Johnny Palmer is a multi-sector entrepreneur, activist, and investor. Founded and co-founded companies in tech, media, accommodation, investment property, and renewable energy.
Starting a business at age nine selling horse-manure, he has built a multi-million-pound empire with eight-figure net worth. Most importantly he has done this while having a large amount of leisure time and being strong activism.
His activism is primarily around issues of water quality, river access, and other issues relating to swimming. He has a national voice in this field and he even bought his island in the Cotswolds to support the causes. Founded sewage-free swimmers, warleigh weir project, and Swim Bristol harbor.
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Table of Contents
Thank you for joining us today. Please introduce yourself to our readers. They want to know you, some of the background story to bring some context to your interview.
Johnny Palmer: I’m Johnny palmer. A business adventurer, investor, activist, and lover of life.
My investments are varied and all focused on creating a more sustainable future. I also place a lot of importance on wealth and income generation as this, vitally, underpins everything else.
You are a successful entrepreneur, so we’d like your viewpoint, do you believe entrepreneurs are born or made? Explain.
Johnny Palmer: All the entrepreneurs I work with have a dark side that drives them. Neglect, insecurity, sadness, a loss. But this isn’t obvious at first glance. They all need to overcome something and they, like me, find business and enterprise a place where they can overcome past hurt, create a place for themselves, and take control of the world they are in. So I believe they are made, but due to things that happened to them.
If you were asked to describe yourself as an entrepreneur in a few words, what would you say?
Johnny Palmer: Activist, an adventurer who uses enterprise to make the biggest change possible – and have a lot of fun doing it!
Tell us about what your company does and how did it change over the years?
Johnny Palmer: I am founder and co-founder of multiple companies including SolCell (invented deployable renewable energy tech), PYTCH (an experiential and communications agency), Intelligo (live event streaming platform), Luna domes (geodesic dome accommodation), Choices (an activist documentary making production company) and Autonomous Investments (commercial property investment fund that produces the majority of my passive income).
I also founded Sewage Free Swimmers, Warleigh Weir Project, and Swim Bristol harbor.
Thank you for all that. Now for the main focus of this interview. With close to 11.000 new businesses registered daily in the US, what must an entrepreneur assume when starting a business?
Johnny Palmer: Your question is wrong – they shouldn’t make any assumptions. An open mind and curiosity are vital. Assumptions create narrow paradigms that will shut off exploration and creativity.
Instead of assumptions, look for ways to serve, places to make things better, and building strength to experiment.
Did you make any wrong assumptions before starting a business that you ended up paying dearly for?
Johnny Palmer: Yes, many, and all the time! I was told things like “you have to specialize”, “you have to earn respect” and “just keep your nose clean and you will do well”. All of these are wrong. Broad skills are the best. Respect must be demanded, not earned. Disrupting is vital to get exceptional results.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what advice would you give yourself and why? Explain.
Johnny Palmer: Go hard, go strong, build vision, be healthy, cut out people who are not good for you. Also, have a noble cause underpinning every project.
What is the worst advice you received regarding running a business and what lesson would you like others to learn from your experience?
Johnny Palmer: So much bad advice! I found that firmly delivered advice is usually a projection of someone else’s paradigm. So my advice is to always consider where advice is coming from and if it may be rooted in someone else’s insecurities.
In your opinion, how has COVID-19 changed what entrepreneurs should assume before starting a business? What hasn’t changed?
Johnny Palmer: Nothing much has changed-it has sped things up. Be innovative, move fast, look for how you can serve others.
What is a common myth about entrepreneurship that aspiring entrepreneurs and would-be business owners believe in? What advice would you give them?
Johnny Palmer: I sense that the public view of entrepreneurs is that they are focused on money. The greatest entrepreneurs are adventurers, activists and who want to serve others. They are quite selfless. All the wealth trappings are secondary perks to getting this right.
My advice would be to downplay personal wealth and instead project the good you are doing – this will give you a lot of support from others.
What traits, qualities, and assumptions do you believe are most important to have before starting a business?
Johnny Palmer: Hard work is essential. Empathy is vital in all human relations. But not head-patting sympathy, instead of the ability to understand how others see things. And vision, this is vital
How can aspiring leaders prepare themselves for the future challenges of entrepreneurship? Are there any books, websites, or even movies to learn from?
Johnny Palmer: All of it! Watch, read, listen and experience everything.
A broad range of life experience gives you more to call from – so travel more, meet a wider range of people and have more hobbies – this is also a lot of fun.
You have shared quite a bit of your wisdom and our readers thank you for your generosity but would also love to know: If you could choose any job other than being an entrepreneur, what would it be?
Johnny Palmer: None. This is the best job there is! Why? Because it can be whatever I want it to be and change anything I want.
Thank you so much for your time, I believe I speak for all of our readers when I say that this has been incredibly insightful. We do have one more question: If you could add anyone to Mount Rushmore, but not a politician, who would it be; why?
Johnny Palmer: I think my dog, Barney. There are a lot of people’s heads on mount Rushmore and I reckon a dog head would add some diversity to it.
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Johnny Palmer 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 Johnny Palmer or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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