“Be cognizant of opportunities that present themselves and ask whether your past accomplishments can help you succeed in a particular endeavor.”
– Lisa Song Sutton,
Many inspirational articles proclaim that as an entrepreneur you should “find your passion.” We have all read the motivational quote “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Rather than trying to conceptualize “your passions” just study past accomplishments. What moments in your life (even if short and fleeting) have you so thoroughly enjoyed that if you weren’t paid, you would still do it anyway?
I grew up in the performing arts: piano recitals, tap dance showcases and flute competitions. I thrived in the pressure of being on-stage. When the opportunity to compete for the title of Miss Las Vegas presented itself, I knew I had to seize it. Pageantry was an opportunity to utilize my on-stage skills, my personal interview skills and most importantly, to give back to the community.
Becoming Miss Las Vegas and Miss Nevada 2014
Long before the pageant took place, I was already committing myself to volunteer work in the community. I knew that, if I won, the crown and title would serve as a microphone to bring attention to charitable causes that were important to me. Additionally, on a perhaps more self-serving level, having lived in Las Vegas only 3.5 years at the time of initially competing, I looked forward to meeting new people to partner and collaborate with.
All the hard work paid off and for 18 months of my life, I was Miss Las Vegas 2014 and subsequently Miss Nevada United States 2014 (I crowned the new Miss Nevada in April 2015). I had an unbelievable experience, met so people and made so many contacts that otherwise probably would not have been possible.
Pay Attention to What You Like and Think Big, From a Birds-Eye View.
This concept was originally imparted to me by my parents who helped me cultivate a love of reading from an early age. In general, I believe that we like what we’re good at and we’re good at what we like. Reading and writing were my favorite subjects in elementary school. As with all Tiger Moms, my Mom was very particular that I specifically focus on my weaknesses: math and science.
By the time I was in junior high, my parents encouraged me to choose a career that was reading and writing intensive. That’s when it was decided that I would pursue law school and that background has served me well.
Fast forward to today and my companies are in three seemingly unrelated industries: real estate, retail and food & beverage. The commonalities become clear when you zoom out and take a birds-eye view. At the end of the day, whether its alcohol cupcakes, swimwear or a penthouse, my companies and I provide a product that certain types of people actively want. Scale up for a moment and ask yourself: what do you like? What are you good at? And how can that translate to filling a need in the market?
Personally, I enjoy working with people. I also know I’m good at selling. Am I deeply passionate about baking or showing homes? Not necessarily, I can’t say those activities are my life calling. However, I am able to marry something I like (working with people) and something I’m good at (selling a product) to feel fulfilled in my life as a business owner and entrepreneur.
Be Naïve – Have Unlimited Confidence In Your Abilities.
Some may call it selfishness, some may call it a mild form of narcissism, but I think the spirit of any entrepreneur contains unbridled confidence and naïve courage. I was able to single-handedly obtain a marketing collaboration for my real estate company with Lamborghini Las Vegas due to my own naïve confidence. Jaguar Land Rover Reno was one of my sponsors when I was Miss Nevada. I called the general sales manager whom I had worked with in the past and became a friend, and I asked him if he knew the general manager at Lamborghini Las Vegas. He said he did and gave me the GM’s name and phone number. I called, introduced myself and explained the collaboration concept between Elite Homes | Sotheby’s flagship penthouse (at the time, $38M listing) and Lamborghini.
Given the opportunity, I refined my pitch about how our clientele were similar, and how it simply made sense that we combine our efforts to target this demographic. He politely laughed at my naivety (as if he hadn’t heard all of this before, he’s been in the industry for a long time) and informed me that his dealership spends zero dollars on marketing. In fact, they don’t have to do any marketing or work any collaboration deals. Their clients simply come to them. Further, they were over-sold for vehicles for the year 2015 (our conversation was in the fall of 2014). I pleaded for a 15-minute in-person meeting at the dealership and he finally acquiesced.
That 15-minute meeting turned in to 2 hours and I walked out of Lamborghini Las Vegas with a collaboration agreement! Having naïve confidence that if I can just get my stiletto in the door I can help my company and clients, resulted in a win-win situation for all parties.
Most things in life are easier said than done, but at the risk of sounding like a broken record: the quickest way to gain momentum is to get started. Inspiration can arise through the process of initiation and development. Grow, learn, and seize the day – and Think BIG!
The Lisa Song Sutton Website – www.LisaSongSutton.com
Sin City Cupcakes – www.SinCityCupcakes.com
Liquid & Lace: Bikinis for a Cause – www.LiquidAndLace.com
Elite Homes US | Sotheby’s International – www.EliteHomes.us