Did you know I once tried to launch a pet coffin business called 4 Feet Under (humiliating video evidence below)?
Seriously, isn't that the best name for a pet coffin company? We owned a cardboard box company at the time, and I thought it would be a great way to increase sales.
For some reason (I mean, as one of the dragons actually asked - what was I thinking?), I decided to enter Dragon's Den NZ. After a couple of 'auditions' and 'signing away my moral rights', I was given the 'opportunity of a lifetime' and told I would be pitching to the dragons. The crazy thing is that I was asked to turn up with virtually no notice, and my company, 4 Feet Under hadn't even launched yet.
Why am I confessing to this now?
(1) There is alot of talk about Shark Tank soon to be launched on Channel 10 in Australia. My wonderful friend and long term mentor Naomi Simson is one of the sharks, and I can't wait to see her in action. Have a look at her latest blog; she could be talking directly to me (and fill out her survey while you are there; I LOVE RedBalloon!).
(2) For the first time in my adult life, I have adopted a pet. Sparky is a gorgeous wee tabby we picked up from the SPCA and already he is well entrenched in our family life. I am actually a great big sook when it comes to animals, and this is a whole new level of vulnerability for me, as I open my heart to let a highly curious wee purring feline in. He has been pretty sick in his first little bit of time with us (thankfully all recovered now) and I started thinking about what a massively sad thing pet death can be.
Both my Dragon's Den pitch and the company failed miserably
Just as Naomi identifies in her blog, I was one of those contestants who was woefully unprepared. I look at the numbers I basically plucked out of the air and shared with the nation, and cringe.
What's more, even by the time the show aired, I was pregnant with Lucas, already operating my sales recruitment company, and the wonderful business partner I was relying on to support me with the massive amount of work needed to get it up and running, couldn't end up committing. In order to make it commercially viable (let's face it, there is thankfully not a lot of 'repeat business' in pet death) the idea was to go hard and basically claim the pet bereavement industry globally. Essentially it was doomed even at time of launching.
And BOY those dragons were hard on me! I am sure Naomi and her team won't treat the contestants like this.
At Thought Leaders Business School, we have a very healthy relationship with failure. At the time, it was pretty mortifying, but there is a great deal I learned from the experience;
- The support I received from friends and family was incredible, I felt very loved
- It shook up the tree a bit for old contacts, people reconnected with me from various previous chapters in my life, after seeing the show (even as recently as 8 years ago, there was no Facebook to simply look people up)
- Whenever I am about to present in front of a room, and get nervous, I remember that I managed to keep my cool in front of the toughest audience.
- TV shows really do edit like crazy, there are some sequences in the video where things appear different than they actually were.
- One lovely person tracked me down, who was about to put his pet down, and he wanted a box (we hadn't even gone into production, so he got one of the prototypes, which cost us around $100 to make!). We met at a corporate office car park; I gave him the box, he gave me $20 and a couple of pictures of his cat, then sent me a beautiful thank you note afterwards, with a picture of the coffin once his family had decorated it. This truly touched me, and at least I made a difference in one family's life.
- I got reminded of the 'need to be liked/look at me' side of my personality; now whenever I get an opportunity to be featured on national TV or media (and there's one coming up :-)), I think a bit more about what it could do to my brand.
Ok, here goes, it's around 8 minutes long, so feel free to watch (or not!) ...
I would love to hear about any similar experiences you may have had on your journey! Let's celebrate giving something a go.
Oh, and I think I still own the trademark (nationally) so if you feel so inclined to assume the mantle of pet death, then let me know, I would love to see someone take it and run with it!
If you are interested in finding out more about selling your thoughts as a thought leader (becoming a professional speaker, author, trainer, mentor, facilitator or coach), please go to my website , where there is information on my private mentoring program AND the amazing Thought Leader's Business School.
NEWSFLASH my new book Lead Generation - 21st Century strategies to ignite your sales will be available for purchase in a week!