Whether you're passionate about technology or fashion, marketing or making money, there are certain truths that apply across industries that will allow you to create opportunity and elevate to a whole new level.
Success is a progressive journey and it requires a mix of mindset and environmental factors. That's why I focus on not only my own process, but connecting with leaders and influencers across industries to understand what the underlying factors are at play.
Earlier this year I met up with Chris Stamp, a Los Angeles-based designer and entrepreneur. Chris is a leader in designing streetwear. His company Stampd has been featured in GQ and he's been nominated as a finalist for the Council for Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) fund.
As an innovator in streetwear making his mark on the world, I had the rare opportunity and privilege to sit down with him in his LA office and extract wisdom from his journey. Whether you're into streetwear or not, new to the game or a seasoned veteran, there is so much you can learn from my interview with Chris Stamp.
1. Be willing to do whatever it takes.
I think that for any entrepreneur, you need to be willing to do whatever it takes, even if it's extremely hard and non-scalable. You need to invest a lot of time, energy and attention to build momentum.
For Chris, he got scrappy and innovative early on by paying his friends to go and buy his product from stores. He built momentum from this which was critical to his growth.
I remember when I started out as a marketer I would do everything in my power to get a single client for $500/month. I would call, fax, mail and visit them in person just so they would give me a chance to tell their brand's story. Over time, word of mouth referrals allowed me to get bigger and higher paying clients. I built this company up to $10k per month, then $100k per month and finally $10M per year.
For me and for Chris, none of this wouldn't have been possible if we didn't have the mindset of doing whatever it takes to get our businesses off the ground.
2. Don't pigeonhole yourself.
Growing up, Chris studied graphic design for years. He went to school and had mastered Photoshop and Illustrator among other design tools. It wasn't until a professor sat him down and brought to his attention the limits of just sticking with graphic design.
Unless Chris wanted to spend his life creating business cards and restaurant menus, he new he had to pivot. This is when he broadened his horizons and entered the world of business and entrepreneurship. He always knew art and design would be integral in his life, so he chose to innovate, and brought his artistic roots to a new platform -- e-commerce.
Where are you pigeonholing yourself? How can you broaden your horizons?
3. It's a long journey, so surround yourself with positive people.
Chris remembers in the beginning he would be stressed out day after day. He would wake up and ask "is this gonna be here tomorrow? Do I have what it takes?" This is where it's critical for an entrepreneur's success to be able to tune out the noise and focus on creating opportunity. It is vital to be positive and to surround yourself with positive people.
You are going to fail (temporarily). A lot of things will not go your way. You'll need to have the positivity and the burning desire to keep going through these low points, as well as the awareness to make a better decision next time.
Look at your life today and assess who is helping you stay positive and who isn't. It can be a difficult choice to let go of people close to you, but sometimes it is the necessary step for you to thrive.
4. Never take your progress for granted.
A lot of people don't realize the long journey it takes to hit that threshold of success and recognition. For Chris he started Stampd as a project in his senior year of college. It was a simple website where you could choose from 40 designs to put on a pair of Chuck Taylors, and get them shipped to your house.
People around Chris didn't believe it would go anywhere, so he tuned them out and kept building what he cared about. He is always focused on "constantly elevating the perception of what's possible."
As he reflected on the journey he highlighted the importance of never taking this progress for granted. Of course you have to strive for the next levels of your business growth. However, don't get lost in the future. Take a moment to reflect on where you've come from, everything you've done so far, and appreciate the journey.
You can create opportunity if you want it badly enough. Surround yourself with positive people and never take your progress for granted. Focus on these important lessons and like Chris, you will be creating your own opportunities and constantly elevating the perception of what is possible
It’s always fun dissecting the way we express ourselves and why we do it that way in the first place. I love exploring these concepts and sharing them because giving back what I’ve learned is the whole point. For more content on all things branding, marketing and lifestyle check out my Instagram and to save a “snackable” version of this topic visit my post.