Part III What being an entrepreneur REALLY means.

Between passion, pride, stubbornness, what keeps YOU going? Valuable lessons learnt from successful entrepreneurs.

A couple of months ago, one of our readers told us they would love to hear stories of different entrepreneurs’ journeys. Being located in iCentrum, Innovation Campus, we’re surrounded every day by so many entrepreneurs. So, we found the perfect opportunity to start our own qualitative research experiment on the definition of successful entrepreneurs. 

Today we’re sharing with you the story of Elliott Wingfield, the founder of AirtightVR. -Architectural Visualisation and Animation

Elliott founded the company 3 years and 8 months ago and has now two more partners. 

E: “Since then, we are proud to have served dozens of clients on hundreds of projects, with fantastic results every time. We focus on delivering engaging imagery of all types, animated and still, on time, beyond the requirements of the brief and at excellent value.

Run by award-winning RIBA Part II qualified graduates (with over 10 years practice experience as designers and image-makers within leading practices), at AirtightVR, we know the architectural project process inside-out, allowing us to be flexible, efficient and insightful with every commission.

AirtightVR delivers dynamic and engaging 3D imagery for architectural projects of every type and scale.

We pride ourselves on creating impact, communicating your proposals perfectly, delivering on time, every time, at fantastic value. 

It’s been very up and down for a couple of years. It was really, really good for the first year or so, and then one of my original clients went a bit quiet, so we had a very interesting 6 months but now is really busy again.”

“As a start-up CEO, I slept like a baby. I woke up every 2 hours and cried” -Ben Horowitz

Q.1.     Was there a time where you wanted to give up?

E: “There are not times when you want to give up, there are times when you worry. For me, it was yesterday, this afternoon and probably tomorrow. I think the minute you want to give up, you will. But I never wanted to actually stop doing what I’m doing.

What keeps me motivated is not having an option B. I don’t give myself a plan B, which is what keeps me focused on plan A, which is what I am doing right now. I’d rather spend all of my time and energy doing this, and not on planning what I would do if this does not work.

Also, I have also worked in practice for 8-9-years in a big company and taught alongside that, which made me realise I want to work for myself, desperately. That’s other thing that keeps me going, understanding the alternative is having to answer to someone else all the time and compromise on the way you do things, and I’m not particularly good at doing that. I can be a team player when I need to be, but there are certain things I like to do in a particular way.”

Q. 2.     What would you say to yourself before starting your business, or to someone else who wants to start their own business?

E: “The most difficult thing is when you’re doing really well you have to do two things that contradict each other: enjoy the fact that you’re doing really well, and pat yourself on the back, use that as more motivation, and at the same time you have to realise you have to think ahead a lot, you have to think 6 months ahead, “how am I going to get more work?” If you’re busy that doesn’t stop you trying to find work.

My mistake 18 months ago was I sat back too long and stopped looking for new work. 6 months down the line, I’m not very busy at all. You have to be present in the work that you’re doing, but also proactive for the future at the same time. Doing those two things is quite difficult.

That’s why it helps to grow the company and have people doing things for you, so you can focus on where the work is coming from. That is something I haven’t anticipated before.”

Q. 3.     Did you experience self-doubt regarding you and your business?

E: “That’s another contradictory thing. If you don’t have a bit of self-doubt, you will do a lot of stupid things. If you doubt yourself all the time, you will never get anywhere either. You need to modulate this, be realistic and self-critical, but at the same time switch it off sometimes and have faith in yourself.”

Elon Musk, when being asked what are the traits that propels you to be a successful entrepreneur, “self-analysis; critical thinking.

Q. 4.     How important is networking?

E: “Networking events can sometimes be terrible, so you have to be picky. However, I met my business partner in the pub, where I was working on my laptop. He noticed what I was working on, and we started chatting. I think it is very important to always be open about your work, you never know who you are going to run into.

If you restrict your networking to just networking events, you will never get anywhere. Networking events can be really good, and I get a lot out of them, but there is a lot of networking that you do outside of that. I did not meet my business partner at a networking event, but I am sure I met him because I was in the right state of mind, open to new possibilities, and ready to meet someone. I think it is important to encourage people to do this as well.”

(Side note- I also met Victoria, the founder of Behaviour Hackers, at a social event, at a football match, to be more specific. We were talking about our work, and we noticed that my MSc Dissertation Project was related to her work. A month later, I applied for an internship at BH, and now me, Victoria and Ionela are partners! 🙂 )

Thank you, Elliott, for the interview!

And to you, our readers, we hope you enjoyed reading this story and hopefully you took valuable lessons from it:)

We’re looking forward to sharing with you the next story in a couple of weeks!

With so much <3,

Behaviour Hackers Team

Author: Ingrid Constantin

Published by IngridC

Co-Director and Head of Research @Behaviour Hackers

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