Hi Julian, so lovely to have you onboard. Tell me a bit about yourself...
I am an entrepreneur from Harlesden, North West London who’s passionate about teaching the next generation of entrepreneur. I started my first business over 20 years ago and have run a number of businesses since. I have a strong lean towards technology but also love education. I’m fascinated by the factors that affect ‘success’ and have both studied and created solutions for the modern entrepreneur.
Nowadays everyone wants to be an entrepreneur, but are stuck trying to decipher how. What was your inspiration behind your best selling book “Entrepreneur to Ultrapreneur”?
9/10 entrepreneurs fail which in any other industry would be a shocking statistic but for some reason, it’s something which the entrepreneurial community are ‘ok’ with. I wasn’t ok with it and concluded that entrepreneurship as a concept needed updating. That’s what birthed the concept of Ultrapreneurship which suggests that you consider how all areas of your life affect your ability to sustain success as an entrepreneur.
Your book shares 100 ways to become a great entrepreneur – what would you say are your top 3 must do's and don'ts?
1. Do what you love, however, be passionate not emotional. We must be careful that we can still remain objective, take good advice, react to what’s actually happening in our businesses and not be clouded with emotion.
2. Get a mentor and follow their advice. Go to any business event or seminar and you’ll hear from those who’ve been there and done it, to get a mentor. However, this isn’t a check box exercise. There are lot’s businesses out there with mentors they don’t listen to. Now I’m not saying that your mentor knows everything by default, but it’s important that you know where the limitations of your experience or expertise exist and leverage that of your mentors to plug that gap.
3. Overachieve by overcoming your overwhelm – Most entrepreneurs experience overwhelm on a regular basis. This is normal and even healthy. It can trigger the entrepreneurial fight or flight switch that enables us to grow or work out better ways to do things.
However, given overwhelm can be something we have to get used to, it’s a good idea to find ways to deal with it. This is where taking a holistic approach comes in. Working out, meditation, long walks, down time or simply unplugging from what’s in front of you can be great tools to deal with overwhelm. Whatever works for you, use it as and when required to keep you from falling over the rocket that your business can become.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors steaming with ideas, but struggling to get it on paper?
Start by getting your ideas down, one line at a time if necessary. If the physical act of writing is the problem, then try using a Dictaphone or voice note app on your phone to capture your thoughts. The object of the exercise is to unclog the creative pathways to let the magic flow.
You're a Best Selling Author, massive congratulations! How important would you say branding is when launching? Does it need to be perfected first?
Thank you! Absolutely not, your brand can certainly be a work in progress. That said, the branding of my book was a significant contributor towards its success. But I wouldn’t let branding stop me from releasing a book.
You have accomplished so much over the last few years, with Ultra Education. Tell us about that?
Ultra Education teaches entrepreneurship to primary and secondary school children, some as young as seven. I have worked with teachers, parents and entrepreneurs to develop a programme that is aligned to the current educational curriculum.
Since launching, we have worked with thousands of children to teach them about developing business ideas, creating products and managing money. I really do believe in early intervention and if children are not naturally academic or struggle to stay engaged in school for whatever reason, this is a great way to teach them important, transferrable life skills. The aim of Ultra Education is to reinforce what they are already learning and making it fun! I teach in a superhero cape!
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
In my experience working with authors, it appears that although the writing is a huge effort, they underestimate the even bigger effort in my opinion which is the marketing and sales of the book. I see so many potentially great literary works sitting on the virtual shelves not being given the visibility they deserve. I always tell people that I’m not the best author but I’m a great marketer. Sure, I think my books are great, but I know there are others out there as good or better than mine who are being let down with poor marketing.
So in a nutshell I would say that give your work the exposure it deserves by putting in at least as much effort into the marketing of the work itself as the writing of it. Now if you have a publisher who can do the marketing for you and do it well, great. But the landscape of publishing is very different now so authors need to take control for themselves.
What would be your greatest marketing tip?
It is unequivocally to build a brand. It takes a lot longer so should be viewed as such. You should have bread and butter marketing strategies to get business going. But to build, grow and differentiate yourself from the competition, the value of your brand is gold. This isn’t something I worked out in advance of my businesses, it’s what I’ve realised as the brand built its own momentum. I realised that no matter who comes into the market as a competitor, what they wouldn’t have is my brand, and that I can trade on.
Who designed the cover and do you think design adds to selling power?
My brother in law, Jeremy Salmon of WeDesign.Media has been my creative backbone for over ten years now. He’s extremely talented as has the innate talent of being able to capture what you’re describing and give it life; lots of life!
If it wasn’t for the branding of my book, the concept of ‘Ultra’ probably wouldn’t be where it is today. The brand has jumped onto massively popular t-shirts, hoodies, pins, cufflinks and we’re now going into kids wear which we expect to be equally as popular.
What is your favourite motivational phrase?
“Why compete when you can create” – One of the sayings in my book that shows the pregnancy scan of my daughter. I don’t like to compete in a red ocean sense. That is to say getting into a war with the competition and having to “kill the competition”. I know that dynamic exists for many but it’s not one I became and entrepreneur to wrestle with. I realised that if you create your own lane, define your offering well, really well, that you naturally widen the gap between you and the competition.
In fact in means that you can collaborate with the competition and leverage what they do with your offering and vice versa. It’s a different approach to the learned business behaviour of Coke vs Pepsi, but I think that collaboration is the future.
Do you have any more books in the pipeline?
Now that would be telling! Seriously though, yes I do, in fact I cannot wait to author my next work, I feel pregnant with it! The truth is, I absolutely love writing and will more than likely continue to do so for the rest of my life
Click here to find out more about Julian Hall.