For the past seven years, I’ve carried with me a folder that is my personal ‘Winner’s Bible.’
I created it with the help of Dr Kerry Spackman’s best selling book, The Winner’s Bible, which shows you how to permanently rewire your brain and transform your life, using the same groundbreaking success tools he used for elite athletes, Olympic champions and business people.
Part of Dr Spackman’s process includes creating your own personal Winner’s Bible, a workbook that is essentially a mix of goal-setting, gratitude and visualisation. He instructs you to carry your book around, and look at it every daily to move you to where you want to be in life.
As suggested by Dr Spackman, I have two pages in my workbook containing images of role models and individuals I find inspirational, and, as a business owner, I’ve included Deborah Meaden, Anya Hindmarch, Kelly Hoppen and even The Queen (seriously – is there anyone who works harder?) in mine.
But my top role model on this page has always been Victoria Beckham, and I stuck her in there before she’d started her fashion business (although after ‘Brand Beckham’ had become a money making machine in it’s own right).
On paper, Victoria Beckham’s business success of late has been impossible to ignore. The turnover of her fashion business has risen from £1million to £30 million in just five years. Last month, she opened her first stand alone boutique, and now has 100 employees on her books. Her current wealth is estimated at £210 million, nearly £50 million more than her husband David.
And that is why Andrew Saunders of Management Today said ‘She’s got a real business, some design talent and some business nous. She gets a lot of stick for being a celeb fashionista but I don’t think that’s fair. She has built something real out of her own celebrity which is quite a contemporary story. She deserves to be celebrated.’
But for me, these figures aside, Victoria Beckham has long been someone to respect and admire, and there’s plenty that entrepreneurs can learn from her to use in their own business. Here are the three most important lessons for entrepreneurs from Victoria Beckham.
Where you are today is just a step to where you’ll be in the future
It has long been said that Madonna is the master of reinvention, but surely this accolade should go to Beckham, who has reinvented not only her look and style, but also her career and in doing so, transformed herself from the bad singer in the girl band, to a globally respected entrepreneur and UN ambassador.
Her equivalents in the likes of other bands of the nineties, such as Steps and SClub7, are either distant memories or still desperately trying to claw back what they once had through one reality tv show or the other. For most, the band, although now non-existent, goes on to define their entire life.
They think small, remain inside their comfort zones and thus don’t move forward.
Not Beckham however. Rather than seeing herself as pigeon holed, stuck as a popstar or defined by the music industry, she thought big. For her, the band was not the be-all and end-all, her sole purpose in life. She didn’t think ‘I was a singer so I must stay a singer.’
She used her experience and fame to leapfrog through the next phases of her life – arriving in a completely different place to the one she started out in – in a different industry and with a different job. For everyone who feels stuck in a rut or trapped by an industry or career, or simply just a longing to do something different, that is inspiration.
You can run your own business and have children
According to the Office of National Statistics, the number of self-employed women is rising at nearly three times the rate of men, and an estimated 300,000 of these are women with children, building businesses around the family. Which is great for the economy.
But still, for many women, having children feels like the moment you put your career on the backburner, because of the very real issue of juggling both and what is most difficult at all, is the arrival of children usually co-incides with the moment at which you’re finally where you want to be with your career, or at least finally have an idea of what you actually want to do with your life.
Of course, we all know Beckham is a bit different to most of us. In that she can get however much help she requires, and delegate whatever she wishes both in her business and family, but she is still human, and still a mother with four children.
We know she does do things like stand on the side of football pitches in the cold watching her boys play football, she doesn’t exactly try to portray herself as a perfect mother and she has herself spoken of the guilt she feels, and the difficulty of juggling both her business and family.
Each to their own, but when I was pregnant and having baby number 2 at the same time as building the media business which I recently sold, I used to enjoy seeing pictures of Beckham, with four kids in tow, building her own brand. She never let having kids put a dampener on her ambition or determination.
Criticism is irrelevant
Most people are extremely afraid of criticism, of being talked about negatively and worst of all, being ridiculed. And there can’t be many who have endured more criticism and ridicule, and in public too, than Beckham. From her voice, her dancing, her hair, her body, her clothes (remember the times her and David Beckham used to wear his and her outfits?) to her marriage, her parenting and her careers and last week, letting her 3 year old have a dummy which resulted in numerous opinion pieces on the subject and endless dentists giving quotes about how Harper will be doomed to have slurred speech and damaged teeth for her entire life.
Beckham has been endlessly talked about, laughed at, made fun of and her every decision has been met with cynicism and countless predictions of failure.
Whether she simply refuses to read anything about herself, or has unrelenting self-belief and is impervious to anything anyone says, she’s weathered a legion of public storms and remained dignified, upbeat and tenacious.