In 2002 and with zero capital, Terri Brown started Actuate, an internal marketing and communications agency that offers clients bespoke strategies to align their employees with their brand. She had three staff members and a few clients waiting for her to go it alone. Today, Actuate has won numerous industry awards and has some of South Africa’s biggest corporates as clients.
The Difference Between Good And Great | Doing what you love. If you’re not doing something that fulfills you then you’re not going to put in that little more effort, those few more hours or give it that extra attention and it’s the extra effort, time and attention that makes the difference between a good job and a great job. If you look around you the people who are great at what they do are also the people who have a great love of what they’re doing.
A Key Talent | I’m exceptionally resilient and very stubborn. I can hear ‘no’ a thousand times and still keep going. People assume that in order to succeed you need to know the answers or the solutions to every question, and that’s a very limiting belief because nobody knows all the answers to all the questions. But you can be determined and persistent in finding a solution and the first 5 or 11 or 47 tries may fail but eventually (if you keep going long enough) you’ll find the solution. At some point it’s not about intelligence, connections, qualifications, experience, or expertise – it’s just about determination and persistence. Just keep going.
Principles I Live By | Do a great job. Our clients give us work because they trust us to produce an excellent piece of work. If your work is mediocre (no matter how nice you are) clients will stop briefing you. I always compare it to a restaurant – I don’t want to go to a place to eat if I feel like I could have made a better meal at home. But clients will keep coming back if they’re confident that you’ll always do a great job.
Also, don’t be a jerk. That’s a pretty good way to lose business (and friends).
Lessons I Have Learnt | A little bit of fear is good. We should all be a little bit scared by what we’re doing because if you’re not a little bit scared you’re not pushing the envelope far enough, not trying hard enough, not aiming high enough. A little bit of fear is a very healthy thing.
Performing At My Peak |Nobody always performs at their peak. We all have highs and lows. While you’re at a peak make the most of it, when you find yourself in a slump just muddle, though it’ll eventually end. But everyone – the best actors, athletes, musicians, writers…everyone has their slumps. Just keep going, it’ll pass.
Also, make sure your low is better than your competitors high.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | Bill 50% up front. It helps smooth cash flow. It ensures your costs are covered and creates client commitment. You’ll have a lot less sleepless nights if you bill 50% up front.
Advice On Building Wealth | I don’t know, but if you find someone who does please ask them to call me!!
Rich is subjective and elusive (very few people think they’re ‘rich enough’) but I think that sound personal financial advice is always spend less than you earn.
I Am Inspired By | I’m inspired by creators and makers, people who get off the couch and do something. The world is too full of people offering advice from the comfort of their sofa. Stop sitting there and go do something – it doesn’t really matter what it is, what matters is that you’re out there making the world more interesting.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | I’d like to leave a legacy of trying. We’re not all going to win at everything. But if you don’t try then failure is certain. I’d like my children to look at me and say ‘I’m not sure, but I’ll try’.