When launching a product or service instead of looking for all the ways it can succeed, ask trusted friends and family to tell you why it will fail.
Leslie Bradford-Scott launched Walton Wood Farm, an award-winning bath and beauty gift company, in her laundry room and built it to 2m in sales in 4 years. She started her business the old-fashioned way, filling her pick up truck with products and cold-calling on gift shops. Walton Wood Farm products are sold in over 2500 stores throughout North America.
Where did the idea for Walton Wood Farm come from?
I started Walton Wood Farm, a bath and beauty gift company, in my laundry room. I wanted to make clean beauty products that I could scale from our farm to create an income for myself, jobs for my rural community, and save our historic barns.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
The first 30 mins of my waking hour are devoted to drinking one glass of water, taking my vitamins, sitting on the sofa with a cup of coffee and staring out the window. No phones, no distractions. Just enjoying the view and letting my brain wake up. After I shower, I check my email and prioritize my day’s activities. I batch activities like email into units of time so I can focus and complete tasks quickly and without distractions.
How do you bring ideas to life?
A product will pop into my head and within 24 hours we can have the art and copy completed and be testing formulas. I see seeds of inspiration everywhere I look. We also have a team process where we all fire ideas at each other and then we vote on what wins.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The counter-culture movement away from big corporate brands. It helps small brands like us to survive and thrive.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Knowing when to do nothing. Doing nothing and giving my brain a rest is a key to inspired thinking. A chance to step away from mental clutter and give my mind space to wonder.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Always take a step back before executing an idea and try to find all the faults. Ask trusted people, how will this fail? I’m an optimist, and that can be a big problem sometimes when you pull the trigger on an expensive idea without solid footing.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I’m a hardcore introvert. Everyone thinks I’m an extrovert. I like to stay home on the farm. I’d never leave if I had a choice.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Listen to podcasts and read books. I’m hungry for learning from others’ experiences. We are at an unprecedented time in history where we instantly have access to the world’s greatest thinkers, for free!
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Drip. Drip. Drip. I put a million things out there in the world and am playing the long game. It’s a slog, but I don’t believe in overnight success. I write blogs, make videos, do a lot of PR. These things don’t produce immediate results but they build up into a bank of assets you can recycle and leverage later.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I once had to fire nearly my entire team. We had the wrong people on-board and a very bad culture. I learned the art of hiring, came up with a plan, and stick to it as my life depends on it.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Matchmaking people with solo seniors who want to travel the world but need a bit of help. It’s a win for both parties.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A thumb drive for my iPhone. I’m always running out of space.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Monday.com. It’s a task management system that helps me and my team keep track of everything. I’d be lost without it.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
‘Who’ by Geoff Smart and Randy Street. They have figured out exactly how to hire and retain people. They made a map, I follow it. Simple.
What is your favorite quote?
Failure is not an option – Gene Kranz
- When launching a product or service instead of looking for all the ways it can succeed, ask trusted friends and family to tell you why it will fail. People generally don’t want to be a ‘downer’ and giving them permission to be honest with you will help to flush out issues that you can deal with before you’ve sunk money into a project.
- Define the culture you want. Document it and hire only people who fit into it. Read the book “Who” by Geoff Smart and Randy Street. They’ve done all the heavy lifting; you just need to follow their map.
- Ensure you and your team record all important data and operational procedures into one system like Monday.com. If a team member leaves, their job lives in one digital bank where anyone on the team can access it. This ensures the learning and processes are retained and make training new people ten times easier.
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