Innovative Business Problem Solver, Andy Wheeler helps business owners get to the ‘CORE’ of any recurring problem and creatively solve It. An entrepreneur at heart, he’s easily distracted and rather than going round in circles decided to focus on his passion, creativity, and problem-solving brain to do something totally unique.
When not with clients you’ll find him running across the South Downs, playing golf, skiing, making beer, and spending quality time with his family.
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Tell us a little bit about your current projects. What exciting milestone would you like to share with our readers? (Don’t hesitate to delve into your achievements, they will inspire the audience)
Andy Wheeler: Transforming Lives Through Architecture
A client had been grappling with the future direction of his business. Having clarified his future vision, it emerged his dream was to build sustainable buildings for local authorities and charities. Social housing can deliver great architecture and provide beautiful homes rather than the traditional grey box.
This meant a shift in his business to develop new design methodologies to deliver the vision. Working closely together we freed up his time to take the business in a new direction and grow the team under a now-inspired leader.
Running a business is an exciting and terrifying journey, often in equal measures. When we have space to breathe and reflect it is possible to re-connect with our true vision and purpose. When this happens the transformation from frustration to elation is incredible.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up?
Andy Wheeler: Business journeys are never straightforward affairs. As a coach and consultant, the biggest challenge is getting a new business going. The number of high-ticket courses that promise to build a 6 figure coaching empire overnight is a testament to this.
I was naïve in thinking I would quickly pick up work from my existing network. This simply didn’t happen. I spent months networking, drinking coffee, and attending unqualified meetings with nothing to show for it.
Things were so bad that I took up a part-time job with a friend building kitchens and extensions to pay the bills. This distraction made focussing on my true passion even harder and I considered giving up. However, reflecting on my vision I turned my thought process around; this is not about me. This is about what business owners are looking for. What is the transformation they seek?
I changed my mindset and language, actively sought out anyone looking for help, and helped them. Often for free. This re-energized me and soon I was being asked to come and work with business and was being paid for it. It is easy to focus on yourself, especially when things are not going your way. This is the worst thing you can do because every conversation becomes about you. You lose sight of the most important people.
What are the most common mistakes you see entrepreneurs make and what would you suggest they do?
Andy Wheeler: Following the shiny things. Entrepreneurs by nature are excitable and don’t like standing still too long.
Have an idea – go for it! This enthusiasm and attitude is one reason they are so successful and enjoyable to work with. Chasing the next idea can lead to great things and lucrative opportunities.
The biggest mistake I see entrepreneurs make is charging ahead with action without consideration. Enthusiasm is commendable and the creative spark should never be extinguished. The problem with forging ahead without planning is you get lost; if you were driving somewhere for the first time, would you look at where it is? Plug it into the sat nav?
When we consider where we are going, we can create a journey that gets the results we want. Working with people who are more focused on mapping out the journey enables entrepreneurs to succeed more often. Taking a concept, creating a strategy, implementing it, and delivering known outcomes. When the strategy stage is missed, implementation means a series of random actions that will deliver results; they may or may not be the results we are after.
Following the shiny things is exciting yet unproductive because it distracts from our main purpose. Entrepreneurs with an awareness of the journey and the strategy to deliver it will create more successful businesses.
Resilience is critical in critical times like the ones we are going through now. How would you define resilience?
Andy Wheeler: Resilience can be defined in a number of ways, for me, it is the strength to face forwards when it feels like you are being pulled and pushed backward.
Turning your back on a situation is easier than facing it, it is akin to sticking your head in the sand and hoping it will all be ok. Resilience is about facing the reality of a situation and creating a plan to tackle the problems it throws up.
In my mind we often overlook the emotional impact this can have on us as individuals. Facing challenges is tiring and depletes our energy. The more challenges we face, the more time we spend trying to solve them and we burn out.
We can build resilience by managing our own energy and emotions; tired and stressed out. Go and do something you enjoy for half an hour. It might seem an impossible task, you will tell yourself you don’t have time. But, make time for activities away from work and you will find the solutions you never thought possible. For me this means hanging out with my family, trail running, and playing the piano.
When you think of your company, 5 years from now, what do you see?
Andy Wheeler: My business in 5 years. The catalog of success stories continues to grow. Clients and others I help have got to places they could never have dreamed of.
My purpose is to help people. I choose to focus that energy on business owners whose values I share and in whom I believe. I am not sure where I will be or what my business will look like, but I know the positive impact it will have had. More importantly, the impact the hundreds of businesses and individuals I’ve worked with will have on those around them.
What do you consider are your strengths when dealing with staff workers, colleagues, senior management, and customers?
Andy Wheeler: The biggest strength I consider myself having is the ability to empower people.
“Give someone a fish and they will eat 1 meal, teach them how to fish and they will feed themselves, their family and those around them”
Seeing the transformation people go through in coaching never ceases to astound me. Through this transformation individuals and teams can achieve more than they ever thought possible.
What have you learned about personal branding that you wish you had known earlier in your career?
Andy Wheeler: Be genuine. Be yourself and nothing more.
In the past, I’ve made the mistake of trying to be something I am not. Fit into a culture I didn’t belong, do I job I didn’t enjoy, act in the way I thought I should. What a waste of time. I spent so much energy trying to be something I thought I should be I forgot to be me. Conversations were not genuine, business relationships were not real and my work suffered.
The moment I stepped away from this (I had coaching and mentoring myself) and acted like me the world changed. Conversations were more relaxed, professional relationships came easily and the value of my work increased greatly.
In business, we can create a brand, as an individual you are just that, individual. Make the most of everything you already have.
How would you define “leadership”?
Andy Wheeler: Leadership is having the vision and purpose to create something that you truly believe in. A true leader influences and creates a following without necessarily meaning to. They do what they do and act as they act because that is all they know.
A leader is creating something that people believe in and want to be part of. People see through a fake leader. They may still want to be part of the action, but you can be sure they have a different agenda.
Do you think entrepreneurship is something that you’re born with or something that you can learn along the way?
Andy Wheeler: An entrepreneur is traditionally defined as someone who undertakes risk to set up a business and make a profit. This is outdated in my view; for me, an entrepreneur is more about scratching the itch that never goes away. There would be far fewer social enterprises and selfless individuals if it was purely about money. To me, an entrepreneur is more about the spirit of giving it a go; often against the ‘norm’.
This is a spirit everyone has and manifests itself in different ways. Some strive for excellence academically, others excel in sport, and some channel it through business. An entrepreneur in business is putting creative energy into a commercial context. If someone is asking the question ‘how do I become an entrepreneur’ then the spirit is already there. They simply lack the confidence to channel it. Likewise, if you want to learn to be an entrepreneur then you already have the mindset just not the outlet.
There are business people considered to be incredible entrepreneurs. However, they did not set out to be entrepreneurs, they saw an opportunity to solve a problem and grasped it. There are of course others who have an insatiable appetite to create wealth and build businesses. This is a mindset and is not shared by the majority of true entrepreneurs. Consider the athlete who trains 12 hours a day to be the best in the world, this appetite and mindset are being channeled in another direction.
What’s your favorite “life lesson” quote and how has it affected your life?
Andy Wheeler: “The harder I try the luckier I get.”
If you aren’t out there doing it nothing will happen. Your business will not just grow without you putting in the effort. The more effort you put in the more activity you generate and the luckier you get.
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Andy Wheeler for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Andy Wheeler or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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