Morgan Lilker is a passionate horologist and watchmaker and the CEO and Founder of Watches of Today. A lifelong watch fanatic and timepiece devotee, Morgan has spent his professional career in a series of different executive positions in his chosen industry, and is a consummate, and much sought after media, marketing and HR expert.
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Thank you for accepting my interview invitation! I’d love to know how you ended up becoming an entrepreneur? Tell me your story.
Morgan Lilker: I have always found watches to be fascinating pieces of technology, these tiny devices have been used for centuries and with the introduction of digital technology, they became even more fascinating. This fascination led me down a rabbit hole of research that eventually inspired me to create and sell my own watches.
Tell our readers what your company does differently than your peers and why that difference is so important to your audience?
Morgan Lilker: How many times have you found yourself looking for a watch, only to be met with an enormous selection that you can’t narrow down. Watches of Today not only sell watches, but the company staffed by people who are passionate and knowledgeable about the creation of watches. This means that we are able to communicate what makes each watch so special to really help customers determine which is best for them.
Running a business, your’s or on behalf of someone requires great leadership skills. What are some of the biggest challenges you faced as you took on a leader’s role and what did you learn?
Morgan Lilker: I learned the hard way that you can’t be a yes man and be a great leader. Someone with great leadership skills knows when to say no and which tasks need to be prioritized above all else. It used to be that I would jump on any opportunity to aid others, but this isn’t achievable. In any leadership role, you need to grow out of the people pleasing stage.
Success is not an accident. What are some routines and habits you learned to master that contributed to your current success?
Morgan Lilker: You need to plan your day down to the T – even accounting for bathroom breaks, seriously. Your time will escape from you, so no matter how small the task, make sure you write it down and schedule it in. Eventually, you will be able to do this without it requiring too much though. Until then, it’s important to train your brain to compartmentalize and assign these tasks.
I will start my day by writing down all the tasks that I need to get done. These will be in three categories – tasks with deadlines, open ended tasks, and tasks that take less than 10 minutes. Using this information, I can easily schedule them into my day.
Can you share with us defining moments in your journey, please give us details and stories to illustrate?
Morgan Lilker: I used to be someone with a standard nine-to-five job. I would wake up every morning, drink copious amounts of coffee, and let my mind do the rest. In that moment, I never felt truly in control of my day to day life.
I was working to survive and that got me into a rut mentally. It was during this time that I decided to find a hobby that I could really dig into and enjoy. This is the time that I discovered horology. I would say that moment is pivotal in my entrepreneurial journey.
What are the five things you wish someone had told you before you became an entrepreneur?
Morgan Lilker: I’d say:
1. Learn how to be your own motivation – nobody is going to be the push that you need to make progress or to succeed. You have to find that from withing yourself. I often used to seek validation from other people to feel like I was making the right decisions and moving in the right direction, but that doesn’t work.
2. You’re going to have to work long days – I wish I knew how long my work days would be when I started my journey, especially after being used to a nine-to-five for so many years.
3. Build your audience right from the start – don’t wait around for the audience to come to you. Have an idea of the market you’re intending to sell towards and market towards them right from the start. Not doing this can cause huge setbacks at the start of a business journey.
4. Don’t be afraid of taking risks – when it comes to being an entrepreneur, taking risks is going to be part of your daily routine. You’ll be taking risks like they’re going out of style. It’s okay to be anxious, but the only way we succeed is by making mistakes and learning from them.
5. There are going to be days where you’ll want to give up – starting a business doesn’t come easy. Those that succeed will have felt like they’ve been at rock bottom once or twice, you’ve got to push through these and remind yourself why you’re doing this in the first place. This was a hard lesson to learn.
Oftentimes we hear: “Your network is your net worth”, please share your thoughts on that adage and illustrate your experience.
Morgan Lilker: I agree with this quote wholeheartedly. The people you keep closest to you will often determine your success. You need to keep and maintain a large circle of various people and their successes in order to truly understand what it means to be successful.
On top of this, you will always have someone around who is willing to lend a helping hand when needed. Being an entrepreneur isn’t something you can do on your own. In fact, I’m not sure there is an instance where someone has made it singlehandedly. Networking is everything.
What are some professional or even personal goals you plan on tackling during the 2022 year? Share the battles you expect to face.
Morgan Lilker: I am already expecting to be reviewing the way we approach financing within our company this year. Everything is increasing around us all the time and customers just don’t have the money to spend like they used to. So, I am going to need to seriously take another look at the way we market and dive head first into the digital world to spread our name even further.
With all the social media platforms available, it’s increasingly difficult to be present everywhere. Which ones do you favor for your company and why?
Morgan Lilker: For our company we are quite new to social media and this is something that we’re looking to pour a lot of our resources into. After all, if you don’t exist online then you basically don’t exist at all. We lean towards Facebook and Instagram as our main interest due to the fact that our target audience uses these sites most often and, unlike twitter, we can advertise our products without word limitations.
Instagram in particular is appealing due to the fact it is an image sharing site and we sell some beautiful pieces that should be showcased in that manner.
Jerome Knyszewski, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Morgan Lilker for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
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