Fashion is, for a lot of people, much more than just clothes. For many of them (well, of us!) It’s a lifelong Passion. Some of us even decide to take that passion and turn it into our Profession, dedicating our whole life to it. To talk a bit about this we have today with us a very special guest. Adela Alonso Alonso is a strategic branding and innovation consultant and the author of the book “The Passion Entrepreneur”.
After over 10 years working for international retail giants, she changed her apartment in Dubai for a suitcase and now works 100% remotely while traveling the world. She helps both labels and entrepreneurs build products and brands that not only work for the market and the customer, but also for their own personal goals.
MEET THE AUTHOR: ADELA ALONSO ALONSO
Thank you so much for being with us today Adela. I, personally, enjoyed this book so much. However your work is quite different, you are a consultant. When did you decide you wanted to write a book?
This is interesting. It was almost by coincidence, but I think it aligns very well with the message I tried to communicate through the book. This message is : work with what you have.
Writing a book was never on my radar, mostly because I’m more of a kinetic learner, I struggle to get information from books. And since I am not much of a reader, I didn’t think it made sense for me to be a writer.
However, my goal for 2020 was to position myself as an expert and a communicator through public speaking. My plan for 2020 was to travel the world and speak at conventions.
Of course, that couldn’t happen because of coronavirus. At the time the pandemic hit, I was very fortunate to be in Vietnam. Vietnam’s handling of the pandemic was very good, so I had a mostly normal life through most of 2020. Still, work really slowed down because many of my clients had to suddenly stop their activity.
So I asked myself, how can I work towards achieving my ultimate goal for this year (which was to position myself as an expert and to get my point of view out there) considering the situation that I am at and the resources that I have at the moment.
And that is how I ended up with this idea of writing the book. I took what I had at the moment, which was a lot of information in my head; and an unexpected amount of “free” time, and tried to build something valuable out of it.
ABOUT THE BOOK
How long did it take you to write the book?
I started writing around May or June 2020 and I published it in March this year. But I didn’t do it consistently.
There were stretches where I had more work volume and the clients took priority. Also, in September I had a motorcycle accident and I broke a shoulder and my jawbone. So for a month and a half I couldn’t do much.
So, I do have some stretches where I did not work on it but I actually think this helps, because it gives you time to digest and review.
Yes, they always say that it’s good when you’re writing to let it sit a little bit, and then come back to it and see if you still like it or want to change it.
So, what would you say is your interesting writing quirk? Because I have my thoughts…
I think “my quirk” or rather what makes me effective as a communicator (whether that is with a client or speaking in public speaking or writing) is that I’m able to explain complicated concepts in an easy way.
In the book I’ve touched on points of applied neurobiology and psychology and complicated subjects that I myself have learned in a much more dry, scientific way. But I believe I’m able to explain it in a much simple way. And even fun, I like to give the most ridiculous examples.
TALKING ABOUT IMPOSTER SYNDROME
Yes! I loved the reference to Jafar.
Yes, haha, I’m getting a lot of feedback about Jafar.
We mention Jafar when we talk about a very key mindset block. All of us have this inner critic, this voice that tells us that we can´t and that we are a fraud and everyone’s going to find out: that it’s what is called imposter syndrome. We all struggle with it, but I think creative and passionate entrepreneurs struggle even more because they have a very strong emotional connection with the job.
So what I try to explain is that the imposter syndrome is like a wicked advisor – somebody that looks like they’re trying to help you but they actually want you to die. So it’s like having Jafar from Aladdin sitting next to you, giving you “advice”.
In all fairness, this voice is not trying to kill you. It’s actually trying to keep you alive by avoiding risks at all costs. It has a very strong evolutionary purpose, but we need to learn to move forward and take calculated risks.
DO YOU HAVE THE CEO MENTALITY?
In your book you talk about the CEO Mindset. What is it and how can we achieve it? Is it more complicated with Passion Entrepreneurs?
The CEO mindset it’s about taking control without letting the situation control you. You can manage your business and be fully invested in it without letting it consume you. It is for sure more complicated for passion entrepreneurs because the distance between the product of your business and your own sense of identity is much smaller.
You can start a business out of an opportunity that has absolutely nothing to do with you as a person. In this case, keeping that distance and making decisions is much easier. But when you start a business out of passion this becomes much more complicated. You need to understand that what you do is not who you are.
This is critical to understand for our business success and for our emotional wellbeing also. Every business in its infancy goes through a lot of back and forths, a lot of pushback. It takes time to fully develop a business idea that makes sense and works. And unless you create that distance it’s going to be very hard emotionally because every time a client says: ”we’re not interested”, You’re going to hear: “You are not good enough”. And that is not the case.
WHAT IS A PASSION ENTREPRENEUR?
So, are you saying that Passion Entrepreneurs are a different breed? How do you define a Passion Entrepreneur?
When I say a Passion Entrepreneur, what I mean is someone who either has a business or is trying to start that business out of something that they feel a strong emotional connection with.
So, it can be someone who is using their natural talents, like a dancer, an artist, or a fashion designer. I think this is the easiest to visualize. But you can also be passionate about something you enjoy doing or learning about. You can love travelling, tennis, or cats; and decide to build a business out of it.
And then, finally, there are people who are very passionate about something that they want to change. Here’s where all activists and positive-impact businesses come into place. All of them present very similar characteristics because they share a very strong emotional connection to the business.
For example, they feel bad about asking for money to do something that they love, so they constantly underquote and undersell themselves. They are very resistant to feedback and pivoting which is very necessary. They struggle to see the point of view of their customer because they are stuck on their own…
WHEN EMOTION DRIVES YOU
Let me ask you, then. How do you deal with us emotional-driven entrepreneurs? Because as a consultant you have to guide them through that transition.
There’s a reason I position myself as a strategist, as a consultant and not a coach. In my way of understanding it, a coach works with a person, and a consultant works with the business.
So, even if I do understand the needs of a changing mindset, and try to help with this transition, I focus on the needs of the business and not on the person. I also think this helps my clients create that differentiation. When they sit with me, they need to put on their “CEO Hat” and focus on business.
Sometimes, I can tell the main issue a person is having has nothing to do with their business strategy. It might be more a mental or emotional block. Sometimes it is about motivation and energy management. In this case, what they need is not so much a strategist, but a personal development coach, or even a therapist. So if I see this, I will refer them or recommend them to one.
But if, on the other hand, they are in a correct mind space and what they need is guidance with that transition how I address is by basically “calling them out” when they are failing at keeping that distance.
The way that I communicate is very direct and straight to the point. My friends baptized this as “the truth booth”. If you are paying for a session with me I’m not going to beat around the bush. I have too much respect for both your time and mine.
YOUR FAVOURITE BOOKS
Ok, one last question. What are the three books that you think helped you grow? Because your book is honestly on my list.
As I said before, I’m not the most prolific reader, but for example I love everything Martin Lindstrom has ever written. I think it was by reading his books that I understood what branding was and fell in love with it. One of his books that really changed the way I look at things is called Small data : the tiny clues that uncover huge trends.
Another one would be Neurodesign by Darren Bridger. I learnt a lot but also, I think this is the book that led me down the rabbit hole of Neuro Design, Neuro Marketing and behavior-applied neuroscience.
And finally I’m going to say The Little Prince, which has nothing to do with anything. But I think it’s a book with a lot of learning that every time you read it again it teaches you something different.
All great books. And speaking of great books, let me remind you that The Passion Entrepreneur is available for purchase on Goshopia.com, together with a matching bullet journal that would be extremely useful for the exercises in it!
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