Have you ever thought that failure in business could be a good thing? I’ve previously shared my take on failed businesses that act as skeletons in our closets…
And in this episode of Off The Charts, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kelsey Ramsden, who was one of our fantastic speakers at Off The Charts Live last year. She’s been Canada’s number one female entrepreneur for two years running.
In our interview she opens up on how vulnerability has been the key to connecting in her business, how she’s had many failures in business, and ultimately learned that being her own best friend helped her grow a multi-million dollar business.
Failure In Business Mixed With Vulnerability Can Lead To a Multi-Million Dollar Business
Kelsey’s Take on Vulnerability In Business
Vulnerability is basically uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. The outcome of vulnerability is trust, intimacy and connection.
Kelsey was doing a talk for Dell computers, who brings 200 women entrepreneurs from around the world together once a year… And then they asked her to run a panel on risk which was awesome. She got to meet Brene Brown and took a selfie with her.
Our capacity for vulnerability equals our ability for connection. And if you just think about that like connecting with your audience, connecting with your customers, with your suppliers or the people who work with and for you, that’s a thing that has not gone away when Kelsey got terminal cancer. By the way, Kelsey is healthy now.
Tell us about a time where you experienced some kind of setback and how you overcame that:
Kelsey: I’ve experienced a lot of failure in business and life. I’m a successful failure, that’s what I like to say. For the most part, I need to feel that I’m doing something beneficial or successful ongoing.
I used to set these really big goals like launch my website. And then when they didn’t happen – it takes a long time to get that work done so there was never really a feeling of accomplishment for myself.
It took a long time for me to understand setting daily goals, and small things. Like today, if I do this, that’s success. And then once I did that, I started to get the momentum of the emotional steadiness of consistently getting something done as opposed to consistently feeling like I wasn’t accomplishing anything.
Tell us about a time where everything came together and you had a big win:
Kelsey: Those times come up for me, often times, there’s something a little bit greater at play than myself. Usually it’s something I didn’t expect to happen exactly in the way that it happened.
It used to get me a little off put like this wasn’t my plan. I wasn’t quite ready for this. But I’ve realized the genius of that is when great things happen you just have to be looking up.
You have to be paying attention for the opportunity or willing to say I don’t quite know that yet. But I can figure that out or I can access resources. And those situations have been when the really greatest things have happened to me.
Unbeknownst to myself, the world often said, “Here’s where you’re supposed to be, just go ahead and do it.”
Anything else you’d like to share about running a multi-million dollar business?
Kelsey: Yeah, lots of things. Ultimately, it comes down to no matter what business you’re in, no matter what it is that you’re doing, we have to be our own best friend first.
I talk to myself like I were talking to my bestie because I really can be my own worst critic. I always think would I talk to my children like this? Would I talk to my best friend like this?
I think the other piece is I love making lots of money but underlying that really comes down to the truth piece. And so that’s when you’re truthful foremost with yourself. And then secondarily with the people you work with and for, and your clients. And I don’t think the genuine feeling of success, then followed by the monetary success comes, unless you start in that place.
Daring To Stand Out
One thing that we didn’t touch on in the interview, that she shared when she spoke at our Off The Charts live event, is that she built a successful business in a very male dominated field: construction.
For every woman who takes a stand for how she believes businesses can be run differently, there are massive waves… and it gives other women the inspiration and permission to do it their way, too.
My business was also born out of a male dominated field (in Software Engineering, there were 15 girls and 100 boys in our class) and I thank this curiosity and tenacity that rages on inside me every day… because it allowed me to put aside the stereotypes and put aside the judgements, and really build the business that was in my heart.
Today I’m back in the software field, but I’m doing it on my terms and in a whole new paradigm. We just hired a wicked smart female developer to join our team and program our WordPress plugins alongside my husband Robin… and it brings tears to my eyes knowing that each step we take is changing the world, in one small way or another.