Chloe Macintosh co-founded MADE.com in 2010 after making a career change from the more traditional background of architecture. Considering the huge digital advancement over the last 10 years, read Chloe’s totally tech-free tricks to help you climb those rungs of opportunity.
1. Grab opportunities and learn as you go along
‘I’m from the very traditional background of architecture. I didn’t come from a digital world and I completely grabbed it. As a team we were driven by the power that we were starting a revolution – everything I did at Made, I did it for the first time.. The biggest culture shock for me was that building an online business is very much around trial and error and getting something out there. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it’s quite nice to take risks.’
2. Build relationships the traditional way
‘Technology and the internet has created an opportunity for anyone to create a business, something that was not the case when I grew up. That being said, it was important for me to connect with our customers. I delivered our first products myself in my car and I put them together in the customer’s homes. We have adapted or business more often through meeting and talking to them than through any other routes.’
3. You don’t need to be totally tech-savvy when applying – but it helps
‘Social media is your new business card and CV, so what’s important is to be aware of what you are doing on it. Everything stays and everything counts. It is also a huge opportunity to show what you are good at outside of your work credentials and I value that a lot – it’s part of an applicant’s DNA and it gives me idea how to expand their role internally .‘
4. Don’t compare yourself to others; it’s not all about experience
‘I make most of my decisions when I meet people; sometimes I like to find unemployable people. I like to find people who are trying to find a job that they didn’t do before. I have some very successful team members that came in wanting completely different work. This is the sort of profile I find interesting because they remind me of what I did.’
5. You don’t have to be accessible 24/7
‘I think if you are (accessible all the time), then people expect you to be. I know members of my team who are available 24/7 and they sort of get trapped by it. I think everyone has to be responsible for their own time and shouldn’t slave out to the process. It’s about finding a balance between the two. I often try to reply to emails with a visit to the person’s desk or a call and I get so much more out of it. So much time is wasted in misunderstanding and chain emailing.’
6. Respect the people you are with
‘Not using your phone in a social encounter is now considered to be the highest mark of respect. So you need to think about using your phone as a way to show respect to the people around you.’
7. Entertain the right relationships
‘I have more connections than any other time in my life right now and I probably use 5% of them. It doesn’t mean that because you have more contacts that you are going to be more successful. It’s all about entertaining the right relationships and to do good business with people who you have built good relationships with. The risk is otherwise you get really distracted from the amount of stimulation that it takes to entertain that huge network and it can actually be counter productive.’
8. Give your work a personal touch and stick to the things you know
‘We built the brand (MADE.com) in a very personal way. We started by making products for our own homes and for our friends. We really didn’t know much about the industry. We built the brand on something that our friends might like.’
9. Organise yourself
‘To be organised, I use only my calendar. I’ve never had an assistant. I could never have anyone else doing my calendar. I never had a personal phone and a work phone; everything is on my one phone. I don’t know how anyone else can organise themselves like that. That’s the only way I can keep my level of sanity!’
10. Sometimes it’s about life skills more than digital skills
‘I don’t think you have to know things like coding before entering into a career with a digital aspect. The most important learning is very basic. It’s just to make sure you are still talking to people and that your products do what you promise. It’s the same behaviour you should have in real life when you’re in front of people.’
Chloe Macintosh appeared at last year’s Marie Claire’s @ Work Live event in association with Karen Millen.
It’s not too late to get tickets for our 2016 MC@Work Live event on 23 April 2016, with inspiring speakers, tutorials and workshops.