mood for creating your own business and need "proof" that it's possible to get rid of that horrible boss of yours and finally become the master of your destiny. It's a British book and so are all 40 cases included, so be prepared to be bloody open mind... ;-)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Leader Summaries

    Desde Leader Summaries recomendamos la lectura del libro Cómo lo hice, de Rachel Bridge. Las personas interesadas en las siguientes temáticas lo encontrarán práctico y útil: management, consejos para emprendedores. En el siguiente enlace tienes el resumen del libro Cómo lo hice, Historias inspiradoras de 10 pequeños emprendedores de éxito: Cómo lo hice Desde Leader Summaries recomendamos la lectura del libro Cómo lo hice, de Rachel Bridge. Las personas interesadas en las siguientes temáticas lo encontrarán práctico y útil: management, consejos para emprendedores. En el siguiente enlace tienes el resumen del libro Cómo lo hice, Historias inspiradoras de 10 pequeños emprendedores de éxito: Cómo lo hice

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ajay

    Boring and repetitive with no real advice other than 'work hard' and 'love what you do' and 'don't be in it for the money'. This book is just a series of short interviews about how some successful people set up their companies (most of which I've never heard of). Each story pretty much pans out exactly the same. Not recommended if u want to be truly inspired but fine if you have a few hours to kill. Besides, the book was free on kindle so why not? Boring and repetitive with no real advice other than 'work hard' and 'love what you do' and 'don't be in it for the money'. This book is just a series of short interviews about how some successful people set up their companies (most of which I've never heard of). Each story pretty much pans out exactly the same. Not recommended if u want to be truly inspired but fine if you have a few hours to kill. Besides, the book was free on kindle so why not?

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    Tiresome too-brief stories that puff the successful and tell you nothing you can use about how they made it. The only remarkable thing for me was the diversity of success: I'm so far in the Internet bubble that it's worth being reminded now and again that people make money from other improbable things than web sites. Tiresome too-brief stories that puff the successful and tell you nothing you can use about how they made it. The only remarkable thing for me was the diversity of success: I'm so far in the Internet bubble that it's worth being reminded now and again that people make money from other improbable things than web sites.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Liam Delahunty

    Sadly contains no actionable insights.

  11. 4 out of 5

    David McClendon, Sr

    It was kind of interesting

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nigel Lambe

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mohammad Moamen

  14. 4 out of 5

    Diana Evans

  15. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  16. 4 out of 5

    StonTomas

  17. 5 out of 5

    Praveen Puranik

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sansculo

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dillon

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ruben A. Torres

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nigel

  23. 5 out of 5

    Murray

  24. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  25. 5 out of 5

    Hulda Rós

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stuart Badman

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joel Damalerio

  28. 4 out of 5

    Carl Upshon

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

  30. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Coast

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