What’s your secret behind a successful branding strategy?Carli: I like to consider and look at the brand like it is a person. And so, what I do is like Frankenstein. I am like, I create a person when I create a brand, and I like to look at it as if it is an individual entity with a unique character and personality. A brand is like your best friend and you love them, even if they are late on things, or, if they are a bit lazy, or even if they work through the night. It is literally like designing a character for a movie - I like to orchestrate a person by creating an inherent sense of responsibility to take on its character. And this, allows me to separate myself and answer those questions that I wouldn’t answer as myself, so then I’d put on another pair of shoes and answer as the brand. I think the secret is to strive to create a brand with its own characteristic traits, and thus with multiple disparities it also allows me to expand my creation, rather than immerse my identity in the brand. The brand caters to all individuals and has its own entity, its own ideas about where it wants to go on with life. I like to create a brand within this pattern. It gives everyone a sense of structure, plus it helps your team to understand what the character is like, rather than systems. It’s definitely more fun this way.
How do you suggest, one can find the right investor for their start-up business?Carli Wheatley: My advice to people would be, first and foremost to start early, work hard, save money, and put that money into what you are most passionate about if you can. If you get to the point where you’ve got a really good idea, and you need help, then you are a salesperson who is selling the idea to someone else and you’re convincing them to give you some money.
You have to be aware of the fact that the investors think and contemplate differently from the person creating the product. And there may be chances that you’re never going to find someone who is as passionate, creative as you. Probably, the individual is exclusively and purely coming in just for financials. The logic is simple: A creative person who is financially stable to invest would want to be a part of the creation or invest in their own projects. So, it is best to acknowledge and understand that the investors will never be a perfect fit. But certainly, they are your stepping stone to move to the next stage of idea conceptualisation and be able to do your own thing. It makes things easier if you consider an investor as a stepping stone and not someone with whom, you necessarily are going to build a great or a long-lasting relationship. I learned very early on to remove all the personal feelings from the equation – isn’t it just a game after all? So as long as you’re clear with your intention, you’re going to need to break away yourself at some point and carry on. Unless you may meet someone with whom you are able to foster a close friendship or relationship. These people, instead of buying a house together, start a business together, and they succeed because they want the same things out of life which, in fact, is the basics of a good relationship.
“I learned very early on to remove all the personal feelings from the equation – isn’t it just a game after all?”
Have you ever had an emotional breakdown?Carli Wheatley: Not really, surely with the stress, I should have suffered one, but I haven’t. I think it’s because I do understand when I need to go home. It’s a duty or rather a responsibility to prevent any burnout. And also, I’m okay with being upset. Everywhere I’ve worked, people have seen me being upset. I’m okay with failing – I’m not embarrassed about doing something wrong, or making a mistake. I think this is important because people are worried about perceptions, and agonize over if everyone else thinks of them as a loser. You know what? No one actually cares! The best thing someone told me once was: If you realize how little people thought about you, you’d be offended. The truth is, everyone is interested in their own life.
How important do you think it is to take a break?Carli Wheatley: Not that important. I think you need to take one if you need it! For instance, when I first started the business, I was so happy that I got the opportunity and worked very hard towards my visions. I probably spent the last seven odd years trying to make something work. Back then, I was constantly running into walls. No one was interested in my visions, and all of a sudden, they were. So, that realization finally got me a break. I could have done 22 hours a day for the last four years. If you’re tired very quickly by doing a task, I think you need to take a step back and consider - what it is that you’re doing, and what are the jobs that potentially someone else could do. You have to understand that delegation is a good thing, and to find reliable people who are very skilled in their own way. So, what you really have to do is to work out your strengths, and when you engage in tasks that sharpen your strength, you don’t get that tired anymore!
What is your one daily habit, which according to you is critical to your success?Carli Wheatley: I think as an entrepreneur, you have to be very disciplined. Firstly, as a habit, I get up early every day. If you didn’t know what’s the first step of creating your own routine, I’d say it was to get up early around 6:00 a.m., or even earlier at 5:00 a.m. However, this actually doesn’t translate into getting up and start working. It’s all about the habit of getting up early because your brain tends to be very fresh in the morning. As an early bird, you’re never going to be behind on schedule, as you can always optimise the few hours in the morning to think about the essential things, before your day begins.