How I Succeeded is a regular series on Lifehacker where we ask business leaders for the secrets and tactics behind their success. Today: Adrian Przelozny, Independent Reserve.
Current gig: CEO and founder of Independent Reserve
Current Location: Sydney
Current mobile device: iPhone
Current computer: Dell XPS 13
One word that best describes how you work: Efficient
What apps/software/tools can't you live without?
- Web browser
- MS Office
- Remote Desktop
What social network do you find the most useful?
LinkedIn for the high-value network. It’s one of the best environments to seek feedback from experts. An added benefit of the platform is that it provides another useful avenue to interact with our customers. Twitter is also another useful platform where I can curate a group of incredible and intelligent people to have great conversations with.
What were the most important lessons you learned while growing your business?
Perseverance is key and value is cumulative. Although it sometimes may not seem that way, every little thing that a founder does early on in the life of a business adds up and ultimately creates value which may only be realised years later. Starting a business is hard and requires a lot of patience and commitment to do what often seem like thankless tasks. It’s easy to get lost in the day to day operational activities when a founder needs to wear many different hats, but it is important to step back periodically, relax and try to see the bigger picture.
What has been the most surprising part of your business journey?
Founding a company is an exercise of stepping far away from your comfort zone. This is difficult at first but it’s surprising how I’ve now developed a tendency to embrace it and even seek it out. Throughout my journey, I’ve had to learn a wide array of new skills. I like to think I am now fairly competent at things I never imagined I’d be good at. Over the past several years, I’ve had a much better understanding of my own strengths and weaknesses.
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
I’m pretty analytical by nature, so tasks which rely on critical thinking tend to come a little easier to me. I apply this to creating a customer-centric business which seeks to give our customers what they want at scale. I do not believe the business would be market leading and sustainable otherwise.
What's your sleep routine like?
I try to get at least 7 hours each night, but I don’t always succeed. We are fortunate to be able to work in a place where we get a lot of natural sunlight and a fantastic view of Sydney Harbour; this helps keep my circadian rhythm healthy and improve my quality of sleep.
What advice would you offer to other businesses on how to succeed?
The key to success is not giving up and keeping things in perspective. Building a business is a difficult and long process. The path from A to B is often not a straight line and there will be hiccups along the way. The trick is to stay calm, trust in your vision and carry on. To borrow a phrase from Ray Dalio’s Principles which I’m reading now, pain + reflection = progress.