Leesa: An entrepreneur’s top tips for career success

Leesa Soulodre completed a masters degree in management and marketing in 2004. She is passionate about tech entrepreneurship, travel, paying it forward and making a difference.


As an entrepreneur, I have had to work very hard to create a name for myself within the technology and consulting fields. After engaging with more than 400 multinationals in 19 sectors across Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas, leading companies with multi-billion US dollar (USD) turnovers into new markets, I have learned a number of valuable lessons.

I believe anyone can apply these lessons to their own careers in order to increase their chances of success, so thought I’d share my top 3 lessons with you:

1. Learn to say ‘no’.   

Throughout your career you will frequently be presented with a myriad of opportunities. I’ve found it is important to remember that only a few of these opportunities will turn out to be profitable.

Finding new opportunities is typically not the challenge, finding the ‘right’ opportunities is!

To help ascertain whether an opportunity is worth pursuing, I ask myself 3 questions:

  1. Is it aligned with my purpose?
  2. Is it aligned with my values?
  3. Does it have growth potential?

Opportunities that are not aligned with your purpose are a distraction and consume valuable time and resources. Those not aligned to your values are likely to make you uncomfortable and those without growth potential, for you personally or for your career, are likely to leave you frustrated and unsatisfied.

Remember: every time we say ‘yes’ to something, we are saying ‘no’ to something else that we could be doing with this time. It’s worth considering what that could be and practice saying ‘no’ to opportunities that aren’t right for you.

2. Hitch your wagon to a star
When it comes to people, I have found that as an A player, I should always work for another A player.  

An A player is someone who sets the vision, gets things started and closes the big deals. They want to give 110% every day to smash both personal and company targets and as such they are likely to be frustrated working for leaders who are happy with the status quo.

Unlike the C player, which is someone who has no desire to progress in their career or climb the corporate ladder, another A player will not be threatened by your commitment and performance. Rather, they will respect it and reward it. In their mind, they have already planned their next career move and, if you prove your worth, you could go with them!

Be sure to hitch your wagon to that A player star, but beware — it’s often the C players that fire A players!

3. Create your own definition of success

Too often we are misguided by another person’s idea of success, or a focus on factors such as money or status. This is not the recipe for personal fulfilment or happiness. Following a path that’s right for you will help you achieve YOUR definition of success.

To help you decide what success looks like to you, consider these 3 questions:

  1. What would I like to be?
  2. What would I like to do?
  3. What do I want to have?

I have learned that when I have clear answers to these questions, I am able to focus on the things I am passionate about which is critical to helping you stay on track for success.

By embracing these 3 tips: learning to say no, hitching your wagon to an A player star and understanding what success means to you, you can have a career that is both fulfilling and prosperous.

If you would like more career tips, the Careers & Employability Team today.


Related:

Viki: How uni helped me start my own business (It's all about Hugh)

Alan: How postgraduate study has helped my career

John: Your journey to greatness