Episode 34: Jan Cavelle – The Journey of an Accidental Entrepreneur

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Gold Nuggets

  • Juliet took their puppy for a walk at 4:30am. She thinks the puppy had mixed feelings about that.
  • “A lot of people don’t always share the tough moments; they kind of gloss over it and say ‘it was a struggle in the beginning, but look at where I am now.’”
  • “Entrepreneurs need to hear that it’s not all perfect, and it’s not this front that you see on the news or on social media; that there is so much struggle behind it to get them there.”

    “I’m all for encouraging entrepreneurship. I think there will be a great need for more and more over the coming years. But I don’t think it’s doing anybody a good service to tell them that it’s all fun and games.”
  • “Validating an idea is a plain sensible thing to do.”

    “People get on their high horse that they have this idea and therefore other people must buy it. They’re missing the whole idea that it’s a problem that they need to address and find that people want solved.”
  • “In this day and age, there’s a good argument for starting a business as a side hustle.”
  • “You are not your business. You should not measure yourself by the success of your business. That is a tough lesson to learn.”
  • “Don’t be afraid of learning, because sooner or later you’re going to have to.”
  • “If you’re going to grow a business, you want to be very sure that your reason behind it is good, and that you are mentally fit enough to do it.”
  • “Fearlessness is not the absence of fear. It’s the mastery of fear. It’s about getting up one more time than we fall down.” – Arianna Huffington

Meet Jan Cavelle

Our guest is author, writer, and speaker, Jan Cavelle. Jan started with a sales business that she ran from under her staircase at home, and through pure determination, she scaled her business to garner great success. She has won numerous awards, represented the UK in Europe as one of the first 50 Female Entrepreneurial Ambassadors, spoken about SME’s on Newsnight, debated at the Cambridge Union, formed part of the Women Influence Community, and has written contributions to many publications, including Real Business. Her ambition has always been to author and publish a book, which she will accomplish in 2021.

Smart Man, Smarter Woman References

We talk about a lot in each episode; however, we don’t want you to miss a thing! Here are some key items were mentioned if you want to take a closer look.

Website Recommendations:

Book Recommendation:
Scale for Success, by Jan Cavelle (Available Soon)
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, by Simon Sinek
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, by Mark Manson
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

Stay Connected:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jan.cavelle.scaleforsuccess/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JanCavelleWriter
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jancavelle/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jancavelle

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Steve Loates (00:00):

Hello everyone and welcome to our podcast, Smart Man, Smarter Woman, a podcast for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs. And thank you so much for joining us today. I am Steve Loates.

Juliet Aurora (00:15):

And I am Juliet Aurora.

Steve Loates (00:17):

And we are your co-hosts. And before I introduce our special guest for today, let’s hear a few words from my wonderful co-host, that smarter woman herself, Juliet. How are you doing today, Juliet? You look fantastic, by the way.

Juliet Aurora (00:33):

I appreciate that, thank you. Probably a good thing for a husband to tell their wife, knowing that they didn’t get any sleep last night, got out of bed at like 4:00 in the morning because they couldn’t sleep. So thank you. I appreciate that I’m not looking like I dragged myself out of bed at 4:00 AM this morning. But other than being a little tired and having a little more caffeine than I normally do by this point, I am excellent, thank you.

Steve Loates (00:59):

Well, I’m very glad to hear that. Isn’t the journey of an entrepreneur fun?

Juliet Aurora (01:03):


Steve Loates (01:04):

All this great stuff behind the scenes.

Juliet Aurora (01:07):

Absolutely. And it was actually quite funny because one of the things I do when I get up, since my pool is now closed, is I go for a walk in the morning. I was up at 4:00, so I woke our puppy up at 4:28 to go for a walk this morning, and he was looking at me like, “Are you sure? Are you sure that this is what we’re doing?” But he was a trooper and went with me this morning.

Steve Loates (01:31):

Well, I’m sure he was very impressed with you.

Juliet Aurora (01:34):

Yeah. I’m not sure he was, but okay.

Steve Loates (01:38):

Anyway, we have a great show for you today with our special guest, all the way from across the pond, Jan Cavelle. And I’m really looking forward to today’s chat, because reading about Jan, she has a really wide and diverse background and experience in the world of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship, which is what we love to talk about. So I’m really excited to see and hear what Jan is going to share with us today. So let’s bring her into the show. Jan, welcome, and thank you very much for joining us today.

Jan Cavelle (02:15):

Steve, Juliet, thank you both so very, very much for asking me on the show and letting me chat away.

Steve Loates (02:22):

Our pleasure. So maybe we can start off a little by just telling us a little bit about who you are, what you do, and a little bit about your own entrepreneurial journey, and how did you get to where you are today?

Jan Cavelle (02:40):

Okay. Wow. Where do I start? I was a very, very accidental entrepreneur, I think it’s fair to say, in that I was sort of brought up in a background and an era that nice young ladies got married and didn’t do a lot else. Which, I quite fancied the idea of getting married but I didn’t like conforming very much. So I didn’t go all the right routes that my contemporaries all went on, which was very respectable jobs in the right places to meet nice young men.

Jan Cavelle (03:16):

Instead, I did all sorts of self-employed jobs, and strange jobs as well, going traveling and had a great life, great experience doing all sorts of things, and starting small businesses doing any number of things. I mean, I had absolutely no qualifications as such. I’d done some sales training, which is something I swear by because it digs you out of so many holes. But apart from that, I really was amazingly ignorant about life, entrepreneurship and everything.

Jan Cavelle (03:50):

So they were very, very much micro biz, self-employed, bring an income in to cover and keep a roof over your head, not a big growth thing at all. And it was later on … And I find it interesting, actually, listening to your podcasts of yourself because in my journey here was a little bit like Juliet. She was talking about starting a business out of desperation, and that’s very much a phrase I would use about my journey. Because I started a business also as a single mother with young … well, I had two children. Because you’d just had a daughter, I think, for one, didn’t you, Juliet?

Juliet Aurora (04:30):

Yes, one daughter.

Jan Cavelle (04:33):

I had one of each. But absolutely same thing. And when you’ve got children and you’re a single mom and your back’s against the wall, and I didn’t fancy … like you were saying, I didn’t fancy the idea of lots of childcare either. So I was just determined to start something which I could be with the children. Absolutely same story. So I did. I used that sales background that I had to start a sales enterprise. And I started dealing in bits and pieces for interior designers, which I started quite literally working on a shelf under the stairs at home, because I was terribly broke after my divorce. I didn’t have the corporate background, of course, nor the corporate know-how or experience or anything. So it was just the sales and me, a phone, fax, and a determination that I had to make this work, really.

Jan Cavelle (05:29):

And, as I say, I was selling bits and pieces to interior designers, which I was buying in. That semi-worked. It was such a struggle at first. I don’t know how I quite survived. I mean, there were the odd days when I definitely went to bed and thought, “That does it. I have to stop tomorrow. This is the end.” And I’d get up and there’d be one order and I could just keep going until two or three days later.

Jan Cavelle (06:00):

So it was tough. Really touch-and-go. But then the problem was with the supply chain, so I ended up getting bits and pieces sprayed by a friend in the back of another friend’s barn to get them finished. And gradually it began to gel and take off and became a little furniture company, as such. I wasn’t making it. But there I was, I was up and running. There was an income, albeit not a lot of jam on the bread for me and my children while they were young.

Jan Cavelle (06:32):

And I was terribly happy, because it had done exactly what I wanted, which was to allow me to spend time with the kids. And it was all fine. Do tell me if I’m going on too long?

Juliet Aurora (06:43):

Not at all.

Steve Loates (06:44):

You’re doing great. You’re doing great.

Jan Cavelle (06:46):

Okay. Well, the next major crisis and turning point was when the man who owned the furniture making side of things, that we bought 90% of our furniture from, knocked on my door and said, “I’m going to retire.” And I said, “Well, jolly good. I hope to, too, one day.” And he said, “No, no, no. You don’t understand. I mean right now.” “What? No furniture? Hold on a second. This is disaster.”

Jan Cavelle (07:17):

So the long and short of it was, it was a Friday afternoon and we sat down and we hammered out a deal, which I bought him out, which sounds an awful lot grander than it was, because his businesses consisted of two employees in an old barn and some incredibly old, grotty machinery. I, by that time, had a slightly smarter small barn unit, and equally two employees. And I agreed I’d pay him, which he was happy to take, I would pay him whatever sum it was, which I really can’t remember now. But it seemed like a vast amount to me at the time, and of course it wasn’t. And I would pay him literally on the never-never, because he wasn’t that bothered. All he wanted to do was get rid of the responsibility. And so I think I paid him off over the next two or three years.

Jan Cavelle (08:07):

So there I was, and I suddenly, this idea that I was just going to do a bit of selling and feed my children had morphed into two small barns with about … I don’t know. About three quarters of an hour’s drive from each other, and school runs in the wrong direction, because school runs are always in the wrong direction as far as I can work out.

Jan Cavelle (08:28):

And so I was always on one way [inaudible 00:08:30] it wasn’t working frightfully sensibly. And my children were just that little bit older. And I decided I would take a plunge, just from practicality, of getting a unit for everybody, which meant getting a bigger unit. I mean, I cannot tell you both how ignorant I was. I had no clue about leases or factory units or anything. I managed finally to find somebody who would lease me a unit with no real background as such, and we moved in, and that was a huge gamble because I equally didn’t know about moving machinery or anything. So all of a sudden I was told that this needed cranes, and I was going, “Cranes? Where do you get a crane from?”

Jan Cavelle (09:20):

And the expense kept mounting and I was panicking like nothing on Earth. And there was absolutely nobody I could talk to, because I wouldn’t have known who to talk to, to be honest. I certainly wasn’t going to tell the children while they were small. And so I was in a lot of trouble. I’d signed a 10 year lease and these four people were looking expectantly at me, and what had seemed like a very good idea had turned very sour.

Jan Cavelle (09:44):

So I did what I have to tell your listeners you must never, never, never, never, never do, which is buy a copy of a Sunday newspaper and take out a loan with people in the back in the small ads, because nobody else on Earth would’ve lent me any money. And I took out a very large sum, it’s killed me to say, against everything I possessed at incredibly awful interest. But still telling nobody, I’d just determined that I would battle through this and keep everybody in work and keep a roof over our heads and food on the table for the children.

Jan Cavelle (10:23):

And out of determination, panic, B-mindedness, probably most of all, I did. I pulled it off. I mean, I used those sales skills as much as I could and I kept selling and selling and selling, and we got going and we created this thing where it actually grew quite rapidly. So much so, in the end it needed a second unit and we got up to about 40 staff and a multi-million pound turnover, which was a joke in many ways because I had to wing it the whole way along. And talk about learning on the hoof.

Steve Loates (11:00):

You were obviously winging it very well?

Jan Cavelle (11:03):

I was winging it out of absolute, “I have to do this for the children.” It’s such a good motivation when you’re doing it for your children. There’s a lot of very good motivations, and I’ve since met, as I’m sure you have, entrepreneurs who do amazing things to make this [inaudible 00:11:24] a better place, and do fantastic things for other people. I admire them so, so much.

Jan Cavelle (11:33):

But I think it’s a very primal thing, the determination to protect the children, and it really does … Because I’d dug myself such a hole, there was a huge element of, “I cannot fail and let them down under any circumstances.”

Juliet Aurora (11:51):

Thank you for sharing your story for a couple of different reasons. A lot of people don’t always share the tough moments. They kind of gloss over it and they say, “Yeah, it was a struggle for me at the beginning but hey, look at where I am now.” And a lot of entrepreneurs in our audience may be struggling. And all that they hear is the success at the end. They don’t necessarily always hear how hard it was to get there.

Juliet Aurora (12:21):

So for you to share that it was touch-and-go, and that you had dug yourself into a hole, and that you dug yourself out of it, and what it was, it was. You said multiple times that it was the determination that got you out. So I think that’s a really valuable lesson for the people in our audience, that it absolutely is the determination that is going to get you on the other side of whatever struggle you’re in. So thank you for sharing your story.

Jan Cavelle (12:49):

My pleasure. My pleasure. As I say, it was for the children.

Steve Loates (12:55):

Awesome. That is terrific. Let me ask, any regrets?

Jan Cavelle (13:02):

Yes. I did go back, actually, and finally learn things about business. Later on I signed up for all sorts of highfalutin courses and met and learnt from a lot of seriously good, high-growth entrepreneurs. And I think, actually, I probably should’ve got out when it was at its height and as soon as the children didn’t need me. Because after that, I didn’t have the same drive. I kept on thinking I should do it. It seemed sensible. I was told it was a very good business, which it was. But it wasn’t where I was happy anymore, and “should” does not keep you going.

Jan Cavelle (13:48):

And so, yeah, I should have stopped while it was good rather than gone on, I think. But now it’s worked out. I have [inaudible 00:14:00] morphed into something entirely different.

Juliet Aurora (14:04):

And hindsight is always 20/20, right? Absolutely.

Jan Cavelle (14:08):


Juliet Aurora (14:09):

So now you are doing what I would consider my dream job, which is that you’re writing full-time?

Jan Cavelle (14:16):

That’s right.

Juliet Aurora (14:16):

And for me, I mean, that is where I envision myself when I retire, that I’m sitting on a beach house and I’m writing. So you’re living my dream job. So tell me how you got to being an entrepreneur and building a business and then now that you’re writing full-time?

Jan Cavelle (14:34):

Well, like you, it was always a dream. I mean, I was a child who was always to be found somewhere with a book, totally happy. Well, it’s not much different. I’m just older and with a book and totally happy if I’ve got one. So yeah, I loved to write even back then. And then in my latter years of business, when I became increasingly unhappy, I started by chance. I saw an ad for a business publication asking for a couple of entrepreneurs to contribute pieces. And very much like you were saying, people who were willing to actually tell it how it is rather than write about their own brilliance.

Jan Cavelle (15:13):

And I was more than happy if I was writing. It was no problem to say it how it was, which wasn’t terribly much fun on the whole and it was a battle, and there were good bits and bad bits. It had reached that stage. But it provided me with my outlet, and increasingly I realized, with the children gone, that this was really where I was happy. So when I finally did burn out, which I did, and I stopped and gave up the business and … Well, the brand still trades, but I’d decided to retire. It took me, I suppose, a few months. And then, like you, I thought, “Hold on. Retirement, is this the opportunity to fulfill that dream of seeing if I could ever, ever, ever write a book?”

Jan Cavelle (16:00):

And from there I thought, “What do I write a book about?” Because I didn’t have great fiction inspiration. And I thought, “Well, it’s probably business.” And then I thought, “Oh, I don’t know. I don’t know if I could cheat that one or not. There’s an awful lot of good experts out there.” But I thought, “Well, maybe if I’m speaking as usual and I’m comfortable doing and everything else I write about from a point of view of what I’ve learnt and mistakes I’ve made,” and I also involved some of the amazing people I know to contribute expertize, maybe that would work.

Jan Cavelle (16:39):

And it was actually last Christmas and I put in a submission to Bloomsbury Press, and bless them, they got hold of me between Christmas and New Year and said, “Come and have a meeting.” Which, in itself, was just an amazing, dream experience. And off I went from there. So yes, they are very kindly publishing my book in February of next year.

Juliet Aurora (17:02):


Steve Loates (17:02):

Awesome. Awesome.

Juliet Aurora (17:06):

Very exciting. Something for me to aspire to.

Jan Cavelle (17:10):

I’m sure you’ll get there. I’m sure you’ll get there. If you want to that badly, that’s what it takes.

Steve Loates (17:17):

How did you enjoy the experience of writing it?

Jan Cavelle (17:20):

Loved it. Absolutely love it. Partly, I mean, I had this idea that I’d involve other people, so it was nice catching up with people I hadn’t chatted to for a while, coupled with the fact that Bloomsbury encouraged me to involve people from the States and from Australia, because they publish in both places as well. So I also had the opportunity of meeting and talking to some amazing people from those countries in the entrepreneurship world. I mean, probably similar to your own experiences.

Jan Cavelle (17:55):

That’s such a joy, and I just listen in awe to what people do. It’s been a huge … I know I keep saying it, but it has. It’s been a huge privilege for me.

Jan Cavelle (18:10):

So there was that part, and then writing, I am always happy when I’m writing, so put the two together, I was having a wonderful time.

Juliet Aurora (18:17):

So, Steve, that must be what we did wrong. So we wrote a book, but we wrote it together. We didn’t bring in any other brilliant minds to help us, so maybe that was where we went wrong. Because like you, I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I found the process so painful.

Jan Cavelle (18:35):

Did you?

Juliet Aurora (18:36):

I did. And I think-

Jan Cavelle (18:36):

In what way?

Juliet Aurora (18:38):

I think it was because … part of it is my upbringing, my heritage. I’m East Indian and I was raised in a family where you never told anyone if you were struggling. You always had this façade that, “Yes, the world is wonderful and everything is good.” And the purpose of the book that we wrote was to share … We had won an award, which was a global award, and we had people that came up to us afterwards that said, “I could never do what you guys have done. You have it all together.”

Juliet Aurora (19:10):

And we realized that, okay, well, hey, we were looking to close our business and shut it down not that long before, so we thought it was an important story to tell.

Jan Cavelle (19:20):

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Absolutely.

Juliet Aurora (19:21):

But for me, it was such a difficult story, because it was so personal. And so I think that’s why I found it painful. But maybe it was because we didn’t invite anybody else to contribute to the book with us.

Jan Cavelle (19:34):

Well, for me, that just made it easier to think I was giving value to the readers. But I don’t know whether I necessarily would again because I’ve gained in confidence from doing that. I might do. It is difficult at first, bashing through that sort of, “I am prepared to be completely open,” particularly if you came from a background, which I did as well parentally, which says, “No, we must put on a perfect front at all times.” Very tricky.

Juliet Aurora (20:08):

And I think that entrepreneurs need to hear that it’s not all perfect and it’s not this front that you see on the news or in social media, that there is so much struggle behind it to get them there.

Jan Cavelle (20:27):

I mean, it’s a good service when you do it because if we lead people into entrepreneurship … Entrepreneurship has become both something quite mystical, I think, people overcomplicate it, and also something so aspirational … Which is great. I’m all for encouraging entrepreneurship. I think there will be a great need for more and more over the coming years. But I don’t think it’s doing anybody a good service to tell them that it’s all fun and games and you’re going to have a wonderful time making millions, because that doesn’t really tend to be the case.

Juliet Aurora (21:04):

Yeah. And our education system doesn’t really encourage it, promote it, talk about it at all. I don’t know if it’s like that in the UK, but in Canada, if you are taking a business course of any sort in high school, or even your first year of university or college, it’s all about the economy and big business. It’s not, how do you start your own business? There isn’t any kind of a program that’s available for people to even learn.

Juliet Aurora (21:35):

You said that you didn’t have any qualifications to be an entrepreneur. I’m not sure there are any, other than determination and drive and the desire to create something. I’m not sure that there are really any qualifications for an entrepreneur.

Steve Loates (21:51):

No, I would agree with that. What advice would you give someone, Jan? If someone came to you and said, “I’ve got this idea for a business and I think it could work, but I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m an entrepreneur or not,” what advice would you give them about starting that business?

Jan Cavelle (22:18):

I would tell them they needed to be jolly sure and “I think” wasn’t going to get them far enough. But I would try and dig in to what was making them unsure. And I think validating an idea is a just plain sensible thing to do, and a lot of people skip it. When I was doing some coaching, which I did [inaudible 00:22:41] and took a coaching training as well, but I found a lot of people would say to me, “But my idea’s brilliant and I’m telling people and they’re just not buying it. Why are they being stupid like that?”

Jan Cavelle (22:57):

And they don’t. People get on their high horse that they have this idea and therefore other people must buy it. And it isn’t. They’re missing the whole idea that it’s a problem that they need to address and find that people want solved. So I think there’s that, particularly. They need to be sure about validating the idea.

Jan Cavelle (23:22):

And I think in this day and age, there’s a good argument to start a business, unless of course you’re desperate, to start a business as a side hustle, which is a much safer way to do it. And they can test the water and find out if their idea is valid and whether the up and down emotional rollercoaster suits them. It does some people, other people hate it.

Juliet Aurora (23:48):

Yeah. And I think also that in just a follow-up on validating the idea, sometimes the problem, and I am 100% guilty of it, is I think it’s a great idea. I’ve invested some time and energy and money to flesh out the idea, maybe build something around the idea, and, okay, people aren’t buying it. Well, then, it’s still a good idea, though, so I’m going to keep throwing money at it and I’m going to keep throwing stuff at it to make it hit the market. But maybe, as you said, it’s not solving a problem that I think exists, but that nobody else thinks.

Jan Cavelle (24:28):

But it is, you’re quite right. It’s so difficult to decide that you really ought to stop and do something else or pivot or whatever. But to actually call time, when is the moment? Are you going to get another order the next morning, or whatever? It’s such a hard one when you’ve pushed so much love into something to create it. It’s tough.

Juliet Aurora (24:55):

Well, it becomes a part of you. It’s a representation of you as well, that if they’re not buying it, that it reflect on you personally, which is obviously doesn’t. But as entrepreneurs, it’s all so personal for us.

Jan Cavelle (25:07):

Oh yeah.

Juliet Aurora (25:08):

So setting out, “Okay, here is my tripwire that I need to accomplish this, or I need to rethink the idea,” I think is a great solution.

Steve Loates (25:19):

Yeah. It’s a hard lesson for many entrepreneurs, I won’t say all entrepreneurs, to learn, and to learn that you are not your business. That it is two just totally different things, and that you should not measure yourself by the success of your business. Even though we do, you should not. And that is a very, very hard … In fact, I think I am still learning that lesson, if I was being honest. But it’s a tough, tough lesson to learn.

Steve Loates (25:56):

I’m curious about one thing, Jan. You did talk about early in your own entrepreneurial journey, when you were saying that you didn’t know about this, you didn’t know about that, one of the things I’ve always found with entrepreneurs is that we’re generally continuous learners. Like we’re learning all the time. What were some of the things that you did … Because I think you obviously knew as you were going through some of these things, “Gee, I’m not really sure about this.” Were there some things that you did, some tips you could maybe share with our audience, to keep learning different things to help you work through some of these challenges you were having?

Jan Cavelle (26:47):

I mean, during those first 10 years of very rapid growth, I wouldn’t have known where to go for advice. I mean, I had been so sheltered from the business world that I wouldn’t have known who to ask. When I started, there wasn’t even a computer, so I mean, I couldn’t have gone online and find anything out.

Jan Cavelle (27:08):

So it was really was … We have an expression in England, I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but a suck it and see job, find out as you go along. If it works, it works, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.

Steve Loates (27:24):


Jan Cavelle (27:24):

And that brought a terrible sense, the moment the world began to open up and I began to meet other people and become slightly more public, of course I realized that other people knew things about business and I didn’t, which gave me terrible imposter syndrome. I mean, I really struggled with that, particularly when I started going on the award circuit, because it was something which anyone was advised to do because it was a good idea for the business and publicity.

Jan Cavelle (27:58):

But I find it absolutely overwhelming because they were serious people running serious businesses and there was me. And I won some business coaching, from the very first one I won, and this lady came in and said, “This is me and I’ll tell you a little bit about me,” she said. “Well, I’ve got a first from Oxford in psychology and Russian.” I thought, “I can’t talk to you. I can’t tell you what I’ve messed up today.”

Jan Cavelle (28:28):

So I think probably the first thing is don’t be afraid of learning, because sooner or later you’re going to have to.

Steve Loates (28:38):

Yeah. Yeah. For sure. For sure. What do you love about writing?

Jan Cavelle (28:45):

Wish I could answer you that one. The sort of classic get in the flow thing of the whole world can go away and the house can burn down. I find everything goes into it. I’m not aware of anything else. I mean, it’s similar, I guess, to the early days of running a business. It just absorbs me totally. But why, I wouldn’t be able to tell you.

Steve Loates (29:16):

Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.

Jan Cavelle (29:18):

It just is.

Steve Loates (29:21):

Well, that’s great, and that brings us to our part of the show which is our Smart Man, Smarter Woman version of James Lipton’s Actors Studio, which I don’t know if you’re familiar with that, but we have six questions that we ask every guest on the show, we ask them the same six questions. And if you’re ready to start, Jan, I would like to begin asking you the questions.

Jan Cavelle (29:50):

Go ahead.

Steve Loates (29:51):

Okay. What one word best defines an entrepreneur?

Jan Cavelle (29:59):

Well, I thought I’ll answer these questions from the gut and instantaneously write down answers when I first got them from you, so the answer I wrote down is “ballsy”.

Steve Loates (30:11):

Perfect. Okay. What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?

Jan Cavelle (30:19):

It’s difficult, because of course, I’ve just fallen into exactly what else I’d like to attempt rather than being an entrepreneur. Had I not done that and not been an entrepreneur, I wanted to be a journalist, of course, which is a different sort of writing desperately. But I hadn’t got the learning, curiously enough, so I never got that far.

Steve Loates (30:40):

Okay. What profession would you like never to attempt?

Jan Cavelle (30:46):

There’s a whole list of them that I could think of but I put down pot washer, because I’ve done it and it’s no fun.

Steve Loates (30:55):

Okay. What sound or noise do you love?

Jan Cavelle (30:59):

I didn’t get that one. How did I miss that? Sound or noise do I love? The ocean. Got to be the ocean. Or a sea of any sort. Well, yes, definitely.

Steve Loates (31:10):

What book would you recommend every entrepreneur should read?

Jan Cavelle (31:16):

I struggled with this because I thought limiting to one I cannot do, but I finally narrowed it to three. I mean, I have to pick Sinek’s Why because … Simon Sinek’s Why, because I know what an impact the Why had on me and getting that business off the ground.

Jan Cavelle (31:35):

I’m vastly in favor of Mark Manson’s … I can’t think of … Who Gives a whatever. Because again, I was very … with the inferiority complex and the imposter syndromes and all the things that came with it, I was very held back by things, which I’m not now, but it has taken a long age.

Jan Cavelle (31:59):

And also Pat Lencioni’s books. I never know if that’s how he pronounces his name. But they are brilliant.

Steve Loates (32:07):

I think it’s [Lencheeoni 00:32:10].

Jan Cavelle (32:10):

It’s [Lencheeoni 00:32:10], is it?

Steve Loates (32:10):

I think, yeah.

Jan Cavelle (32:11):

Yeah. I think they’re amazing. So good to use, too, with teamwork.

Steve Loates (32:17):

Yeah. No, they are great books. Okay. When your own entrepreneurial journey is completed, and we’re going to include the writing here, still being an entrepreneur, what do you hope your legacy is?

Jan Cavelle (32:30):

That one I always know. I hope to have made my son proud.

Steve Loates (32:35):

Okay. Very good. And for those in our audience who would like to connect with you, Jan, what is the best way for them to do that?

Jan Cavelle (32:44):

Well, they can probably … I’m on all the social medias, but they can also go to my website, which is jancavelle.co.uk. And that’s J-A-N C-A-V-E-L-L-E.

Steve Loates (32:58):

Perfect. Okay. And before we close down this episode, do you have any final thoughts you would like to share with our audience of entrepreneurs, Jan?

Jan Cavelle (33:15):

I think I would say that, in making that transition from going to a tiny business of just you and a friend or you on your own or whatever, if you’re going to grow a business, you want to be very sure that your reason behind it is good, that you are mentally fit enough to do it, and you have a good reason most of all.

Steve Loates (33:41):

Perfect. And what about you, Juliet?

Juliet Aurora (33:43):

So much stuff. I mean, it was a great conversation, thank you very much, Jan.

Jan Cavelle (33:48):


Juliet Aurora (33:48):

Thank you for joining us. And I would love to have you back where we just talk about the imposter syndrome, because I think that is so prevalent. More so in women than it is in men, but I think it’s an important topic that I would love to spend some time just talking about.

Jan Cavelle (34:07):

Surely, I’m happy to do that. I’m happy to do that.

Juliet Aurora (34:09):

I would love to do that. And I don’t think that we mentioned the name of Jan’s book.

Steve Loates (34:13):

Well, Jan, please?

Jan Cavelle (34:15):

It is called Scale … I think my voice is going. But it’s called Scale for Success.

Steve Loates (34:22):

Perfect. In February of 2021?

Jan Cavelle (34:25):

That’s right. 2nd of February.

Steve Loates (34:27):

Perfect. Okay. And that brings us to this episode’s words of wisdom. And for this episode, I chose Arianna Huffington, and the quote is, “Fearlessness is not the absence of fear. It’s the mastery of fear. It’s about getting up one more time than we fall down.” Great quote.

Juliet Aurora (34:55):


Steve Loates (34:57):

So thank you again, Jan. Really enjoyed it. It’s been terrific. Thank you to my awesome co-host once again. But most importantly, thank you to you, our audience, for tuning in and for giving us a listen. We sincerely hope you found some value here and we would love if you would subscribe to the podcast. We’re in all the normal places you can find us. The website’s smartmansmarterwoman.com. So thank you again. Until next time, take good care of yourself and those that you love. Bye for now.

Song by Adam Vitovsky / CC BY 3.0

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Episode 34