There are some “rules” of business success most entrepreneurs abide by. But many also have their own “secrets”—things they do or believe that helped them achieve success. In “Secrets of Success,” a weekly interview series here at Web.com’s Small Business Forum, I ask some of today’s smartest, most innovative, most successful business owners to share their insights and success secrets with you.
Meet: Bridgette Morphew, who took her passion for fashion and turned it into two powerhouse luxury vintage brands. For years celebrities and costume designers have turned to Bridgette’s inspired Paradox Designs, launched in 2005, which weren’t available to the general public. In 2014 she launched MORPHEW, a website to sell her designs to everyone.
MORPHEW’s focus is “inspiring style, glamour, and uniqueness of fashion, art, and lifestyle.”
You can connect with Bridgette on Twitter @MorphewConcept.
Rieva Lesonsky: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Bridgette Morphew: I didn’t know what I wanted to be until I was 23, when I realized I wanted to be a fashion designer and use my creativity. I realized when I was in college that if I were going to make something of myself it would have to be on my own. I became an entrepreneur before I graduated fashion school with Victim Clothing.
Lesonsky: Why did you start your own business?
Morphew: Growing up and when I was in school I always felt as though I knew more than my bosses and found myself telling them what to do. Being a leader and taking charge came naturally to me. I must have inherited this while growing up and watching my father handle his own business and money. I feel fortunate to be creative and business-minded. Starting my own business has been a very natural step in the process of my continual evolution.
Lesonsky: Did you experience a pivotal moment on your way to success?
Morphew: Moving to New York City with no experience and starting the company—coming from another state with an idea and just acting on it and succeeding within the first week with my “three bags and a dream” risk. I knew it was my place. Then, being in Alexander McQueen’s and other top designers’ offices cemented my belief [I had] made the right decision.
Lesonsky: What’s the best small business advice you ever gave and/or received?
Morphew: I have a few: (1) Don’t let your ego get in the way of a good deal. (2) Never give up. (3) Be Authentic to yourself and what you’re doing.
Lesonsky: What’s one “best practice” more entrepreneurs should be embracing?
Morphew: (1) Believe in yourself; believe in your ideas. (2) Take on risks without fear. If your gut tells you something, don’t let yourself get in the way of your first instinct.
Lesonsky: Do you have a prediction for small business?
Morphew: Data is becoming more and more important in every business. In a broad sense we all have “data,” but what does this mean? How do we use it? The key to success in any industry, outside of core competency, is how effectively a business can obtain, clean and execute effectively against the data we take in every second. Every email, phone call, marketing brochure and conversation has something to be gleaned from, and as a successful entrepreneur it is of the utmost importance to have a team that values it in the same way. We are all rowing the boat in the same direction, and information can make everyone a stronger “rower.”
Lesonsky: What’s your favorite book?
Morphew: The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha on Managing Your Business and Your Life, by Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally.
Lesonsky: Is there a quote you find particularly inspiring?
Morphew: “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” –Zig Ziglar
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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.