It's No Fear November. Let's talk fear of failure and judgement and why you shouldn't care.

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Welcome to No Fear November! I’m Brianne West, and in this episode we're talking fear... of failure and judgement mostly. Which all entrepreneurs will be familiar with. It's not just me chatting, we've also got Simran Kaur of Girls that Invest, Kendall Flutey of Banqer, Brooke Roberts of Sharesies, Simon Coley from Karma Drinks and Elliot Midalia from Boody sharing their thoughts too. If your knees are knocking at the thought of your next big move, or the media’s mean streak (hear you), I’m here to say: Who the hell cares? In a century, we'll all be forgotten, so why not give it a crack? Remember, todays news, is tomorrow's fish & chip paper. So join me, and let's turn 'No Fear November' into a year-long revolution!

Our sister podcast is called 'Now, That's What I Call Green'.

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Kia ora and welcome to Now That's What I Call Business. I'm your host, Brianne West. You may know me as the founder and former CEO of Ethique, where we tackled the waste in the beauty industry and ended up ridding the world of 31 million plastic bottles. Whereas now I'm focused on the beverage industry with my new startup, Incrediballs, which is all about removing the plastic waste in the drinks industry. Because did you know we produce well over 500 billion plastic bottles just for drinks every single year? And of course, the bare minimum gets recycled. So that's what Incrediballs is all about. So I am fizzing with plans to revolutionise the drinks industry and that's what this podcast is all about, to bring you along the journey but also give you some lessons from my previous business and of course, interview some amazing people.

Now, last week I had the privilege of speaking at the Craggy Range Business Speakers Lunch and it was really interesting because it's not an audience I typically speak to. There were bankers and investors and business people, but not typically smaller businesses. These are big established businesses and bankers from Australia. I was quite nervous about how this message about business doing good for people and planet would come across. It turned out that actually a lot of people really like the idea, but it resonated with these business people. It was interesting because whilst there were a few tables that rolled their eyes and smirked as I was talking, I saw you, there were also a lot of people who came up to me afterwards or have messaged me since and said how much it gave them a challenge to focus on doing better in their organisation

and that's all I ask. So, very interesting. Now, I've been very quiet on the Incredibles front. I'm beginning to tease the flavours on social media. If you're not following us on LinkedIn and TikTok and Instagram, I mean, what are you even doing? And we will be soon, I know I keep saying soon, but it really is soon, drawing our first SIP squad.

So, if you haven't already, go over to incredibles.com and sign up because I want as many people as possible to try all these things before they go to market because you know they're unusual, they're unique and the flavours are pretty fucking spectacular and I might have told you what the first one is on Instagram already. I think it's probably the least exciting flavour but it's the one you guys wanted so we're going. You'll start to see some press over the next few weeks too which is pretty exciting. Some about Incredibles, some about rewilding the property.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, you need to go to my other podcast now, that's what I call Green, where I talk about everything sustainability. And this is the risk I run, right? So Incredibles isn't ready to launch till April. The products won't be ready till April, maybe, look, if I'm honest, maybe May, which that feels like it's a long way away, but also no time at all. I'm actually heading to the UK to finalise the flavours in just a couple of weeks. And then we've got to get them on testing and trialing and stability testing and get the packaging sorted and all that. It's quite a lot to happen in that short period of time. But the press has caught wind of it, which is not a surprise because it's hardly like I'm building this in secret. I'm trying to actively build a community for Incredibles before Incredibles exists, which is something a lot of people think is stupid and something a lot of people think is great. It makes all the sense in the world to me and it's a bit of an experiment because I rely heavily on PR, but I think this is one of the best ways to build a business from the ground up by asking you guys what it is you want, what flavours you want, silly questions like how much do you want to pay for these things because that gives me incredible information and it gives my community, the Incredibles, the Incredibles Incredibles community, the ability to know that they're genuinely helping me build this business and they will feel forever involved and I don't think you can beat that. Anyway, that's enough about Incredibles because today we're talking about No Fear No Vendor.

This is a theme that one of the Business With Better team came up with and I think it's fabulous because there is not an entrepreneur alive who hasn't felt serious fear at some point or maybe all the points. It's not an if, it's a when. Not only are you going to hear me talk about some of my personal experiences, I've also interviewed five entrepreneurs who you will know who have all got fabulous takes around this subject. For once, it's not just going to be me rattling on at you. Fear is the number one thing that stops people from starting businesses. I ask people this question a lot. So I know a lot of people who've got great ideas and it's not money, it's not family responsibilities, it's not mortgages that stops them from starting a business like so many people think. It's actually fear of failure, fear of judgment. And that's a real shame because think how many incredible ideas are out there to solve some of the massive problems we face that people are just a little bit too frightened of pursuing. So that's what No Fear No Vamper is about is to try and get you to realise that fear is normal, everybody experiences it and here are some techniques to help you get over it. I mean when I started to take way back when in my kitchen, 2012 as a baby CEO if you like, a student, no idea what I wanted to do other than I wanted to save the world from plastic bottles, I was terrified. I was ignorant in a lot of ways, so therefore I wasn't as scared as I could have been because who knew it was going to get this big, but I was absolutely terrified. I was worried about judgment from friends and family. My family have never judged me in saying that though, but you still worry about it. My family have always been ride or die at my side, helping me pack products for all of my businesses at 4 a.m. They have always been like that.

I am incredibly privileged to have a family like that. But you still fear that potential judgment. You don't want to let them down, right? That is normal. A lot of people did tell me that it was a stupid idea. Friends, acquaintances, fellow business people, they thought that the idea of a solid haircare range was dubious at best. I'll look at it now.

But that's fair. You will get judgment. You will get criticism. You will get feedback from people that doesn't resonate with the intensely positive feeling that you have about your business idea. So you have to realise that when that comes through, that's okay, that's normal. Every single person who built a successful business faced that exact same thing. There's loads of quotes I could give you, but I think probably the one I find the funniest

and the most out of touch is the person who said that there is a market for just five computers in the world, one for each of the major countries at the time. I don't know how he quantified that. I mean, I'm recording this on a computer right now. Humans are notoriously bad at predicting the future. We're actually not very good at understanding human behaviour, the majority of us, and as a result we have no idea what will and won't work. That's why you try things and that's why I think we need to take back this word of failure.

I was talking to one of my team the other day. She considers failure an intensely negative word. That's why she doesn't use it. I don't. I have never had the fear of failure. I've had the fear of judgment. I still have the fear of judgment because I care way too much about what people think about me and it is one of my many character flaws.

I remember my mother telling me when I was 30 that I would suddenly change and I wouldn't care anymore. That has not happened and I'm pretty gutted about it. Anyway, but I've never had the fear of failure and I think that's through support of my parents. So I want you to try and think about what it is you're frightened of. If you're starting or if you've already started and you're looking to make a next step or take on the next challenge, what is it you're actually afraid of? Is it that you're afraid of failing and losing everything and you'll lose your house and so on? And if so, that is a very legitimate fear and there are steps you can put in place to protect yourself there. But if you are afraid that people will judge you or the media will be mean to you, legitimate fear, or if you're worried that people will think you are stupid and naive, I just want you to remember, and this gets maybe a wee bit dark for some people, but who the fuck cares? People who matter will never judge you like that, and the people who judge you like that don't matter. But most importantly, in 100 years' time, we will all be dead.

And I told you it gets dark, but this honestly makes me feel a little bit better because it makes me remember we're a small, tiny, insignificant speck, and unless we build a massive business empire, which, hey, some of us might do, we're not going to be remembered that much in 100 years. So what does it matter if you try something now and it fails? And putting aside the 100 year thing, if you try something now and it fails, no one's going to remember in a month or so. There is countless examples.

Today's news is tomorrow's fish and chip paper. There is a 72 hour news cycle and everyone forgets. By and large, people are very forgiving of what you perceive as failure. So please never let that perception of people judging you to hold you back. Not only does everyone feel it, they're all too busy worrying about themselves to actually focus that much on you anyway. So we're going to hear from Simon first from Karma Cola. Now, Karma Cola is one of my favourite businesses in the world because I love the impact they've had. If you don't know what

they are, they're a soft drink company and their standout product, so they're called Karma Drinks, their standout product is Karma Cola and they get their cola nuts because of course cola is actually our flavour from Sierra Leone. Now, they have always paid a fair trade price for their cola nuts and their other ingredients and they also give back 1% of every bottle sold. They have built schools, they have produced clean water, they have helped communities around Sierra Leone develop economic and social resilience and that is the epitome of purpose driven mission lead business.

I adore it and their drinks aren't half bad too. So here's Simon talking about how you should not fear feedback and mistakes. Don't be afraid to make some mistakes because you will and you learn more when you're getting feedback for the service or the product that you're trying to do even in a small way then you do think about it before you make it public and people are very forgiving you know if they if they have they see value in what you're doing and kind of understand where you're going especially amongst the sort of markets we have in New Zealand, then you can find out a lot in a short time and really improve what it is you're trying to do. I mean, unless you need to put a lot of capital into the thing that you're trying to create before you start selling it, there are lots of ways of trying to test and learn. And I just say, get out there and have a crack. We're always our own worst critics and it's quite hard to feel the confidence that you need to feel to be motivated to go and do something that should take you out of your comfort zone. That's what these things are about. But feel that you're not alone. There's a lot of people out there like us that are willing to help with advice. But beyond advice, you learn the most by getting your hands dirty.

Love it. Love everything about what Simon just said and it's all extremely true. You are your own worst critic by a country mile. You would never treat someone else the way you treat yourself. You are so harsh internally which is bonkers. You would never hold anyone else to the standards you hold yourself and it's worth remembering that and I also like his other point. I like all his points but I particularly like his other point that there are so many of people like Simon, like me, out there willing to help. First time entrepreneurs, give it a crack. I mean that's exactly what Business Look Better is about. It's exactly what this podcast is about, right? But the good thing, it's a global thing. I think a lot of entrepreneurs are very keen to help others. But in Aotearoa specifically, we have a community of entrepreneurs who are so keen to help you. So reach out to people in your industry, outside your industry, and ask them if they'll help you because I bet you the answer would be yes. Now we've got Elliot from Booty talking about big goals. Now, Booty is a sustainable basics company. So underwear, in fact, I think I'm wearing one of these singlet tops right now, extremely comfortable, working on becoming, well, I'll let him tell you himself.

That sustainable pursuit of comfort is really always front of mind for us. But getting to that BHAG, that goal, and for us, it's to become the most large-saleable underwear brand globally. It's nerve-wracking because you see that we track it actually quarterly and we're like, how are we going? And it's like, well, we're doing okay, but we've got a big, big slope ahead of us, but it's great. It's a great challenge.

Now, that's a big goal. I mean, you are taking on some big industry giants and that is so cool. But of course, with that big goal comes fear, especially if you are public facing. And this is where I talk a lot about Ethique’s goal to rid the world of plastic bottles, right? So when I started I wanted to rid the world of a million plastic bottles by 2020 and that was that was hilarious. That sounded absolutely bonkers to me. How on earth were we going to achieve that? We hit 10 million by 2020 because that goal drove us forward, drove the team forward, because it constantly reinforced why we

were there. We weren't there to sell shampoo. We were there to change an industry. We were there to make people's lives better and give you goddamn fabulous hair. Set big goals because, yeah, they might instill a little fear in you, but they instill a hell of a lot of passion and drive. One of my favourite New Zealand entrepreneurs, Brooke from Sharesies. Now, Sharesies is all about democratising investment. So if you've got $5 or $50, they want you to have the same access to investing in the stock market through their app and it's pink, so win-win. So here's Brooke talking about trusting your gut, which is something you'll hear a lot about from entrepreneurs.

Mistakes that I've made that I reflect on when sometimes I haven't trust my gut or spoken out about something. You know, when you're like, I'd see something and I'd have a reaction but then I just let it go. I'm like, oh, what if I just told them that, you know? And so sometimes when you see the ripple effect effects of something, you're just like, man, I should have just said something, you know? So, because I could have stopped that. So I think that's something that I've taken a learning from, is that even if I just have a first reaction to something, just why not share it and just be like, oh, this is what I initially thought. And then you can hear the rebut to it or go, oh, yep, that's a good idea and just make sure that things as a founder, making sure that things are, that the company is growing in the way that you're expecting and kind of aligned to that. And so that's probably something I am very conscious of at the moment anyway.

I love this. And this is one of the pieces of feedback I give the most when people say, what is your top tip for fellow entrepreneurs? What do you wish you had changed? I wish I'd spoken up a lot more. And there are so many examples I could use about this. And you know what, I'm not even sure I've still learned this because I am pathologically terrified of confrontation.

And No Fear November is about getting over these things. I don't know if I can get over my fear of confrontation in a month, but I'm going to give it a crack. But I remember we had a meeting years and years ago, probably back in 2014, 2015, and we were talking about, of all things, the name Ethique. We've just changed to it, so it would have been 2015, and there was debate on how we should say it. Now, I was of the opinion that it's a French word, ergo you say it like the French would, and I know I'm not saying it entirely correctly because it would be Ethique, but with a French accent and said better because I can't speak French, and you don't bastardise another country's language, or you certainly try not to. It's basic respect. But also, I've never understood why companies are so obsessed with taking the easy way out of things. So, they will make things beige and boring in the hope that customers will understand it easier. Whereas I think in the world of where content is king and you're constantly needing to produce more stuff, having something to talk about that's a bit different makes all the difference.

The brands that stand out that you think about when you think of, I don't know, not just very controversial, but certainly ones that have an opinion or have values, they tend to be different. One of my favourite examples, I think I used it in my last week's episode, is Liquid Death, a company that sells canned water and all things, but they do it in such a way that they're the only water company I think I know of. It's like a side really from what Brooke said, but speaking up and not always taking the path of least resistance I think is a really important thing. So we had this meeting and one of my team said, I think we should change it to a Ethique because that's what everybody says and that's what everybody searches. At the time, I was actually really pretty mad about it but because confrontation, I didn't say anything in the meeting but I thought about it for a long time and then I sent some emails and said, we're not doing this and here's why because I am better written than I am spoken.

So let's lean into that, right? Now this one was all sorted out but really it wasn't the drama I made it and if I had just said at the time, we're not doing that, it wouldn't have been unreasonable. It wouldn't have made me a bitch. It wasn't a stupid thing to say. It was a perfectly legitimate, reasonable comment. Something a lot of younger entrepreneurs will do is they will feel out of place in a room, particularly if they're surrounded by more experienced business people or directors or whatever. They will feel they don't deserve to have an opinion because how are they even at that table and also they can't possibly have anything valuable to add because they're not as experienced as you guys. Well, in my experience, your CV means nothing. I have met some of the most amazing people on paper who have been utterly useless in a startup because corporate startups, they all have different needs. A good CV is not a good business person to make, to speak up. On that exact same note is the idea of being unreasonable. From Kendall, from Banker, Banker is brilliant.

My family and I are pretty bad with money. I am a lot better through etiquette and through business, but personally, not great with money and that stems from my family. I'm not blaming them because they never got any financial literacy education from their parents or from school either. It just isn't something that was talked about. My parents are English. Their family certainly didn't talk about income or savings or anything. They didn't talk about money.

It was incredibly bad manners to do so and that was sort of a little bit of my childhood too although less strict. Banker is changing that. So banker is all about teaching kids how to use money through this really cool gamified app programming. I don't – tech thing, right? I'm not a tech person but it's brilliant, so well needed and honestly, it will change a lot of people's lives because in a generation, you're going to start seeing kids who have access to this information come through. She's talking about being unreasonable and I love it.

I get a little imposter syndrome when you say that because I'm imperfect in terms of my pursuit of purpose, that's for sure. But I've got some things I have real clarity on and I think I've got some personality quirks that means I'll be quite unwavering around those things. How many times do you get called unreasonable? Yeah, daily. People less so now because they realise it doesn't work but I got called unreasonable all the time, by a lot of people in the startup world. Love it.

That's an indicator that you're onto the right thing, right? See, I'm quite perverse in my thinking. I'm like, oh, that's good. I don't really respect you. No, I don't really respect you or we don't have the same value space. So if you're saying that, I'm on the right track.

Brilliant. I now consider being called unreasonable kind of a badge of honour. I get it a lot because I stick to those values, you know, palm free, plastic free, blah, blah, blah. And a lot of people are like, well, consumers don't care. Well, some consumers do care. Sure, the mass don't care right now, but that's not why we do the right things, right? We do the right thing because it's the right thing to do, and we educate our consumers to understand that that's the right thing to do, and that's how we change business.

And sure, you might find me unreasonable for that, but I don't care. I love that. You're going to be called unreasonable a lot if you stick to your guns on something that matters to you. And just remember, it's a badge of honour. Now finally we have Simran from Girls That Invest. Sim is the queen of community. She has built several massive Instagram accounts and off the back of the Girls That Invest Instagram channel and podcast, she has built a media company that has taken her around the world.

She's fucking brilliant. So here is some advice from her. You've got to be very vulnerable and authentic. If you can say, this is my journey and these are all the things I did right and all the things I did wrong, people are more likely to trust you and go, okay, she's actually or he's actually a human too. It was so embarrassing at the start making content for like the three followers that we had, you know. And but you have to give that same energy as if you had three followers or a hundred thousand followers on social media. And I think that wraps up the fear and failure comments quite nicely. It might not have an obvious link to you, but the more human, real, transparent, authentic you are online and in real life, the more likely people are to give you some leeway. So if something does fail, if something doesn't work, and trust me, you're gonna make plenty of decisions that don't work, then if you're honest about it,

your consumers, your shareholders, your board, your directors, whatever, they are probably going to be much more okay with it than if you're blustering your way through it. And that's absolutely true on social media. I'm teaching a social media class in a couple of hours and it's going to be one of the key takeaways is you need to be yourself. Be yourself, be honest, be transparent. So that is our very first episode of No Fear November. I've given you a little insight into those early years of fatigue.

I give you quite a bit of insight into those years over on Business With Better social media channels. And you are seeing a business built in real time on Incredibles Instagram. I'm asking you all sorts of questions and I really appreciate all the feedback. Now these are quite short, snappy episodes. I don't go on for an hour.

I don't know about you, ADHD brain, I'm not gonna focus on something for an hour. So you don't need to hear me rambling on. But please keep sending me feedback, rating the podcast, subscribing. It's all really helpful for me to know that actually somebody gives a shit about this, but also that it's helpful.

And please let me know what you'd like to see next week. I hope you found this entertaining, inspiring or educational and if not, well, I'll do better next time. I've been your host, Brianne West, and this has been Now That's What I Call Business, I've been your host, Breanne West, and this has been Now That's What I Call Business, where we're not just talking business, we are, of course, changing the world.

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