Be scrappy. Be unafraid. Be successful.
Our 2017 Trade Tastemaker judge, Sabrina Smelko, is an HGTV host, art director, illustrator, blogger, and Design*Sponge contributor—she’s clearly killing it. Here are her tips to take the business world by storm.
- Do the Work
It’s the answer to nearly everything. You want to learn something? Buy something? Be something? You have to put in the time. Every success I’ve achieved, and every success I’ve witnessed other people achieve, is directly related to the amount of work they put in. There’s no secret or shortcut.
- Try, Fail, and Get Back Up
Anyone successful has stories of falling flat on their face, crying to their boss, botching a pitch. But that’s how you learn! If you’re too afraid to do something because you might fail, you’ll never get anywhere. The more open you are to failing, the faster you’ll learn how not to fail next time. It’s a proverbial rite of passage and it builds a heck of a lot of character.
- Be Okay With Your Sacrifice
If you run your own business, sacrifice is your normal. You do things others aren’t willing to do. Where most live for Friday night, you live for Monday morning. You have to do more even when you know you can get away with less. You have to work harder than the next guy or gal. And you have to be okay with giving up some things, or else you’ll grow bitter.
- Love What You Do, Even When You Hate It
While it’s unrealistic to love every aspect of your work, it’s important that your love for it outweighs the things about it that drive you mad. And if you’re fed up, maybe it’s time to reevaluate. Especially in this day and age, your career options are endless, so don’t be afraid to stray if you get frustrated. It just might lead to something better.
- Have a Plan but Know When to Ditch It
Planning is just glorified guessing. Sticking to a plan you made before you began something ignores the possibility for growth, expansion, and exploration. View plans for what they are: loose and totally non-precious predictions. A smart businessperson knows when to let their experiences guide them to new roads.
- Know That Luck Doesn’t Exist
Luck can only happen when opportunity meets perfect timing meets ability with just a dash of confidence. In other words you have to be ready to seize it, and that requires you to work hard so that you’re able to say yes when the time comes.
- Welcome Feedback
Being criticized isn’t fun—and it’s not meant to be. Many are unreceptive to feedback or constructive criticism. Many are quick to go on the defensive and see receiving this feedback on their work, their attitude, their approach, etc. as a dig, but I’ve found that those who seek out, appreciate, and truly listen to feedback will have a far easier time becoming successful.
- Say Yes (and No) to the Right Things
Trust your gut, and say no to projects that give you the heebie-jeebies. By saying no to things that will drain you or not be worth your time, you’re really saying yes to yourself and staying open to other possibly more beneficial, opportunities. Be fair and value your work, your time, and what you have to offer.
- Be Nice to Yourself and Others
I truly, madly, deeply believe that a good attitude and the right perspective can get you through many things in life. No one likes a bad attitude or sore loser—it’s not a good look—but it’s not always easy to smile and shrug when you’re being steamrolled by life. I’m not talking about just “being positive”, but rather, being realistic and going into things with the right attitude, and with perspective.
- Appreciate Yourself
We often forget the past, dismiss the present, and are impatient for the future. So take a moment to remember where you were. You’ve changed, right? Now imagine where you’ll be in another couple years. Be kinder to yourself, have some patience, and give thanks to your little brain—because it really ain’t so little. You’ve come a long, long way, champ.