Robin Waite is a bestselling author, business coach and the founder of an advertising agency, The Coconut Group. Now a full-time business coach, working with a maximum of 20 clients at a time, Robin is on a mission to help business owners solve their problems via his 1 on 1 coaching program. Robin Waite leans on his vast experience in digital, branding, marketing and sales to offer the best possible advice he can. His advertising agency has worked with hundreds of companies and was founded in 2004. Their main work is done in their 1 day branding workshops they hold for companies. Robin Waite’s book Online Business Startup is a guide for entrepreneurs looking to launch a fast, lean and profitable online venture. Please enjoy my interview with Robin Waite…
When someone asks you ‘what do you do for a living?’ – How do you respond?
I am a business coach, I specialise in helping business owners understand their products, pricing structure and most importantly how much their customers value their products i.e. their value proposition.
Go For No by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz. It’s an awesome short book about the art of setting goals by aiming for “no” rather than “yes” to ensure you don’t just meet goals but always exceed them. I love the fact that it’s a narrative as opposed to your typical self-help book and is short enough to digest and get the main message in an hour and a half.
What’s your earliest memory of reading?
If you could encourage young people to read one book in particular, what would it be?
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill – if they could master the art of positive thinking over trying to get rich quick the world would be a much more positive place. It is an intellectual stretch at times, however it’s worth reading several times in order to fully understand “the secret” inside.
Can you remember your first demonstration of entrepreneurial ability?
I used to sell pre-rolled roll-up cigarettes to the other children as school, whilst also holding down a paper-round. I only got rumbled when my Dad worked out that there’s no way I could have paid for my hi-fi separates system on my paper round money along!
What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
Working as a warehouse operative for one of the largest pet store retailers in the UK. I remember one of the warehouses flooded and having to clear drowned rats out of it at the end of a 12 hour shift. I managed two weeks before I realised I was probably destined for an office job.
Do you read as much as you’d like to?
Definitely not! I have two young children so consuming books has to be very strategic these days! Mostly it’s audiobooks which I listen to in the car or on the train. I’ve just got a Kindle paperwhite which I can use on a low light setting when I can’t sleep at night now as well.
Built to Sell by John Warrilow – Definitely. It’s another great narrative which helped me to realise I was being a busy fool and if I wanted to be a success at anything I needed to focus on one thing.
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries – Life is too short to mess around perfecting products, just launch your product early and in a lean fashion and start getting feedback. In fact just launch an idea; pitch it at a networking event and see if any mud sticks!
Key Person of Influence by Daniel Priestley – Daniel has a really interesting way of looking at things and his approach to personal branding was the catalyst which sits behind my coaching programme now.
Sell or Be Sold by Grant Cardone – This guy is, to a Brit, a bit of a nutty American, however he talks a lot of sense in sales and I learned some valuable lessons from his book.
Life Leverage by Rob Moore – Get more done in less time…simple. And creating a legacy as well, this is so important and someone I find many entrepreneurs don’t think about.
When you think of success in the business world, who is the first person that comes to mind?
Am I allowed to say me? Is that a bit arrogant? I have to feel confident and successful, especially standing up on stage and talking to people regularly. If you think you are a success then you will act like you are a success and you will be successful.
Is there a book that you’ve read more than once? What is it and why did you revisit it?
Built to Sell by John Warrilow – It’s a narrative and should be any business owner’s bible. Everyone needs a mentor, and many business owners fail to focus on one thing. Namely the end game; what is their exit strategy?
What two pieces of advice would you give a young aspiring entrepreneur?
Firstly, JFDI – Just f*cking do it – life is too short.
Secondly, be aware of what’s going on around you – 12 years ago when I started building websites for other people Zuckerberg and the like were building apps for themselves. I wish I’d spotted the opportunity and spent more time, whilst I had it, building my own apps.
What’s your favourite genre of book?
Business Self-Help, preferably narratives. I love stories that inspire me.
What do you think a world without books would be like?
People sat around campfires telling stories to one another whilst devouring the wildebeests they had just hunted.
Is there an author whose writing you’re such a fan of, that you’ll read everything they release?
Daniel Priestley without hesitation. He is so creative and forward thinking and his perspective on business is so far outside the box it’s almost in another dimension.
Do you think digital books will ever completely replace real books?
No! Short answer but no. I still sell more paperbacks than both audiobooks and Kindle together, people still like to touch and feel real books. It’s a bit like vinyl records I bet books will even make a revival when people get bored of looking at their Kindles and PC screens.
What book do you feel humanity needs most right now?
The internet age being the tip of the iceberg, people are talking about artificial intelligence being the next big thing, but that’s going to happen in 10 years or less with quantum computing. We need a “Nostradamus for the Internet Age” type book which sees where the internet is going to take humanity in the next 250 years.
Built to Sell by John Warrilow led me to reading Entrepreneur Revolution led me to reading Key Person of Influence by Daniel Priestley which ultimately led to me writing my own book, finding my voice and then speaking in front of audiences. I never saw myself as an author or inspirational speaker even 3 years ago!
What’s the worst advice you hear given to young people looking to start their own business?
Do it yourself – mostly because it’s cheaper. Poor tools and platforms increase the chances of business failure. A little bit of knowledge across the board could save many young entrepreneurs from failing.
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
Anything by Gary Vee, I love his outlook on life and business. And Elon Musk as well, the Elon Musk biography by Ashlee Vance is so compelling; Musk is one person who is going to change the world we live in today for tomorrow.
What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?
I’m going to be spending more time writing next year than reading. I’ve developed two serious ideas for books which I now want to pursue…watch this space.
If you were to write an autobiography – what would it be called?
Robin Waite: Just F*cking Do It.